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.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Visit the Primordial Earth

Yahoo News reports on a collection of photographs from November 2012 from a volcanic field in Russia:
Tolbachik: hell valley on earth: Take a look at these stunning photos of an active volcanic complex called Tolbachik. The complex, located on the Kamchatka Peninsula in far eastern Russia, is one of many volcanoes in the area. Looking at these breathtaking images, it's easy to imagine dragons, demons and rivers of hell. Tolbachik is calm right now. A year ago, however, lava fountains and rivers decorated the landscape after the eruption began with the opening of two Tolbachik fissures. In the midst of this activity, photographers Luda and Andrey (lusika33) took a trip down to see that stunning hell valley on earth.
It is easy to see why this primordial scenery acts like a window on geologic time and appeals to Ur-memory, folkloric sensibilities and mythical imagination. See more below the jump, and compare to a Space.com video of a monster X4.9 class solar flare released 24 February 2014. These are grim reminders of something fundamentally alien in raw nature. All photos © lusika33

"The volcanic complex of Tolbachik is clearly visible from the village of Kozirevsk on the Kamchatka Peninsula in far eastern Russia."

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

World Wide Web's 25th Birthday

The first Web server, used by Sir Tim Berners-Lee. Image Source: Wiki.

On 12 March 1989, Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web at CERN. Google commemorated the event by asking him to write a guest post on its blog:
Today is the web’s 25th birthday. On March 12, 1989, I distributed a proposal to improve information flows: “a ‘web’ of notes with links between them.”

Though CERN, as a physics lab, couldn’t justify such a general software project, my boss Mike Sendall allowed me to work on it on the side. In 1990, I wrote the first browser and editor. In 1993, after much urging, CERN declared that WWW technology would be available to all, without paying royalties, forever.
This decision enabled tens of thousands to start working together to build the web. Now, about 40 percent of us are connected and creating online. The web has generated trillions of dollars of economic value, transformed education and healthcare and activated many new movements for democracy around the world. And we’re just getting started.

How has this happened? By design, the underlying Internet and the WWW are non-hierarchical, decentralized and radically open. The web can be made to work with any type of information, on any device, with any software, in any language. You can link to any piece of information. You don’t need to ask for permission. What you create is limited only by your imagination.

So today is a day to celebrate. But it’s also an occasion to think, discuss—and do. Key decisions on the governance and future of the Internet are looming, and it’s vital for all of us to speak up for the web’s future. How can we ensure that the other 60 percent around the world who are not connected get online fast? How can we make sure that the web supports all languages and cultures, not just the dominant ones? How do we build consensus around open standards to link the coming Internet of Things? Will we allow others to package and restrict our online experience, or will we protect the magic of the open web and the power it gives us to say, discover, and create anything? How can we build systems of checks and balances to hold the groups that can spy on the net accountable to the public? These are some of my questions—what are yours?

On the 25th birthday of the web, I ask you to join in—to help us imagine and build the future standards for the web, and to press for every country to develop a digital bill of rights to advance a free and open web for everyone. Learn more at webat25.org and speak up for the sort of web we really want with #web25.
Many luminaries have visited Twitter to wish the World Wide Web happy birthday under hashtag #web25, including:
  • Richard Branson, who wrote: "What do you think the next 25 years hold? I hope we’ll have wifi on the moon!"
  • The British Monarchy: "Happy 25th Birthday to the WWW!  @timberners_lee has made it easier for us to connect with people in the UK and the Commonwealth."
  • British PM David Cameron: "Happy 25th birthday to the world wide web – a truly great British invention from @timberners_lee"
  • Jimmy Wales: co-founder of Wikipedia: "The freedom to talk, to know, to learn, to let us take power and move the world."
  • Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner for Digital Agenda: "For 25 years the world wide web has been a platform for change and a breeding ground for new ideas. It’s a place that knows no borders and the natural home of open, unlimited innovation, and a source of hope and inspiration for those in Europe and across the world."
  • Nigel Shadbolt, co-founder of the Open Data Institute: "The values of the Web are the best of us – open, universal, accessible. We must keep those values alive. Thank you @timberners_lee #web25"
  • Rebecca MacKinnon, writer: "Keeping the Web open & free is like keeping society open & free. Freedom isn’t “free.” It takes work and struggle. #web25 #netfreedom"
  • Vint Cerf, Internet Pioneer, Chief Internet Evangelist, Google: "The WWW was conceived 25 years ago in 1989; commercial Internet services were just coming online. Happy 25th birthday!"
  • Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Law and Computer Science, Harvard University: "Happy 25th birthday, World Wide Web!  You are among the most amazing of human achievements.  Although, knowing you, are you sure you’re not really in your 50s and simply posing as a 25-year-old…?"
  • Dame Wendy Hall, Dean of Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, University of Southhampton: "I can’t believe it’s 25 years since Tim wrote the proposal describing the system that was going to change the world. In some ways it seems like yesterday but trying to remember what life was like without the Web is a real stretch these days - it’s a different world. It’s time to celebrate how far we’ve come since those heady early days when the Web was in it’s infancy. We watched it grow and evolve at a phenomenal rate -  in awe and wonder at what was being achieved. Now it has become an integral part of the fabric of our lives and defines the nature of the digital planet."
  • Kathy Brown, President and CEO of the Internet Society: "In a short time, the Web has matured and grown into a worldwide platform for interaction, community, and commerce. Along the way, it has changed the way people collaborate, the way organizations communicate, and it has transformed the world. The Internet Society is pleased to join W3C, the World Wide Web Foundation, and billions of Internet users around the world in celebrating the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web."
  • Russ Housley, Internet Architecture Board Chair: "The IAB joins the W3C and World Wide Web Foundation in celebrating the 25th year of the World Wide Web. The open technologies and principles underpinning the web have driven a remarkable era of highly available information, open channels for self-publication, and new abilities to link the two." 
  • Gene Kimmelman, President and CEO, Public Knowledge: "The Web is becoming an essential platform for human rights, free expression and movements to democratize and bring social justice across the globe. As we celebrate its 25 years of success today, we must also recognize how harmful governmental control and corporate consolidation can undermine the web’s future. Now is the time to use the Internet as a tool to galvanize public support to preserve the web’s potential to bolster human rights and justice."

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Millennial Mysteries: Ghost Calls to Malaysian Flight Passengers

Image Source: veooz.

An odd report was published on 10 March 2014 in the Washington Post about the 777 Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 that disappeared early on 8 March over the South China Sea. Relatives have been calling passengers' cell phones and getting ring tones, but no answers; they can leave messages - which have not been answered. A Chinese messenger service says the phones are still connected.

Image Source: Google via Mirror.

Anniversaries: Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami

Memorial dome in Tokyo, dedicated to the people who died in the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, 11 March 2011. Image Source: REUTERS/Issei Kato via Telegraph.

Today is the third anniversary of the Tōhoku earthquake off the course of Japan and subsequent nuclear accident. Around 19,000 people died. It was the worst earthquake in Japanese recorded history.

Some of the most horrific devastation happened in one town. 95 per cent of the resort community of Minamisanriku in Miyagi prefecture was destroyed. Two years after the disaster, people were still afraid to rebuild the site because more than 10,000 people died there. To date, it remains undeveloped, also in part because the coastline sank by three feet. The beachfront municipality became a ghost town. You can see the entire town being swallowed by the post-earthquake tsunami here. The harrowing video was recorded by people who watched the destruction from the surrounding hills. An even more alarming, closer view of the black, fast-moving water is here.

Miki Endo, heroine of the lost town of Minamisanriku. The photo shows her with her marriage registration, shortly before she died. Image Source: J's Photos.

Miki Endo, a 24-year-old public worker, heroically stayed in the town, calling on its emergency announcement system, warning the townspeople to run away. HuffPo:
The Japanese publication Mainichi Shimbun reported that Endo did not let go of her microphone even as the tsunami engulfed the city. ... One survivor, Taeza Haga, 61, heard Endo's repeated warning calls and ran to his car to head for higher ground above the village. He told Endo's grieving mother: "I heard the voice of your daughter the whole way."
The last 10 seconds of Endo's broadcast before she died are here. Her body was later recovered; the associated news report, here, shows the building in which she worked, completely gutted after the disaster; it also describes how her family and townspeople found her body.

A Youtuber who commented beneath one Minamisanriku video remarked: "I live less than 50 metres from the sea in a bay that would funnel any Pacific tsunami right onto the town. We have some dinky little hills at the back of town but nothing of any real height. I might move soon I think." Another wrote: "If that don't give you the fear of God nothing will." Below the jump, see other videos of the earthquake and tsunami as they occurred.