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.

Showing posts with label Extremes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Extremes. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Millennial Extremes 14: Next Gen Tech and the Bering Strait Connection

Image Source: InterBering.

The blog is back after a break! Today's post is about a mega-project which illustrates how early generations of imperialists have passed to torch to Millennial globalists.

If the Channel Tunnel ignited the hopes of a European generation when it opened in 1994, the Bering Strait Tunnel is an engineering scheme which could similarly transform geopolitics and revolutionize transportation. The dedicated site, InterBering, expects "Tourists will be able to cross between the U.S. and Russia in just 15-20 minutes." The most colourful aspects of the plan include proposed five star hotels along the route:
"Where the tunnels pass under America's Krusenstern Island (Small Diomede), a railway station can be built allowing passengers elevator access to the island. A world-class hotel would provide them with a mid-Strait vista of the confluence of the Pacific and Arctic Oceans. A stay at this iconic hotel, along with a journey on the magnetic levitation train serving it, will become a tourist attraction in its own right. A similar facility can be created on Russia's neighboring Ratmanov Island (Big Diomede)."
Bering Strait Tunnel proposal. Image Source: InterBering.

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.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Millennial Extremes 12: Listening at the World's Deepest Hole

Drill tower of the main borehole at Bortum-Erbendorf, Germany. Image Source: W.J.Pilsak/wikimedia commons via Discover.

Since the 1980s, crews have drilled near Windischeschenbach in northern Bavaria in Germany; they made an exploratory hole almost six miles deep (29,859 feet). They chose a spot which once lay on the fault line of an ancient continent. From Discover Magazine blog:
Drilling of the KTB borehole began in the late 1980s in a region of southern Germany called the Zone von Erbendorf-Vohenstrauß—the line where two ancient landmasses once merged to become the supercontinent Pangaea. The geology was bound to be interesting here, but even geologists were surprised by what they saw ... shifting seismic plates, boiling hydrogen, and temperatures reaching 600 degrees Fahrenheit … . The deep-drilling experiment yielded huge surprises about the structure of the earth, including maps of rock temperature, new information about seismic pressure, and beautiful models that show layers of rock wrapped around each other like ribbons.
The Russians drilled even deeper at the Kola Superdeep Borehole from 1970 to 1989; they eventually reached a depth of 40,230 feet, but then their funding ran out. This record-breaking borehole is no longer accessible.

The Russians' Kola Superdeep Borehole cap, welded shut, August 2012. Image Source: Wiki.

The German KTB borehole is the deepest artificial accessible point in the world. There are deeper, inaccessible oil wells. The natural Mariana Trench is slightly deeper than the German borehole. The Trench was explored by Canadian film director James Cameron in an exploratory vessel, Deepsea Challenger, in 2012. Incidentally, when Cameron reached the bottom of the ocean in this dangerous and daring exercise, his phone rang. His wife called to check up on him. He later joked that once a man gets married, he might think he's free when he goes off to explore the limits of the world, but he can never escape his wife. L3 provided the communication system for this extraordinary phone call.

In the case of the German borehole, we have a different audio sample. Drilling at the German KTB borehole stopped because, as in the Russian case, the funding ran out. Before the project ended, Dutch Gen Y artist Lotte Geeven recorded sounds at the base of the borehole, which you can hear below.

Audio Source: Lotte Geeven via Gizmodo via Discover Magazine.

You can see more about the story as it was originally reported at Gizmodo, which includes riveting seismic sound samples from earthquakes:
These moans aren't all that unique from the sounds beneath the boreholes, but they feel different to our human ears. Geoff Manaugh describes them as a "melancholic howl," while [sound artist Mark] Bain ... says they are "a bell-like alarm denoting histories in the making." Either way, we have our own ideas about what these cracks and grumbles articulate about the secret world below our feet.
See a report on the geological discoveries made in relation to this experiment, here. Deep drilling continues in the international project, the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program and its successor, the International Ocean Discovery Program.

See all my posts on Millennial Extremes.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Scientists Killed Oldest Known Animal In Order to Find Its Age

Image Source: Breitbart

From Breitbart, via The Mirror, there is a report that scientists killed the oldest known animal - a clam - in order to determine its age:
In 2006, climate change experts from Bangor University in north Wales found a very special clam while dredging the seabeds of Iceland. At that time scientists counted the rings on the inside shell to determine that the clam was the ripe old age of 405. Unfortunately, by opening the clam which scientists refer to as "Ming," they killed it instantly.
Cut to 2013, researchers have determined that the original calculations of Ming's age were wrong, and that the now deceased clam was actually 102 years older than originally thought. Ming was 507 years old at the time of its demise.
According to the Mirror, Ocean scientist Paul Butler from Bangor University said: “We got it wrong the first time and maybe we were a bit hasty publishing our findings back then. But we are absolutely certain that we've got the right age now.The nice thing about these shells is that they have distinct annual growth lines, so we can accurately date the shell material. That’s just the same as what archaeologists do when they use tree rings in dead wood to work out the dates of old buildings.”
The 507-year-old clam shattered the previous unofficial title holder for world's oldest creature held by a 374-year-old Icelandic clam in a German museum.
See other reports, here and here. Related: see my earlier post on Rachel Sussman's work on The Oldest Living Things in the World.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Millennial Extremes 11: Gallium Nitride - Promises and Omens

Gallium's melting point is 29.76°C; it has a high boiling point. Not found in a pure form in nature, it was discovered in the 1870s and is derived from bauxite and zinc ores. Its -nitride compound is used in semiconductors. It is produced in France, Russia, Germany and Hungary. Image Source: The Tomus Arcanum.

It is ironic that as technology reaches quantum levels to make the virtual and the artificial ever more real, progress is slowed by the inherent limits of physical reality. Until recently, computing power increased at Moore's Law rates. But now, we are reaching the end of the Silicon era. Designers have begun to hit a wall because as silicon chips get smaller, they also get hotter. NYT:
"The warning signs began a decade ago, when Patrick P. Gelsinger, then Intel’s chief technology officer, warned that if the trends continued, microprocessor chips would reach the temperature of the sun’s surface by 2011."
Silicon circuits cannot handle the heat generated by exponential computing demands imposed on them. The search is on to find materials that can allow us to push technology to ever greater extremes. It is a high stakes game, possibly one of the highest. The material that furnishes the substance of computer circuits sits at the heart of the Technological Revolution and at nano-levels crosses over into other areas of global concern: energy, space exploration, war.

In certain corners of the economy, there is no recession, if you bother to look. Vast amounts of money are being poured into the search for silicon's replacement. Tech giants are exploring alternatives such as carbon nanotubes and graphene (see also here and here), indium gallium arsenide (see also here), vanadium oxide bronze, molybdenite, silicon-germanium, and silicon carbide. For citizens weathering economic slowdowns in Europe, consider that in January 2013, the European Union awarded two €1 billion grants in its Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) program to fund 10 years of research in two R&D sectors; the first grant is dedicated to exploring the potential of graphene as a semiconductor; the second grant will support mapping of the human brain. (Why, oh why, do I have the dismal feeling that these two projects will intersect?)  IBM has looked into using liquid transistors, with chemical reactions used to switch between conducting and nonconducting states, or between '1' and '0.' The University of Nebraska is researching ferroelectric materials such as barium titanate. In May 2013, the UK government awarded NXP a £2 million grant to develop a silicon semiconductor replacement, with a focus on gallium nitride. ABI Research director Lance Wilson remarks: "Gallium Nitride (GaN) increased its market share in 2010. It is expected to do the same in 2011. Although its adoption hasn’t been as rapid as originally expected, it is nonetheless forecast to be a significant force by 2016."

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Countdown to Hallowe'en 18: The Walking Dead

Rick Grimes at the beginning of The Walking Dead #1 (October 2003) © Image Comics.

Today in North America, The Walking Dead season 3 premieres on AMC. You can see the season 3 trailer here. The show is immensely popular; the season 2 finale drew 9 million viewers earlier this year, and it ranks as the "top-rated show in cable history among the adult demo." It is also critically acclaimed. The television show is based on a ground-breaking black and white comic of the same name, created by Gen Xers  Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard. Having read the comics on which season 3 is based, I am sure that TV viewers unfamiliar with the source material will be shocked by what is coming.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Millennial Extremes 10: Random Wingsuits

The joys of wingsuits. Image Source: Wiki.

It's summertime in the northern hemisphere. As the recession grinds on, some people are happily passing the time with extreme sports. This month, base jumpers and sky divers have established the World Wingsuit League; in October 2012, they will hold a race at Tianmen Mountain, Hunan province, China. The competition is nicknamed, 'Formula 1 in the air.'

It's an incredibly dangerous form of entertainment. Within fractions of seconds, it places humans at the edge of everything nature and death have to offer. On 16 January 2012, renowned American base jumper Jeb Corliss crashed into an outcrop of South Africa's Table Mountain at 120 miles per hour (193 km/hour) and survived. Rather like the mountain climbers who film the bodies which litter Everest, Corliss is not naive. Sportsmen and women who court death go into extreme situations knowing exactly what they face. Why does Corliss do it?
Corliss never fears talking about fear. "I am scared of the same things other people are scared of."

The first time he jumped off a plane, he admits he was "scared to death".

"But you cannot stop doing something you love just because it scares you. You live with your fear, control it and use it to make more careful preparations."

When he smacked into the rock on Table Mountain, he did have a quick thought that maybe he was going to die. He has seen friends die.

Australian wingsuiter Dwain Weston, known for his daring low-altitude acrobatics, was a mentor to Corliss. In October 2003, they planned to do a combo jump from a plane flying above Colorado's Royal Gorge Bridge.

Weston struck the bridge railing, which tore his body in half. Corliss kept flying but when he landed, he was covered in Weston's blood.

"Dwain was doing what he loved," Corliss says. "I guarantee you he would prefer dying like that than he would in a car accident, or from cancer or from almost any other way of dying."

What matters in life, Corliss believes, is not how long it is, but what one does in the limited time available.
And so, after his South African accident, Corliss is back; he just uploaded a video (see it below the jump) to announce the establishment of the League; the video is a seamless Millennial blend of high-powered marketing and people throwing themselves off the tops of mountains.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Millennial Extremes 9: James Cameron Visits the Deepest Place on Earth

An example of biolumniescent creatures (not photographed on Cameron's expedition). Image Source: Osamu Shimomura and Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole © 2012 via National Geographic (Hat tip: Quigley's Cabinet).

On 26 March (local time), Canadian director James Cameron landed at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Using a special sub he has been developing with experts for several years, he journeyed to Challenger Deep, a spot in the Trench seven miles below the Earth's surface. It is the deepest place on the planet, and it lies inside an underwater gulf 50 times the size of the Grand Canyon.  In traveling to it alone, Cameron set a world record. Only three previous descents into the Trench have taken place: in 1960 (manned), 1996 (unmanned), and 2006 (unmanned). Cameron took the first film footage of the environment, which he described as "a completely alien world" - it was almost devoid of life:
I landed on a very soft, almost gelatinous flat plain. Once I got my bearings, I drove across it for quite a distance ... and finally worked my way up the slope. ... It was very lunar, a very desolate place, very isolated. My feeling was one of complete isolation from all of humanity. I felt like I, literally in the space of one day, have gone to another planet and come back.
During his descent, he also observed glowing creatures displaying bioluminescence, although not the large types displayed here. The event is described further at the blog, Quigley's Cabinet and at National Geographic.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Millennial Extremes 8: BASE Jumping in Singapore

Here's a 2012 Happy New Year video from BASE jumpers in Singapore, done against the city's skyline from the Marina Bay Sands Skypark. Hat tip to The Atlantic: "As if leaping from the top of a 55-story resort weren't spectacular enough, this video uses Singapore's futuristic skyline and Marina Bay Sands Skypark as a backdrop. The video was directed by Snow R. Shai of Snowdrum Audio Visual, and the BASE jumpers are Marta Empinotti, James Pouchert, Amanda Vicharelli, Anne Helliwell, Tim Mattson, Brendon Cork and Jeb Corliss."

Friday, February 3, 2012

Millennial Extremes 7: 24 Hours to See a World Hidden for Millions of Years

Image Source: BBC.

Antarctica is home to over 400 subglacial lakes that are sealed off time capsules, miles beneath the ice.  These bodies of water retain their liquidity due to heat from the Earth's core and have not seen the light of day from anywhere between 125,000 years and several million years.  Three teams of American, British and Russian scientists are racing to drill at different points on the Continent to see what life forms survive in these freshwater lakes.  The Americans are preparing to drill at Lake Whillans in Operation WISSARD,  a project running from 2009 to 2015.  The Russians have been drilling for a few years and are metres away from reaching Lake Vostok - a 15 million year old time capsule; for Russian photos of their operation - go here.  At Lake Vostok, summer temperatures average minus 30 degrees Celcius and winter temperatures are around minus 80 degrees Celcius.

Underneath this ice sheet, Lake Ellsworth is considered more accessible than most subglacial lakes.

BBC just reported about a British team that is getting closer to starting their operation at Lake Ellsworth. Drilling will begin in November of this year. The conditions are terrible: in high summer, it is minus 20 degrees Celcius with extremely fast winds (30 knots).  The probes have to be completely sterile so that these hidden environments are not contaminated. Once the hole is open, two miles through the ice, the team will only have 24 hours to conduct experiments before the hole freezes up again.  Sounds like practice for space exploration, and indeed, the "Europa Jupiter System Mission team will be watching closely. They plan to send a lander to drill into the moon Europa’s ice-enclosed oceans to look for life."

See all my posts related to Antarctica.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Millennial Extremes 6: Breaking the Light Barrier

Image Source: I09.

It looks like one of the great barriers, the fastest speed possible, has been broken. I09 is reporting: "Looks like Einstein may have been wrong — An international team of scientists at CERN has recorded neutrino particles traveling faster than the speed of light."

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Millennial Extremes 5: Skating the Edge

Pausing by a fjord road in Norway. Image Source: Dark Roasted Blend.

There were always intrepid people who pushed beyond safe and well-trodden paths. Explorers, saints, pilgrims, warriors, conquerors, settlers.  It will take their kind of daring to one day colonize Mars.  The fluid values of the Millennium seem to generate existential questions that are answered, in some quarters, by extreme sports.  People have never had so many chances to push beyond their psychological, physical and environmental boundaries as they have now.  They have more high-tech equipment and more opportunities to get to places where they can test themselves.  There are whole sub-cultures geared toward challenging these limits, see just a few of them below the jump.  For those who prefer to challenge themselves from their living rooms, video games are producing environments that simulate the same experiences.

The Pulpit Rock hike, Norway. Image Source: Dark Roasted Blend via Susi Varming.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Millennial Extremes 4: A Laser that Can Rip Apart Space

Image Source: ELI.

Laser technology is reaching new extremes in terms of power and brevity of time (work with a new European mega-laser will be conducted in attoseconds, or a billionth of a billionth of a second, or one quintillionth of a second; "for context, an attosecond is to a second, what a second is to about 31.71 billion years"). Three ELI facilities will conduct this research: "attosecond science in Hungary, beamline generation of secondary sources in the Czech Republic and laser-driven nuclear physics in Romania." According to the ELI Website, the construction phase began late last year and is expected to last for five years. A fourth, undetermined facility will house a mega-laser:
The first three Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI) research stations are relatively tame--sticking to ultra-short energy particles and radiation, atomic photography, and ultra-short energetic particle.
The crown jewel of ELI’s laser research facilities, the highest intensity pillar location of the four, is still being decided upon but they plan to create the world’s most powerful laser there. A 200-petawatt laser to be exact, which is 100,000 times the power of the world electric grid.
These two aspects of Europe's Extreme Light Infrastructure Project will create a laser that can rip apart space. Researchers are hoping that lasers will offer some solid proof for quantum physics. Dvice reports:
The European Commission has approved the construction of three gigantic new research lasers, with the option for a fourth that would, for an instant, be several hundred times more powerful than the entirety of the power generated by our civilization. The hope is that this will be enough energy to actually conjure virtual particles out of nothingness.
At peak power, the fourth laser in Europe's Extreme Light Infrastructure project (or ELI) will combine ten beams into a single pulse measuring 200 petawatts. 200 petawatts is significantly more power that our entire race generates at any given moment, and in fact more total power than Earth receives from the sun.
... The only way that this massive amount of power is able to be harnessed is if the amount of time that it's being used for is insanely small. The 200 petawatt pulses will only last 1.5 x 10^-14 second, which is about the same amount of time that it takes for light to travel from one side of a human hair to the other, if you shave the hair down by 90%.
The point of all this is to try to explore some of the weirdness of quantum mechanics, which suggests that space is actually a giant party of random particles that are popping in and out of existence too fast for us to see. The hope is that a laser this powerful might actually be able to tear apart the vacuum of space-time itself, revealing the matter and antimatter underneath.
The laser is expected to contribute to the fields of "particle, nuclear, gravitational, and ultrahigh-pressure physics; as well as nonlinear field theory, astrophysics and cosmology." Again, the science of the very small is colliding with the science of the very large. (Hat tip: @Swadeshine)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Millennial Extremes 3: The Longest Train Tunnel

Image Source: Time.

Caption for the above photograph: A miner climbs on excavated rocks after a giant drill broke through at the final section of the NEAT Gotthard Base Tunnel, Switzerland.

This series of posts focuses on examples where all previous boundaries are crossed in some Millennial endeavour.  In this case, a picture from Time shows a giant drill cutting through the longest train tunnel now under construction in Switzerland on 23 March 2011.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Millennial Extremes 2: The Most Dangerous Path

Caminito del Rey: Then. All Image Sources: Euro Weekly News.

Pushing limits and crossing boundaries is typical of Millennial life in work - and play.  This is a good example. The Caminito del Rey, or the 'King's Little Pathway,' in Spain attracts hikers and climbers the world over precisely because it is considered one of the most dangerous paths on the planet.
Caminito del Rey: Now. 

See a video made by a hiker, below. What strikes me is that it looks exactly like a survival horror video game (someone in the Youtube comments claimed it reminded them of Resident Evil 4, without the zombies). But it's real. This horror genre reflects the crumbling infrastructure, built in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (or earlier), which surrounds and haunts us at the turn of the Millennium. Contrary to what people thought in the twentieth century, the Millennium is not all bright and shiny, seamless and perfect.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Millennial Extremes 1: Mysteries of the Oort Cloud

Image Source: NASA/JPL via Wiki.

The Daily Mail recently carried a report on growing speculation that our solar system may have a new planet on the edge of our solar system, Tyche, which could be a gas giant four times the size of Jupiter.  Tyche, named for the petty deity that protected the fortunes and destinies of ancient Greek cities, is the pet project of astrophysicists John Matese and Daniel Whitmire of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.  They believe that irregularities in comet paths could prove the existence of Tyche within two years: "[Whitmire] told the Independent: 'If it does, [... Matese] and I will be doing cartwheels. And that's not easy at our age.'"  They have been searching for Tyche since Matese proposed its existence in 1999.