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, July 23, 2011

Millennial Conspiracies meet the Environment: Volcanic Eruption in California?

The rash of volcanic eruptions and large earthquakes have collided with Millennial conspiracy theories, like Godzilla clashing with King Kong.  After Haiti, New Zealand, Chile, and Fukushima Japan (just a few of the seismic events that have rattled people, which have awakened worries about the nuclear industry everywhere) nerves are raw about California.  About an hour ago, dutchsinse on Youtube posted a video (see it below the jump) claiming that a volcano is erupting in Southern California, at the Pisgah Crater near Barstow.  It's a young volcanic crater that last erupted about 2,000 years ago.  If you travel on the famous Route 66, you will pass through the Pisgah Crater lava flow field (see a video of this journey below the jump).  Adventurous cavers have explored the interiors of the Pisgah lava tubes (see here and here).

Since there's no evidence of an eruption on the official sites, dutchsinse seems convinced there is a cover-up.  In the comments section beneath his post, site visitors are currently arguing whether this eruption is real, and heralds a big California quake - or whether the smoke near Barstow is just a forest fire.  Some people think a volcanic eruption is causing the forest fires! This is a great example which demonstrates how abundant Web-driven information can obscure reality. 

We have access to massive amounts of information, so much so that it becomes difficult to interpret the information accurately.  Dutchsinse may be interpreting this information correctly.  For me, the red flag is not the possibility of a Californian seismic event, but the subtext.  Beyond the possible volcanic eruption, the vlogger's subtextual question is: why has the event not been reported?  Why has the government Website of the US Geological Survey not issued a comment?  The mainstream media and government have their problems, but most people still look to them to validate popular interpretations of online and local information.  Because there are no common standards or regulations for the tweeting, Facebooking, blogging and vlogging practices of online info junkies (and most would fiercely resist any professionalization), conspiracy theorists tend to dominate topics not covered by official statements on what is happening in the world around us.  This is why a wealth of information breeds lack of trust.

UPDATES: Dutchsinse has posted additional videos regarding an FAA aviation warning over this area and he has looked at online government seismic records for the past 24 hours (Hat tip: Before It's News).

Anniversaries: Start of the Concentration Camps' Liberation

Newsreels of Majdanek's and other camps' liberations. Image Source: Scrapbook Pages. 

Today and tomorrow mark the 67th anniversary of the first Allied liberation of a Nazi concentration camp, Majdanek, where some 79,000 people (or more, depending on the estimate) died on the outskirts of Lublin, Poland.  For images of what the Red Army soldiers found, go here and here. Liberations of other camps ran well into the following year.  In 1960, the Soviets released their 1944 liberation footage of the camp to the media, which was the first point at which the general public abroad began to grasp fully what had happened, even though the existence of the camps was generally known prior to that.  Michael Berenbaum: "[On April 28, 1945,] H.W. Lawrence, a correspondent for the New York Times, wrote: 'I have just seen the most terrible place on earth.' These revelations were not given much credence. The very existence of something as awful as a death camp seemed impossible. Even graphic films of the camp shown in Britain and the United States were dismissed as Soviet propaganda."

There is a list of the order in which the camps were liberated and by which forces here, and a general list of all camps here.

Soviet Red Army Forces first liberated
American Forces first liberated
British and Canadian Forces first liberated

Lublin on the edge of Majdanek concentration camp (March 2007). Image Source: Bronislaw Wesolowski/Wiki. (Click on image to see large version.)
Below the jump, some rare colour film of events leading up to the Holocaust, including images of Galicia, Vienna in 1938, the Warsaw Ghetto, and the Ohrdruf camp liberation by American forces.  This is another example of a historical event taking on a more immediate quality for viewers through the use of colour rather than black and white footage.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Beards are Going to Come Back In

Jackson on the Hobbit's Shire set.

We're going back to the Shire. If it's an option, it's time to start growing out your beard.  Peter Jackson's staff have been posting vlogs from the set of the two Hobbit movies.  See the most recent one below the jump, which shows several sets and the actors discussing the filming so far (Hat tip: Bleeding Cool). The official blog for the films is here, where you can see many more photos of the sets and actors in costume.  Anticipation is building to see what Smaug will look like: on 16 June 2011, it was announced that Smaug will be voiced and interpreted by Benedict Cumberbatch, who played the Cadbury-styled chocolate mogul in the 2007 film version of Atonement.  The Tolkien trust, founded by Tolkien's children, is here. All images and designs are copyright Warner Bros. Entertainment.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Heat Waves and Fraying Realities

Image Source: Recap.

Yesterday, my cousin called me and said, "It's freezing here."  She's in the one small, northern corner of North America that isn't suffering under an awful heat wave.  As for the rest of the continent, the American media are full of reports about relentless temperatures.  In eastern Canada, several weather records were set today.  With the humidity factored in, it felt like 51 degrees Celsius (124 degrees Fahrenheit) today in Toronto.  Meanwhile, Hurricane Dora is churning toward Mexico.  Great!

Image Source: Twitter via The Inquisitr.

Just that was enough to inspire a blog post with a few images inspired by heat waves (see below the jump). The natural sympathy of heat waves speaks to a fractured consciousness.  Pop culture tropes say that heat waves generate a weird atmosphere, which inspires people to do strange things.  Some examples where the heat drives the action in films and novels and pushes characters past their limits are (in no particular order): Body HeatDo the Right Thing; Dark Knight Returns; Stand by Me; In the Heat of the Night; Summer of Sam; Ice Cold in Alex; The African Queen; Predator 2; Rio Grande; The Glass MenagerieThe Long, Hot Summer; and The Sheltering Sky.

The most curious example, though, and the one that perhaps best demonstrates my point, takes fictitious tensions right into our tense reality.  The novel Heat Wave by Richard Castle offers a typical Post-Postmodern Millennial marketing play between meta-reality and metafiction.  That's because Richard Castle doesn't exist. He's a character on a TV series. From the Straight Dope:
On the TV show "Castle", [the character] Richard Castle is supposed to be a mystery novelist. In the show, one of the books he recently wrote was called "Heat Wave", introducing his new protaganist, Detective Nikki Heat.

I was just in a book store and I saw on the shelf "Heat Wave", by Richard Castle! The book plays it completely straight: Nathan Fillion, the actor who plays Richard Castle in the TV show, is shown as the author. The acknowledgment section lists his TV daughter and mother and the fictional NY detectives on the TV show. There never is a "nudge, nudge, wink, wink" that I could detect.

My question is, who ACTUALLY wrote the novel?
Good question. In 2009, Heat Wave made it onto the New York Times Bestseller list, followed in 2010 by another novel written by the TV series' fictional character in 2010, Naked Heat and another, Heat Rises.  You can partake of this Millennial Post-Postmodern meta-reality by visiting the Website of the 'author' Richard Castle. There is some speculation that Tom Straw is the real novelist.

Time and Politics 5: The Decline of Left and Right

Image Source: Dark Roasted Blend.

This is an apolitical blog, and for good reason: the Tech and Information Revolutions have transformed our societies almost overnight, and have swept away the standards and values that anchored us. This holds true wherever you are in the world, and whatever your values are. We can't know what new values will arise. Presumably, some will change global cultures and economies for the better, some for the worse. That 'normative entropy' also extends to the world of politics, where the platforms of left and right have crumbled. Politics has degenerated into name-calling, crisis-mongering, and a total breakdown of meaningful debate between left and right.  Any consensus that could be the basis of practical policy is also gone: voters vacated the political centre after 9/11.  Weirdly, political rhetoric has never been clearer about its left-right delineations.  But this fact belies the reality that actual partisan policies have disappeared, with politicians sifting through the wreckage, searching for anything that will get them elected.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Millennial Mysteries: News of the World Whistleblower Found Dead

Sean Hoare died today. Image Source: Hazel Thompson/Eyevine/Guardian. 

It feels like the universe is coming full circle and airing some secrets.  Regular readers of this blog will know that I am not a big fan of conspiracy theories.  However, there are times when I can't help but wonder. Case in point: just as the phone hacking scandal in Britain has escalated off the charts, the News of the World whistleblower, Sean Hoare, was found dead today:
Hoare, who worked on the Sun and the News of the World with Coulson before being dismissed for drink and drugs problems, was said to have been found at his Watford home.  
Hertfordshire police would not confirm his identity, but the force said in a statement: "At 10.40am today [Monday 18 July] police were called to Langley Road, Watford, following the concerns for the welfare of a man who lives at an address on the street.  Upon police and ambulance arrival at a property, the body of a man was found. The man was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after.  
"The death is currently being treated as unexplained but not thought to be suspicious. Police investigations into this incident are ongoing."
Other deaths that conspiracy theorists have focussed on (not counting the huge numbers of dead Russian journalists):

See all my posts on Conspiracy Theories.

Interlude: Sultry Summer Nights

Santa Monica Pier (1920). Image Source: Scent Hive.

Nothing says summer like a simmering, Lynchian Film Noir soundtrack. Below the jump, a sampler of some musical pieces, Noir or not, that conjure up lanterns on the boardwalk down by the waterfront, a late night walk home from the jazz fest, early hours at a 24-hour café, and catching the last taxi cab home.

taxi parisien II Avenue de l'Opéra, Paris (15 July 2005) by Phil Hilfiker. Image Source: Flickr.