Controlling the UFO ‘Meme’stream
The comet theory of the 1908 Tunguska, Siberia Event is nothing new. But now there is a 21st Century twist to what happened; The Space Shuttle.
A popular news story doing the rounds this week is this Space.com item about how recent space shuttle launches may have solved the mystery of what hit Tunguska in 1908: a comet. Key to the new theory are ‘noctilucent clouds‘, which were seen over Europe in the days following the explosion, and the fact that these clouds are also created by the Space Shuttle on take-off:
About 97 percent of the exhaust from a shuttle launch turns into water, a by-product of the liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen fuel. A single shuttle flight pumps 300 metric tons of water vapor into the Earth’s thermosphere, and the water particles have been found to travel to the Arctic and Antarctic regions.
Noctilucent clouds were tied to the launch of Endeavour (STS-118) on Aug. 8, 2007. And high-altitude clouds were detected over Antarctica shortly after the fateful launch of Columbia, which along with its crew was lost during re-entry. Columbia’s plume was 650 miles long and 2 miles wide and reached Antarctica in three days.
Cornell University engineering professor Michael Kelley figured the bright night skies after the Tunguska event must have been the result of noctilucent clouds. And since they require water vapor, Kelley assumed a comet was the culprit.
It’s worth noting though that for the theory to work, a completely “new model of upper-atmospheric physics is needed” to explain how the water vapour traveled so far. Given that rather large leap, I found it quite ironic that the Space.com article begins by ridiculing the ‘UFO theory’ for Tunguska, then proceeds to explain how a spaceship leaving the Earth shows that the event was caused by a comet. Funny stuff.
I like Greg’s comment at the end of the post. Priceless.
In going from mainstream scientific debunking of the UFO phenomenon to its semi-official acknowledgement by the CIA and Pentagon, we discover, to no surprise, that the movie industry over the decades has been used to great effect by said agencies to alternatively debunk and ‘disclose’ it:
Bizarrely – and for reasons not entirely clear – the U.S. government has taken a keen interest in Hollywood’s flying saucer movies since the early days of the phenomenon. Official efforts to debunk UFOs through media channels originated with the CIA-sponsored Robertson Panel which, in 1953, decided that public excitement about flying saucers should be actively discouraged. The panel recommended “That the national security agencies take immediate steps to strip the Unidentified Flying Objects of the… aura of mystery they have unfortunately acquired,” and that this should “be accomplished by mass media such as television [and] motion pictures…” with specific reference to Walt Disney.
Unambiguous evidence for the Robertson Panel’s covert impact on media representations of UFOs is found in the CBS TV broadcast of UFOs: Friend, Foe, or Fantasy? (1966), a documentary narrated by Walter Cronkite. In a personal letter addressed to former Robertson Panel Secretary Frederick C. Durant, Dr Thornton Page confides that he “helped organize the CBS TV show around the Robertson Panel conclusions,”even though this was thirteen years later and despite the fact that he was personally sympathetic to the existence of flying saucers.
Concern over, or involvement in, UFO movies continues to be evidenced in more modern Hollywood productions. Take, for example, the 1996 alien invasion blockbuster Independence Day, which, despite its proud championing of American values and leadership, was denied cooperation from the Department of Defense (DoD) due in large part to a plotline concerning Area 51 (a super-secret military facility in the Nevada desert long rumoured to be the testing ground for captured extraterrestrial technologies) and the so-called ‘Roswell Incident.’
The Pentagon specifically requested that “any government connection” to Area 51 or to Roswell be eliminated from the film – a request apparently based on the ridiculous assumption that both the Roswell Incident and Area 51 were not already known to half of America.
The DoD may have been unable to dictate script changes on Independence Day, but its involvement with both Transformers movies (2007 and 2009) was much more deep-rooted. The original film’s script is loaded with UFOlogical references and laboured rhetoric absolving the U.S. military of complicity in what turns out to be a massive cover-up of alien visitations. The finger is pointed instead at the quasi-governmental “Sector 7” which has been concealing its “Top Secret” alien research for decades within “special access projects” – and all without the knowledge and consent of a shocked and concerned Secretary of Defense.
No startling revelations here, since it takes a willing and complicit mainstream media outlet to spread effective meme control, the CIA’s stock in trade and useful Pentagon tool.
Whether it proves the extraterrestrial hypothesis of the UFO phenomenon is another matter.
Whither Nazi UFOs?
The subject of this column dropped through the letterbox. I was going to return to the American right’s conspiracy theories about President Obama – the most amusing of which is the claim that he’s a stooge of the Soviet Communists, trained by them and planted on America  – until the postman brought the March/February issue of Nexus. It contains an interview by Linda Moulton Howe with someone purporting to be a former CIA and military officer who worked with UFOs. It’s obviously disinformation – and not even very good disinformation, at that. Howe’s interviewee, whom she calls “Stein”, runs some of ufology’s greatest hits past her: Nazi UFOs hidden in the Antarctic (FT175:42–47), aliens, Roswell, and so on and so forth. He claims to have seen the Santilli ‘alien autopsy’ film in the 1950s – seemingly unaware that Santilli has admitted it was a fake – and tells Howe that the Germans had the flying discs we think of as UFOs in 1917(!), built from plans received (sort of downloaded) by mediums from the Vril Society.
The really startling thing to me that is that Howe doesn’t appear to have thought, “UFOS in 1917? That seems unlikely”, or asked herself, “Oh, the Vril Society: what’s that?” Had she Googled “Vril society” she would found that the concept of Vril first appeared in a novel by Edward Bulwer-Lytton published in 1871 (FT241:32–33) and evidence for the existence of a real Vril Society is non-existent. For a journalist and filmmaker, Howe is stunningly uncurious.
And we have been here before. It was Howe who was taken into an office of the US Air Force by Sgt Richard Doty in 1983 and shown ‘secret documents’ about UFOs, aliens and crash sites which she could read but not copy.  Doty was part of a disinformation operation by the US Air Force aimed at American ufology. This operation gave similar information to Paul Bennewitz and then, a year later, offered some of it in documentary form as the MJ12 papers (FT121:40–43; 122:28–31). We know this was a disinformation operation because one of its main perpetrators, the writer William Moore, told American ufologists at a conference in 1989 that they’d been had – and by him
Linda Moulton Howe is famous for her 1979 cattle mutilation documentary “A Strange Harvest” which garnered her a Regional Emmy Award for sound effects and editing. For legitimate cred, she has some to boast.
But in recent years she has been slammed by some UFO researchers for propagating discredited UFO memes on her website Earthfiles.com, such as the ‘drones’ and the MJ-12 documents.
Is Linda Moulton Howe a disinformation agent? As it was put to me one time by Jeremy Vaeni, “Linda’s gotta eat.”
Depends who’s buttering your bread I guess.
NASA’s Constellation Program Draws Big-time Criticism
Recently, a group of 10 people with various attachments to the aerospace industry started a 11 week tet-a-tete under the auspices of the Obama White House, charged with reviewing America’s space flight goals for the coming decade(s).
One of the biggies, the Ares Program that’s supposed to replace the Shuttle by 2015, is already prone to cost over-runs and is plagued by tech issues (severe vibrations in Ares 1 rocket designs). The Orion capsule itself, slated to hold six crew has been down-rated to carry 4 because of cost issues.
Another problem is the 5-6 year gap that NASA will have in helping to staff the ISS because the shuttle will be retired next year and no more monies are budgeted for the program because the money is slated to fund Ares. The gap was supposed to be cured by ‘renting’ Soyuz flights from the Russians, our ‘friends’ since 1991.
Needless to say, this is unpalpable to some politicians and the folks who will be unemployed when the shuttle goes offline.
So what to do?
According to this article and photo gallery at New Scientist, there are at least 6 options the US/NASA should consider instead of the Constellation Project. These could be cheaper to develop and decrease the gap between the shuttle and future lunar/interplanetary capabilities.
Whether the 10 panel committee even considers these options or not is another matter, a lot of money has already been alloted to contracters located in various polticians’ home states.
And you better believe those contracters contribute to these congress-critters’ political action committees.
In Search of NASA’s Next Rocket
You know NASA’s in trouble when one of the agency’s icons of the past, Buzz Aldrin, is totally critical of the Constellation Project:
As I approach my 80th birthday, I’m in no mood to keep my mouth shut any longer when I see NASA heading down the wrong path. And that’s exactly what I see today. The agency’s current Vision for Space Exploration will waste decades and hundreds of billions of dollars trying to reach the moon by 2020—a glorified rehash of what we did 40 years ago. Instead of a steppingstone to Mars, NASA’s current lunar plan is a detour. It will derail our Mars effort, siphoning off money and engineering talent for the next two decades. If we aspire to a long-term human presence on Mars—and I believe that should be our overarching goal for the foreseeable future—we must drastically change our focus.
Here’s my plan, which I call the Unified Space Vision. It’s a blueprint that will maintain U.S. leadership in human spaceflight, avoid a counterproductive space race with China to be second back to the moon, and lead to a permanent American-led presence on Mars by 2035 at the latest. That date happens to be 66 years after Neil Armstrong and I first landed on the moon—just as our landing was 66 years after the Wright Brothers’ first flight.
Another big beef Aldrin has is the gap between the shuttle and Orion, which I mentioned earlier. And I agree, it’s a strategic blunder geo-politically.
Then again, maybe it’s meant to be a blunder?
Buzz Aldrin to NASA: US Space Policy is on the Wrong Track
Another former NASA astronaut, Bob Crippen (pilot/commander of the first shuttle mission), speaks his mind about the ‘gap’ :
The current plan calls for a several-years-long gap between the end of the shuttle program and the first flight of the Constellation program, NASA’s initiative to return to the moon and beyond. That gap could mean another brain drain as talented, skilled contractors and NASA employees must take their institutional knowledge elsewhere.
We were in that situation when we started the shuttle program — training a new, inexperienced workforce. As one of the few people in the world who has piloted a never-before-flown spacecraft, I’m here to tell you — you want experienced engineers and technicians on your team.
I also witnessed firsthand the economic devastation of the aerospace industry downturn while working at Kennedy Space Center in Florida in the 1970s. The six-year gap between the Apollo and shuttle programs cost America more than 400,000 jobs. The Space Coast, Houston and other cities that thrived on aerospace were hit especially hard. Once again, we face the prospect of thousands of layoffs and the residual economic blow nationwide. The current plan calls for a several-years-long gap between the end of the shuttle program and the first flight of the Constellation program, NASA’s initiative to return to the moon and beyond. That gap could mean another brain drain as talented, skilled contractors and NASA employees must take their institutional knowledge elsewhere.
We were in that situation when we started the shuttle program — training a new, inexperienced workforce. As one of the few people in the world who has piloted a never-before-flown spacecraft, I’m here to tell you — you want experienced engineers and technicians on your team.
I also witnessed firsthand the economic devastation of the aerospace industry downturn while working at Kennedy Space Center in Florida in the 1970s. The six-year gap between the Apollo and shuttle programs cost America more than 400,000 jobs. The Space Coast, Houston and other cities that thrived on aerospace were hit especially hard. Once again, we face the prospect of thousands of layoffs and the residual economic blow nationwide.
So there are a few heavy-weights who have a critical analysis of this point in NASA’s history and these are very telling. Most, if not all find the gap of 5-6 years between the shuttle and Orion not only unacceptable, but potentially dangerous foreign policy.
These critics aren’t against international cooperation per se, in fact they endorse it when it comes to developing lunar resources.
But it’s the lack of launch capability and focus is what they find most apalling in NASA’s plans.
Not to mention the economic losses on the ‘space coasts.’
Sci-Fi Links 6/26/2009
- Jeffery A. Carver’s “Chaos Chronicles”
- Murray Leinster’s “The Aliens”
- Philip K. Dick’s “Beyond Lies the Wub”
- Cory Doctorow’s “Craphound”
- Excerpt from “Diaspora”
Some Singularity News
The meme of a technological singularity is gaining mainstream acceptance.
To that point here are some startling developments that claim the technological singularity might not be so much science fiction in a few short years.
Imagine a future where engineers build a computer with greater-than-human intelligence. This hyper-intelligent being expands its knowledge and brainpower exponentially over days and weeks as it learns how to improve on its own hardware and software design. It starts building ‘offspring’ even smarter than itself.
The sudden arrival of these offspring – cheap, mass-produced super-intelligent machines – sparks explosive economic growth, triggering a series of cascading events.
THEY base their predictions on the fact that technology is advancing fast – the processing power of computers doubles every two years. If this continues at current rates, then machines will surpass the processing capacity of the human brain sometime between 2030 and 2040.
Once a computer becomes aware, it will be able to improve on itself faster than any human designer, ushering in advances in a single decade that would have taken humans thousands of years of discovery and experimentation. Technological development will leap off the charts, becoming so rapid that we cannot possibly imagine the results.
It’s been called the ‘geek rapture’ – an allusion to the belief among some Christians that, at the end of the world, they’ll be whisked directly to heaven in a process termed ‘the rapture’.
Whoever said that the technological singularity is so much fantasy, nobody has bothered to tell the US government’s DoD Tech Arm DARPA yet:
In anticipation of a potential program on the topic of Physical intelligence (PI), DARPA is hosting two Proposers’ Day Workshops that will provide critical information on the program vision, the milestones, and opportunities associated with the development of interdisciplinary teams to respond to an anticipated Broad Agency Announcement (BAA). The Physical Intelligence program aspires to understand intelligence as a physical phenomenon and to make the first demonstration of the principle in electronic and chemical systems. A central tenet is that intelligence spontaneously evolves as a consequence of thermodynamics in open systems. The program plan is organized around three interrelated task areas: (1) creating a theory (a mathematical formalism) and validating it in natural and engineered systems; (2) building the first human-engineered systems that display physical intelligence in the form of abiotic, self-organizing electronic and chemical systems; and (3) developing analytical tools to support the design and understanding of physically intelligent systems. If successful, the program would launch a revolution of understanding across many fields of human endeavor, demonstrate the first intelligence engineered from first principles, create new classes of electronic, computational, and chemical systems, and create tools to engineer intelligent systems that match the problem/environment in which they will exist. Concepts relevant to the objectives of the Physical Intelligence program can be found in numerous disciplines and areas of research including statistical physics, non-equilibrium thermodynamics, dissipative systems, group theory, collective behavior, complexity theory, consciousness theory, non-linear dynamical systems, complex adaptive systems, systems analysis, multi-scale modeling, control systems, information theory, computation theory, topology, electronics, evolutionary computation, cellular automata, artificial life, origin of life, microbiology, evolutionary biology, evolutionary chemistry, neuropsychology, neurophysiology, brain modeling, organizational behavior, operations research and others.
If the DoD believes there’s something to it and willing to invest taxpayer dollars, well, you get the picture…
Fermi Paradox? Feh. It’s because some alien civilizations could be exploring the galaxy ‘sustainably’:
The Fermi Paradox cannot logically conclude that humans are the only intelligent
civilization in the galaxy. This is due to the Sustainability Solution to the Fermi Paradox
presented here: the absence of ETI observation can be explained by the possibility that
exponential growth is not a sustainable development pattern for intelligent civilizations. Thus,
the Paradox can only conclude that other intelligent civilizations have not sustained exponential
growth patterns throughout the galaxy. It is still possible that slower-growth ETI civilizations
exist but have not expanded rapidly enough to be easily detectable by the searches humans have
yet made. It is also possible that faster-growth ETI civilizations previously expanded throughout
the galaxy but could not sustain this state, collapsing in a way that whatever artifacts they might
have left have also remained undetected. Both of these growth patterns can be observed in
human civilization, suggesting that they may be possible for ETI civilizations as well.
The Sustainability Solution to the Fermi Paradox has practical implications for both the
search for extraterrestrial life and human civilization management. In the search for
extraterrestrial life, the Sustainability Solution allows that slower-growth ETI civilizations may
still transmit radio or other signals. Furthermore, ambitions such as Solar System SETI may
eventually discover extraterrestrial messenger probes residing in the asteroid belt and other
stellar orbits. For human civilization management, the Sustainability Solution increases the
likelihood that human civilization needs to transition towards sustainable development in order
to avoid its own collapse.
I could buy that, but it throws the Kardashev Scale of Civilizations out the window.
Come to think of it, so does the Technological Singularity!
Near Space Wars!
St. Ronnie be praised!
The second of a pair of long-delayed missile tracking satellites is packed up awaiting orders from the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) to ship out for launch later this year, according their Northrop Grumman builders.The first of the two Space Tracking and Surveillance System (STSS) demonstration satellites has already been shipped to a to a payload processing facility near their Florida launch said, said Gabe Watson, Northrop Grumman’s STSS program manager, in a recent interview. The satellites were slated to lift off in August, but the flight is expected to be pushed back in light of a space shuttle launch delay that has muddled the manifest at their spaceport in Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
When they finally blast off, the STSS satellites will be launched in a stacked configuration aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta 2 rocket. The MDA in May launched a classified STSS demonstration satellite that was also built by Northrop Grumman.
Following a post-launch checkout phase expected to last three months, Northrop Grumman will operate the satellites from Schriever Air Force Base, Colo., through a six-month period of testing, in which at least two dedicated ballistic missile targets will be launched to test STSS. The satellites also will participate in at least two other tests of MDA systems such as the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense system, Morgan said. The final test program is still in flux as the agency’s overall test program is not yet set.
The satellites have a staring sensor similar to that on the Air Force’s Defense Support Program and Space Based Infrared System satellites, but they also have a multiband infrared tracking sensor other missile warning satellites lack, Watson said.
“Even though the hardware was built in the 1990s, when the two STSS demonstrators are on orbit, they will bring a unique capability to the MDA,” Watson said. “We can track missiles in every stage of flight, from launch to intercept, and do hit assessment as well. If the MDA wants to intercept missiles in the ascent phase, they will need additional data that [current missile warning satellites] don’t provide.”
At last, Star Wars finally becoming a reality. The Sainted Ronnie of the Raygun is going to bestow such blessings upon our nation now!
Oh, it’s shark, not snark. Sorry.
Prototype Missile Defense Satellites Primed for Test Flight
However, the best defense is a good offense…
The planned October 9, 2009 bombing of the moon by a NASA orbiter that will bomb the moon with a 2-ton kinetic weapon to create a 5 mile wide deep crater as an alleged water-seeking and lunar colonization experiment, is contrary to space law prohibiting environmental modification of celestial bodies. The NASA moon bombing, a component of the LCROSS mission, may also trigger conflict with known extraterrestrial civilizations on the moon as reported on the moon in witnessed statements by U.S. astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong, and in witnessed statements to NSA (National Security Agency) photos and documents regarding an extraterrestrial base on the dark side of the moon.
If the true intent of the LCROSS mission moon bombing is a hostile act by NASA against known extraterrestrial civilizations and settlements on the moon, then NASA and by extension the U.S. government are guilty of aggressive war which is the most serious of war crimes under the U.N. Charter and the Geneva Conventions, to which the U.S. is subject. The U.N. Outer Space Treaty, which the U.S. has ratified, requires that “ The moon and other celestial bodies shall be used by all States Parties to the Treaty exclusively for peaceful purposes. The establishment of military bases, installations and fortifications, the testing of any type of weapons and the conduct of military manoeuvres on celestial bodies shall be forbidden.” 98 nations have ratified and 125 nations have signed the U.N. Outer Space Treaty.
The problem I see with this theory is – that whoever might be hiding on the Moon could have bigger destructive toys than us and possibly take umbrage with us ‘bombing’ them with kinetic energy weapons.
But then again, Bu$hco, our Chinese ‘friends’, Japan and India did start ambitious lunar programs back in 2004 (the US, unsurprisingly is slacking off from this program during the Obama Administration) on the pretext of ‘peaceful’ exploration.
NASA Bombing of the Moon may create conflict with ET’s, UFO’s
Rendlesham Forest Interview/New Agey NWO News
This past Sunday on the Paracast, Gene and Dave’s guests were John Burroughs and Peter Robbins.
Burroughs was an airman stationed at Bentwaters Air Force Base and a witness to the 1980 Rendlesham Forest UFO incident. Robbins is co-author of “Left at East Gate.”
During the interview, Burroughs said he went through “hypnotic regression” therapy to bring up all of the missing memories he had. He himself doubts his own veracity concerning these sessions, but Gene and Dave handle his interview well and the story of Rendlesham is still one of the great unsolved mysteries of modern times.
Burroughs and Robbins Interview
On the 6/18/09 Project Camelot podcast, the guest was George Green, a former international currency buyer/trader, now a New Age peace and love the Earth guru.
Funny that he’s made a place to hide out for when the shit hits the fan (self-admittedly).
So much for peace and love. But Bill and Kerry do a relatively good interview, they’re getting better at it.
But when you listen to any Project Camelot podcast, get ready for New Agey mysticism along with your dose of NWO news.
I think Bill and Kerry mean well though.
Recent NWO Headlines
For those of you who have a New Age bend, Project Camelot has a radio show now and here’s the inaugural show (6/16/09) in which Bill Ryan and Kerry Cassidy try their hand at podcasting.
It’s a little rough, but I think they’ll get better at it the further along they get.
Project Camelot Inaugural Broadcast
“10 months ago, the Pakistani government touted the death of top al-Qaeda figure Mustafa Abu al-Yazid in the Bajaur Agency. Today, he gave a notably live interview with al-Jazeera in which he made some chilling comments regarding Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.
When asked about the prospect of the US seizing Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal during the growing instability, Yazid declared “God willing, the nuclear weapons will not fall into the hands of the Americans and the mujahideen would take them and use them against the Americans.”
I swear, these fake, CIA terror clowns pop in and out of existence and the MSM never asks questions. They die, they give interviews, they die again, all according to if the fascists want to tout success in their phony WOT or if they want to scare the shit out of us.
I’ve got to say that Antiwar is degrading at an alarming rate. They either have fallen for the intense propaganda surrounding the contrived Iranian upheaval or they never were a voice of reason against the empire’s machinations.
My pal Nolo tells it like it is. I was taken aback by his statement about the Antiwar site, but after checking it out I have to say Nolo has a valid point because nowhere on the site does it mention the Bu$hco/CIA plans of financing insurgents in Iran and Obama’s mission of getting an ancillary oil pipeline built (something that Bu$hco failed to accomplish in 8 years) in either Afghanistan or Iran.
Follow the money and resources people.
More corpo-government B.S. :
What has happened is that bloggers have blown the support columns out from underneath traditional media and the people who run the show don’t like that.
The fact that some of us are able to survive by maintaining blogs must have come as an incredible shock to fat bastards in boardrooms across the land. That we are not “regulated” is unthinkable in the Soviet hive mind that governs the political economy of the United States.
Wall Street firms have made off with an unknown sum of taxpayer money and the mom who makes $800 per month from her blogs (see the article below) is going to have comply with FTC regulations?
Of course, comrade. People who read blogs can’t be trusted to think for themselves. And those swarthy bloggers, why… There ought to be a law!
This is what states do that are well down the path to collapse.
Why should I care about being regulated since I already overtly disclose my financial situation?
How much of my day will I have to spend on complying with this? How many forms will I have to fill out? Will I have to pay a fee to government regulators so that I can continue to make less than minimum wage to run this site? All of that is unknown at this point.
Go ahead, Uncle $cam. Try it. Not only do I need a good laugh, but this will do more to erode what remains of your power than any of your enemies could have hoped to accomplish by other means.
The author nails it; this is laughable to the point of perfundity!
But it just goes to show how desperate world governments are getting in order to control the communication monster that is the Internet.
While they “applaud” what is happening in Iran with ‘Twitter’ and ‘Youtube’, they forget rather easily that it’s a double-edged sword.
That is why if a technological singularity occurs (if at all), it cannot be controlled like the oligarchs think it can.
The Empire Strikes Back: FTC Plans To Regulate Blogs With Affiliate Relationships
Singularity Tech Anxiety/Initial Review of ‘The Algebraist’
My summer readings continue unabated quite nicely, since I haven’t had any Internet connection since last December. Until then, I didn’t realize that being online was such a distraction. After looking at it however, and studying the effects of online communications (Twitter, Skype, texting and social networking) I think that unless I have an inboard chip in my brain to keep up with these technological phenomena, I’m going to be left very far behind into the Before Singularity Era.
And believe it or not, that might be okay with me.
The main reason being that I’m very, very nervous about having an RFID chip injected into my brain, for no other reason than the government, or other corporate entities tracking my every move and reading my body signatures and chemistry’s to perhaps to ascertain my motivations for various actions I might be taking.
At the least, my brain could be flooded with non-stop bullshit corporate advertising to buy useless crap, at the worse, brainwashing by the same gov/corp entities.
A lot of people would say that’s typical right-wing paranoia. But is it?
For one thing, I never have considered myself ‘right-wing’, though I do have some libertarian leanings in certain areas. For the most part however, I have always thought that it’s a society’s duty to help the down and out who can no longer care for themselves and let them have a certain amount of dignity in their lives. Most would consider that view ‘left-wing’ or socialist. But I digress.
My distrust of certain Singularitarian technologies might be just fear of the future, but I think I can be justified in saying that these technologies in the wrong hands could cause great harm and can create a fascist society in which individual freedoms are severely restricted, propaganda broad-casted rampantly and pogroms committed against people who don’t have these technologies embedded into their persons.
History bears this out, again and again.
On the other hand, if used properly, these same technologies can create great freedoms and opportunities for populations, if distributed evenly.
If one takes into account that what is happening in Iran just might be legitimate and not a CIA operation, Twitter by itself could change the complection on an entire nation for the better.
History will determine if this is so, Singularity or not.
I have always been a fan of space opera. My first book of it was an anthology titled Space Opera of the 1930s. The book burned up in a house fire my parents had in 1993 unfortunately and I have yet to find it anywhere, even eBay! Anyway, the genre has made a resurgence in the 1990s and in this first decade of the 21st Century with such authors as Greg Egan, Ian MacDonald, Alastair Reynolds, Charlie Stross (he claims not) and Iain M. Banks.
Banks made his fame with his ‘Culture‘ novels; stories centered around a super-advanced, highly liberal and altruistic galaxy spanning society. Think the society of ‘Star Trek’ in 8,000 years. Those are superb examples of modern day space opera.
But currently I’m reading a banks story that’s not centered in the ‘Culture’ universe, but it’s just as entertaining. The title is ‘The Algebraist’ and to be truthful, I just started reading it this week. From what I have read already, it’s easy to see why it was a Hugo Award nominee for best novel in 2005. Banks uses ‘hard science’ physics in this novel; nothing can move faster than light, but the galactic society uses ‘wormholes’ (called portals here) to stitch the various civilizations together. However, the wormholes must be transported in slower-than-light ships in be placed in the subject solar systems, and that can take centuries. Unfortunately, war is still in style in the future and portals do get destroyed, cutting civilizations off.
Banks also uses gas-giant planet life-forms called ‘Dwellers’, who spread throughout the galaxy billions of years ago. These beings are super long lived in comparison with mankind and other like creatures, who are called the ‘Quick’, simply because their life spans are ‘quicker.’
The Dwellers along with the novel’s protagonist, Fassin Taak, are central to the story, which is different for Banks because he takes a decidely different track than his Culture books, which are AI heavy. In the case of this story, AIs are an enemy and abomination to be destroyed (although they still have their uses). Reminiscent of ‘Dune’ here.
I am now starting to get to a good part in the book where the action starts to pick up some. Hopefully it doesn’t disappoint.
I don’t think it will. I have rarely, if ever, read a bad Iain Banks novel.
The Biocentric Universe
My pal Geez ought to appreciate this one:
Biomedical researcher Robert Lanza has been on the frontier of cloning and stem cell studies for more than a decade, so he’s well-acclimated to controversy. But his book “Biocentrism” is generating controversy on a different plane by arguing that our consciousness plays a central role in creating the cosmos.
“By treating space and time as physical things, science picks a completely wrong starting point for understanding the world,” Lanza declares.
Any claim that space and time aren’t cold, hard, physical things has to raise an eyebrow. Some of the reactions to Lanza’s ideas, first set forth two years ago in an essay for The American Scholar, brand them as “pseudo-scientific philosophical claptrap” or “no better than any religion.”
Lanza admits that the reviews haven’t all been glowing, particularly among some physicists. “Their response has been much how you’d expect priests to respond to stem cell research,” he told me Monday.
Other physicists, however, point out that Lanza’s view is fully in line with the perspective from quantum mechanics that the observer plays a huge role in how reality is observed.
“So what Lanza says in this book is not new,” Richard Conn Henry, a physics and astronomy professor at Johns Hopkins University, said in a book review. “Then why does Robert have to say it at all? It is because we, the physicists, do not say it – or if we do say it, we only whisper it, and in private – furiously blushing as we mouth the words. True, yes; politically correct, hell no!”
True, what Lanza says is certainly not new, the Hindus and Zen Buddhists have been teaching this for hundreds, if not thousands of years.
It just took the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle to verify it, supposedly.
When you read the ‘Biocentrism’ article, it does make sense, Lanza doesn’t deluge you with high-sounding technical or philosopical terms that belittles the reader.
I can see why physicists claim Lanza is speaking from the Land of Woo though, it’s hard to imagine a Universe that just wouldn’t exist if there weren’t ‘observers’ making it exist. It goes against certain variations of Copernicanism that claim that humans aren’t privileged observers of the Universe (mediocrity principle).
Is Lanza claiming we are creating reality as we go along and it would cease to exist if humans suddenly became extinct?
Or if there were no humans to observe the Universe, the Wheel would continue to turn?