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.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Illuminati Lotto, the 23 Enigma and the Goddess of Discord

Winning ticket? Image Source: Melissa Stetten.

Tonight, the nationwide American lottery Mega Millions had a historic jackpot of $640 million. The amount prompted online discussion on the virtues of sharing: a viral tweet stated blindly that it was enough for the winner to share roughly $2 million with every other individual in the country (rather than $2): "Lotto jackpot=$640 Million. Population of the US=300 Million. Lets just give everyone 2.13 Million!" Math skills aside, some people (possibly) photoshopped their tickets with winning numbers and circulated them on Twitter. One report just out claims that the jackpot was won in Maryland and there are a few winners in other states. May fortune as well as good fortune go to the winners.

They might need a little extra luck. The winning numbers are: 2, 4, 23, 38, 46 and a bonus number of 23. When people have been talking about this all week, and lining up to buy tickets, it is easy to see in recession-plagued America how this lottery would capture the imagination, and how the winning numbers would take on special significance. On the Internet, a conspiracy theory began circulating within an hour of the numbers being announced at 11 pm Eastern time in the United States. The repetition of the number 23 in the winning numbers is taken by some to be a sign that the Illuminati are secretly running the lotto. You can see some wild theories about Illuminati and the number 23, here and here. I don't like conspiracy theories, but this one is undoubtedly a sign of the times.

Einstein's Six Billion Year Window on the Past

Image Source: Elite Daily.

In 1916, Albert Einstein looked almost six billion years into the past, and saw the state of the universe correctly. From The Telegraph:
A new study of the movement of faraway galaxies has opened a window on a time billions of years ago when the universe's rate of expansion began speeding up.

Detailed observations of the changing distance between galaxies revealed that the mysterious acceleration of space, which began five to six billion years ago, perfectly matched predictions made by Einstein in 1916.

The new measurements, presented at the National Astronomy Meeting in Manchester, show that the universe is expanding at an ever-increasing rate and that the structures within it, such as galaxy clusters, are also growing.

The findings match Einstein's general theory of relativity in which he proposed the rate at which galaxies should be drawn towards one another and at which the universe ought to expand.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Millennial Mysteries: Corpses Found in Mayfair Flats

Last photo of Gareth Williams alive, taken by CCTV in August, 2010. Image Source: AFP/Getty via The Mirror.
Today, The Telegraph reported on a hearing held by the Westminster Coroner’s Court in London about the death of Gareth Williams, a 31-year-old code-breaker who worked for MI6. Police found him on 23 August 2010, dead in Pimlico, stuffed into a sports bag, which was padlocked shut. The story is lurid and extraordinarily creepy. The scene looks like a sex game gone wrong, and there is evidence (which may be accurate or could have been planted) that Williams was into bondage games. The bit where the sex game story falls apart is that the whole apartment was wiped of fingerprints and evidence in the week or so between when Williams died and when the police got there. A strange couple were thought to be involved and sought by the police; they were later dismissed as a "red herring." After a DNA mix-up muddying the evidence even more, it appears that the only DNA in the apartment is Williams's own, which even by Millennial virtual sexual standards is a stretch. Today, the whole event was chalked up to the "dark arts of the secret services," as though that is supposed to explain everything. The British media quickly picked up the 'dark arts' tagline: here and here. From the Telegraph:
"Gareth Williams could not have locked the bag from the inside, meaning a 'third party' must have done it, according to a lawyer representing his family. Relatives believe his death in 2010 may have been linked to his work at MI6, where he had recently qualified for 'operational deployment', and that fingerprints, DNA and other evidence was wiped from the scene in a deliberate cover up.

Police have always said they were keeping an open mind on whether the 31-year-old codebreaker was murdered or died as a result of an accident, possibly during a bizarre sex game.

But at an interim hearing ahead of the full inquest into his death, Westminster Coroner’s Court in London was told that a delay by MI6 in notifying police of his disappearance meant a post-mortem examination had been 'ineffective' and the cause of his death remained unclear.

A series of blunders, including a mix-up over DNA found at the scene, had also hampered the inquiry, Dr Fiona Wilcox, the coroner, was told."
This is the kind of story that feeds the public's hunger for conspiracy theories. Millennial paranoia is so intense that people will believe anything, as long as it comes with bits of data and a cryptic hint or two to let them rationalize the unexplained. Paranoia calms people down. It is therapeutic. It makes weird incidents make sense. Mass-media-driven conspiracy theories are, in the short term, an easy and simple way to avoid revolutions.

Nuclear Culture 6: Gen Y Confronts Chernobyl

Image Source: ScreenRant.

There is a new horror film coming out, Chernobyl Diaries, which introduces Gen Y to Pripyat via all the usual horror tropes, plus radiation: "Six tourists hire an extreme tour guide who takes them to the abandoned city Pripyat, the former home to the workers of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor. During their exploration, they soon discover they are not alone." The director is Gen Xer, Bradley Parker; the writer and producer is fellow Xer, Oren Peli, who directed Paranormal Activity. See the trailer below the jump. The film is due out 25 May 2012 in the United States and Canada.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Nuclear Leaks 12: China Syndrome at Fukushima? Pacify a Malevolent God

Graphic depicting situation in Fukushima Reactor 2 on 26 March 2012. Image Source: Daily Yomiuri Online.

Over the past 24 hours, the Internet has been buzzing with reports that TEPCO has effectively acknowledged that the China Syndrome is currently taking place, or almost taking place at Fukushima Reactor Two, while still denying it. This would be a historic first, and an absolute environmental catastrophe for Japan and the world. Basically, there is much less water covering the radioactive molten core than estimated; and this, in a situation where not all of the corium has fallen to the floor of the containment vessel yet.

The China Syndrome would involve a melt through the containment vessel. Once the corium gets through the containment vessel, it could easily melt the concrete floor of the building in a matter of hours and enter the environment. You can see message board debates on Berkeley's Department of Nuclear Engineering Web site here, regarding the possible outcome if the molten fuel from these reactors hits the water table. Since this has never happened, no one is quite sure what would occur. The fear is that there would be a series of hydrothermic nuclear or hydrovolcanic nuclear explosions, which would irradiate much of Japan and the planet's atmosphere.

The wording of yesterday's report on the Reactor 2 investigation is curious; it says that the molten core has 'splashed onto the floor and the walls.' We assume that means the floor and walls of the containment vessel and not the building around the containment vesselTEPCO acknowledges that the conditions in Reactors 1 and 3 are worse than those in Reactor 2. Reactors 1 and 3 are so radioactive that they cannot be directly investigated; hence, what is happening inside them is completely unknown.

Caption for the above photographs: Long-term plan: Architect Katsuhiro Miyamoto's novel means of safely mothballing the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, and the highly radioactive fuel likely to remain there even after the current crisis is resolved, is to turn it into a Shinto shrine — seen here in a model and a computer rendering. KATSUHIRO MIYAMOTO.

The situation is so terrifying and out of control that the sentiment is drifting to religion. Over the longer term, Boomer Architect Katsuhiro Miyamoto wants to turn the reactors into Shinto shrines, "erecting giant shrine-style thatched roofs over each of the crippled reactor buildings — and so creating what he dubs 'The Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant Shrine.' This, he tells The Japan Times, will 'pacify a malevolent god.'" Um. Wouldn't building lead sarcophagi be more appropriate than designing thatched-roof temples? What the hell is going on in Japan? Are they serious?

Caption for the above photograph: In this photo released by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), a worker operates an endoscope to take photos of water in the Unit 2 reactor's primary containment vessel at the the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town, Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, Monday, March 26, 2012. TEPCO, the operator of the nuclear power plant, said the water level of the reactor container is only 60 centimeters (about 2 feet) from the bottom, indicating a large quantity of water injected to cool the melted fuel is leaking from the vessel. (AP Photo/Tokyo Electric Power Co.)

It's hard to find an MSM report on this, except some wires from the AP and the AFP. From the AP report, out today:
Tuesday's examination with an industrial endoscope detected radiation levels up to 10 times the fatal dose inside the chamber. Plant officials previously said more than half of the melted fuel has breached the core and dropped to the floor of the primary containment vessel, some of it splashing against the wall or the floor.

Particles from melted fuel have probably sent radiation levels up to a dangerously high 70 sieverts per hour inside the container, said Junichi Matsumoto, spokesman for Tokyo Electric Power Co. ...

Three Dai-ichi reactors had meltdowns, but the No. 2 reactor is the only one that has been examined because radiation levels inside the reactor building are relatively low and its container is designed with a convenient slot to send in the endoscope.

The exact conditions of the other two reactors, where hydrogen explosions damaged their buildings, are still unknown. Simulations have indicated that more fuel inside No. 1 has breached the core than the other two, but radiation at No. 3 remains the highest.

The high radiation levels inside the No. 2 reactor's chamber mean it's inaccessible to the workers, but parts of the reactor building are accessible for a few minutes at a time — with the workers wearing full protection.
TEPCO released a strange statement, based on an endoscope examination of the reactor, conducted Monday, 26 March (some reports erroneously state 27 March), via Daily Yomiuri Online:
The water level in the containment vessel of the No. 2 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is only about 60 centimeters deep, far shallower than previously assumed levels of about four meters, according to Tokyo Electric Power Co.

The lower-than-expected water level was discovered for the first time when the power utility used an industrial endoscope to check the crippled reactor's interior on Monday, TEPCO said.

According to some experts, it is possible that nuclear fuel that melted through the reactor's pressure vessel and accumulated on the bottom of the containment vessel in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami may not be completely covered in the water.

TEPCO said the water temperature in the vessel remained relatively low within a range of 48.5 C to 50 C. The discovery of the unexpectedly shallow water level will not affect TEPCO's judgment that the reactor is in a state of "cold shutdown."
Reports out today indicate that the amount of radioactive fallout has been increasing, not decreasing, over the past few months. On February 18, Kobe University Professor Tomoya Yamauchi claimed in a lecture in Osaka that Fukushima City should be evacuated, which has sparked a still-ongoing row with the mayor.

Caption for the above photograph: In this photo taken by an endoscope and released by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), a white thermometer, right, is seen through the surface of water in the Unit 2 reactor's primary containment vessel at the the tsunami-crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town, Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, Monday, March 26, 2012. TEPCO, the operator of the nuclear power plant, said the water level of the reactor container is only 60 centimeters (about 2 feet) from the bottom, indicating a large quantity of water injected to cool the melted fuel is leaking from the vessel. (AP Photo/Tokyo Electric Power Co.)