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 Warps. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Time Warps. 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."

Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Martian Moment in 2018


Image Source: Strange Sounds.

It may sound odd, but the event that stands out in my mind as encapsulating the year of 2018 was astronomical. Mars was brightest in the night sky from 27-30 July 2018; it reached opposition with the sun, and then shortly afterwards came closest to Earth on 31 July 2018. Mars had not been so close to the Earth since 2003.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Hallowe'en Countdown 2018: Magic and the Technological Revolution


Donald Trump's uncle, John G. Trump, developed ultra-powerful X-rays. This is the historical first X-ray image, taken by Wilhelm Röntgen of his wife's left hand on 22 December 1895. Image Source: National Library of Medicine / The Scientist.

The new Tech Revolution is human. The top designers in Silicon Valley plainly understand a secret which they do not share with their customers. Technology is not a smartphone, a tablet, a laptop, a desktop. It's not a mechanical thing. It's not a smartwatch or a game console. It's not a Virtual Reality headset. It's not a robot, an android, or an AI entity like the HAL9000 in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Don't look at technology as something that helps you order your Starbucks coffee. Look at it as an advanced behavioural modifier.

Technology is the human being who is transformed through interaction with a machine. The revolutionary technology is you, as your behaviour, values, beliefs - as your brain and soul - have changed while you punched keys; listened to the radio, then podcasts; stared at the TV, then videos; took selfies; talked through texts, or on the telephone, or through video calls. Technology is you as you entered the social media reality, indulged in the Internet's arcane, entertaining hivemind, and became a different person. The changed person is a type of technology. The Technological Revolution refers to an irrevocable transformation of, and assault upon, the human condition.

From my previous post on Julian Assange and his possible relationship to the Trump family: in this cinematic depiction of MK-Ultra mind control, the controllers cryptically refer to the brainwashed person, not the brainwashing itself, as a technology. The Manchurian Candidate (7/7) Movie CLIP - Decisions (2004) HD (22 November 2011) © Paramount Pictures. Reproduced non-commercially under Fair Use. Video Source: Youtube.

While body modifications, identity politics, and behavioural changes will be the most obvious outward signs that this process is running its course, the main assault will be waged internally, on human consciousness. In other words, technology is a state of transformed mind. The Technological Revolution implies an absolute, no-going-back overhaul and control of the human brain and the larger capabilities of the human soul.

If that doesn't terrify you, it should. Everyone must recognize and guard the weirder gray areas where technology overlaps with human mentalities, or they will relinquish sovereign control over the space inside their craniums, and they will never see it coming.

Competing factions appear to be vying for the right to dominate this process. They have different visions of what they want to achieve in terms of the revolutionized human being. This is partly why politics is becoming so urgent and divisive, and why the economy is on the verge of collapse. Both were geared toward an earlier, more human age and both are transforming to encase the new transhuman state.

Traditions of Organic Betterment

For thousands of years, there have been attempts to improve, control and alter the human being. One difference in the 21st century is the speed at which the augmentations are taking place. The other Millennial distinction is the use of gadgets as prostheses, which deceives the user into thinking that the process is in the user's control, and outside the user's existential state of being.

Greatest Martial Artists in History • Brief Martial Arts (18 December 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

The 2011 documentary, Jiro Dreams of Sushi chronicled the extreme discipline necessary to become the top sushi chef in the world. Jiro Dreams of Sushi - Trailer (24 July 2012). Video Source: Youtube.

Unlocking Human Capability - Dr. Devi Shetty with Sadhguru (16 February 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

The traditional ways people have augmented their awareness are organic. Even if they use tools, the physical and mental states are the main concerns: a karate master who smashes a stack of boards is not obsessed with the boards as his or her source of strength. These practitioners balance mind and body through well-honed methods. Disciplined study results in rational improvement of brain functions; regular physical training brings the body to peak performance; meditation and spiritual explorations challenge and awaken the soul. Each form of augmentation has resorted to techniques and aids, developed over centuries or longer.

The highest level of this augmentation builds human consciousness to a legendary moment when biochemical, magnetic and electrical brain functions become metaphysical. For a long time, the tools used to create the altered human were mystical or magical; these are ways of dealing with rare information such that those exposed to it have earned the right to engage with it and produce seemingly inexplicable, paranormal, or superhuman results of their actions. This level of activity involves a highly sophisticated interaction through the mind, body, spirit and soul with symbolic abstractions of time, matter and energy. In our era, technological gadgets are usurping the old, supra-organic, magical role of the symbol.

Are Psychic Powers and Telepathy Real? Dr. Devi Shetty with Sadhguru (30 November 2014). Video Source: Youtube.

Transhumanism: Weaponized Consciousness?

Brain-to-Brain Interface: The Next Gen Social Network (7 October 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Much of the Internet believes that the CIA Project MK-Ultra was developed out of Nazi research and that the second half of the 20th century developed the technological means for psychological manipulation and spiritual instrumentalization. That research has supposedly continued to the point where its torturous, hypnotic techniques have been widely disseminated via the Internet and the Internet of Things, with the whole collective's reactions continuously monitored. This approach marks a sinister appropriation and abandonment of the old school attempts at human self-betterment, as through western magic, eastern mystics and Asian martial arts. This new path weaponizes human consciousness through propaganda, education, marketing, and insidious, invasive mental bombardments. By any standards, the potential application of MK-Ultra techniques via mass technology signifies a catastrophic turn down a dark, misguided path.

Patreon-supported alt-documentary on the history of MK-Ultra: The Minds of Men | Official Trailer | Documentary by Aaron & Melissa Dykes (16 July 2018). Video Source: Youtube.

Technological gadgets are being invented to mimic or replace capabilities which have traditionally belonged to 'magic,' the human psychic realm, or if you prefer, a conscious mastery of one's unconscious to the point where it affects one's outer material existence.

There is a terrible warning here, for to use a crutch to attain a faux superlative human condition is, by definition, psychopathic. For an example of this progression, consider that some gurus believe that paranormal abilities such as telepathy exist and can be cultivated through intense and profound training. By contrast, a report from October 2018 (the 23 September 2018 scholarly publication is here) confirms that mechanical prostheses are now being built to create 'BrainNet,' a synthetic, mechanized telepathy, transmitted over the Internet. We are at a point where brain-to-tech interfaces are being used by the US military, soon to follow on social media. It's not woo. It's not a ghost story. It's real, and soon it will be at your Apple Store with a price tag on it.


Magical Technology

All of this implies that the top leaders of the Technological Revolution were and are well-versed in older techniques of achieving the superlative human, the disciplines necessary to fine-tune behaviour. In addition, they know about the mind control research and propaganda and education campaigns of the mid-to-late 20th century. And they are diverting all this knowledge into their own, hideous transhuman experiment.

In short, that means that there's some magic misapplied in the development of high technology. Officially, high tech gadgets, apps and networks are so addictive because people like the founders of Facebook embedded psychological games and tricks in their platforms. Unofficially, it is theorized the Technological Revolution was founded in dark occult mysteries and practices.

Even if you don't believe in this type of thing, others do. If Silicon Valley was founded by magicians, and its products imbued with spells, wouldn't you want to know who did this, how, and with what incantations and intentions?

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.

Friday, August 4, 2017

In Millennial Eyes 7: Edinburgh in 1544


Virtual Time Binoculars - Edinburgh 1544 from Smart History on Vimeo.

A new academic project has begun to explore the historical teaching potential of virtual reality environments. I have previously blogged on a similar projects concerning history and video game technology with regard to 17th century Netherlands in The Golden Age, and colonial Quebec in I Remember the French Revolution. This is the teaser trail for Virtual Time Binoculars - Edinburgh 1544:
"PREVIEW - TEASER TRAILER

New technology reveals old Edinburgh.

St Andrews research brings 16th Century capital back to life.

The lost townscape of sixteenth-century Edinburgh is being brought back to life by researchers at the University of St Andrews.

The reconstruction is still under construction and will be available on a number of digital platforms (including a mobile app, a 3D virtual experience, and more traditional web-based resources) from 1 May 2017.

'The new digital reconstruction is the first to be created of the sixteenth-century city, and is based on a drawing from 1544 (thought to be the earliest accurate depiction of the capital).'

The technology will be shown for the first time today (16 March 2017) at a special event showcasing the University’s research to industry partners.

The virtual time travel technology – which will be released as an app in May – provides a unique window into the capital around the time of the birth of Mary Queen of Scots.

The technology is the result of a collaboration between St Andrews historians, art historians, computer scientists and University spinout company Smart History. The result is an interactive tour of the capital as it appeared in 1544, just before the city was sacked and burned by an English army led by Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford.

Dr Bess Rhodes, an expert on sixteenth-century Scottish history who collaborated on the reconstruction, said, 'For the first time visitors and residents can compare the city they know with the capital of James V and Mary Queen of Scots.'

'It has been amazing seeing the recreation of a lost townscape. I hope this project makes the public more aware of the layers in the capital’s history, and furthers understanding of the complex way in which Edinburgh evolved.'

The reconstruction is inspired by a sixteenth-century drawing of Edinburgh made by Richard Lee, an English military engineer who later designed the massive artillery defences at Berwick-upon-Tweed. Lee accompanied the Earl of Hertford’s forces to Edinburgh in 1544, and his drawing is thought to be the first realistic depiction of Scotland’s capital.

The interdisciplinary team of St Andrews researchers supplemented the information from Lee’s plan with archaeological evidence, sixteenth-century written sources, and information about the geography of the modern city, to create an updated reconstruction of Edinburgh.

Dr Rhodes continued, 'The 1540s were a tumultuous period in Edinburgh’s history. In December 1542 King James V of Scotland died, leaving his baby daughter Mary as monarch. Not long after the English King Henry VIII ordered an invasion of Scotland, with the aim of forcing the Scots to accept a proposed betrothal between the infant Mary and his young son (the future Edward VI of England).'

'One of the first major actions in the conflict later known as the "Rough Wooing" was the Earl of Hertford’s attack on Edinburgh in May 1544. Hertford’s forces failed to capture Edinburgh Castle, but set fire to the city, damaging the medieval townscape, before they retreated. Our reconstruction is the first digital representation of Edinburgh at this eventful moment in the capital’s past.'

The new reconstruction gives an overview of the townscape of the entire sixteenth-century city, with a particular focus on the Royal Mile – the historic spine of Edinburgh. The digital development was largely financed by a grant from Innovate UK."

See all my posts in the series, In Millennial Eyes, in which I explore how history and historic themes are viewed from 21st century perspectives.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Countdown to Hallowe'en 2016: Disasters, Miracles and the Mandela Effect


The wildest so-called 'whistle-blower' of 2016 is the 4chan boards 'CERN scientist,' who insisted the Mandela effect was real on 21 August 2016. (Click to enlarge.) Image Source.

In 2015, astrologer Liz Greene summarized the spirit of our times (her extended comment on the subject is here): 
"The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once wrote that nothing is certain except change. In the last two decades we have been forced to acknowledge this ancient truth, for many of our time-honoured and reliable religious, economic and social structures and definitions of reality have undergone major upheavals. Because human beings instinctively fear change, we imagine global disasters as we move into the future, or global redemption through the miracles of technology or some extraordinary new spiritual or political revolution. We are filled with both anxiety and hope. Is this really a time of great opportunity, spiritually and materially? Or does it seem so merely because we believe it to be so?"
In the spirit of understanding the power of perception over rationality and belief, I sometimes cover strange material on this blog. I discuss this material with reservations, and save the weirdest stories for the Hallowe'en countdown.

This summer, a deranged rumour on the Internet combined disasters with miracles. It is called the 'Mandela effect,' a meme which asserts that "large groups of people have alternate memories about past events." The effect is likely a jarring dyslexia of shared memory in the era of kinetic information. The Mandela effect is the creepiest meme I have ever encountered (even creepier than this one). It made me think of the line from David Lynch's 1997 neo-noir horror film, Lost Highway: "I like to remember things my own way. ... How I remember them. Not necessarily the way they happened."

The Mandela effect resembles Lynch's plot structures, especially in Mulholland Drive (2001) and Inland Empire (2006), where characters and incidents repeat, transform, and overlap in new contexts. In Lynch's most recent work, the characters share a basic story. This is the 'highway' of everyday experience, the type of historical story we all know, expect and recognize. It follows a linear chronology. Radical variations in this kind of story are almost always rationally comprehensible. They may involve one character missing a critical piece of information; or big differences in opinion or perspective between characters; or a character's tragic flaw forcing him to act in a way he should not. A larger fate, god, or mystery can play a role in these stories, but the linear highway of the narrative remains predominant, even if the characters take an off-ramp.

From the Lost Highway soundtrack. I'm Deranged. LP: Outside (25 September 1995) © David Bowie/Brian Eno/RCA. Reproduced under Fair Use. Video Source: Youtube.

But in the Lynchian universe, that main highway chronology is overlaid with other narratives which follow the separate stories of symbols (or archetypes), of the individual subconscious (possibly the soul), and of a larger, collective unconscious (perhaps the group soul). Those other, eerie narratives are non-linear and have different shapes. In Lost Highway, the plot relating to death symbols was constructed like a Möbius strip. Some of those unconventional narratives may have no shape at all and may be quantum, popping in and out of the linear narrative of conventional sanity, and co-existing in many times and realities. This allows Lynch's characters to disappear and reappear, sometimes with new identities, for no apparent linear reason. It is easy to dismiss these films as crazy, but Lynch's aim seems rather to tell the complete story of reality. The characters' behaviour and the events in these films would only make sense if you could map all the different narratives at play, and understand how they were interacting.

The Mandela effect also reminds me of Dark City (1998); the time travel and tangent universe of Donnie Darko (2001); and the Matrix films (1999-2003). In these movies, anomalies are explained as the products of manipulation by higher, outside actors. This is all fine, if you are a film critic or a post-Postmodern novelist. The only problem is, believers think the Mandela effect is real.

Clip from Lost Highway (1997) © October Films. Reproduced under Fair Use. Video Source: Youtube.

Clip from Dark City (1998) © New Line Cinema. Reproduced under Fair Use. Video Source: Youtube.

Clip from The Matrix (1999) © Warner/Roadshow Entertainment. Reproduced under Fair Use. Video Source: Youtube.

Inland Empire (2006) official trailer. Video Source: Youtube.

As to the source of the Mandela effect, one woman found discussions on the effect as far back as 2005. But the effect was defined by a Wiccan paranormal researcher and blogger named Fiona Broome, during a conversation at the 2010 comic book convention DragonCon in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. The conversation involved a collective belief that Nelson Mandela had died in prison on 23 July 1991, and then reappeared alive and well, and became President of South Africa and died in 2013. This led to Broome's conviction that people were dividing between those who remembered alternate histories - and those who did not.

Interview with the Vampire (1994) contains one example of the supposed Mandela effect. The film is © Warner, reproduced under Fair Use. Image Source: Goodreads

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

Image of the Day: Godzilla: Rage Across Time


Image Source: Nerdist.

Now trending on Twitter, THAT is a comic book cover! This is IDW's Godzilla: Rage Across Time #1, written by Jeremy Robinson, with art by Matt Frank, published 24 August 2016. The book sees the giant lizard transported to different time periods, and is getting rave reviews from sites such as The Moon is a Dead World. Outright Geekery explains how a 1950s' nuclear monster has traveled in this first issue back to the 13th century:
"In 1954 Ishiro Honda unleashed his atom bomb allegory Gojira on the world. In the sixty years that followed the titular character of that terrifying monster-noir has been many things; archetypal force of nature, protector of children, even a militant environmentalist (Gojira vs Hedorah aka Godzilla vs The Smog Monster). ... Beyond all of that however, the irrepressible king of all daikaiju has become a beloved international cultural icon. In his homeland, the big guy has become something akin to a traditional folktale.

It is this aspect of Godzilla that is at the forefront of this first issue of IDW’s Godzilla Rage Across Time. A new mini-series that puts everyone’s favorite radioactive giant badass lizard into various historic periods. ... [In the first issue,] writer Jeremy Robinson and artist Matt Frank ... set this first installment in the land of Godzilla’s birth during the first Mongol invasion of 1274.

Kublai Khan’s horde, along with two evil kaiju, have arrived at Hakata Bay under the command of 'Dragon Master' Zhenjin Khan. Two feuding heroes, samurai Gorou Suda and ninja Akio of the Bamboo Forest must go on a quest to save Japan by awakening a mighty champion who will vanquish the invaders."
Godzilla: Rage Across Time #1 (page 1) © IDW. Click to enlarge. Image Source: deviantART. Full opening page preview at SciFi Japan.

See all my posts on Nuclear topics.
See all my posts on Time Travel.
Click here for my posts on Comics.

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.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Time and Politics 20: Brexit


The statue of Winston Churchill at Westminster. Image Sources: The Atlantic and The Telegraph.

Although the blog is on a break, Brexit is a momentous historical event. It made me think of a quotation* from the Younger Pitt: "Depend on it, Mr. Burke ... we shall go on as we are to the Day of Judgement."

Perhaps. Although the UK will not leave the EU for two years, Irish and Scottish support for the European Union may lead to the reunification of Ireland, the separation of Scotland, and the break-up of the United Kingdom. Because the campaign became so dark, ugly and tragic, culminating with MP Jo Cox's murder, I will not comment at length on the arguments for one side or the other. I can see both points of view, because the Brexit debate confirms trends I have observed here while researching posts on the economy and the cultural impact of technological change.

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, March 23, 2016

Time and Politics 17: The Oath


Microbiologist Dr. Siouxsie Wiles brings science to the public in collaboration with artists who paint with bioluminescent bacteria: "Bioluminescent portrait of Donald Trump at the WSF Brisbane, painted by Ray Coffey. Photo by Chris Proud, Old Museum Network (Queensland Museum [Australia])." Image Source: SBS.

On 20 March 2016, Bill Maher joked on HBO (ep. 14/381) about Donald Trump's ignorance, because Trump claimed to get all his information off the Internet. Trump has also promised to shut down the Internet if he is elected. He stated he would shut down parts of the Internet domestically and internationally when necessary to restrict terror operatives. He later expanded that promise beyond terror threats. Snopes found the reports on Trump and the Internet to convey 'mixed truth'; on 7 December 2015, Trump stated in South Carolina:
"We have to go see Bill Gates and a lot of different people that really understand what's happening. We have to talk to them about, maybe in certain areas, closing that Internet up in some way ... Somebody will say, 'Oh, freedom of speech, freedom of speech.' These are foolish people."

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Hallowe'en!


Sepik: Arts from Papua New Guinea: "The first exhibition in France to be devoted to the arts of the peoples of the River Sepik in Papua New Guinea ... [an] exhibition at the Musée du Quai Branly brings together 230 works from its own collections and from those of 18 European museums." This display of ethnographic art from Papua New Guinea runs from 27 October 2015 to 31 January 2016 in Paris. Image Source: Alambret Communications.

Happy Hallowe'en! This year's countdown proved truth is stranger than fiction, and horror is often not what it seems to be. From a press release kindly sent to me by Alambret, on a current Paris exhibition of the arts of Papua New Guinea:
The Sepik is the longest river in Papua New Guinea. It is situated in the north of the island and covers a distance of 1,126 kilometers before it disharges into the Pacific Ocean. Large swampland, since the first millennium B.C. this area has sheltered peoples who live on the banks of or in areas close to the Sepik River and its tributaries. These societies have evolved in a world where every object lends itself to being sculpted, engraved or pictorially represented by animal and human figures or abstract motifs.

Sculptures, hooks, necklaces made up of pearl oyster shells, slit drums, bamboo flutes, wickerwork headdresses, coconut bowls, panels of painted bark, modelled-over skulls, whether they belong to the everyday or appear during ceremonies, are adorned with images or signs linked to nature and ancestral figures either human or animal.

The exhibition presents the results of 35 years of research led by Philippe Peltier, Markus Schindlbeck and Christian Kaufmann. The pieces presented were chosen for their formal qualities and their ethnographic interests. Some of them are icons of the art of the Sepik. They all demonstrate the great diversity of forms developed and materials used by the inhabitants of the river banks.
The press release for the exhibition is here.

As for fantasy, if you want to watch a scary film tonight, I recommend It Follows (2014; see it here); filmed in Detroit, it is original, low-tech, and terrifying. After a one night stand, a teen girl finds herself relentlessly pursued by a dumb entity which can possess those around her. That simple and familiar premise is executed brilliantly, partly because the young characters are trapped in unsettling retro horror time loops. You can see Gen X director David Robert Mitchell explain the opening shot for the NYT, here. Below the jump, see a clip from the film, and a Millennial or Generation Y-oriented analysis of the film.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Hallowe'en Countdown 2015: The Tunnel


The Pont de l'Alma tunnel in Paris, where Princess Diana died in 1997. Image Source (2009) © shirley77 at flickr.

Tunnels symbolize death, near death experiences, ascension to heaven, time travel, or a sealed fate. As Princess Diana lay dying in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel in Paris in 1997, police arrested seven photographers at the accident. A commenter under a video about the paparazzi who chased her car into the tunnel wrote:
"I can't imagine what it would be like breathing your last and all you can see is flash bulbs going off and knowing that people will make a mint out of your death. There's something eerily pornographic about the photographers standing there taking pictures and not helping."
Tunnels represent travel forward to a new or final destiny. In the French film Irréversible, Monica Bellucci's character Alex is raped in a pedestrian passage in Paris. The film's scenes run in reverse chronological order to connect her grim end to time travel:
In An Experiment with Time, which Alex is reading during the last (i.e. chronologically first) sequence in the film, J. W. Dunne postulates the existence of a "time-travelling observer", which in dreams can move backwards or forwards in time to actually observe events which may not have yet happened. These are the 'premonitory dreams' which Alex mentions to Marcus and Pierre. Alex earlier describes such a dream to Marcus, where she is in a 'red tunnel' which breaks in two.
You can read An Experiment with Time (1922), here. The theory of the book is that all points in time coexist simultaneously; due to human perception, we are only conscious of one forward stream of time. But the other events are there, including potentials. To indicate this, Alex discovers she is pregnant shortly before her rape in the tunnel. Those who claim to have had psychic or precognitive experiences would, in Dunne's terms, be people who tap the unconscious parts of their brains to see past, present and future. This is how Dunne would have explained precognitive experiences of fictional characters (or in Diana's case, of a real person), whose destinies end in a tunnel.

The subheading of the film title is 'Le Temps Detruit Tout' - 'Time Destroys Everything.' In the film, the tunnel Alex enters is analogous to the course of normal human perception, which rams forward to cut off all possibilities, except the one set of events we finally perceive as 'what happened.' The vicious creation of one path of consciously-seen outcomes, i.e. 'time,' is akin to a brutal rape and destruction of all other potential alternate futures.

Monday, July 6, 2015

ISIS and Post-Diluvian Amnesia


A sphinx on the seafloor off the shores of Alexandria, Egypt. Image Source: All That is Interesting.

The Middle East is the source of all civilization on this planet. Any conflict there stirs the shared memory of all human beings. On 3 July 2015, days after ISIS or ISIL called for a jihad in the Balkans and declared caliphates in the Caucasus and GazaBreitbart reported that the radical Islamic movement has announced it will destroy the Egyptian sphinx and pyramids as a sacred duty:
ISIS “caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi told followers of his terror group that destroying Egypt’s national monuments, such as the pyramids and the sphinx, is a “religious duty” that must be carried out by those who worship Islam, as idolatry is strictly banned in the religion, according to reports. UK radical Islamist Anjem Choudary echoed Baghdadi’s sentiments, telling The Telegraph: “When Egypt comes under the auspices of the Khalifa [Caliphate], there will be no more pyramids, no more Sphinx, no more idolatry,” saying that the ancient statues’s destruction “will be just.” Another Islamist preacher, Ibrahim Al Kandari, agrees that the cultural monuments need to be destroyed to comply with the Shariah. “The fact that early Muslims who were among prophet Mohammed’s followers did not destroy the pharaohs’ monuments upon entering Egypt does not mean that we shouldn’t do it now,” he told Al-Watan.
ISIS has already made its name destroying the older ruins of ancient Mesopotamia. Why is ISIS so threatened by these ruins? As the video lecture below the jump makes clear, the 5,000-year-old Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh is sexually intense, even by today's standards (read it here). Gilgamesh is also the foundation myth to end all foundation myths - it is the core story of our common civilization. It is the source material for our very understanding of organized social life. The opening lines to the 15,000 word work read:

"He who saw all, who was the foundation of the land,
"Who knew (everything), was wise in all matters.
"Gilgamesh, who saw all, who was the foundation of the land,
"Who knew (everything), was wise in all matters."

While there undoubtedly were many other epics sung in humanity's 100,000 to 50,000 years of prehistory, Gilgamesh is the earliest example we have. Its language marks the start of written history and that history begins with a cataclysm, a 'time before' and 'time after.' The story of all peoples is one of this terrible disaster, where great societies had arisen and then been destroyed by an archaic Flood. Most famous among these legendary antediluvian societies is Atlantis. J. R. R. Tolkien constructed part of his Middle Earth stories around an Atlantis idea, in which his hero, Aragorn, is descended from antediluvian superpeopleGilgamesh describes that watershed, that moment at which people still remembered what was before, and what came after. It is likely that Gilgamesh's antediluvian and post-diluvian claim to primacy constitutes the indelible and eternal cultural threat which so unsettles the ISIS zealots.








It unsettles - but also inspires them! The Millennial mind fixates on the turn of ages, and no such time is more fundamental than the Flood, which was likely (if you believe quasi-historical theorists like Graham Hancock) an account of the ending of the Ice Age. If you wanted to understand ISIS's motives in a nutshell, look at their obsession with the Flood. They constantly borrow from the Flood myth, meaning that they intend to create a new watershed moment with a flood of blood to wash the world and erase its memory of what came before. They want to construct a new turning point and create a new reality. Directly below and after the jump, hear the opening of the Epic of Gilgamesh sung in its original language and hear it recited in English.

Peter Pringle performs. "By 2000 B.C., the language of Sumer had almost completely died out and was used only by scholars (like Latin is today). No one knows how it was pronounced because it has not been heard in 4000 years. What you hear in this video are a few of the opening lines of part of the epic poem, accompanied only by a long-neck, three-string, Sumerian lute known as a "gish-gu-di". The instrument is tuned to G - G - D, and although it is similar to other long neck lutes still in use today (the tar, the setar, the saz, etc.) the modern instruments are low tension and strung with fine steel wire. The ancient long neck lutes (such as the Egyptian "nefer") were strung with gut and behaved slightly differently. ... The location for this performance is the courtyard of Nebuchadnezzar's palace in Babylon. The piece is four minutes long and is intended only as a taste of what the music of ancient Sumer might have sounded like." Video Source: Youtube.