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, June 9, 2012

From Aurochs to Ūruz to U

A cave painting of an Auroch, dating to 17,300 years ago, Lascaux, France. Image Source: Heraclitian Fire.

The core of civilization hinges on the domestication of animals, above all, the cow. According to geneticists, the source of all domestic cattle boils down to one prehistoric herd of 80 head of cattle in what is now Iran. In March 2012, DNA research from scientists from the CNRS and National Museum of Natural History in France, the University of Mainz in Germany, and UCL in the UK traced the domestication of this herd back to a period 10,500 years ago (Hat tip: i09). That herd engendered the total number of cows in the world today, approximately 1.3 billion, or roughly one bovine for every seven humans on earth.

Cave paintings of Aurochs, dating to 17,300 years ago, Lascaux, France. Image Source: Prof saxx via Wiki.

These cows were not the cows we know, but an ancestor of modern cows (Bos taurus and Bos indicus - the Zebu), called the Auroch (Bos primigenius, also known as "urus" and "wisent"). Evolving some 2 million years ago in India, they were much bigger, more aggressive and generally tougher animals than our modern cows; we would find their stature similar to that of the American Bison. There are some die hard nostalgics who believe that Aurochs still survive, tucked away in secluded Eastern European valleys (a Romanian video purportedly of modern Aurochs, also known as the Zimbru, here, admittedly shows massive animals on dainty legs, which look an awful lot like the cave paintings). The author of that video refers to yet another Millennial popular study which peculiarly brings prehistory right into the 21st century and states:
You’ll find a lot of things very different than what you’ve been taught. Two animals of the bovine family are claimed to be in existence in Romania; one is called BOUR and the other is ZIMBRU (alias AUROCH). The BOUR is the ancestor of cattle, not the AUROCH. The bour is a smaller animal, but has big horns and that’s where the confusion is. Etymologically, the word BOUR fits with BOS—meaning oxen in Greek and Latin. In addition, AUROCH does fit with TAURUS (meaning bull in Greek and Latin) but that word came about because bour (wild cattle) bulls were much bigger than the cow. Hence, TAUROS. The literal translation from Latin is “like a TAURO”, TAURO being the name of the Auroch. The confusion comes from the fact that Western scientists talk about only one animal, when in fact there are two.
Despite these popular musings, researchers insist that Aurochs are extinct. They claim that the last Auroch, a cow, died in Poland in 1627. These animals lived especially in northern climes, but generally covered Europe, Russia, North Africa, the Near and Middle East, Central Asia, India and Asia.

A cave painting of an Auroch, dating to 17,300 years ago, Lascaux, France. Image Source: Heraclitian Fire.

Palaeontologists view cave paintings as contemporary Stone Age historical records of Aurochs and hence know how they appeared. The DNA sequence of the Auroch was determined in 2010. Perhaps the current boom in genetic research explains why Ice Age creatures have lately enjoyed a vogue in Millennial culture.

Given the tremendous importance of the Auroch, it is not surprising that early writing systems incorporated bovinely-inspired letters and pictograms. In northern Europe's Proto-Germanic and Old Norse languages, the rune which depicted an Auroch was Ūruz or Ur. In Old English, it was indicated by Ur or Yr. This letter became a predecessor of U or Y. The rune also means 'water' or 'rain.'

Friday, June 8, 2012

Millennial Mysteries: Mass Deaths of Fish in Japan

Image Source: Rocket News.

There are reports of several tonnes of dead sardines washing into the port of Ohara in Isumi City, Japan. The city is in Chiba prefecture, which is part of the Greater Tokyo area, and not too far from Fukushima. Presumably the nuclear crisis there is the cause of this fish kill. Other possibilities include oxygen shortages in the water, storms, sea algae creating toxins in the water, and so on. But those explanations are not stopping people from worrying that this event is an ill omen and portends another earthquake. This incident started on 3 June 2012, and is still continuing (see reports here and here). From Rocket News (Hat tip: ENE News):
[A]t the fishing port of Ohara (pronounced Oh-hara) in Isumi City of Chiba Prefecture ... [t]here are tons and tons of dead sardines washing up on the shore. ... According to the news, the dead fish started washing up around noon of June 3rd, and as of early afternoon on June 4th, the situation still remained pretty much out of control. The amount of dead sardines that has washed up is thought to total several dozen metrics tons. ... [T]he port looks completely filled with fish – it almost looks like a carpet of sardines. It doesn’t seem likely that any fishing boats will be setting sail from this port soon. There are also, of course, the usual posts and comments on the internet on how this could be an omen, a sign of a coming great natural disaster.
For my previous posts on dead fish and birds, see here, here, here, here, here and, most recently, here. See general links below.

Image Source: Rocket News.

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

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Farewell, Mr. Bradbury

Image Source: Getidan.

American Sci-Fi author and Midwest Surrealist, Ray Bradbury, died on 5 June 2012, aged 91. His official Website is here, which explains how and why Bradbury began to write: 
Throughout his life, Bradbury liked to recount the story of meeting a carnival magician, Mr. Electrico, in 1932. At the end of his performance Electrico reached out to the twelve-year-old Bradbury, touched the boy with his sword, and commanded, Live forever! Bradbury later said, I decided that was the greatest idea I had ever heard. I started writing every day. I never stopped.
Bradbury is perhaps most famous for his works, The Martian Chronicles (1950) - a future history of Mars colonization; The Illustrated Man (1951) - stories on the conflict between machines and human psychology; Fahrenheit 451 (1953) - a dystopian novel set in a future America where books have been outlawed; and  Something Wicked This Way Comes (1962) - a novel about two boys who encounter a dark carnival when it arrives in their town.

Here is a link to the full text online of Fahrenheit 451. Bradbury disapproved of e-versions of his works and strongly disliked the Internet and Millennial technology; fears about the negative impact of high tech on human society run through several of his works. This link is provided respectfully to introduce first-time readers to his work. Fahrenheit 451 is antithetical to the Millennial obsession with tech-data. Wiki: "Bradbury has stated that the novel is not about censorship, but a story about how television destroys interest in reading literature, which leads to a perception of knowledge as being composed of factoids, partial information devoid of context." The book was released as a graphic novel in 2009.

Bradbury's work has long been suited to the pulp medium. Between 1951 and 1954, several of Bradbury's stories were adapted by Al Feldstein for EC Comics. Bradbury noticed this starting with "Home to Stay" in Weird Fantasy #13, which plagiarized two of the writer's stories ("The Rocket Man" and "Kaleidoscope") and combined them into one story. After Bradbury settled with the company amicably, he allowed further EC Comics adaptations and was pleased with the result.

Stories reproduced in EC Comics included: "The Man Upstairs" (WF #12: "A Lesson in Anatomy"); "The Black Ferris"; "The Handler"; "The Screaming Woman"; "Let's Play Poison"; "There Will Come Soft Rains" (WF #17); "The October Game"; "The Small Assassin"; "The Long Years"; "Zero Hour" (WF #18); "King of Grey Spaces" (WF #19); "The Flying Machine"; "The Lake"; "I, Rocket" (WF #20); "The Million Year Picnic" (WF #21); "The Silent Towns" (WF #22). "Judgment Day" (WF #18) provoked controversy with the censor because it featured an African-American astronaut (read it in its entirety here). Below the jump, see some panels from the EC Comics adaptations of Bradbury's stories.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Look Skyward: Venus Transits the Sun

The 2004 Venus transit. The transits come in pairs. 2012's transit mirrors 2004's transit. Image Source: The Cosmos News.

Today, Venus crosses in front of the sun from Earth's vantage point. The transit of Venus (beginning at 22:09 UTC on the 5th of June and ending at 04:49 UTC on the 6th of June) is similar to an eclipse of the sun by the moon, except that Venus, being further away, appears to be much smaller. This is one of the rarest of predictable events in the heavens. The Cosmos News:
"[W]hen we talk about a transit of Venus, we are talking about a very rare astronomical event indeed (only 81 will occur between 2000 B.C. and 4000 A.D.). This rarity is due to Venus’ nearly circular orbit and its inclination. When the calculations are performed, Venus transits usually come in pairs (like Mercury), but the interval between the second transit of the pair and the next one is generally 122 years."
Space.com: "During a 243 year period only 4 sightings of the transit may be observed before the cycle begins again." This will be the last solar transit of Venus in our lifetimes. The 2012 event makes the second of a pair, with pairs occurring eight years apart; the previous transit occurred in 2004.  Before 2004, the last transit occurred in 1882. The next pair of Venus transits will take place in 2117 and 2125. The rarity depends on an alignment of the planets' orbits, which you can see explained in the infographic below the jump (source here). To see your local viewing time, go here.

Image Source: Wiki.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Look Skyward: Eclipse of the Flower Moon

There is a partial lunar eclipse this evening, which will primarily be visible from the Pacific Ocean. These are the times when it will be visible:
  • 4 June 4:12 am in Los Angeles
  • 4 June 7:12 am in New York
  • 4 June 12:12 pm in London
  • 4 June 4:42 pm in Delhi
  • 4 June 9:12 pm in Sydney
Space.com explains (here) how the moon will dip through Earth's shadow and elaborates on the usual symbolic importance of this Full Moon:
The Full Moon of June is usually called the Flower Moon. In Algonquian it is called Strawberry Moon. Other names are Honey Moon, Rose Moon, Hot Moon, and Planting Moon. In Hindi it is known as Wat Poornima. Its Sinhala (Buddhist) name is Poson. The Full Moon rises around sunset and sets around sunrise, the only night in the month when the Moon is in the sky all night long. The rest of the month, the Moon spends at least some time in the daytime sky.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


A friend of mine just visited Amersterdam and saw Anne Frank's house. He mentioned that while hiding in a secret section of her father's office building in Nazi-occupied Holland, the Jewish teenager pasted pictures of American celebrities and a young Queen Elizabeth on the walls of her room to cheer herself up. The photos are of Elizabeth as a princess, when she was a bit younger than Frank (Frank was 15 when she died in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp). Frank also posted photographs of the Dutch royal family, some of whom were then exiled in Canada, Greta Garbo, and the Lane sisters. These mementoes in the shuttered room shows that Princess Elizabeth, like Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, symbolized resistance, hope and freedom at the western world's watershed moment.