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, March 10, 2012

Countdowns to Nuclear Midnight

The Atlantic's countdown to war with Iran clock. Image Source: The Atlantic.

Um. The Atlantic magazine has adapted the Doomsday clock to count down to war with Iran, here. According to their panel of commentators, we are 10 metaphorical minutes from nuclear war.

The real Doomsday clock (here), maintained since 1947 by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists at the University of Chicago, moved to five minutes to the midnight of nuclear war on 10 January 2012. The scientists' rationale for ramping up their symbolic warning is here; they stated: "It is five minutes to midnight. Two years ago, it appeared that world leaders might address the truly global threats that we face. In many cases, that trend has not continued or been reversed. For that reason, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is moving the clock hand one minute closer to midnight, back to its time in 2007. Unfortunately, Einstein's statement in 1946 that 'everything has changed, save the way we think,' remains true. "

In the famous comic, The Watchmen, the Doomsday clock trope was used to tie the entire series together. This is an example of how the most serious levels of political and scientific discourse bleed over into pop culture, then bleed back into high level discussions again. Nuclear weapons were once the line in the sand, the horrific ever-present threat to smaller powers, which enforced uneasy Cold War peace. Now, that picture is inverted. The more sophisticated the push of science and tech, the harder it is for old political and economic explanations to accurately describe what is happening; and the more the fantastical messages of the world of graphic novels, or of any other mythological paradigm, become our chilling reality.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Secrets of the Flood Myth

Noah's Ark. Image Source: City of Kik.

High tech and Millennial biosciences, especially genetics, are unlocking more secrets of the deep past, of Antediluvian cultures. Almost all societies have as one of their central epics the 'before' and 'after' of what may have been late Ice Age worldwide floods around 9,000 years ago. New studies confirm that some plant species survived happily in ice-free pockets during the Ice Age. And The New Scientist reports on research from George Ferentinos of the University of Patras in Greece that Neanderthals were ancient mariners, who crossed the oceans perhaps 100,000 years ago (and maybe even earlier, since they appeared around 600,000 years ago)  (Hat tip: Lee Hamilton). Neanderthal Atlantis has become quite a popular idea lately; see here and here; other popular speculations whirl around Cro-Magnon Atlantis: here and here.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Look Skyward: Solar Storms

X 5.4 class solar flare, top left, 6 March. Image Source: SDO/NASA via Space.com.

On March 6, the Sun had its strongest storms since 2006, in fact two X class storms (X class storms are the strongest possible solar eruptions), which are likely to cause auroras quite far south across the planet this evening. According to Space.com, the Coronal Mass Ejection "reached Earth this morning at about 5:45 a.m. EST (1045 GMT)." The impact of solar radiation hitting the earth over the next few hours may also disrupt spacecraft and electronic systems. This is the start of a more active period for the Sun, which has been loosely linked in the popular media with the 2012 phenomenon.

Nostradamus on solar weather. Image Source: Before It's News.

Citing such legendary figures as Nostradamus, some believe that solar storms spark extreme weather and even earthquakes, although that is dismissed by scientific commentators. Others feel that the magnetic waves affect their moods, which is another disputed claim. The metaphorical mix of advanced science, high tech, and Renaissance mysticism, mythology and astrology is a classic example of Millennialism. Either way, with a Full Moon tonight, the heavens are sending us lots of celestial messages.  Look north tonight, and you may see the Northern Lights. Reports: herehere and here.

Photo of the Day: Saturn and Friends

Image Source: NASA.

This is: Saturn and two of its moons, Titan (foreground) and Prometheus (dot in the background, just above one of the rings). Hat tip: Lee Hamilton. Titan, incidentally, is larger than the planet, Mercury; it is the largest of Saturn's 62 moons.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

DCnU: End of the Modern Age

Animal Man #5 (March 2012).

DC Comics' deeper descent into anti-heroic darkness is strangely opening moral doors.  DCnU has reinforced some problems that became endemic during Dan Didio's era.  However, the new Animal Man and Swamp Thing series are exceptions, due to the reintegration of Vertigo themes and characters into mainstream DC cape comics.  These two books started by humming along in Hellblazer/Swamp Thing/Sandman/Animal Man mode circa the late '80s and '90s.  I initially greeted the familiar motifs with skepticism, but in January, the nu Swamp Thing and nu Animal Man exploded up to must-read status (see almost-unanimous praise for Animal Man #5, which came out in early January, here, here, here, here, here and here).

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Hacking Hackerthink

The lines continue to be drawn between copyright owners and information sharers, with the former criminalizing the latter. I don't necessarily trust hackers, and have criticized them. This post, however, highlights their perspective. The UK's famous graffiti artist, Banksy, has weighed in on the debate between old media and the Internet, and he stresses the lack of respect that copyright owners and marketers have for consumers.

Medieval Medallion Found in Shark's Belly

Image Source: The Star Online.

From The Star Online:
"MALACCA: A baby shark being prepared for lunch gave a family here a big surprise - an ancient artifact believed to be dated long before the Portuguese conquest of Malacca.

Housewife Suseela Menon, from Klebang, made the priceless discovery while filleting the fish for lunch.

It is believed to be a medallion worn by the Portuguese soldiers, presumably as a divine protection, during their conquests in this part of the world in the 16th century.

One side of the medallion is a profile of a woman's head with a crown and encircled by a halo and an inscription that is unclear. The other side is a crucifix with an engraved inscription that read ANTONII.  
Checks with a local historian revealed the head engraving could be that of Queen Elizabeth, the consort of King Denis I of Portugal during his reign from 1271 to 1336."

Monday, March 5, 2012

Quote of the Day

"[I]n times of crisis or genuine turning points 'the past has ceased to throw its light upon the future, the mind of man wanders in obscurity.'"

-From the introduction to Hannah Arendt's Responsibility and Judgment, xi.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Photo of the Day

Ahh, need to get away from it all? Here you go (Hat tip: Ken Kaminesky).


Survival skills muster, scheduled for 25-28 October 2012, Weatherford, Texas, USA. Image Source: ITS Tactical.

WTSHTF stands for 'When The Shit Hits The Fan.' For those who don't take the end of the world to be just a metaphor, a media concept, a nebulously-dated religious prophecy, or a highly unlikely asteroid collision (as predicted in this recent report (Hat tip: Lee Hamilton), about a possible 2040 space event that precedes Sir Isaac Newton's predicted end-of-times by 20 years), there is a whole world of message boards and Internet communities out there. In online lingo, someone who prepares for the end of the world is called a prepper. You can see some prepper forums and other relevant sites here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Survivalist forums anticipate everything from nuclear war to a massive solar storm that would wipe out all our tech devices and conceivably cause earthquakes and floods (although that environmental fear is disputed by scientists). This apocalyptic chatter has exploded online, partly as a reflection of the explosion of the Internet; the Web is there now, after all, and we have to talk about something on it, right?