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.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Away from Blog

I will be away from the blog for until April 30, due to work demands. See you soon!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Papal Apocalypse

Image Source: Constantine (2005) © Warner/DC via i09.

There is an apocalyptic prediction which pertains to the Pope's resignation; it likely dates from around 1595, although it is attributed to Saint Malachy:
Is the world only a Pope away from the End? Yes, if you believe a chilling 12th-century prophecy. Attributed to St. Malachy, an Irish archbishop canonized in 1190, the Prophecy of the Popes would date to 1139. The document predicted that there would be only 112 more popes before the Last Judgment — and Benedict XVI is 111.

The list of popes originated from a vision Malachy said he received from God when he was in Rome, reporting on his diocese to Pope Innocent II.

The story goes that St. Malachy gave the apocalyptic list to Innocent II and that the document remained unknown in the Vatican Archives some 440 years after Malachy's death in 1148. It was rediscovered and published by Benedictine Arnold de Wyon in 1590.

The prophecy consists of brief, cryptic phrases in Latin about each Pope. It ends with the 112th pope, named "Petrus Romanus" or "Peter the Roman."

According to the premonition, Peter the Roman would "feed his flock amid many tribulations, after which the City of the Seven Hills shall be utterly destroyed, and the awful Judge will judge the people."

Often highly enigmatic, several prophetical announcements in the document appear to have come true.

For example, Malachy prophesied the first pope on his list would be "from a castle on the Tiber." Celestine II, elected in 1143, was born in Toscany on the shores of the Tiber River.

Malachy predicted another pope would be "elevated from a hermit." Nicholas IV, pope from 1288 to 1292, had been a hermit in the monastery of Pouilles.

The 45th pope in the prophecy is described as coming "from the hell of Pregnani". Indeed, Pope Urban VI (1378-1389) was born Domenico Prignano and came from a village near Naples called Inferno (hell).

Most scholars consider the document a 16th-century elaborate hoax. Until 1590, when the prophecy was published, the mottoes were easily derived from the pope's family, baptismal names, native places or coats of arms.

After 1590 the epithets become much more vague. According to the Catholic Pages, "the inclusion of anti-popes would also appear to militate against the authenticity of the prophecies."

Yet, uncanny similarities also appear when reading the mottoes associated to modern-day popes.

For example, the 109th pope is described as "of the half of the moon." John Paul I, elected pope in 1978, "lasted about a month, from half a moon to the next half," the Catholic Pages noted.

As for his successor, the late Pope John Paul II, Malachy described him in Latin as "de labore solis," meaning "of the eclipse of the sun, or from the labor of the sun."

"John Paul II (1978-2005) was born on May 18, 1920 during a solar eclipse… His Funeral occurred on April 8, 2005 when there was a solar eclipse visible in the Americas," the Catholic Pages wrote.

Finally, "Glory of the Olives" is the motto for Benedict XVI, the 111th pope in the list. A branch of the monastic order founded by St. Benedict is called the Olivetans.

As for the doomsday pope, one would think we are quite safe: according to church tradition, no pope can take the name Peter II.

However, one of the favorites to succeed Benedict XVI is Ghanaian Cardinal Turkson. His first name is Peter.
Story from Discovery News via i09.

The Prophecy of the Popes. Image Source: Wiki.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Welcome to the Hotel Informatica

Album cover, Hotel California (1976) by the Eagles. Image Source: Eagles Fanart.

My friend, S., says that the Internet is just like the Hotel California. You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave. There are some who are moving now to acquire great wealth and power from that fact. 

From the Evil Technocratic Dystopia Files: the Guardian reports on multinational defence contractor Raytheon, which has developed software that will harvest your data off social networking sites, smartphone data, and search engines to predict your future behaviour:
A multinational security firm has secretly developed software capable of tracking people's movements and predicting future behaviour by mining data from social networking websites.

A video obtained by the Guardian reveals how an "extreme-scale analytics" system created by Raytheon, the world's fifth largest defence contractor, can gather vast amounts of information about people from websites including Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.

Raytheon says it has not sold the software – named Riot, or Rapid Information Overlay Technology – to any clients.

But the Massachusetts-based company has acknowledged the technology was shared with US government and industry as part of a joint research and development effort, in 2010, to help build a national security system capable of analysing "trillions of entities" from cyberspace.

The power of Riot to harness popular websites for surveillance offers a rare insight into controversial techniques that have attracted interest from intelligence and national security agencies, at the same time prompting civil liberties and online privacy concerns.

The sophisticated technology demonstrates how the same social networks that helped propel the Arab Spring revolutions can be transformed into a "Google for spies" and tapped as a means of monitoring and control.

Using Riot it is possible to gain an entire snapshot of a person's life – their friends, the places they visit charted on a map – in little more than a few clicks of a button.

In the video obtained by the Guardian, it is explained by Raytheon's "principal investigator" Brian Urch that photographs users post on social networks sometimes contain latitude and longitude details – automatically embedded by smartphones within "exif header data."

Riot pulls out this information, showing not only the photographs posted onto social networks by individuals, but also the location at which the photographs were taken.

"We're going to track one of our own employees," Urch says in the video, before bringing up pictures of "Nick," a Raytheon staff member used as an example target. With information gathered from social networks, Riot quickly reveals Nick frequently visits Washington Nationals Park, where on one occasion he snapped a photograph of himself posing with a blonde haired woman.

"We know where Nick's going, we know what Nick looks like," Urch explains, "now we want to try to predict where he may be in the future."

Riot can display on a spider diagram the associations and relationships between individuals online by looking at who they have communicated with over Twitter. It can also mine data from Facebook and sift GPS location information from Foursquare, a mobile phone app used by more than 25 million people to alert friends of their whereabouts. The Foursquare data can be used to display, in graph form, the top 10 places visited by tracked individuals and the times at which they visited them.

The video shows that Nick, who posts his location regularly on Foursquare, visits a gym frequently at 6am early each week. Urch quips: "So if you ever did want to try to get hold of Nick, or maybe get hold of his laptop, you might want to visit the gym at 6am on a Monday."

Mining from public websites for law enforcement is considered legal in most countries. In February last year, for instance, the FBI requested help to develop a social-media mining application for monitoring "bad actors or groups".

However, Ginger McCall, an attorney at the Washington-based Electronic Privacy Information Centre, said the Raytheon technology raised concerns about how troves of user data could be covertly collected without oversight or regulation. ...

Jared Adams, a spokesman for Raytheon's intelligence and information systems department, said in an email: "Riot is a big data analytics system design we are working on with industry, national labs and commercial partners to help turn massive amounts of data into useable information to help meet our nation's rapidly changing security needs.

"Its innovative privacy features are the most robust that we're aware of, enabling the sharing and analysis of data without personally identifiable information [such as social security numbers, bank or other financial account information] being disclosed."

In December, Riot was featured in a newly published patent Raytheon is pursuing for a system designed to gather data on people from social networks, blogs and other sources to identify whether they should be judged a security risk.

In April, Riot was scheduled to be showcased at a US government and industry national security conference for secretive, classified innovations, where it was listed under the category "big data – analytics, algorithms."

According to records published by the US government's trade controls department, the technology has been designated an "EAR99" item under export regulations, which means it "can be shipped without a licence to most destinations under most circumstances".
For more on this system, dubbed 'Google for Spies,' see here and here and below. When are privacy rights advocates going to look into allowing individuals to copyright data from their own personal lives, movements, photos, conversations, social networking and other activities? Then individuals could impose copyright protection upon their personal data, as published property that they inherently own, and they could charge companies for use of that data.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Laugh of the Day - Canadian Guardsman Picnic

"Canadian Guardsman Picnic" advertisement for Windsor Canadian Supreme Whisky (1978). Source.

I just ran across this ad from 1978 in an old Popular Mechanics.  I was saved the trouble of scanning it for the blog because it was already online; incredibly, someone is selling this single-page ad for over USD$7 on ebay. The ad runs:
"This Canadian has a reputation for smoothness. So you won't catch him drinking anything less than the smoothest whisky around. Windsor. A whisky made with glacier-fed spring water and aged in the clean, clear air of the Canadian Rockies."

Belgian Retro-Futures

Images Source: Collectors Weekly.

I09 and Collectors Weekly are reporting on Belgian Gen X artist and illustrator, Laurent Durieux, who has attracted attention for his retro-futuristic classic movie and pop art posters, inspired by Jean "Moebius" Giraud:
Laurent Durieux doesn’t actually live in a retro-futuristic world imagined by H.G. Wells and designed by Raymond Loewy, but looking at his screenprints of the past few years, you’d be forgiven for thinking he does. In Durieux’s world, gigantic robots tower over forests populated by mythical beasts such as Bigfoot and King Kong; city skies are thick with airships shaped like Snoopy, while Buck Rodgers-like vehicles whiz by on slender monorails; and movie monsters are portrayed as sensitive creatures, victims of their grotesqueries rather than revenge-fueled fiends.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Asteroid Fly-By

Video Source: NASA.
Gratitude: defined. Thank heavens this thing did not hit earth.

This is for Zhora, This is for Pris

Felder Felder.

Designers for London Fashion Week took their inspiration from a catalogue of 70s' sci-fi films, with a few surreal touches from the turn of the Millennium. These clothes are Fifty Shades of Grey meets Eyes Wide Shut meets Star Wars, meets Logan's Run, meets A Clockwork Orange, meets Blade Runner, meets Battlestar Galactica ... (Images Source: Yahoo; Hat tip: Yahoo). Some of the models look like they are off to colonize Callisto. In other fashion news: clothing that is designed to fall apart by the end of the day.

 Felder Felder.