Friday, November 30, 2007

The plot was rather simple : Esoteric writer / futurist Felix Tonnies, who is a bit of a neat freak, is thrown out of his house by his wife, Liona Tanaka-Tonnies, and forced to move in with his friend, esoteric filmmaker Oscar Kimball, who is rather slovenly. Hilarity ensues as they debate both esoterica and living arrangements, arguing over the origins of the Pyramids and who ate the last can of Chef Boyardee (Spoiler : It was Kimball).

Would you like to learn more?
Another good review. Maybe the first one wasn't a fluke.

Make Time for a Great Play

Time is running out to see Doing Time, a highly entertaining mystery based on a sci-fi short story by Kansas City author Mac Tonnies and adapted by the play's director Paul Kimball. It is staged in the tiny basement room of the Wired Monk Coffee Shop, which makes for a surprisingly effective space for this particular play. The story is classic sci-fi, but you don't have to be a fan of the genre to enjoy Doing Time.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Doing Time A Breath Of Fresh Air

There's something genuinely thrilling - and unsettling - about Semaphore Theatre's world premiere of the play Doing Time. First off, it's unapologetically hard-core sci-fi. Second, it's a stage piece more interested in ideas that character.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I have successfully infiltrated the Redstar compound in Halifax, Nova Scotia. My quarry, one Mr. Kimball, suspects nothing . . .

Monday, November 26, 2007

I catch a flight tomorrow morning and won't be back for a week. I'm putting Posthuman Blues on "standby" (although if you require immediate attention, feel free to give Liona Tanaka a ring . . .)

My apologies to anyone who's sent me email in the last day or so; I'll respond when I get back.
Alien iconography

One could suggest it speaks to the idea that the image of that specific alien has been plucked from a large number of potentials and been promoted by a group of "priests" to become the dominant one in the current abduction "religion" (think the First Council of Nicea but with hypno-"therapists"). If we look to Vallee's work we can see the idea that a there is a lot of gray area (excuse the pun) between religion and ufology - which doesn't imply the BVM at Lourdes was an alien or that aliens are Gods but that they may stem from some kind of common root (which neither interpretation may accurately reflect) and such a fusion of imagery reflects this.

(Via The Anomalist.)
N.M. alien tourism ad stirs controversy

Instead of highlighting New Mexico's picturesque desert landscapes, art galleries or centuries-old culture, a new tourism campaign features drooling, grotesque office workers from outer space chatting about their personal lives.

[. . .]

But to increasingly vocal critics, the state-financed ad campaign is a possible threat to the well-being of the state's $5.1 billion tourism industry. In other words, while the ads may yield a chuckle or two, the joke is on New Mexico.

My conspiracy theory: the creatures in the commercials are real aliens. The state of New Mexico is leaking authentic footage of EBEs in order to prepare the American public for the imminent disclosure of ET reality!

(Thanks, Nick!)
The Bowen Manuscript (Nick Redfern)

In other words, given that Cooper was provided with Bowen's original and not a photocopy, it does appear to be the case that someone "on the inside" had to have been behind the move to get this material sent to Cooper - since it was the Air Force that had been its original custodian.

MJ-12 is the ufological equivalent to a hospital superbug: tenacious as hell and quite possibly deadly.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Mankind 'shortening the universe's life'

"The intriguing question is this," Prof Krauss told the Telegraph. "If we attempt to apply quantum mechanics to the universe as a whole, and if our present state is unstable, then what sets the clock that governs decay? Once we determine our current state by observations, have we reset the clock? If so, as incredible as it may seem, our detection of dark energy may have reduced the life expectancy of our universe."

Possible . . . but what of ETI, provided that it exists?

Bruce Sterling writes:

Wait a minute -- in the entire 13.7 billion year history of the universe, nobody *else* ever made these "anthropic" observations about dark energy? That's a tad *egotistical,* isn't it? And these "observers" who are shortening the lifespan of the universe -- that's not "mankind," that's just eighty, ninety anthropic cosmologists, tops, right?

Ideas like this make my head spin in a most agreeable way.

I like the closing lines about exoskeletal armor becoming autonomous.
Eighth wonder of the world? The stunning temples secretly carved out below ground by 'paranormal' eccentric

Here, 100ft down and hidden from public view, lies an astonishing secret - one that has drawn comparisons with the fabled city of Atlantis and has been dubbed 'the Eighth Wonder of the World' by the Italian government.

For weaving their way underneath the hillside are nine ornate temples, on five levels, whose scale and opulence take the breath away.

Constructed like a three-dimensional book, narrating the history of humanity, they are linked by hundreds of metres of richly decorated tunnels and occupy almost 300,000 cubic feet - Big Ben is 15,000 cubic feet.
Retro-Future: To The Stars!

This is the start of a new series, collection of the most inspiring & hard-to-find retro-futuristic graphics. We will try to stay away from the well-known American pulp & book cover illustrations and instead will focus on the artwork from rather unlikely sources: Soviet & Eastern Bloc "popular tech & science" magazines, German, Italian, British fantastic illustrations and promotional literature - all from the Golden Age of Retro-Future (from 1930s to 1970s).

A must!
If there's one thing cooler than speculative architecture, it's speculative fashion:

SKORPIONS are a set of kinetic electronic garments that move and change on the body in slow, organic motions. They have anthropomorphic qualities and can be imagined as parasites that inhabit the skin of the host. They breathe and pulse, controlled by their own internal programming.

(More right here.)
Sci Fi Play, Doing Time, To Get Halifax World Premiere

Halifax will be the site of the world premiere of a new Science Fiction-themed play in the last week of November and the first day of December.

Oh, the things I get myself into!
I've given the start-page a minor facelift. I'm not a Web designer by any means, so I usually try to get by as simply as possible. Let me know if you like it.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Another FedEx package opened by the tireless folks at Homeland Security. Maybe I'm a starry-eyed idealist, but for once I'd like to be the first person to look at my own mail.

I'm reading, among other things, "Anxious Pleasures" by Lance Olsen, an endearing and gorgeously written retelling of Kafka's "The Metamorphosis." Olsen maintains a great website; I was greatly relieved to discover that, in addition to writing "literary" fiction, he's into cyberpunk.
Click here to view the preview video for SpaceCollective. I hope this turns out to be as promising as it sounds.
I know this is late; please accept my apologies.

Let's welcome Dad2059 and The Meaning of Existence to the sidebar.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Historian and UFO researcher Richard Dolan postulates that UFOs are the product of a visiting post-biological intelligence:

What Are They?

The hypothesis of advanced machine intelligence severely weakens one of the main skeptical arguments against UFOs. This is that an advanced technological civilization is not thought to have much durability. Skeptics see our own technological civilization so rapidly spinning out of control and extrapolate this feature to intelligent life elsewhere. Now, advanced technology wielded by biological entities may indeed be inherently unstable. But it is not so clear that such a condition applies equally to advanced machine intelligence. If not, the extraterrestrial hypothesis becomes much more tenable as a way to explain UFOs.

I've harbored similar ideas, even attempting to interest a publisher in a book to be titled "The Postbiological Cosmos." (The publisher declined on the grounds that the concept wasn't interesting enough.)
I saw this "Amazing Stories" cover at Vintage UFO and immediately realized it belonged here.

"Maybe I'll just call you 'Mac.' How's that?"

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Greg Bishop makes note of Boing Boing's apparent disdain for ufology.
Some good (?) news: the problem with my hard-drive might be due to a bit of malicious code that's since been identified and excised. I'll wait and see -- and continue backing up regardless.

The Plaza lighting ceremony attracted such a melee of tourists that I stayed inside until it had ended. The newly illuminated streets and sidewalks are strewn with litter, the trashcans bulging with disposable coffee cups.

French fries and espresso for dinner.
Peter Watts gets all hand-wavy and thought provoking about fractals, art and neuroaesthetics. Well worth the click.
'Doomsday Vault' Prepares to Open

It's a remote place, this doomsday vault, located at the end of a 120-meter tunnel blasted into a mountain on what is surely one of the least accessible populated places on the planet. Long-term cooling will be maintained by natural permafrost, snow and ice, supplemented by a 10 kilowatt refrigeration system once the target temperatures are reached. With Spitsbergen now into its three month night, cooling should proceed without difficulty. As to that artwork, consider it a monument to human foresight, a marker for a resource we may hope we'll never have to use in the kind of emergency it seeks to ameliorate.
For today's Thanksgiving spectacular, here are four new designs for "Doing Time," which debuts in less than a week.

Each design is remarkably true to the play's salient themes . . . and, now that I think of it, would make for a killer T-shirt.
Sci-Fi Baby Names Book by Robert Schnakenberg

So lately many of my friends have announced that they are expecting a baby soon. Well if they can't come up with good name, you can't go wrong with one of the wonderful names from the Sci-Fi Baby Names book by Robert Schnakenberg.

Too bad there's not a nifty online generator.

(Thanks, Elan!)
Looking down from a sufficient distance, human habitation recedes to the merest glimmer. As night devours the continents, our seeming dominion vanishes, replaced by scattered constellations, the haughty gleam of our cities suddenly as substantial as a skein of campfires. As the dark deepens, we realize with mounting unease just how tenuous our presence is; the mountains, prairies and lakes, denuded of daylight, taunt us with their enormity.

Then there are the oceans, almost entirely vacant of man-made lights. Our seas, so often taken for granted, are like vast tombs from which even the most unseemly phantasms might emerge; we ply their waters at our own peril, distantly aware that we might find ourselves in the company of others.

The Earth is ancient, its biosphere only slightly less so. For four-billion years our world has has secreted life. The advent of homo sapiens is alarmingly recent in comparison. We're like foundlings washed upon some alien shore, stifling our fears by pretending to a feeble omnipotence. Having launched spacecraft to the outer planets and inspected the crater-pocked wastes of Mars through the unblinking eyes of rovers, it's easy to entertain the idea that we're the first, evolution's sole successful stab at the phenomenon we casually term "intelligence."

Yet as we watch night erode the familiar highways and stadiums and ever-encroaching suburbs, our confidence falters. Already, technological forecasters envision a near-future populated by our artificially intelligent offspring. Perhaps as our most cherished certainties crumble in the glow of a new century -- full of danger, portent and enigma -- it's become relatively easy to contemplate the presence of the Other: not an other new to our planet, but one predating our own genetic regime. Something unspoken and ancient yet nevertheless amenable to science . . . an intelligence with an almost-human face, until recently content to abide by the shadows of our complacency.

But since the middle of the last century it seems to have asserted itself with a vigor hitherto found only in the domain of folklore. Understandably daunted, we've relegated its existence to the margins of perception: hallucination, war fever, misunderstood natural phenomena, delusion, butchered recollections of dreams best left forgotten. We see lights dancing in our sky and invoke impossible meteors. Landed vehicles accompanied by surreal humanoids become military test aircraft and their diminutive pilots. The emaciated creatures seen aboard apparent spacecraft -- or, more portentously, within rock-walled caverns -- are summarily dismissed as sheerest fantasy or, at best, as the spawn of novel brain dysfunctions.

In the decades since 1947, dawn of the contemporary UFO era, we've confronted a parade of strangeness that has rallied uncritical enthusiasts and rattled entrenched authority, leaving a bizarre residue that defies attempts at categorization as certainly as it elicits hypotheses.

(Work continues on "The Cryptoterrestrials" . . .)

Happy Thanksgiving!
Searching for microbial "cryptoterrestrials":

Are Aliens Among Us?

A more exciting but also more speculative possibility is that alternative life-forms have survived and are still present in the environment, constituting a kind of shadow biosphere, a term coined by Carol Cleland and Shelley Cop­ley of the University of Colorado at Boulder. At first this idea might seem preposterous; if alien organisms thrived right under our noses (or even in our noses), would not scientists have discovered them already?
Scientists find fossil of enormous bug

This was a bug you couldn't swat and definitely couldn't step on. British scientists have stumbled across a fossilized claw, part of an ancient sea scorpion, that is of such large proportion it would make the entire creature the biggest bug ever.

(Via "There's Something in the Woods...")

Good god! This thing us downright Lovecraftian!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Ladybug robot cleans restrooms

Yes, you read that correctly. It's the latest in an apparently endless succession of Hello Kitty fever-dreams.

Money quote:

In addition to cleaning, Lady Bird can engage in simple conversation with restroom users, thanks to microphones in its "antennae," speech recognition capabilities and a voice synthesizer.

OK, so I'm in a stall minding my own business when the door swings open to reveal a brightly colored Volkswagen-sized mechanical insect. Rousing myself from a panic-induced stupor, I realize it wants to chat.
"For the first time, man will have a building in four dimensions. It evolves through time and space."

(Tip of the hat to Communist Robot.)
Meet the cat with nine lives and two faces

Vets believe the cat, which has two mouths, two noses and four eyes, may have two brains, as one face can go to sleep while the other remains awake and it can blink independently on each one.

Girl to have arm taken off back

A girl in China is scheduled to undergo a lengthy four-stage operation to remove a "spare" arm growing from her back.

(Both items found at Boing Boing.)
Humanoid sculptures made from old typewriters

These are so fantastic they almost made me forget the ominous clatter of my ailing hard drive.
I can't escape the grim certainty that my computer is just about down for the count; it's only a matter of time. Given its age, the most reasonable option is to buy a new machine.

Or is it?

Feel free to chime in, one and all.*

(Incidentally, my computer's a Gateway notebook purchased in 2003.)

*Of course, if you're feeling masochistically sympathetic, drop a buck or two in the "tip jar" located on the sidebar and I'll make sure it goes to the Posthuman Blues Hardware Fund.
Stem cell breakthrough defuses debate

Scientists have created the equivalent of embryonic stem cells from ordinary skin cells, a breakthrough that could someday produce new treatments for disease without the explosive moral questions of embyro cloning.

"Defuses debate"? Ha. The embryo angle has always been, at best, an expedient excuse. The real issue is our inexorable leaning toward a "posthuman" mode or existence -- and the mainstream's innate phobia of disturbing the biological status quo.
I thought I'd heard the last of the "drone" hoax. I was wrong.

Alienware Behind 'Drone' UFOs?

Computer hardware company Alienware (a subsidiary of Dell) has been running a competition around the release of two new laptop models, where entrants must decode the same 'alien glyphs' as found in the CARET document. The competition page and hint pages also make use of the same vector illustrations found in the document. Yesterday's press conference to unveil the new laptops also made use of the glyphs (which spell out 'Alienware') - the 'logo' is also apparently inscribed on the computers themselves.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Another blast from the past that I unreservedly recommend (especially to readers of blogs like this one):

Apocalypse Pretty Soon: Travels in End-Time America by Alex Heard

It was a journey of about ten years, during which Heard met and interviewed starry-eyed UFO contactees, grim "Earth Changes" survivalists, wannabe astral projecters, radical life extension proponents and Christian fundamentalists. The book APOCALYPSE PRETTY SOON: TRAVELS IN END-TIME AMERICA collects these stories.

Not all of the subjects of APOCALYPSE are people who believe that the end of the world is around the corner. Sure, APOCALYPSE has its share of raving delusional paranoiacs, but for the most part, the people profiled in APOCALYPSE are earnestly dealing with modern society's big issues - loss of traditional spirituality, overpopulation, pollution, anomie - in the best ways that they know how, through science or faith, and even when their solutions are wrong you have to admire their sincerity. It certainly seems like Heard does; the only people who really get skewered in APOCALYPSE are cynical money-makers and ego-trippers.

(Via The Anomalist.)

Bruce Sterling pimps George R. Stewart's timeless "Earth Abides": Wearied of Blogging? Wanna Read a Book You'll Remember a Long Time?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

CAVEman Creates Amazing, Gigantic 4D Holograms of the Human Body

The next step for CAVEman is to allow doctors to actually reach inside of the holograms and actually feel the tissues and compare densities. They also want to add organ sounds. Eventually, they want to be able to create patient-specific models to help explain things to patients visually. It's downright remarkable.

(Via The Keyhoe Report.)
UN panel gives dire warming forecast

Global warming is "unequivocal" and carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere commits the world to an eventual rise in sea levels of up to 4.6 feet, the world's top climate experts warned Saturday in their most authoritative report to date.

"Only urgent, global action will do," said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, calling on the United States and China -- the world's two biggest polluters -- to do more to slow global climate change.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Oh, this is good: Futuristic Cereal Name Generator. Hand me a bowl of postnutritional bluish-gray bots, please . . .
I'm not sure, but I think my laptop might be on the brink of crashing. I hope I'm wrong, but given its age (I bought it in 2003) I shouldn't be especially surprised. Anyway, posting might become scarce or nonexistent while I try to determine the problem.
"There There" (Radiohead):

Friday, November 16, 2007

A new plague: The epidemic is coming

We're in for another epidemic. You probably don't want to hear that; we've had enough with bluetongue, foot-and-mouth and bird flu in animals. We're only just beginning to calm down as the bird flu threat to humans apparently recedes, but mad cow disease seems only yesterday and our hospitals are cesspits of MRSA and C.difficile. Haven't we had enough? And how can I be so sure that we're due for more?
Yabba Dabble Doo: How Aleister Crowley Introduced the Iconic Gray Alien

So, if these entities we know as the grays are not from another planet, or perhaps not even aliens after all, then what? The theories and speculations are legion. It has been postulated that primates may have not been the only of earth's species to evolve into intelligent creatures, that the grays may be the end result of the evolvement of dolphins, turtles, whales, insects, or dinosaurs-and that these evolved forms may be either terrestrially or non-terrestrially oriented.

Lots of good stuff here.

(Thanks again, Steve!)
A Technological Civilization by Night

Of course, what gets my attention is that this is what a technological civilization -- the only one we know exists -- looks like by night to an approaching spacecraft. Will we one day have interstellar probes that can make a Rosetta-style pass around a world like this in another solar system? For that matter, will we ever have the kind of spectacular close-up images that could result from advanced sunshade concepts like New Worlds, showing us the lights of alien cities?
Is blogging per se a dying art?

Well, is it?

(Thanks: Beyond the Beyond.)
Big Bang or Big Goof? Astronomer Challenges 'Seeds' Proof

Verschuur's research asserts that the seeds are not located on the edge of the universe at all. Rather, he says, the so-called seeds are very nearby: They're just previously unmapped clouds of "neutral hydrogen" gas located inside the Milky Way. In other words, astronomers who mistook the "seeds" for objects on the edge of the universe are like someone who looks outdoors through a window and mistakes smudges on the glass for clouds in the sky.

"Smoot said he saw the face of God. All I can say is, God lives in our neighborhood," Verschuur joked.

(Via The Anomalist.)

The Creationist crowd is going to love that remark.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A critical step toward "electronic telepathy"?

Brain Implant Turns Thoughts Into Words

A team of neuroscientists from Boston University have implanted an electrode into the brain of Eric Ramsay, who has been "locked in" - conscious but paralyzed - since a car crash eight years ago, in an effort to translate his thoughts into words.

"Doing Time" officially has a venue -- a coffee-shop/theater called the "Wired Monk." (If I didn't know any better I'd assume they'd named the joint after me.)
Is this lively and elegant animation an accurate depiction of a Theory of Everything?

And just how long until we see it reproduced in a crop glyph?

(Thanks again to Steve S. for the lead.)
I always knew it: Martians like their coffee black.

(Thanks to Vintage UFO.)
Here's a typically idiotic local news piece about a "ghost" visible in gas-station surveillance footage.

Obligatory chatter about "angels" and "believers" notwithstanding, what is that thing?
Former Pitch editor Tony Ortega on the "Phoenix Lights" of 1997:

Arizona's Worst Governor on Arizona's Worst UFO

Before people get too worked up about disgraced former Arizona governor Fife Symington's "disclosure" that he saw the 1997 "UFO" known as the Phoenix Lights -- the subject of a breathless segment on the Larry King Live show last week -- a few words about that phenomenon from someone who actually investigated it.

Incidentally, Ortega once wrote a rather confusing account of my Mars book, "After the Martian Apocalypse," in which he manages the curious feat of effectively dismissing it while spending little or no time actually discussing its contents (although his fascination with astronomer Tom Van Flandern seems to know no bounds).

But that's old news -- and despite my gripes, the "Apocalypse" review wasn't nearly as damning as it could have been. I'm interested to see if Ortega's take on the Phoenix sightings stirs up any controversy, especially now that the phenomenon is in the midst of its 10th anniversary.

(For Ortega's stinging assessment of researcher Jim Dilettoso and his role in furthering interest in the Phoenix Lights, click here.)
I never knew kitten photography could be so existential.
Image Taking of Earth-Rise by HDTV

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) have successfully performed the world's first high-definition image taking of an Earth-rise* by the lunar explorer "KAGUYA" (SELENE,) which was injected into a lunar orbit at an altitude of about 100 km on October 18, 2007 (Japan Standard Time. Following times and dates are all JST.)

"Stunning" doesn't begin to do these images justice.
WWII P-38 fighter discovered in Wales

Sixty-five years after an American P-38 fighter plane ran out of gas and crash-landed on a beach in Wales, the long-forgotten World War II relic has emerged from the surf and sand where it lay buried.

Beach strollers, sunbathers and swimmers often frolicked within a few yards of the aircraft, unaware of its existence until last summer, when unusual weather caused the sand to shift and erode.

(Thanks: Nick.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

It just keeps getting better, folks . . .
Transhumanism in the news:

So You Want to Live Forever?

Sirtris Pharmaceuticals is testing a fountain-of-youth pill in humans. You won't live forever, but it may slow aging and increase lifespan. So far, it's working.

Cloning: a giant step

A technical breakthrough has enabled scientists to create for the first time dozens of cloned embryos from adult monkeys, raising the prospect of the same procedure being used to make cloned human embryos.

Attempts to clone human embryos for research have been dogged by technical problems and controversies over fraudulent research and questionable ethics. But the new technique promises to revolutionise the efficiency by which scientists can turn human eggs into cloned embryos.

(Thanks to The Daily Grail.)
What the world needs now is UFO-themed cheesecake photography.
The Vegas Crash Conf (Nick Redfern)

As for what went down at the gig, well, it was an interesting and memorable event, to say the least. The big bombshell was Ryan Wood's announcement to the audience that he will be retiring from Ufology in 5 years time - if the mystery has not been solved. I asked Ryan if he was joking. He was not. He assured me that if the mystery still exists in half a decade from now, he'll be walking away from it.

Wood should save himself five years of work and walk away now. The UFO phenomenon might have myriad intentions, but I'm personally convinced "disclosure" it not among them. True, government agencies might reveal tantalizing details. But rather than solve the mystery, they're likely to merely intensify it.
Former pilots and officials call for new U.S. UFO probe

An international panel of two dozen former pilots and government officials called on the U.S. government on Monday to reopen its generation-old UFO investigation as a matter of safety and security given continuing reports about flying discs, glowing spheres and other strange sightings.

"Especially after the attacks of 9/11, it is no longer satisfactory to ignore radar returns . . . which cannot be associated with performances of existing aircraft and helicopters," they said in a statement released at a news conference.

The panelists from seven countries, including former senior military officers, said they had each seen a UFO or conducted an official investigation into UFO phenomena.
Tree man 'who grew roots' may be cured

The welts spread across his body unchecked and soon he was left unable to carry out everyday household tasks.

Sacked from his job and deserted by his wife, Dede has been raising his two children - now in their late teens - in poverty, resigned to the fact that local doctors had no cure for his condition.

To make ends meet he even joined a local "freak show", parading in front of a paying audience alongside victims of other peculiar diseases.

(Via Reality Carnival.)

Dede's malady is so grotesque it borders on the awe-inspiring. Scenes from "The Fly" spring to mind.
How the swooping starlings paint pictures in the sky

For a few magical moments black, billowing clouds of starlings are transformed into images of a penguin, cartoon characters, a shoe and even Mick Jagger's notorious pout.

And if you thought the still-photos did the phenomenon justice, wait until you see it on video . . .

(Tip of the hat to Steve S.)
Bad news, folks: UFOMystic has garnered over twice the Zorgy Award votes as Posthuman Blues. While Greg Bishop and Nick Redfern are obviously up to their usual dirty tricks and will be EXPOSED in due course, I can't allow them to get away with it.

That's why I've sent receptionist extraordinaire Liona Tanaka on a SECRET mission to foil their scheme. In future posts I'll personally CONFIRM Bishop and Redfern's treachery!

To cast your vote for Best Paranormal Blog, click here. To contact Miss Tanaka, send email to macbot [at] yahoo dot com. I'll make sure she gets it.
Alfonso Cuaron shows us our future:

For more, click here.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Clothes constructed almost entirely from clothespins. Why the hell didn't I think of that?
Return of the giant jellyfish

To the delight of divers, and to the chagrin of fishermen, the swarms of giant Echizen kurage jellyfish (Nomura's jellyfish) that invade the coast of the Sea of Japan each autumn are back.

These photos were taken 5 meters underwater just offshore from the coastal town of Echizen in Fukui prefecture, where the jellyfish mobs began to arrive about a month later than normal.

I guess I always harbored vague suspicions that photos of Echizen kurage were nifty Photoshop forgeries. Boy, was I wrong.
A must-see video:

Finally, an antidote to TV drug ads

This first installment concerns an interesting class of medications that are approved to treat something called "restless leg syndrome." That condition may sound fanciful, but it's a real problem. Something like 3 percent of Americans suffer from RLS, which is characterized by an uncontrollable impulse to keep moving your legs even when you are trying to go to sleep -- which obviously could make sleep difficult.

(Via Being Boing.)

My advice for television viewing? Watch it with the volume muted. The absurdity, if by some chance you haven't already noticed it, becomes immediately apparent.
Woman drowns during exorcism ceremony

A 22-year-old woman died during an exorcism ritual in New Zealand, drowning at a relative's home as up to 40 family members looked on, police said today.

[. . .]

The woman had been dead for nine hours before her family contacted police. She had been placed on a bed and was found with grazes to her upper arms, forearms and torso.

(Via The Anomalist.)

Isn't religion great? It's a wonder they're not getting a tax exemption for their legal expenses.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Attention Facebook users!

Mac Tonnies' Facebook profile

If you've attempted to meet up with me via Facebook and been ignored, don't take it personally: I'm on the look-out for spammers, and unfamiliar names are likely to be bumped (albeit reluctantly). If you preface your query with a quick message letting me know who you are, I'll gladly let you in. (Posthuman Blues readers are, of course, totally welcome.)

Sorry for any confusion and thanks for bringing the problem to my attention.
What better way to stick it to Big Brother and his flocks of ornithopters and camera-laden dragonflies?
R.E.M.'s "Automatic for the People" has been one of my favorite albums since I first listened to it on its release date in the early 90s. Imagine my astonishment to find the entire record re-envisioned by a bunch of bands I'd never heard of -- and, moreover, available for free download.
On some level I find these photos deeply satisfying. They speak to the assumed permanence of artificial banality; the river is a deft wound in a planet gone irrevocably insane.

(Thanx: Reality Carnival.)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Today was something of a kick in the ribs. Over the past two years I've tried to open myself to the possibility of some sort of Meaningful Relationship, and while this afternoon's last-minute text-message informing me that my would-be date didn't have time didn't precisely come as a surprise, it left me sour.

So sour, in fact, that I'm afraid I might have reached a psychological tipping point -- and an overdue realization that I'm no good at this. I lack the social prowess, for one thing. Without an "in," I'm at the mercy of arbitrary encounters arranged by so-called "match-making" software. Hooking up, never exactly a fun activity, has become an exceptionally tedious chore fraught with tension and, ultimately, soul-scalding disappointment.

I'll always be amazed -- and a bit unnerved -- at how (relatively) easily others manage to forge genuine relationships. Imagine waking to to find that everyone in the world has somehow acquired the ability to move objects telekinetically -- except you. That's effectively how I feel right now: excluded and freakish . . . and spending entirely too much time, in vain, attempting to levitate small objects by sheer power of concentration.

But the worst of it is the wasted commitment, the labored self-trickery, the precarious notion of hope. I've shared the same basic laments on this blog before, including my sincere wish to transcend (or enthusiastically ignore) sexuality itself, fully aware of how kooky or abjectly degenerate it might sound to the uninitiated.

But I can only countenance so much loneliness before I start to crumble; indeed, I have crumbled -- or, more accurately, imploded -- in the past, and no amount of antidepressants or espresso or binge science fiction-reading is enough to keep that particular horror entirely at bay.

So, in that spirit, fuck it.
Not one, but two blogs of the day:

Rigorous Intuition

Why Geeks and Hippies Can Save The World

During an Ignite Seattle event earlier this year Leo Dirac gave a quick passionate presentation on the topic of our intellectual and moral responsibility to develop Transhumanist technologies before the Earths increasingly unstable makeup crumbles our currently elevated state of civilization.

Dirac seems confident there's no "quantum soul," but doesn't offer any reasons for his conclusion. So while I share his enthusiasm, I take a somewhat more skeptical approach to the prospect of uploading human consciousness into computers.

With video.
Daniel Pinchbeck writes intelligently about the role of literature in a world out of balance. And although he may not realize it, it seems to me he's championing science fiction.

(It's probably a good thing he hasn't read Peter Watts . . .)

The nominees for the 2007 Zorgy Awards are in! Vote!

(My vote for the Hall of Shame? Seth Shostak, of course!)
Scientists Develop Terminator-Style Helmets for Fighter Pilots

Futuristic new helmets will enable fighter jet pilots to see through their own aircraft, the Ministry of Defence said today. The head gear is being developed for the hi-tech F-35 Joint Strike Fighter by MoD scientists.

All it's missing is a neural interface.

Friday, November 09, 2007

A wonderful post that touches on the "absurdity factor" that colors so many UFO encounters:

The Red, White and Gray (Part One)

Significantly, Dolan notes: "none of the sightings included descriptions of what are now called 'Grays.'" It wasn't until the 1960s, and only in the United States, that identifiably "gray aliens" began appearing in encounter records. In the years since, their image and their associate disinformation fables (Roswell and Dulce, for instance) have come to so dominate the subverted consciousness that some ufologists simply remove the ongoing and troublingly bizarre "non-gray" encounters from their ET equation. Debunkers also. Susan Clancy can make her shallow arguments for sleep paralysis and the archetypal simplicity of the gray's minimalist face, but has nothing to say about bug-eyed hairy dwarves dressed like monks, because the troubling variety has been excised by those who mean to exploit a phenomenon beyond their control and massage its perception.

Fortunately, not all researchers have been frightened off by this "troubling variety." Jacques Vallee, John Keel -- and, more recently, Greg Bishop and Nick Redfern -- have ventured bravely into the abyss and returned with important perspectives that too few seem to want to hear -- let alone understand.

(Tip of the hat to Elan.)
Space Exploration 3.0 about to begin

Space exploration is about to enter a third age where nations will cooperate to explore the solar system.

Nicolas Peter, a research fellow at the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI), told the meeting in Vienna that the era of launching space missions to bolster national prestige was long past and that new opportunities for cooperation had emerged since the end of the Cold War. He predicted that an imminent third phase of space exploration could inspire nations to work together in a spirit of discovery.

Well, of course I'd like to think that China and the U.S. could mine Helium-3 on the Moon without territorial disputes . . .
Former Arizona Governor Fife Symington on the "Phoenix Lights":

I witnessed a massive delta-shaped, craft silently navigate over Squaw Peak, a mountain range in Phoenix, Arizona. It was truly breathtaking. I was absolutely stunned because I was turning to the west looking for the distant Phoenix Lights.

To my astonishment this apparition appeared; this dramatically large, very distinctive leading edge with some enormous lights was traveling through the Arizona sky.

As a pilot and a former Air Force Officer, I can definitively say that this craft did not resemble any man-made object I'd ever seen. And it was certainly not high-altitude flares because flares don't fly in formation.

Wow -- a thorough and up-to-the-minute list of science fiction books dealing with quantum computing.

(I enthusiastically recommend "Blind Lake" by Robert Charles Wilson and Greg Egan's mind-expanding "Quarantine.)

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Area 51's Robotic Spy Bird

Those robo-dragonflies may not be the only creatures keeping an eye on you. For many years now intelligence agencies have been looking at drones disguised as birds.

(Via UFOMystic.)
Nice. But do they come with Wi-Fi?

(Thanks: Geisha Asobi.)
Here's a great "Amazing Stories" cover showing beings who resemble the unsettling mantis folk described by UFO abductees and DMT trippers alike*.

Intriguingly, the magazine is from 1937. And while insects have always served as convenient templates for science fiction artists, it's curious that present-day extraterrestrial abductors should so closely resemble beings from pulp magazines.

Is the intelligence behind the close-encounter experience using SF devices as a way of interacting with us, much how a primatologist "communicates" with an orphaned monkey via hand-puppet? If so, how to account for descriptions of bug-like entities from populations who haven't been primed to know what an alien "should" look like? Maybe the "mantis" identity is simply a costume that works, in which case one can't help but yearn for a glimpse of next year's fashions . . .

*Although "everyday" encounters in normal consciousness aren't unheard of.

(Hat tip to Elan.)
Is China Building a Space Station?

There are mixed reports coming out of China on their plans to loft a space station by 2020. A Chinese aerospace engineer, Long Lehao, mentioned to journalists that the China National Space Administration was planning to build a "small-scale 20 tonne space workshop". But then space officials at the agency denied the report. So what's going on?

I've grown to suspect we're in the midst of a "stealth space race" with China. It will likely never eclipse the sheer dogged mania that preceded Apollo, but its bearing on the human future could be nothing less than decisive.
A novel property of UFOs from photographic evidence

Application of a widely available image processing technique shows toroidal optical anomalies adjacent to both UFOs and conventional aircraft in photographs. At least one torus is always very close to each UFO, suggesting that the tori are created by alien technology. Further, there is evidence that some tori found near conventional aircraft are associated with barely visible UFOs in the vicinity. The proximity of tori to civilian and military aircraft, space shuttles, and the Hubble space telescope could mean that alien devices are monitoring the performance of our aeronautical and space technology.

I'm a little confused about the nature of the purported "tori"; my initial impression is that the author is over-thinking imaging artifacts. But if he's not . . .
In this searingly grotesque deleted scene from David Cronenberg's acclaimed remake of "The Fly," Jeff Goldblum's character attempts to genetically fuse a cat with a baboon . . .

I suspect the "cat-baboon fusion sequence" was axed from the original release because it seemed too disturbing, too gratuitous, or both. But it beautifully captures the main character's desperation; the sense of encroaching somatic menace is palpable.

I've heard excellent things about "A History of Violence" and "Eastern Promises," but part of me craves the next big Cronenberg science fiction movie.

I'm agog at the art of Alex. C. Lugo.
This is my kind of coffee mug.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Moon in HDTV

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and public broadcaster NHK have succeeded in capturing the world’s first high-definition video of the moon taken from lunar orbit. The 8x time-lapse video was shot using an HDTV camera aboard the KAGUYA lunar explorer, a.k.a. SELENE (SELenological and ENgineering Explorer), while in orbit 100 kilometers (62 miles) above the lunar surface.

Worth a look!

First Look at the Orion Crew Module

I know it seems like we've had the space shuttle forever, and will have it forever, but the program will actually be shut down in just a few short years. What comes next? The Constellation program will continue the US human spaceflight efforts, eventually bringing people back to the Moon. As part of the program, workers at NASA unveiled a mockup of the Orion crew module.

I like it; it has an endearingly hokey "Outer Limits" look going on.

Whitley Strieber's latest is, as usual, both naive and thought-provoking. I don't believe for a moment that Strieber is a disinformation agent, as some have proposed, but I'm convinced he'd make a good one.
Looking for the latest news on "Doing Time"? Look no further!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

New Discovery Around 55 Cancri

Even as the news conference proceeds, I'm thinking we're living in the golden age of exoplanet research. I remember wondering once what it must have been like to do astronomy in the Edwin Hubble era, when the size of the universe itself was being so radically redefined and our understanding of the nature of distant objects completely altered. But this is better, with the prospect of moving from single planet discoveries to fully characterized systems ahead of us. Add the potential of space-based terrestrial planet finding missions and spectroscopic data on planetary atmospheres and I can only imagine the rush of new talent that's going to be wanting to contribute to this field.
Fellow Independence native Harry S. Truman offers a few innocuous remarks on UFOs:

(Thanks to The Keyhoe Report.)
Now here's a car worthy of the 21st century.
The post-Kucinich UFO era has begun!

Jimmy Carter: No Truth to UFO Rumors

Former President Jimmy Carter, speaking candidly on a recent episode of "The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe," flatly dismissed claims that in 1969 he witnessed an alien spacecraft. Though he did see a mysterious light in the sky, Carter described it as a UFO only because "it was unidentified, it was flying, and it was an object."

That encounters with the unexplained have become embarrassments to be publicly renounced speaks volumes about the technocratic hegenomy that's all-but-consumed the public's capacity for informed debate.
Rich Nations' Climate Emissions Up, Near Record

Rich nations' greenhouse gas emissions rose near to an all-time high in 2005, led by US and Russian gains despite curbs meant to slow global warming, UN data showed.

You read that correctly. Greenhouse emissions are up. Among rich countries -- the ones that know better and upon which the rest of the industrialized world will partly base its own trajectory into the rest of the 21st century.

I'm beginning to think we have a better shot at terraforming Mars than taking straightforward precautionary measures here on Earth.

An appeal to any Photoshoppers who might be reading this: are these smoking-gun images of vegetation on Mars or is the green the result of spurious filtering?
Yeah, I know I more or less promised to keep this blog free of "steampunk" paraphernalia, but this laptop does convey a pleasantly eerie sense of Victoriana . . .

(Thanx: Boing Boing.)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Here's an intriguing re-evaluation of the famous Antonio Villas-Boas abduction that suggests Boas may have seen at least one alien craft while in government custody (or led to believe he had). If true, the implications are perhaps stranger than the abduction itself.

Also interesting (to me) was Boas' admission that the red-haired woman he supposedly encountered during the course of his abduction was far from "pretty," as commonly depicted.

(Thanks: The Anomalist.)

Behold the Ubermaus!
The UFO documentary "Best Evidence" will be airing again in December. (I'm the guy at the end.)
The musical interlude continues!

"Knives Out" (Radiohead):

"Life on Mars?" (David Bowie):

Sunday, November 04, 2007

UFOMystic's Greg Bishop points us to a distressingly vapid NASA response to a reader's UFO question.
The bots cometh:

Toyota to Commercialize Partner Robots

Toyota Motor is celebrating its 70th anniversary by announcing a long-term business plan that calls for the commercialization of its humanoid Partner Robots for jobs like housekeeping and nursing support.

The Toyota Global Vision 2020 plan sees robots as a core business for the leading automaker, which also plans to make hybrid technology available for its entire fleet of vehicles.
Blog of the day: Analog Digits (by The Paracast's David Biedny)

Welcome to the "blogosphere," David.
Forests losing the ability to absorb man-made carbon

Scientists fear there may soon come a point when the amount of carbon dioxide released from the northern forests as a result of forest fires and the drying out of the soil will exceed the amount that is absorbed during the annual growth of the trees. Such a prospect would make it more difficult to control global warming because northern forests are seen as a key element in the overall equations to mitigate the effect of man-made CO2 emissions.
Discredited scientist's work defended

Ridiculed at the time, the European-born psychiatrist is largely forgotten today, and his work on what he called orgone energy remains outside the scientific mainstream.

But a small number of scientists and other believers are working to advance his studies –- and resurrect his reputation.

(Via The Anomalist.)

I don't know enough about Reich's work to offer an informed opinion. Some of the guiding principles admittedly sound wacky, but is it too much to ask for a round of double-blind experiments to help settle the matter?
"All You Need Is Me" (Morrissey):

I do believe I have a new theme-song.

(For non-Morrissey fans, I've prepared this handy link to a video involving flying cats. So please -- no complaining.)

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Postsingular Free Online Now!

Rudy Rucker's giving away free downloads of his latest novel, "Postsingular." And I'm down with it.
Here's a future I wouldn't mind living in.

(Found at Beyond the Beyond.)

Friday, November 02, 2007

A quantum theory of dreams?

The use of quantum mechanics this way has been controversial for two reasons: first, this highly mathematical theory is routinely abused by charlatans attempting to explain spooky paranormal phenomena; and, second, scientists cannot even agree on a definition of consciousness, undermining any quest to explain it.

But an intriguing way to bridge the gap between reality and theory has now been put forward by Prof Efstratios Manousakis of Florida State University, Tallahassee, in a paper published online, entitled "Quantum theory, consciousness and temporal perception: Binocular rivalry."

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A Third of Freshwater Fish in Europe Under Threat

More than a third of freshwater fish species in Europe face extinction due to overfishing, pollution and dams which have caused rivers to dry up, a scientific study said on Thursday.

The continent's 522 freshwater fish species are under a much higher level of threat than birds or mammals, according to the study "Handbook of European Freshwater Fishes", published in collaboration with the World Conservation Union (IUCN).
Ufology's Changing Face (Nick Redfern)

But, whatever the real nature of the phenomenon, it is clear to me at least, that many of the events that have been reported are without doubt staged for our benefit: it's a game, a theater-play, a charade; and we keep falling for it and marvelling at the "extraterrestrial" presence among us.

Whether this is to try and convince us that "they" are extraterrestrial, when in reality they may be something else, or whether there are reasons so bizarre that they currently defy reasoning and/or understanding, I'm not sure.
Warning: The next generation might just be the biggest pile of idiots in U.S. history

We are, as far as urban public education is concerned, essentially at rock bottom. We are now at a point where we are essentially churning out ignorant teens who are becoming ignorant adults and society as a whole will pay dearly, very soon, and if you think the hordes of easily terrified, mindless fundamentalist evangelical Christian lemmings have been bad for the soul of this country, just wait.

It's gotten so bad that, as my friend nears retirement, he says he is very seriously considering moving out of the country so as to escape what he sees will be the surefire collapse of functioning American society in the next handful of years due to the absolutely irrefutable destruction, the shocking -- and nearly hopeless -- dumb-ification of the American brain. It is just that bad.

(Via Reality Carnival.)

I don't especially want to agree with this analysis, but I do. If you find the author's fears unwarranted, visit your local suburb.
When politics and UFOs collide:

This sad excuse of a "debate," in which Kucinich is essentially asked to apologize for seeing an object in the sky he didn't understand, typifies the mainstream response to a phenomenon that, by all counts, qualifies as a genuine scientific enigma. (For his part, Obama diverts attention from the subject at hand with consummate finesse, his condescension greeted by applause.)

It's not just UFOs, of course -- it's anything that doesn't jibe with the rhetoric of the political "here and now." I remember a near-identical exchange between Gore and another Democratic contender when the subject of Mars exploration was broached; both presidential hopefuls took pains to evade the topic entirely, with Gore smugly emphasizing the need for a "mission to planet Earth."

We can do better than this. We can explore the unknown and cure our social ailments. American politics fail -- at least for me -- because of the dutifully tended schism between idealism and talking-point banality.
Three New Jupiter-Sized Planets Discovered

You know the science of planet hunting is getting mainstream when there's very little fanfare for the discovery of 3 new extrasolar planets with the size of Jupiter.
More good stuff from Daniel Pinchbeck:

The Almighty Amero

These days I feel lost in the immense suffering and madness of our world. Something has snapped in the spirit of the time; events have gone beyond human capacity to control, predict or even conceptualize. Those who insist they know what is happening are merely pretending, or dissembling. When novelty arises, when old structures disintegrate before new patterns reveal themselves, there are no experts.

Perhaps the best oracles we can consult are systems analysts like Erwin Laszlo. Laszlo studies chaos theory and believes global civilization is a few years away from what he calls "the chaos point." According to Laszlo, we are at a "crucial decision-window" of instability. "When we reach the point of chaos," Laszlo tells us, "the stable 'point' and 'periodic' attractors of our systems will be joined by 'chaotic' or 'strange' attractors." These "strange attractors" will propel us, like booster rockets, to evolutionary development or entropic debauch. In other words, we should prepare ourselves for the unknown and inexplicable.