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Archive for October 14th, 2011

3% of human brains pop, fizzle and #FAIL in any kind of heat

Friday, October 14th, 2011

[ by Charles Cameron – Occupy movement, banks and rumors of banks, date setting, apocalyptic, and just a hint of Y2K ]

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I’ve said it before, I think: we’re witnessing Y2K: the Expectation in slo-mo.

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Now it’s time for banks and rumors of banks to run up the flagpole once again.  As I say in the title of this post, there’s a certain percentage of human brains that simply can’t take the heat, and should stay out of the kitchen. Perhaps I’m being generous in my estimate of the percentage…

So here are three dates to mark on your calendar: October 15th, which is tomorrow at the time of writing, October 21st, coming up shortly, and October 31st, if we live to see the day…

Let’s take them in reverse order:

 

The October 31st option lacks intelligence, in my not always humble opinion, for two reasons: first, because it’s all a bit like yelling fire in a cinema for the deaf when you don’t know sign language — almost no-one will pay enough attention to take the action you’re recommending — and second, because even if you want to see a significant change away from the ways in which money can buy influence at the moment, the idea of crashing the banks as a means to that end will only turn people away from the larger movement into which you’ve somehow inserted yourself.

Informing politicians that the more “bought and paid for” money they get, the fewer voters will vote for them is one thing. Creating a sustainable parallel system that could mitigate crises, ensuring local food distribution in the event of a disruption of the trucking industry for instance, is another, in much the same spirit.  But crashing the world economic system isn’t even a thing — it’s demented.

So October 31st is a non-starter: pop, fizzle and #FAIL.

Which is lucky, because according to Harold Camping, whose one hundred million dollar campaign to alert us all that the world would end earlier this year didn’t manage to buy God’s decision-making process, there won’t be anyone, anywhere, after October 21st — let alone any banks to withdraw funds from.

No doubt, like Camping’s previous predictions, this one too will fizzle and #FAIL

I wouldn’t care to guess what percentage of my 3% of human brains unable to take the heat will be following Camping at this point, or what percentage the bank crasher will claim, but there’s still room on my dance card for 2012, and this won’t be the last we hear of such ideas.

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Which leaves us with tomorrow, a day very much like yesterday… which it will soon turn into?

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This one’s interesting because although it has a date certain — one, mark you, that conflicts with the October 31st idea — the event itself doesn’t appear to be scripted [see video].

So who knows?  The suspense is killing me — but it won’t be for long.

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Y2K had its fair share of apocalyptic expectations, threatened SCADA failures, worries about supply chains, bank runs and the like, and I’ve suggested [more than once] that we could really use a decent map of our critical dependencies — one that includes our human capacities for fear, fury, obstructionism, fatalism, indecision, generosity, competition and cooperation…

Time for an eTank — or an  iTank, or a G+Tank — eh?

Come now, let us reason together..

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Scenario planning and prophecy

Friday, October 14th, 2011

[ by Charles Cameron — futurism, prediction, Christian and Islamic apocalyptic traditions, fiction ]
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Two new thrillers.  And what caught my eye — fascinated as I am by the whole business of prophecy and prediction, scenario planning and science fiction — was Wolf Blitzer‘s pronouncement about Tom Clancy on his CNN blog today:

Sometimes nonfiction seems to follow fiction, especially, it seems, in the case of Tom Clancy and his spy novels.

Here’s Blitzer’s supporting evidence:

In 1994, he wrote a thriller called “Debt of Honor.” Long before the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Clancy had a character fly a Boeing 747 into the U.S. Capitol. Clancy’s “The Teeth of the Tiger,” published in 2003, features a man named Mohammed who has a network of Colombian drug cartel thugs who plot evil deeds against the U.S. His newest book is entitled “Against All Enemies.” A major plot line has Taliban terrorists joining hands with Mexican drug cartel killers to launch attacks in the United States. A friend who’s read all the Clancy books alerted me to this when he heard of the Obama administration’s accusations that Iran plotted to have members of a Mexican drug cartel kill Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir. “Seems like terrorists are big Clancy fans,” my friend suggested…

Not so fast, Wolf and Wolf’s friend. They might equally well have been reading Joel Rosenberg (also, or instead).

Clancy does this sort of stuff because he’s a scenario planner turned novelist — Rosenberg does it because he’s a student of prophecy turned novelist.  Come to that, I rather like the idea that prophecy and scenario planning might be related.

Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia’s current article about Rosenberg:

Nine months before the September 11th attacks, Rosenberg wrote a novel with a kamikaze plane attack on an American city. Five months before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, he wrote a novel about war with Saddam Hussein, the death of Yasser Arafat eight months before it occurred, a story with Russia, Iran, and Libya forming a military alliance against Israel occurring the date of publishing, the rebuilding of the city of Babylon, Iran vowing to have Israel “wiped off the face of the map forever” five months before Iranian President Ahmadinejad used similar language, and the discovery of huge amounts of oil and natural gas in Israel (a major gas discovery occurred in January 2009).

Neat, hunh?

Or of course, they could just all be playing Steve Jackson‘s 1995 Illuminati card game

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I suppose we should add role-playing and card-reading to our list of prognostic activities…

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In any case…

I enjoy Joel Rosenberg’s books.  His thrillers are full of Christian and Islamic apocalyptic elements, of course, which are of continuing interest to me — especially when they cross over into each others’ territories.  I’ve been meaning to write up my review of the first book in his current series for months now — my copy must have a hundred or so little colored flags in it, marking passage of interest, plot points and so on.

And there are things Rosenberg gets seriously wrong that are important. It’s dangerous when someone who influences thousands through his Epicenter conferences and his appearances with Glenn Beck is unable to distinguish the Hojjatiyeh Society (a small group that may not even exist at this point) from Twelver (ie orthodox Shi’ite) Islam.

But it’s because I think:

  • that Islamic apocalyptic is important and all too often overlooked,
  • that he thinks so, too,
  • that his tying it in with policy proposals carries some weight,
  • that the brisk pace of his novels reaches readers who have not much other access to ideas about the Mullahs, the Twelfth Imam or Mahdi, and the issue of the Iranian nuclear program, and
  • that there are scholars in a position to clarify and correct some of his mistakes and misconceptions,

that I still hope to review the first book in the current series, The Twelfth Imam, and his new book, The Tehran Initiative, right alongside it.

Heck, I’d be more than happy to review the new Clancy, too.

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