Archive for Uncategorized

‘Thought Forms: A Record of Clairvoyant Investigation’ and the hidden history of modern art

by David Solomonoff

Fascinating connections between 20th Century Modernism and the occult.

Wassily Kandinsky is widely viewed as one of the most important founders of abstraction, and his manifesto “On the Spiritual in Art” is mandatory reading in art school.

What was never mentioned to us in school however, was that Kandinsky was a member of the Theosophical Society, and had acquired a copy of their book Thought Forms a few years before he abandoned conventional ways of painting.

Source: ‘Thought Forms: A Record of Clairvoyant Investigation’ and the hidden history of modern art | Dangerous Minds

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Giant Viruses Can Change Their Hosts’ DNA

by David Solomonoff

A collage of photographs of algae

This ability of one type of organism to merge and modify another – including humans – is both fascinating and unnerving.

An enigmatic group of microbes seems to have an unusual new ability.

Giant viruses, a group discovered only in 2003, are mysteriously large and complex, seemingly between bacteria and the tiny, simple viruses of classical biology.

Giant viruses don’t just kill their hosts. In some cases, according to a recent study, they can keep their hosts alive and become part of them.

A group of viruses called retroviruses, for example, integrated into the genomes of human ancestors long ago, and its genes are now used to create the placenta during pregnancy.

Source: Giant Viruses Can Change Their Hosts’ DNA – The Atlantic

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Google, Alphabet employees seek to form a union

by David Solomonoff

The myths that companies that developed info tech had a fundamentally different business model to which anti-trust enforcement shouldn’t apply, and that “knowledge workers” didn’t need the protection of organized labor because they were more akin to artists than laborers are fading quickly.

Concerns about outsourcing to overseas sweatshops and the importing lower-paid workers are also behind the push for greater social responsibility.

A group of more than 200 Google and Alphabet workers have announced their efforts to form a union. With the help of Communication Workers of America Union’s Campaign to Organize Digital Employees (CODE-CWA), the Alphabet Workers Union seeks to be open to both employees and contractors.

“You have an industry of workers — the new generation of workers and the industry, especially tech and games, has been growing exponentially with young people,” CODE-CWA union organizer Wes McEnany previously told TechCrunch about why we’re seeing more tech companies organize. “Some of them make a lot of money and are working at companies that do really bad things.

Source: Google, Alphabet employees seek to form a union | TechCrunch

Related: China has built more than 100 new facilities in Xinjiang where it can not only lock people up, but also force them to work in dedicated factory buildings right on site, BuzzFeed News can reveal based on government records, interviews, and hundreds of satellite images.

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Blackbox problem with AI was just the beginning, now new “Revolutionary” NLP Model GPT-3 moves from open source to closed; Will make AI broadly accessible at the expense of transparency.

by David Solomonoff

Hidden biases are a major problem with machine learning and AI. It’s significant that the move to hide the inner working of this technology comes shortly after Timnit Gebru, a well-known artificial intelligence researcher at Google, well known for her work on the race and gender bias of facial recognition systems, was fired.

As AI is used more and more mission critical applications, including legal and financial decisions, infrastructure management and the use of deadly force in law enforcement and military, we will need more transparency , not less.

Countless are the use cases that revolutionary AI model GPT-3, which uses deep learning to produce human-like text, can power. But, while it has potential for generative value, it is set to reshape both the dynamics of the AI world and the SaaS startup space because of its very own business model.

OpenAI provides the ready-made model as a commercial product in the form of a “text in, text out” interface. As such, GPT-3 resets the rules of the AI model game because it does not give away its code but merely offers an easy-to-use application programming interface (API) on a commercial basis, allowing developers to tap into the GPT-3 power while not giving away a peak into its inner workings.

Source: Revolutionary NLP Model GPT-3 Poised To Redefine AI And Next Generation Of Startups

Related: AI Is Evolving in a Way That Could Be Hard to Stop; AI is capable of self-reproduction—should humans be worried? “One of the great dangers is that what we will end up doing is creating artificial life, allowing systems of selective pressures to act on it and finding that we have been evolving computer programs that we may have no easy ability to terminate, even if they’re not fully intelligent.”

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COVID-19 bill includes 180-day deadline for UFO report; Doesn’t bother with real questions

by David Solomonoff

I’ve been in a “deer in the headlight” mode, with writer’s block preventing me from posting on the block or social media for a while. Civil liberties restrictions resulting from the Covid-19 lockdown, questions about fraud in the recent U.S. Presidential elections, riots, growing tendencies towards totalitarianism on a global scale, have all have distracted me from the real stories which are probably something else altogether.

So news that the Intelligence Authorization Act for fiscal year 2021 has in it language on UFOs and a request from the Senate Intelligence Committee to the Director of National Intelligence that a report be produced about the phenomenon within 180 days, caught my eye.

On a personal and more amusing front, an early, very rough draft of his post was posted by accident and so I took it down, leading to a “No page found” page on this blog, which may have acted to fuel paranoia on the part of those who already conspiracy minded.

It will take a bit longer to put my thoughts together on the fascinating topic of UFOs, so this post will be a place holder for a longer piece – or several – on the subject.

In a nutshell, the phenomenon is quite real, but much much stranger and more complex than the way it’s usually presented. While governments may have information that they are hiding, the real secret – concealed because it is so threatening to their authority – is that it is real, but still deliberately elusive, assuming many contradictory forms by intention.

Humans often interact with highly intelligent creatures whose consciousness is radically different – just talking about well-known terrestrial creatures – and who may wish to hide or obscure their presence and intentions. The prospect of intelligent entities of more distant origin, radically different psychology and metabolism intruding into own awareness probably has more to do with our awareness expanding than it does with the entities themselves.

Sources I’ve found most useful include this brilliant research paper by Jacques Vallee: Towards Multi-disciplinary SETI Research and research by Jose Caravaca that is taking a new direction. Coverage of declassified material by the Black Vault has also been illuminating.

Sources: COVID-19 bill includes 180-day deadline for a UFO report – Sara A. Carter : Sara A. Carter

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The Great Covid Class War

by David Solomonoff

Brilliant analysis by Alex Gutentag at The Bellows …

Pandemic created perfect pretext for enacting economically destructive policies.

Static social order being solidified; In our new caste system wealthy have political and social privileges because considered clean and disease-free, while the more low-income someone is, the more they are treated as contaminated.

Lockdown fanatics have helped manufacture consent for brutal reorganization of labor that will plunge millions of people into serfdom. Work-from-home lifestyle only possible through the labor of logistics workers who transport, sort, and deliver goods.

Source: The Great Covid Class War – The Bellows

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Russian artist’s self-portraits undergo surreal transformations

by David Solomonoff

Self-taught Russian artist Aleksandra Chertulova’s self-portraits are altered with surreal transformations on her Instagram page

via Russia Beyond

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Experimental Psi: Recent Innovations

by David Solomonoff

Parapsychologists have been developing new methods of testing for psi, including double-slit optical systems, mobile apps and mass online testing.

While positive results were small, they were statistically very significant, demonstrating the phenomena are real. The ability to do large-scale tests with many participants via the Internet may prove to be a game-changer.

Source: Experimental Psi: Recent Innovations | Psi Encyclopedia

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Transhumanism Comes to the Battlefield with Bionic Warriors As Political Tensions Rise

by David Solomonoff

France gets go-ahead to develop bionic soldiers; Research to include implants to boost soldiers’ ‘cerebral capacity’

“Augmented” soldiers closer to reality in France after country’s military ethics committee gave go-ahead for research into new enhancing tech, said “imperative not to inhibit research into the enhanced soldier”.

Potential areas include implants to increase soldiers’ “cerebral capacity”, to make them immune to stress, improve mental resilience in event they were captured; Without enabling research into technologies such as these, French armed forces would be at disadvantage compared to other countries’ militaries.

China has done human testing to create biologically enhanced super soldiers

U.S. intel shows China conducted “human testing” on People’s Liberation Army in hope of developing soldiers with “biologically enhanced capabilities.”

Last year, two American scholars wrote a paper examining China’s ambitions to apply biotech to battlefield, including signs China interested in using gene-editing technology to enhance human — and perhaps soldier — performance. [Interestingly, paper written in 2019 mentions germ warfare prior to Covid-19 pandemic]

Scholars explored Chinese research using gene-editing tool CRISPR, “Clusters of regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats.” CRISPR used to treat genetic diseases and modify plants, but Western scientists consider unethical to manipulate genes to boost performance of healthy people.

Gene-editing, Moderna, and transhumanism

Transhumanism is a futurist philosophy aimed at transforming the human species by means of biotech, see disease, aging, death as undesirable and unnecessary, aim to transform human beings into post-human species with greater capacities than those of present human beings.

If successful, scientists hope DNA vaccines could be a “transformative” treatment for heart disease, metabolic and genetic diseases, kidney failure and even cancer. Moreover, it could be an effective form of biodefense to protect the population against biological warfare, which is also the mandate for DARPA (U.S. Defense Advanced Research Project Agency) and BARDA (Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority).

Transhumanism and hybrids

Indeed, DARPA is also developing other forms of human enhancement in addition to gene editing.  Already scientists are merging robotics with the human body in brain-to-computer interface (BCI), wherein individuals with physical injuries can regain functions, soldiers become smarter and more powerful through fusing of brain with machines.

Short-Term Superhuman: If We Create Augmented Soldiers, Can We Turn Them Back? How the need to reverse the effects on augmented soldiers might drive the future of military tech.

Latest research at DARPA, Next-Generation Nonsurgical Neurotechnology (N3) program, focused on one key part of augmenting soldiers: making sure the effects can be reversed.

Creating seamless interface between human and machine invokes images of brain implants and cutting-edge prosthetics. Webpage of DARPA’s program notes that “most effective, state-of-the-art neural interfaces require surgery to implant electrodes into the brain.” The N3 program, however, falls in line with the current trend in U.S. military research: Figuring out ways temporary, non-invasive ways to enhance soldiers.

Last year, three Canadian defense researchers published a paper that explored the intersection of human enhancement and ethics.

They note that “many soldier resilience human enhancement technologies raised health and safety questions.” These problems would ease when an enhancement is temporary: A soldier can train to use an exoskeleton and a temporary chemical boost wouldn’t carry into civilian life.

Or would they? A soldier could follow an order to take an enhancement that is considered temporary but in reality has unexpected problems. The Canadian researchers wrote:

“Are there unknown side effects or long term effects that could lead to unanticipated health problems during deployment or after discharge?”

Immersive new technologies are often first developed for military and medical applications (as well as gaming and pornography). If current geopolitical tensions intensify (exacerbated by political divisions surrounding U.S. Presidential elections, border disputes involving Russia – also working on military biotech – and China) we may find out whether we can reverse any “unanticipated health problems during deployment” created by Transhumanist hubris sooner than we expect.

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CyberArchaeology: Urban Explorers Find Cemetery of Soviet computers; Divers find Nazis’ Enigma code machine in Baltic Sea

by David Solomonoff

These are the precursors to the tech we take for granted now, although many people with an interest in ancient history are surprisingly incurious about the recent past. Nonetheless these artifacts raise fascinating questions: how did our modern tech evolve from these machines – and are there hidden byways or capabilities that could have lead us in another direction?

The building did not stand out. Unremarkable industrial building, which was built in hundreds of Soviet cities.

Non-broken glass, burning lights, live plants inside, modern plastic entrance doors. Except for one floor.

Despite the twilight, the floor remained lifelessly dark

Inside the floor was empty and black, but not completely. Inside burned several fluorescent lamps, spotlighting dozens of silhouettes of tall cabinets.

The surface of the floor, tables and enclosures covered with black spots of soot, sometimes diluted with white stains of dried extinguishing mixture.

Part of the cabinets were antique electronic computers. Others served to measure signals, and computers controlled this process. Dozens of terminals froze on the tables with extinct screens.

Source: Cemetery of Soviet computers ⋆ Russian Urban Exploration

The legendary code machine was discovered during a search for abandoned fishing nets in the Bay of Gelting

“A colleague swam up and said: there’s a net there with an old typewriter in it,” Florian Huber, the lead diver, told the DPA news agency.

The team quickly realised they had stumbled across a historic artefact and alerted the authorities.

Ulf Ickerodt, head of the state archaeological office in Germany’s Schleswig-Holstein region, said the machine would be restored by experts at the state’s archaeology museum.

The delicate process, including a thorough desalination process after seven decades in the Baltic seabed, “will take about a year”, he said.

Source: Divers find Nazis’ Enigma code machine in Baltic Sea

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