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 Time Capsules. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Time Capsules. Show all posts

Friday, March 30, 2018

Luther and the 95 Theses: A 500th Anniversary of Protestantism


A burgher's epitaph, St. George's Church, Nördlingen, Germany. All photos are © Andrew Wilson and Sarah Hinlicky Wilson. Please write to them for permission if you want to reproduce these photographs.

The Luther interviews with author Andrew Wilson about his book, Here I Walk, were posted on Christmas 2017 and Easter 2018. This post provides one spot to find these interviews and related links, to observe what is commonly regarded as the 500th anniversary of the start of the Protestant Reformation.

The Risen Christ with the Four Evangelists, St. Peter's Mistail, Switzerland.

Andrew Wilson’s website is here. You can follow him on Twitter here. You can buy his book at the links below.

A basket of mushrooms from the Thuringian forest.


Click here to read all Interviews on this blog.

Luther's Time Outside Time: An Interview with Andrew Wilson Part II


The hill town of Bobbio near La Spezia. All photos are © Andrew Wilson and Sarah Hinlicky Wilson. Please write to them for permission if you want to reproduce these photographs.

Happy Easter! Today, I am very pleased to continue my interview with Andrew Wilson about his book, Here I Walk: A Thousand Miles on Foot to Rome with Martin Luther. The first part of the interview is here.

This post and related articles are published here to observe the 500th anniversary of 31 October 1517, when Martin Luther nailed the Ninety-five Theses to the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg. See other posts on this topic, here and here.

Andrew and his wife Sarah retraced Luther’s journey on foot from Erfurt to Rome. Luther's Roman trip occurred six or seven years before the famous events in Wittenberg. By following Luther's footsteps, the Wilsons attempted to trace his experiences prior to his involvement in the Reformation.

While the first part of the interview deals with the Wilsons’ journey on foot in Germany, this interview covers the second half of the book and Andrew’s travels with his wife in Italy.

Note: All quotations are from the paperback edition: Andrew L. Wilson, Here I Walk: A Thousand Miles on Foot to Rome with Martin Luther. Afterword by Sarah Hinlicky Wilson. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Brazos Press, 2016.

Monday, December 25, 2017

A Protestant Pilgrimage? An Interview with Andrew Wilson, Part I



To celebrate Christmas, I am very pleased to post the first part of an interview about Martin Luther with Andrew Wilson. As I noted in a previous post, this past Hallowe’en marked the 500th anniversary of the day when Luther (1483-1546) nailed the Ninety-five Theses to the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg.

Andrew has written a book which seeks the origins of that historic event in 1517. He is the author of Here I Walk: A Thousand Miles on Foot to Rome with Martin Luther. He completed his PhD at Princeton Theological Seminary and then embarked on a fascinating project to retrace Luther’s steps when the famous monk undertook his only trip to Rome, on foot, in 1510 or 1511.


Andrew’s wife, Sarah Hinlicky Wilson, accompanied Andrew on the 500th anniversary of Luther’s journey to Rome in 2010. They hiked across half of Germany, through parts of Austria and Switzerland, over the Alps, and finally across northern Italy to Rome, in a walking tour that covered one thousand miles. Their remarkable effort inspired the book, Here I Walk. Sarah wrote the book’s afterword.

The Wilsons’ travels became a practical meditation on Protestant and Catholic faiths in the Millennial world, even as they physically retraced history. Luther’s first hand experience of Rome’s corruption is usually linked with his later protest against his mother church. Did something else occur on Luther’s trip that tipped him toward the Reformation?

It was only 500 years ago, but as Andrew and Sarah discovered on their journey in 2010, the exact connections to Luther’s world are elusive. Luther’s German Europe was a place of scattered principalities, dukedoms, and free cities, not unified nation-states. In Rome, the pope was a temporal prince as well as the Church’s spiritual father, who declared wars to protect his territory; the pope also made strategic alliances with other princes. Despite these differences, the aftershocks of what Luther accomplished in response to that late medieval papal model still remain imprinted in subtle ways on communities, and on people’s minds, hearts, and souls. There are threads of connection between that time and this one, some tangible, some intangible.

The Camino de Santiago: a map of the travels of Saint James in Europe, now a famous path for pilgrims. Image Source: Manfred Zentgraf/Wiki.

Because the Wilsons wanted to follow Luther’s path to Rome, theirs was a Protestant pilgrimage. Pilgrimages were historically an anathema to most Protestants because they could not imagine them apart from efforts to acquire ‘merit’ in the eyes of God, although as I have remarked in my post on the Camino de Santiago, even atheists now go on pilgrimages. There are other religious ways to walk along the Way of Saint James than the Catholic visitation of holy sites and relics. And in fact, the Wilsons wanted their trek to be ecumenical in nature. Pilgrims’ trails are ancient paths, anchored in a prehistoric human existence. (p. 78) The Way of Saint James was an important interconnected footpath long before Saint James ever existed! This path spans a continent and responds to something eternal in human nature.

A German farming community left out produce for sale on the road, with the sign Selbstbedienung, meaning 'serve yourself' or 'self-service.'

This first part of this interview covers the Wilsons’ pilgrimage from Strasbourg to Erfurt, Germany, up to their passage through the Swiss Alps. The second part of the interview will cover their walk out of the Alps into Italy.

Note: All quotations are from the paperback edition: Andrew L. Wilson, Here I Walk: A Thousand Miles on Foot to Rome with Martin Luther. Afterward by Sarah H. Wilson. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Brazos Press, 2016. All photographs are from Andrew and Sarah Wilson's collection.

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.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Countdown to Hallowe'en 2017: Death in the Park


Image Source: Dan Bell/Twitter.

Today's post follows urban explorer Dan Bell again (see my earlier posts on him here, here and here), as he visited Gwynns Falls - Leakin Park, which spans 1,216 acres (492 hectares) in his native city of Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Leakin Park is famous as a murderers' dumping ground; it is estimated that some 80 people have been murdered there or their bodies have been abandoned there, and the number is probably higher.  The area is so heavily forested that it was the film location for The Blair Witch Project sequel, Book of Shadows (2000).

Baltimore’s Leakin Park : The Scariest Place in America / A Creepy Documentary Featurette (15 September 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Countdown to Hallowe'en 2017: Humanity's Tombstone


Image Source: Vigilant Citizen.

I try to address really strange conspiracy theories, which nonetheless have some larger importance, during the month of October. Special weirdness is reserved for a Stonehenge-like monument in Georgia, USA, which bears cryptic messages in English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, and Russian.

Brad Meltzer's Decoded: Apocalypse in Georgia Season 1, Episode 10 (3 February 2011) © History Channel. Video Source: Youtube.

The Georgia Guidestones outside Atlanta were erected in 1980 on the orders of man working under an assumed name, R. C. Christian. There are revelations of his secret identity here and here. The Guidestones have inspired fear and vandalism, because alongside their espousal of rationalism, they also declare that the earth's human population should be cut back to 500 million people.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

In Millennial Eyes 4: Nuclear Times and Chernobyl Urbex


Japan warns citizens they might have only 10 minutes to prepare for a North Korean missile (25 April 2017). Image Source: AFP/Getty via Washington Post.

The blog returns on 1 May 2017 after a break, with a series of posts which will explain fake news, cyber-memes, techno-cultural disinformation, virtual politics, and the perception of truth. Today's post is a prologue. The nuclear issue triggers all of these uncertainties. When it comes to nuclear matters, you never really know what is happening, and the stakes are high. On Sunday, 23 April 2017, a truck carrying Iridium-192 was stolen in Tlaquepaque, Jalisco state, Mexico. This radioactive material can be used to make a dirty bomb, and it has not yet been recovered.


Meanwhile, the world nervously eyes the Korean peninsula. It is curious that there have been a recent changes in and around leadership in both Koreas. These might indicate (or lead to) an incredibly delicate and dangerous effort to reconcile the two countries. In South Korea, Park Geun-hye was impeached in December 2016, charged in April 2017 with corruption, and publicly condemned for witchcraft. Liberal human rights lawyer Moon Jae-in is projected to win a May 2017 South Korean election, and he may soften the tone on North Korea.

Image Source: Reuters/The Economist.

British tabloids and the American media are openly speculating on whether Trump's administration should assassinate Kim Jong-un to stop a nuclear war. But Jong-un has been careful to eliminate successors, with few remaining close family members. The fact that he may have had his half-brother, Kim Jong-nam, assassinated on 13 February 2017 raised eyebrows. The use of the rare VX poison in the killing was even more disturbing. Developed by the British in the mid-1950s, it is the world's most toxic nerve agent and classed as a weapon of mass destruction. To use it in a public place on a direct descendant of North Korea's Baekdu Bloodline was a sign of extreme ruthlessness. Even more than all the other atrocities and executions, the murder of Jong-nam really scared people; it merited research and reconsideration of what is happening in Pyongyang.


I have previously blogged about the Kim family and possible successors here. A favourite possibility among western leaders is Kim Jong-un's nephew and Jong-nam's son, Kim Han-sol, who is now 21 years old. Han-sol turned down an offer to study at Oxford University in February 2017, due to fears that he would be assassinated there.

Doan Thi Huong, who helped assassinate Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of North Korea's leader, told authorities she thought she was participating in a Reality TV prank. (February 2017) Image Source: Taiwan News.

North Korea is planning another nuclear test and rapidly developing its nuclear weapons program and ballistic missiles. It is hard to tell whether the tensions on the peninsula are a deadly game of bluff, or if Trump's unpredictable administration is planning preemptive action to contain North Korea's capabilities, or if this is a game of 4-D chess, marked by psychological warfare and sabre-rattling.

"A jet with blocked details landed at Wellington Airport[, New Zealand] on Monday evening [24 April 2017]." Image Source: Flight Radar 24 via stuff.co.nz.

There are reports on rehearsals for ex-pat civilian evacuations from South Korea. Officials from the Five Eyes intelligence network (USA, UK, NZ, Australia and Canada) met in Queenstown, New Zealand over the weekend of the 21-23 April. On 26 April, Kim Jong-un watched a giant live-fire drill (see it here) to mark the 85th anniversary of the founding of the North Korean People's Army. The US Senate has been summoned for a White House briefing regarding North Korea, also on 26 April 2017.







At the same time, there are drills in New York City to prepare for a simulated direct nuclear bomb strike over Manhattan on 24-26 April 2017, which may have already involved power outages in San Francisco; New York; Frankfort, Kentucky; and Los Angeles. Operation Gotham Shield uses a 10 kiloton yield, or a bomb a bit larger than a 'suitcase nuke,' as its hypothetical weapon. The FEMA overview manual for Gotham Shield is here. A November 2016 simulated nuclear attack (the Northern Lights Nuclear Power Plants Exercise) checked the readiness of the electrical grid at the Monticello plant and Camp Ripley, Minnesota on the US-Canadian border.

Gotham Shield internal document. Image Source: FEMA via Intellihub.

I have previously argued on this blog that the US had already nuked itself through numerous bomb tests over the past 70 years and lives in denial of this fact. In February 2017, there was an explosion at a French nuclear plant, Flamanville, but there was "no nuclear risk." Even more incredible denial is evident in Japan, where three China Syndromes have likely occurred at Fukushima. Yet on the sixth anniversary of the Tōhoku earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster, the government has invited families to reinhabit the exclusion zone. Fish are declared safe to eatDeeper denial: the summer 2020 Olympic games are partly set there!

Worse, workers were told they no longer needed protective suits at 95 per cent of the site. The rumour ran that this was because the huge quantity of hazmat suits became too expensive; the workers were considered likely to die anyway from exposure; therefore, the suits could be dispensed with to cut costs. There are unconfirmed stories and muted reports (often ending in dead links) of a TEPCO cover-up of thousands of dead Fukushima workers, whose employment is run by the Japanese mob, the Yakuza.

Image Source: Reuters via The Mirror.

This is an insane 'war without a war,' a nightmare in which Japanese aquifers are irretrievably poisoned. In February 2017, there was unconfirmed talk that underground explosions occurred, likely due to the molten coria hitting the water table. These explosions were heard and felt miles away from the plant. Also in February, a robot measured a staggering 530 sieverts per hour inside Reactor #2 - far higher than any reading ever recorded at Chernobyl. That reading could be ten times higher close to the elusive core. Due to the unwillingness to face the devastation of atomic realities, it is worth remembering the aftermath in an uninhabited nuclear wasteland.


The date 26 April 2017 shifts attention to another nuclear theatre. Today's post commemorates the 31st anniversary of the second-worst nuclear disaster in history at the Chernobyl plant and Pripyat, Ukraine. The blog follows American Millennial urbex Youtuber Josh, who said Pripyat was "legit" during his visit in March 2016. Actually, that is true. To understand the magnitudes of radiation which Josh's MKS-05 Terra-P dosimeter displayed (in microsieverts (uSv) per hour), go here and here. One sievert (1,000,000 microsieverts) if absorbed all at once is enough to make you ill; 6 to 10 sieverts will cause death.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Countdown to Hallowe'en 2016: New Atlantis at Denver International Airport


An enormous blue horse sculpture with glowing red eyes greets Denver International Airport entrants. During construction in 2006, part of the sculpture fell on the artist, Luis Jiménez and killed him. Officially dubbed Blue Mustang (2008), locals nicknamed the 9,000 pound stallion 'Blucifer,' and decided it looks like the pale demon horse carrying Death, one of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. Others say it relates to the Blue Star Kachina in a Hopi prophecy of the destruction of the world. Image Source: flickr.

One of the pinpoints on the globe which conspiracy theorists associate with apocalypse and New World Order is Denver International Airport. The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry scoffs at this, but acknowledges that the airport has become a hub for conspiracy theories about how the world is changing.

Locals think the airport may be a secret shelter for the government, or a military base in the event of global conflict. Do this city and its airport have more strategic importance than we know? Some think the airport has underground tunnel connections to an official bunker further west. Truthers and New Age occultists suspect the airport is the Illuminati's site of 'New Atlantis' after World War III.

Image Source: flickr.

Millennial paranoids got this idea from a novel, New Atlantis, by Sir Francis Bacon, published in 1627, which you can read here. In the book, Bacon explained the driving motivation of secular rationalists:
"The end of our foundation is the knowledge of causes, and secret motions of things; and the enlarging of the bounds of human empire, to the effecting of all things possible."
Their foundational centre, the triumphant capital of enlightened intellectuals, would be named New Atlantis. Bacon situated this endgame metropolis in America:
"For the several employments and offices of our fellows; we have twelve that sail into foreign countries, under the names of other nations, (for our own we conceal); who bring us the books, and abstracts, and patterns of experiments of all other parts. These we call Merchants of Light. 

"We have three that collect the experiments which are in all books. These we call Depredators. 

"We have three that collect the experiments of all mechanical arts; and also of liberal sciences; and also of practices which are not brought into arts. These we call Mystery-men. 

"We have three that try new experiments, such as themselves think good. These we call Pioneers or Miners.

"We have three that draw the experiments of the former four into titles and tables, to give the better light for the drawing of observations and axioms out of them. These we call Compilers. 

"We have three that bend themselves, looking into the experiments of their fellows, and cast about how to draw out of them things of use and practise for man's life, and knowledge, as well for works as for plain demonstration of causes, means of natural divinations, and the easy and clear discovery of the virtues and parts of bodies. These we call Dowry-men or Benefactors. 

"Then after divers meetings and consults of our whole number, to consider of the former labours and collections, we have three that take care, out of them, to direct new experiments, of a higher light, more penetrating into nature than the former. These we call Lamps. 

"We have three others that do execute the experiments so directed, and report them. These we call Inoculators. 

"Lastly, we have three that raise the former discoveries by experiments into greater observations, axioms, and aphorisms. These we call Interpreters of Nature. 

"We have also, as you must think, novices and apprentices, that the succession of the former employed men do not fail; besides, a great number of servants and attendants, men and women. And this we do also: we have consultations, which of the inventions and experiences which we have discovered shall be published, and which not: and take all an oath of secrecy, for the concealing of those which we think fit to keep secret: though some of those we do reveal sometimes to the state and some not.
Critics argue that Bacon's vision closely describes modern international globalization's rampant science, technology, and materialist consumerism. Conspiracy theorists believe that Bacon's work inspired the Illuminati when they planned their future capital of the New World Order. When the theorists began to guess where that projected site might be, they focused on Denver, Colorado, USA.

In 2009, the Telegraph posted a curious slideshow of World War III comics, without attributed author or artist, entitled, "Operation Blackjack - the story of a series of terrorist nuclear attacks on major western cities and the aftermath." This series caught the attention of conspiracy theorists and became notorious on the Internet. In the slideshow, Denver becomes the capital of the future state of the Union of North America. In reality, 'Operation Blackjack' is a series of weekend wargames staged in locations in the USA; an affiliated UK site is here. Image Source: The Telegraph via Youtube.

The full Telegraph slideshow. Video Source: Youtube.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Time Lapses: Antibiotic Resistance


"A time-lapsed video reveals how bacteria develop resistance to increasingly higher doses of antibiotics in a matter of days." Video Source: Youtube. (Hat tip: Hugo Reinert.)

This morning, the Guardian reported that the UN named antibiotic resistance, "the biggest threat to modern medicine." On 8 September 2016, Harvard Medical School issued a time lapse video in which bacteria evolve and become antibiotic resistant:
"In a creative stroke inspired by Hollywood wizardry, scientists from Harvard Medical School and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have designed a simple way to observe how bacteria move as they become impervious to drugs.

The experiments, described in the Sept. 9 issue of Science, are thought to provide the first large-scale glimpse of the maneuvers of bacteria as they encounter increasingly higher doses of antibiotics and adapt to survive—and thrive—in them."
The research team found that the strongest mutant bacteria hang back and let others die for them:
"'What we saw suggests that evolution is not always led by the most resistant mutants,' Baym said. 'Sometimes it favors the first to get there. The strongest mutants are, in fact, often moving behind more vulnerable strains. Who gets there first may be predicated on proximity rather than mutation strength.'"
Drug-resistant bacteria promise to take us back to the pre-antibiotic period in medicine, which for many people is hard to imagine. The post-antibiotic era has grabbed the attention of doom-sayers, who may have a point: first we had Peak Oil, then the Peak Middle Class, now Peak Antibiotics.


2014 talk from Robert Wallace on evolving pathogens and agroeconomics at the Institute for Global Studies, University of Minnesota. Video Source: University of Minnesota via Collapse of Industrial Civilization.

Related:
  • Joseph Gottfried, Harvard Law School (17 April 2005): History Repeating? Avoiding a Return to the Pre-Antibiotic Age
  • CDC (January 2011): Ceftriaxone-Resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Japan
  • Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (July 2011): Is Neisseria gonorrhoeae Initiating a Future Era of Untreatable Gonorrhea?: Detailed Characterization of the First Strain with High-Level Resistance to Ceftriaxone
  • WHO (2014): Antimicrobial Resistance: Global Report on Surveillance
  • Bloomberg (30 April 2014): Everyday Infections May Kill as Antibiotics Lose Potency
  • Bloomberg (2 May 2014): Remember Life Before Antibiotics? No? Wait, It'll Come to You
  • WHO (25 July 2014): Pre-Antibiotic era looming large - The world is almost out of time
  • Journal of Infectious Diseases and Preventative Medicine (July 2015): Infection in a Pre-Antibiotic Era
  • The Tribune (14 September 2015): Pre-antibiotic era may return, warns WHO
  • ESOF (26 July 2016): Regression to the pre-antibiotic era: time to panic?

"CDC staff show two plates growing bacteria in the presence of discs containing various antibiotics. The isolate on the left plate is susceptible to the antibiotics on the discs and is therefore unable to grow around the discs. The one on the right has a CRE that is resistant to all of the antibiotics tested and is able to grow near the disks." Click to enlarge. Image Source: CDC.

In the pre-antibiotic era, people who could afford it took to sanatoriums with chronic infections which never really healed. Image Source: Herd Effect.


Thursday, August 25, 2016

Times Outside History 11: Neanderthal Cave Rings


Images Source: Etienne Fabre/SSAC via Guardian.

On 25 May 2016, The Guardian reported that archaeologists have redated structures in the Bruniquel cave, near the Pyrénées mountains, in the Tarn-et-Garonne region of southwest France. They claim stalagmite circles in the cave were built 176,500 years ago, rather than 47,600 years ago; the original estimate was based on carbon-dating findings elsewhere in the cave. The revision means that only Neanderthals could have created these mysterious installations:
"Mysterious structures found deep inside a French cave are the work of Neanderthal builders who lived in the region more than 100,000 years before modern humans set foot in Europe.

The extraordinary constructions are made from nearly 400 stalagmites that have been yanked from the ground and stacked on top of one another to produce rudimentary walls on the damp cave floor.

The most prominent formations are two ringed walls, built four layers deep in places, which appear to have been propped up with stalagmites wedged in place as vertical stays. The largest of the walls is nearly seven metres across and, where intact, stands up to 40 cm high.

'This is completely different to anything we have seen before. I find it very mysterious,' said Marie Soressi, an archaeologist at Leiden University, who was not involved in the research. Unique in the history of Neanderthal achievements, the structures rank among the earliest human building projects ever discovered.

Parts of the walls show clear signs of fire damage, with the stalagmites blackened or reddened and fractured from the heat, leading researchers to suspect that the Neanderthals embedded fireplaces in the structures to illuminate the cave."
The structures lie some 1,100 feet from the cave entrance, in total darkness, which indicates purposeful intent to build structures far from natural light. The size of these installations reveals complex cooperation and social organization. There is no sign of ongoing domestic occupation in the cave, which may imply that these sites were used for ritualistic purposes. Along with fireplaces, archaeologists have found remains of animal bone torches. From France's National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS):
"Since no other stalagmite structure of this scale has yet been discovered, the team developed a new concept to designate these carefully arranged pieces of stalagmites: 'speleofacts.' An inventory of the cave's 400 speleofacts reveals a total of 112 meters of stalagmites broken into well-calibrated pieces, weighing an estimated 2.2 metric tons. The components of the structures are aligned, juxtaposed and superimposed (in two, three and even four layers), with props around the outside, apparently to hold them in place, and filler pieces. Marks left by the wrenching of stalagmites from the cave floor to make the structures have been identified nearby. "
According to Live Science, there are older constructed sites in the world:
"Evidence of a human-made structure exists in Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania, dated at over 1 million years old. But this has not been studied extensively, Jaubert said. He added there is similarly little information about a Homo erectus campsite in Bilzingsleben, Germany (about 400,000 years old), early shelters in Terra Amata, France (about 400,000 years old), and the bone and stone materials found in France's Lazaret cave (around 170,000 years old). Researchers have credited Neanderthals with making a building out of mammoth bone in Ukraine. They believe this is about 40,000 years old."
See an article on this story from Nature here, and further reports herehere, here, here, here, here, and here. The original press release is here and related video is here.


"A 3D reconstruction of the structures in Bruniquel Cave. Rendering by Xavier Muth/GET IN SITU/ARCHÉOTRANSFERT/ARCHÉOVISION-SHS-3D; BASE PHOTOGRAPHIQUE PASCAL MORA."


See all my posts on Neanderthals.

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, July 20, 2016

In Millennial Eyes 3: Abandoned Buildings, Left to Rot

-
Abandoned federal gold exchange bank, Part 1 (29 June 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

This post is the first of three - respectively on the economy, politics, and war - which describe how a negative Millennial history is emerging from disconnections between perception and reality. For today, see urbex explorer Josh wander through an abandoned bank, somewhere in America. It appears that this bank closed in the 1980s. To protect properties from vandals, Josh does not reveal names or locations of many of the places he visits. He does not remove anything from the sites, he only films and photographs them. You can see Josh and his friends explore dozens of abandoned sites in the USA and abroadhere.

Urban explorers are now poking through the wreckage of a transformed economy. That transformation depended on the 'virtualization' of property. Before 2007-2008, the economic value of property lay more in its assessed worth as a tangible historical object. During and after the Great Recession, the temporal perception of property changed to become a fleeting and mutable virtual investment, divorced from its actual physical condition and connection to society. The process started before that, but the recession was the hard turning point. In order to understand this change in terms of its long term consequences, it is important to separate the official story of the recession from the post-recession reality which urban explorers have uncovered.

Abandoned federal gold exchange bank, Part 2. Video Source: Youtube.

Although urbex is the new Millennium's historical pastime, the perspective is based on experience, unmediated by historical knowledge, except for a Google search or two. Information on abandoned properties is suppressed on the Internet to discourage vandals and scavengers. Urban explorers seek history out, independently of the way it has been presented to them in the system. Josh thanks all his viewers, "even the haters," who jeer at his lack of knowledge. While urban explorers may not always know the historical context through which they move, they discover many things their viewers do not yet know.

Urban exploration reveals how rapidly the present is becoming the past. For some, the late 20th century and early 21st century are too recent to be considered historical. Urbex videos indicate how time is accelerating in everyday life, and why the past is being discarded at an alarming rate. It is not a pretty picture. Urban explorers document a secret history of incredible losses, shameful waste, and a throwaway culture which appeared over the past thirty years. Abandoned buildings and infrastructure are monuments to materialism, property bubbles, recessions and bankruptcies. The economic shocks are one thing. But the wreckage also confirms a deeper anti-historical malaise. Urbex confirms the need to revitalize historical awareness.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Pilgrim Timekeepers


A pilgrim walking the Camino, or Way of St. James. Image Source: Tailored Spain.

If you want to know why tax season is in spring and its subsequent meaning for May, read on. As Catholic pilgrims prepare now for Pentecost on 15 May 2016, the blog returns to France's Chartres cathedral to note how places which attract pilgrims become centres of spirituality and memory. Pilgrimage routes have endured worldwide for thousands of years. One famous European route is the Spanish Camino de Santiago or the Way of St. James. In 2014, 200,000 people undertook that journey, and the road is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. 'Walking the Camino' is a huge event, even for atheists. For the faithful and secular alike, it is a modern walking holiday, attracting its share of business and crime.

In 2012, The Guardian asked why atheists participated in old Christian pilgrimages. Image Source: Guardian.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Nuclear Leaks 36: Chernobyl, the 30th Anniversary


Video Source: VICE via Youtube.

On 26 April 2016, VICE commemorated the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster by sending reporter Simon Ostrovsky to visit the area outside the sarcophagus and nearby Pripyat. His report revealed how little his fellow tourists understand radiation. The video explains that those exposed to fallout changed at the genetic level, and those changes were passed on to their children. VICE deemed Chernobyl still to be the world's worst nuclear accident, although since Fukushima that is disputed. One thing in the report was clear, in advice from Dr. Larysa Yanovych at the National Research Center for Radiation Medicine in Kiev, Ukraine: Don't go off the path. For some current photos of Pripyat, go here, here and here.




"Amateur British photographer Michael Day, 29, an air traffic controller from London who works in Aberdeen, Scotland, visited the disaster scene with a Ukrainian government escort to photograph the ghost town." Images Source: Michael Day / Barcroft USA via Telegraph.

Image Source: NBC.


See all my posts related to Chernobyl.
See all my posts on Nuclear topics.
Click here for all my posts on Urban Exploration.


Saturday, April 16, 2016

Saudi Arabia in the Age of Open Information


Video Source: Youtube.

A new documentary, Saudi Arabia Uncovered (2016), shows footage secretly filmed inside the kingdom, and highlights the tension between state oppression and freedom of speech embodied in global technology. The film was broadcast in Britain on ITV on 22 March 2016. You can see reports on the film herehere and here. Circulation of the film online coincides this week with a US State Department Country Report (here) damning human rights violations in Saudi Arabia. On 12 April 2016, a jailed blogger profiled in the above film, Raif Badawi, was awarded the PEN Pinter Prize, which recognizes courageous writers who defend freedom of speech. In 2013, Badawi was sentenced to ten years in prison and 1,000 lashes for writing a liberal blog. He started a hunger strike from prison in December 2015; his sister was briefly imprisoned in January 2016. Badawi's family fled and took refuge in Canada.

"Ensaf Haidar, wife of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, will collect the freedom of speech award on his behalf." Image Source: Patrick Seeger/EPA via The Guardian.

The documentary is part of a flurry of negative American and UK media coverage of Saudi Arabia this spring. In March 2016, a University of Waterloo talk and a Washington DC Codepink conference revealed brewing western speculation that Saudi Arabia is not sustainable. In part, that is due to falling oil prices, and an unfolding "Shakespearean story ... over who will be the next king." There were negative reports on the kingdom in Foreign Affairs and The Atlantic in March and April 2016.

"In this lecture Bruce Riedel discusses Middle East policy with a focus on Saudi Arabia and its evolving role in the region. Riedel is director of the Intelligence Project at the Brookings Institution. ... Riedel was a senior advisor on South Asia and the Middle East to the last four presidents of the United States in the staff of the National Security Council at the White House." Centre for International Governance Innovation, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada (31 March 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

At the centre that debate is Hillary Clinton and her American presidential bid, which should raise some red flags on the timing and tone of information releases. One Codepink conference participant reported in HuffPo last month that Clinton had overseen billions in arms deals to Saudi Arabia to enable attacks on Yemen (this was reported at The Intercept in February 2016). Saudi Arabia heavily funded Clinton's presidential campaign and Clinton Foundation donors concluded related weapons deals via the US State Department while Clinton was Secretary of State. This spring, journalists and blogs began reading Clinton's leaked, released and hacked emails. WikiLeaks released PDFs of secret Saudi diplomatic cables in November 2015 and Clinton's Secretary-of-State declassified emails on 29 February 2016. On 9 March 2016, Zero Hedge sifted through different releases of the Clinton emails and found that the 2012 Benghazi incident was funded by the Saudis:
"This means we have an e-mail from a trusted Clinton adviser that claims the Saudis funded the Benghazi attack, and not only was this not followed up on, but there is not any record of this e-mail ever existing except for the Russia Today leak."
Other conservative reports claim there is a phone conversation transcript, released 14 April 2016 (here), apparently confirming that Clinton knew that Benghazi was planned and not a spontaneous protest.