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Sunday surprise: sinkholes

Sunday, October 4th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — and including a 1936 German illustration of the hollow earth ]

Bryan Alexander on his Infocult blog notes a fascinating symmetry as More sinkholes open up under countries on opposite ends of the Earth — one in England and the other in Australia. The implication that our devouring planet may at last be preparing a Journey to the Centre of the Earth he leaves to his reader’s imagination..

SPEC DQ sinkhole

BTW, “opposite ends of the Earth” is a delightful phrase, reminiscent of John Donne‘s “the round earth’s imagin’d corners” — kudos, Bryan!


And while we’re on the topic of the centre or center of the earth, one of my favorite “finds” as a book-crawler was this gem from Frankfurt, 1936:

Johannes Lang Die Hohlwelttheorie

Highly compatible with Nazi occultism, nicht wahr?

And this more recent piece, showing the location of the hidden Buddhist city of “Shambala”, completes the picture:


Maybe our Journey to the Center of the Earth will provide us with some occult Infocult material, eh, Bryan?

New Book: Relentless Strike by Sean Naylor

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“]

Relentless Strike: The Secret History of Joint Special Operations Command by Sean Naylor

I just received a courtesy review copy of Relentless Strike from John at St. Martin’s Press

Increasingly viewed as a “must read” book in the defense community, Relentless Strike is also extremely controversial among its target audience because Naylor’s dissection of the rise of JSOC reveals operational details, TTP and names to a degree that many current and former “operators” view as too granular while others welcome the confirmation and credit of JSOC triumphs that would normally be shrouded in secrecy. David Axe of War is Boring opines that Naylor, an award winning journalist and author, “ …may know more about commandos than any other reporter on the planet” while Jack Murphy of SOFREP has a full interview of Sean Naylor here.

Flipping open to a page at random, I find discussion of a special operator attacked in Lebanon while under unofficial cover during circumstances that remain classified. Foiling an attempt to kidnap him, despite suffering a gunshot wound, the operator covered his tracks, eluded further detection and crossed several international borders before receiving medical care. This gives you some indication of the kind of book that is Relentless Strike.

Full review when I finish reading, but I suspect many readers of ZP will pick up a copy on their own.

Image via Elkus

Saturday, September 19th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — a comparative mapping of time and eternity? ]

From my POV, this image is superb:

Adam Elkus Chess image

It demonstrates both the experience of the human chess player, who cannot in general play by a “brute force” method since the tree of choices exceeds his neuronal capacity, and the rational experience of the brute force method, illuminated in the case of a problem small enough in scale for artful representation.

And part of what’s interesting — wonderful — here is the fact that the chess board is graphically far less beautiful, I dare to say, than the representation of the corresponding tree of choices.

And it reminds me of nothing so much as Mark Lombardi‘s fine art “conspiracy” graphs, like this one:

lombardi graph

— taken from Lombardi’s book, Global Networks, in which the artist draws the networks of influence surrounding eg oil and war in the Middle East — and which I’m sure can be found with a little effort for less than the $234.63 atvwhich Amazon currently offers a used paperback copy.


With thanks to Adam Elkus for pointing me to this concise icon of the Garden of Forking Paths.

New Books

Monday, September 7th, 2015

[by Mark Safranski, a.k.a. “zen“]


The Five Percenters: Islam, Hip Hop and the Gods of New York by Michael Muhammed Knight

Ideal by Ayn Rand

The Dictator’s Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Good Politics by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith

Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to Public Schools by Diane Ravitch

An eclectic combination, to be sure.

I am mostly finished with Reign of Error and The Five Percenters. The former is a devastating and methodically documented critique by historian and former Bush I administration official Diane Ravitch of a crony capitalist network’s effort to hijack public education and its revenues under the guise of reform. The latter is a friendly journalistic history of the often feared and widely misunderstood Five Percent Nation, which split away, at times violently, from the better known Nation of Islam of Elijah Muhammed and Louis Farrakhan. Knight’s objectivity is somewhat suspect here as he himself became a rare white Muslim Five Percenter (a.k.a. “Azrael Wisdom“) and apologist, but his closeness to the group’s insiders cannot be denied.

What are you reading?

Book notification: Terror in the Name of God, Simma Holt version

Monday, September 7th, 2015

[ by Charles Cameron — two books of the same name ]

I have long been an admirer of Jessica Stern‘s Terror in the Name of God, which benefits greatly from the author’s intrepid insistence on visiting and debriefing those religious militants from around the world she wishes us to understand. Imagine my surprise, therefore, at discovering yesterday a book with the same title, written by one Simma Holt, published in 1964, and dealing with religious violence as practiced by the Svobodniki or Sons of Freedom sub-group of the Doukhobors or Old Believers:

Terror in the Name of God


I haven’t been on a thrift-store book run in a couple of years, and yesterday’s jaunt with son Emlyn rewarded me with three or four items, of which this was the standout — albeit my copy lacks the lurid dust-jacket.

The Old Believers have interested me for some time now, but I haven’t known much about them. Apparently their split (“Raskol”) from the larger body of Russian Orthodoxy was in opposition to reforms intended to align the Russian with other Orthodox patriarchies in terms of practice — the one change I’d run across having to do with the substitution of the sign of the cross made with two fingers by the sign made with three fingers.

I am accordingly very interested to see what more I can learn about the Old Believers in general and in particular the Svobodniki, their doctrine of “Opposite Speak” and their theological sanctions for arson and murder.

Now too, I get to explore Aylmer Maude‘s 1904 book on the Doukhabors, A Peculiar People. That phrase — more fully, “ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people” (I Peter 2.9) — has always pleased me, and Maude’s Christian name, a relatively uncommon one I believe, is my own second name, and the name of one of my uncles.

O quiet joy.

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