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.