Friday, March 30, 2007

GURDJIEFF - Fourth Way

I have to confess that I am an old Gurdjeffian - G.'s ideas shaped much of my formative thinking...where would I be if I had never picked up and read Ouspensky's 'In Search of the Miraculous'?? I wonder...

So above is a 3 minute intro to the man himself...albeit brief...

Friday, March 23, 2007

Predictions of the Future

Freeman Dyson once said - 'Insight requires Imagination'.

The future is too important not to be imagined now... and for those imaginations to be turned into Insight...


Here are Sir Arthur C. Clarke's predictions for 2001 to 2100.

2001 Jan. 1 The next millennium and century begin.

- Cassini spaceprobe (launched October 1997; arrives Saturn July
2000) begins exploration of the planet's moons and rings.

- Galileo probe (launched October 1989) continues surveying Jupiter
and its moons. Life beneath the ice-covered oceans of Europa
appears increasingly likely.

2002 The first commercial device producing clean, safe power by
low-temperature nuclear reactions goes on the market, heralding
the end of the Fossil-Fuel Age. Economic and geopolitical
earthquakes follow, and, for their discovery of so-called "Cold
Fusion" in 1989, Pons and Fleischmann receive the Nobel Prize for

2003 The motor industry is given five years to replace all fuel-burning
engines by the new energy device.

- NASA's robot Mars Surveyor (carrying Lander and Rover) is

2004 The first (publicly admitted) human clone.

2005 The first sample launched back to Earth by Mars Surveyor.

- The Dalai Lama returns to Tibet.

2006 The world's last coal mine closed in India.

2007 NASA's Next Generation Space Telescope (successor to the Hubble)

- President Chandrika Kumaratunga gets the Nobel Prize for
restoring peace to Sri Lanka.

2008 On what would have been his 80th birthday, July 26, the film
director Stanley Kubrick, who made 2001: A Space Odyssey,
posthumously receives a special Oscar for Lifetime Achievement.

2009 A city in North Korea is devastated by the accidental explosion
of an A-bomb. After a brief debate in the U.N., all nuclear
weapons are destroyed.

2010 The first Quantum Generators (tapping space energy) are
developed. Available in portable and household units from a few
kilowatts upward, they can produce electricity indefinitely.
Central power stations close down; the age of pylons ends as grid
systems are dismantled.

- In spite of protests against "Big Brother" government, electronic
monitoring virtually removes professional criminals from society.

2011 Largest living animal filmed: a 75-meter octopus in the Mariana
Trench. By a curious coincidence, later that same year even
larger marine creatures are discovered when the first robot
probes drill through the ice of Europa, and an entire new biota
is revealed.

2012 Aerospace-planes enter service. The history of space travel has
repeated that of aeronautics, although more slowly, because the
technical problems are so much greater. From Yuri Gagarin to
commercial space flight has taken twice as long as from the
Wright Brothers to the DC-3.

2013 On a flight sponsored by Bandar Seri Begawan, a Brunei prince
becomes the first member of a royal family to fly in space.

2014 Construction of Hilton Orbiter Hotel begins, by assembling and
converting the giant Shuttle tanks which had previously been
allowed to fall back to Earth.

2015 An inevitable byproduct of the Quantum Generator is complete
control of matter at the atomic level. Thus the old dream of
alchemy is realized on a commercial scale, often with surprising
results. Within a few years, since they are more useful, lead and
copper cost twice as much as gold.

2016 All existing currencies are abolished. The megawatt-hour becomes
the unit of exchange.

2017 December 16. On his 100th birthday, Sir Arthur Clarke is one of
the first guests in the Hilton Orbiter.

- China holds the first nationwide popular elections to its

2019 A major meteor impact occurs on the North Polar icecap. There is
no loss of human life, but the resulting tsunamis cause
considerable damage along the coasts of Greenland and Canada. The
long-discussed Project Spaceguard, to identify and deflect any
potentially dangerous comets or asteroids, is finally activated

2020 Artificial Intelligence (AI) reaches the human level. From now
onward there are two intelligent species on Planet Earth, one
evolving far more rapidly than biology would ever permit.
Interstellar probes carrying AIs are launched toward the nearer

2021 The first humans land on Mars, and have some unpleasant

2023 Dinosaur facsimiles are cloned from computer-generated DNA.
Disney's Triassic Zoo opens in Florida. Despite some unfortunate
initial accidents, mini-raptors start replacing guard dogs.

2024 Infra-red signals are detected coming from the center of the
Milky Way Galaxy. They are obviously the product of a
technologically advanced civilization, but all attempts to
decipher them fail.

2025 Neurological research finally leads to an understanding of all
the senses, and direct inputs become possible, bypassing eyes,
ears, skin, etc. The inevitable result is the metal "Braincap" of
which the 20th century's Walkman was a primitive precursor.
Anyone wearing this helmet, fitting tightly over the skull, can
enter a whole universe of experience real or imaginary - and even
merge in real-time with other minds. Apart from its use for
entertainment and vicarious adventure, the Braincap is a boon to
doctors, who can now experience their patients symptoms (suitably
attenuated). It also revolutionizes the legal profession;
deliberate lying is impossible. As the Braincap can only function
properly on a completely bald head, wig-making becomes a major

2026 Singapore becomes the world's first country to enforce Truth in

2036 China overtakes the U.S. in gross national product to become the
world's largest economy.

2040 The "Universal Replicator," based on nano-technology, is
perfected: any object, however complex, can be created - given
the necessary raw material and the appropriate information
matrix. Diamonds or gourmet meals can, literally, be made from
dirt. As a result, agriculture and industry are phased out,
ending that recent invention in human history - work! There is an
explosion in arts, entertainment and education. Hunter-gathering
societies are deliberately recreated; huge areas of the planet,
no longer needed for food production, are allowed to revert to
their original state. Young people can now discharge their
aggressive instincts by using cross-bows to stalk big game, which
is robotic and frequently dangerous.

2045 The totally self-contained, recycling, mobile home (envisaged
almost a century earlier by Buckminster Fuller) is perfected. Any
additional carbon needed for food synthesis is obtained by
extracting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

2047 Hong Kong celebrates its 50th year as an SAR by completely
eliminating border controls and barriers between itself and the
rest of China.

2050 "Escape from Utopia." Bored by life in this peaceful and
unexciting era, millions decided to use cryonic suspension to
emigrate into the future in search of adventure. Vast
"hibernacula" are established in the Antarctic and in the regions
of perpetual night at the lunar poles.

2051 Ground is broken on the moon for self-sustaining, robotized
colonies, where the elderly will survive longer, thanks to the
low lunar gravity.

2057 October 4. Centennial of Sputnik 1. The dawn of the space age is
celebrated by humans not only on Earth, but on the Moon, Mars,
Europa, Ganymede and Titan - and in orbit round Venus, Neptune
and Pluto.

2061 The return of Halley's Comet; first landing on nucleus by humans.
The sensational discovery of both dormant and active lifeforms
vindicates Hoyle and Wickramasinghe's century-old hypothesis that
life is omnipresent throughout space.

2090 Large-scale burning of fossil fuels is resumed to replace the
carbon dioxide "mined" from the air and postpone the next Ice Age
by promoting global warming.

2095 The development of a true "space drive" - a propulsion system
reacting against the structure of space time - makes the rocket
obsolete and permits velocities close to that of light. The first
human explorers set off to nearby star systems that robot probes
have already found promising.

2100 History begins...

Copyright Arthur C. Clarke 1999

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Magnetic Vortex

This video was recorded on Jan. 12, 2007 by Japan's Hinode spacecraft: A magnetic vortex almost as big as Earth twisting, turning, finally erupting in a powerful solar flare. Watch from this link:

NASA's Magnetic Vortex

Friday, March 16, 2007

Asteroid Impact

This video really does deserve watching - it is a Japanese simulation of what a large meteorite collision would look like... Enjoy, somewhat...

The Psychology of Security

Bruce Schneier is one of the most educated authorities on Internet and digital securities - so I cannot pass up this chance to mention his recent essay on 'The Psychology of Security' where he makes good discussion on 'Risk Heuristics':

The first, and most common, area that can cause the feeling of security to diverge from the reality of security is the perception of risk. Security is a trade-off, and if we get the severity of the risk wrong, we're going to get the trade-off wrong. We can do this both ways, of course. We can underestimate some risks, like the risk of automobile accidents. Or we can overestimate some risks, like the risk of a stranger sneaking into our home at night and kidnapping our child. How we get the risk wrong--when we overestimate and when we underestimate--is governed by a few specific brain heuristics.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Animation of Surveillance State and Trusted Computing

This is a video worth watching - a 4 minute animation on increasing surveillance strategies... wonderfully animated:

Via CeMoRe

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Toward Homo Noeticus

John White refers to himself as a 'consciousness researcher' and he considers that humanity and the earth have the makings of a promising future together. He feels that the form of human being that will be here to participate is a primate of a very different order than the human as we know it today. He calls it Homo noeticus —the next step in human evolution:

So yes, we face various crises, but my recent research and my personal experience tell me that we will make it through those crises. That is part of the grand design of creation. That is part of the intelligent purpose behind the universe. God didn't bring us forth through five million years of human evolution to snuff us out just like that. We have the means; we have the potential to deal with crises in an intelligent way, which is aligned with the teleological drive that we have for self-transcendence.

But it's not absolutely certain, as far as I can see. We could OD as a planet, so to speak. I don't think we will. We have weathered many, many crises in our long history, and I see all sorts of hopeful signs telling me that we will weather these too. In fact, as a friend of mine said, "Hope is an acronym for Help Our Planet Evolve." And I am ever hopeful.

Read the full interview with John White here

Alien Volcano

A beautiful picture, taken on Feb. 28th by the New Horizons spacecraft: A volcanic eruption on Io.

Read the NASA link here

Sunday, March 04, 2007


I thought the concept of 'Militainment' was a useful idea to take a look at, especially since there is a worthwhile video that examines this - University of Georgia professor Roger Stahl has his Militainment site that links to his video titled Militainment, Inc:

Militainment, Inc. is a nine-part critical investigation of the militarization of popular culture. The pieces of the puzzle - from video games to reality TV - combine to form a larger picture of the integration of entertainment and military affairs. The film asks: How has war taken its place as an entertainment spectacle? and What does this mean for the ability of our democracy to consider this most destructive of human activities?

This well-constructed video can be downloaded from Stahl's own site above or in easy 10 minute clips on YouTube here