When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro

Paul Raven @ 25-11-2010

Things are getting real weird real fast. Did you hear about the Germans who insisted on the right to “opt out” of Google Street View and have their houses pixelated? Well, now they’re being targetted by pro-Google activism that consists of drive-by egg-raids and labels stuck to letterboxes proclaiming that “Google’s cool” [via TechDirt].

Double-U. Tee. Eff?

For the record, I think the folk opting out of Street View are misguided, and the egg-raiders are idiots; no advocacy in this post, I assure you. But think a moment on the high weirdness of this situation, about the mad wild flux of global culture that has made it possible. Just a decade ago, this would have been a gonzo near-future sf plot that any sane editor would have bounced for being charmingly implausible…

I’m sure this is the part where I’m supposed to wonder “how did we get here from there?”, but that’s the weirdest thing of all – I know exactly how we got here from there, because I’ve made a point of watching it unfold like a card-sharp’s prestidigitation, but I still can’t quite tell how the trick was done: it’s hopeful and baffling and wonderful and insane and terrifying all at once.

And things are likely to get weirder as the times get tougherI’m starting to think Brenda may have a point; the Singularity’s already started, it just doesn’t look anything like the shiny transcendent technotopia we thought it would be. Which shouldn’t be surprising, really… but it still is.

[ * And a posthumous hat-tip to the late Doctor Gonzo for the headline, who I resolutely believe would be taking a similar horrified joy – or perhaps a joyous horror, if there’s a difference – in the headlines of the moment. We’ve bought the ticket; now we’re taking the ride. ]


Expansion tectonics: the secret of Planet Earth that THEY don’t want you to know!

Paul Raven @ 10-08-2010

Thanks in part to spending my early teens as a stubborn geek outcast in a public boarding school*, I was once deeply involved with occultism and conspiracy theory, and the attraction of wild ideas and crazy-yet-almost-coherent philosophies has never truly dimmed… though I like to think I’m a lot more rational and critical of received information as an adult. (My loss, the world’s gain? Maybe… )

So here’s a corker of an oddball theory [via MetaFilter], and one I can’t believe I’ve never stumbled across before. What’s the secret? Plate tectonics is a myth. The Earth is expanding.

This modified map shows clear empirical evidence that Asia and Australia were originally conjoined with North and South America approximately 200-250 Ma, prior to creation of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans.

This earlier connection of Asia and Australia with the Americas is also confirmed geologically by the deep ocean trenches that delineate the Andesite Line containing andesite, the primary mineral of the Andes Cordilleran mountains running the length of South America. [Carey, 1976, p.256]

The evidence is empirical and the conclusions are obvious—the Earth ~200-250 million years ago was a single planetary landmass ~40% smaller than it is today, and at that moment in geologic time there were NO OCEANS!

Every island and seamount, and most of the water In today’s ocean basins that now cover over 70% of the planet, has evolved in the very short period of 200 million years! The Earth has been, and still is, steadily growing in size and expanding in diameter at an accelerating rate—contrary to what scientists believe because they are currently unable to detect and measure this relatively slow rate of growth.

THIS RAPID GROWTH AND EXPANSION HAS GRAVE IMPLICATIONS FOR THE FUTURE OF MANKIND!

Every hallmark of web-based outsider science crankdom is there, with the exception of explicit references to Biblical quotations and animated gifs. Fat blocky font, check; BLOCK CAPITALS used for emphasis of salient yet hard-to-swallow FACTS, especially when the word PROOF appears in a headline, check; cutting edge web design circa 2001, checkity-check check check. (It should be noted, however, that the spelling and grammar is of unusually high quality.)

Oh, it’s so easy to be cynical, isn’t it? We’ll all be sorry when this dude’s theory turns out to be true. “First they came for the anthropogenic climate change denialists, and I said nothing…”

[ * To preemptively answer the three usual questions that follow this revelation: 1) yes, there was; 2) no, I didn’t; 3) if I could explain that, I’d probably have my own successful psychology practice and a lucrative career as a public speaker on the hedge fund circuit. ]


The scent of dead stardom – Eau de Jacko

Paul Raven @ 02-12-2009

Michael Jackson statueAh, December – time to crank out the ‘silly season’ media stories to fill the gaps in between the “best of the decade” posts. So here’s a way-out weird  news article for you: an LA-based company called My DNA Fragrance (there’s a clue in the name) has joined forces with a collector of celebrity hair and started making perfumes based on DNA extracted from snippets of the barnets of superstars. [via The Daily Swarm; image by Sjors Provoost]

No, apparently this is a true story. But I hope you’ll excuse me the levity of slicing a quote from the coverage and using it out of context (purely for the lulz, you understand):

“The biggest seller is Elvis, but MJ is selling very well too. It’s a powerful fragrance and there is no alcohol in it.

Oh, the irony. 🙂

We’ll leave aside the speculations about our bizarre obsession with celebrity (after all, is this so different from touching relics of the saints and other such Medieval behaviours?), and leap instead straight to the copyright problem. What happens if my hair is harvested without my knowledge, while I’m treading the red carpet somewhere*? Don’t I or my descendants have a right to the profit from perfume based on my DNA? How many changes would need to be made to a DNA string to make it legally ‘different’ to the originating source?

And most importantly, what the hell does Eau de Michael Jackson smell like?

[ * Hey, this is a speculative website, okay? ]


Blurbflies – airborne insectoid advertising

Paul Raven @ 30-10-2009

OK, so the blurbflies from Jeff Noon’s novel Nymphomation were little flying critters that sang or chanted their advertising copy at you, but this is the first time I’ve seen anything along the lines of using actual insects as an advertising medium, even if via the surreal yet lo-fidelity marketing method of gluing tiny banners to the tushies of everyday houseflies:

Top marks for slightly gross innovation, if nothing else. Knowing the way the marketing business grabs trends and runs with them until they become ubiquitous to the point of infuriating banality, animal-based advertising will probably be massive by next summer and deader than last season’s butterflies by early 2011. So I’m going to grab the opportunity while it’s still fresh; if anyone needs me, I’ll be wandering the Canadian hinterlands, stencilling the Futurismic logo onto climate-refugee polar bears with photo-reactive spraypaint. [hat-tip to Geoff ‘BLDGBLOG’ Manaugh]


Yard sale

Paul Raven @ 20-09-2009

Yard sale - Does Not Equal

[* – my husband actually yelled this in his sleep once.]

Does Not Equal is a webcomic by Sarah Ennalscheck out the pre-Futurismic archives, and the strips that have been published here previously.

[ Be sure to check out the Does Not Equal Cafepress store for webcomic merchandise featuring Canadians with geometrically-shaped heads! ]


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