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 Politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Politics. Show all posts

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, January 3, 2019

The People Who Want to Microchip People


Image Source: CBS News.

In an earlier post, I noted how the BBC is promoting human microchipping as well as larger tech-body implants. Their poster boy for this cause, colour blind guy, Neil Harbisson, merits a special 'cyborg' passport status.

Image Source: NYT.

Image Source: Munsell Color.

The subcutaneous chip was first developed by Siemens in the United States. The human microchip implant was invented by Kevin Warwick: "He is known for his studies on direct interfaces between computer systems and the human nervous system, and has also done research concerning robotics." You can read backgrounders on human microchip technology, here and here.

If this practice becomes widely accepted, it will become an automatic, mainstream practice, and children will be microchipped at birth. There are already brain chips which can affect moods and behaviour. Let this go further, and subcutaneous implants will become an organic user interface. They will also constitute an assault on the integrity of the bodies and minds of individuals both as individuals, and as members of society. Soon, it won't be necessary to talk about human rights and freedoms, because the preconditions for them will be medically removed and technically absent. For a disturbing, unconfirmed original sources on this endgame, see here.

The BBC promoting microchipping for Humans (29 January 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

The Body, Colonized

China Behavior Rating System V/S Sweden Microchip implants | Must watch technology (18 June 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Of course, rhetoric which promotes rights and freedoms will remain. The political speeches will continue, but rights and freedoms will be erased in reality. Lip service will be paid to these archaic constructions until it is no longer necessary to do so, and people have forgotten them, or been reprogrammed. Expect whatever slavery that follows to be labeled as a new type of freedom. The Chinese have a saying about manipulation and the acquisition of power: point to a deer, and call it a horse.

Human microchipping is part of a new field called 'biointerfaced nano-engineering.' Another catch-all term is 'wearables,' created by firms like Proteus and MC10. This is not the path to convenience, progress or enlightenment. It is the path to slavery. Although it seems that the human body must become the next technological platform, it is not inevitable. Do not do it. Do not accept it.

This post is not a Luddite screed. It is a plea to save the best potentials of technology and keep them on a course that will not destroy us. We are entering a new stage in the Tech Revolution, in which we have to learn to take responsibility for progress and innovation. Thus far, citizens have been accepting actors on the receiving end of research projects released via big tech companies. These were experimental prototypes, presented as exciting consumer goods. Electronic goods were marketed with various political and socio-economic messages to make them palatable in the capitalist endeavour to build self-identity from the outside in.

Image Source: Go into the Story.

We were entranced in the first decades of the Tech Revolution by the gadgets and rapid software upgrades. Most people believed in the opening act that they acted as consumers inside the pre-existing capitalist model. They did not understand that that old system had already been effectively outdated and internally destroyed; only an illusory shell of that model persists as a form of mass behavioural control.

We can all be forgiven for assuming that consumerism was how tech was introduced into our reality. But it never was.

Although glitzy, futuristic marketing campaigns created the illusion that technology turned people into empowered, connected consumers, each new level of hardware and software between the 1980s and the 2010s blinded technophiles to the fact that they were never consumers at all. They were increasingly-conditioned lab rats, running through monitored environments, inside the biggest human behavioural study ever conducted.

Now, things must change. It is time to wake up. It is time to grow up. We can be forgiven for trusting those big corporations, helmed by intelligence agencies and Promethean research groups, as benevolent guides in the opening act of the Tech Revolution.

Image Source: Film Connection.

But we cannot be forgiven if we sleepwalk into Act Two, and deliver our children into immersive slavery. In transhumanism, the commodity is not the microchip or its successor technologies. The commodity will be a new type of interbody imperialism and colonization, developed under the banner of building safer, more efficient societies. This will be a coercive, predictable, micro-legalized system, based on live feed maps of humankind's biological processes, mass consciousness, and psychological and physical reactions as a collective of living beings.

There has to be a moment when we recognize that the integrity of our bodies and souls is worth more than a few everyday conveniences. We are not meant to become 'the Borg.' Planting a gadget in your body is not a form of self-improvement that is good for the environment. To believe this reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of the body as an environment in itself, and of the body as an organism functioning within the larger natural environment.

I suspect that what will happen is that humankind will split into two camps. One group will absorb technology fully into the mind and body with erotic abandon. They will love the quasi-sexual interface, and will mistake the enhanced experience for an authentic upgrade.

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.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Second November Twenty Twenty


Frank Wasser, 02.11.20 (2018) © Frank Wasser. Image Source: Jerwood Visual Arts via The Evening Standard. Reproduced non-commercially under Fair Use.

From 3 October to 16 December 2018, an exhibition of up-and-coming UK artists at the Jerwood Space in London includes a distasteful and fictitious future newspaper by artist Frank Wasser, whose oeuvre shows that he likes to play with text as visual artistic symbols. The headline states that President Donald Trump was assassinated at 2 p.m. on 2 November 2020. From The Evening Standard:
"Fictional newspapers imagine 'assassination' of Donald Trump at new exhibition. Fictional newspapers of the future that imagine Donald Trump being assassinated are among the artworks on display at an exhibition opening in London this week.

Survey, a new exhibition opening at Jerwood Space today, shows works by 15 up and coming artists who have been nominated by mid-career artists as the contemporary art stars of the future.

Among these is Frank Wasser, whose work, 02.11.20, in the exhibition a fragment of a fictional future edition of the Metro newspaper, which leads with the story of Donald Trump’s assassination in November 2020.

The story then goes on to imagine Jeremy Corbyn reacting to the event in his role as Prime Minister, and other parts of the paper imagine a hard border in Ireland and NHS warnings relating to screen viewing induced illnesses."

Frank Wasser, 02.11.20 (2018) © Frank Wasser and Jerwood Visual Arts. Image Source: Jerwood Visual Arts via The Evening Standard. Reproduced non-commercially under Fair Use.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Black Friday and the Aesthetics of Fascism


Window-mounted cat beds, Amazon review: "It's been nine months and Tucker still loves this bed ten times more than anything else I've bought him." Image Source: Buzzfeed.

In North America, Thanksgiving weekend is the cornerstone of consumption-based capitalism. Thanksgiving is celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November, this year on November 22nd, followed by Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which have become pre-Christmas discounted shopping bonanzas. Stores are selling everything you could imagine, down to the window-mounted cat bed. This weekend is lucrative enough to tempt merchants in other countries to use the same gimmick to boost their fourth quarter sales.

Kohler Pedestal Sink. These sinks retail at Home Depot in the USA for USD $600-$800. Image Source: Miley Photos.

Essex Metal 24" Console Bathroom Sink with Overflow by Cheviot. Regular priced at Wayfair for CAD $830.25, on sale on Black Friday for CAD $584.99. Image Source: Cheviot.

Waldorf Ceramic 24" Wall Mount Bathroom Sink with Overflow by WS Bath Collections. Regular priced at Wayfair for CAD $1109.99, on sale on Black Friday for CAD $849.99. Image Source: homeclick.

This week, I saw some Black Friday examples which reminded me of an earlier commentary, Fascism at a Hairpin Turn. In a series of posts on this blog, I am considering how 1940s' fascism became a part of modern global culture in ways which are poorly understood. Above, are sinks by Kohler, Cheviot and WS Bath Collections. Kohler Co. was founded in Wisconsin in 1873 by Austrian Americans; it employs a sharp German aesthetic in its high end lavatory designs.

I was struck by the aesthetic similarity between today's sinks and 1940s' institutional sinks. Below, are sinks in an autopsy room and in another room from the French concentration camp near Strasbourg, Natzweiler-Struthof, where human experiments were conducted.


Sinks at Natzweiler-Struthof. Images Source: La Vie est Bonne.

Of course, sinks made outside fascist Europe in the 1940s would also resemble today's designs and their modernist style could be pre-World War II, derived from interwar Bauhaus. When I mentioned this similarity between past and present, my friend, C., said,
"The fascist aesthetic ... merged what ... [the fascists] wanted of [the] modern aesthetic (some aspects of architecture and NO aspect of the fine arts) and aspects of the neoclassic as well as empire styles, both of which were adopted as official styles by Napoleon's ... régime. ... Makes one think that everything that happened[,] including sinks, New York skyscrapers, and concentration camps were all a part of leaving the feudal system."
The Nazis definitely took that white porcelain neoclassical look and made it theirs. Going forward from 1945, there is no way a designer could be ignorant of that aesthetic reference when creating a consumer product in that style. This is why it was startling to see Nazi-esque sinks on sale on this Black Friday at Home Depot. I can't say that the example of the sinks proves anything in terms of demonstrable historical aesthetic lineage because I have not researched that. But it made me ask why and how that aesthetic has been absorbed into mainstream North American culture and values.

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.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Fascism at a Hairpin Turn


The undercut was an Edwardian haircut which remained popular through the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. It became the iconic male haircut of Nazi fascism. It did not become widely popular again until the 2010s. Today, it is sported in different variations by hipster urbanites on the left and the right, with only some individuals aware of the hairstyle's political message. Image Source: The Bold Italic.

Social control. Censorship. Totalitarianism. They won't arrive in the 20th century varieties we expect. Nouveau Nazis have appeared in dozens of movies, including Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984); V for Vendetta (2005); The Man in the High Castle (2015-present); The Handmaid's Tale (2017-present), and Fahrenheit 451 (2018).

Greater Germanic Reich | Man in the High Castle (5 March 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

An alt-historical adaptation of Philip K. Dick's Man in the High Castle (1962), produced by Ridley Scott, considers what America would be like if the Axis Powers won World War II. The new adaptation of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale (1985) depicts fascists as rigid, hypocritical, psycho-Christians, who impose a violent, patriarchal and puritanical monoculture, viciously suppress women's rights, and divide American society into uniformed, hierarchical, militaristic-gender castes.

The Handmaid’s Tale Trailer (Official) (26 April 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Elisabeth Moss Describes A 'Fictional' Totalitarian, Right-Wing Regime (21 April 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Because of these cultural representations, we expect totalitarianism to dress itself in brownshirts and jack boots. The subtext in liberal adaptations is that Donald Trump's America is an alt-right neo-Nazi régime.

Neo-Nazis have certainly reemerged during Trump's administration more boldly than they have in the previous sixty years. Yet fascism is also exploding into the mainstream from other political quarters. It must be combated at all costs, but to do that, you have to understand what fascism is and how it works. That requires recognizing the menace you can't see coming, as much as the threat you're sure you know.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Redefinitions of Currency 2: Crypto Venezuela


Venezuela: then and now. Image Source: Total Crypto.

To paraphrase Chris Dixon, technology has changed the underlying drivers of wealth; once, wealth was determined by commodities; then it was decided by politics; and now, wealth is based on mathematics. There is no better indicator of that shift than in Venezuela.

Fiat collapse: Venezuela's currency crisis (20 August 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Return to the world's oldest economy: Venezuela's economic crisis fuels sex trade (23 August 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Venezuela: New currency fails to curb hyperinflation | Al Jazeera English (22 August 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Venezuela is currently Ground Zero for bad news. In one month, the president, Nicolás Madurododged a historic first drone assassination attempt on a world leader. The country survived a 7.3 magnitude earthquake. Millions of Venezuelans are migrating to neighbouring countries, which are becoming less and less welcoming.

The hacktivist group Anonymous dismissed the Maduro assassination attempt as a government hoax, perhaps similar to a recent incident in Zimbabwe; note the discrepancy in footage that showed - and did not show - Maduro's wife, Cilia Flores, from two different cameras. Note also that the source of the differing footage is the Russian network RT (Ruptly) and these could be two separate occasions. Otherwise, this means that there were two versions of the footage of the attack, which were filmed separately. Anonymous - LA VERDAD sobre supuesto atentado contra Nicolás Maduro 2018 [Anonymous - THE TRUTH about alleged attack against Nicolás Maduro 2018] (5 August 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Maduro's popularity is in the toilet; back-chamber rumours are circulating that he knows secrets about Hugo Chávez's death, that he is in league with the devil, and that he is not a true Venezuelan, but perhaps was born in Colombia, and in any event - it is whispered - he will die soon, though not by assassination. Other rumours are circulating the president tried to escape Venezuela in secret on 26 August 2018, knowing that the situation is irreparable. The cult of personality may not provide a suitable replacement, since alternatives to Maduro, like María Gabriela Chávez, are not popular either.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Space and Struggle to Become Responsible


Vice President Pence Unveils U.S. Space Force Plans (C-SPAN) (9 August 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

The news is full of space headlines. On 9 August, the American Vice President Mike Pence announced that the United States will build a sixth branch of its armed forces, a "space force" to "prepare for the next battlefield." The full statement is here.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Time and Politics 27: The Outsider's Future Return


ZIMBABWE RALLY EXPLOSION, WHAT REALLY HAPPENED? (24 June 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Earlier today, in the run-up to national elections, the Zimbabwean president survived an assassination attempt. I have a new post up at my other blog, The Dragonfly, about how I wrote letters to defend his political opponents when I was a teenager.
The post also concerns state, corporate, or social oppression of citizens perceived to be dangerous, criminal, or agents of unwanted change. Through isolation, silencing, discrimination and erasure, these individuals are forced for a time to watch the world from an externalized perspective. For the ones that survive, I maintain that this changes their outlook and larger motivations forever.

This is relevant when considering the plight of Julian Assange; shadowbans and censorship on social media; tech giants' obviously discriminatory and politicized campaigns against 'fake news'; and the silencing of journalists and commentators who are deemed unfriendly to any main line. One could also point to political refugees and immigrants, cut off from their parent societies, and entering the limbo of detention camps and subsidized homes as they attempt to start new lives in foreign countries.

In this post, I consider that past alienation - whether endured by individuals on the political left or the right - may shape so-called unpeople or outsiders into future leaders. In other words, those whom we oppress, isolate, and silence today may, through that experience, define our reality tomorrow.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Elections and the Erased Citizen


41-year-old Iván Duque, Colombia's new president from the center-right Democratic Center party. Photo dates from 11 March 2018. Image Source: Voa News.

The Colombians have just chosen a conservative candidate in national elections. Newsweek:
"With 84 percent of the vote in, Iván Duque of the center-right Democratic Center party won Colombia’s second presidential run-off Sunday in a post-war electoral process after more than 50 years of internal conflict, defeating left-leaning candidate Gustavo Petro of the Colombia Humana coalition. This is also the first time the South American country chose a female vice president."
Today, at my other blog, The Dragonfly, I reflect on the fate of activists and journalists who disappeared in Latin America in the 1970s and 1980s. More than 51,000 people in Colombia are registered as disappeared or missing, in a story of erased citizens that continues to this day.

Colombia's Duque Says Limits on Trade Would Hurt Emerging Economies (23 March 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Colombia election: Ivan Duque may jeopardise FARC deal | Al Jazeera English (16 June 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Time and Politics 26: The Age of Divergence


Image Source: 8 tracks radio.

Last week, Michael Morgenstern intellectualized disinformation at The Chronicle of Higher Education: Dear Humanities Profs: We Are the Problem. Dismayed about American politics? Look in the mirror.

Morgenstern stated that postmodern theorists attacked the canon in the second half of the 20th century. According to these theorists, the western canon in arts and literature (and science) was a story of oppression, often intended, sometimes unconscious. This dominant account was written by Dead White Males. The period from the 1970s to 2010s was spent dismantling that canon, attacking power and privilege in the name of liberal civil rights and equality.

This approach extolled cultural relativism: there was no objective truth, no higher class of knowledge, no text, no vision of cultural superiority which could be offered as a mode of control (subtext: unless it was the new, divergent, relativist, postmodernist canon).

The Age of Divergence

Morgenstern has realized that this attack on cultural and intellectual convergence brought about our present circumstances. Postmodern literary critics had stated that every text was equal. Every text had its own 'civil rights.' Boomer intellectuals and their Gen X students recovered silenced voices, women writers, slave poets, indigenous histories, minority views. This was understandable and justified, because so many people had been mistreated and oppressed for decades, centuries, millennia. Without their voices, our histories were incomplete and our whole understanding of reality would be based on injustice and immorality.

However, this recovery of lost texts was also done in the name of undermining established experts and authorities. This was really a generational power struggle inside the academic profession, but it was dressed up in and justified with theory. Old tenured professors were unseated, early-retired, or pushed out. The aim was to supplant the older generation of intellectuals (viewed as 'the 1950s') with a radical new generation (defined as '1968'). But time has finally caught up with the 1968ers, who are now retired or retiring.

It's not as simple as this, but broadly speaking, this is Morgenstern's summary of how radical liberals attacked conservative authorities of the 1950s and built new intellectual value systems from the 1970s onward.

Morgenstern concluded that the liberals were successful. As a result, we now live in a world where no text is taken as true or accepted solely on the basis of the authority of its author or publisher. Unfortunately for this stratum of intellectuals, they now claim expertise, and by their own logic find themselves attacked, just as they once dismantled the institutional and cultural structures which came before them. Only one Chronicle reader, rebek13, pinned down Moregenstern's idea:
"I'm confused by other commenters who seem to have missed the main points I took from this, which were not so much about 'the canon' at all, which the author admits had exclusionary tendencies (though it need not).

What I see here is a critique of our abdication of the very idea of expertise, excellence, and beauty--literary studies serving as a prime example, but only that. We have in a postmodern haze suggested that tweets are just as good as texts, and that anyone's opinion on literature, philosophy, or history is really probably just as good as the expert who has spent years studying these fields. In doing so, we have made ourselves absolutely pointless and suggested the uselessness of our very fields.

Isn't it very odd that professors of literature have such poor defenses of the study of long, dense literary texts? Isn't it odd that many of my colleagues have turned to facebook comments and recipe books as objects of study (not scrutiny, ever, but study) as though these articles were just as precious as a novel? Why should students understand the value of a long text if we are saying 'everything is literature; nothing is any more worthwhile than anything else'?

It's funny. Colleagues with creative writing backgrounds seem to have a much more profound and certain appreciation of literature than those who spend their lives studying it. They would never suggest that a tweet could achieve the same things as a book. They are not that far gone.

The solution as I see it is not a return to canon as much as a return to the idea that some modes of thought and expression ARE better than others, and that experts are in a pretty good position to tell people how and why. Then we need to be those experts."
In short, due to the Internet, we are awash in oceans of information; and the very people who were supposed to decide what information was authoritative staked their own authority over the past fifty odd years on the deconstruction of privilege around information. This overhaul was supposed to offer new freedom for disempowered liberals in the old, conservative system. It was not supposed to spell freedom for disempowered conservatives in the new, liberal system.

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.

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.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Of Hauntings and Homelessness



A few years ago, when I was living in England, I walked through a back parking lot behind a grocery store on my way home. There were two vagrants there, sharing a bottle of wine, and I heard them talking:
"I never expected this."
"Expected what?"
"To be brought low."

Image Source: RT.

They are in growing company: in November, 2017, The Guardian reported that one person is homeless out of every 200 people in the UK. In London, one person in every 59 people is homeless! The epidemic is masked by unreported situations, people who are sofa-surfing, people living in their cars. The rot is spreading to London's leafy suburbs. Numbers are similar for the UK's other big cities. In Scotland, one household goes homeless every 19 minutes; over 6,000 children will be homeless on Christmas Day this year; and 184,000 families are one paycheque away from losing their home. This is mainly due to high rents, soaring property taxes, and housing benefit cuts.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Awaken the Amnesiacs 8: You are Now Inside the Computer


Image Source: The Hedge Mason.

The Urban Dictionary defines Youtube comments as:
"The only place where a polite discussion about kittens can lead to a flame war about government conspiracies."
Conspiracists vary in style. On Youtube, there is a spectrum. David Seaman's vitriol approaches incendiary levels, his this-is-not-a-threat promises are so chilling that they help me understand the history of mass psychology better, especially that of the 1930s.

This post is not exactly about Seaman, nor the accusations he levels in a brooding monotone at the bankers, politicians, deep-staters, evil cabal, establishment figures, and finally - the tech leaders who censor him (like Youtube CEO, Susan Wojcicki, whom he calls "Catshit Face"). This post is about Seaman's and others' rhetorical style in relation to conspiratorial subject matter, and what it means for all of us.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Prepare for the Saudi Singularity



I have published a new post (here) at Vocal Media, which argues that the upheavals in Saudi Arabia are symptomatic of a massive shift from economies based on oil, to economies based on the next stage of technology.

I argue that events in Riyadh's Ritz-Carlton suggest that the Singularity is coming, but not the way we expected. The Singularity will be commandeered by the Saudis, meaning that the dominant cultural tone of the Singularity will not be California Silicon Valley culture, or Asian culture, or German Tech-Kultur, or even Silicon Britain - or other global cultures you might expect.

Rather, the Singularity will be dominated by Wahhabist Islam.

The situation is far more complex than I have outlined in that Vocal piece; for more details, see James Corbett's summaries below. I don't always agree with Corbett's interpretations and opinions, but he has put together a decent overview of the situation, albeit from an alt-media perspective. He includes reasons why the Crown Prince may not succeed in commandeering the Singularity, much less Saudi Arabia.

Regardless, Corbett recognizes the basic new truth of our lives: Data is the New Oil. Erected before us like an unavoidable totem, this truth is not just economic or technological. Despite the scientific bent of technology, I maintain that the primary impact of this truth will be cultural and especially religious. We are at the exact moment that will determine which culture dominates and shapes the post-carbon era of the Singularity, related technocratic governments, and their official religions.

The Saudi Purge is a Global Crisis (17 November 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Why Big Oil Conquered The World (6 October 2017). Video Source: Youtube

How Big Oil Conquered the World (27 December 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

Data is the New Oil (24 November 2017). Video Source: Youtube



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.