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, October 9, 2010

The History of the Universe

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and A. Feild STScI.

Michael Shull of the University of Colorado and a team of researchers have examined evidence from Hubble Space Telescope and determined that early on in its history, the universe was super hot, then started to cool down in what they call the Quasar Era. Via Lee Hamilton's blog and Physorg: "This diagram traces the evolution of the universe from the big bang to the present. Two watershed epochs are shown. Not long after the big bang, light from the first stars burned off a fog of cold hydrogen in a process called reionization. At a later epoch quasars, the black-hole-powered cores of active galaxies, pumped out enough ultraviolet light to reionize the primordial helium." The team's results will be published in the October 20 issue of The Astrophysical Journal (homepage here).

Friday, October 8, 2010

Millennial Liberty: Ridley Scott and The Man in the High Castle

The Guardian is reporting that Ridley Scott is going to direct a BBC adaptation of Philip K. Dick's 1962 novel The Man in the High Castle, the famous what-if future history of America if Nazi Germany had been victorious during World War II. This adaptation of alternate history picks up on current debates about the preservation of liberty when privacy is being eroded.  Because of the Tech boom, politics have less impact on this debate than one would think. Some have focussed on the war on terrorism and the increasingly sophisticated use of surveillance by public authorities.  But in fact the internet is already five steps ahead of the camera in the street.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Snow Leopards

Here is an incredibly rare video of young Snow Leopards.  From Panthera on Facebook: "A camera trap set up by Panthera and the Snow Leopard Trust at our Tost Mountain study area in South Gobi, Mongolia recently captured 61 close-up images of three snow leopards. Like a flip book, taken together these photos produce this amazing video. We think that these three snow leopards are siblings that have recently left their mother, but are still traveling together. In this region we have eight snow leopards that are currently fitted with GPS collars, and we are monitoring their movements to better understand their needs and threats, which will ultimately help us to protect these 'mountain ghosts.' Read more about our snow leopard conservation efforts in Mongolia where Panthera and the Snow Leopard Trust are collaborating on the first ever long-term study of snow leopards. See USA Today's article featuring this video here."

See all my posts on endangered species, genetic research and threats of extinction.

Centres for Future Times

Ode to M. C. Escher (2010). © By Tabasco-Raremaster. Reproduced with kind permission.

Universities are starting to establish special institutes dedicated to studying concepts of time and popular consciousness of the turn of the Millennium.  There are also think tanks and consultancies popping up that are dedicated to understanding the Zeitgeist, for a price! Here's a list of a few (out of many) places where people are devoted to thinking about the future and our place in it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fountain of Youth 8: The Immortal Game

Alien vs. Predator: Chess (2009-2010). © By Xidon. Reproduced with kind permission.

Everyone who has seen Ridley Scott's classic 1982 film Blade Runner knows the lines: "Queen to Bishop 6. Knight takes Queen. Bishop to King 7. Checkmate, I think."  BRMovie.com analyzes the film's chess game between the AI designer Tyrell and the android Roy Batty: "On a simple level, the game can be seen as just the fight of replicants against humans. However, The Immortal Game is also a clear reflection of the struggle for longer life that Roy and his fellow replicants seek. They want to escape from their status as pawns and find immortality (as a pawn becoming a queen on the eighth rank). Yet another layer can be seen at the individual level with Roy chasing King Tyrell. In the game, Roy checkmates Tyrell. In life, Roy sets up Tyrell - Tyrell gets some false confidence just before the end, but just as in the game, the King eventually dies." I would add to that intepretation that Blade Runner depicts humans playing God by creating sentient machinesThe machines occupy the position where humans are now: questioning their Creator and demanding immortality from Him. But while doing this, we create a deep philosophical problem because we are also looking to our tech tools to prolong our own lives. This connundrum suggests that we are trying to prolong and exalt our humanity by losing our humanity.  And we will end up in a battle to the death with the very tools we are using to do it.  In the end, we could become Posthuman monsters, playing a giant chess game with androids that are also monsters.