Amid all the violence caused by government's war on drugs, it's strange to come across news of another radical group, but with a very different agenda.
Last Monday the Mexican TV media announced that two academic researchers working for the Monterrey Technological Institute had suffered injuries caused by an explosive device inside a package. A few days later it was known that an extremist group known as 'Individuals Tending Toward the Savage' --Individualidades Tendiendo a lo Salvaje (ITS)-- claimed responsibility for the bomb, and it is believed they are also responsible for the attack against another researcher occurred months earlier in a different technological school.
Their motive: to protest against the social & ecological damages caused by modern technology, and to warn against the dangers of nanotechnology, which has the potential to enslave mankind, and cover the entire planet in grey goo, as can be read by their manifesto, published on an extremist blog named Total Liberation.
"When these modified viruses affect the way we live through a nano-bacteriological war, unleashed by some laboratory error or by the explosion of nano-pollution that affects the air, food, water, transport, in short the entire world, then all of those who defend nanotechnology and don't think it is a threat will realize that it was a grave error to let it grow out of control."
The manifesto mentions and applauds the actions of Neo-luddite Theodore Kaczynski, a.k.a. the Unabomber, who is currently serving a life sentence for the mail-bombing spree that killed 3 people and injured 23 others.
Their motto: "Nature is good. Civilization is evil."
As oddly as it may sound, anarchist groups in Mexico with eco-extremist tendencies are nothing new. For the last few years sporadic reports of small home-made explosive devices targeting a McDonald's restaurant or an ATM have been claimed by anarchists who support animal rights and are against the economic system.
Added to their same M.O. they also share a penchant for colorful names: Earth Liberation Front, Eco-saboteurs Brigade for Non-forgotten Revenge, Animal Rights Militia, Clandestine Mexico, Eco-anarchist Cell for Direct Attack, and so on.
Authorities had regarded the statements and actions of these groups --who might very well be one and the same--- as little more than annoying pranks... until now, that is.
With all the more 'analogical' problems affecting the world right now, it is somewhat odd to deal with a group of young people --and their ideologies and methods seem to suggest we *are* dealing with young middle-class college-level individuals-- who have a deep grudge against modern technology... although not so deep that it prevents them from using it to spread their manifesto through the web! but congruency is something every terrorist organization seems to lack.
Personally, I find myself sharing many of the concerns that scientific research focused on profit might bring, yet that would never justify in my eyes the use of direct violence --not to mention that it is stupid, plain and simple.
Also, it seems that these 'individual savages' are basing their ideology more on Sci-Fi woes than in actual hard facts.
Nanotechnology has the potential to benefit humanity in ways we can hardly imagine right now, granting us access to incredible new materials, more powerful computers and cleaner energies.
Like all technologies, it could also be abused in detrimental ways; but that has less to do with technology per se, and more with human nature.
Yesterday, as I came home from the office, tired but happy to begin a short & long-needed vacation, I started reading my copy of Jacques Vallee's Dimensions: A Casebook of Alien Contact [Amazon US & UK], when I suddenly found a rather startling paragraph, in light of the recent events transpiring in the global scene.
In the first chapter, Ancient Encounters, Vallee writes:
Celestial phenomena seem to have been so commonplace in the Japanese skies during the Middle Ages that they directly influenced human events. Panic, riots, and disruptive social movements were often linked to celestial apparitions [emphasis mine]. The Japanese peasants had the disagreeable tendency to interpret any "sign from heaven" as strong indications tat their revolts and demands against the feudal system were just, and as assurance that their rebellions would be crowned with success.
Naturally this paragraph caught my attention due to the current circumstances of disturbing riots occurring on several capitals of the world, specially on London. And then I remembered the highly-commented public disclosure by Mike Sewell, one of BBC Radio 5's sports reporters, in which he (rather grudgingly) confessed his personal shock caused by the sighting of a large disc-shaped object on the morning of August 4th, while he was driving to Stansted airport.
And then I started to wonder: could the UFO sighting be connected in some mysterious way with the London riots, which have amazed the whole world in part due to their rather abrupt eruption?
Granted, Sewell seems at the moment to have been the only person that observed the mysterious craft --aside from another motorist he claims was in that road at the time-- still, adding to all the examples Valle includes in his book chapter to illustrate the incidence of 'celestial phenomena' with popular insurrection in medieval Japan, there are a great deal of UFO sightings that have occurred during wars and battles, and not just in modern times but also in early antiquity.
Also, thanks to Google maps, one can compare the distance from Stansted airport --where Sewell was heading-- to the initial areas of the London riots. To a foreigner like me, they look pretty damn close!
Maybe the Ufonauts' interest is drawn toward the areas where social unrest and instability increases... or maybe I'm just too influenced by pop culture and Sci Fi? Let's not forget that in the first sequel to famous Predator franchise, the events unfold during massive riots in the streets of Los Angeles, a move no doubt intended to make use of the actual riots that exploded in LA during the 90s.
Of course this is purely speculative from my part. But even if I'm wrong, there's no denying that at its very core, the UFO has always been a symbol of change, and even if we now laugh at the 'deluded' claims of the Contactees of yore --or the Expoliticians of today-- UFOs have often functioned as a motor of social reform and the search for a new paradigm; something researchers like Jacques Vallee have pointed out again and again since the 1970s.
What matters here is the link between certain unusual phenomena --observed or imagined-- and the witnesses' behavior. These accounts show that it is possible to affect the lives of many people by showing them displays that are beyond their comprehension.
That's why the UFOs, even if they were nothing but cultural constructs, have always been so dangerous to the status quo.
In closing, I would like to direct your attention to the image shown below (which I found here) during my research of this blog post.
Yes, I know this is in all likelihood the image of an airplane captured by a low-quality cell phone camera... but it's still pretty darn evocative, don't you think?
Fox has just announced the green-lightning of a sequel to Cosmos, the award-winning TV show that launched the late Carl Sagan as iconic image of Science for an entire generation. Seth MacFarlane, the man behind such shows like Family Guy and American Dad, will be teaming with Sagan's widow, Anne Druyan, to produce the 13-episode series:
Envisioned as a successor to the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning original 13-part program, which was hosted by Sagan, the new Cosmos series will be hosted by renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. Underscoring MacFarlane's commercial appeal, Cosmos will air on Fox in primetime, something pretty unprecedented these days for a science documentary series on commercial American television. (The original series aired on PBS.) Fox will air Cosmos: A Personal Voyage in 2013, which is also when the network will launch MacFarlane's Flintstones reboot
Kind of an odd pairing, if you ask me; probably influenced by the prospect of Billions and billions... of dollars. Let's just hope it doesn't end up looking like this:
I've become a huge fan of TNT's Sci-Fi drama Falling Skies. I like both the plot scenario and the characters showing the struggle of Humanity to survive in a post-apocalyptic Earth invaded by aliens.
The last chapter broadcasted here in Mexico took the show on an interesting twist, which seems to suggest the producers are taking inspiration on memes spawned inside Internet forums.
To understand what I'm talking about, first a little background: The story is set in the not-so distant future, where civilians organized in resistance guerrilla groups are fighting a horde of alien invaders that have utterly destroyed the infrastructure of all the world governments, and are systematically plundering the Earth's natural resources; among those resources, the one the aliens seem to be most interested in are human children, who are routinely captured and mentally-controlled via a bio-mechanical device called 'the harness'.
Up until now the aliens comprised of two main groups: the Skitters, and the Mechs: The Skitters are hideous multi-legged biological entities —a clear homage to H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds, the shows' main inspiration— that are in command of the Mechs, which are advanced AI battle droids.
However on episode 7, "What Hides Beneath", the main characters catch a rare glimpse of another type of alien, a tall humanoid-type entity they assume is part of the actual commanding elite of the alien invasion. What's interesting about all this, is that the new tall alien is eerily reminiscent of the Slender Man, an urban myth that is said to prey upon unsupervised children:
The Slender Man was created at the Something Awful Forums in a thread entitled “Create Paranormal Images.” He is described as wearing a black suit strikingly similar to the visage of the notorious Men In Black, and as the name suggests, appears very thin and able to stretch his limbs and torso to inhuman lengths in order to induce fear and ensnare his prey. Once his arms are outstretched, his victims are put into something of a hypnotized state, where they are utterly helpless to stop themselves from walking into them. He is also able to create tendrils from his fingers and back that he uses to walk on in a similar fashion to Doc Ock, the Spider-Man villain in the Marvel Universe. The superhuman stretching ability could also be seen as a similiarty between himself and Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four. Whether he absorbs, kills, or mearly takes his victims to an undiclosed location or dimension is also unknown as there are never any bodys or evidence left behind in his wake to deduce a definite conclusion.
Not only do we have the tall lanky form, and the main interest (children) but there's also the mind-control component (the harness).
Unfortunately, there's still no image available on the web that I can show to illustrate my theory, and I will be th first one to admit it's all an unconclusive speculation on my part; yet it wouldn't surprise me that the producers of the show appreciated the huge potential this Internet meme had to offer, not only from an aesthetically point of view, but also because it would help blur the boundaries between fiction and reality —something TV and film is always seeking to accomplish as of late.
Plus, there's the advantage that you don't need to worry about copyrights when it comes to Internet memes!
It will be interesting to see how the story further develops during the remaining of the season. So don't miss another episode!
China, the largest holder of United States debt, said last Saturday that Washington needed to "cure its addiction to debts":
“The U.S. government has to come to terms with the painful fact that the good old days when it could just borrow its way out of messes of its own making are finally gone,” read the commentary, which was published in Chinese newspapers.
Memo to Obama: You've got two options, dude: either cut the Pentagon's credit cards, or next time, let Bart handle it.
With the economical landscape turning darker and darker, it came as a surprise to discover Mexico has become the #1 buyer of gold in the world:
The spot price of gold has risen by more than 17 percent this year to a record $1,672.65 an ounce, driven chiefly by investor concerns over the impact on the developed world's economy of its debt burdens and sluggish growth.
Mexico has been the largest buyer of gold in the year to date, with $5.3 billion worth of purchases, or 98 tonnes of gold, followed by Russia, which has bought 48 tonnes, worth $2.6 billion at current prices.
I know this is supposed to be a cautionary measure in case America hits a (new) recession, but instead of just hoarding the bling inside some dark vault, why not get creative with it? This is OUR gold after all!
2012 is just around the corner, people. Let's live a little!
MTV is 30 years old.
Are you old enough to remember back when it was, you know, relevant?
For all you UFO buffs who like to speculate about alien life that is not based on Carbon chemistry, and whether we would be able to recognize it —let alone detect it— I give you... Darkest Hour
This is appealing to me for several reasons: First, it seems to explore the possibility that there could be alien life based on plasma —the 4th known form of matter, along with solids, liquids, gases, and Bose Einstein condensates for the hyper-nerds among you— rather than 'normal' organic molecules.
The second thing is that, whether a deliberate move from the producers or not, it relates to numerous reports where UFOs have been seen close to power lines and electric centrals, which suggests these objects —usually assumed to be artificial piloted craft, even though some could very well be autonomous probes, or even actual living sentient entities— are extracting (feeding off?) energy from the electrical grid. To give just one example, the famous 1965 North East city blackout has been explained by some researchers as the result of direct intervention by unexplained lights observed near the Niagara station; and there's also UFO researchers like Robert Hastings who have investigated UFO sightings on USAF Nuclear bases where the missile systems have been rendered inoperable due to unexplained causes.
And finally, I like how the movie suggests there might be all sorts of ethereal non-human intelligences all around us that pass completely undetected because they do not fall between the limited range of the electromagnetic spectrum that our eyes are capable of perceive —something that was firstly suggested by none other than Lovecraft himself with his short story 'From Beyond'
I have harnessed the shadows that stride from world to world to sow death and madness...
All in all, Darkest Hour promises to become a much-needed relief from the usual Michael Bay's CGI Explosionama alien genre, where space visitors from faraway stars never forget to follow the bilateral symmetry —let's hope it really delivers.
Last Friday I experienced a pretty weird synchronicity that I'd like to share with you.
I came home from work, and after I poured myself a drink I decided to engage in one of my favorite pastimes: videogaming —yeah yeah I know... shut up already and let me continue!
So anyway, at 10 o'clock I exited the game and tuned into TNT to catch the latest episode of Falling Skies; and after that, before resuming to my session of videogaming, I decided to check my Gmail Inbox. That's when I found Rick's e-mail alerting me about the horrible events that occurred in Norway.
Rick's e-mail mentioned that the name of main suspect was Anders Behring Breivik. That's when I experienced the synchronicity, and that's because the game I was playing that night was Dragon Age 2.
Dragon Age 2 is a role-playing game of a Dungeons & Dragons style. In it, you control a main character along with a party of different individuals that fight alongside you. One of those secondary characters is a mage (a wizard) called Anders.
In the image above you can see there's more than a slight resemblance with the Norwegian terrorist.
Not only that, but it turns out Anders is something of an extremist, who is also magically connected with an spirit of Justice, that reacts with incredible violence whenever Anders finds something he's against of. In other words, due to Anders' violent nature, the once-benevolent spirit has turned into something of a demon... Justice turned into Vengeance.
But wat, there's more: as the news concerning this horrible event have unfolded, we've also learned that this deranged individual claims to have had accomplices, who he calls the Knight Templars.
He claims that a group of nine individuals met a decade ago to refound the organization. His manifesto calls for the organization to "seize political and military control of Western European countries and implement a cultural conservative political agenda."
This, strangely enough, is also related to Dragon Age 2, for in it the wizards are kept in check by a group of warriors called the Templars, who are members of an order in charge of hunting down and arrest rogue wizards that decide to dabble in what the game calls blood magic.
In the end, like most synchronicities, this one is not particularly profound or significant in my life. But nevertheless it is rather interesting in its several parallelisms between the fictional events of a game, and the shocking reality.
PS: It seems I'm not the only one who has reached similar conclusions.
[UPDATE 08/03/11 **Spoiler Alert**]: Further into the game, I've reached a climatic moment where the Anders character does something atrocious; the closest thing to a terrorist act I've experienced in any Fantasy game I've played. It's interesting how as you go further into the story you can witness how Anders (the mage in Dragon Age, not the Norwegian murderer) is slowly developing his belief system, and how he end ups committing a 'final solution' that forces the player to make a radical choice, simply because the character is completely unable to see a tolerant alternative.
As I wrote initially in this post, I don't know what to make of all this, although I'm certainly not trying to force any conspiratorial conclusion. Perhaps somewhere in the future someone might stumble upon these words and will be able to connect the dots a little further.
In the meantime, I read this morning that the biggest supermarket chain in Norway has stopped selling World of Warcraft and Call of Duty, games that, according to the news, Anders Behring used to 'train' himself for the terrorist attack. It reminds me of how they also tried to lay blame on Microsoft's Flight Simulator back 2011... as usual, people want easy answers, and so they go in search of the most comfortable —and idiotic— solution, without actually solving anything.
You know? I'm not really squeamish when it comes to food —I've eaten livers, cow stomachs, goat brains, and even insects!
But this... this is fraking disturbing, man @_@
So Soy sauce was Dr. Frankenstein secret ingredient, who woulda thunk it?