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Finding Atlantis – Again?

Joscelyn Godwin is a kind of national treasure, a one man trove of esoterica. Here he brings his alarmingly broad intellect to a perennial myth, Atlantis, writing for Watkins Magazine:

Did you hear, they’ve found Atlantis on the Spanish coast, outside the Pillars of Hercules, just as Plato said!”

I’m afraid I didn’t show much excitement when several people broke this news to me earlier this year. “Thank you. That makes thirty-one places, by my count, where they’ve found Plato’s Atlantis,” I replied.

Athanasius Kircher's Atlantis.gif

Athanasius Kircher’s Atlantis

 
Of course it’s always exciting when ancient sites are discovered and the vista of the prehistoric past expands. I like to hear about Gobekli Tepe, the Balkan and Chinese pyramids, Kennewick Man, the Hobbits of Flores, and so on. The New Archaeology pioneered by John Anthony West, Graham Hancock, Robert Bauval and Robert Schoch is a tonic for the imagination. So is the Atlantis myth in its broader meaning, which is that cultures have risen and fallen long before our own.

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It’s Not Climate Change – It’s Everything Change

Booker Prize winning novelist Margaret Atwood turns her hand to writing about climate everything change, at Medium:

Oil! Our secret god, our secret sharer, our magic wand, fulfiller of our every desire, our co-conspirator, the sine qua non in all we do! Can’t live with it, can’t — right at this moment — live without it. But it’s on everyone’s mind.

Back in 2009, as fracking and the mining of the oil/tar sands in Alberta ramped up — when people were talking about Peak Oil and the dangers of the supply giving out — I wrote a piece for the German newspaper Die Zeit. In English it was called “The Future Without Oil.” It went like this:

The future without oil! For optimists, a pleasant picture: let’s call it Picture One. Shall we imagine it?

There we are, driving around in our cars fueled by hydrogen, or methane, or solar, or something else we have yet to dream up.

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Synthesizing Jet Fuel from Sea Water

060318-N-7526R-154 South China Sea (March 19, 2006) Ð Amphibious command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) Sailors look on as a refueling probe crosses over the South China Sea, during a replenishment at sea (RAS) with the Military Sealift Command (MSC) underway replenishment oiler USNS Walter S. Diehl (T-AO 193). Blue Ridge, the 7th Fleet command ship, is currently underway for a regularly scheduled deployment throughout the 7th Fleet area of responsibility.

Everybody already knows that jet fuel can’t melt steel beams.

However, perhaps you didn’t know that a team at the Naval Research Laboratories in Florida has successfully developed a technology that synthesizes jet fuel from only sea water and electricity.

With all of their ships and planes, the navy has a huge need of both diesel and jet fuel. Unfortunately, many of the regions that contain large sources of petroleum, have…how shall I say…political interests highly contrary to those of the United States. So sending an oiler supply vessel to shore to find a petroleum source could be a very hazardous strategic move in a conflict and might leave our ships dead in the water or forced to return home. This strategic achilles heel for the navy is bad, but the fuel is also increasingly expensive (cost of fuel for the navy rose from $0.63/gal in 2000 to $3.75/gal in 2013, and effectively costs over $7.00/gal to deliver to the vessels) not to mention environmentally disastrous.… Read the rest

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Being Friends with Murderers and the World of Murderabilia

Painting by notorious killer John Wayne Gacy.

Painting by notorious killer John Wayne Gacy.

My life has been weird in most ways, and my work life is no exception. I have had some odd jobs in my day. I mean I really have. At one point I worked as a prisoner advocate for the ACLU, where I ended up meeting numerous prisoners, including a ton of murderers. It wasn’t like you might think. It wasn’t freaky or scary, it really was just like sitting down with some guy, (and the occasional woman) who was really psyched to see you. And it was interesting. There is no denying that moving among these people, at times as the only person in the outside world they communicated with, was intriguing to say the least.

Once I met a guy who was in prison for murdering his mom. He was schizophrenic, and when I met him in prison, he was just totally shattered.… Read the rest

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The time zone rebels of the world

Screen shot 2015-07-27 at 11.21.02 AM

Gabriella Garcia via Hopes&Fears:

In 1934, representatives from 26 countries gathered in Washington DC for the International Meridian Conference. The goal was to establish an official longitude—the Greenwich Meridian—off of which to base the international standard of time (the GMT, now called the UTC for Coordinated Universal Time). But as fate would have it, the industrial world stumbled clumsily towards uniformity over the next few decades, with a production flow determined by those leading the charge toward global manufacturing and production. But as with any decision made by an imperialistic minority, just because it was said didn’t mean the entire world agreed.

Thus, creating a Standard Time set the stage for the birth of time deviants; populations that vary from a handful of counties in Indiana to the entire Republic of China, that determine their own standards of time based on the constantly shifting nature of geopolitical relationships.

China

Screen shot 2015-07-27 at 11.18.27 AM

China, on the other hand, has kept it relatively simple by abolishing all time zones and uniformly running on “Beijing Time,” or UTC+08.… Read the rest

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Three scientists investigating melting Arctic ice may have been assassinated, professor claims

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Robert Mendick Via The Telegraph:

A Cambridge Professor has made the astonishing claim that three scientists investigating the melting of Arctic ice may have been assassinated within the space of a few months.

Professor Peter Wadhams said he feared being labelled a “looney” over his suspicion that the deaths of the scientists were more than just an ‘extraordinary’ coincidence.

But he insisted the trio could have been murdered and hinted that the oil industry or else sinister government forces might be implicated.

The three scientists he identified – Seymour Laxon and Katherine Giles, both climate change scientists at University College London, and Tim Boyd of the Scottish Association for marine Science – all died within the space of a few months in early 2013.

Professor laxon fell down a flight of stairs at a New year’s Eve party at a house in Essex while Dr Giles died when she was in collision with a lorry when cycling to work in London.

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Chrysler recalls 1.4 million vehicles due to hacking danger

We all pretty much saw this one coming. You have cars that can switch into automated drive. This poses a danger in which unscrupulous tech-wizards can hack vehicles while you’re driving. We have already seen cases where loan agents can disable an individual’s vehicle by smartphone if the owner of the vehicle misses a payment. We have seen the conspiracy theories that the death of journalist Michael Hastings was brought about by the CIA taking control of his car through computer devices and causing it to crash. Now here is a first — Chrysler recalls 1.4 million vehicles so their onboard computers can be upgraded for the purpose of reducing the chances they can be hacked.

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This Device Brings ‘Brave New World’ to Life

If you could have a device implanted in your brain that could bring instant nirvana at the press of a button, would you want it? Daily Beast says it’s coming and has neuroethicists in a bind:

Last week, a team of researchers developed a new implant that has the ability to wirelessly deliver drugs directly into the brain with the press of a button, like changing the channel on a TV.

BRAINADE! the Brain Grenade by Emilio Garcia

No wider than a strand of human hair, the device combines brain implants with a remote control drug delivery system. With the ability to genetically modify individual neurons, the implant inevitably calls up dystopian fictions from the likes of Vonnegut’s Harry Bergeron or Huxley’s Brave New World.

To demonstrate the amount of control this device is capable of, investigators made mice walk in circles by injecting a morphine-like drug directly into their ventral tegmental area (VTA), a brain region responsible for motivation and reward.

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Baphomet Statue Unveiled At ‘Largest Public Satanic Ceremony In History’

The Satanic Temple has unveiled a new statue of Baphomet in Detroit in what’s been billed as the largest public satanic ceremony in history. Reuters via Yahoo News has the details:

A Satanic organization unveiled a controversial bronze Baphomet sculpture in Detroit just before midnight on Saturday, after trying in vain to have it installed near a 10 Commandments monument in Oklahoma.

The Satanic Temple's Baphomet monument in Detroit. (Credit: The Satanic Temple/Facebook)

The Satanic Temple’s Baphomet monument in Detroit. (Credit: The Satanic Temple/Facebook)

Due to planned demonstrations, the group, which is opposed to Bible-themed displays on government land, kept the location of the unveiling of its 9-foot-tall monument secret until the last moment, when it emailed the information to ticket holders.

The Satanic Temple unveiled the one-ton statue at an industrial building near the Detroit River just before 11:30 p.m. local time as supporters cheered, “Hail Satan.” Some of the hundreds in attendance rushed to pose for photos.

The statue of a winged Baphomet with a human body and a goat’s head resembled a design the group previously released.

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Healthcare ‘Oligopoly Wave’ Continues As Anthem Gobbles Cigna

Image from Maryland health care justice march in October 2013. (Photo: United Workers/flickr/cc)

Image from Maryland health care justice march in October 2013. (Photo: United Workers/flickr/cc)

This post originally appeared on Common Dreams. See more of Sarah Lazare’s articles here.

The health insurance giant Anthem announced Friday that it is buying its behemoth rival Cigna for $54.2 billion, launching the largest such merger the country has ever seen and reducing the number of major U.S. insurers to a paltry three.

Analysts and human rights campaigners warn that the move is poised to further slash access to healthcare and hike prices across the country, illustrating the problems with the for-profit model in terms of delivering vital services.

The mega deal comes less than a month after insurance giant Aetna acquired Humana for $37 billion, part of a nationwide push to consolidate in what the Wall Street Journal referred to earlier this year as an “oligopoly wave.”

The Anthem and Cigna merger is expected to be finalized in 2016, after which the joint company will provide coverage for at least 53 million people.… Read the rest

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