TIMES, TIME, AND HALF A TIME. A HISTORY OF THE NEW MILLENNIUM.

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, August 12, 2017

Pedogate: Spin and Victimhood


On 18 February 2017, a mansion on Turkey Run Road in McLean, Virginia, USA burned down. Conspiracy theorists assumed that this fire related to their theory of Washington's corrupt establishment, and involved the destruction of child abuse evidence. News sources reported that the mansion was owned by the United Arab Emirates and the people who lived in the house escaped unharmed. Image Source: WUSA-9.

We live in a hybrid condition, between past and future, between the 20th century and the 21st. In this hybrid condition, we see a number of problems: systemic corruption; taboo ideas and extremist language to ramp up the energy of discourse; increasing efforts to use technology to impose control in old ways. This leads straight to totalitarianism, the very thing everyone claims they want to avoid.

The only antidote, the only possibility of recovering balance, would be to lay down ideological arms, step back from left-right arguments, and express compassion for those of opposing views and situations. Almost no one seems ready to do that.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Surveillance Capitalism Crosses the Uncanny Valley


Me playing with the CUBO CC Girl (28 March 2008). Video Source: Youtube.

On the Youtube series, Deep Web Browsing, gamer host Mutahar stumbled in Episode 59 (here) across a Brazilian 'post-advertising' agency, cubo.cc, with a site on the Dark Web and supposed offices in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and New York City. Cubo CC claims it is part of the 'creative disruption network.' You can see what (I think) is one of their 2008 disruptive marketing products above, CUBO CC Girl, an interactive CGI girl who follows your cursor in real time. Forum members on Hacker News tried to trace this project's design and origins. You can see a similar 2008 project from Image Metrics, below.

The Emily Project from Image Metrics (2008). The project is explained here. Image Source: HDimagelib.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Look Skyward: Partial Eclipse of the Moon


The darker blue and pink areas show where the lunar eclipse will be visible on 7-8 August 2017. Image Source: Time and Date.

There is a partial lunar eclipse of the Sturgeon Full Moon occurring on 7-8 August 2017. The eclipse begins at 15:50:01 UTC and ends at 20:50:56 UTC. For your local time, go hereSpace.com:
"The Slooh community observatory will stream live views of the partial lunar eclipse of Aug. 7, 2017, which will only be visible over Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia. Watch live from 11:45 a.m. EDT (1545 GMT) to 3:20 p.m. EDT (1520 GMT), courtesy of Slooh. You can go to Slooh.com to join and watch this live show, chat with audience members and interact with the hosts, and personally control Slooh's telescopes."

Image Source: LA Times.

During the eclipse, you can watch a live feed of the moon passing through the earth's shadow on the video screen below. Eclipses come in pairs, so expect another, solar eclipse in two weeks on 21 August 2017. It will be visible on the other side of the world, in North America.

Partial Lunar Eclipse (7 August 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Time and Politics 23: The New Third Way of Internet Politics


Probably Chelsea (2017) by Heather Dewey-Hagborg and Chelsea Manning. Genetic materials, custom software, thirty 3d prints. Image Source: Joerg Blumtritt. Thanks to Heather Dewey-Hagborg for her press release on the 2 August 2017 opening at the Fridman Gallery in New York City, for the opening of A Becoming Resemblance, a collaborative exhibition with Chelsea E. Manning.

This post is part of a series which considers the impact of Internet leaks, hacks, urban legends, conspiracy theories, and rumours as forms of public discourse. This blog is politically neutral, and my aim here is to step back from left, right, and extremist debates in order to understand how politics is developing in a new environment, informed by online media.

I have a grand theory about current political evolution. Here is the

TL;DR: There are two stances currently merging in political discourses. One is the 20th century paradigm. The other is a 21st century form. It is difficult to understand political change because we are using 20th century terms superficially to describe 21st century trends. Whether left or right, the 20th century paradigm depends on labeling as a mode of organization and control.

The impact of technology makes for a very different 21st century model. Accelerated technology depends on our most visceral responses; its intimate incorporation into our lives and minds creates a political sphere driven by instinct, taboo, fear, projection, confusion, distraction - in short, the shadowy collective unconscious. Thus, we are using highly rationalized and limiting 20th century thought forms to describe the 21st century's exploding unbounded experience and the politicized anti-rational.

Friday, August 4, 2017

In Millennial Eyes 7: Edinburgh in 1544


Virtual Time Binoculars - Edinburgh 1544 from Smart History on Vimeo.

A new academic project has begun to explore the historical teaching potential of virtual reality environments. I have previously blogged on a similar projects concerning history and video game technology with regard to 17th century Netherlands in The Golden Age, and colonial Quebec in I Remember the French Revolution. This is the teaser trail for Virtual Time Binoculars - Edinburgh 1544:
"PREVIEW - TEASER TRAILER

New technology reveals old Edinburgh.

St Andrews research brings 16th Century capital back to life.

The lost townscape of sixteenth-century Edinburgh is being brought back to life by researchers at the University of St Andrews.

The reconstruction is still under construction and will be available on a number of digital platforms (including a mobile app, a 3D virtual experience, and more traditional web-based resources) from 1 May 2017.

'The new digital reconstruction is the first to be created of the sixteenth-century city, and is based on a drawing from 1544 (thought to be the earliest accurate depiction of the capital).'

The technology will be shown for the first time today (16 March 2017) at a special event showcasing the University’s research to industry partners.

The virtual time travel technology – which will be released as an app in May – provides a unique window into the capital around the time of the birth of Mary Queen of Scots.

The technology is the result of a collaboration between St Andrews historians, art historians, computer scientists and University spinout company Smart History. The result is an interactive tour of the capital as it appeared in 1544, just before the city was sacked and burned by an English army led by Edward Seymour, Earl of Hertford.

Dr Bess Rhodes, an expert on sixteenth-century Scottish history who collaborated on the reconstruction, said, 'For the first time visitors and residents can compare the city they know with the capital of James V and Mary Queen of Scots.'

'It has been amazing seeing the recreation of a lost townscape. I hope this project makes the public more aware of the layers in the capital’s history, and furthers understanding of the complex way in which Edinburgh evolved.'

The reconstruction is inspired by a sixteenth-century drawing of Edinburgh made by Richard Lee, an English military engineer who later designed the massive artillery defences at Berwick-upon-Tweed. Lee accompanied the Earl of Hertford’s forces to Edinburgh in 1544, and his drawing is thought to be the first realistic depiction of Scotland’s capital.

The interdisciplinary team of St Andrews researchers supplemented the information from Lee’s plan with archaeological evidence, sixteenth-century written sources, and information about the geography of the modern city, to create an updated reconstruction of Edinburgh.

Dr Rhodes continued, 'The 1540s were a tumultuous period in Edinburgh’s history. In December 1542 King James V of Scotland died, leaving his baby daughter Mary as monarch. Not long after the English King Henry VIII ordered an invasion of Scotland, with the aim of forcing the Scots to accept a proposed betrothal between the infant Mary and his young son (the future Edward VI of England).'

'One of the first major actions in the conflict later known as the "Rough Wooing" was the Earl of Hertford’s attack on Edinburgh in May 1544. Hertford’s forces failed to capture Edinburgh Castle, but set fire to the city, damaging the medieval townscape, before they retreated. Our reconstruction is the first digital representation of Edinburgh at this eventful moment in the capital’s past.'

The new reconstruction gives an overview of the townscape of the entire sixteenth-century city, with a particular focus on the Royal Mile – the historic spine of Edinburgh. The digital development was largely financed by a grant from Innovate UK."

See all my posts in the series, In Millennial Eyes, in which I explore how history and historic themes are viewed from 21st century perspectives.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Once Upon a Time, Information became Technology


Image Source: Pinterest.

One of the marvels of the middle ages, a moment when technology jumped, is the flying buttress. Perfected by the 12th century, the elegance and grandeur of flying buttresses are obvious. As an architectural innovation, they leap toward the modern world's astounding tall buildings. They have a lesson for us, too, because flying buttresses tell us what technology really means and why we use it.

Image Source: Pinterest.

The flying buttress was not invented for its own sake. The point to the buttress - even with everything it did for architecture - was not the buttress. Its invention was a means to an end. The buttress was incidental to a larger goal that had nothing to do with the buttress itself.

The flying buttress was invented to solve a problem of faith. It was deliberately conceived to narrate a great architectural story about how human beings can reach higher. At that time, the metaphor for that adventure was religious; the flying buttress was created to vault ornate ceilings into the heavens, to make buildings which touched the edge of God's celestial dominion.


Images Source: Pinterest.


Images Source: Thought Co.

Image Source: Aramaic Bible.

Technology is a servant of higher impulses in human nature; it is supposed to expand our tool-using capacity to accomplish greater things. The past decade has confused the meaning of technology, with corporations portraying tech gadgets as autonomous objects, birthed in rapturous marketing campaigns. They present the technology as an end in itself. Some say this is a nihilistic message, and its implications are evident in recent scandals.

Apple Official iPhone 8 Trailer 2017 (26 June 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Another Benchmark in the Downfall of Modern Society (26 July 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

This summer, I have covered several wild conspiracy theories and the evolving dynamics of memes, alt-news, and fake news in an effort to understand what part information plays as we use technology to reach beyond worship of the gadget. My posts are not advocating or seeking to prove conspiracy theories, rather indicating where their use takes us.


The established mainstream media attack the alt-media as the latter attract huge audiences on the Internet. The MSM insist that only the corporate media may define the narrative of what is happening in the world. They are grounded in reputation, domination, professionalism; these are the compensated establishment voices who wish to control the way we consume information.

Unless the MSM speak of a cherished citizen journalist who supports the mainstream narrative, there is an established media backlash against nearly all alt-media as 'fake news.' Do not believe the unbranded, no-name voices in the online realm of the disreputable, flawed, amateur, or ideologically threatening. For all this criticism, the MSM journalists have spent little effort trying to understand what practical purpose is served by fake news, conspiracy theories, and other dubious information.

To return to the flying buttress, technology serves a purpose larger than itself. In virtual reality, information becomes a technology. Information and disinformation are tools which can build new realities and new potentials. This utility is little understood by those who take information at face value, as an end in itself. Treat information as a new kind of technology, and the endgame of conspiracy theories, alt-news, and fake news makes more sense.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Millennial Extremes 13: Reach the Summit of Summits


On 25 May 2014, Sandhana Palli Anand Kumar became the first Dalit (India's lowest social caste, the 'untouchables') to scale Mount Everest. He accompanied Malavath Poorna, then aged 13, the youngest girl ever to climb the mountain. Image Source: Youtube.

The blog started this year in the Himalayas, and returns there as we just passed the year's half-way point on 1 July 2017. This day, 23 July 2017 (9:45 UTC), is also a new moon in Leo, which if you believe in astrology, marks a huge shift in everyone's lives.

After 18 months of slogging, the astrologers declare a big door has opened, and the period from today through to the 21 August 2017 solar eclipse is symbolically the end of past difficulties and the start of the story of why you were born to live on this planet, no matter how old you are. One astrologer worked himself up into hysterics and yelled: "It's going to be a wild ride. ... Stop thinking about the world. ... Don't f**k this one up!! ... You rarely get opportunities like this!"

However, one must act under guidance of the heart, against mass conformity and reject preconceived ideas of the way things should be (south node in Aquarius). Dark Star Astrology calls it "tribal shock"; one must act as an authentic, genuine individual. There is a choice between leaders and groups, between individuals and collective social conditioning.

The last time we saw similar aspects (north node in Leo) was before the tech boom in 1998-1999, which defined the way the world came to look - but what was subsequently created was not as planned or prescribed; nor was it expected, given the way things were in the 1990s. It is a time of huge creativity, combined with uniqueness, individualism, and unpredictability.

Sandhana Palli Anand Kumar's selfie video from the summit: Amazing video from top of Mount Everest: Anand Kumar on peak (June 2014). Video Source: Youtube.

Symbolic this new moon may be, but no summit can be scaled without initial resolution and Mount Everest provides the best example.

At 8,848 metres (29,029 feet), the mountain, half in China, half in Nepal, is of course the world's tallest. It has other names: Chomolongma (in Romanized Tibetan); Sagarmatha (Romanized Nepalese); Qomolangma (Romanized Chinese). Its Old Darjeeling name is Deodungha.

Here are some new videos of people who successfully scaled this incredible peak. The most recent examples involve people who use the summit simultaneously to break social barriers, while overcoming tests of personal physical endurance and possibility. The latter have always been so. Only two people have ever scaled the mountain solo: the Italian, Reinhold Messner and the Swede, Göran Kropp (1966-2002). But today's mountaineers challenge the mountain, as well as barriers of age, gender, and social class.

After two years' preparation, Russian Valery Rozov set a record base jump off the mountain in May 2013: Mount Everest Wingsuit Jump Video: Man Jumps Off Peak With Wingsuit (May 2013). Video Source: Youtube.

Climbing Mount Everest is a deadly prospect, and there are a lot of videos about the dark side of these expeditions. The mountain is littered with tonnes of human waste and garbage and is the gravesite of unrecovered climbers' bodies. Over 290 people have died trying to climb the mountain. Nevertheless, the expeditions have continued and increased since 2000:
"With 2016 in the books, there have been 7,646 total summits by 4,469 different climbers. 1,105 climbers, mostly Sherpa, have multiple summits. The south side (Nepal) remains more popular with 4,863 summits while the north (Tibet) has 2,783 summits."
Those numbers come from The Himalayan DatabaseSpaniard Kilian Jornet accomplished the fastest ascent to the top in May 2017, without bottled oxygen or fixed ropes. He managed it in 26 hours. By 2012, Apa Sherpa - whose nickname is 'Super Sherpa' - had climbed the mountain 21 times.


Images Source: Alan Arnette.

Indian Girls On Top Of The World! Mt. Everest next door!! (June 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

The National Cadet Corps (NCC) of India has intenstive mountaineering programs, and on 21-22 May 2016, a team of ten female cadets, aged 17 to 21, climbed Mount Everest. Their climb is documented above; they were honoured in New Delhi on 10 June 2016, below. Then-Army Chief General Dalbir Singh declared the girls would be considered to become officers in the Indian Army.

Army chief praises girl NCC team which scaled Mt. Everest - ANI News (June 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Emperor's Scribe has No Clothes


Video Source: Youtube.

It is no secret that the recession sparked a huge backlash against the establishment. It does not help that there are legitimate reports of a "global scourge" of high level corruption. Royal families are lightning rods for projected anger and distress, channeled through fake news stories which blame them as grand masters of everything that has gone wrong. As democracies slip into fascism, frightened citizens fear the resurgence of old monarchical absolutism, in the same way they fear a phantom limb. Do they really need to fear, when many royals have become commoners, like Korea's forgotten prince, who ran a liquor store in Los Angeles?

One fake example which targets the British royals is the February 2015 video above, which circulated online in 2016 and 2017. This Buckingham Palace video was dismissed in the alt-media and the mainstream media as a CGI hoax after comparison with Google's street view of the same location. A commenter on the debunking of the Buckingham Palace video remarked:
"I have done CGI compositing for broadcast, using live footage and 'fake' elements blended to look like one shot. As a professional I can confirm that this is a studio quality job and I would strongly disagree with those who claim it is 'obviously' fake on the basis of the visuals alone. You have done your homework and established it as a fake by cross referencing the footage with verifiable reference photos. Given the expertise and resources required to fake this so well, the fact that reference to the architecture of Buckingham Palace quickly proves this to be a fake would lead me to agree with you that this could well be a psyop designed to muddy the waters for all researchers."
Conspiracy theorists would probably distrust Google's street view and insist the footage was real. This video was linked to the Pedogate conspiracy theory, implying that the royals are involved in child sex slavery rings, or worse.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Pedogate's Nightmare Realities


"Surrey’s Operation Arundel, which ran for six years from 2000, centred on the disco in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey[, UK,] where [Jonathan] King and Chris Denning picked up victims in the 1970s and 80s." Image Source: Nick Holt/Daily Mail.

One of 2016's most troubling alt-right and alt-media political rumours was the Pizzagate conspiracy theory. It maintained that a well-connected, pro-Clinton pizzeria owner, James Alefantis, ran a child slavery and child sex trafficking ring out of his Washington, DC restaurant, Comet Ping Pong Pizza; this was after conspiracists had examined photos in his Instagram account. Theorists also accused Clinton's campaign manager, John Podesta, of involvement, based on his WikiLeaks e-mail leaks.

This is an ugly topic, which the mainstream media condemned as 'fake news,' a pro-Trump political hoax. Pizzagate expanded into the larger conspiracy theory of global child abuse: Pedogate. Pedogate embroidered an extended, hideous, anti-Semitic story of a global child-killing, about a cannibalistic cabal of black magician bankers and world leaders. The discussion grew so politicized, nasty, and insane that the respectable media dismissed it all as fake news, which left conspiracists even more convinced that all the horrors were real.

My posts on this topic step back from the mainstream dismissals of this information, and from the popular investigations on sites like Voat and Reddit and Youtube. I will look at the rumours as a symptom of larger social evolution, as influenced by technology.

Today's post deals with the facts. The Web has enabled and worsened real problems of child abuse, pornography, sex slavery, and sex trafficking. A later post deals with the political exploitation of Pedogate, and its post-truth meme-ification. There are facts, there are fictions. There is a third aspect here: who is responsible?

Friday, July 7, 2017

Wonders of the Millennial World 9: The Speed of Consciousness


Image Source: pinterest.

One of the questions which I pursue on this blog is whether or not human consciousness is manifesting on the Internet, in the psycho-anthropological myth-space of virtual reality, or as an alternate way of being, or in zeroes and ones, or in the physics of quantum computing. If human consciousness operates collectively on the Internet, it raises a subsequent question of whether that online consciousness can alter actual, real world reality.

The Big Bang Theory: Schrödinger's cat from Season 1, Episode 17, The Tangerine Factor (19 May 2008) © Warner. Reproduced under Fair Use. Video Source: Youtube.

This sounds bizarre, but the relationship between mind and matter remains one of the great unsolved mysteries of modern science. In my 2015 post, A Quantum Christmas, I outlined the origins of the mystery: when we measure matter, matter changes. And quantum entangled matter shows that we can measure an entangled particle, and its unmeasured twin will change too.

This means that matter has some other way of existing beyond our perception and we have an effect on matter which we do not understand. At the quantum level, matter changes from a previous, indefinite state before we look at it, where it exists in all places at once. After we look at it, it acquires a definite, measurable state. The impact our observations have on reality is exerted at a speed of three trillion metres per second. This is how fast our observations travel to transform reality into fixed states. We might call it the speed of consciousness.

Try to assess this, and find further, via the double slit experiment, that before we measure matter, when it exists in an indefinite state, it acts like a wave of energy. Measure the matter, and it becomes definite, fixed, and the wave 'collapses' to behave like particles.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

In Millennial Eyes 6: The Antarctic Fourth Reich and the Great Game


Frank Hurley's photograph, taken between 1914 and 1916, of Antarctic explorer Dr. Leonard Hussey with Samson - one of the Canadian sled-dogs on Sir Ernest Shackleton's ill-fated Endurance expedition. Image Source: Pinterest via Royal Geographical Society.

Today's post continues my coverage of the Millennial Antarctic Fourth Reich conspiracy theory and its meaning in terms of Internet psycho-politics. In this case, I will describe how this conspiracy theory relates to the revival of the 19th century contest between Britain and Russia for Asian lands and wealth: the Great Game.

I argue that Antarctica now replaces Central Asia, to serve as a cipher in a new virtual Great Game. The Antarctic Fourth Reich conspiracy theory appears to be an alarming Russian-sourced or pro-Russian form of propaganda, which endorses and then moves past the pro-Trump agenda, to encourage Americans to destroy their own country from within. The Fourth Reich theory also channels a folkloric and racist renewal of Anglospheric nationalism, in which Vladimir Putin is viewed as a strategic ally.

The Fourth Reich conspiracy theory depends heavily on the Nazis' merger of the occult, politics, and technology. Secrets of the Third Reich: The Rediscovery of Vimanas (uploaded 11 February 2013). Video Source: Youtube.

The conspiracy theory also seeks to isolate the Anglosphere from the Europeans. It hinges on the supposed historic continuation of German Nazism (with a conspicuous, ahistorical failure to mention Italian fascism, Japan, or affiliated Axis powers from World War II) and returns Anglospheric opinion of the Russians to the sympathetic year of 1944.

Despite the apparent Russian dominance of this online extravaganza, the Anglospheric aspect of the Fourth Reich narrative has an elusive introspective quality which may excise the Russian factor and even nationalist racism. That is, something about this conspiracy theory involves America, the UK, and affiliated Commonwealth countries chewing over internal identity in light of contemporary politics and evolving global techno-economies and societies. The outcome of that muddled cultural reevaluation may be completely independent and unexpected, regardless of whether or not the Russians try to interfere with, or benefit from, this process.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Nuclear Culture 18: The Lynch Atomic


All still from Twin Peaks: The Return, Episode 8 (25 June 2017). All images here are © Showtime. Reproduced under Fair Use. Image Source: Vulture.

On 18 May 2017, I asked whether David Lynch and Mark Frost could bring Twin Peaks into the Internet Era. The answer is: yes. The show is already generating memes. So far, the series has proved a culmination of all of Lynch's work and surreal noir style, a synthesis of his ideas from Eraserhead (1977), through Dune (1984), Blue Velvet (1986), Wild at Heart (1990), Lost Highway (1997), The Straight Story (1999), Mulholland Drive (2001), to Inland Empire (2006). Even bits of The Elephant Man (1980) arrive in dated, other-worldly dream parlours.

Image Source: Entertainment Weekly.

I could gush about all the actors' stellar performances, especially catatonic/evil Kyle MacLachlan and 'we-are-the-99-per-cent!' Naomi Watts. But if I had to sum up the execution of the whole artistic vision in one word, it would be, 'fearlessness.' There is not one iota of artistic compromise and no apology, as Lynch, Frost and the cast push everything over the edge and keep going.

Atom bomb clip from Twin Peaks: The Return, Episode 8 (25 June 2017). Reproduced under Fair Use. Video Source: Youtube.

As for the most recent episode, leave it to the legendary director to create the best hour to air in the history of television. One Youtuber called it the "Best 1950s Retro Horror Film Ever." The reviewers are united in praise, because this episode explained the origins of evil; it revealed how the monster in the original series (BOB) was created, as well as his victim, Laura. From one Youtube commenter:
"This was essentially the birth of BOB and the other evil spirits that entered America (due to the atomic age). All done in a 2001 A Space Odyssey-esque style. Laura was created by the Giant as a counter to BOB I guess. The young couple might be Leland and Sarah? All in all, this might be the most surreal episode ever in the history of television. I can't believe Lynch got away with it. This was pure, unadulterated art man."

Image Source: W Magazine.

Image Source: The Australian.

Image Source: Vanity Fair.

Image Source: Nerdist.

Woodsmen clip from Twin Peaks: The Return, Episode 8 (25 June 2017). Reproduced under Fair Use. Video Source: Youtube.

Woodsman at the radio station clip from Twin Peaks: The Return, Episode 8 (25 June 2017). Reproduced under Fair Use. Video Source: Youtube.

Vulture's reviewer concurred that Lynch encapsulated the post-atom bomb reality:
"'Part 8' allows the series to present an elaborate, visually and sonically dazzling origin story, not so much for the demon BOB (represented by stylized images of the face of Frank Silva, the late actor who played him in the original series) but for the postwar United States of America. That’s not all it’s doing — I would not be surprised if entire books were written about this one hour."

Image Source: Vanity Fair.

The turning point which set the 'before' and 'after' of the Atomic Age was the United States' test of the Trinity bomb on 16 July 1945 at 5:29:45 a.m. In this episode, the repercussion arrives on 5 August 1956; a monster hatches from an egg in the desert, and crawls forth to unleash a nightmare, starting with rambling, charred woodsmen. One of these spectral figures breaks into a radio station and interrupts the broadcast with a sickening spell which puts everyone to sleep:
This is the water, this is the well, drink full and descend; the horse is the white of the eyes and dark within.

- Man Wanting A Light
There are several artistic influences here. The episode reminded me of many American horror-genre depictions of nuclear weapons and warfare, including the video games, It Came from the Desert and Fallout. There was a lot of Kubrick in this, too. The Nine Inch Nails provided the nuclear soundtrack. But only David Lynch could perfectly capture it all, in a one-hour dream that tells you everything that is wrong with our world.

Image Source: W Magazine.


See all my posts on Nuclear topics.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Chicago: A Tale of Two Cities


Image Source: Newsweek.

Today on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS, Zakaria interviewed Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago and Obama's former White House Chief of Staff. After they criticized Trump for five minutes, Zakaria borrowed Donald Trump's electoral phrase to describe Emanuel's promise to 'make Chicago's infrastructure great again.' Emanuel described a 4-year infrastructure plan to expand runways and trains at O'Hare Airport; mass transit with 4G on it; and modernize schools. The plan would bring 50,000+ additional new construction jobs to the city.


Of course, the segregation, chaos, and violence in the city are extremely politicized. The Obamas have roots in Chicago, and they are planning a presidential library and museum there. In January 2017, Trump made headlines by promising to send in the feds if Emanuel could not get the city in hand.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Venezuela's Pyramid Shopping Mall Torture Chamber


Al Jazeera: Venezuela faces food and medical supply shortage (24 June 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

From the WSJ (23 June 2017), a follow-up from my earlier post on Venezuela's crisis, as the country defiantly departed the Organization of American States:
"Almost two decades after Venezuela’s late president, Hugo Chávez, came to power in an electoral landslide, his country’s transformation seems to be taking an ominous new turn. A country that was once one of Latin America’s wealthiest is seeing its democratic institutions collapse, leading to levels of disease, hunger and dysfunction more often seen in war-torn nations than oil-rich ones.

Mr. Chávez’s successor, President Nicolás Maduro, has called for a National Constitutional Assembly to be elected on July 30 to draft a new constitution, in which ill-defined communal councils will take the place of Venezuela’s traditional governing institutions, such as state governments and the opposition-dominated Congress. The new assembly appears to be rigged to heavily represent groups that back the government.

The Maduro government says that the new assembly will find a peaceful way forward for a country enduring an economic depression and standing on the brink of civil conflict. The government says it is building on the legacy of Mr. Chávez, a military man who vowed to fight corruption, dismantle the venal old political establishment and be a voice for millions of poor Venezuelans. But the opposition, which is boycotting the assembly vote, calls it a naked attempt to end democracy and turn the country into a Cuba-style communist autocracy. The government’s own attorney general calls the vote illegal.

The 545-member assembly, a modern-day soviet, would hold unlimited power while it writes a new governing charter, which could take years. Meantime, the assembly is widely expected to scrap next year’s presidential elections.

'This is the last battle for democracy in Venezuela,' says David Smilde, a Venezuela expert at Tulane University.

For the U.S., the prospect of a new Cuba sitting atop trillions of dollars of oil reserves is profoundly unpleasant. For the past decade, Venezuela has aligned itself with Russia, China, Iran and Syria. Whether it thrives or implodes, Mr. Maduro’s petrostate could cause far greater headaches to the U.S. and Latin America than isolated Cuba. An implosion could mean bigger shipments of cocaine to Central America and the U.S., as well as a massive increase in the current flow of tens of thousands of refugees already fleeing the country for the U.S., Colombia, Brazil and elsewhere. And a consolidation of power could let Mr. Maduro deepen his partnership with U.S. adversaries.

The Trump administration has criticized Mr. Maduro’s plans to change the constitution, urging 'respect for democratic norms and processes.' The U.S. has called for Venezuela to free political prisoners, respect the opposition-controlled congress and 'hold free and democratic elections.'

Mr. Maduro’s move has aggravated Venezuela’s political crisis. The opposition, sensing a do-or-die moment, plans to ramp up daily street protests. Some 80 people have died in such demonstrations in the past three months, and the president is unlikely to ease off on the tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons.

'Maduro’s ultimate aim is to turn Venezuela into Cuba. And we will not accept being put in that cage,' says Julio Borges, the head of the opposition-dominated National Assembly.

Venezuela’s momentous new step isn’t taking place amid the kind of revolutionary euphoria that Mr. Chávez may have imagined before he died of cancer in 2013. Rather, it is being pushed by an unpopular government trying to keep power amid an economic implosion.

By year’s end, Venezuela’s economy will have shrunk by nearly a third in the past four years—a plunge similar to Cuba’s after the fall of the Soviet Union, and one rarely seen outside of conflict zones. In a nation estimated to be sitting on as much oil as Saudi Arabia, it is common to see poor families rummaging through garbage for food, even as the wealthy pack nearby gourmet restaurants.

Inflation was estimated by the International Monetary Fund at 720% this year; it is expected to surpass 2,000% next year. Shortages are so acute that three out of four Venezuelans lost an average of 18 pounds last year, according to a survey by Venezuelan universities. Diseases not seen there in decades, such as malaria, are back."

Protestas en Venezuela 22 de junio 2017 (23 June 2017). Video Source: Youtube. More from 22 June here.

Political prisoners in Caracas are transported to a former drive-in shopping mall, now prison, called the Helicoide. Failed Architecture provides a full history on the ominous building, which already had a negative, creepy reputation. There are rumours that there are underground tunnels under El Helicoide which reach out into different parts of the city. Image Source: arquitecturayempresa.

The Washington Post reports that political prisoners are transported to a pyramid-shaped complex called the Helicoide, where they are forced to eat pasta mixed with excrement:
"The headquarters of the Venezuelan intelligence service is a vast pyramid-shaped edifice known as the Helicoide, a former shopping mall which now functions as an interrogation pen for political prisoners and protesters.

The 30-year-old economics student had heard enough about the infamous building to be terrified as he was led into a dank cell in early April — his eyes blindfolded, his wrists bound by his shoelaces.

'You’re going to die here,' a guard informed him, he later recalled.

The student had been detained after throwing rocks at an anti-government protest. During the 12 hours he spent inside the Helicoide, he said, the guards pummeled his torso, gave him electric shocks and ignited a type of powder in his cell that had the effect of tear gas, causing him to press his face into the concrete floor to escape the fumes."
One Youtuber denies it all; he says no one is hungry and the neighbourhoods in Caracas are almost all quiet. You can watch his dashcam video from 23 June 2017 here. The video had a high number of dislikes. Another video from the same day, via El Pais, shows a scene with a man heard yelling in the distance, supposedly from a prison cell, that he is being tortured. A fortune teller read Tarot cards to predict Venezuela's future.



Friday, June 23, 2017

Anniversaries: Monumental Masonry


Image Source: The Hedge Mason.

The 24th of June 2017 is the 300th anniversary of the founding of Freemasonry, more precisely, the first collective of organized Masonic lodges. On the Feast of St. John the Baptist in 1717four London lodges met at the Goose and Gridiron ale-house, and formed the Grand Lodge of London and Westminster; later it became the Premier Grand Lodge of England. The four lodges were named for the pubs where they normally met: the Goose and Gridiron; the Crown; the Apple-Tree tavern; and the Rummer and Grapes tavern.

Image Source: Time Out London.

To celebrate, London's Grand Lodge is opening for the public for a few hours. If you are in town, not a member, and would like to look inside, now is your chance:
Freemasons’ Hall, 60 Great Queen St, WC2B 5AZ will be open from 10am to 5pm on June 24. Entry to the building and ‘Rough to smooth: Art inspired by Freemasonry’ (Jun 24-Jul 1) is free.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

New UK Export: Police State Tools


How BAE sold cyber-surveillance tools to Arab states - BBC News (20 June 2017). Video Source: BBC via Youtube.

NSA in a box: on 20 June 2017, BBC reported that a UK firm, BAE systems, exported nation-wide surveillance and decryption tools to Arab states, notably the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, and Morocco. The BBC reporter found that this exported technology will potentially be used against the UK. Takeaway quote: "You'd be able to intercept any Internet traffic. If you wanted to do a whole country - go ahead!"

Image Source: BAE Systems.

The 52nd International Paris Air Show is on now from 19 to 25 June 2017, with reps talking about everything from commercial jets to quantum entanglement. The aerospace industry increasingly considers military applications in space. Jane's reported that BAE is there, seeking to expand its custom for fighter jets in Belgium and Finland. Despite political tensions between Trump's America and a liberal Europe, on 18 June 2017 Defense News stated that US military industry reps were sanguine: it's "full speed ahead" between Europe and the USA when it comes to aerospace and arms deals. While the event is on, you can watch a livestream from the Paris Air Show here.

Le Bourget roundup Day 1 (20 June 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Tweet of the Day: The Solstice



Welcome the Summer Solstice 2017


Image Source: mindbodygreen.

Welcome to Midsummer in the Northern Hemisphere and the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere. For a description of the importance of the solstice to ancient people and pagans, go here.

Ivan Kupala Day in Eastern Europe. Image Source: CNN.

Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis (1910) by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958). London Philharmonic Orchestra (David Nolan, Bryden Thomson). Video Source: Youtube.

Image Source: Amy Van Artsdalen / pinterest.

Friday, June 16, 2017

In Millennial Eyes 5: Aryan Mystics of Antarctica and the Fourth Reich


Image Source: Nachtwächter.

The Millennial mind confronts many fears. Fear of poverty, fear of misrule, fear of violence and chaos. In a world dominated by science and technology, the ultimate fear is that rational systems could create mass irrationality. How could a pervasive anti-rationalism come to dominate a landscape framed by reason? Worse, anti-rationalism can manifest its own power. These concerns give rise to the fear that magic has been combined with politics, or that magic has been combined with technology.

Rationalists break things down, analyze them, and solve limited problems within defined boundaries. Wholeness is suspect in a world dominated by specialized knowledge and compartmentalized action. Universal knowledge is a path to faith, mysteries, and madness; however, it is enjoying a vogue in high circles and low. Conspiracy theorists - who lead the fearful - share a comprehensive vision with the supposed New World Order leaders they claim to oppose. Conspiracy theorists are now the world's greatest holistic myth-makers. If physicists seek the Grand Unified Theory and philosophers consider the Theory of Everything, conspiracy theorists offer their own brand of all-encompassing pseudo-knowledge.

The theorists have developed a Grand Unifying Conspiracy Theory, which centres on Antarctica, and uses the seventh continent to explain the role of Germany and America in 20th and early 21st century history. Beyond that, this theory claims to explain our entire world as it currently exists, and as it has ever existed.

Before I continue, I want to state clearly that I personally do not believe this conspiracy theory, nor do I subscribe to its racist or outlandish elements. However, I think it is an important phenomenon, which reflects the evolution of online behaviour and technoculture. This is the conspiracy theory to end all conspiracy theories. It revises the whole history of humankind. This alt-vision would be impossible without the Internet.

Post-Truth and Tomorrow's Politics

Salon screen capture, from a 4 March 2017 article, in which author Andrew O'Hehir lamented over "fake news and endless lies." Image Source.

The craziness of the phenomenon described here shows what happens when politics becomes a battleground of perceptions and opinions. Information is detached from reality and weaponized, and narratives are too. The Salon article above cited a New York Times article from 2 March 2017 on how Donald Trump has destroyed the tone of public debate and is jeopardizing democracy. We must find ways to determine between fake and real information. We must also consider what may or may not be discussed in the public square - and which voices are authoritative, and how, and why. But all these worries ignore a critical point.


If one allows that fake-versus-real is one discussion, one must still consider a second discussion, in which post-truth is a given. When post-truth is a given, one must learn how post-truth functions, in the same way a linguistic anthropologist studies urban legends, digital folklore, and their real contexts. If we agree with Samuel Greene at KCL that "voters' perceptions have become untethered from reality," we still need to understand how untethered perceptions work.

Post-truth is not fake news. It is neither true nor false. It is a principle for people who would like to keep all their options open and stay flexible when it comes to understanding reality. That grey area has tremendous utilitarian value, especially if it draws from deeply embedded cultural memory. In terms of that utility, it doesn't matter whether information is true, false, or blended. If established authorities decry threatening information as fake, so much the better. They stake their current power on a weakening principle, that is, old, limited forms of knowledge. Those who grasp post-truth's dynamics and mechanics have the advantage. That post-truth practical advantage drives the Antarctic conspiracy theory.

Still from Heimat (Season 1 Episode 1, Fernweh - 1919-28 (The Call of Faraway Places); first aired 16 September 1984). Image Source: Cartoon Simkl.

It may appear that conspiracy theories are idiotic nonsense, online entertainment for lunatics and basement dwellers. However, I am reminded of the Heimat German television series. That series dramatically covered the history of Germany from 1919 to 2000.

When I watched Heimat's first episodes on PBS in the mid-1980s, I was struck by how Nazis were depicted when they first appeared in rural Germany in the 1920s. They were shown as ridiculous, marginal figures, brown-shirted spotty teenagers, goose-stepping in the background of town squares. They were ignored by decent folk, who were talking in civilized tones in the foreground. In other words, no one who was 'normal' took these adolescent Nazis seriously.

That dramatic interpretation can be questioned; the history of youth movements in the 1920s confirms that Nazism was much more popular than that and its ideas grew from old precedents in Europe. But certainly, within ten years, Nazism, with all its outdoorsy nature worship and ludicrous magical politics became very serious business indeed. That is why the Antarctic conspiracy theory may seem a silly waste of time - arrested development fodder for adolescent Internet gnomes - but it would be wise to pay attention to it.

Technologically-induced social transformations are opening up power vacuums. Nimble opportunists on all sides recognize that everything is shifting, and potential power bases of the future - not yet extant - are up for grabs. Conspiratorial narratives are one way to surf the post-truth waves to future prominence and control. Today's Internet gnome is tomorrow's politician.

Memories of the racist past in the USA, especially the South, may feed American fears of neo-Nazis and of Trump as a new Hitler. That is, Nazis-in-America may not be as real as the American cultural memory of racism in the United States, a separate historical phenomenon from National Socialism in Germany.

In this post and a subsequent post, I describe how one thread of post-truth, which I call the Antarctic Fourth Reich, covers everything. It works on its own mythical terms, and defies fakeness or realness. In later posts on this topic, I will consider the Fourth Reich's cultural meaning and actual utilitarian effect in terms of real history and real politics.