1. UFO Disclosure on Friday November 27, 2009?

    The crackpots have been clamoring lately in the tubes of the Internet that Friday, November 27, 2009 will be the day the United States government comes clean– that President Obama will announce there is not one but six (6) alien races humankind has been in contact with. Sounds far fetched? It is, but its a fine example of logical fallacy.

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    Jeanne Dixon

    There’s something called the Jeane Dixon Effect named for astrology and psychic Jeane Dixon who advised President Richard Nixon and First Lady Nancy Reagan. Nixon, who called her “the soothsayer,” even went as far as to prepare for a terrorist attack based on a premonition. Her numerous erroneous predictions include the Soviet Union winning the space race to the moon and the start of World War III in 1958.

    Psychics are easy to verify: either an event happens or it does not. Basic Karl Popper falsification.

    Dixon scored a win though when she predicted in 1956 a Democrat would take office and would die or be assassinated in office. This one “lucky guess” has sticking power whereas false promises or incorrect predictions go into the brain’s garbage can. Apparently our brains are used to being let down.

    The source of the information on disclosure is Dr. Pete Peterson of Project Camelot and David Wilcock of well, bat guano crazy land. Both claim to have ‘sources’ who have informed them that not only is disclosure happening, the TV time has already booked. Peterson annouced this on his website and Wilcock annouced this on the syndicated radio program Coast to Coast AM with George Noory on October 6, 2009. Anyone who knows how TV stations or logistics in business works that its highly unlikely– especially in the competitive world of journalism– that stations could “keep quiet” about a mysterious and seemingly unprovoked address by President Barack Obama.

    David Wilcock

    David Wilcock (kinda looks like David Spade selling a timeshare condo)

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. With this claim there is no evidence whatsoever. What’s more, just over a year ago a woman named Blossom Goodchild and a kindrid spirt named Dannion Brinkley predicted a mass UFO sighting October 14, 2008 would force disclosure. Just one of many false predictions such as the Air Force announcing disclosure in the 1960s, Y2K, terrorist attacks, and everything Nostradamus said that didn’t happen. Oh, and the woman over at ZetaTalk claimed the world would end in 2003. In case you are wondering, none of that happened.

    Chances are (and I’ll be the first to gladly admit I was was wrong) we will not see disclosure on November 27, 2009. I would certainly welcome anything novel like 6 alien species to spice up the doldrums. They claimed that a UFO would be sighted by a large number of people in Florida this weekend November 21, 2009 or November 22, 2009 and that did not happen. Or maybe CNN is still obsessed with Jon & Kate to ignore the greatest news story in mankind’s history.

    Both Peterson and Wilcock have stated that if too many people get excited about this, we will not have disclosure. So, sorry everyone. By acknowledging their predictions I’ve blown it for them. Just like how 2012 is the new Y2K, they’ll have to move on to more D Grade scifi plots. Just next time, put some more imagination into it, please?


  2. Moving Paper

    The above video is presently blowing up on Twitter, sending me off looking for more stop-motion/psuedo stop-motion papercraft.  Oddly, I spent a good chunk of last night tearing up sheets of paper and moving them millimeters.  If there’s a more introverted activity than stop-motion animation, I’d like to hear of it.

    Mercifully, here’s a jump, with more on the other side for those with time on their hands.

    Read the rest of this entry »


  3. First Impressions of My Second Life

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    It could be said I have a hard-on for obsolescence.  Maybe it’s in gratitude for the wrecked and decrepit giving us the gift of seeing enduring efficiency by contrast.  Maybe it’s a desperate grasping for something to be nostalgic about as things are birthed and flame out over and over through life’s journey.  Maybe I’m just petty and like to laugh at failure.  All these are good reasons to take a trip into Second Life.

    Second Life is the past’s vision of the internet’s future, back the internet was always capitalized and sometimes likened to a highway made of Al Gore’s divine gleaming seed.  Go thumb through the bits of Snow Crash that talk about the Metaverse and see if it sounds familiar.  Yeah, that was 1992.  Second Life is the fulfillment of the cyberpunk dream of ditching the flesh and having an avatar functional enough to really live a life with.  Unfortunately, Second Life, being a virtual World, faithfully reproduces all the boredom, tackiness and ennui of the meatspace.

    Reports of Second Life’s heat death piqued my interest.  A massive virtual world abandoned with vast collections of corporate property and whimsical user creations lying about unused?  Cyberspace depopulated by all but virtuafurries and corporate shillbots?  I was too young to fly Aeroflot in to watch the groaning death spasms of Soviet planned economies in real life so getting to watch the decline and fall of a virtual economy seemed to be a  hot ticket.  The burning question was “what would a virtual market utopia look like without customers?”

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    The immediate answer was Pretty Vacant.   And sorta tending towards goth.  Basically like how I remembered the internet back in the AOL/Geocities days of wiggly flashing GIFs and Welcome pages, just 3-D and spacial.  Little flashing paywalls mark forcefields on various islands, letting you know that merely standing on certain properties is a rental arrangement.

    I will say, when trolling through the virtual construction of other people’s fantasies, it is nice to be able to fly.

    SnapshotLadyTower_001

    Here’s me as a bald Egyptian teenager (the form I was born in) aiming headfirst at a tower of vaguely pornographic glamour faces.  It reminds me a lot of walls in the all-porn version of Wolfenstein 3D my friend made back in middle school.

    On the depopulated islands cheap thrills can be purchased in attendant-less shops, virtual trinkets or new skins, assless chaps and all that.  I pretty quickly ditched everything I could easily ditch, ending up looking like the Silver Surfer with neon seams.  In a land where the point for your time and money is to assemble prettiness on your avatar and land and castles to keep people off of, having nothing and wearing nothing seemed to be the only natural punk thing thing to do.

    (Then again, using that word, how much do bondage pants cost in real life these days and how long does it take to sculpt a nice set of liberty spikes?  Is being punk like being in Second Life in real life?  Discuss.)

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    Evetually I just started seeing what was possible to do.  So here I am sitting on an elk.

    This struck me as something of a flaw in the Second Life ideal.  There’s no quest, no mission, no point beyond those you make yourself.  While this is freedom, it’s the freedom of a Sunday afternoon in which all your plans have been canceled and no one’s picking up the phone.   There was a big word out there for someone with endless patience or Linden dollars, but showing up with no motivating purpose or idea of what to do beyond sitting on wildlife, it gets kind of boring.  This is where I think the appeal dies for the casual user, making one’s First Life appear much more charming in comparison.

    I’m ready to be proved wrong, though.  On the Second life blog, they say business in booming with around 750,000 unique repeat users in a month.  I personally never saw more than seven users on the same island in my travels.  As for digital ruins, my quest was stymied by the inability of virtual places to decay, a somewhat uncanny idea.

    I’m pretty sure I’ll dip back in to the Metaverse but only after I figure out why.


  4. CIA's Black Cloak and Dagger Initiation Ceremony

    An interesting aspect of American life is the goverment disclosues all kinds of conspiracies from assanating leaders to selling nuclear weapons to Iran. There’s no need to look for secret or classfied documents to find oddities, conspiracies, and strangeness.

    I’d consider the CIA’s official website to share a  fairly accurate history of  the CIA, at least what “they” want us to know. A curious article on the agency’s founding:

    At lunch today in the White House, with only members of the Staff present, Rear Admiral Sidney Souers and I were presented [by President Truman] with black cloaks, black hats, and wooden daggers, and the President read an amusing directive to us outlining some of our duties in the Central Intelligence Agency [sic], ‘Cloak and Dagger Group of Snoopers’.”

    With this whimsical ceremony, President Truman christened Admiral Soeurs as the first Director of Central Intelligence.

    I guess that could be called ‘whimsical.’ Or just fucked up and weird in a right-out-of-a-stupid-Dan-Brown-book kind of way.


  5. 1,600 Terrorists a Day

    The Washington Post reported today that the U.S. intelligence community adds 1,600 names a day to its terrorist watch list, according to the FBI.  Now a number like that is irresistible to a man with a calculator and twelve years of public programming that says math is important.

    So how long would it take to get everyone in the U.S. on that list?  Well, the U.S. population is presently estimated at 307,845,181 (damn, just went up by 42… 13 of them are Screamin’ Jay Hawkins‘… somehow) and let’s do it in years just to round it off nicely…  307,845,181 at 1600 a day, divided by 365 and you’ve got about 193 years until we’ve got every American on the terrorist watch list.

    Of course, this is some godawful math that means very, very little.  There’s already a million entries on the list, 400,000 of them estimated to be unique individuals.  600 names a day are removed and “fewer than 5 percent of the people on the list are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents.” Not to mention that in 193 years, there will be a lot more Americans, many of them with no idea how to get on a terrorist watch list.

    So what does this all tell us?  Well, that the FBI has a large, churning data pool of aliases and maybes, hopefully inhabited by some sort of machine intelligence that can make tastier hash out of it than I can.  This sampling also gives a glimpse into just how much of a heap they’d have of all the data generated by the sort of dystopian all-seeing eye that we all sort of assume is growing in the shadows somewhere, whether ECHELON or Carnivore or whatever the devil calls himself.

    Is there privacy in the anonymity of that heap?  What kind of organisms would grow out of that sort of mulch?  How would they see the world?


  6. Raw Materials: HYPE framework for Flash

    I have been shying away from Flash lately as its not supported by many mobile devices and comparable open technologies like jQuery, Raphaël, and Canvas get better each day. And I don’t know Actionscript 3.0.

    HYPE might make me dust off my copy of Flash. In a style similar to Processing, HYPE does the heavy lifting for Flash coding. Making this fun again. From HYPE’s site:

    HYPE is a creative coding framework built on top of ActionScript 3. A major goal of HYPE is to allow newcomers to Flash and ActionScript to creatively play and express themselves while they are learning how to program.

    To get started, the user needs only the most basic knowledge of programming – variables, conditionals, loops, and functions, for example.

    As the user learns more about programming they can extend HYPE and thus grow their skills, while at the same time inspiring the next generation.

    Now, that’s not to say HYPE is just for people who are new to programming. Instead, HYPE is for anyone, regardless of skill, who wants to play with code. Fundamentally, the point of HYPE is to make Flash fun again. We made HYPE to help bring back the playfulness that once defined our community.

    HYPE – come out and play!


  7. Colossi on the Brain

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    For whatever reason, I’ve been stuck thinking about massive statues of the human form lately.  I think a great deal of the enduring appeal of colossal humanoid statues is some kind of innate human tendency toward idolatry.   Somewhere in these crazy primate brains there’s a fixation on the idea of directly building a god.

    Is this how termites feel about building their mounds?  Do honeybees approach their hives with the same fascination we feel when catching a glimpse of the 305 ft Statue of Liberty?  Maybe if it was a functional structure…

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    One of the most compelling visions of colossi as infrastructural elements would be the nearly unwatchable 1997 movie Batman & Robin.  Waiting for the next scene to feature a sixteen story colossus holding up a winding highway overpass was all that kept me from walking out of that one. Odd that supervising art director Richard Holland doesn’t appear to have worked as an art director since.

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    My assumption is that these dreams of Gotham are not reflected in real world urban design because they’re not practical (right triangles are more stable architectural elements than the human form) and don’t seem to stand the test of time all that well.  The Colossus of Rhodes was felled by an earthquake.  The colossus of Barletta and Rome’s bronze Nero were repeatedly repurposed and eventually used as raw materials for other projects.  They won’t let me build an A&W in Thomas Jefferson’s head.

    The 12 Jin Ren have a similar origin story to the Colossus of Rhodes (defeat enemies, melt their weapons into statue makings) but very little is out there in the way of further info.

    Practicalities aside, there’s something about living in an environment with a lot of epic statuary.  Some kind of inspiration floating in the air, a reminder of human potential that makes a city feel more then a several billion dollar heap of brick, plastic and electricity.

    Stills from Batman & Robin via Batman Unmasked