Nebs Sez

Jun. 10th, 2012 07:49 pm
nebris: (A Proper General)
"I agree that the dividing line between Steampunk and Dieselpunk is more one of World View than Technology per se, though obviously the latter is The Key Element.

The first decade or so of the 20th Century is really an overlap of the two. Steampunk slowing fading out and Dieselpunk rapidly moving in. But I would go so far as to submit there is a dividing line that is very clear.

Geographically it can be placed at The Latin Bridge in Sarajevo. Temporally it can be placed at around 11am local time on June 28th, 1914. That is of course the time and location of the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie by Gavrilo Princip, the event that sparked the First World War.

In some ways we of the present cannot understand how WWI totally changed the psycho-emotional landscape of Europe. We have grown up in a world where Technological Total War is a 'fact of life', where Area Bombing and Death Camps are simply What Men Do In War. Our collective awareness is steeped in these things.

But WWI created such a profound change as to reach Metaphysical dimensions. Note that Carl Jung thought he was going mad in 1913/14 because he was being tormented by 'apocalyptic nightmares' that suddenly made sense when the war broke out.

The Great War utterly destroyed the somewhat naïve Victorian/Edwardian belief in the unalloyed benefits of Progress and in its aftermath Europeans – and to a lesser extent Americans – split up into the Cynical, the Opportunistic and the Fanatic, all marching on the road toward the greatest Dieselpunk Event in history; the Second World War.

And that War, in which all sides behaved monstrously out of the sheer necessity of survival, is the one shaped our modern world view and therefore created a psycho-cultural distance from the Pre-WWI mindset that is almost unbridgeable.

It does however, as I proposed above, give us a very clear dividing line between the two genres. I firmly believe that any discussion of the relative outlooks of Steampunk and Dieselpunk one must, at the very least, pay attention to which side of the Latin Bridge ones outlook actually originates." ..comment on Steampunk and Dieselpunk: A Comparison – Part 2

Nebs Sez

Nov. 26th, 2011 09:03 pm
nebris: (A Manga Thang)
"The Modern World is an Anglo-European construct. Look at any gathering of world leaders and you'll see that almost all of them, regardless of race and national origin, are wearing Western style business attire. One needs to wear that uniform to be considered Serious. Even the Saudis tend to wear suits in private meetings, basically dismissing their Arabic robes as a 'domestic political necessity'.

Now While folks like to believe that Europe, and especially England, came to dominate the world because of Innate Racial Superiority. Makes even the poorest hillbillies feel better about themselves, and yes, I'll say it; “My life may be shit, but at least I ain't no nigger.” And while they likely see Black folks in their mind when they say that, they really mean any non-White.

The reality that Europeans were for the most part simply lucky in teams of geography and history is beyond the ken of even many educated White people and a fair number of non-Whites as well. That's something that is probably psycho-emotionally impossible to give least not without violence.

The flip side of all of this is that when the shoe is on the other foot, non-White peoples have behaved in the exact same fashion – 'the boot on the neck' - and I'm sure will do so again. Look at Chinese history for example. Or ask the Bantu about the Zulu.

See, we really are all the same under the skin. And it ain't pretty...."

...comment upon What Happens When Class Warriors Ignore Race?
nebris: (Hazmat)
"The appellation "situationist" refers to one who engages in the construction of "situations" or specifically a member of the Situationist International. In adjectival form, the term means relating to the theory or practical activity of constructing "situations." Situationist theorist Guy Debord defines the term "situation" as "a moment of life concretely and deliberately constructed by the collective organization of a unitary ambiance and a game of events." According to Debord, the Situationist International is so named because the construction of situations is the central idea of their theory, a process he describes as "the concrete construction of momentary ambiances of life and their transformation into a superior passional quality." In other words, any method of making one or more individuals critically analyze their everyday life, and to recognize and pursue their true desires in their lives. The experimental direction of situationist activity consists of setting up temporary environments that are favorable to the fulfillment of such desires.

The Situationist International strongly resisted use of the term "Situationism," which Debord called a "meaningless term . . . [t]here is no such thing as situationism, which would mean a doctrine for interpreting existing conditions." Situationists considered themselves highly opposed to all ideology, and the suffix "-ism" would to them improperly classify their body of theory as an ideology. In The Society of the Spectacle, Debord asserted ideology is "the abstract will to universality and the illusion thereof," which is "legitimated in modern society by universal abstraction and by the effective dictatorship of illusion."

The concept of the "situation" may originate in Sartre's concept of a Theatre of Situations. What Sartre calls a situation in a theatrical play, is what breaks the spectator's passivity towards the spectacle." ..from the Situationist International Wiki

~What leaped out at me is the phrase "to recognize and pursue their true desires". The brutal irony here is that mirrors the goal of The Hologram, aka Modern Corporate Marketing Culture. "We must shift America from a needs- to a desires-culture. People must be trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old have been entirely consumed...Man's desires must overshadow his needs." ~Paul Mazer, Lehman Bros ca 1930's

And brings to my mind what I said here; "Liberal Humanism had once been a vital force and had changed human affairs for the better. But it inevitably fell victim to the Cult of The Individual and then fractured into ideological factionalism, individual narcissism and intellectual decadence. Its absolute rejection of Hierarchy doomed it to impotence." Her Prophet Explains: Addendum C [The Individual and The Hive]
nebris: (Hazmat)

‘Biology of Plagues’ published by Cambridge University Press.

For the whole of the 20th Century it was universally believed that bubonic plague (a disease of rodents) was responsible for the plagues that ravaged Europe for over 300 years after the Black Death appeared in 1347.

This is completely contrary to the experience of people of that time who recognised that it was a lethal, infectious disease, spread person-to-person, and they quickly determined an effective quarantine period. This medical view persisted until 1900.

Now, two researchers in the School of Biological Sciences have shown by applying modern concepts of epidemiology, molecular biology and computer modelling to the detailed analysis of historical records, that the causative agent was not a bacterium but a virus with unusual epidemiological characteristics.

This piece of interdisciplinary detective work was undertaken by Dr Susan Scott and Professor Christopher Duncan, and it enabled them to establish the plagues of Europe within a new geographical, historical and demographic framework.

The process by which they reached their conclusions is described in the book ‘Biology of Plagues’ published by Cambridge University Press. The book also contains a warning that it could happen again.

Several authors have drawn attention to the potential dangers of lethal infectious diseases that suddenly emerge, apparently from nowhere, and threaten our civilisation. Examples are HIV, Ebola and the influenza pandemic of 1917-19.

The Black Death arrived in Sicily in 1347 and during the next three years it spread remorselessly northwards, reaching Norway and crossing to England and from there to Scotland, Ireland and probably Iceland and Greenland. The mortality of the pandemic was truly terrible: at least 25 million people (25-75% of the population) are estimated to have died. It presaged the age of plagues during which France was continually ravaged, with several outbreaks in widely separated towns in almost every year. Infected people travelled to England and other parts of continental Europe, bringing irregular and devastating epidemics. The age of plagues in Europe continued for over 300 years until it suddenly and mysteriously (and thankfully) disappeared in 1670.

The Black Death was immediately accepted as an infectious disease, spread person-to-person and the physicians and health authorities of northern Italy led the world in establishing suitable health measures. By the late 14th Century they had already identified a 40-day quarantine period which was strictly maintained throughout Europe for 300 years. A community knew that it was safe if there had been no plague deaths for 40 days. Henry VIII decreed that this time should be reduced, but this decision was speedily reversed when it proved to be completely ineffective.

So, the plague was universally accepted for 650 years as an infectious disease, spread person-to-person until the biology of bubonic plague was brilliantly elucidated at the end of the 19th Century. Bubonic plague is a bacterial disease of rodents with a complex biology involving resistant and non-resistant species and is spread by their fleas. It is endemic in a variety of rodents across vast areas of Asia today. Occasionally it spreads to humans via peridomestic rats causing a potentially lethal disease which is usually treatable with modern medicine. It has been universally believed, contrary to previous opinion, that bubonic plague (Yersinia pestis) was also the infectious agent of the plagues that beset Europe from 1347 to 1670.

In ‘Biology of Plagues’ Dr Scott and Professor Duncan detail the compelling evidence which shows that this view is incorrect. For example, quarantine measures are completely ineffective against bubonic plague and the Brown Rat did not arrive in Europe until 50 years after the plague had disappeared. Indeed, the authors conclude that Yersinia pestis was the most unlikely candidate for the causative agent of this disease.

It was decreed in Elizabethan times that the parish burial registers should designate those who died of the plague and so medical historians have invaluable and unique records of the plagues in England over some 100 years. Scott and Duncan have reconstructed the families in communities where the plague struck and have shown how the infection spread through them. The most interesting fact to emerge with complete consistency is that the time from infection to inevitable death was very long, some 37-38 days. This was made up of a latent period of 10-12 days, which was followed by an infectious period (with no overt symptoms) of 20-22 days, followed by a 5-day period showing symptoms before death. So, a victim had 32 days to travel by foot, horseback or sea, carrying a lethal infection that neither he nor anyone else knew about. The finding confirms the 40-day quarantine period and has been used in computer modelling to explain why a ‘typical’ plague epidemic in England lasted 8-9 months. The authors name it haemorrhagic plague to distinguish it clearly from bubonic plague.

The HIV virus today enters human white blood cells via a molecular entry port on the cell surface termed the CCR5 gene product. A mutation of this gene confers protection against HIV and occurs at high frequency in Europe, but not in Asia or sub-Saharan Africa.

Molecular biologists have determined that this mutation probably appeared about the time of the Black Death and its frequency was then forced up by the pandemic and by the never-ending series of plague epidemics in Europe that followed. A rising proportion of the population slowly became resistant to haemorrhagic plagues in this way.

What then was the causative agent of haemorrhagic plague? After an examination of the symptoms (particularly the haemorrhagic red spots on the chest - (‘God’s tokens’) and the primitive autopsy reports of the dissolution of the internal organs, Scott and Duncan suggest that it may have been a form of filovirus, distantly related to Ebola.

Could haemorrhagic plague emerge again? If it did so, infectious individuals, apparently healthy and not showing any symptoms, would rapidly spread the disease throughout the world by modern transport because of the long incubation period. The mortality would be catastrophic.
nebris: (A Proper General)
In a SPIEGEL interview, Mikhail Gorbachev, 80, discusses the last days of the Soviet Union, his failure to resolve problems with the Communist Party and the ensuing bloodshed he says still troubles him today. He also accuses Vladimir Putin of pulling the country "back into the past.",1518,780526,00.html
nebris: (Default)

~Today is the middle day of the forty second anniversary of the Woodstock Music and Art Festival, August 15th through 17th, 1969. This marks the moment when the true and complete version of Modern Corporate Marketing Culture was truly born. Before Woodstock, there were still some socio-cultural restraints, basically of the Rock and Roll Is The Devil's Music variety. But after Woodstock, after hemming and hawing for two decades, Corporate America finally and fully realized the vast sums of money to be made from the so-called Youth Culture.

The other element was the advance of Mass Communications Technology. This had be underway for a while, vis radio, movies and television. But by the late 60's the level of development was accelerating exponentially. All that was needed was a marriage of the two to truly begin the construction of what has become The Hologram, the seamless 24/7/365 Media Juggernaut that now consumes all our waking hours.

I'm old enough to remember when television stations actually signed off around one or two in the morning and didn't come back on until six or seven. Such a thing is almost unthinkable at this point. And if you're reading this, there is no need to expound upon the ubiquity of The Internet.

The Hologram was born in the sea of mud around Max Yasgur's farm and it has now grown to engulf us all, hence the image above, which yields the title of this post: *"in this sign you will conquer"

And no, I didn't got to Woodstock. I knew it would be full of Hippies and I fucking hated Hippies. I thought they were full of shit. I was right, too. Most of them became Yuppies and Yuppies are fucking evil. They made Consumerist Consumption 'hip'. And now The Corporate State is fucking them in the ass.
nebris: (Away Team)
"I always favoured terraforming Mars. But, after 20 years of world travel, I now think we should terraform Atlanta first." ~Warren Ellis
nebris: (Away Team)

~The prediction is spot on, but the details are both primitive and parochial. That is something that I am personally concerned about in my own work, that I get the overview right, but am so wrong on the details that it looks ridiculous in retrospect. That William Gibson admits totally overlooking cellphones in Neuromancer therefore gives me some cold comfort.

Trivia Note: The woman in the video is Marj Dusay; a few years later she stole Spock's brain.
nebris: (Not A Pipe)
nebris: (A Proper General)
"[A] war begun for no wise purpose, carried on with a strange mixture of rashness and timidity, brought to a close after suffering and disaster, without much glory attached either to the government which directed, or the great body of troops which waged it. Not one benefit, political or military, was acquired with this war. Our eventual evacuation of the country resembled the retreat of an army defeated” ~Rev G.H. Gleig, British army chaplain, in his memoir of the First Anglo-Afghan War, 1843
nebris: (Not A Pipe)
...For a long time, it was a city bright with prospect, bustling with commerce, bubbling with the laughter of prosperity. Sure, even at its heights, the town was never as sleepless as New York, flavorful as San Francisco, or sultry as New Orleans. But Gary was still a place apparently built on a sturdy foundation, reinforced by the seemingly never-ending need for steel...

Exploring the Ruins of Gary, Indiana


nebris: (Default)
The Divine Mr. M

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