As someone who’s eschewed current events for history the last few years, I’m a little behind on things. This history of Islamist terrorism and ISIS (now “IS”) went a long way towards catching me up.
I’m not a devotee of the Western Hermetic tradition of “Magick,” Thelema, OTO, A∴A, Crowley, Kabbalah, etc. It’s more like homework: a prolonged, generally-tiresome research project I’m obliged to engage-in from time-to-time as part of a long-term, wholly ill-advised fiction-writing project.
Anyway, I am a big fan of Grant Morrison’s work, particularly The Invisibles. I found this gem after a few hours of skimming a particularly insane and disagreeable vein of YouTube gibberish. It was of no practical value as regards my project, but it was wonderful. Morrison’s an intelligent, accomplished, unpretentious guy, and here he shares some interesting personal experiences and well-considered thoughts on reality, etc.
So, random fun facts to take-away from this:
- Each 1°C rise in mean global temperature = a 10% reduction in grain production.
- If mean global temperature rises about 10°C, most of the green stuff will be growing at latitudes of mid-Canada and higher.
Dan Carlin sometimes references this in his Hardcore History podcast – it’s a great overview of warfare, from ancient times to the present. Explains things such as why chariots fell by the wayside (selective breeding finally produced horses with backs strong enough to carry a man) as well as why they were developed in the first place (ie. the abilities of cavalry and the roles it can play on the battlefield). However, the book’s overarching theme is that the destructive capability of human technology has reached the asymptote of existential threat: mankind must abandon the custom of war or go extinct.
Random out-of-season post: as of midyear 2016, there have been 7 deaths and 98 injuries attributable to “Black Friday” (see BlackFridayDeathCount.com). This has always blown my mind – there are some soul-crushing videos on YouTube. While the numbers may be numerically insignificant, to me this statistic is the ugliest condemnation of our society imaginable. By contrast, 38,300 died on US roads in 2015, but I get that: various geographical, historical, and cultural factors have led to us having the most commuter-hours in the world, and some fatalities are sadly inevitable. The future’s going to solve that problem: self-driving cars, better safety technology, medical advances, whatever. But when you have even the occasional person being trampled to death by consumers fighting to save $30 on the lowest-end television at Wal-Mart as part of a yearly marketing event revolving around what most Americans believe is the anniversary of the birth of their most sacred religious figure… well it should go without saying, that’s pretty fucked-up.
Someone special left us today.
This is a few years old but just found it on reddit. It’s incredible to watch a troop of gorillas simply moving along, doing their thing – they’re so intelligent, it’s spooky. Or at least it feels that way because we’re so used to thinking of all “animals” as dumb beasts. Truth is, we’re animals too. A majority of Americans don’t agree with that, of course, and more’s the pity: they’ll never understand any of Devo’s lyrics.
This conversation’s a little stilted, but it makes a great case for decreasing incarceration of non-violent criminals. America has the highest percentage of its population in jail of any country in the world, and ex-convicts are basically unemployable and often revert to crime to make a living.
Meet Michael Ruppert, a different kind of American. A former Los Angeles police officer turned independent reporter, he predicted the current financial crisis in his self-published newsletter. From the Wilderness, at a time when most Wall Street and Washington analysts were still in denial. Director Chris Smith has shown an affinity for outsiders in films like American Movie and The Yes Men. In Collapse, he departs stylistically from his past documentaries by interviewing Ruppert in a format that recalls the work of Errol Morris and Spalding Gray.
Sitting in a room that looks like a bunker, Ruppert recounts his career as a radical thinker and spells out the crises he sees ahead. He draws upon the same news reports and data available to any Internet user, but he applies a unique interpretation. He is especially passionate about the issue of “peak oil,” the concern raised by scientists since the seventies that the world will eventually run out of fossil fuel. – Link