Friday, December 31, 2004

On the eve of 2005

I don't usually make New Year's resolutions because I think the concept is dumb. But I'm making one for 2005 (and posting it here so readers, if so inclined, can call me on it if I slack off).

Here it is: Get to serious work on my oft-mentioned yet unfinished novel, "Women and Children First." Maybe even finish a first draft before '06. The down-side is that I won't have as much free time to read. And it's possible -- but not terribly likely -- that I won't blog quite as frequently; I simply don't know.

One of the reasons I'm in a hurry to write this depressingly eco-dystopian story is because some of the basic themes are coming true much faster than I expected. And this sounds off-puttingly messianic, but maybe if the final product is good enough and I find a publisher, perhaps it will actually do some good. Michael Crichton (an author I've loathed since wading through the consummately unoriginal "Jurassic Park") just came out with a thriller titled "State of Fear." The premise of "State of Fear" is that environmentalists are dangerous lunatics, a sort of tree-hugging Al Queda.

Most intelligent readers are likely to see through Crichton's propaganda; already, more than a few are actually wondering who, ultimately, gave Crichton the green light for this latest delusional offering. Popular fiction's potential as a political instrument shouldn't be underestimated, especially with the current neocon freak-show expediently spreading its roots.

Best wishes to everyone for the best possible 2005. May reason prevail.
Earth's permafrost starts to squelch

"In addition to northern Alaska, the permafrost zone includes most other Arctic land, such as northern Canada and much of Siberia, as well as the higher reaches of mountainous regions such as the Alps and Tibet. All report permafrost thaw."

Coincidentally, I recently read Robert Silverberg's "Tower of Glass," in which an industrialist builds a giant vertical particle accelerator in Alaska in order to communicate with extraterrestrials. The heat from the accelerator's construction causes the permafrost to melt, endangering the project. So engineers bury refrigeration devices in the soil to keep the ground frozen solid. As the title might suggest, things go very, very wrong.

Climate change and global warming were the last things on Silverberg's mind; the novel is about social injustice. But it looks like he might have inadvertently killed two birds with one well-aimed stone.

Author Rudy Rucker has a really good thing going with his new blog. For example, here's Rucker's take on neurotheology:

"Well, we can keep determinism if we allow for a less supernatural view of reform-by-supplication. We could simply say that asking God for help has an organic effect upon a person's brain. In other words, expressing a desire to have a spiritual life might activate, let us say, certain brain centers which release endorphins that in turn affect the threshold levels of one's neurons. And these changes nudge the brain activities to a new strange attractor. A deterministic chaotic bifurcation occurs.

"Do I really think it works like that? Well, to be truthful, I've always felt comfortable about reaching out for contact with the divine. The world is big and strange, and we have only the barest inkling about what lies beneath the surface."


Now in its third year!

I've been self-indulgently browsing January, 2004's archived Posthuman Blues posts. I actually found it a decent read; usually I'm masochistically self-critical about the stuff I write. My 2004 predictions have fared pretty well: Bush was indeed made President, the body-count in Iraq is nowhere close to leveling out, and scientists have used organic and inorganic components to create a kind of "cyborg" neural computer. (Granted, those first two were pretty damned obvious.)

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Iran, Russia to study UFOs

"With a rash of recent sightings of unidentified flying objects in the Eastern Hemisphere, Russia and Iran have agreed to jointly study the UFO phenomenon." (Tip of the hat to The Anomalist.)

Smart move. Meanwhile, the West denies that anything weird's even happening. Or at least that's the intended impression.

You defer to the views of the television news
Let someone do your thinking for you
And you still buy a daily newspaper
And you find everything there but the news

--Morrissey, "Teenage Dad On His Estate"
Somebody, make her stop!

I just perused the official website of Oprah-certified child prodigy Akiane. She paints these noxious portraits of babies and Jesus and stuff. And writes poems about the same. Appropriately enough, she looks like one of the Children of the Damned.

Don't click on this link unless you've got a high tolerance for aesthetic atrocity. May cause vomiting.
Military Lab Proposed Gay-Aphrodisiac Chemical Weapon

Your tax-dollars at work.

Personally, I'd want to field-test the stuff first. And what better places to measure its potency than suburban mega-churches?

(Presciently, cryonicist Charles Platt once wrote a novel called "The Gas," about an aphrodisiac that escapes industrial custody and inundates England, inducing a nation-wide orgy.)
Here's a weird dream I had about a week ago: I was at the news-stand at Barnes & Noble and a magazine caught my eye. It was "Time" or "Newsweek" or something -- a major mainstream news monthly. The cover showed the barely lit limb of the Earth, apparently taken from orbit. And across the image was the sentence "WE ARE CAMERON DIAZ-LESS" in commanding white capitals.

"Huh," I remember thinking. "Cameron Diaz must have died . . ."
Human brain result of 'extraordinarily fast' evolution

"The sophistication of the human brain is not simply the result of steady evolution, according to new research. Instead, humans are truly privileged animals with brains that have developed in a type of extraordinarily fast evolution that is unique to the species."

I'm not writing off extraterrestrial intervention as one possible factor in the human brain's explosive evolutionary growth. At least one scientific attempt to date the formation of the Face on Mars suggests it coincided with "Lucy," a specimen sometimes cited as humanity's common mother.

Since the early 80s, researchers have commented on the Face's eerie simian resemblance -- and with good reason. If the Face is an artificial monument, then perhaps it was constructed to commemorate a feat of genetic engineering.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Mobile phones 'alter human DNA'

"They found that, after being exposed to electromagnetic fields, the cells showed a significant increase in DNA damage which could not always be repaired by the cell."

Good. Maybe cellphone addicts will keel over from insidious mutations. I'm utterly exasperated with the cellphone thing; I blame their popularity, in part, for my ailing social life. For example, the other night I was doing laundry and a girl I'd never talked to was there, talking on a cellphone while tossing bales of wet clothing into the steel maw of a commercial Maytag. I've found that cellphones make people genuinely unapproachable. Same with iPods. And Segways -- what, you're too lofty to share the pavement with the rest of us?

The irony is that I'm healthily technophiliac. But my requirement is that new technologies fulfill some useful role, and the gadgets that people are so enamored of are generally just costly toys. (Have you been to The Sharper Image lately?)

Don't misunderstand. I like Segways; I think they have the potential to redefine our relationship with our increasingly congested cities. But that doesn't mean taking walks is an obsolete concept. And what's with this sudden pressing need to have DVD players installed in cars? Do I really need to point out the danger here?
Where are all the dead animals? Sri Lanka asks

"Sri Lankan wildlife officials are stunned -- the worst tsunami in memory has killed around 22,000 people along the Indian Ocean island's coast, but they can't find any dead animals."

Altruistic alien zoologists, anyone?
Small Asteroid Passes Between Satellites and Earth

"The asteroid passed just under the orbits of geostationary satellites, which at 22,300 miles (36,000 kilometers) altitude are the highest manmade objects circling Earth. Most other satellites, along with the International Space Station, circle the planet at just a few hundred miles up."

Although the article goes on to reassure us that the asteroid would have posed no threat had it entered the Earth's atmosphere, it wisely acknowledges the astronomical "blind spot" suffered by ground-based telescopes. In other words, if this rock had been a bit bigger, oceanic quakes would be fighting for headline-space right now.

It's quite possible -- although by no means certain -- we will see the "big one" coming far enough in advance to take defensive action. Ironically, it's the smaller ones that concern me the most. If one of them were to impact near a city, the blast would probably be attributed to a nuclear strike -- and in the ensuing flurry of confusion and finger-pointing, it's plausible a "retaliatory" attack would be launched . . . ultimately resulting in a perfectly meaningless nuclear conflagration.

Conversely, the threat of space-borne rock could be used as a cover for a real nuclear attack in much the same way the US Air Force worried that spurious UFO reports could be spread by Soviet disinformationists in an effort to mask an actual air-strike.
Kerry May Withdraw Concession

"Democratic Presidential Candidate John Kerry is exploring his legal options after learning that there are serious questions about the validity of the vote count in Ohio. On December 23, Senator Kerry's Ohio attorney Jerry Hoffheimer stated on MSNBC's Countdown that the Senator will be seeking to obtain evidence being presented in a recount suit being pressed by the Green and Libertarian parties in Ohio."

I have difficulty accepting that this is anything but play-acting. The Bush administration practically owns the electronic voting machine industry . . . and Kerry's just now wondering if W cheated? Instead of congratulating W on his ersatz victory during a premature concession speech, Kerry should have railed on this. He should have acknowledged the probability of vote manipulation. He should have fought.

Of course, this presupposes Kerry had some intention of actually winning -- and, in retrospect, I think this is a matter for debate.
Unknown Energy Surges Continue to Hit Planet, Global Weather Systems in Chaos

"An increasingly panicked global effort is now underway by the worlds top scientists to understand an unprecedented series of 'blasts', energy surges, which the planet has been taking from as an yet unknown source which has been bombarding Antarctica with cosmic rays and disrupting Northern Hemisphere weather systems on a global scale."

Earthquake: Coincidence or a Corporate Oil Tragedy?

"What is interesting about this is that the same place where the whale beachings have been taking place over the last 30 days is the same general area where the 8.1 Australian earthquake took place, and this is the same area where they are doing these seismic tests. Then 2 days after the Australian tectonic plate shifted, the 9.0 earthquake shook the coast of Indonesia."

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

I just did something I've wanted to do for a long time. I'm always getting requests from Plaza tourists to take their picture, and tonight was no exception. I really don't mind; if anything it's a good chance to size up various digicams before committing to a purchase. But this time I politely asked the couple whose picture I took if they had email. Then I asked if they would take a picture of me and email it to me, if possible. They agreed. So unless they misplace my email address, I might be getting an decently scenic photo of myself in my in-box. And if I do, I'll post it -- good or bad.
Rumsfeld's Freudian Slip: Plane "Shot Down" Over Pennsylvania

"And I think all of us have a sense if we imagine the kind of world we would face if the people who bombed the mess hall in Mosul, or the people who did the bombing in Spain, or the people who attacked the United States in New York, shot down the plane over Pennsylvania and attacked the Pentagon, the people who cut off peoples' heads on television to intimidate, to frighten . . ."

Rumsfeld, you dumb fuck. It's bad enough your boss has to wear a damned wire to the debates. Now you have to start blurting the truth when no one asked.
Why Make a Matrix? And Why You Might Be In One

"A Matrix may contain a civilization that matures and proceeds to build its own Matrices in the simulation. Realty could thus contain many levels, with computers being simulated inside computers which are themselves simulated, and so forth. How many layers of simulation there could be depends on the computing power available to the bottom-level Architect (who is not simulated). Since all the higher levels of simulation would ultimately be implemented on this Architect's computer, he would have to shoulder the cost of all the simulations and all the simulated people. If his computing power is limited, there may be only a small number of levels."

If this is a Matrix . . . then where is Carrie-Anne Moss?

Monday, December 27, 2004

Asian Disaster Death Toll Passes 22,000

"Bodies washed up on tropical beaches and piled up in hospitals Monday, raising fears of disease across a 10-nation arc of destruction left by a monster earthquake and walls of water that killed more than 22,000 people. Thousands were missing and millions homeless."
Bookstores Rated New York's Best Pickup Spot

"According to a survey of 1,003 New Yorkers aged 25 to 35 released by American Express on Wednesday, the bookstore chain Barnes & Noble has the best singles scene in the city."

All right -- what's the catch?
Playgirl virus attacks Chechen rebel sites

"An email virus that poses as pictures of a nude glamour model actually contains malicious code designed to launch denial-of-service attacks on websites run by Chechen separatists." (Via Beyond the Beyond.)

The UFO stories from India keep comin' . . .

Remote viewing Tibetan monks see Extra Terrestrial powers saving the World from destroying itself in 2012

"Monks also mentioned that beyond 2012 our current civilization would understand that the final frontier of science and technology is in area of spirituality and not material physics and chemistry. Beyond 2012, out [sic] technologies will take a different direction. People will learn the essence of spirituality, the relation between body and the soul, the reincarnation and the fact we are connected with each other are all part of 'God'."

Sounds like they're talking about a transhumanist "technology of consciousness." Regardless whether any of the messianic stuff is real, I actually think these (alleged) monks might basically be on the right track.

UFO Sightings over Iranian nuclear installations - Iranian Air Force orders shoot at sight but admits technical inability

"Flying object fever has gripped Iran after dozens of reported sightings in the summer and in recent weeks. State-run media has reported sightings of unknown objects flying over parts of Iran where nuclear facilities are located. 'The unidentified flying objects could be satellites, comets or spying or reconnaissance crafts trying to monitor Iran's nuclear installations,' Mahini said. 'Flights of unknown objects in the country's airspace have increased in recent weeks ... (they) have been seen over Bushehr and Isfahan provinces,' the daily Resalat reported today. There are nuclear facilities in both provinces. The timing of the reported increase in sightings, which comes as the United States is urging allies to confront Iran over its nuclear program, has strengthened Iranian public perceptions that the objects are surveillance or hostile aircrafts monitoring Iran. Iran's Air Force chief Gen. Karim Ghavami was quoted in Iranian newspapers Saturday as saying that Iran was fully prepared to defend any threat to its nuclear installations."
Asia Quake's Tsunamis Kill Nearly 10,000

"'All the planet is vibrating' from the quake, said Enzo Boschi, the head of Italy's National Geophysics Institute. Speaking on SKY TG24 TV, Boschi said the quake even disturbed the Earth's rotation."

Not to dwell on bad news, but have you read this? It's positively surreal. And it looks as if they've grossly underestimated the body-count . . .
Corporations Granted Relief from Pollution Regulations

"The thirty companies that own most of the dirtiest power plants in the country have raised 6.6 million for President Bush and the Republican National Committee since 1999, and were given relief from pollution regulations that would have cost them billions of dollars. [...] Some of the emissions that these companies release include sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide, which pose higher risks to Americans in terms of asthma attacks, lung ailments, and premature death."

Sunday, December 26, 2004

A year or so ago Stephen Hawking predicted the human race would go extinct within 1,000 years unless it expanded into space. Between global biowarfare, nuclear proliferation, rogue asteroids, and ecocaust, we don't have much of a chance unless we take radical measures. I've always thought Hawking was being naively optimistic and generous; 300 years seemed a more likely figure. Now, in my mind if nowhere else, that figure is dropping to somewhere between 50-100. The veil of optimism -- the smokescreen of contrived hope -- is in tatters, and I suddenly realize what a bruising my psyche has taken while trying to keep up a positive front.

Maybe this is what psychologists call "externalization": Maybe things aren't all that dire, but my frustration with myself -- my uncertainty -- is superimposing itself on the outside world. Or maybe people are saner and kinder than I assume. Or just maybe the environment can take an unprecedented artificially instigated pounding and still keep a human population of billions alive and in reasonable health.

Is it any wonder Christian Fundamentalism has made such an appalling cultural and political comeback? I honestly suspect most of us harbor an unrecognized visceral certainty that we're on the brink.

Maybe I've been out of the loop all along, while the Fundies have enjoyed something like prescience. The irony stings.

I finally coughed up the money for Morrissey's expanded, deluxe two-disc release of "You Are the Quarry," which contains eight B-sides and a DVD. I'm a bit angry because I thought I had already bought the "deluxe" two-disc edition when the album debuted. Then again, $20 for eight brand-new songs (practically an album's worth) isn't too bad. And the songs are pretty great. I listened to them on my portable while ingesting (somehow, "drinking" is not the word I'd choose) a chilled Naked health beverage -- ostensibly banana-flavored -- which left a persistent silty residue between my lips and gums.

Tracks to pay special attention to include "Teenage Dad On His Estate" (the title alone is ingenious), "Friday Mourning" and "The Never Played Symphonies." Nothing quite as excellent as "Come Back to Camden," but lots of Quintessential Morrissey Moments; I dare you to listen to "Don't Make Fun of Daddy's Voice" without laughing.
I just received a pretty fantastic report of a "flying triangle" hovering near a Web server and supposedly knocking a variety of UFO-related websites offline. Unless I'm being put on, the FBI is involved in some capacity. What the hell?
Indonesian 'hobbit' legends may be factual

"The story had previously been dismissed as a legend - along with other tales of 'little people' living in isolated rainforests that are common elsewhere in Indonesia and Southeast Asia."

Indeed, common just about everywhere. And again I'm drawn to the possibility that not only might some of these once-mythical creatures still be alive, but to the prospect that we've actually interacted with them in modern times -- possibly without even realizing them for what they are.

Say you're an ancestor of the Flores "hobbits" and you don't want to be found. It might seem prudent to disguise the facts surrounding your existence, knowing full-well that homo sapiens' technology is bound to detect traces now and then. One good subterfuge -- assuming you have access to the technology to pull it off -- is to appear to be of extraterrestrial origin. With humans watching the skies for aliens, you can effectively control their beliefs, up to and including belief in the possibility that they share the planet with one or more species of intelligent bipeds.

Technological development is an enigma. Archaeological evidence suggests that sometimes it comes in discreet quantum jumps. Ancient Sumerian civilization, for example, came out of virtually nowhere, prompting many "ancient astronaut" scenarios; none other than Carl Sagan wondered if the famous Oannes myth was an actual record of ET contact. Visiting aliens aside, who knows how long it might take for a race of hominids to develop a sophisticated technology? It's possible the hobbits were forced to compress the time between their Stone Age and Information Age to merely hundreds of years. Or maybe, for a nonhuman civilization, there was simply no need for an incremental transition; their method of thinking could be fundamentally different -- and vastly more efficient.

Couple this with the so-called "Singularity" that seems to hover over our own technological horizon. Many "transhumanists" think that in 20 years or so we will begin making exponential strides due to advances in artificial intelligence -- redefining "human" in the process. Perhaps the hobbits, or someone like them, has already enjoyed something equivalent to the Singularity, in which case dealing with them is likely to be as strange as dealing with actual extraterrestrials.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Was Jesus Gay?

"'Large chunks of Jesus' life are missing from the Biblical accounts. This has fuelled speculation that the early Church sanitized the gospels, removing references to Christ's sexuality that were not in accord with the heterosexual morality that it wanted to promote', said Tatchell." (Via The Anomalist.)
Be very afraid . . .

The Christmas Miracle

"Sixty-two percent say they favor teaching creation science in addition to evolution in public schools; 26 percent oppose such teaching, the poll shows. Forty-three percent favor teaching creation science instead of evolution in public schools; 40 percent oppose the idea."

Newsweek is at glaring fault here for using the condescending term "creation science." Biblical Creationism isn't science; it's not even close. But Fundamentalists know perfectly well they need to work the "s"-work into their agenda if they're to wield political clout; flaunting Creationism as some sort of overlooked field of objective study is nothing but a prudent gimmick. And of course once they've accomplished their mission of subverting the public education system they'll abandon the pretense altogether. Meanwhile, the mainstream news media obligingly endorse the fiction that there's something scientific about Creationism.

Welcome to Jesusland.

Your Christmas is Most Like: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

You can't really get into the Christmas spirit...
But it usually gets to you by the end of the holiday.

Yeah, yeah . . . maybe these blog-quiz things are sort of lame -- but I like them. And damned if they're not accurate.
Asteroid Given Highest Potential Impact Rating So Far

"The asteroid is about the length of four football fields and has just received a rating of 'two' on a 10-point scale that predicts impact."

Just what you wanted to hear about on Christmas, right?
Stealth satellites' cost in orbit

"The stealth satellite, which would probably become the largest single-item expenditure in the $40 billion intelligence budget, is to be launched in the next five years and is meant to replace an existing stealth satellite, according to officials. Non-stealth satellites can be tracked and their orbits can be predicted, allowing countries to attempt to hide weapons or troop movements on the ground when they are overhead."

Troop movements? I thought we were fighting terrorists, not armies. Unless "stealth satellites" are simply a prelude to a war that has yet to be announced.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Let the holiday merry-making commence!

This is interesting. I just realized it's 3:00 AM on Christmas Eve and I'm blogging about viral holocaust.

Happy holidays from Kansas City!
Nature, the most deadly bio-terrorist of all

"Consider the basic facts: we have several strains of deadly avian flu infecting the poultry of south Asia and we have millions of people who keep chickens and ducks in their yards and huts in one of the world's most densely populated areas. On their own, these two factors are ideal for creating a deadly new flu virus. On top of that, we have the bonus factor of cheap, global air travel ready to whisk newly infected humans round the planet. And given that flu victims become infectious before their symptoms develop, the situation looks extremely dodgy, to say the least."

Between natural and engineered viruses (think "12 Monkeys" or "The Stand"), it seems virtually inevitable that germs will play a pivotal and grisly role as the human species reaches "critical mass," probably sometime in the next century.
The Quantum AetherDynamics Institute

"The Quantum AetherDynamics Institute is a non-profit educational and scientific organization devoted to promoting an understanding of the Aether Physics Model. We will provide an environment for the Aether Physics Model to grow by supplying books and training, a laboratory, and an open knowledge database website. We believe the Aether Physics Model provides key solutions to physics including a Unified Force Theory, which will lead to breakthroughs in all branches of science. We also believe that establishing the Aether Physics Model as the foundation of universal knowledge will increase world harmony and human development, by creating a bridge between science and spirituality."

I'm always reading about the quest to join science and spirituality. The popular assumption is that reconciling the two -- if possible -- will be an unquestionably good thing. To be sure, it has a nice ring to it; it's not as if the appeal is obscure. But why do we assume we need to bridge the gulf between science and spirituality? For that matter, who says the "gulf" even exists? It could be a perceptual anomaly, an intellectual mirage.

This might sound stodgily materialist, but maybe the only way to humanize science is to do more science. As we continue exploring the frontiers of neurology and quantum cosmology, the "bridge" so many of us are looking for may begin to reveal itself with increasing resolution.

What's playing:

1.) MTV Unplugged (10,000 Maniacs)
2.) Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (The Cure)
3.) Medulla (Bjork)
4.) Paris (The Cure)
5.) Us (Peter Gabriel)

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Manipulating our memories of food can influence what we choose to eat

"'We set out to test what we've known anecdotally - that false beliefs have repercussions, affecting what people later think and do,' said Loftus, whose research over the past three decades has changed the way scientists and the public view the malleable nature of human memory. 'We proved this; however, we also discovered that food is a surprisingly easy target for memory manipulation.'"

Oh, boy. The Orwellian implications are positively rampant.

(Thanks to Bill Dash for the lead.)
Invitation to ETI

"Issuing an invitation to ETI on the World Wide Web is a long shot, as is every SETI project. Our chances of detecting ETI are at least as good as those of any other project. If successful, though, our project could provide humanity with particularly high benefits because we aim to achieve a scientific, educational, and philosophical dialogue between humankind and ETI--not simply find evidence that ETI exists. Humanity could gain an extraordinary wealth of new insights from such a dialogue."

This isn't the first attempt to send a Web-based "open letter" to ETI that I've seen. I doubt it will be the last. Oddly enough, I find myself in basic agreement that the chances of this method succeeding are comparable to radio-based SETI. Even the SETI Institute's Seth Shostak seemed to be pondering a similar scenario when he recommended terrestrials transmit the contents of the Web to a candidate extrasolar civilization -- and few would argue that sharing our planet's collective digital unconscious is more portentous than firing off a string of anonymous prime numbers.

The truth is probably closer to Rudy Rucker's vision of encrypted alien intelligences passing us by in the form of background radiation, completely unacknowledged as anything other than stellar noise.

In the meantime, I'm giving "Internet SETI" a shot.
New 'moon' found around Earth

"Much uncertainty surrounds the mysterious object, designated J002E3. It could be a passing chunk of rock captured by the Earth's gravity, or it could be a discarded rocket casing coming back to our region of space."

Could it conceivably be something else -- perhaps an extraterrestrial probe making a close approach? Maybe we should try signaling J002E3; an "echo" or return broadcast would confirm that we're dealing with something unprecedented.


It's come to my attention that this science story dates from way back in 2002. Sorry about that; I try to keep the weirdness fresh around here. Still, I found this interesting. I think it's a little foolish to automatically consign orbital anomalies to space debris; it's just possible we might miss something far more intriguing.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

EU Pleads for Global Warming Agreement--US Says No

"The US administration continues to claim that global warming is a matter for debate, even though there is no longer any scientific question that it is happening, or that human-generated pollution is a significant contributor to the warming process."

I don't think the rest of the world realizes how profoundly twisted things have become in the US. To Bush and his pals, the end of the world is eminently desirable because that means Jesus is on his way, complete with flaming sword. So global warming -- and other serious environmental threats -- are unflinchingly neglected.

It's not a (relatively) simple matter of choosing to look the other way for fear of what might be seen; those in control actively want this. Mind-blowing? Certainly. But then again so was W's "re"-election; we should be practically numb to absurdity by now.
Live Cat Found In Freezer With Euthanized Animals

"No one is sure if he ever received the deadly shot, but he somehow ended up in the shelter's freezer, with the other euthanized animals."

Question: Can cats suffer post-traumatic stress disorder?
'We have to protect people'

"'Traditional family values are under attack,' Allen informs me. They've been under attack 'for the last 40 years'. The enemy, this time, is not al-Qaida. The axis of evil is 'Hollywood, the music industry'. We have an obligation to 'save society from moral destruction'. We have to prevent liberal libarians [sic] and trendy teachers from 're-engineering society's fabric in the minds of our children'. We have to 'protect Alabamians'." (Via CP.)

Isn't it wonderful that politicians are so eager to help us? I find it boundlessly encouraging that some total stranger is going beyond the call of duty to protect me. I mean, the utter selflessness of it!

Seriously: I don't "get" homophobia. I suspect that just as there are biological conditions that predetermine if one is gay or straight, there are genes/hormones/enzymes that kick in to make people homophobic. And I have a hunch this biological mechanism is tied to religion, another irrational phenomenon with known neurological aspects (thus the burgeoning field of neurotheology).

In other words, there are sets of factors, intrinsic and cultural, that conspire to turn people into assholes. You might not actually find the term "asshole" in the neurological literature, but perhaps it should be there just the same. Assholes, like the "shits" scorned by William Burroughs, appear fundamentally unable to mind their own business. So they become politicians and corporate hotshots, careers that allow them to make a profitable living screwing with other people's lives in the name of "morality," the worst possible form of ersatz altruism. These are the "functionally dead" people I mentioned in a previous post. They're everywhere.

As far as I'm concerned, they might as well belong to some virulent alien species. And yet, far too often, the rest of us willingly play by their rules. We cow-tow to them. We make it easy, consoling ourselves with the costly fiction that casting a vote once every four years might make a difference.

Meanwhile, the planet goes to hell.
More UFO fun from you-know-where . . .

More evidence of Extra Terrestrial contacts with Indian Government and Military

"According to rumors in New Delhi, UFOs made formal contact with Indian Government. The Government was initially baffled without knowing how to react. Later things became quiet and it seems all understand that these Extra Terrestrials are friendly."

Assuming that all of the tales coming from India aren't simply tabloid fiction, it's tempting to wonder if they've been planted to screen top-secret research. India might have its own home-grown Area 51, complete with dupes to spread wild "contact" stories. There's ample precedent in United States spookdom: John Lear, Bob Lazar, etc.

Of possible significance is that the ETs allegedly visiting India are friendly, whereas the "Grays" of the American "silent invasion" mythos are, at best, duplicitous -- and, at worst, downright demonic.
Weird lights and strange noises in the news . . .

Arctic lights blamed on climate change

"Eskimos and scientists report a strange 'lightness at noon' that is turning the usual all-day darkness of the high Canadian Arctic into twilight, apparently in defiance of natural laws. Canadian government officials say it may be the result of an unusual atmospheric phenomenon caused by global warming."

Low tone sounds like a mystery

"A Midlothian Council spokeswoman said: 'Following a complaint made about tonal noise by a Mayfield family last year, the council engaged a noise consultant to investigate. The consultant reported that the noise experienced by the family was below the level that would enable the council to take action, and that the precise source of the sound was not identifiable.'"

You have to wonder if there's a common origin.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

I'll be collaborating (albeit in a limited capacity) on Twentythrees, a graphical blog that documents synchronistic recurrences of the number 23.

The image above is a typical example. I created it using typoGenerator, a Web-based application that takes a keyword, conducts a search for relevant images, and randomly "stylizes" the results. In this case, the input was the word "replicant," the term for the androids in "Blade Runner." Weirdly, the number 23 appears, totally unbidden.

I'm also about to set to work on a story on the "23 phenomenon" for the print version of "Phenomena" magazine. If you have any wacky "23 stories" to share, let me know; they might make it into the finished article.

Note: I experienced a synchronicity involving 23 while making this post. While checking the MS My Documents folder on my desktop, I suddenly noticed the only unfiled graphic was a new picture of the Cydonia region on Mars with the file-name "R23 context."
I got this email today:

hello! my name is Elena, I'm from Russia. I looked your profile on dating site. So, you are look like as my type. let's get acquainted! It's probably you'll like me if you see my pics and find out a little about me. Please write me back!

Sounds like a teaser for an erotic website, doesn't it?

The weird thing is that I think it could possibly be for real. I've had two Russian single women email me to profess their desire to meet American singles, and, to my surprise, both turned out to be real people. (How serious they were about "dating" is another issue, but they weren't hawking porn or asking for money.) So I wrote "Elena" a quick message in reply just to see where this goes -- which is probably nowhere fast.

The bone-chilling irony is that I probably have a better chance at meeting someone in Siberia than in my own hometown. (Insert Morrissey lyric here.)
The Delusional Is No Longer Marginal

"The news about the environment is not good these days. With an administration that wants to rewrite the Clean Air and Endangered Species acts and millions of Americans who literally believe that environmental destruction will hearken the second coming of Christ, esteemed journalism Bill Moyers understands the despair many of us feel. But in this speech, given as he accepted Harvard Medical's Global Environment Citizen award on Dec. 1, he says the cure for cynicism is the will to fight so the next generation will not have to, and the conviction that the future does indeed depend on our actions."

Quite probably a must-read.
Two brand-new websites to check out

I thought that Keanu Reeves played the protagonist in the "Matrix" movies. Evidently I was mistaken. As the title banner for PAG E-News clearly demonstrates, the "Matrix's" Neo was in fact played by UFO lawyer and commentator Peter A. Gersten. I've been getting Peter's email newsletter for a long time; he rounds up some exquisitely high-weirdness news items, and does so daily. Have fun.

Also, ufologist Larry Hatch has just unveiled his UFO specific *U* / Gigablast Search, a UFO-dedicated search engine designed to help filter out stupid UFO sites. (Imagine, if you can, checking out paranormal sites without enduring "eerie" MIDI soundtracks and animated "X-Files" graphics . . .)
'Artificial life' comes step closer

"'This is rather philosophical,' says Dr Libchaber.

"'For me, life is just like a machine - a machine with a computer program. There's no more to it than that. But not everyone shares this point of view,' he told the BBC."