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, February 11, 2012

Millennial Mysteries: Dolphins Die at Cape Cod

Image Source: CNN.

Here's an odd beach towel photo that belies its subject, namely, a disturbing development at Cape Cod. CNN reports: "The number of unexplained dolphin deaths on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, rose Friday, with rescuers tallying the toll at 103. About 160 common dolphins have been found since the animals began stranding themselves in early January, said Michael Booth, a spokesman for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the organization leading the rescue the effort."

Click to see all my posts on Millennial Mysteries.
See all my posts on Millennial Omens.

Soul at the end of the Twentieth Century

Soul at the end of the twentieth century: farewell to singer Whitney Houston. Below the jump, a video I have posted before on July 4; it is what some consider to be the best modern popular rendition ever done of the American anthem, Super Bowl XXV during the First Gulf War (1991). To have the world in the palm of your hand, and lose it all. The highest of heights, the lowest of depths: this life weighs so heavily on some of us.

A Recipe for Millennial Immortality

From the annals of Millennial anxieties and weird politics: The Rantings of a Gothic Atheist had a remarkable post up at the end of January about a law which could come into effect in November 2012 in Oklahoma, USA. The Bill bans the use of human foetuses in food production. Ohh-kay. In fact, the Bill's author refers to the highly politicized debate in the United States on the use of embryonic stem cells in research and industry.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Millennial Horrors: Flu Research Moratorium in Effect

Image Source: WHO via Charcoal Handwriting.

I had already seen reports on this floating around in academic discussions, but recent news on controversial research on the deadly Bird Influenza H5N1 has become mainstream.  Slate notes that scientists have tweaked the virus so that it can jump between mammals. This was done to understand the virus better and prepare a vaccine, but it's not like nature and Bioterrorists needed help with the human contagion aspect of the disease. Ian Lipkin, Director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University, stated that, “publishing this information would give people a roadmap to creating Frankenstein viruses.”

Epidemiologists were worried enough by this research that the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity successfully demanded that all research in this direction stop publication for two months so that the scientific community can discuss its hazards. H1N1 broke out into a global pandemic in 2009 that was contained through mass vaccinations, although 14,286 people died. It was the second H1N1 Swine Flu pandemic in history (the virus actually combined several strains, including a Bird and two Swine Flu strains); it was not as lethal as its predecessor: the first H1N1 global pandemic was the 1918 Flu pandemic, which killed between 50 and 100 million people, or 3 to 6 per cent of the world population at the time. The 1918 pandemic killed 25 million people in its first 25 weeks. This type of Flu tends to affect healthy, younger adults most severely.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

760 Million Year Old Animal Discovered - Origin Species of All Complex Life

Otavia antiqua. Image Source: Gizmodo.

Gizmodo reports on a 760 million year old animal, a sponge that was the original life form from which all other animals evolved:
"Scientists believe that this is the animal from which everything else evolved. The first multicellular being that spawned every living being in this world through billions of mutations, from fish to amphibians to reptiles to birds to mammals to you. It's an amazing discovery. Its name is Otavia antiqua, and it is the oldest animal ever discovered: 760 million years old. Scientists claim that it used to chill out in calm, nice, shallow waters, chewing on algae and bacteria through its pores and into its little tube body."

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Millennial Extremes 8: BASE Jumping in Singapore

Here's a 2012 Happy New Year video from BASE jumpers in Singapore, done against the city's skyline from the Marina Bay Sands Skypark. Hat tip to The Atlantic: "As if leaping from the top of a 55-story resort weren't spectacular enough, this video uses Singapore's futuristic skyline and Marina Bay Sands Skypark as a backdrop. The video was directed by Snow R. Shai of Snowdrum Audio Visual, and the BASE jumpers are Marta Empinotti, James Pouchert, Amanda Vicharelli, Anne Helliwell, Tim Mattson, Brendon Cork and Jeb Corliss."

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Predictioneer

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita. Image Source: Good Magazine.

One of the alarming trends of the turn of the Millennium is its extreme literal mindedness. The notion that all information on Earth can be pooled and tabulated to yield the ultimate secrets of human existence and the mysteries of the universe is a great fallacy. This assumption shows how the new technology has bewitched us and altered our judgement in the post WWII era. At the same time, however, science and tech are genuinely pushing the boundaries of what we understand at an exponential rate. It is a great time to be alive, to see this incredible revolution in human thought unfold, along with all its unforeseeable ramifications, and the amazing tension-filled overlap it generates between fact and fiction.

Maybe it's all good, just so long as everyone understands that any random accumulation of information does not necessarily constitute 'a fact.' Looking at it from another angle, perhaps there's no worry that extreme literal mindedness will lead to an official bean counters' version of reality, since scientists, computer researchers and logicians are showing a marked taste for mysticism and other esoteric arts.

Perhaps we may count Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, eminent Professor of Politics at New York University and Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution among these Millennial figures, who has turned number-crunching into the fine art of discerning oblivion. He has developed a rational choice theory computer model over the past 25 years, which purportedly predicts the future in international relations and politics.  In other words, he believes he is cracking the ultimate mystery: time.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Superbowl Apocalypse

Image Source: Reuters via Daily Mail.

Below the jump, the Chevy Superbowl 2012 Apocalypse ad.

Web Bot Algorithm for the Future Stops at 2012

Things to Come (1936) © London Film Productions (based on H. G. Wells's 1933 book, read it here). Image Source: Love for Life.

In a January 2011 episode of Brad Meltzer's Decoded, Web Bot expert Mel Fabregas casually asserted that "remote viewers cannot see beyond" 2012. He then spoke of the use of the Web Bot.  The Web Bot is an online bot, conceived in 1993 and created in 1997 to predict the stock market.  From there, its creators began using it to scan changing emotional values as correlated to key words on the Internet.  After crunching the data with something called Asymmetric Language Trend Analysis, they have begun to predict the future.  This software is what creator Clif High calls, "superset theory in complex aggregation at multiple different levels."  The closely-guarded Bot algorithms were developed by High and George Ure.  These self-proclaimed 'Time Monks' have made various predictions, with some success.  They claim to have predicted 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina.  Their Website is Half Past Human. Clif High discusses the Bot's predictions, which he calls 'future viewing' via his blog, here, with the following disclaimer:
"Please note that our interpretations are provided as entertainment only. We are to be held harmless for universe placing substance behind our words. Or not, as it so chooses. The interpretations provide a broad brush view of the future over the next few years. The broad view of the future is based on set theory and provides a collection of linguistic clues which can be used to forecast developing trends." 
Clif High does assert that the Web Bot generated claims are, "twice as good as chance would allow."  The 2010/2011 (rather wild and woolly) report is entitled The Shape of Things to Come - Volume Zero.  You can see a report on the Bot here.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Jet Stream Procrastination Before the Apocalypse

Some claim that willpower and training emotion is the key to managing procrastination and achieving goals. Maybe we should ask what instincts we're trying to manage when dealing with time and Cyberspace. Image Source: Sugarroy Coaching.

A lot of New Year's resolutions probably concerned procrastination and the Internet. Einstein once said he was not much more intelligent than other people, but he felt he was able to focus on any given particular problem without getting distracted longer than anyone else. He did not lose the thread of concentration and followed questions to their ends.

I have discussed cyber-procrastination before and the transformation of reality and the economy (here, here - and here). Over a few months, I ran across two apparently contradictory blog posts on how to control time and life in the Cyber Age. One was a site on women's wellbeing and self-improvement run by Tara Mohr. The other was The Art of Manliness, devoted to the self-improvement of Millennial men. Although they come at the problem of willpower from two very different perspectives, they actually both point to the same thing: take the long view and encourage the factors needed to maintain focus over the long term. In other words, do not lose track of the big picture. Do not lose the plot. 

But the plot, they both conclude, depends on underlying emotions, the great subjective unconscious. I have a question for both of these bloggers. What do you do when consciousness, the very unquantifiable, nebulous stuff from which our emotions hail, has been radically redefined by Virtual Reality in less than a decade?

Is the Internet really only a distraction, something negative - a sick, proto-obsession, an addiction indulged in by millions - or are we collectively building a new world? Regardless, confronted by the Internet, could we do anything else at this time other than be totally immersed in it? Is Cyberspace not a collective project where the world labours on a new global collective unconscious and renders it visible, in a way that has never been seen before in all of human history? How does one deconstruct one's emotions about, and manage responses to, that?