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Cassandra is Dead. Long Live Cassandra!

Cassandra is Dead. Long Live Cassandra!

After the fall of Troy, Cassandra was taken as Agamemnon’s “pallake” (concubine) and taken to Mycenae where she was killed by Clytemnestra, Agamemnon’s wife. The destiny of prophetesses is never so bright, especially when they turn out to have been right. Something similar, although fortunately much less tragic, is happening to the Cassandra blog, censored on Facebook by the powers that be. So, I guess it is time to call it quits. But Cassandra is not dead! She will return in some form.

On March 2, 2011, I started the blog that I titled “Cassandra’s Legacy.” 10 years later, the blog had accumulated 974 posts, 332 followers, and more than 5 million visualizations (5289.929). Recently, the blog had stabilized at around 2,000-3,000 views per day.

A small blog, by all means, but I always had the sensation that it was not without an impact on the nebulous constellation of the people, high up, whom we call “the powers that be.” It is a story that reminds me the legend that George W. Bush decided to invade Iraq in 2003 after he had learned about peak oil. Reasonably, it can’t be but a legend, but are we sure? After all, the people who take decision are not smarter than us, just way richer. And they can misunderstand things just like we all do. Of course, their blunders make much more noise.  

And so, it may well be that many things that we are seeing around us have a logic. For sure, a certain kind of message cannot be eliminated simply by ignoring it anymore. It has to be actively suppressed. And that seems to be what’s happening, with censorship rampant in the social media…

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Censorship: How the West is becoming more and more like the old Soviet Union

Censorship: How the West is becoming more and more like the old Soviet Union

A message I received from Facebook on Jan 29, 2021. Five of my posts were deemed “spam” and erased. Some were somewhat “political” although non-partisan, but two were purely technical. That these posts were erased is an indication that censorship is by now applied to all forms of dissent, not just political ones. It was not unexpected, but it was still somewhat shocking after decades of propaganda that had convinced most of us that the Western world was a place where you could enjoy “freedom of expression.” But we are quickly moving toward a Soviet-style management of public information, as Dmitry Orlov noted already in 2013. It had to happen and it did.

Last year, a Spanish climatologist, a friend of mine, had one of his posts censored by Facebook. Apparently, it was because it was deemed as too “catastrophistic” (or for whatever reason had caused the opaque fact-checkers of Facebook to erase it). He protested and he also tried to convince other climatologists to start a boycott of Facebook.

The answer was a little disappointing, to say the least. It may be best described as a resounding worldwide “meh.” Those climatologists who bothered to reply to him expressed the concept that, yes, censorship is bad, but, you know, you can’t allow deniers to diffuse their fake science around.

It was on this occasion that I discovered that most people like censorship. It is just that it should be applied to those they disagree with. In that case, they actually love it and protest because Facebook doesn’t censor enough (you can read that, for instance, here).

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Donald Trump: The Sacrifice of the Sacred King

Donald Trump: The Sacrifice of the Sacred King


“In antiquity this sylvan landscape was the scene of a strange and recurring tragedy. On the northern shore of the lake, right under the precipitous cliffs on which the modern village of Nemi is perched, stood the sacred grove and sanctuary of Diana Nemorensis, or Diana of the Wood. ..  In this sacred grove there grew a certain tree round which at any time of the day, and probably far into the night, a grim figure might be seen to prowl. In his hand he carried a drawn sword, and he kept peering warily about him as if at every instant he expected to be set upon by an enemy. He was a priest and a murderer; and the man for whom he looked was sooner or later to murder him and hold the priesthood in his stead. Such was the rule of the sanctuary. A candidate for the priesthood could only succeed to office by slaying the priest, and having slain him, he retained office till he was himself slain by a stronger or a craftier.”
-From “The Golden Bough” – by James G. Frazer

You once asked, what was the meaning of Trump, it crossed my mind that without anybody’s planning or intentions, Trump became an immense collective scapegoating ritual where all the sins and impurities of the tribe are placed upon the king, who is then ceremonially driven out to purify the tribe. Since the 1960s this seems to have increasingly become the function of the American Presidency superseding its previous role which it has held since the days of George Washington, that of a near omnipotent God-Emperor who incarnates American collective power. It’s certainly corresponds to the sacred geometry of Washington DC, enclosed by its pomerium, the sacred regalias on display, the Temples to the Divine Emperors, the Axis Mundi rising through the centre of the Capitol’s rotunda…

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The Ghost Shirt Rituals: Preparing for the End of the World

The Ghost Shirt Rituals: Preparing for the End of the World

 

Ishi, (c. 1861 –  1916), the last member of the Native American Yahi people, photographed as he was in 1911 when he came out of the woods in California. How did the Yahi react when they saw that the Whites were going to exterminate them? Perhaps not differently from the way we are reacting to the prospect of the collapse of our civilization: going crazy. The overreaction to the current Covid pandemic is just the first stage of the wave of madness that’s engulfing humankind.

Imagine you are a Native American living before the arrival of the Whites. Maybe you are a Lakota, hunter of the central plains. Or maybe a Yahi, living in the thick forests of California. Or a member of any of the many Native American nations that existed back then. 

As a Native American, you have your family, your friends, your day-to-day routine of things and tasks. And you are busy with that, except for one thing: you know that there is a big problem. A VERY big problem. There is an entire nation, out there, bent on exterminating you and your people: the Whites. 

At first, you try to ignore the problem: those Whites are far away. Or maybe you’ll deny that they are coming, or that they are so many as they are said to be. But, at some moment, the truth cannot be anymore ignored or denied. The Whites are there. They are coming for you, for your family, your children, your friends, your people. And you know that there is really no way to stop them. So, what do you do?

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Eco-fascism and Overpopulation

Eco-fascism and Overpopulation

Eco-fascist” is the usual insult directed at anyone who dares to mention overpopulation. This is funny to me because, as far as I know, fascists are usually concerned with denatality, race purity and similar morbid fantasies, but not with overpopulation who is just about the number of persons and not about skin color and so on.

Here, I will not go back over the purely demographic aspects of the issue to which several posts have already been devoted (on “Effetto Cassandra” and on “Apocalottimismo“, both in Italian).  Instead, I would like to talk about this singular cultural taboo, characteristic (though not exclusive) of industrial civilization.

To begin with.

To understand what we are talking about, let us consider that today there are almost 8 billion of us with a growth rate of about 80 million per year, it means 220,000 per day, over 9000 per hour, 75 per second.  This means an estimated human mass of about 400 million tons.  The world’s average human population density is 55 people per square kilometer (excluding Antarctica), which means a square of not much over one hundred steps per side per head.  In Italy we are about 200 per square kilometer, which means half a hectare per person, but if we consider only the agricultural surface the square becomes only 40 steps per side (about 2000 square meters).

However, the number of people is only one of the factors involved because we use livestock, fields, industrial structures, buildings and much more to live.  All in all, the ‘anthroposphere’ (i.e. us with all the trappings) weighs about 40 trillion tons, which is something like 4,000 tons of concrete, metal, plastic, plants, livestock and so on for each of us. On average and very roughly.

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The Hydrogen-Based Economy: Is it Enough to Paint Something Blue to Make it Green?

The Hydrogen-Based Economy: Is it Enough to Paint Something Blue to Make it Green?

A hopeful image for a hopeful article by Bertrand Piccard. “Blue Hydrogen” seems to be popular, nowadays. But is it enough to paint something blue to make it green? It turns out that “green” hydrogen, assuming it exists, is too expensive for what we need to do now in order to move away from fossil fuels and stabilize Earth’s climate.

Hydrogen has come a long way since the time when it was discovered by Henry Cavendish as a component of the water molecule in the 1700s and then given its name of “creator of water” by Henry Lavoisier in 1783. It was later discovered that hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe and the main component of stars.

Using hydrogen as a fuel is an old idea. It was, again, Cavendish who discovered that it can burn. The idea that hydrogen could be cycled as an energy storage medium is probably as old as the “fuel cell,” developed by William Grove in the early 1800s. In the 1950s and 1960s, the dream of “energy too cheap to meter” associated with nuclear technologies made it possible to think of hydrogen as an energy vector able to carry energy to the points of use, even vehicles, from a limited number of large nuclear plants. The first explicit mention of the concept of “hydrogen economy” was made by John Bockris in 1970. The nuclear promise never materialized, but the concept of the hydrogen economy was later linked to renewable energy.

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The Great Reset: The Western Path to Dekulakization

The Great Reset: The Western Path to Dekulakization

 

One of the Soviet propaganda posters promoting the collectivization of agriculture in the 1930s. On the lower right, you can see a small man opposing the line of the marching peasants, He is recognizable as a “Kulak,” one of the local independent farmers who were dispossessed and partly exterminated to leave space for collectivized farms, considered more efficient. There exist several similarities between the fall of the Kulaki and the current “Great Reset” that sees the destruction of a number of economic activities, such as retail commerce, seen as inefficient in comparison to modern electronic commerce.

In the 1930s, the Soviet Union carried out the “dekulakization (раскулачивание) of Ukraine. It was the term given to the removal of the relatively wealthy, independent farmers (“kulaki“), to be replaced by collective farms. Their properties were confiscated, many of them were relocated to remote regions, and some were exterminated. We don’t know the exact numbers, but surely we are in the range of a few million people. The transition to collectivized farms may have been one of the causes of the great Ukrainian famine of the early 1930s, known as the “Holodomor,”

The reasons for the dekulakization are several. In part, they were related to the belief that large-scale, centrally planned enterprises were the most efficient way to organize production. Then, the Kulaki were seen as a potential enemy for the Soviet Government, while the region they occupied was a strategic asset in terms of food production in an age when famines were an effective war weapon.

But these considerations are not enough to explain why the Kulaki were so ruthlessly destroyed in just a few years. It was, rather, just a simple power game: the Soviet Government aimed at controlling all the means of production of the state. It couldn’t tolerate that an important section of the economy, food production in Ukraine, was independently managed. And so it intervened with all the might it could muster.

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The Deification of Emperor Trump: Following Caligula’s Path

The Deification of Emperor Trump: Following Caligula’s Path

Jake Angeli, high priest of the growing cult of Emperor Donald Trump, dressed as the horned God Cernunnos. The deification of Emperor Trump in Washington, yesterday, didn’t go so well, but we are moving along a path that the Romans already followed during the decline of their empire, including the deification of emperors, starting with Caligula. So, comparing Roman history to our current conditions may tell us something about the future.

I already speculated on what kind of Roman Emperor Donald Trump could have been and I concluded that he might have been the equivalent of Hadrian. The comparison turned out to be not very appropriate. Clearly, Trump was no Hadrian (a successful emperor, by all means). But, after four years, and after the recent events in Washington, I think Trump may be seen as a reasonably good equivalent of Caligula, or Gaius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, who also reigned for 4 years, from 37 to 41 AD.

Caligula was the prototypical mad emperor — you probably heard that he nominated his horse consul. And he was not just mad, he was said to be a cruel, homicidal psychopath, and a sexual pervert to boot. In addition, he tried to present himself as a living god and pretended to be worshipped. He even claimed to have waged a war against the Sea God Poseidon, and having won it!

But, really, we know little about Caligula’s reign, and most of it from people who had plenty of reasons to slander his memory, including our old friend Lucius Annaeus Seneca (he of the “Seneca Effect“) who was a contemporary of Caligula and who seriously risked being killed by him. The Romans knew and practiced the same rules of propaganda we use today. And one typical way to slander an emperor was to accuse him to be a sexual pervert.

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The Hydrogen Hoax: Confessions of a Former Hydrogenist

The Hydrogen Hoax: Confessions of a Former Hydrogenist

The “hydrogen economy” is like a zombie: no matter how many times it is slain, it keeps coming at you. Like a Hollywood zombie movie, hydrogen seems to exert a tremendous fascination because it is being sold to people as a way to keep doing everything we have been doing without any need for sacrifices or for changing our ways. Unfortunately, reality is not a movie, and the reverse is also true. Hydrogen is a pie in the sky that delays the real innovation that would make it possible to phase out fossil fuels from the world’s energy mix.  (image source)

This is a re-worked and updated version of a post that I published in 2007, in Italian, during one more of the periodic returns of the “hydrogen economy,” a fashionable idea that leads nowhere. For more technical information on the hydrogen scam, see the exhaustive treatment by Antonio Turiel in three posts on his blog “Crash Oil”, in Spanish, “The Hydrogen Fever” Onetwo, and Three, all written by “Beamspot.”

Confessions of a Former Hydrogenist

I think it was in 2004 when an Italian company based in Tuscany developed a hydrogen car and organized a presentation for the president of the Tuscan regional government. I was invited to attend the demonstration as the local fuel cell expert.

So, I showed up in the courtyard of the Tuscan government building where a truck had unloaded the car. It turned out to be a modified Fiat Multipla that you may know as having been awarded the 2014 prize for the ugliest car ever made. Of course, the ugliness of the car was not a problem, but the whole idea was. It was not a fuel cell car, but simply an ordinary car fitted with two compressed hydrogen cylinders under the body. The hydrogen went directly to the carburetor to operate the internal combustion engine.  

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The Fall of the Citadels of Science: the Pandemic and the End of Universities

The Fall of the Citadels of Science: the Pandemic and the End of Universities

Far from being ivory towers, nowadays universities look more and more like battered citadels besieged by armies of Orcs. The Covid-19 pandemic may have given the final blow to a structure that was falling anyway. (image credit “crossbow and catapults“)

A couple of weeks ago, I saw the end of the University as I knew it. It was when I saw a line of students standing in the main hall of our department. All of them were masked, all of them had to stand on one of the marks drawn on the floor — at exactly 1 meter of distance from each other. A teaching assistant was watching them carefully, least they would stray away from their assigned position. The only thing that was missing was iron chains and balls and the students singing the cadence gang march.That was not the only humiliation imposed on our students because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Of course, it is all done with the best of intentions, but it is a heavy burden. Students can’t get close to each other, they have to reserve in advance a seat if they want to attend a class, when they enter a building they have to show their ID and to stand in front of a camera that records their face and takes their body temperature. The diabolical machine can also check if they are wearing their masks right and will refuse to open the door if they don’t. Then, of course, the university personnel is supposed to check that the rules are respected and to report those students who don’t respect them. Symmetrically, I suppose the students are expected to report a teacher who doesn’t comply with the rules.

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The Unbearable Lightness of Blogging: How to Save Your Posts from Catastrophe.

The Unbearable Lightness of Blogging: How to Save Your Posts from Catastrophe.

 Sumerian clay tablet with the text of the poem Inanna and Ebih by the priestess Enheduanna, Writing in cuneiform characters on clay tablets is a little laborious, but it ensures that your text is not vulnerable to accidental erasure: these tablets have survived for more than 5000 years. It is hard to think that the posts of our blogs will survive for so long. But, at least, we should try to protect them from accidental loss or direct attacks. Image from Wikipedia.

I don’t know if it ever happened to you, but a few days ago I lost two post drafts in a rowthe same day. Then I discovered something that I should have known: that Google’s Blogger gives you zero chances to recover your text when you erase it by mistake. No way, impossible, I could have thrown those drafts into a black hole.

No tragedy, but a few hours of work wasted. And that set my mind in motion: why is it that Google, the world’s most powerful Internet company, can’t provide even a minimal file recovery facility in their blogging platform? Call me paranoid, but I think they had something in mind when they structured Blogger the way it is. That is, prone to data loss. Just think of a few characteristics of the shiny new version of Blogger: there is no way to make an automatic backup. There is no trash can from which you can recover erased data. There is no way to disable the automatic saving that operates every two seconds or so, and that virtually guarantees that any mistake you make can’t be reversed. I can’t believe that these are bugs: they have to be features.

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The Drones are Coming! The Drones are Coming! The Twilight of the Global Empire?

The Drones are Coming! The Drones are Coming! The Twilight of the Global Empire?

This clip looks like a videogame, but it is not (caution, disturbing images). You are seeing Azeri drones destroying Armenian military units during the recent war in Nagorno-Karabakh. Is this the harbinger of the collapse of the Global Empire?

Many things have been happening in 2020 that will reverberate for many years in the future. While the West is busy with its “great reset,” a small war was fought in a region of the world that you probably had never heard about before: the Nagorno-Karabakh. There, the army of Azerbaijan soundly defeated the Armenian army.

What made this campaign peculiar is that it was the first time in history that a military confrontation was decided by drones. After that the Azeris (the people of Azerbaijan) had gained control of the sky, their drones could pick the Armenian military units one by one and destroy them at ease. There are video clips all over the Web showing vehicles and other installations being destroyed, and people being shredded to pieces and tossed around like ragdolls.

No surprise: the writing was on the rotor blades. Already in 2012, I had started thinking about the consequences of the development of military robots in a chapter that I wrote for Jorgen Randers’ “2052” book. I returned to the subject in 2019, noting how cheap drones would change the rules of war because they could be managed by small organizations, possibly by private military contractors.

We don’t know exactly who managed the drones used by the Azerbaijan forces, but we know that they were made in Turkey, not a major player in the world’s power game. Azerbaijan, then, could afford to deploy a number of drones sufficient to overwhelm the Armenian forces even though it is a small country with a GDP of just about 44 billion dollars per year.

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War and Censorship — Difficult Times in Italy

War and Censorship — Difficult Times in Italy

A post by Miguel Martinez, originally published in Italian on his blog on  Italy was the first European country to be struck by the COVID-19 pandemic and the first to implement a national lockdown. At that time, Italians would display the flag on their balconies and sing aloud in a show of national unity. That time is past and gone. 

The media gives the alarm: news of danger and a call to arms, together. When the message is inseparable from mobilization, it becomes propaganda. Since “propaganda” today has a bad name, let us immediately specify: propaganda can say absolutely true things and defend right causes, but it remains always propaganda.

The state of mobilization puts an end to disputes: in war, everyone must be in solidarity around a human figure, the leader, able to embody all passions.

Young people run to enlist volunteers. Fear, excitement, optimism. It’s Gonna Be Okay!

We grit our teeth, citizens cleanse themselves gel and unmask the traitors, actually mask them – but we will win soon!

People who, until the night before were ready to file a complaint because they were not served the cocktail they had requested, or because the plane left five minutes late, meekly lock themselves in their homes, place the tricolor flag out of the window, and prepares to see the enemy fall to the ground.

Above: “I stay home — checkmate to the coronavirus”
The first deaths are celebrated: both as innocent victims of the wickedness of the enemy, and as brave fighters.
“A nurse dies of coronavirus refuses to see her husband for the last time and saves his life”
But there are also the first victories, a united people, let’s open the windows, it’s spring!

Our leader is leading us to triumph and we will dance in Sardinia all summer!

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The pandemic as the end of consumerism. Everything that’s happening is happening because it had to happen

The pandemic as the end of consumerism. Everything that’s happening is happening because it had to happen

 These Medieval ladies look like fashion models. With their splendid dresses in silk brocade, they are displaying their wealth in an age, the 14th century, in which Europe was enjoying a period of economic growth and prosperity. They couldn’t have imagined that, one century later, Europe would plunge into the terrible age of witch hunts that would put women back to their place of child-making tools. It is the way history works, it never plans, it always reacts, sometimes ruthlessly. And all that happens had a reason to happen (above, miniature by Giovanni da Como, ca.1380)

Can you tell me of at least one case in history where a society perceived a serious threat looming in the future and took action on it on the basis of data and rational arguments? With the best of goodwill, I can’t. Societies react to threats using a primeval stimulus-reaction that may be aggressive or defensive, but that’s almost never rational.

Curiously, our society, that we call sometimes “The West,” was the first in history to have a chance to do something rational to avoid the destiny awaiting it much before the threat was clearly visible. It was in 1972 when the newly developed digital computers were coupled with a powerful analytical tool, “system dynamics.” The result was the study called “The Limits to Growth” that foresaw how the gradual depletion of natural resources coupled with increasing pollution (that today we call “climate change”) would cause the whole Western economic system to collapse at some moment during the first half of the 21st century. The study also suggested rational solutions to avoid collapse: reduce consumption, stop population growth, manage pollution, and the like.

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Time for a new Witch Hunt? The pandemic could change more things than you would have expected.

Time for a new Witch Hunt? The pandemic could change more things than you would have expected.


A detail of Benvenuto Cellini’s “Perseus and Medusa,” a statuary group created in 1554 and presently in Florence, Italy. It is considered a work of art, but it is also remarkable for the detailed depiction of an extremely violent act: the beheading of Medusa, shown as a young woman in the group. It is rarely noted that this piece was created in the midst of the rise of a wave of violence against women in Europe, exterminated as witches. Clearly, Cellini’s scene is influenced by this trend, even though witches were normally burned at the stake rather than beheaded. (but that had a tradition, too!) 

Which historical period saw the largest number of witch hunts? If you answered “the Middle Ages,” you were wrong. Surprised? Don’t we all know that the Middle Ages, were the “Dark Ages,” a time of barbarism and superstition, surely it was at that time that witches were hunted and burned. Who didn’t see the “Burn the Witch” clip by the Monthy Python? It takes place in a typical medievalish setting.But, no. Burning witches is NOT a medieval thing. Look at the data. Trials and executions for witchcraft picked up well after that the Middle Ages were officially over, at some moment around the end of the 15th century.

At the highest moment of this homicidal frenzy, about 2500 people per year were burned in Europe for a total estimated as about 50,000-100,000. Not a very large number in comparison to the population of the time, but a significant number, nevertheless.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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