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, April 23, 2016

The Algorithms of Power

Marilena Preda-Sânc, Globe (Glob, world globe, nails, 35 x 35 x 35 cm, 1999; via the Bucharest Biennale). Image Source: Pavilion.

The footage below of the ruined Syrian city of Homs below was circulated by RussiaWorks on Youtube on 2 February 2016. Business Insider cites the Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria, which states that 13,301 people have died in the city since 2011. Business Insider also reports critically on the Russian video source:
"The video has not been independently verified but is similar to previous RussiaWorks productions, such as a video from January shot in the Damascus suburb of Darayya.

Speaking to Business Insider in October [2015] Boris [Z]ilberman, a Russia expert at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, said: 'RussiaWorks is part of a slick campaign by the Kremlin to sell the war at home and project Russia as a military power.'

'The videos are put together by a number of Russian war correspondents/production folks that are tied to the Kremlin and probably have a lot of time on their hands — and some good drones — to make highly edited videos.'"
The Russians, with Iranian-backed Shia troops, are supporting Syrian government forces against Syrian opposition fighters and ISIS. On 20 April 2016, American analysts discussed these military movements into Aleppo, with Sunni civilians fleeing Aleppo ahead of the Russian, Syrian government's and Shia troops' advance:
"Russian aircraft, helicopters and troops have also been moving toward Aleppo over the past several weeks, they say. At the same time, hundreds of Iranian-backed Shia militia fighters are converging on the area to bolster existing regime forces.

'The Syrian regime seems to be driving towards the eventual isolation of opposition forces in and around Aleppo,' a U.S. intelligence official said on condition of anonymity.

The official said at least in the area north of Aleppo, Russian actions appeared to be in support of the Syrian regime, aimed at cutting off the supply lines for moderate opposition forces.

'We also see indications of fighting southwest of Aleppo between Syrian forces with Russian backing and opposition elements,' the official added.

Russian officials have long said their actions in Syria have been aimed at terror groups such as Islamic State and al-Qaida-linked Jabhat al-Nusra, and U.S. officials admit Russia has picked up the pace of airstrikes on terror targets.

But analysts caution the type of Russian equipment being sent to Aleppo suggests not just a different enemy in the short term but also a broader strategic endgame.

'Russia has begun to alter the shape of its own deployment,' Institute for the Study of War analyst Genevieve Casagrande said during a panel discussion Wednesday [20 April 2016]."

Video Source: RussiaWorks via Independent via Facebook. Also circulated on Youtube by RT.

Some argue that the Americans, particularly the CIA, the British, sometimes the French, and the Israelis are behind a masterful New World Order bid to turn the whole Middle East into a batch of western puppet states, with countries falling domino by domino, after a social-media-driven succession of Arab Springs gone wrong. That gives the Americans and supposed Illuminati too much credit. Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad is very much 'like father, like son'; the Syrian civil war resembles the 1982 Hama massacre, in which Hafez al-Assad crushed a Sunni uprising by the Muslim Brotherhood which had been brewing since 1976. The failed American bid to topple Assad by joining the Saudis to fund Syrian opposition forces - and some argue, ISIS, despite American battles with the group - has led to a disastrous foreign policy mess, which brings the drone-slinging Americans to what The Guardian called, "plan B."

Déjà vu: similarities between Shia-led crackdowns on majority Sunni uprisings in Syria. Image Source: Georgetown University via Ben Davies.

Plan B involves cooling the American alliance with Saudi Arabia and tentatively supporting Iran, leaving one to wonder where the Saudis will pivot, perhaps toward Russia. The picture: ISIS in Europe; Russia and Iran in Syria; the Saudis alienated by the Americans to temper Iran's nuclear ambitions. All eyes turn to Jordan, now sharing anti-ISIS intelligence with the Israelis and Egypt, terrified of a nuclear Iran. If Iran has nuclear weapons, some argue that other Middle Eastern countries should have them too, or none at all. Beyond the usual astronomical expenditure on weapons in the Middle East, what would a nuclear arms race there look like and where would it lead? There is already a conventional arms race. In 2015, USD $1.7 trillion was spent collectively by all powers on weapons of mass, medium and minor destruction; you can see a worldwide comparative chart here. Of that amount, Saudi Arabia spent USD $87.2 billion in 2015; in 2013, the country spent USD $67 billion, and USD $56 billion in 2012, which gives an idea of the kingdom's escalating anxieties.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Rickrolling ISIS

Image Source: Academia Obscura.

In 2007, a bait-and-switch meme started on the Internet that tricked users into watching Rick Astley's 1987 hit Never Gonna Give You Up (hear it here). The meme is called 'Rickrolling' and while it has brought Astley back into the spotlight, by August 2015 he had earned only $12 from the prank because he has performer's rights to the song; profits from Rickrolling went to the very fortunate song-writing trio, Stock Aitken Waterman. Astley remains sanguine: "Listen, I just think it’s bizarre and funny. My main consideration is that my daughter doesn’t get embarrassed about it." Above, from Academia Obscura, a student's physics paper on Niels Bohr. Bohr, the 1922 Nobel Prize winner in Physics, modeled the atom in the 1920s, helped refugees flee the Nazis in the 1930s, worked at the Manhattan Project in the 1940s, and helped establish CERN in the 1950s.

Anonymous cyber-revenge campaign after the 13 November 2015 Paris attacks. Video Source: RT via Youtube.

The Young Turks opinion on Anonymous campaign against ISIS (16 November 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

The Rickrolling meme is resilient. A day after the Paris attacks on 14 November 2015, Anonymous began to spam and troll Twitter users with pro-ISIS terrorist hashtags by diverting their traffic to Rick Astley's video. This Rickrolling performs as a type of data-mining, in which Anonymous hackers keep track of those diverted to the video and mark them for cyber-attacks. The hackers use social media information to steal ISIS Bitcoin cryptocurrency holdings and they attack them on the Dark Net. They renewed this effort after the Brussels attacks on 22 March 2016. This is the hackers' reverse humour against ISIS operatives and sympathizers: never gonna give you up.

However, as I have commented before on this blog, it would be naïve to imagine Anonymous as purely heroic actors, after one has had a taste of their New World Order and World War III conspiracy theories, here, here, here and here. The campaigns against ISIS are related to Anonymous cyber-attacks on the Belgian government under hashtag #DownSecBelgium. On their announcement that they will rally at Place de la Concorde in Paris, France on 10 June 2016, one Youtuber was skeptical: "rien à voire avec Anonymous, c'est un fake."

Anonymous hacker campaign announced in French against ISIS one day after the Paris attacks (14 November 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

Anonymous hacker campaign announced in French against ISIS on the same day as the Brussels attacks (22 March 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

Justin Bieber Meets the Renaissance

Images Source: Daily Mail.

A photo of Justin Bieber being choked by R&B artist Post Malone in a club last week has gone viral because the light of the photo and the composition, which follows the Golden Ratio, perfectly mimics the appearance of a Renaissance painting. Several people photoshopped the image to make it look like a Renaissance painting in a gallery. Post Malone, who first gained attention last year for his hit, White Iverson (hear it here), appeared at Coachella on 18 April 2016 covering Nirvana's Lithium (Hat tip: Hot New Hip Hop).