Living in a simulated reality – Why bother?

sensorama-morton-heilig-virtual-reality-headset

There’s a recurrent theory in the mainstream, a bold speculation fueled by decades of science fiction tropes and not-so-good movies: what if we are living inside a simulated reality? Big names like Elon Musk promised to finance research on this subject, the media published a lot about it. It’s like a soap bubble that, every now and then, pops up and shine for a while.

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The Pendulum swings to the right

pendulum

The political pendulum is swinging to the right side in Europe, the real deal now is to understand to what extent and to what consequences.
In the last ten years, the far right-wing parties in the Old-and-not-so-merry continent are booming and it’s quite likely that we will see one or more of the biggest countries in Europe going full throttle in that direction in a matter of five or fewer years. Bookmark the next round of presidential elections in France (2017) and the general political elections in Germany (also 2017) to check out what will become the European future.

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The new Captain America – Hail what?

Captain-America-Returns-Cover

I have to say that I was amazed by the last marketing move from Marvel. With a single comic, the new “Steve Rogers Captain America” by Nick Spencer and Jesus Saiz, they got the attention of the whole internet. Try to imagine this. One story, a “new” idea, the equivalent of a multi-million dollar campaign in a matter of a few days. Wow.

I write “new” because it’s not the first time that Captain America gets on the wrong side of the fence. He’s been brainwashed or mind-controlled more than a few times, sometimes with dire results. So why all the rage right now? Could he really be bad to the bone? I mean, we’re talking about an iconic character, that’s right, but it’s the same character that has been killed at least twice.

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The X-Files, or the return of the conspiracies

The-X-Files-trust-no-one

I’m enjoying the new mini-series from Fox (three episodes aired so far, three more announced) and I’m glad that there will be a whole new session the next year. But when I look at “The X-Files” show I can’t help but wonder: how many conspiracies can be packed inside a script?

Don’t get me wrong, I respect the work of Chris Carter and all the other people involved in the show. I also admire the loyal fans that waited so long (the movie was seven years ago and the regular series ended in 2002) and pushed so hard to get Mulder and Scully back on the little screen. But the connection between the Fox network, the right-wing push on the media and the dark atmosphere of the X-Files is right here.

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War against ISIS – the role of Saudi Arabia

At the last G20 Summit, Vladimir Putin declares a s follows: “I provided examples related to our data on the financing of Islamic State units by natural persons in various countries. The financing comes from 40 countries, as we established, including some G20 members.” At the same table there were seated the envoys from Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Both countries have a difficult track record when it comes about terrorism, not to mention a number of high-profile representatives with direct ties with known terrorist and/or terrorist organizations. I was looking at a video about ISIS yesterday on YT and all of a sudden I remembered where I had seen similar black flags in the past. And the connection with the house of Saud became graphically clear.

Wahabi-ikhwan

See this people? They were bedouin raiders, the flags are from the Ikhwan organization.  What’s that? A creation of early days Wahhabi Ulama, back in 1913 (see here on Wikipedia) in order to convert potentially dangerous bedouin tribes into allies and muslims.

The parallel is quite tempting. Ikhwan militia was a real force back then, helping a lot the cause of the House Of Saud in its struggle to get control in the country that we now call Saudi Arabia. At the same time they were somewhat indisciplinate and scores of them became difficult to control, forcing the Saud ruler to crush’em in 1929.

The Ikhwan members were quite rigid in the application of the Wahhabi policies, including forced conversion of Shia muslims and enforce more control in the pilgrimage to the holy sites of Mecca and Medina. Since they want to be feared from their enemies, they applied a lot of gory practises like execution of male prisoners by cutting their throats. They opposed modernity like the introduction of gas, cars and telegraph – everything non-arab and not Wahhabi-like wasn’t welcome.

Nowadays, seeing similar flags in the Middle East and in other countries and listening to similar messages from ISIS makes me wonder. The House of Saud is actively looking for getting more and more influence all over the Persian Gulf area and the whole of the North Africa. The same for Middle East and the other islamic countries. That happened in decades of financing Wahhabi imam and radical movements all over, without even a single word of disapproval from the USA.

Back in the days Ikhwan turned against its creators and it took a while to get it under control (metaphor for “destroyed”) with the help of foreigners (mostly military advisors and personnel from UK). What will happen this time? Are the House of Saud rulers ready to discontinue their support for their black-clad allies?