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 16, 2013

Elon Musk Plans Retirement on Mars

Image Source: Wired.

Elon Musk, Gen X founder of PayPal and SpaceX, wants to retire on Mars and live as the poster boy for his next big business: colonizing Mars as a profitable venture. From a 2010 Guardian report:
The fresh-faced 39-year-old man, in a dark T-shirt and jeans, is talking about travelling to Mars. Not now, but when he's older and ready to swap life on Earth for one on the red planet. "It would be a good place to retire," he says in all seriousness. Normally, this would be the time to make one's excuses and leave the company of a lunatic. Or to smile politely and humour a space nerd's unlikely fantasies. But this man needs to be taken seriously for one compelling reason: he already has his own spaceship.
Musk is planning to fund the first round of Mars missions with his personal fortune and spend his old age building the first Mars colony, anticipated population 80,000.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Sky is Falling

Meteors over the Urals. Image Source: Gazeta.ru.

Reports today state that asteroid 2012 DA14 will nearly graze the earth and will be visible everywhere except North and South America:
Space rock 2012 DA14 is only 50 metres across. It will pass the Earth on Friday evening (UK time) just 17,100 miles above our heads. There is no danger of a collision. Nevertheless, this is closer to the Earth than many artificial satellites. It will pass from the southern to northern hemisphere and set the record for the closest pass of any known asteroid since systematic surveys of the sky began in the mid-1990s.

The celestial mining corp Deep Space Industries claims that the asteroid is worth USD $195 billion, but they won't be going after it:
The company has no plans to go after 2012 DA14; the asteroid's orbit is highly tilted relative to Earth, making it too difficult to chase down. But the space rock's close flyby serves to illustrate the wealth of asteroid resources just waiting to be extracted and used, Deep Space officials said. [Deep Space Industries' Asteroid-Mining Vision in Photos]

"While this week's visitor isn't going the right way for us to harvest it, there will be others that are, and we want to be ready when they arrive," Deep Space chairman Rick Tumlinson said in a statement Tuesday (Feb. 12).

Deep Space Industries wants to use asteroid resources to help humanity expand its footprint out into the solar system. The company plans to convert space rock water into rocket fuel, which would be used to top up the tanks of off-Earth satellites and spaceships cheaply and efficiently.
Asteroid mining: Chasing the almighty dollar. Image Source: Deep Space Industries via Space.com.

In addition, an alarming (apparently unrelated) meteoroid falling over the Ural Mountains rocked the town of Chelyabinsk in Russia over the past 24 hours. The meteor blew out windows merely by the sheer force of passing across the sky (see more videos here). Guardian:
Infrasound data collected by a network designed to watch for nuclear weapons testing suggests that today's blast [in Russia] released hundreds of kilotonnes of energy. That would make it far more powerful than the nuclear weapon tested by North Korea just days ago and the largest rock crashing on the planet since a meteor broke up over Siberia's Tunguska river in 1908. "It was a very, very powerful event," says Margaret Campbell-Brown, an astronomer at the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada, who has studied data from two infrasound stations near the impact site. Her calculations show that the meteoroid was approximately 15 metres across when it entered the atmosphere, and put its mass at around 40 tonnes. "That would make it the biggest object recorded to hit the Earth since Tunguska," she says.
The Guardian reports that more than 1,000 people were injured, mainly by flying glass. Conspiracy theories are never far behind, as usual:
Vladimir Zhirinovsky, long-term leader of Russia's far right parliamentary bloc, claimed the meteor was not a cosmic event but something more sinister, my colleague Mark Rice-Oxley reports. Zhirinovsky said: "It is not meteors falling, it's the Americans testing a new weapon. [Secretary of state John] Kerry warned [foreign minister Sergei] Lavrov on Monday ... that there would be such a provocation and that it might affect Russia."
Video Source: RT.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day

By Robert Herrick (1591-1674)

CHERRY-RIPE, ripe, ripe, I cry,
Full and fair ones ; come and buy.
If so be you ask me where
They do grow, I answer : There,
Where my Julia's lips do smile ;
There's the land, or cherry-isle,
Whose plantations fully show
All the year where cherries grow

Herrick is renowned for his poetry in the carpe diem genre. Wiki: "The over-riding message of Herrick’s work is that life is short, the world is beautiful, love is splendid, and we must use the short time we have to make the most of it."

His poem, "To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time," was quoted in the film, Dead Poets Society (1989) to illustrate seize the day sentiment. You can see that scene in my post here.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

State of the Union?

It appears that the very strange case around Christopher Dorner has come to an end. Or perhaps not.

Above, the scanner recording of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's standoff with Dorner, who was cornered at a cabin at Big Bear Lake, California. After a deadly shootout, the cabin then caught fire, apparently set by the police (see video at the bottom of this post). About two hours ago, CNN reported that the person inside the burning cabin tried to leave, and was "pushed back inside." Anderson Cooper later modified this to say that Dorner was pushed back inside by police fire. Below is a taste of the confusion in reports and online chatter.

In the audio record of police communications above, the cabin fire begins about 25 minutes into the recording (the audio source is here). For a time, the public access to the police scanner went dead, which bizarrely coincided with the State of the Union Address.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Darwin's Birthday

Charles Darwin in 1871 by O. G. Rejlander. Image Source: Darwin Online.

In honour of Charles Darwin's 203rd birthday today, have a look at Darwin Online, which posts almost all of his publications and private papers. The site includes translations of his works into different languages.

Mickey Rourke's Celebrity Death Hoax

Rourke with Basinger at the Informers premiere (2008). They appeared together again in Black November (2012). Image Source: NY Post.

From the Disinformation files: American actor Mickey Rourke has recently fallen victim to a Website that claimed he died on 23 January 2013 and 12 February 2013. The site is the so-called Global Associated Press, which states:

Actor Mickey Rourke is reported to have died shortly after a snowboard accident earlier today - February 12, 2013.

The actor & novice snowboarder was vacationing at the Zermatt ski resort in Zermatt, Switzerland with family and friends. Witnesses indicate that Mickey Rourke lost control of his snowboard and struck a tree at a high rate of speed.

Mickey Rourke was air lifted by ski patrol teams to a local hospital, however, it is believed that the actor died instantly from the impact of the crash. The actor was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident and drugs and alcohol do not appear to have played any part in his death.

Monday, February 11, 2013

What Truth in a Cloaked World?

Image Source: Washington Times.

The manhunt for ex-LAPD cop Christopher Dorner intensifies. He allegedly killed the daughter of a former LAPD police captain, her fiance on 3 February 2013 and Riverside Officer Michael Crain last Thurday, 7 February 2013. The case is also spawning a very strange Internet phenomenon, with opposing Cyber-sides mirroring a profound moral confusion about rightful authority.

"Murdered: Monica Quan (right) and her fiance Keith Lawrence (left) were shot to death in their car outside their home in Irvine. Miss Quan was the daughter of the LAPD police captain who represented Dorner when he was fired." Image Source: Daily Mail.

The LAPD placed a $1 million bounty on Dorner's head and they are using a military drone to hunt him - a bizarre first in American history. The story started with a 2007 professional altercation in the LAPD, which moved from Internal Affairs into the courts, and ended with this internationally-watched shit storm. The story gets weirder and weirder. Hollywood star Charlie Sheen has stepped forward to mediate ...

Dorner. Image Source: Daily Mail.

Dorner, once honoured as a navy hero who found $8,000 of lost church money and handed it in, is equally well known for previous professional accolades and for his marksmanship. His manifesto is posted here, including some of the LAPD proceedings that led to his dismissal; the document was oddly published in two parts; the first part appeared on Dorner's Facebook page, the second part apparently did not, prompting conspiracy theorists to challenge the authorship of the second part.

The first part reads differently from the second. The first part details Dorner's problems at the LAPD, in which he accuses the department of endemic racism, expressed in an atmosphere of ironic political correctness. He argues that the officers involved in the Rodney King scandal from the 1990s have been promoted to positions of authority. He also claims he saw the "most vile things humans can inflict on others," not on the streets of Los Angeles, but inside the Los Angeles Police Department. He accuses officers of being callous and inhumane, perceiving dead victims at crime scenes merely as blocks of overtime pay, whose gruesome photos they trade, and whose deaths they translate directly into time, spent as extra money: "ATVs, Waverunners, RV's and new clothes for their kids."

Dorner states:
"I am a man who has lost complete faith in the system, when the system betrayed, slandered, and libeled me. ... You're going to see what a whistleblower can do when you take everything from him especially his NAME!!!"
This statement has appealed to anti-authority cultists on the Web, who equate suspicion and rejection of authority with liberty and a new moral code. The LAPD's critics claim Dorner's comments about the Los Angeles police force have some substance, although they of course agree that his murderous response is horrific. In his manifesto, Dorner turns on a dime from the speech of administrative complaint to absolute terrifying intention toward his intended victims on the police force:
"There will be an element of surprise where you work, live, eat, and sleep. ... I will utilize OSINT to discover your residences, spouses workplaces, and children's schools. ... The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of partriots and tyrants. ... You will now live the life of the prey."
Profilers claim that Dorner is a narcissist, that this is not about problems in the LAPD (founded or not), but rather about a personal mythology Dorner concocted in his head about himself. Indeed, Dorner's apologists should consider that declaring the moral bankruptcy of our institutions and professions cannot be justified by killing sprees. To do so is to declare revolution.

Favourite Journeys to Middle Earth

Legolas and Gimli on the cover, the 1978 J. R. R. Tolkien Calendar. Image © by the Brothers Hildebrandt via The Golden Age.

In 2012, the first part film version of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey, attracted less excitement than the LOTR a decade ago. I think that is because we are so used to CGI effects by now and the story was somewhat decompressed. I thought the whole cast was great - especially  Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield. Audiences are jaded, because Hollywood has gorged on CGI.

Smaug from the 1977 J. R. R. Tolkien Calendar. Image © by the Brothers Hildebrandt via The Golden Age. 

Goldberry from the 1977 J. R. R. Tolkien Calendar. Image © by the Brothers Hildebrandt via The Golden Age.

After I learned to read, the first real book I read was The Hobbit. And long before Peter Jackson, when Boomers were still spraypainting Frodo Lives! on alley walls, there was a minor industry making paraphenalia around The Hobbit (1937), the Lord of the Rings (1954-1955) and The Silmarillion (1977).

The Ring of Galadriel from the 1976 J. R. R. Tolkien Calendar. Image © by the Brothers Hildebrandt via The Golden Age.
Bilbo at Rivendell from the 1976 J. R. R. Tolkien Calendar. Image © by the Brothers Hildebrandt via The Golden Age.

What nostalgia to see The Golden Age blog post all 36 paintings by the Brothers Hildebrandt from the 1976, 1977 and 1978 J. R. R. Tolkien calendars - here! I still have the original calendars tucked away. That post inspired me to scour the Web for some compelling depictions of Middle Earth; although my most recent favourite is the Middle Earth meditation series. I think the LOTR films likely influenced many Millennial artists whose work does not explicitly refer to Tolkien, such as ZoĆ« Keating.

The Pillars of the Kings from the 1978 J. R. R. Tolkien Calendar. Image © by the Brothers Hildebrandt via The Golden Age.

Farmer Maggot's Hospitality from the 1978 J. R. R. Tolkien Calendar. Image © by the Brothers Hildebrandt via The Golden Age.

See my finds below the jump. They point one way or another to Tolkien's parables on good and evil, heroism and weakness, drawn partly from his musings on the past from prehistory, from ancient and medieval languages and cultures, and from World War I. With the exceptions below, I have yet to find convincing depictions of Orcs, a race of ruined and corrupted Elves. If you have a favourite depiction of Middle Earth you would like to suggest, write to me and I will post it in this collection.

Shelob from the 1978 J. R. R. Tolkien Calendar. Image © by the Brothers Hildebrandt via The Golden Age. 

Saruman and the Palantir from the 1978 J. R. R. Tolkien Calendar. Image © by the Brothers Hildebrandt via The Golden Age.

Beorn the Berserker from the 1978 J. R. R. Tolkien Calendar. Image © by the Brothers Hildebrandt via The Golden Age.