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.



Friday, September 22, 2017

If Sin was Visible: An Interview with Dan Vyleta



Today, I am very pleased to interview novelist Dan Vyleta about his 2016 novel, Smoke; the Canadian paperback edition was released in July 2017.

Dan grew up in Germany after his family left Czechoslovakia in the late 1960s. He holds a doctorate in history from King’s College, Cambridge and has written three previous novels, Pavel & I (2008), The Quiet Twin (2011), and The Crooked Maid (2013). The Quiet Twin was shortlisted for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. The Crooked Maid was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and won the 2014 J. I. Segal Award. Dan currently teaches creative writing at the University of Birmingham.



Dan’s novel Smoke is a magical historical story of Victorian England. The novel will remind readers of Charles Dickens, especially Oliver Twist, Hard Times, and Dombey and Son. As with Dickens’s novels, Smoke is a social novel which reaches a conclusion about what is wrong in society and what is right.

There is a contrast between the country and the city during the Industrial Revolution, reminiscent of Blake’s “dark Satanic mills,” except in this novel, the Victorian smoke in question comes not from factories but from people! Smoke begins at an élite school, with nods to later works: The Catcher in the Rye, A Separate Peace, and The Secret History.

There, the similarities with other authors end. Smoke begins with a quote from Dombey and Son (1848) – what if sin was visible?
“Those who study the physical sciences, and bring them to bear upon the health of Man, tell us that if the noxious particles that rise from the vitiated air were palpable to the sight, we should see them lowering in a dense black cloud above such haunts, and rolling slowly on to corrupt the better portion of a town. But if the moral pestilence that rises with them … could be made discernible too, how terrible the revelation!”
In Smoke, a fictionalized Victorian concern for morality conceals today’s obsession with transparency, truth, and corruption. As with other 21st century works, the historical setting really addresses Millennial problems. And the way Vyleta does this defies all expectations.

Note: All page references below are from the UK 2016 hardcover edition, published by Doubleday.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

How Much Truth Can You Take?


Tears of the Sky. Promo image from digital music LP Ichi (One) (2012) by Prosodi J.

Today's post asks: how much truth can you take? How many leaks, revelations and exposés can you endure before you realize that the world is not what you think it is - and it never was? The post is up at Vocal Media:
In an earlier post, Reflection Reversal, I asked how and what we choose to see in the Internet's house of mirrors. This is a meditation on freedom, to consider what options we will have as surveillance capitalism, the Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence collectively get off the ground. I'll continue this thread later in my series, Awaken the Amnesiacs, on technology, perception, and the soul.


Cassini's End at Saturn


"This image of Saturn's northern hemisphere was taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft on Sept. 13, 2017. It is among the last images Cassini sent back to Earth before its mission-ending plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere on Sept. 15, 2017." Image Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute via Space.com.

Launched 15 October 1997, NASA's Cassini–Huygens mission ended on 15 September 2017 as Cassini - the Saturn orbiter - entered Saturn's atmosphere at 11:53 UTC (7:53 a.m. EDT or 4:53 a.m. PDT). In 2005, the Huygens probe landed on Saturn's moon, Titan, on a beach which had the consistency of crème brûlée. From Stargazer's Nation:
"As planned, the Cassini spacecraft impacted the upper atmosphere of Saturn on September 15, after a 13 year long exploration of the Saturnian System. With spacecraft thrusters firing until the end, its atmospheric entry followed an unprecedented series of 22 Grand Finale dives between Saturn and rings. Cassini's final signal took 83 minutes to reach planet Earth and the Deep Space Network antenna complex in Canberra Australia where loss of contact with the spacecraft was recorded at 11:55 UT. For the spacecraft, Saturn was bright and the Sun was overhead as it plowed into the gas giant planet's swirling cloud tops at about 70,000 miles (113,000 kilometers) per hour. But Cassini's final image shows the impact site hours earlier and still on the planet's night side, the cloud tops illuminated by ringlight, sunlight reflected from Saturn's rings."
NASA's full gallery from Cassini's grand finale is here. You can see highlights of Cassini's photos of Saturn and its moons, herehere, here, and here. It is the end of a scientific era and the start of a new one. After twenty years of exploration of Saturn, attention now turns to Jupiter.

Cassini's last photo shows Saturn's atmosphere. Click to enlarge. Image Source: NASA, JPL-Caltech, Space Science Institute via Gizmodo.

Video Source: NASA via Weather Network.


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Last of Their Kinds: On and Off the Red List


Image Source: Sebastian Kennerknecht/PantheraCats/Twitter.

This year, the blog keeps returning to the Himalayas, and there must be something to that: see my earlier posts on the Himalayas here, here, and a 2015 post, here.

Today's post concerns the BBC report from 14 September 2017 that the snow leopard (Panthera uncia), the great cat of the Himalayas, has been removed from the endangered list, and is now classified as vulnerable. Scientists argue that the reclassification could place these cats at greater risk, but it is still good news that their population has improved.


As the snow leopard departs the endangered list, more than 150 species have been added to it. The ash trees of North America, a population of 9 billion trees, have been classified on the brink of extinction, due to an invasive Asian insect, the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis). In the past few years, all the beautiful ash trees around my home in eastern Canada have died or started dying.

The Christmas Island pipistrelle bat was declared extinct this month. Image Source: Lindy Lumsden/Mongabay.

The Christmas Island Pipistrelle vesper bat of Australia (Pipistrellus murrayi) was declared extinct in September 2017. I have previously written on extinctions as less-recognized moments in history and as turning points in time. I have also discussed efforts to use genetic manipulation and cloning to bring back extinct species, as scientists work against the course of time and evolution; this is most noticeable when they plan to revive prehistoric species.



Image Source: BBC.



Image Source: BBC.

Image Source: Scott Olson/Getty Images/NPR.

Snow Leopard: First Intimate Images In The Wild - Planet Earth - BBC Earth (12 March 2017). Video Source: Youtube.


See all my posts on Extinction.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Cairn Building Sacred Tree Chimps


This Could Be First-Ever Observed Ritual Practice Among Chimpanzees (1 March 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

The above video circulated last year, when researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and the Chimbo Foundation observed male chimpanzees filling hollow trees up with rocks, and then hurling more rocks at the filled trees in what looked like a strange ritual. This occurred in the Boé region of Guinea-Bissau on the western tip of Africa.

Were the researchers correct in projecting onto the chimpanzees the theory of human evolution, much less a theory of human evolution as dependent on the development of religion? For that seems to be the underlying argument: that biological evolution is impossible without the cognitive moment when the brain seeks the divine. As the researchers put it:
"We found four populations in West Africa where chimpanzees habitually bang and throw rocks against trees, or toss them into tree cavities, resulting in conspicuous stone accumulations at these sites. This represents the first record of repeated observations of individual chimpanzees exhibiting stone tool use for a purpose other than extractive foraging at what appear to be targeted trees. The ritualized behavioural display and collection of artefacts at particular locations observed in chimpanzee accumulative stone throwing may have implications for the inferences that can be drawn from archaeological stone assemblages and the origins of ritual sites."
It is a banal but fascinating beginning for the gods: merely a pile of rubble, mounded in a new way which could begin to take on significance. The hypothesis is not asking whether these animals actually find gods in the stone configurations they make, rather whether their brains make the mental jump into thinking they do. In this theory, that's evolution.

One Youtuber summed up the discovery as "chimphenge." Other comments:
  • "Sorry mi english google translator: I do not believe in God, this discovery shows that never need God in our lives, we evolve throwing stones at the trees and forming mounds, then named sacred, those trees symbolically became pillars adorned our temples, after millions of years evolution forget this and we must give a name to both advance and consciousness. Unfortunately there was a lot to us and we prefer to form symbolic it out from within us and shape, we call 'God' and is the perfect excuse to manipulate and keep people away from the truth, everyone is 'God' does not exist a single God, in fact none exists, are just stones of different shapes and sizes in different trees, it depends on the monkey and the group which is the 'real tree' that 'God' is life, we are each living being. We gave shape the world as we know it and everything, God does not exist we create it, we ourselves are God, this evolutionary step in monkeys demonstrated."
  • "and what has been noted on which specific trees have been used? do these specific trees also feature in human's use such as shamanism, or medicinal or spiritual functions?"
  • "Maybe they're trying to recreate fire. . .from a past incident that simply happened by chance."
  • "Stop bring God into it. They are intelligent apes and live with nature. And if humans stopped interfering with there lives they would be ok"
  • "might be the start of next chapter in chimpanzee evolution theyre going to build their first pyramid"
  • "Idiots!!! clear they are playing a game unknown to man. Not everything is supposed to be [for a] reason. ..."
  • "I THINK THEY HIDING HILLARYS EMAILS"
Click to enlarge. Image Source: Nature.

This theory relates to how we worship our own ability to make things. The scientists here may be unconsciously projecting contemporary attitudes toward creativity onto the chimps. Most of the world has received the Technological Revolution with cult-like fervour. Today's Maker Culture is a 21st century extension of the old Arts and Crafts movement (c. 1880-1920), updated with machine building, engineering, arts and crafts, and open-sourced hardware. These trends involve the wonder of building something with one's bare hands, to the point where it enters an intellectual, conceptual, or spiritual realm. A more etheric branch of Maker Culture is software-oriented Hacker Culture.

So, a secular search for a moment of transcendence is there, and central to understanding the creative and intellectual arts. For artists and thinkers as creators, there is something magical about manipulating matter into a thing or moment beyond what existed before, through a creative act. At the core of it lies humankind's conflicted connection with nature.

The current manipulation of the world is based on a presumed human disconnection from the environment. These were the presumptions of the Enlightenment. In Enlightenment secularism, there was no divine entity and we did not derive from divine action. But we also had a right to control, understand, and rationalize the world because we were no longer animals and were disconnected from nature, and thus gained dominion over it.

Nothing could be sadder or further from the truth, and the fundamental error in that core assumption is reflected in the anguish caused by the superficial focus on modern materialism and rationalism, devoid of emotion and spiritual wonder. It is on the basis of that rigid, mask-like quantification of existence that we find ourselves seduced by technology.

Even technophiles who try to go deeper than commercialism and materialism yearn for microchip implants and brain-machine interfaces. They want the interface to fill the holes in their souls. It is interesting that they are obsessed with organic food, and nature-oriented spiritualism, but with a cardboard level of understanding. The spiritual disconnection from nature is complete, and robot-dom is just around the corner, even if that robot thinks it has done its job by climbing mountains, or contorting itself into yoga poses, drinking purified vitamin water, or eating organic vegetables. Mechanically going through the motions around consciousness does not constitute consciousness. The symbiotic bio-tech mesh between ourselves and our tools has already started. Even with the redemptive Maker Movement still trending, the philosophical consideration of what that means lags far behind.

This is why organized religion, for all its flaws and superstitions, constantly reminded human beings of the creative moment when they tried to understand their place in nature, in a fashion that went way beyond tool-building. Early technological monuments like Stonehenge were conceived not for the sake of technology itself, but to measure astronomical changes for even greater purpose.

Wells Cathedral: Gothic cathedrals were designed to look like the faithful were entering an artificial stone forest, reminiscent of earlier Druidic practices in real forest groves. Image Source: Shutterstock.

Architects designed the Gothic cathedrals of Europe to resemble forest groves. Yes, they invented the flying buttress, but they did it not for the sake of the buttresses. They did it to build stone forests, with stained-glass windows which imitated dappled sunlight, penetrating the canopy.

Compare that to our current disconnection from nature, in which technology is created blindly for the sake of mechanized production and mechanical modalities, desperately rolled out on accelerated machine-oriented schedules. The underlying spiritual gap is evident in the current demolition of European churches because they are too expensive to maintain. They are replaced by square cement boxes.

Today, there are enormous efforts toward creativity; but technophiles still indulge powerful fantasies that they control the process. This Millennial blind spot, which replaced God with the ego, may explain why the chimpanzees' stone cairns remain a mystery to us, who are so much more intelligent.

The scholarly article on the subject, published 29 February 2016, is by Hjalmar S. Kühl, Ammie K. Kalan, and others, "Chimpanzee accumulative stone throwing," Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 22219 (2016) doi:10.1038/srep22219.

Rise of the 'maker movement' (12 March 2012). Video Source: Youtube.

The Mad Geniuses of Maker Faire (10 July 2013). Video Source: Youtube.

Maker trailer - A documentary on the Maker Movement (30 September 2013). Video Source: Youtube.

HOME MADE A Documentary on the Maker Movement in Denmark HD (9 January 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

The Next Maker Movement (22 May 2015). Video Source: Youtube.
 
Maker Faire Hannover 2015 Teil 1 - Impressionen JS TECHhack (6 June 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

Maker Faire Bay Area 2016 (23 May 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

Shenzhen: The Silicon Valley of Hardware (Full Documentary) | Future Cities | WIRED (5 July 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

Hubs, Hackerspaces and the Maker Movement: Investing in Tech Innovation in Africa | #APF15 (27 July 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

The Maker Movement and the Next Manufacturing Revolution (21 October 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

MakerFaire UK 2017 (1 April 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

The Maker Movement: Finding Meaning in Work (7 April 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Bay Area Maker Faire 2017 (24 May 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Maker Faire 2017 Berlin (12 June 2017). Video Source: Youtube.


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Remembering September Tenth


9/10 The Final Hours (2014). Video Source: Youtube.

9/10 The Final Hours is a 2014 documentary which shows footage from and interviews with people who were active around the Twin Towers on 10 September 2001. From the tourists who visited the World Trade Center on 10 September, to the DJ and artists who left the towers in the early hours before the planes hit in on 11 September, this National Geographic special recalls the last day of pre-9/11 New York. The film conveys the before and after, a movement around a pivot in history.

Sunset on 10 September 2001. Image Source: Studd Blog.

September 11th 2001 In Real Time (FAA/NORAD Audio). Full transcript at Rutgers Law Review. Video Source: Youtube.

CNN Live Coverage - (08:48am-10:53am) - 11 September 2001. Video Source: CNN via Youtube.

Rescue workers at Ground Zero (13 September 2001). Image Source: Evanshine.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Tempest


Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada (6 September 2017), showing smoke from rampant wild fires. Wildfires are also devastating the western United States. Image Source: Harman/Weather Network.

There are catastrophic weather headlines: Irma, the strongest hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean's recorded history, made landfall last night on 6 August 2017. The storm is so strong it is appearing on seismometers used to measure earthquakes. It looks like Irma will hit Florida, and move up North America's east coast, through the Carolinas. While Texas still recovers from Hurricane Harvey, there is another hurricane forming behind Irma, Jose - and yet another in the Gulf, Katia.

Live footage as Hurricane Irma destroys Maho Beach Cam in St Maarten 9/6/2017 (6 September 2017). The full video is below. Video Source: Youtube.

Hurricane Irma AFTERMATH!! (Anguilla/St.Maarten/St.Martin) (6 September 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

OMG WOW Serious!! NO JOKE Hurricane IRMA Wind Speeds 180 mph Destroys Everything In Its Path (6 September 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have produced a flurry of Internet conspiracy theorizing about weather manipulation. Below, you can see one of the images the trolls are discussing. This screenshot of a patent for a 'hurricane and tornado control device' is from this 2003 US application; other patents by this author, Andrew Waxmanski, are here. My impression is that Waxmanski is trying to invent devices which would make hurricanes less dangerous, rather than this patent application being a smoking gun for the HAARP/chemtrails/geomanipulation crowd, who claim climate change is due to scientific interference, not industrial pollution. I make no further comment other than to say that these weather events have sparked a lot of speculation and apocalyptic predictions about the end of times, the rapture, the 'Event,' and so on. These kinds of responses are as old as time, and to be expected when people are upset by trauma in their environment.

2003 Patent Application in the United States. Click to enlarge. Image Source: eventchronicle.

On 6 August 2017 at 8:02 a.m. EDT (1202 GMT), after an X 2.2 flare, the sun released an X 9.3 class solar flare with coronal mass ejection; X is the strongest class of solar flare and this flare was the strongest in a decade, now heading for earth. There is Internet chatter that the X 9.3 was followed by an unbelievable X 10.3 class solar flare, which could destroy electronic devices and systems. For updates on whether electronics may be affected when this space weather reaches earth on 8 September 2017, follow Space Weather Live on Twitter.



The vloggers may have confused it with the X 9.3, about which you can see details here. The vloggers currently discussing the X 10+ flare appear to be relying on Solar Dynamics Observatory data. On 6 September 2017, NASA reported only two solar flares, not three, an X 2.2 and an X 9.3; this was confirmed at Space Weather Live. It appears there is a discrepancy in interpretation of data: the X 9.3 may have peaked at X 10.4. See data here. For the sake of comparison, the biggest solar flare ever recorded was an X 28 flare on 4 November 2003, which was not facing earth.


There will likely be auroras quite far south in northern latitudes over the next couple of days; you can see information on the northern lights here, here, and here.

X Class 10 Solar Flare Showing On STEREO A Earth Facing (6 September 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Click to enlarge. NASA's gif of two solar flares: X 2.2 and X 9.3 on 6 September 2017. Image Source: NASA.

Diagram of the STEREO space satellites which observe the sun. Image Source: NASA.

All of this coincided with the Full Moon at 3:02 a.m. EDT (0702 GMT) on 6 September. On the Quebec-Labrador border in Canada, it went straight from summer to winter overnight on Labour Day weekend and began snowing; and San Francisco, California, USA reached its highest temperatures on record this week. Some argue that these conditions lead to global earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and the deaths of sea mammals, but researchers won't confirm that. One Youtube channel constantly monitors and predicts earthquakes, here.


Friday, August 25, 2017

In Millennial Eyes 8: Poland, the European Union, and the Game of Thrones


Image Source: Ancient Origins.

The blog is on a break, but I am happy to announce that I have been invited to submit pieces to Vocal Media. Today's post continues my discussion on fake news. Please click below to read it:
This piece explains why false, fictional or quasi-historical narratives become powerful in changing times, in spite of their flawed factuality or rationality.

The post concerns a secret history of a Polish empire, bolstered by fake maps and false or exaggerated contemporary documents. You can see Ancient Origins defend that alt-history, based on medieval chronicles, here.

The blog where I found this Turboslav vision of Europe faithfully reproduces the anti-Masonic, anti-Illuminati, anti-Semitic, New Age, health-food, anti-vaccine, extra-terrestrial, populist, neo-Nazi conspiracy theories which are so familiar on alt-sites on the Internet now.

When discussing history, most Websites of this type leave accepted scholarly history more or less intact. But they offer an additional 'insider's' history we don't know. This is a gnostic view - like the one described in my post on the alt-history of Quebec and the French Revolution - which adds enough information to break through to a new level of 'privileged' awareness.

An altered perspective is one thing; but this lost Polish empire is another matter. It transports today's believer into a completely different Europe. That is why it is too simplistic to assume that nationalists are motivated only by racism. They actually inhabit another reality. It is through this lens that we must understand their quarrels with EU leaders.


See all my posts on Millennial views of past events.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Away from Blog



I will be away from the blog on summer vacation until 10 September 2017.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Time and Politics 24: Kiwis on the Cutting Edge


L & P Stubbies Ad (NZ) (30 August 2006). Video Source: Youtube.

A hat tip goes to Ed at The Outer Light on Youtube for sharing a funny Kiwi ad for the famous New Zealand soft drink L&P (Lemon and Paeroa) featuring the equally famous Stubbies, "short shorts ... for informal wear" favoured by Aussie and Kiwi men since 1972. The ad reminded me of my earlier post on Canadian humour, here.

CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, Kim Dotcom & Suzie Dawson - 2nd #AntiSpyBill event (20 August 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

If the Kiwis were on the cutting edge of men's fashion in the 1970s, they're on the cutting edge of political fashion now. This was Ed's segue, not mine! The point he was making, I think, is that the world used to be more trusting, naive, and less oppressive. People hung out, had parties, drank soda, and wore tight pants. Ed's Outer Light videos often express nostalgia for the lost, pre-Internet past, when everyday people did not worry about global crime and mass surveillance, and they felt they could trust their governments.

One of the Internet Party's supporters and spokespeople is Barrett Brown. For more on him, go here. Image Source: Facebook.

If citizens did not worry about mass surveillance then, they certainly do now. The New Zealand Internet Party held another worldwide roundtable meeting on 20 August 2017 to continue to develop a bill against government spying on citizens:
"Acclaimed CIA torture whistleblower John Kiriakou and other special guests will join tech entrepreneur and Internet Party founder Kim Dotcom on the panel of the next #AntiSpyBill live event this Sunday night.

This comes hot on the heels of several major American publications reporting on technical evidence recently presented by the group Veteran Intelligence Professionals For Sanity (VIPS), of which Kiriakou is a member, to the White House regarding the DNC leaks of 2016, The event will be held online between 8pm and 11pm on Sunday the 20th of August, 2017, NZST (UTC+12) and follows on from the Internet Party’s flagship #AntiSpyBill event which featured appearances by Dotcom, award-winning journalist Barrett Brown, hacktivist Lauri Love and comedian Lee Camp. ...

The Internet Party is inviting the public to join the roundtable event, which as well as discussing contemporary issues of the day, will continue its effort to draft crowdsourced legislation to counter government spying."
The Internet Party is headed by ex-Occupy-Auckland citizen journalist, Suzie Dawson, a New Zealand political refugee living in Moscow, Russia (she has applied for temporary asylum); she made a documentary about her experiences in the Occupy movement and the events which led her to seek asylum, here.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

America's Total Eclipse of the Sun


Image Source: Travel and Leisure.

Other countries have solar eclipses cross their territories all the time. But America never does things by halves, and 21 August 2017 is no exception.

Jalu, Libya: 2006 Total Solar Eclipse (29 March 2006). Video Source: Youtube.

Total Solar Eclipse in Svalbard 2015 (Crowd Reaction) (20-21 March 2015). Video Source: Youtube.

Alaska Airlines Solar Eclipse Flight #870 (8-9 March 2016). Video Source: Youtube.

This is the first time a total solar eclipse will exactly span the United States in nearly a century; the last such eclipse took place on 8 June 1918. The moon’s penumbral shadow will produce a partial eclipse visible from most of North America. The most recent total solar eclipse prior to this one, which crossed parts of the USA and Canada, occurred on 26 February 1979.

Video Source: The Weather Network.

To celebrate this Monday's eclipse, there are family road trip eclipse maps; viewers which fit over your iPhone; shades and special eclipse binocularsglow-in-the-dark t-shirts and other appareltote bags; travel mugs; and commemorative Californian wines called Umbra and Totality. The company Possets released a dedicated perfume:
"On a bed of gentle sandalwood rest two softly animalic musks that encompass a suggestive intermingling of a spot-on lilac accord and a measure of sweet hawthorne. This is one sexy and classy perfume that will invite dimming of the lights..."
There is even a 2017 book about the 1878 solar eclipse: American Eclipse: A Nation's Epic Race to Catch the Shadow of the Moon and Win the Glory of the World. Bonnie Tyler will sing her 1983 pop classic, "Total Eclipse of the Heart" on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship, Oasis of the Seas off the coast of Florida.

A total solar eclipse sweeping across the US- BBC News (21 August 2017). Video Source: Youtube.

Image Source: NASA.

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.