Nightmares of the Future: CLIMATOLOGICAL HORRORS - The Zika Virus

There's a line from the new space opera, The Expanse, that's quickly becoming a grim shorthand for the futurepresent: Welcome to the Churn. Any doubts that we're in the midst of a slow-motion apocalypse are being set aside as the multicausal factors behind the sudden rise of the Zika Virus and its many, apparently long lasting and dire implications become clear. But there's another motto of equal power to meet this: the only way out is through.

If this is indeed the Sixth Mass Extinction, in the era now commonly agreed as the Anthropocene, then humanity is the metaphorical asteroid and we are in the process, not of affecting our own extinction, but - just as we effectively domesticated ourselves from savannah-dwelling upright chimps to become the ultimate world conquering, ecosystem shaping, invasive species - proving to be the selective filter that will determine the course of our race's evolution. The goal is increasingly becoming simply "live through this," and the Zika Virus is the first level boss we have to defeat. The best news of all, if such a thing can be said about this is - the sole ray of light in the imminent darkness - we can only do so by rapidly beginning the process of repairing the planet. Because, however you read this situation, it's definitely sick, and it falls to us to heal it. To paraphrase once more from the comic Planetary: there's no justice, there's just us.

The UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO) confirmed on Monday that the global average surface temperature in 2015 shattered all previous records and said 15 of the 16 hottest years on record have all occurred since 2000. “We have reached for the first time the threshold of 1C above pre-industrial temperatures. It is a sobering moment in the history of our planet,” said WMO secretary-general Petteri Taalas." ~ Please Stop Saying Humans Aren’t Causing Climate Change [WIRED]

Whilst this particular essay isn't a formal part of the Plutocratic Exit Strategy (PES) series, and should more properly be considered a continuation of the themes explored in my deep reading of the TV show Fortitude, there's definitely some overlap. The biggest point of intersection can be found in the speech from Kingsman: The Secret Service that I used to illustrate PES: Pt2. For our purposes here it's really worth listening to again... for one part in particular.

When you get a virus, you get a fever. That's the human body raising its core temperature to kill the virus. Planet Earth works the same way. Global Warming is the fever. Mankind is the Virus. We're making our planet sick. A cull is our only hope. If we don't reduce our population ourselves there's only one of two ways this can go: the host kills the virus or the virus kills the host.

The Kingsman film is already considered a cannon telling of the Elite's plans in many conspiratorial-minded circles. The principal question to be answered in this exploration of the Zika Virus is who's got the upper hand right now? Is the virus killing the host, or vice versa? Is the Zika Virus a natural - whatever "natural" actually means in the context of the Anthropocene - consequence of climate chaos, or the direct result of the covert machinations of ... Read More »

Oh Apple Tree, we Wassail Thee

Image

"Wæs þu hæl" is an Anglo Saxon toast meaning "be thou hale" ("be in good health"). The toast, if not the customs which the term has come to be associated with, is thought to date from the early eleventh or late tenth century, at least.

There are two kinds of Wassailing - the first of which has come to be closely associated with Christmas and carolling. Wassailers call at people's homes then offer a song and a drink of warmed, spiced ale or cider from a Wassailing bowl (or cup) to the answerer in exchange for money or gifts.

The second originates in the South West of England ("the West Country"), where apple orchards were already providing cider for the thirsty population by the time our Roman invaders arrived. [1] Today the UK drinks more cider (by that I mean what North Americans refer to as Hard Cider - not mere apple-juice) than anywhere else in the world with the beverage being produced not just in the West Country but also in places like Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Kent, Suffolk, Norfolk, Buckinghamshire, and Cheshire, as well as in Wales and Northern Ireland.

Apple Howling and Apple Wassailing may once have been two distinct practices that have become entwined and conflated over the years. The former was once most commonly performed at New Year and was described by the American naturalist Henry David Thoreau in his 1862 essay "Wild Apples" as follows:

A troop of boys visited the different orchards and, encircling the apple tress, repeated the following words: -

"Stand fast, root! bear well, top!
Pray God send us a good howling crop:
Every twig, apples big;
Every bough, apples enow!"

"They then shout in chorus, one of the boys accompanying them on a cow's horn. During this ceremony they rap the trees with their sticks". [2]

Apple Wassailing on the other hand most commonly takes place on Twelfth Night (which on Today's calendar is January the 17th). Though the "Stand fast, root" incantation and the rest of the Apple Howling custom often forms a part of the Wassailing, there is a lot more to it.

Though it varies not just from county to county, but from village to village, the basics of Apple Wassailing are as follows: The Wassailing party gather in an orchard bringing plenty of cider with them. Toasted bread is soaked in the cider and pieces of it hung from the branches of the trees as an offering to those beneficial spirits which reside within the orchard, and also the birds which might peck at the new buds in the spring. The group gather around the largest, oldest apple tree and a Libation of cider is poured upon its roots. The leader of the party then fires a shotgun into the branches of the tree to scare away any malevolent spirits (and presumably birds, once again). Toasts of cider are then drunk to the tree and a Wassailing Song is sung.[3]

Norton Priory in Runcorn, Cheshire (about ten miles East of my home in Liverpool) was founded in 1134 AD. It was home to an Order of Augustinian Canons and saw several phases of building and rebuilding, culminating in 1391 with its elevation to Abbey status. The Abbey met its end in April 1536 during the first phase of Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries. The buildings and estate were bought by the Brooke family who lived there up until the early twentieth century.

Today, much of the original layout of the buildings - the cloisters, church, refectory and dormitory can still be seen. There is also an intact 12th century undercroft. A two and a half acre Walled Garden has been recreated as it would have been in Georgian times. There is an orchard, a trained fruit garden, a vegetable garden, various ornamental borders and the beautiful Rose Walk. [4]

This year Norton Priory held its first recorded Apple Wassail on the 17th of January. Archaeologist, folklorist, historian, storyteller, and bagpiper Tom Hughes is the man responsible for bringing the custom to the priory and he was good enough to answer a few questions about it for me.

First, I asked how the whole thing came about.

I'd personally been involved in wassailing at Stretton Watermill in Cheshire for the past four years when I was working there. Some of the Norton rangers and gardeners had come along to that and when I started work at Norton Priory on a project to develop a new museum they asked me if I would help get a wassail going there. I was only too pleased to do so! There is a nice association as well as the mistletoe we managed to get established on the apple trees at Stretton Mill came from berries in the Norton Priory walled garden.

Next I asked Tom to take us through the Appple Wassail as it occurred, step by step.

We decided to gather at 4pm so that by the time we got to the trees it would be getting dark and we'd enjoy the atmosphere of the lantern lit orchard. We'd arranged a workshop for families just before, so they could make their own willow and paper lanterns. The wassail was arranged as a thank you to our supporters and volunteers, around eighty people in total, most of whom had never encountered a wassail before, though several had heard one on The Archers omnibus that morning! We began with getting together in a straw bale building beside the Georgian walled garden and enjoyed mulled cider and spiced apple juice. We also passed around the wassail cup. With it being Old Twelfth Night we enjoyed a mummers play*, then I told the story of the Apple Tree Man**. The group then picked up drums, rattles and tambourines and set off on procession through the gardens to the orchard. I led the way, playing the tune of our wassail song as we went.

When we arrived in the orchard inside the garden we had baskets of toast for people to hang in the trees to encourage the good spirits, we have twelve or so apple trees there, mostly old Cheshire varieties, but people got quite carried away and so plums, quince and medlar trees also benefitted! We then sang the Apple Tree Wassail to the oldest tree. The version we used has a tune very similar to the old Cheshire song "Miller of Dee", the words were the version

"Oh apple tree,
We wassail thee,
And hope that thou shall bear.
For the Lord doth know where we shall be,
to be merry another new year.
For to bear well, and to share well,
So merry may we be.
Let every man raise up his cup and shout health to the old apple tree."

We then poured cider on the roots and then made lots of noise with the rattles and drums and several blasts of a shotgun through the branches.

Then we processed back to the straw bale building, this time I played the tune of the Gloucestershire Wassail. We finished with more cider, potatoes baked in the cob oven, and some more storytelling. Everyone was demanding we do it again next year.

Finally, I asked Tom what inspired him to bring what is usually considered a West Country tradition to Cheshire, and what it means to him personally.

Although apple tree wassailing is best known from the West Country, it did take place all along the Welsh borders, up through Shropshire and into Cheshire. Heading along to Norton is perhaps straying a bit east, but we felt the wassailing of the Cheshire variety trees and the use of the local tune made it as much part of our heritage.

I don't know that apple tree wassailing is a very ancient tradition, perhaps 19th or maybe 18th century. Maybe it's older, but I haven't seen proof. I feel it's one of those traditions that folklorists used to want to push back to "pre-Christian" times, rebirth of the seasons and all that, like the old books of the 1970s used to say of morris dancing and mummers. We'd tried to be true to images of older wassails along with taking the best bits of revivals. In the past decade I've enjoyed wassails at a community orchard over in Cambridge and the huge wassail festival at Chepstow. What works best is its way that it brings a community together in the depths of winter and I can imagine that was always the point of it.

I'll raise a cider to that!

* Mummers Plays are seasonal British folk plays, performed by troupes of amateur actors known as mummers or guisers (or by local names such as rhymers, pace-eggers, soulers, tipteerers, wrenboys, galoshins, guysers, and so on). Tom is himself a member of the Jones' Ale Soul Cakers - a group which started out in 1970, taking their name from the Jones' Ale folk club in Chester where they were regulars. The play they perform is taken from the Alderley Mummers script which supposedly dates from 1788.

** The Apple Tree Man is a folktale from Somerset. The Apple Tree Man is the spirit of the oldest apple tree in an orchard, and in whom the fertility of the orchard is said to reside. In the tale a man offers his last mug of mulled cider to the trees in his orchard and is rewarded by the Apple Tree Man who reveals to him the location of buried treasure.

REFERENCES

[1] http://www.utne.com/arts/history-of-cide...

[2] https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=P9fW...

[3] Marc Alexander, A Compendium of Folklore, Myths & Customs of Britain, Sutton Publishing 2002

[4] http://nortonpriory.org/menu/ruins/

Photographs courtesy of Tom (@TomTellTale) and the Norton Priory Facebook page.

Nightmares of the Future: THE PLUTOCRATIC EXIT STRATEGY - Breakaway Factions & Type 1 Civ Tech

Image

What's the end game of late-stage capitalism? What provisions are The Powers That Be making for the Coming Collapse; for Climate Chaos and other Catastrophes? This is the Plutocratic Exit Strategy. In this series we'll see how they plan on making their getaway, and how we can work to steal the future back.


I'll be straight with you, trying to serialise a book about a plan in motion to covertly exit a doomed planet is a challenge. I'm not just trying to hit a moving target, but create a narrative for its entire trajectory. At the same time, though, there's no better way to test out & update a thesis as it's being written. To my surprise and dark delight, each new press release from SpaceX and Tesla, each revelation of the eco crimes committed with complete foreknowledge of their consequences by the Big Oil Cartels, and various plans announced by national governments are only confirming my argument, and giving me more details to work with and through.

The mainstream media are even beginning to pick up on this - Newsweek ran a heavily sanitized version of the Plutocratic Exit Strategy as 2015 closed out.

So in our second week of 2016, as the year ahead kicks into gear - and we hopefully collectively resolve to chart a new course for the world into an era of prosperity, building through the ashes of the Collapse - it seems timely to take a look at just what's been going on since our last update. There's a bit to work through here, but we'll be joining some more dots in the process and adding more data points to the scatter graph to find further connections in the future.

---

Along with Elysium, the fictional (factional?) Firefly universe helps create a timeline to illustrate just what I'm positing has been going on, and where things are leading. Like a distant future in another solar system, with its own civilisational mythology, where everyone speaks English and Chinese (and Russian). We'll come back to Serenity in a big way in a future installment (so maybe put it somewhere on your to-watch list), but swap out the USA for the Plutocrats and you've got a glimpse at what's to come if nothing is done to change or redirect things as they appear to be unfolding.

Earth that was could no longer sustain our numbers, we were so many. We found a new solar system, dozens of planets and hundreds of moons. Each one terraformed, a process taking decades, to support human life, to be new Earths. The Central Planets formed the Alliance. Ruled by an interplanetary parliament, the Alliance was a beacon of civilization. The savage outer planets were not so enlightened and refused Alliance control. The war was devastating, but the Alliance's victory over the Independents ensured a safer universe. And now everyone can enjoy the comfort and enlightenment of our civilization." ~ Serenity

Russia knows exactly who their rivals are; it is after all a autocratic kleptocracy being led by a spook, so it's no big surprise they're keenly aware of those opposing their agenda. And it's not the nation of the United States of America, but the corporations based (for now) within it:

"Dmitry Rogozin, deputy prime minister [of the Russian Federation] in charge of the country’s defense, said that while his country is seeking ways to make space exploration cheaper, Elon Musk’s SpaceX is proving to be a roadblock."

Here's where things continue to get interesting... while Elon continues to make grand statements thin on details about his planned Martian colony, Russia has just made public the plans they've been working on for some time to establish a permanent presence on "the eighth continent", Luna:

The Lunar Strategy, Detailed

Over the course of 2015, Russian engineers quietly devised a moon-going strategy including 41 launches of Angara rockets to support the nation's lunar program during the next two decades. According to this grand plan, beginning in 2023 seven Russian crews would fly the new spacecraft, and five of them land on the moon, concluding with the establishment of a modular habitable moon base.

Here is how the Russian moon-exploration program would proceed, according to the latest schedule:

  • Unmanned flight testing of the new spacecraft in Earth orbit would start in 2021, followed by an automated docking at the International Space Station in 2023. In the same year, the first crew would fly the new ship to the ISS.
  • In 2025, the new Russian spacecraft would be ready to make its first flight beyond the Earth's orbit without crew. The year later, the lunar module designed to take cosmonauts from the lunar orbit to the lunar surface would also make an unmanned test flight. By that time, a pair of Russian robotic landers, currently under development, is expected to pave the way for human explorers.
  • By 2027, the first Russian crew is scheduled to venture into deep space and reach the lunar orbit, matching the feat of NASA's Apollo 8 mission in 1968. Finally, in 2029, the first Russian cosmonauts would land on the Moon. Four more expeditions would follow through 2035. From the outset, each manned landing would be preceded by the delivery of a habitable module to the lunar orbit and then to the lunar surface.

The level of detail, and its grounded nature - "lunar expeditions to be blasted by four smaller, cheaper Angara boosters, which could pay for themselves by delivering commercial and military satellites in addition to flying cosmonauts" - are a shot across the bow to SpaceX, practically daring Elon Musk to trump them by finally actually revealing how he'll get his ass to Mars:

Early in 2015, Musk hinted that he would be publicly disclosing his strategies for the Mars Colonial Transport system sometime in late 2015, but then later said the announcement would come in 2016.

“The Mars transport system will be a completely new architecture,” Musk said during a Reddit AMA in January 2015, replying to a question about the development of MCT. “[I] am hoping to present that towards the end of this year. Good thing we didn’t do it sooner, as we have learned a huge amount from Falcon and Dragon.”

And learning they are, very visibly so, with the Falcon 9's successful re-landing of its first stage rocket late last year catapulting the company to the head of the space race, proving they can make LEO and beyond a much cheaper territory to penetrate.

Elon is a 'net guy - not just a digital native, but a digital elder - he doesn't need to issue big press releases, just casually drop a photo like this on Instagram with a choice caption to send another round of shock waves through the space industry.

Falcon 9 back in the hangar at Cape Canaveral. No damage found, ready to fire again.

A photo posted by Elon Musk (@elonmusk) on

In doing so, with a click of his smartphone aimed at his billion dollar baby, solidifying his position, confirming SpaceX's success in surpassing all predecessors; public or private. The company has leapfrogged the space capabilities of all the nations of the world; NASA of course has been a big help, lending it's expertise and being de-funded by the economic machinations of other players in this game.

There's a reason we keep using the plural of Plutocrat: there are always factions within factions.

Jeff Bezos' company Blue Origin had earlier made a much more modest test of their own implementation of a controlled vertical landing. Those crazy Taiwanese animators perfectly captured the nature of the rivalry between these two dueling Plutocrats with this video:

All this is, of course, just a sideshow. It's the tentative union of China with the Russian Federation (comprising of the remnants of the USSR, now with extra Crimea) that pose the real challenge to Elon Musk and his allies. These two factions are building out the infrastructure for two very different futures.

Russia has been quietly establishing a very different post-carbon vision of the future, and bringing in a great many nations under its fold in the process. A good, old-fashioned twencen nuclear power base with spooky characteristics:

With its ploys in Ukraine and Syria coming largely unanticipated in Western eyes, Russia has cultivated a tendency to pursue foreign policies that are not immediately obvious to surface-level observers.

While these bold military adventures have attracted much attention from investors thus far, a more stealthily conducted Russian energy strategy might hold equally major implications: the establishment of Russian nuclear power in vital strategic countries across the globe.

In consideration of the post-Fukushima stigma towards nuclear power, the notion of constructing a global nuclear empire might appear as initially bound for failure as invading a European nation like Ukraine in the 21st century. Yet, Russia’s under-the-radar ambition to become the global provider of nuclear power appears poised to be successful and — as was also the case in Ukraine — largely unchallenged by the few major players capable of insisting a different course.

Ariana Gic Perry helpfully highlights for us just how this is going unchallenged by the other more traditional factions of potential opposition.

Of course, by saying "traditional factions" we mean other nation states or blocs of nation states - and I say "traditional" given our sense of the status quo according to our human mental models of time keeping. It might be informative at this point to go read about the mercantile adventures of the Dutch East India Company in the 17th Century, for instance:

a powerful company, possessing quasi-governmental powers, including the ability to wage war, imprison and execute convicts, negotiate treaties, strike its own coins, and establish colonies.

You know the chorus to this by now: "All this has happened before."

As I've already hinted (just read the title) Elon & Co. are continuing to develop the technology that will lead to nothing short of a Type 1 Civilisation on the Kardashev Scale. Its latest incremental development towards that soon-to-be post-global state is a vehicle that will come when its beckoned.

---

As Techcrunch and others just reported, Telsa have continued to inch their way into the future firmware update by firmware update:

...it released version 7.1 of its software for the Model S and X that includes a “Summon” feature that enables the car to drive itself without anyone inside.

More specifically, using their key fob, Tesla owners can now direct their cars to park themselves in a spot within 39 feet, and to drive themselves into and out of their parking garages.

In a nod to safety concerns, the company has also now restricted its Autosteer technology on residential roads and roads without a center divider. When Autosteer is engaged on a restricted road, Model S’s speed will be limited to the speed limit of the road, plus an additional 5 mph.

The world of fully autonomous vehicles comes ever closer.

Interestingly, one of the few roadblocks it has faced has been in Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China). Proving that the future can be just as easily disabled over-the-air, as it is automatically enabled, was a frustrating experience for local drivers of the luxury vehicles last November:

Tesla spokeswoman Alexis Georgeson confirmed Thursday the company was compelled to remove the software in Hong Kong.

“The Autosteer and Auto Lane Change functions in our recent 7.0 software update are still pending approval from Hong Kong’s Transport Department,” said a message sent to local Tesla car owners. “To ensure we comply with the country’s regulators, we will be temporarily turning off these two functions on all Model S in Hong Kong effective immediately.”

Some Tesla owners were not happy with Tesla’s wireless intervention backing them out of the future:

“So today Tesla did a software update on the sly,” said “Lerxt” on the Tesla Motors Club forum, a popular venue for fans of the luxury electric cars, in a message posted Wednesday. “I expect the Communist government to do stupid things but I'm not particularly impressed with Tesla changing my software without my approval.”

Something that may see them looking across the various show rooms for other options. Volvo was keen to show off its new connected car at CES:

But if it's full Bright Green Breakaway Civ transport you're after, go no further than the solar powered Ecco concept car:


Ecco’s silhouette cuts back on wind resistance with its elongated profile making the entire thing soar close to the ground. A PV cell-studded membrane cover folds out similar to an accordion, sucking up more solar power while Ecco is parked in lurve machine mode. Another characteristic feature of the membrane roof is that it as well repeats the role of a camper pop-top, thereby expanding to house a sleeping loft. Its interior has been graced with a beautiful living area, a kitchen, and a toilet.

I'm really not sure how you can drive this piece of overtly conspicuous consumption across a ruined planet and survive, unless of course you're one of its last survivors, and you've salvaged it in some Fallout-esque mission to acquire a piece of prototype tech to facilitate your survival in the wasteland.

OR... you're surrounded by an armada of drones that can tackle any adversary... not just from the air, but also underwater:

Go go Bond Villain Tech!

Now, less you think SilVal and its various allies are focusing purely on the renewable energy realisation of a Type 1 Civ, you should be aware that there are elements funding the implementation of another of the technologies that have, until now, dangled tantalisingly just over the science-fictional horizon; fusion power. Sam Altman at Y Combinator is going all-in on the Californian Ideological Dream:

Altman is hunched over a spiral notebook with about 50 to-do items written in a tiny chicken scratch while he talks to David Kirtley, CEO of Helion Energy, a YC–backed startup. Helion is special to Altman. The company is attempting to build a commercial nuclear fusion reactor—a long-sought-after ambition of scientists that could simultaneously end our dependence on fossil fuels and dramatically lower the cost of energy production. Funding a fusion company is as close Silicon Valley has ever gotten to betting on an invisibility cloak manufacturer, and it’s part of a push by Altman to seed more ambitious technology companies. "The areas where it is possible to have a fast-growing company have expanded dramatically," Altman explains later. Ten years ago, YC’s model only worked for two kinds of businesses: consumer-facing websites and enterprise-­software companies. Now, Altman says, the plummeting prices for computer hardware and the increasing importance of software in all areas of life have caused YC’s scope to widen to include what he calls "hard technology" companies. Over the past year, YC has seeded a driverless car company, 20 biotech companies, and two nuclear energy companies.

Investors have responded somewhat ambivalently so far. Helion, with a team of just seven full-time employees and $1.5 million from investors, has already built a functional prototype that can heat plasma to more than 50 million Celsius, but it hasn’t managed to raise additional funds. Altman’s funding pledge will be a stretch for him, but he believes that jump-starting Helion and its promising tech is worth it. "Shame on Silicon Valley for not funding this company yet," he tells me that evening.

Should they be successful in this venture, in what amounts to creating incubators of Breakaway Civilisation technology, this will obviously be another front on which the Plutocrats will be challenging the nation states of Russia and China for dominance across the globe, and beyond.

As is clear from the series of companies he has now created, Elon Musk has one clear vision: that of a solar-electric energy/transport infrastructure. Not that it would be that much of a challenge at all to have his network roll-out also plugged into a fusion-powered grid. Given past comments, I'm sure he'd really have no problem sharing the load of such a vast upgrade to the planetary power infrastructure. Speaking purely about the powercell operation, and the new Gigafactory his company had constructed to produce them, he noted that it would meet a bare fraction of the required worldwide need to fully upgrade the world to a post-carbon infrastructure:

The Gigafactory is like the least bad solution we could up with, honestly. I think it's actually pretty cool the way it's worked out, but we're just faced with a simple problem of: if we want to make electric cars we need enough batteries for the electric cars, and last year, all Lithium-Ion battery production combined was 30 GWhs, approximately. That's nothing, okay, or at least, it's nothing when you consider if you want to make half a million electric cars a year, that's how much you need. There are a hundred million new cars made every year. There are two billion gasoline or diesel cars on the road worldwide. So, just do the basic math, you don't just need one Gigafactory, you need like 200 Gigafactories, just for new car production and that means you're only going to replace the fleet at the existing rate which has it refreshed every 20 years."

Elon being Elon, he probably has half-drawn plans somewhere in a drawer for a Gigafactory Factory. One can already envision them being delivered to strategic locations worldwide by a sub-orbital version of the Falcon 9 Heavy - the vast rocket calmly landing at the factory site and depositing the fresh Gigafactory ready-to-go; like the invisible hand of some unseen SimCity player. He did after all, in the same interview, casually drop the additional piece of game changing, post-carbon infrastructure; electric airplanes.

I've been sort of toying with the design for an electric supersonic vertical take-off and landing electric aircraft for a while, I'd love to do it, but I think my mind would explode. It'd be like, brain's worn out, ya know. I'm pretty saturated working on electric cars and rockets." [transcript via ShitElonSays]

Credit where credit is due, he's always kept his end goal in mind - rolling out everything required to not just get to Mars, but prototype the technology the colony will require here on Earth. Remember, there's no coal on Mars. (There is methane though. Which is something of a Curiosity.) But the plan has always been the build the best of all possible worlds on the Red Planet. The proposed Martian Colony is, after all, the ultimate in model cities. Nothing but the best will do for the %.001 planning to make it the end result of their Exit Strategy.

And the tech being rolled out is nothing short of something out of a montage from Elysium:

As we keep repeating here, all the tech being developed and, crucially, the direction in which it's being implemented, would be far better deployed in the service of repairing Earth first, and then beginning the Grand Extropian Adventure.

In a recent TED Talk, Lucianne Walkowic made the argument perfectly:

All the while, work on the technology required for a Martian Colony continues. Scientists at Northwestern University have developed and tested a mechanism to construct concrete from Martian soil, using liquid sulfur instead of water.

Moving our way back into Earth's gravity well, Bigelow Aerospace have released an image of their orbital habitat:

And, not to be left out of the Plutocratic Space Race, Virgin "Galactic" are back with images of their second SpaceShipTwo under construction:

The future is looking up, for those that will be able to afford it.

As the for the rest of us, left behind to deal with the consequences... we can only hope that Bright Green roll out extends further than the privatopias sure to be first on the list.

---

If you want to know just how the Elite will be living from now on - within their local instance of the Breakaway Civ, the heavily guarded, automated, post-carbon gated communities - look no further than the description of the new Californian planned city, Quay Valley - nothing but the very Brightest in Green Tech, complete with Hyperloop terminal:

...Quay Hays of GROW Holdings is laying out the plan for Quay Valley, the city he hopes will be a model for California’s future. It sounds, at first, like any other affluent California community: retail space, resort hotels, a winery, a spa. Where Quay Valley stands out is its plan to be solar-powered with extremely low water use. With a town of 26,000 networked smart homes and apartments built green from the ground up, Hays hopes to give 75,000 residents the eco-friendly lifestyle that critics of clean energy say is impossible. “There have been advances in green design and smart growth over the years, and the idea was, put all these things together in one place,” says Hays, a former publisher and film executive whose first job was booking punk and new wave acts for the Greek Theatre in the 1980s. His first attempt to launch Quay Valley was thwarted by litigation over water rights and the financial crisis of 2008; the new plan is to break ground on the site, a 7,200-acre expanse halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, sometime in 2016. When that happens, the world will be watching, and not just for the promised sustainability—Quay Valley also plans to feature the world’s first working Hyperloop, built by Hyperloop Transportation Technologies at an estimated cost of $100 million to $150 million.

Is there a better place to wait out the construction and deployment of the Martian Colonial Transporter fleet? Continuing to loot the planet all the while...

...never suspecting that the gates they hide behind might just as easily be reprogrammed to permanently shut them in, leaving them under house-arrest by an Eco Fascist Counter Revolution. There's factions and then there's FACTIONS. Mars too might make a great prison planet (wrote the author from Australia.)

---

But what if all this talk of Mars is nothing but so much misdirection? At the very least, a distraction, meant to keep our eyes from paying careful attention to what's happening above us, in our earthly skies? This statement actually has several interpretations, and I have much more to say, as you'll soon enough read, on another more conspiratorial version...

But right now, we want to listen to the words of Catherine Austin Fitts, speaking on the Space Based Economy from last year's Secret Space Program conference:

The key point she makes is that there's far more activity crucial to the unfolding future going on in LEO (Low Earth Orbit) than we've been made aware of. Nothing less than the end of the space-based dominance of the United States over the Earth. The dwindling of their Empire that's been facilitated by having exclusive control over key technologies that our personal, smartphone futurepresent are ever more dependent on. Such as GPS.

China is building its own version. Russia has had GLOSNASS since the mid-70s, which Putin made restoring to full global coverage a priority under his Presidency.

Even the US's key allies, Europe, are in the midst of developing their own alternative. Galileo though is still in development, with only 12 of the needed 30 constellation of satellites in orbit. It's expected to be fully operational by the end of the decade. If you want to know what 2020 will look like, there's a hint.

But there isn't a coming war for control of the skies in the works, it's already here! Catherine's talk helps explain just what's actually been going on. Why everyone is so freaked out over China's repeated tests of its "killer satellite capability". It hints at what the true purpose of the US Airforce's secretive robotic space shuttle, the Boeing X-37 might be. And why so many other nations are rushing to belatedly join the space race being run by nation states.

Interestingly, India are openly modeling their own reusable space plane on that confirmed piece of the known unknown secret space program. Whilst South Korea plan on making their own way to the Moon, bootstrapping their way there, with some help from their major ally:

South Korea plans to develop the orbiter and the ground station independently with its own technologies, the ministry added.

It will also seek cooperation with overseas researchers, such as the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), to develop payloads.

For the second phase of the project, the ministry will send a landing vessel to the moon with its own developed launch vehicle.

The ministry added it will make efforts to utilize its prior experiences in developing satellites.

Why this sudden space rush? For starters: MORE MINING MONEY.

There's a great desire to spread mineral extraction to the eighth continent - especially if fusion energy is going be a real factor in the planetary power network:

Last December, Moon Express became the first private company to successfully build and test a Moon-capable robotic lander -- the MX-1 -- here on Earth. By 2016, it plans to land on the Moon itself in a bid to claim the $20 million (£13m) Google Lunar XPRIZE for the first private lander to successfully travel 500 metres along the surface and transmit high-definition imagery back home. In October, in partnership with Nasa, it was on track to launch a shuttle to retrieve experiments from the International Space Station.

"On return it will land with ten-metre accuracy," Jain says. "You could land it in your backyard. This is the same kind of system we can use to bring back cargo from the Moon."

Cargo such as helium-3, an ideal candidate fuel for nuclear fusion. Formed in the Sun and carried through space on solar winds, helium-3 is extremely rare on Earth, thanks to the protection of the planet's magnetic field. The Moon, however, has no such shield and is estimated to have absorbed enough helium-3 to meet global energy demand for more than a millennia.

"We know it's there in tremendous quantities, from all the surveys and lunar meteorite analyses of the past 50 years," Jain says. "Even a relatively small quantity could power this planet for generations."

So add Duncan Jones' Dark Green Dystopia film Moon to your watch list too, I guess. As WIRED notes, there's plenty of corporations joining up with the nation states in the great reboot of the space race. And if fusion power wasn't enough for your science-fictional, Breakaway Civilisation, add nearly fully automated infrastructure IN SPACE to the wishlist that is being fulfilled in parallel by the various Plutocratic factions:

Others are already looking further afield. Virginia-based Deep Space Industries and Washington-based Planetary Resources have both set their sights on near-Earth asteroids, the original source of much of the Earth and Moon's precious metals.

"Space travel isn't about distance," explains Planetary Resources' president and chief engineer, Chris Lewicki, who was also former flight director for Nasa's twin Mars Rover missions. "Everything is measured in terms of the amount of rocket fuel that you need. Asteroids have no gravity, so going there and bringing stuff back requires as little fuel as docking with a space station. There are almost 4,000 asteroids that we know of which are energetically closer to us than the surface of the Moon."

In June 2013, Planetary Resources, whose investors include Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, launched a Kickstarter, raising $1.5m towards the funding of their first asteroid-prospecting craft. The 22cm ARKYD optical telescope is set for launch into Earth orbit by the end of 2016. Because asteroids are mostly the same material throughout, analysis of ARKYD imagery will give the company indication of which ones would be candidates for mining, Lewicki explains. "We can use optical spectra and the light reflected off these asteroids to tell the difference between metallic asteroids, carbonaceous asteroids with water and those that are just boring rock."

As with the Moon, a major draw to asteroid mining is the abundance of rare Earth metals found throughout space -- in particular, the platinum group, used not only in jewellery but in the manufacture of everything from catalytic converters and smartphones to cancer treatments. Access to an abundance of these, Lewicki suggests, could have a similar impact on technological development as the discovery of how to extract aluminium from the Earth's crust...

Iron, nickel and cobalt, the base metals needed for spacecraft manufacture, are also abundant throughout space, where zero or low gravity will allow for the creation of entirely new chemical compounds and alloys that would be impossible under the Earth's pull. "There are pharmaceutical drugs, for example, that could only be developed in space," Jain says. "The chemicals will crystallise very differently in something like Moon gravity."

Future spacecraft, 3D-printed with in-space resources, will never need to undergo the violent forces needed to escape planetary gravity, allowing for constructions of currently inconceivable size and delicacy. "This is going to create the spacecraft envisioned by science fiction," Lewicki says. "Engineers will be working with an entirely different set of constraints than they have today."

Given that humanity first landed on the Moon 47 years ago, why is the exploitation of space's bountiful resources only just getting started? The answer, according to Jain, comes down to increasingly powerful off-the-shelf technologies, making space a much more appealing investment proposition to private enterprise. "Four years ago, the LiDAR used to measure our location and descent would have cost us $1.5 million; three months ago we bought it for $1,500. Space-certified cameras used to cost hundreds of thousands. We're using modified GoPros," he says. "Earlier missions to the Moon cost billions of dollars. Now we can do that for $50 million, and costs will continue to come down."

And there you have it, the mythical ever increasing acceleration of technology enabling corporations and nations to leapfrog from LEO to the Moon and on to the Asteroids - and then surely Mars and wherever else they choose. Which sounds like the dawn of a new Golden Age of Humankind for anyone that hasn't been watching the gritty space opera, The Expanse (or read the books) for hints on how this will actually play out.

NASA, who not just lent their expertise to SpaceX, but funded Elon's long term mission to Mars with their contracts for it to supply the ISS are getting out of the way, looking to the Moon and the Asteroids themselves; leaving LEO to become a domain purely for the Corporations and any other nascent space powers that can hitch a ride:

"We're going to get out of ISS as quickly as we can," Gerstenmaier [NASA's chief of human spaceflight] said... "Whether it gets filled in by the private sector or not, NASA's vision is we're trying to move out." The agency has no choice but to leave low Earth orbit (LEO) behind, because it can't afford funding both projects at the same time.

NASA is apparently hoping for the private sector -- the same space companies ferrying supplies to the ISS -- to take its place in low Earth orbit. But since the agency can't help or force them to make an ISS 2.0, it's now telling companies to take advantage of microgravity research while it's still shouldering most of the costs of sending studies to the space station. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden is even trying to convince the government to give tax incentives to companies that ask them to test materials or products in zero-g.

---

Exporting our problems out to deep space and on into the future just seems like a recipe for an unending cycle of misery. Something that would only be amplified through the application of a selective filter for the future evolution of humanity that operates purely on the strength of one's back account, or willingness to aid such people, that's been generated through profiting on the destruction of Earth. That seems like the worst possible outcome, nothing less than the long delayed realisation of the Nazi Agenda. That it's no coincidence that Wernher von Braun served both the Third Reich in devastating England etc with the V2, then went on to head NASA. Which is a theme I will pick up somewhere else in a later update...

Until then, be careful out there in the smartphone future present. Do the math and you'll realise - especially after watching Catherine Austin Fitts' presentation - that it's mighty spooky that Google and Facebook are building their own global networks so that one will never, ever be offline no matter where they are. As Natash Lennard wrote for Salon, it's all looking rather NeoFeudal:

Drones in particular serve as smooth vectors for neoliberal expansion. Local infrastructure development is not even required; unmanned satellites can do the job. Just as drone technology has enabled a reshaping of war and military lines, Facebook drones suggest ways in which U.S. corporate interests can find new terrains across which to gain global footholds. The sky is literally the limit.

And while it was the fits and starts of Cold War-era market that propelled the West to bring technologies like the building of dams to less developed economies (a vector of liberal-minded capitalism that has been controversial, to say the least), nowadays a pretext of “need” is enough. As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg commented on the drones proposal, “It’s easy to take for granted that most people have access to the Internet, but only one-third of the world, 2.7 billion people, currently have access to the Internet … We’re not on a path to connect everyone right now, unless something dramatic changes.”

An inescapable net around the world, where every subject is nothing more than their Facebook profile.

Let's not forget that SpaceX is also a potential player in this space, pitching its own network of low-cost satellites as another revenue stream to fund his Martian expansion plans, and prototype the tech need for such an off-world colony in the process. Elon has a plan, alright:

Whoever creates the first huge global network of internet satellites, cheap and fast web access would only be the start... you could trick out the satellites with cameras and scientific instruments, helping meteorologists create a live global weather map, for example, or law enforcement officials track down criminals. You could also build a similar satellite network around Mars to get the first Martian colonists online.

That's your grim future, of unlimited and inescapable internet connectivity in the midst of the end of the world - whichever flavour of climate chaos you're privileged to experience.

As I've said before, "what's happening to Syrian's will happen to everyone", and it's been long reported that refugees fleeing that failed state ditched their smartphones before making their escape so that militias or soldiers were unable to force them to log in and execute them based purely on their Likes. A thought echoed just the other day by Bruce Sterling in his annual State of the World post:

Internet Counterevolution doesn't mean a return to the status quo ante of the world before the Internet. Globalization goes on, it just loses its glamour; where there was spreading prosperity there is offshored exploitation, where there was free-moving discussion there are cyberwar trolls, where there was your happy face in a Facebook there's in instant police dossier that you foolishly built yourself, where nobody knew you were a dog you are now branded-and-sorted Stack livestock, and so on.

Twenty-teens globalization looks less like jet-set free-spending yuppie tourism and more like hordes of illegal Syrians arriving via Facebook support groups. The wanderers are mostly Moslems, because the effect of the digital "Arab Spring" on their somnolent societies was catastrophic. It's amazing how badly that harmed them, and they show no sign of getting over it; on the contrary. But refugee life is for anybody, now. Rich or poor, they can all be fleeing, at a moment's notice, if they get a sudden deluge of Greenhouse rain. People everywhere are afraid of immigrants now because they see their own face in that mirror.

If you want a preview of life on such a prison planet, Elysium again provides a helpful illustration (and is why I've nicknamed it "Escape From Earth", and consider it the unofficial sequel to John Carpenter's Escape From NY & LA films):



Learning to live off-line, and build the seeds of a better world as everything collapses... that seems like a better selective filter to me. That's the future of humanity I want to be a part of.

Maybe all this has happened before, and the rich will leave - like the Overlords of Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End - never to return and this period of chaos will end and the post apocalyptic survivors can adapt the technology and infrastructure left behind to mend the planet, and thrive again until the next metaphorical harvest in another ten thousand years.

To my mind, it's a good time to learn to become one of the Invisibles. Peace.


Thanks for reading!

If you're interested in more such science-fictional meditations on finding a path through the end of the world that leads to a reborn planet and a galaxy full of wonders, you can sign up for my newsletter at the (De)Extinction Club. If you'd like to support the full set of my output, which includes a podcast frequently featuring conversations with other Blackhat Futurists, and get early access to new material like this, please head over to Dark Extropian Musings.

We're gonna win.

The Old Gods vs. Daesh

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham is a Salafi jihadist militant group that adheres to an Islamic fundamentalist, Wahhabi doctrine of Sunni Islam. You know who they are. They used to be called ISIS, (sometimes ISIL, sometimes just Islamic State), but now (for reasons Greg Taylor so brilliantly summed up here) we call them Daesh. Isis, the Egyptian Mother of Life, the Crone of Death, the Goddess of Magic, worshipped more than three thousand years before the Prophet Mohammed was born, venerated by the Romans and Ancient Greeks alike (and still worshipped by some today), has had her name taken in vain for long enough.

It was 2014 when Daesh began a systematic campaign of destruction of cultural heritage sites and artefacts. Something the Taliban did before them, making headlines with the dynamiting of the 6th century Buddhas of Bamiyan in 2001. Daesh claims that the targets, bulldozed, bombed, and smashed out of existence, are being destroyed because they represent “an erroneous form of creativity, contradicting the basics of sharia”. [1] The videos they make of the destruction are also great propaganda tools, guaranteed to get airplay and media attention across the world. The BBC won't show a beheading but it will show a temple exploding, a sledgehammer taken to an ancient idol. Even as we all grow numb and weary from the daily onslaught of horror we see on out televisions, computer, and phone screens, those images retain the power to shock.

People are being driven from their homes, enslaved, tortured, raped, murdered, and worse by Daesh every day. It is relentless, horrific beyond comprehension, so we cease to comprehend it. We cease to be able to process it all, to take the scale of the horror on board. The ultra vivid reds of the bloodshed, the blinding ballistic star-bursts; all the hyper-real HD livefeed horrors beamed directly onto our eyes merge like mixed Play Doh into a muddy brown mess which our mind tries daily to squish back into a too-small pot whose hastily scrawled, peeling label simply reads POST 9/11 TERROR. If we can even begin to imagine the horrors our fellow humans are being put through by Daesh, if we can put ourselves in their shoes, we can't do it for long. Not all day, every day.

Somehow, moments like Daesh's seizure of the Museum of Mosul in Iraq in February 2014, and destruction of artefacts therein, manage to cut through that dreadful, guilty, terror fatigue. We get a jolt - maybe it's of anger, outrage, sadness, powerlessness, or of all of the above - because instead of simply "fear us", all of a sudden Daesh seem to be looking directly down the camera and saying "fuck you". Fuck who? The western infidel, naturally. Any who dare oppose them or their ideology, of course. Just about any innocent unfortunate who happens to be in their proximity, tragically. Yet also, they're clearly delivering a big fat fuck you to a host of ancient deities. A poly-blasphemy. A campaign of desecration.

There's a story in that. The kind of story my brain starts to tell itself whether I want it to or not. It starts at a randomised point, some seed of an idea which might form any part of the story, it falters, it restarts, it gets a little further, it falters, it restarts. It runs in the background like a disk defrag on a hard drive and I hardly even notice it. It's not a story I'm going to write (at least, I don't think so) but there are enough scraps to lay out here; bits and pieces of fact and associated ideas. None of it is original, I'm sure. There must be thousands of others who have made the same connections I have, unmysterious and obvious as most of them are.

The pop cultural associations are evident; few people can have seen the images of Deash destruction of historic archaeology amid the desert sands and not made a connection with the Northern Iraq dig scenes of William Friedkin's 1973 classic The Exorcist. The statue of the dog-headed king of the demons of the wind, Pazuzu, stood defiantly on ... Read More »

Exclusive Excerpts from Mike Clelland's Book 'The Messengers'

If you're still looking for a good book to enjoy during your Xmas holidays, then look no further! Mike Clelland's The Messengers is receiving all sorts of critical praise within and without the UFO community for his novel approach into looking at the phenomenon, by taking into consideration things that used to be shunned away by 'serious' researchers --things like synchronicities, dreams and yes, encounters with owls which seemed to have been events purposely crafted and personalized for that particular witness.

We asked Mike if we could share a tiny bit of the wonder contained in the pages of The Messengers and he courteously obliged by picking up a selection of passages, which will hopefully communicate the gist of what he set out to do with his research; a personal journey for him, truth be told, whose veiled destination still seems hard to discern --unless you had the eyes of an owl, that is...

ENJOY!

________________________

Looking for an owl and finding a UFO

I spoke to a woman at length about a conjoined owl and UFO experience. She is a successful academic who has asked to remain anonymous. Her sighting happened on a Friday evening. There had been some drama leading up to this event. Earlier that day, she had been appointed to a rather prestigious position at a respected university. Her focus has been religious studies, so I took note that this sighting happened on August 15th, a date celebrated by the Catholic Church as the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This day commemorates the death of Mary and her bodily assumption into Heaven. It is the most important of all Marian feasts and a Holy Day of Obligation, and this woman attended a mass in celebration earlier that same day. (As an aside, I know two women who had what they both call their awakening experience on August 15th, and both accounts involve UFOs.)

That evening, she sat with her husband, margarita in hand, looking out over the ocean. She was as much celebrating her new position as unwinding after a long and emotional day. They were sitting together on a dock, enjoying a beautiful evening, when she heard the hooting of an owl. She was surprised that there would be an owl so close to the ocean, so she scanned the trees behind her, saw nothing, and then looked up to the sky. There she saw something unusual directly above her. It wasn’t yet dark, so she could see it clearly. It looked like a silvery shiny object, high in the heavens.

At first, she didn’t tell her very rational husband, she just watched it for about two minutes as it made odd maneuvers across the sky. Finally she asked her husband, “What’s that?” Then they watched the object together for about ten minutes. He was genuinely perplexed. He is a no-nonsense engineer type, and he said, “Well, it’s not traveling in any kind of linear trajectory.”

Later she found articles in the local paper, as well as a local television news report, that described people seeing a silvery disc-shaped UFO that same evening and during the rest of the weekend. Curiously, she didn’t remember the hooting owl in the days right after the sighting. It was early the next week, when she received an article from a colleague at another university. The text described some of the experiences of Whitley Strieber from his book Communion. It was while this woman was reading about Whitley’s odd owl sighting on a snowy windowsill that she heard a ping from her computer. It was me, sending her a Facebook message asking if I could talk with her by phone. It was while reading the article about a UFO abductee seeing an owl—and me contacting her that at the same time—that she suddenly remembered that her sighting of a silvery object in the evening sky was foreshadowed by the hooting of an owl. What seems so interesting is on that evening on the dock, she was actually looking for an owl when she saw a UFO instead.

Helping a wounded owl

Kenneth Arnold was unwittingly responsible for the term flying saucer when he described what he saw to reporters in the summer of 1947. His sighting kicked off a media frenzy and ushered in the modern era of the UFO that forever changed popular consciousness. What folks might not know is that Kenneth Arnold had a pet owl!

Arnold built a cage for his daughter Kim so she could raise an injured great horned owl that had fallen from its nest. It just seems fascinating that this key player in UFO history would have an owl living at his home. Reflecting back, Kim says she thought it was really incredible that her father would actually let her keep such a wild creature. She described the cage he built as an expression of his character, something truly wonderful.

Helping an injured owl shows up in a more recent case. On the evening of February 17th, 2013, in the foothills of North Carolina, a young couple and their three-month-old child were driving home from a birthday party. The sun was down and they were in their neighborhood when they saw a slow-moving triangle-shaped object just above the height of the nearby houses.

The husband, Daniel (a pseudonym) pulled off the road and watched the craft from a distance. They were parked and watched in amazement. Then it flew right above their car and just stayed positioned there for at least two minutes. At that point, his wife freaked out, screaming and praying while holding their crying baby.

Daniel raced home to drop off his wife and child and get his video camera, but by the time he came back out of his house, it was gone. He described the triangle-shaped craft as having three white lights, one in each corner, and a larger red light in the center. He guessed it was hovering 15 feet above his car—so low he could have hit it with a football, and each side of the triangle was about 25 feet long.

The next night he heard an owl in his yard, something he hadn’t ever noticed before. It was there hooting again for the next three nights. Some months after this, Daniel and his wife were driving on a busy highway when they saw an owl in the ditch right along the side of the road. Daniel was worried it was injured and might stumble into traffic, they pulled over. Daniel took off his hoodie and used it to wrap up the bird. He said the owl didn’t struggle, but acted totally calm and let him carry it to the car. His wife drove the few minutes to their home while the owl was sitting on the floorboard at Daniel’s feet.

They unwrapped the owl in their driveway and it simply stood there looking at them. It was a big handsome barred owl. After a few minutes, it opened its wings and calmly flew to a tree branch in their next-door-neighbor’s yard. It stayed in that branch for three days, staring at them.

On February 19th, 2014, Daniel again heard an owl hooting in his yard. He checked the date and realized this was exactly one year to the day that he had heard the same hooting after the triangle sighting. As before, the owl stayed in his yard for three days.

Daniel spoke to me about how unsettling all this has been, not just the initial sighting, but what followed after with the owls. Since seeing the triangle, he’s had reoccurring dreams that he has been chosen. When I asked what changed since his experience, he said that his Christian faith has become stronger. He also shared something I have heard a lot, the fears of a parent that their child might have some deeper involvement with the phenomenon. This is the one thing that I find most challenging: how can I offer any solace to a parent with these kinds of worries? The emotions are powerful, and my heart is heavy that I am unable to give any meaningful advice.

Daniel works with animals, he trains dogs, and this is another thing that I see as a pattern. Folks with these kinds of experiences seem to overlap with people who work at animal shelters, train horses, or do volunteer work to rescuing abandoned pets.

Like Kim Arnold, Daniel came to the aid of a wounded owl. I have collected a handful of similar stories where people with some connection to the UFO lore will rescue an owl. It might be an up-close sighting or out-and-out contact. All these accounts have the feel of a children’s fable, where helping an animal in need is a test, and their simple act of kindness will later turn out to be more important than they ever imagined.

The owl, directly or indirectly, gets woven into these reports in ways that seem scripted, as if they are meant to be fleeting clues to something deeper.

Owls are signposts along the path, but a signpost isn’t very interesting on its own, just a stick of wood pounded in the ground with something attached at the top. What is on the sign might be significant. It’s the message on the sign that needs to be acknowledged. “Bridge Out” or “Danger Ahead” might be very important. The challenge is to separate the owl (or the UFO for that matter) from the message, and then to interpret any vital meaning.

You are not who you seem to be
Rebecca Hardcastle Wright, PhD, has had so many experiences throughout her life that she is well beyond any doubts of the reality of her own contact. She is forthright about what has happened, almost disarmingly so. In 2008 she authored a book Exoconsciousness. The title uses the Greek prefix exo meaning “outside” or “external” in relationship to our human consciousness. She is promoting the idea of a bridge-building between humanity and extraterrestrials. Along with all her other experiences, Rebecca had a very revealing owl event.

This happened when she was leaving a restaurant at a strip mall in the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona. It was full daylight, and as she walked through the parking lot she felt powerfully drawn to look up at one of the tall industrial lights looming above her. She described her vision as being literally pulled to the top of that pole. Looking up, she was surprised to see a massive owl looking down at her.

Rebecca felt she was receiving a psychic communication coming from that owl, and the very clear message was, “You are not who you seem to be.” She also felt an all too familiar sensation, knowing she was going to have a contact experience that night—and she did.

When we spoke together, she described this owl in such an odd way that I had to ask if she thought it was a real owl. She said no, it wasn’t real in the way we would understand it, she sensed it was some sort of a psychic projection. Even though she described this owl as large, it was still owl-sized, and in a place where an owl might sit, but perched atop a light pole in a suburban parking lot is hardly where you would expect an alien. This is one of many examples of how hard it can be to truly know what might be a real owl, and what might be a screen image.

Rebecca described how she was seeing an unusual amount of large owls during her years in Phoenix. She wrote me, “They came to me, they hooted, there were even there during the day. I knew they were a screen. I felt the ET presence through them.” She describes this as a time of awakening, and it’s worth noting that, like the owl, the Phoenix is also a mythic bird—one that symbolizes rebirth.

What is also fascinating is that the owl spoke to Rebecca. That it happened telepathically without any sound is consistent with how almost all communication with aliens is reported. This is most often described as mind to mind, but others will say it is something deeper, as if it’s soul to soul.

I have heard a lot of stories where an owl does something that could be seen as a kind of roundabout communication, like crossing one’s path or showing up at a prescient moment. These kind of actions require the observer to interpret a deeper meaning. This could be a obvious message delivered symbolically, where the witness understands it right in the moment, or it might take some time to decipher its metaphoric meaning. More clear-cut is when an owl actually talks to the witness, but this is rare.

The owl is a messenger from ancient folklore. Sometimes these communications unfold in very bizarre ways.

Royally summoned by a white owl

A woman named Louise contacted me with a letter that began simply enough: “This is my owl story.” A complex set of events were set in motion in the mid-1990s while looking out her window on a very rainy day. She suddenly knew that she needed to take her dog for a walk. She lived along the coastline, and she felt a strong knowing that she should go to a jetty stretching far out into the ocean. This was one of the regular places to walk her dog, but it was unusual because she normally wouldn't consider going outside in such harsh weather.

Louise walked with her dog in the downpour as if it were perfectly normal. When she was about halfway out along the jetty, she again knew she should start walking back towards the land.

When we walked about halfway, I suddenly saw a VERY large white owl standing at the edge of the pier just watching us, as if he were waiting for our return. Riker—my large German shepherd—instead of barking or pulling at his lead simply walked quietly beside me until we were a few feet away from this owl. He then just sat quietly by my side, as if he were in the presence of royalty. It was very strange, very surreal. We stayed that way for what I guess to be around ten minutes when the owl just up and flew away. I walked back to my car with the feeling that we had been royally summoned and I had simply complied with the request.

… I must say as well, that had I not had my dog with me I might have been tempted to doubt my experience as it was so surreal. But to have Riker sense the majesty of this bird, it was overwhelmingly clear to me that even he had recognized that something special had just occurred.

Louise described the owl as white and the size of a large sitting shepherd. She has spent years trying to find any kind of owl that looks similar, but cannot. She has seen both snowy and barn owls (her favorite) so she would have recognized those. She is resolute that what she saw was definitely an owl, yet it was tall and slender with a regal look.

She is also clear that her dog was not acting normal. He is usually eager to run and chase birds, but she felt Riker acknowledged the power of that owl. There is an aspect of this story that plays out like nothing more than a screen memory, but the depth of significance is impossible to ignore.

In our correspondence, Louise told of a twenty-year chapter of her life that was very active with both UFO sightings and abduction experiences. Like so many others, she also tells of having a lot of psychic experiences, including a time of automatic writing as a form of communication with another realm. At the time of this owl sighting, she was involved in the local UFO community with a primary focus of moving beyond the intense fear that these events generated.

Shortly after seeing that owl on the jetty, Louise experienced an unusual paralysis in her arm and was forced to go on disability. She was later told she had stage 4 cancer and given less than one year to live. “Two weeks before I was diagnosed, I had a very profound dream, which was the only thing I had to hold on to as I came very close to dying.”

She was an angel in this dream, looking down at her family. She told me, “I can only describe it as the most all-encompassing feeling of love I have ever experienced. Suddenly I heard God’s voice giving me a choice, to complete the process and become an angel, or to stay. However, if I stayed, there would be conditions.” She interpreted the message that if she chose to stay, it meant a duty to help people.

Louise had aggressive radiation treatment and surgery that brought her right to death’s door. She has since been cancer free for over 18 years.

I asked how she is doing as far as the oppressive fear relating to her abduction experiences. She answered, “How am I doing? One-hundred percent! At that time I was afraid of the dark, afraid of what I couldn't control. Not any more.”

There are a surprising number of accounts where people tell of miraculous healings under the aegis of these alien beings. Some abductees have experienced the complete end to a serious illness directly after a UFO encounter. I asked if she thought she had received any kind of healing? “No, but the owl experience was really the start of all the big and challenging chapters of my life. As I look back, it still feels as if I had been summoned by royalty, perhaps to wish me well on a most difficult journey ahead… The whole experience for me from start to present has been a very spiritual journey, challenging indeed, but profoundly spiritual above all else.”

The owl can be seen as symbolic of something powerful, but also very difficult, the totem of the deepest inward journey.

Louise has not only survived a devastating cancer, but has also overcome her fear of the unknown. She feels that all these events are connected to her UFO experiences, but she doesn’t know how. She felt that the white owl on that rainy day held court with her and her dog. She said, “I've seen owls before and since—I love seeing them—but this experience was being in the presence of something of power that I cannot explain.”

Struggling with the mystery

The UFO riddle holds a sort of power within it, something that forces any thinking person to contemplate life’s grand mysteries, the same questions that have followed us through the ages. If you start out talking about little lights in the sky, you’ll very quickly start talking about God. You’ll end up wrestling with the really big questions. Who are we? Why are we here? What does it all mean?

I have a friend who meditates, goes to spiritual retreats, has a guru and all that stuff. When we talk we both really get into it. We’ll push each other, struggling to articulate elusive metaphysical concepts, and the conversation ends up getting deeper and deeper. We fall into a kind of spiritual one-upmanship, and at some point he’ll get all frustrated and tell me, “I can’t believe you don’t meditate!” And I’ll snap back, “I can’t believe you don’t read UFO books!”

The word “real”
People will ask me, “Do you think this UFO stuff is real?” The easy answer is, “Yes, it’s real.” I can say that with conviction because of my own sightings and the overwhelming glut of evidence. Again, yes, this stuff is real, but I’m at a point where I struggle with what the word real actually means. To me, what might be real has become just as slippery as the overall mystery itself. So much of what I’m looking at plays out as theatrical, or absurd, or beyond the edge of comprehension. What might be real becomes so abstract that it leaves me questioning the source of all existence. The word real is the first for letters of reality, and my definition of that crumbled ages ago.

The problem is, how does anyone keep their brain focused on the enormity of this mystery? All I can do is examine the little details, and sometimes I can barely grasp those. There comes a point when the trapdoor opens up, and I’m falling. I can only truly wrap my mind around this mystery for a few fleeting seconds. In those moments of clarity, I can’t understand why I’m not running down the street screaming, “They’re here!”

We’re staring at a Rorschach inkblot. You’ll see whatever baggage you bring to it. It’s going to mirror back your own very specific avenue of research. The one thing I know for sure is that everyone’s got a different take on this phenomenon and nobody agrees on everything. So when you enter this community—and I’m picturing all the contradictory characters milling around at a UFO conference—nobody is going to have the same conclusions. Everyone is telling a different story, but I feel strongly that at the core there is a real experience taking place. That’s the only thing I can say for sure, that something real is happening. Beyond that, it’s all speculation.

A rational scientist would look at all this UFO and owl weirdness and fight to squeeze it into the tidy box of logic. In doing so they would leave out all the really weird stuff. A poet might be better suited to play with all the elusive strangeness. This might make some pragmatic readers cringe, but sometimes great truths can only be fully revealed through poetry, mythology, or metaphor.

There is some unknowable facet of reality that creates synchronicity, and I am impelled to follow this magic compass. I am being given clues and they are telling me to step off the well-worn path and into the darkest part of the forest. This research, and all its associated weirdness, has been a deeply personal inward exploration.


________________________

The Messengers, by Mike Clelland
Richard Dolan Press; 1st edition (December 3, 2015)
Available at Amazon in paperback (Amazon US / UK) and Kindle edition.

Published with the permission of the author.

Nightmares of the Future: THE PLUTOCRATIC EXIT STRATEGY - Plague & Progress News Update

Image

What's the end game of late-stage capitalism? What provisions are The Powers That Be making for the Coming Collapse; for Climate Chaos and other Catastrophes? This is the Plutocratic Exit Strategy. In this series we'll see how they plan on making their getaway, and how we can work to steal the future back.


One of the key quotes in Part 2 of the Plutocratic Exit Strategy series was that:

plague may have played a larger role in the past than we imagined"

That was made in relation to the discovery of "flea-like creatures" in fossils from the Age of the Dinosaurs that are thought now to be one of the agents of their extinction; insects which, acting as "carriers of disease, may have played a role in the demise of the ancient reptiles."

In today's news we learn that the role plague has played in shaping human history has been pushed back by 3000 years, to mark the beginning of the Bronze Age. That in fact, plague may have caused the mass migration and cultural and technological transfer that kick started this new era of human civilisation.

As Nature reports the story:

The Black Death notoriously swept through Europe in 1347, killing an estimated 50 million people. Yet DNA from Bronze Age human skeletons now shows that the plague had first emerged at least as early as 3,000 bc. The earlier outbreak probably did not spread as ferociously, the analysis reveals — but it may nonetheless have driven mass migrations across Europe and Asia.

...

The Bronze Age — between about 3000 and 1000 bc — was a tumultuous period that saw new cultural practices and weapon and transport technologies spread rapidly across Eurasia. Earlier this year, a pair of ancient-genome studies documented a massive exodus of people from the steppe of what is now Russia and Ukraine; they scattered west into Europe and east into central Asia.

“But we didn’t know what the cause of these quite sudden migrations was,” says Morten Allentoft, an evolutionary geneticist at the Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen, who was part of a team that sequenced DNA from 101 Bronze Age skeletons.

...

Such outbreaks could have aided the spread of Eastern European steppe herders known as the Yamnaya during the Bronze Age, says Johannes Krause, an evolutionary geneticist at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany. The Yamnaya rapidly supplanted local farming populations in Western Europe between 3000 and 2500 bc. “How is it possible that the local farmers have been replaced by people from the steppe? A pandemic is a good possibility,” Krause says.

Just who were these people then, the people who's advanced technology totally disrupted the local cultures of Eurasia? (Sidenote: how awesome is paleogenetics?!). Nature again has the details:

The first Homo sapiens to colonize Europe were hunter-gatherers who arrived from Africa, by way of the Middle East, around 45,000 years ago. (Neanderthals and other archaic human species had begun roaming the continent much earlier.) Archaeology and ancient DNA suggest that farmers from the Middle East started streaming in around 8,000 years ago, replacing the hunter-gatherers in some areas and mixing with them in others.

But last year, a study of the genomes of ancient and contemporary Europeans found echoes not only of these two waves from the Middle East, but also of an enigmatic third group that they said could be from farther east.

...the team also found proof of a previously unknown migration, beginning several thousand years later. DNA recovered from steppe herders that lived in western Russia around 5,000 years ago closely matched that of 4,500-year-old individuals from Germany, who were part of a group known as the Corded Ware culture.

The herders, named the Yamnaya, lived in present-day Russia and Ukraine and represent “a massive migration into the heartland of Europe from its eastern periphery”, Reich and his team say in a paper posted on the bioRxiv preprint server on 10 February. Yamnaya ancestry survives in varying degrees in the genomes of contemporary Europeans, with northern groups such as Norwegians, Scots and Lithuanians maintaining the strongest link. The geographical extent of the Yamnaya migration is not clear, nor is its nature. But Reich's team says it is possible that the eastern migrants completely replaced existing populations in Germany.

...

The Yamnaya, the researchers also contend, imported at least part of the Indo-European language family into Europe. The origin of these languages — which include Germanic, Slavic and Romance languages as well as many of the languages spoken on the South Asian subcontinent — is mired in controversy. Some researchers say that the tongues were spread by Middle Eastern farmers around 8,500 years ago. But Reich and his team say that their data are more consistent with the 'steppe hypothesis' favoured by other researchers, according to which herders living around the Black and Caspian Seas spread the languages around 6,000 years ago, after horse domestication and the invention of the wheel allowed them to start travelling great distances.

...

Carles Lalueza-Fox, a palaeogeneticist at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology in Barcelona, Spain, says that the study also supports the idea that the first farmers to reach Europe were a homogeneous bunch, with little genetic variation. “Things start changing with the arrival of metallurgic technologies,” he says. “Then, there are dramatic population movements and turnovers, probably related to technical improvements in tools and warfare.”

So what we're looking at is the establishment of a new pattern of history.

Here we have the era known as the Bronze Age being recontextualised. Rather than being some hitherto categorised "natural stage of progress", this time is the result of an apocalyptic event being witnessed an by advanced civilisation separate from the rest of the world. One that flees its affects - that are probably the consequence of its progress (plague seems to work like that) - and in the process causes a period of "tumultuous change" for the areas it relocates to.

Plague & Progress is, of course, a pattern we can apply to the colonisation of the Americas by Europeans. That time, the colonisers brought the plague with them, causing the near extinction of the local population.

It bears constant repeating that the mythic images that populate the popular consciousness, of Native Americans on horseback, shooting rifles, are of the post-apocalyptic descendants making use of the technologies of their conquerors... the people who stole their world... to fight back against them. Or just survive on the fringes left to them.

It is almost too easy to compare the Corded Ware culture fleeing the Russian Steppes, with their advanced technology of domesticated horses and wheeled vehicles, arriving to (re)settle the new lands of greater Eurasia to that of the Plutocracy today, currently making their Exit, laying a ratline to Mars that leads from their gated communities - via a Hyperloop - to their private spaceports and head off Earth to settle space. [That's the pitch of the Plutocratic Exit Strategy in one sentence if there ever was one.]

That the best the rest of us can hope for then is to survive the tumultuous times to come - or already here if, for instance, your passport says Syria on it - and patrol the edges of a ruined, looted world with re-purposed military tech. The technodruids of the Exclusion Zones.

Artist: Yuri Shwedoff

OR... We can become self-aware citizens in the midst of a planetary scale theft marketed as an Eschatonic Event, and turn every piece of technology into Infrastructure for Building Through the Collapse before it can ever used by the Agents of the Apocalypse.

The question that remains then is: how do we Wake the World?


If you're interested in more such science-fictional meditations on finding a path through the end of the world that leads to a reborn planet and a galaxy full of wonders, you can sign up for my newsletter at the (De)Extinction Club. If you'd like to support the full set of my output, which includes a podcast frequently featuring conversations with other Blackhat Futurists, and get early access to new material like this, please head over to Dark Extropian Musings.

We're gonna win.

The Philosophies of Time Travel

Philosophies of Time Travel

Welcome to the future! Today is 'Back to the Future' day: the date in the future that Marty McFly and Doc Emmett Brown set in their DeLorean time machine in the famous film franchise.

The original Back to the Future played with one of the fundamental curiosities in time travel, the grandfather paradox. By altering the past, Marty finds that he has changed the future - including the fate of his own family, 'erased from existence' as Doc Brown notes.

These cause-and-effect oddities provide a lot of the joy (and confusion) in time travel tales, as well as providing fresh plot structures for writers. Here's a few of my own film favourites from the past decade or so - as spoiler-free as possible for those who haven't checked them out yet, and still containing some of my own confusion. Please do feel free to educate me, or mention your own favourites, in the comments section.

Looper

Looper is a gangster-style tale in which hit-men are richly rewarded for killing individuals sent back from future crime bosses (a rather convoluted way of ensuring there is no evidence), with the understanding that at some point their own future self will be sent back for killing, in order to 'close their loop'.

When looper Gordon Joseph-Levitt's future self Bruce Willis returns though, he escapes, with a plan to fundamentally change the future by killing off the future crime boss when he is a child. The culmination of the film comes with a twist that will probably blindside many viewers - though the use of the grandfather paradox in this film is possibly inconsistent given that Willis's earlier interactions with his younger self would themselves have already changed his history, and therefore himself, prior to the culmination. Perhaps I'll just chalk this one up to alternative timelines...

Predestination

This wonderful film from Australia's Spierig brothers (also known for Daybreakers) is based on the Robert Heinlein short story All You Zombies. It takes the idea of interacting with your own past to create the future as far as is perhaps possible (there are so many puns I could drop here, but they would unfortunately be major spoilers).

Highlighted by some wonderful acting by the stars, Ethan Hawke and especially a fantastic performance from Sarah Snook, Predestination takes its name from the time travel paradox of the same name (also sometimes called the 'bootstrap paradox' - where future events are somehow the cause of events in the past. In the end the hero's story is a self-contained loop, an ouroboros - and given the complexity of the tale (here's a graphic for those who have seen the movie - warning, SPOILERS), hats off to the film-makers in how beautifully they pull the entire thing off.

Somehow this film slipped under a lot of people's radars - make sure you put it on your list of movies to see.

Primer

Primer is the ultimate time travel film for geeks. By that, I mean it's a brilliantly written plot, and wonderfully executed, but perhaps slightly at the expense of the human element of the story, and certainly at the expense of casual watchability (timeline graphics such as this one and this one - SPOILERS - meant to explain the film are themselves largely indecipherable complex tangles).

A short, independent film created by Shane Carruth (also known for Upstream Color), Primer perhaps stands upon the heap for brain-frying levels of timeline weirdness - a must-see for any enthusiast of the genre. And at a reported budget of just $7000, it shows that you don't need Hollywood's hundred-million dollar budgets to tell a great science fiction story.

Other films or novels?

I'd also give honourable mentions to the likes of Donnie Darko, Edge of Tomorrow and Deja Vu as relatively recent films that have played with time travel ideas (and 12 Monkeys as another favourite from...ahem...further back in time), although perhaps not to the extent that the films above did. Do you have a favourite story - film, novel, or comic - that utilises time-travel weirdness? Let us, and other readers, know in the comments - we'd love to check them out!

Nightmares of the Future: THE PLUTOCRATIC EXIT STRATEGY - News Update

Image

What's the end game of late-stage capitalism? What provisions are The Powers That Be making for the Coming Collapse; for Climate Chaos and other Catastrophes? This is the Plutocratic Exit Strategy. In this series we'll see how they plan on making their getaway, and how we can work to steal the future back.


This week's instalment of the ongoing series that is the continuing, real time elaboration of the Plutocratic Exit Strategy features a 100min interview I conducted with Gordon from RuneSoup on the weekend. If you've read previous posts to the end, you'll already know that his work - and the Archonology series in particular - basically sent me tumbling down the wormhole from which I'm sending these reports. Broadcasts barely making back it across the event horizon of the black hole that is the occulted nature of reality as it has been presented to us on a daily basis. Obviously.

This is an excellent primer on the Breakaway Civilisation that explains its origins and overlap with the Shadow State. We also go deep into the history and nature of the intelligence community, and its aristocratic ideology. It features a pretty big discussion of the relevance of Star Trek: DS9 to our current situation, and looks at some rather unpleasant cultural DNA that the Disney world has been built with.

It opens with Gordon making a strong case for the relevance of Jurassic World...

Breaking Down the Breakaway Civilisation with Gordon from RuneSoup

Here's some show notes to go along with it.

KEY REFERENCED WORKS:

  • Jurassic World
  • Tomorrowland
  • Star Trek: DS9

GUEST LINKS:

  • Archonology series
  • Jurassic World review
  • There is Something to All of This
    • MENTIONED LINKS:

      Meanwhile in the ongoing looting of the world...

      And now for some relevant news updates...

      In Part 2 I talked about Infrastructure for Building Through the Collapse and adapting Elon Musk's newest vehicle. But not before pointing out that: "This is literally the showcase vehicle for the Plutocrats making their exit from a doomed world."

      A more mundane version then, of that Breakaway Civilisation's Fleet of Robot Medic Shuttles [as shown in Elysium], could be delivered to the world very soon simply by re-imagining how we use technology like Tesla's Model X vehicle.

      The key was an insight that Gavin Sheridan made. And the latest firmware announcement only helps strengthen his case that "Model X will be a self-driving car".

      The vehicle is, as suspected, being incrementally updated to create "a self driving future combined with an entire self-driving mobility platform."

      Which I'm totally cool with, so long as we get our fleet of magically appearing medics aka Uber For Plagues, and everyone is made a citizen of the Breakaway Civilisation.

      ---

      As Greg already reported here, something pretty interesting has been observed in the sky, between the constellations of Cygnus and Lyra:

      In 2011, several citizen scientists flagged one particular star as “interesting” and “bizarre.” The star was emitting a light pattern that looked stranger than any of the others Kepler was watching.

      What's particularly interesting is the 2011 detail. Is that why the Plutocracy have suddenly begun investing heavily in SETI? And emphasising caution in making Contact.

      "I think we should think very carefully before we reply to a signal received from outer space.

      "The history of weak civilisations contacting more advanced civilisations is not a happy one."

      I'd definitely call a civilisation that built a Dyson sphere more advanced than us. There's a whole scale for that; and we're not only the wrong end of it, we might lose our ranking soon.

      Maybe it's an invitation though? Maybe just like we dig up relics from the past and get inspired to recreate them, truly ancient objects of great wonder lie out in the cosmos, inviting us to aspire to magnificent things.

      Mayyybe the Plutocracy want to get their hands on all the toys first.

      Damn right I'm one frustrated wannabe xenoarchaeologist...

      The other, related question it begs is whether this is what has got China just as interested in SETI? Or do they know something else altogether???

      The Plutocracy and China controlling our future in space - I think I saw a tv show like that once.

      DID JOSS WHEDON WRITE THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE FUTURE? TUNE IN TO FIND OUT...

      ---

      Lastly, for a more down-to-earth look into the near-future of our increasingly post-cyberpunk existence... Detroit sure looks like its been gutted and turned into a model city for the establishment of the Networked City States variety of the Breakaway Civilisation.

      As The New Inquiry reports in "My Own Private Detroit", not just that, there's also the small matter of ufology elements leaking through into the narrative.

      “Since I’ve been here, it’s been gentrified a lot. Rents have definitely increased at a faster rate than inflation. There’s lots of development,” he says, citing an almost textbook definition of gentrification. “Most of this is [Wayne State] students or hipsters—I’d say very few people who have grown up and spent their whole life here.”

      When Gilbert moved Quicken Loans (the second biggest retail lender in the country)—along with the headquarters for his holding company Rock Ventures—to downtown Detroit in 2010, it coincided with the beginning of an extreme polarization of the city. Detroit would be further bifurcated, crudely, along the axis of poverty.

      While the gentrified Midtown is hailed as “the next Bushwick” and rents continue to rise, the rest of the city remains a shell of its former self, choked by poverty and suffering from a lack of services. Most visibly, for the past three years many in Detroit have had their access to water restricted as result of being unable to pay water bills, prompting United Nations rapporteurs to investigate human rights violations. Meanwhile, commercial accounts like those the city has with Chrysler, General Motors, and professional sports arenas are able to stay in operation despite overdue debts in the thousands of dollars. This is the Gilded Age calculus of the new Detroit: the burdened public carrying the privilege of a private few...

      Politicians no longer point to an ever-shrinking and barely existent municipal tax base to explain the lack of public services in Detroit. Instead they strategically woo developers as the solution to municipal revenue, focusing on “revitalization” and the private amenities available as part of that process. But much of Detroit has been left behind. In poor neighborhoods, streetlights are still out, and entire city blocks are left in the dark. Roads are still in disrepair, decorated with constellations of potholes. And the police often still don’t come to help—not that when they do come, it’s always a help. When it comes to poor, black residents in Detroit, police systematically profile, harass, and inflict violence on those that, in theory, they should protect and serve. Still, Detroit residents—not unlike New York City residents during Bratton’s police “slowdown”—perceive the withdrawal of police services negatively...

      Their goal is to hold the Detroit Police accountable, she says, and to support victims of brutality, like the family of Tazzy Mitchell, a local teen who died after police tasered him. But Morris and the Coalition Against Police Brutality have also advocated against private security. Specifically, she says her group shut down an unlicensed private security outfit called the Men in Black that was assaulting the homeless downtown. “They were not licensed to do this type of work. There were some lawsuits, and since then that group is no longer in operation there,” Morris explains.

      The Men in Black no longer reign over public space in Detroit. But in the short time we’ve been in the city, we captured Gilbert’s Securitas private security guards on camera escorting a homeless woman from a public sidewalk to a less-visible side street nearby.

      An off-the-books security operation enforcing the will of the Plutocracy, removing the undesirables so they can build out their luxury life as they see fit. And it's called what? The Men in Black. Huh.

      Read the full story to find out how the legal system has been co-opted too.

      ---

      That's it for now.

      See you soon, Space Cowboys.


      If you're interested in more such science-fictional meditations on finding a path through the end of the world that leads to a reborn planet and a galaxy full of wonders, you can sign up for my newsletter at the (De)Extinction Club. If you'd like to support the full set of my output, which includes a podcast frequently featuring conversations with other Blackhat Futurists, and get early access to new material like this, please head over to Dark Extropian Musings.

      We're gonna win.

Nightmares of the Future: THE PLUTOCRATIC EXIT STRATEGY PART 2

What's the end game of late-stage capitalism? What provisions are The Powers That Be making for the Coming Collapse; for Climate Chaos and other Catastrophes? This is the Plutocratic Exit Strategy. In this series we'll see how they plan on making their getaway, and how we can work to steal the future back.



The story so far: In the first post of this series we took a ride on the Hyperloop, and talked about the philosophies of the California Ideology and SMI2LE, then began to sketch out the ideas of the Breakaway Civilisation, the Shadow State and the Secret Space Program.

In this post we'll get up close with the Coming Collapse; examining the interrelation between Plague and Progress, both metaphorically and literally.

The language we're constructing to describe the wider view of reality we're developing in this series will increase in scope.

We'll make specific readings of some films and TV shows to illustrate some key variations of the Plutocratic Exit Strategy. By comparing and contrasting them, we'll begin to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of these plans, furthering our understanding of how they unfold (and thus how we might subvert them and steal our future back).

Just like the previous post, in the following we'll largely draw from the fictional universes of Tomorrowland and Kingsman: The Secret Service. This time we'll also dip into my previous analysis of Fortitude. Elysium gets a bit of a mention, too. As does Moonraker.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD.

Our unofficial spokesperson for the Breakaway Civilisation, Elon Musk, will drop by again, to announce the arrival of another piece of science-fictional technology. We'll look at its incredible potential: to help the Elite flee a broken world, or let us build a more resilient civilisation. In this way we'll illustrate the differences and similarities between Infrastructure for the Apocalypse and Infrastructure for Building Through the Collapse.

Up Close With The Coming Collapse: Plague & Progress

If you've read this far, you're not allergic to spoilers. There was a high dosage of them in Part 1, after all. So as we proceed in our discussion of the Plutocratic Exit Strategy we'll increase our exposure to them to near toxic levels, as we reveal and analyse most of the key plot points of the two films that we've been using to expand the grammar we're building to describe the post-cyberpunk condition. Building up a language enabling a richer discussion of the technological transfer currently under way, that would appear to be originating fully-formed from the various mythic, science-fictional realms we've identified.

The key question that always remains is this: Who will be on the receiving end of such almost technomagical objects? And what will they build with these wonders?

As we keenly examine the narrative engines of these fictions - deconstructing their workings in detail - we'll become able to draw in other, related explorations of these issues and put them together to see both how the whole thing operates, and more crucially, where it breaks down or malfunctions.

As this series progresses we'll see that Elon Musk's ... Read More »

Fire in the Sky: The Inside Story (An Exclusive Excerpt from Silver Screen Saucers)

Like the Daily Grail on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, to find more fascinating articles like this one.

If you're into UFOs and alien abductions, chances are that in 1993 you rushed to your nearest multiplex to watch Fire in the Sky, the Hollywood movie based on Travis Walton's homonymous book.

Chances also are, that nearing the end of it you felt an overpowering compulsion to throw your bag of popcorn on to the screen, and yell "THAT'S NOT HOW IT HAPPENED!" as you stormed out of the theater --or were escorted out in handcuffs. Fact is, Fire in the Sky is paradoxical in being the best AND worst cinematic depiction of the alien abduction phenomenon in a major motion picture.

In an exclusive excerpt from his book Silver Screen Saucers [Amazon US & UK], film researcher and author Robbie Graham shares with us the inside story of what really happened during the arduous journey to bring Fire in the Sky to the big screen; a movie studios rejected from the get-go, because they couldn't understand it or place it in the usual Sci-Fi box where they put all aliens and space monsters.

In a way, Hollywood's repudiation of abductions is but a symptom of how our society at large still hasn't found a way to tackle with this confounding phenomena, even 4 decades after Travis Walton suffered his amazing experience in a snowy Arizonian woods. Which is why Robbie's work is so important for the people inside and outside of the UFOlogy field.

Enjoy:

___________________________________

EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT

FROM

SILVER SCREEN SAUCERS:
SORTING FACT FROM FANTASY IN HOLLYOOD’S UFO MOVIES

by ROBBIE GRAHAM

(TAKEN FROM THE CHAPTER ‘BREAKING THROUGH,’ WHICH EXAMINES HOLLYWOOD’S DEPICTIONS OF ALIEN ABDUCTION)

***FIRE IN THE SKY: THE INSIDE STORY***
Screenwriter reveals why that infamous abduction scene was so creatively distorted…

1993 saw the release of Fire in the Sky – Hollywood’s take on the famous Travis Walton UFO abduction case of 1975, in which the Arizona logger claimed to have been taken aboard a flying saucer and later into an expansive spaceport, and to have interacted with two different species of aliens – the now archetypal ‘Grays’ (or a variant of them), and attractive human-looking beings (commonly known in UFOlogy as ‘Nordics’). What distinguishes Walton’s story from innumerable other accounts of cosmic kidnapping is that his apparent abduction was witnessed in part by the six other men on his logging crew. They sped back into town that night to inform bemused authorities of how a UFO had zapped Travis in front of their very eyes. Assuming he was dead, the terrified loggers had left their colleague where he lay, the saucer looming above his lifeless body.

A swirling storm of confusion, anger, and allegations was soon to descend on the sleepy town of Snowflake. The loggers, having reported to police that their friend had been