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"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Sunday, January 7, 2018

SIGNS OF THE TIMES (JANUARY 7, 2018)

SIGNS OF THE TIMES (JANUARY 7, 2018)
HERE IS THE LATEST MADNESS COMING FROM THE MODERN WORLD

A 10-year-old Brooklyn, NY, boy says he is founding an online drag club for kids 

“Haus of Amazing,” purportedly the “first ever drag house established exclusively for kids who are doing amazing drag,” will be a “positive, encouraging and safe on-line community for drag kids to connect with each other,” according to an on-line flyer for the club.

 

Desmond Napoles has been showing interest in dressing in drag since he was a toddler, a Daily Mail report said, and has gained fame on the New York drag circuit as his drag alter ego, Desmond is Amazing.
'Ever since day one... ever since I was able to walk, I used to take my mom's towels and take her heels and clomp around the house,” Napoles said, “put the towel on my head, wrap a towel around my body and walk the runway down my house.”
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At age six he began asking his parents for princess costumes and dresses, the report said. His parents consulted a therapist and were told it was best to allow Desmond develop naturally and to explore his tastes on clothing, toys and activities.
The boy continued to dress in drag and was featured in 2014 in a music video with drag celebrities RuPaul and Jinkx Monsoon.
His June 2015 appearance in a rainbow tutu and sparkled gold beret at New York’s Gay Pride event went viral, and Napoles is the youngest member of New York’s longtime “Vogue” dance house Iconic House of UltraOmni. He hopes to have his own fashion and cosmetics line some day.
Napoles calls himself a “drag kid” as opposed to a “drag queen,” with the explanation that the term “drag queen” should only refer to adults. 
Napoles came out as gay last year, the Daily Mail report said. His parents are emphatic that their son is not yet sexually active, the report said, and although Napoles is an advocate for LGBTQ issues, he has not ”reached the age where sexual relations are appropriate or discussed explicitly.”
He told Out magazine last fall his advice for other kids was, “If your parents say, “Oh, gay is bad” or “it’s a sin,” pay them no mind and say, “If you don’t like me, I’m gonna leave.”
Napoles told kids if they feel suicidal, “don’t commit because there is always love in the world. There are a lot of people like you and my motto is - Be yourself always.”
The “Haus of Amazing” club remains an on-line announcement from last October with more information to be forthcoming, though Napoles does have a website, Instagram account and Facebook page.
Napoles advised the “haters” via his Instagram account this past week that he was secure in who he was and they will not change or shame him.
“You mean nothing to me,” he said. “You are like a fly I shoo away.”

Burning Man Announces Newest Centerpiece: Temple to Greek Goddess

Burning Man Announces Newest Centerpiece: Temple to Greek Goddess
The Burning Man Festival, held in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada in August, has chosen its centerpiece structure, a massive wood temple dedicated to the Greek goddess Gaia, that is just one of the many pagan symbols featured at the popular desert gathering. The festival has certainly evolved from its humble beginnings over 30- years ago when 20 artists gathered on a Beach in San Francisco. The annual event is now a high-profile gathering that attracts over 70,000 to its isolated desert location.
The Burning Man organizers announced two weeks ago that they chose the design for the centerpiece temple of the festival. This year they will build a massive structure composed of 20 wood trusses converging as a spiral. In the center will be a large mandala, a symbol used by Buddhists as an aid in meditation. Designed by Mamou-Mani, a London-based French architect, the structure will be titled Galaxia. READ MORE

Washington state allows 3rd sex option ‘X’ on birth certificates

Washington state allows 3rd sex option ‘X’ on birth certificates
Washington state will allow residents to change the sex on their birth certificates to a nonbinary option called “X.” “Social norms are changing,” state registrar and Center for Health Statistics director Christie Spice told ABC News today. “When a person’s gender designation on their birth certificate doesn’t match how people present themselves, it opens the door to harassment and intimidation. ”The new rule, announced Thursday and effective Jan. 27, also removes the need for medical approval from a primary
physician for adults who want to change the sex status on their birth certificate. Minors who don’t identify male or female and want to change their sex designation still need written consent from a parent or legal guardian and medical input. The difference now is that the list of health care professionals who can approve the change has expanded for minors to include primary physicians, physician assistants, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and mental health counselors, according to the state Department of Health. READ MORE

Scientists could one day make humans immortal

On Jan. 12, 1967, James Bedford, a psychology professor at Glendale College in California who had just died of cancer, took his first step toward coming back to life. On that day, the professor became the first person ever frozen in cryonic suspension, embedded in liquid nitrogen at minus-321 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bedford was neither the first, nor the last, to attempt the impossible — beating death at its own game, according to Michael Shermer’s book “Heavens on Earth: The Scientific Search for the Afterlife, Immortality, and Utopia” (Henry Holt), out Jan. 9.
With scientific advancements exploding at an exponential pace, some believe the Grim Reaper could soon be out of business.
Here are three ways scientists are striving for immortality that are getting so close to success that they would amaze even Bedford — if he ever wakes up.

Cryonics

Cryonics is the process of suspending a just-deceased person in a frozen state until the remedy for what killed them has been discovered. Then, theoretically, the person can be thawed out and cured.
Science will only consider a person properly preserved if they can be revived with all of their memories intact. Many question whether those currently frozen can be successfully revived.
Currently, the cryonic process “vitrifies” the brain, turning it “into a glass-like substance.” Caltech neuroscientist Christof Koch — echoing the opinion of many experts — said it would be “utterly amazing” if this change to the brain’s chemistry didn’t destroy the synapses that hold memories, writes Shermer.
One major champion of freezing is Ralph Merkle, a board member at the Alcor Life Extension Foundation cryonics facility in Arizona. Having performed their first human cryopreservation in 1976, Alcor now has 153 deceased patients frozen in its facility — including Bedford — and almost another 1,000 people have made arrangements to be preserved there when they die. Between Alcor and the Cryonics Institute in Clinton Township, Mich., there are at least 290 people cryonically frozen in the US.
Merkle, 65, said critics of cryonics are like those in the early 1900s who believed mankind could never reach the moon.
“If you can say that technology 100 or 200 years from now will be incapable of reviving someone who is cryopreserved, then you’re making [unknowable] statements about what future technology cannot do,” Merkle told The Post.
Merkle denies that current freezing technologies can’t preserve memory, claiming that “vitrification . . . is providing excellent preservation of synaptic structure” and that experiments with roundworms have shown memory retention after revival from freezing. He also notes that memory preservation occurs not just in the synapses, but also in the biological structures surrounding them. Furthermore, Merkle believes that in the next few decades or perhaps century, technology will allow repairs to be made to bodies while they’re frozen, so they can be thawed with all the flaws and ailments corrected.
“At some point in the future, we will have technology that can take the damaged structure [of the brain], analyze it and recover the information,” Merkle says. “Once you can recover the information, you can restore the damaged structure with the memory and the information content intact.”

Singularitarians

Some believe that we will one day extend our lives by merging with technology. Singularitarians predict there will be a theoretical future moment when artificial intelligence will overtake and either merge with or replace human intelligence.
The premier evangelist for the singularity is scientist and futurist Ray Kurzweil, Google’s director of engineering, who created the first text-to-speech synthesizer and the CCD flatbed scanner.
As technology continues to accelerate, Kurzweil believes we’ll reach a point where “the world will change more in a decade than in a thousand centuries, and as the acceleration continues and we reach the singularity, the world will change more in a year than in all pre-singularity history,” writes Shermer. “When that happens, humans will achieve immortality.”
‘Medical technologies will add one additional year every year to your life expectancy’
 - Ray Kurzweil
Kurzweil explained his vision for life extension in a 2016 Playboy interview quoted in Shermer’s book. “By the 2030s we will have nanobots that can go into a brain non-invasively through the capillaries, connect to our neocortex and basically connect it to a synthetic neocortex that works the same way in the cloud,” he said. “So we’ll have an additional neocortex . . . and we’ll use it . . . to add additional levels of abstraction.”
Not only will nanorobots give us greater brain power, they will also make us healthier and extend our life spans while we’re alive, Kurzweil argues.
“As they gain traction in the 2030s, nanobots in the bloodstream will destroy pathogens, remove debris, rid our bodies of clots, clogs and tumors, correct DNA errors and actually reverse the aging process.
“I believe we will reach a point around 2029,” Kurzweil added, “when medical technologies will add one additional year every year to your life expectancy.”

Mind Uploading

Proponents of “mind uploading” go further than Kurzweil, believing that you won’t even need a body or a brain to exist, because one day human consciousness will live on a computer.
The key to uploading the brain is the connectome, which is a comprehensive map of the brain’s neural connections and pathways that equals the sum total of one’s brain function. Scientists are currently trying to figure out how to assemble and preserve the connectome of a brain. Once that’s achieved, they will theoretically be able to download a human being’s conscious mind.
To this end, the Brain Preservation Foundation, of which Shermer is on the advisory board, announced a prize for companies that can figure out how to preserve brains and, by extension, their connectomes. In 2016, 21st Century Medicine in Fontana, Calif., was awarded the Brain Preservation Prize for small mammals after freezing a dead rabbit’s brain at temperatures even colder than vitrification and thawing it to show “preservation of brain ultrastructure sufficient to establish that the ‘connectome,’ or totality of all brain cell to brain cell synaptic connections, can be preserved for at least 100 years.” This earned them just under $27,000 in prize money. The other 75 percent, worth just under $108,000, will go to the first team to “successfully preserve a whole large animal brain in a manner that could be adapted for humans.”
To freeze the rabbit, 21st Century Medicine used a new technique called “aldehyde-stabilized cryopreservation,” which opens up “the blood-brain barrier and allow[s] the cryoprotectant to enter the brain without causing brain shrinkage.” Using the same process, the company has also preserved several pig brains and has submitted one for consideration for the large mammal prize.
Shermer visited 21st Century during the freezing process and saw both the rabbit and pig brains in question. Though he notes that none of the three rabbit brains the company froze “showed any visible signs of ice formation or damage,” one of the pig brains “had a dime-sized ice smudge in the occipital lobes near the cerebellum.”
“Not a good sign,” he notes, “but this is not yet a perfect science.”
While clearly fascinated by the topic, Shermer believes that too many factors need to come together for us to conquer mortality anytime soon.
“There are scientists working to extend our upper-age ceiling through various medical technologies, but for now the bookmakers’ odds-on bet is that no one alive today will live beyond 125 years,” he writes.
“Even if medical science raises the age roof by a few years or decades, the dream of living centuries or millennia is a vaporous one.”

A new generation of L.A. Satanists finds community

In November, in the candlelit basement of a house just above the Silver Lake Reservoir, Alexandra James walked over to an altar where her husband, Zachary, waited near a bleached human skull, teeth locked in eternal rictus. From the altar, she lifted a sword and drew points across his chest while a circle of onlookers watched solemnly (well, a few giggled too). An organist played eerie minor key chords and Alexandra turned to face the group.
“On this altar we consecrate swords to direct the fire of our unholy will,” she said. “A human skull, symbol of death. The great mother Lilith created us all, and will destroy us all.”
“Hail Satan! Hail Satan! Hail Satan!” The group chanted back.
The Jameses had planned the ritual as the climax of a low-key house party that included a dozen or so friends associated with ritual magic — artists, writers, rock musicians who freely mingle occult vocabularies (Satanist, coven, witches), none taken too literally. But a bigger moment came a few hours later when word circulated that Charles Manson had died. Far from mourning a man whose crimes burned satanic imagery into the American mainstream, everyone cracked beers in celebration and jammed on psych rock tunes. Bonnie Bloomgarden, the singer for the band Death Valley Girls, joked that Manson’s spirit would be reincarnated as a small dog, and that she’d probably accidentally adopt it.
It was a great night for a heterodox generation of new self-described Satanists who are upending old “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Helter Skelter” stereotypes in service of radical politics, feminist aesthetics and community unity in the divisive time of Trump.
Given the never-ending chaos in American life, when nuclear war seems to many to be just one juvenile presidential tweet away, a coterie of artists are rediscovering Satanism’s imagery and rituals in a city with a long, rich and weird history of contrarian philosophies. Traditionalists might debate if any of it is properly “Satanic” at all; this new take is much more feminist than nihilist, flexibly self-aware and better versed in internet culture than orthodox theology.
“In terms of the aesthetics of the occult, it’s everywhere you look. There are so many young women especially who use occult imagery to define their identity,” said Anna Biller, a director whose 2017 film “The Love Witch” beautifully revamped ’70s Technicolor genre films for our era of wry misandry and new social movements.
“What I’m trying to do is to transform the witch from a figure of male fear and fantasy into a figure of female power and sexuality. For some women it represents healing, for others, raw power, for others, the freedom to be unorthodox or to find their own spirituality outside of the family system,” she said.
“It’s important for women to try to reclaim our images for ourselves.”
That, more than anything, is the animating force behind this new wave of interest in both Satanism and the occult (which are two separate things, sometimes mingled together). If satanic rituals of old were centered on smashing Christian orthodoxy and middle American propriety — or, more basely, taking drugs and getting laid — this form of Satanism explicitly uses a huge range of ideas to give shape to the inchoate rage felt by so many — especially women and other marginalized groups.
These new converts believe that when confronted with so much chaos, one way to make sense of it is to conjure it themselves.
“If you don’t give people some sense of magic and community, you get the Proud Boys,” Alexandra said, referring to the fraternal neo-fascist group created by Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes. Zachary agreed: “People like the Proud Boys have their own social clubs, and that’s black magic. Instead of running away from that, we need to find better ways of organizing ourselves.
"In these times,” he added, “a lot of people want to not feel helpless. And Lucifer was the original rebel angel.”
Like in any extreme subculture, the definitions and lessons of Satanism have always been fought over (whenever anyone in the scene talks about Satan and magic, it's usually not literal but a metaphor for human potential). Was Aleister Crowley’s Thelemic spiritual thought or Anton LaVey’s atheist Church of Satan the more effective path? Should any of this be a heartfelt religion, or just a psychological tool and a way to needle the pious?
L.A. history is filled with outsiders coming together under the mantle of the occult, an oft-conflated sphere of sometimes-opposing worldviews, which range from atheist Satanism to neo-pagan traditions like Wicca. They left their mark on the city in a variety of ways.
Jack Parsons, an early figure at CalTech and co-founder of the Jet Propulsion Lab, was a Thelemite who worshipped at the Ordo Templi Orientis, as did his wife Marjorie Cameron, an artist whose work recently had a retrospective show at MOCA PDC. They followed Crowley’s school of thought, whose main principle is “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law. Love is the law, love under will.” Their onetime friend L. Ron Hubbard founded Scientology.
LaVey’s Church of Satan broke with Crowley’s spiritual side and structured itself as a platform for rejecting all supernatural religion. Before the Manson murders, he had a Hollywood contingency that included Sammy Davis Jr. and Mansfield.
Some in the current generation of self-described Satanists seem more flexible on doctrinal disputes, favoring inclusivity, especially for women, often the losers in both traditional religion and radical politics. L.A.’s chapter of the Satanic Temple has a mission statement that promises to “encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will.” In 2015 the temple held a ritual to “demonize” St. Junipero Serra, who founded the brutal early Spanish missions in California.
LaVey wouldn’t approve, but there are also common threads here with young women of color exploring traditions like Santeria or Yoruba beliefs for rebellion and self-care today, including Bri Luna, the black and Mexican Seattle mystic and artist behind the Hood Witch brand, which just received a glowing profile in Vogue.
Ruth Waytz is a magistra in the official LaVey-founded Church of Satan, whose mission is “dedicated to the acceptance of man’s true nature — that of a carnal beast, living in a cosmos that is indifferent to our existence” (it also maintains a hilarious, politically salient Twitter feed). For her, Satanism should also be a corrective to contemporary liberal pieties.
“Our writers, directors, producers, and designers lead the charge on our real-world individualist approach — not some spooky, occultnik mumbo jumbo, which is often anti-Satanic and mired in mysticism,” she said. “LaVey formulated Satanism as a resistance to the collectivist ‘resistance’ of the ’60s. His philosophy is one of individual self-empowerment, of a will to power via the manipulation of the carnal and material world. And sometimes that takes unconventional, controversial forms because Satanists are often the outcasts within their externally-defined social groups.
“Satanism is not now and has never been about seeking inclusion in the herd, but celebrating being apart from it,” she said.
Even among the merely Satan-curious, the imagery seems to be popping up all over art, film and music.
The Jameses’ group — not officially affiliated with any one strain of Satanism — is loosely based around their doo-wop band Twin Temple, which sounds like the Marvelettes if that group had pined after the blessings of Baphomet instead of the boy next door. They got their start playing shows for the music-activist collective Play Like a Girl. Dressed in uniforms of black leather and lace, the couple made quite a striking duo on the town, and soon enough others wanted in on their scene.
“They were these barfly regulars with a Gomez/Morticia Addams vibe. We would riff on all things weird,” said Brent Smith, a novelist who met them at the rock bar Harvard & Stone. He sees their rituals as less of a religion and more of a structure for community and making art.
“It's hard enough inspiring people in L.A. to congregate,” Smith said. “But there's also real philosophy there, and the means to apply it. Rituals keep you accountable to the work you're doing. Satanism doesn't require ideology, and it's ideology that so often kills writing.”
On Halloween, much of the group gathered in the basement of the Hollywood bar Black Rabbit Rose, where a who’s who of modern occultists gathered for rituals, rock shows and talks from the scene’s demimonde elite.
Avant-garde director Kenneth Anger (whose “Lucifer Rising” is a favorite of Satanists and starred eventual Manson family murderer Bobby Beausoleil) took questions from fans like Matt Skiba, the Blink-182 guitarist and Satanist. Noise musician and prominent Satanist Boyd Rice interviewed Karla LaVey (daughter of Anton LaVey) about war stories from the scene’s midcentury heyday. Glenn Danzig, founder of the horror-punk band the Misfits (who recently sold out the Forum for a reunion show), gabbed with fans in the VIP suite and showed off an archive of rare last-days-of-Jayne Mansfield photographs alongside the Lethal Amounts gallery owner Danny Fuentes, who organized the party and often hosts exhibits of transgressive occult-y art.
At the witching hour, Twin Temple performed a full set, capped with a ritual during which it performed an anti-baptism of its coven-mate, the young film director Kansas Bowling. Blood-smeared and stripped down to nearly “sky-clad,” as they put it, Bowling was offered up in service to the goddess Lilith as an avenging angel for crimes against women.
“Some of these men, like Harvey Weinstein, are finally being held accountable for their crimes,” Alexandra yelled at the crowd. “What do you think, shall we burn him at the stake? Or shall we drown him and see if he floats?” The crowd erupted in cheers for both.


WHEN IS THAT COMET COMING AGAIN?

 

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