Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Missing LInk

Michael MacDonald, Greg Hemmings, and Mac

"I was saddened to hear that my friend Mac Tonnies, a legend in UFO research, died of natural causes, man he was so young, only 34.

A while back we were shooting a series for Vision TV about the paranormal; one of the episodes was about life on other planets. 

The host of this episode was UFO researcher and respected blogger Mac Tonnies. Man we had some great times on the road, he awkwardly fit in with the film crew just perfectly as us filmmakers are just as up in the stars as the UFO community are! Mac Tonnies introduced me to Twitter, I remember driving up to an astrological observatory atop a mountain outside Laramie Wyoming, he was leaning out the window taking a picture of me filming him, he told me this was for his twitter. I had no idea what he was talking about, but as the man was far more in the future and ahead of the times as I ever am, Mac introduced me to social media phenomenon that wouldn’t take real grip for another 12 months! Unreal!"

- excerpt from a memorial blog post, "RIP, Mac Tonnies" Greg Hemmings, 
October 22nd, 2009

I've just added a missing link to the "Other Mac Tonnies Memorial Page/Post Links" on the sidebar of this blog, to a memorial post by Greg Hemmings, which somehow fell outside the radar up till very recently.

Back in the summer of 2008, Mac was guest host on a Canadian television series "The Supernatural Investigators", specifically the episode entitled "Life on Other Planets" (Note: I previously mentioned it here. Unfortunately, not even the trailer can be found online presently). The upshot of this was that Mac got to travel around the country interviewing people like astronomer, Maggie Turnbull, and psychologist, Leo Sprinkle, while enjoying the company of Canadian filmmaker, Hemmings, Halifax-based writer, producer and director, Michael McDonald, and director, Jennifer Adcock.

Mac chronicled his journey extensively on his Twitter page, mentioning it only briefly on PHB - specifically here, and here (with a brief excerpt from a post by Greg Hemmings, which seems to be no longer online).  Michael MacDonald, on the other hand, did a write-up on his blog, which can be found here.

(Hat-tip to Dana Tonnies, for bringing this memorial post to my attention.)


UPDATE (5/9/13) - Mike Clelland uploaded Mac's "Supernatural Investigator" episode, "Life on Other Planets", here, and on his own blog Hidden Experience this past week. Thanks, Mike!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Compressorhead, The All-Robot Rock Band

"Fingers" via Kruger Media

"Along with Bones, 'the highest precision bass player in known existence,' and drummer Stickboy, who plays a 14-piece kit, these robots make up the German all-robot heavy metal band Compressorhead. According to the band's website, which pokes fun at its human readers as 'meatbags,' the drummer, like the guitarist, 'was created to exacting specifications. 4 arms, 2 legs, 1 head, no brain.'

Compressorhead's performance is controlled by MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) and electro-pneumatic valves that are synchronized with 
the robots' head-banging movements."

- excerpt from: Raging Machines: Compressorhead, the First Robot Rock Band by Daniel Honan, April 16, 2013, Big Think

Well, you knew it had to happen sooner or later... I'm only surprised it took so long.

Of course, nothing apart from a kitchen appliance would prefer Compressorhead's cover of Blitzkrieg Bop to the Ramone's original "meatbag" version... however, not bad, not bad. And if you like this sort of thing, here's the raging machines covering "Bullet in the Head" by... um, those other guys.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Underground Cities of... Kansas City, MO...?

A tunnel beneath Kansas City - The Kansas City Star

"Kansas City policeman Jason Cooley told the paper that officers found a series of winding underground tunnels and were directed there because of a recent crime spree.

‘One of the tunnels probably went 20 to 25 feet underground towards the back and veered off in another direction about six feet or so,’ he told the Kansas City Star, adding that they discovered candles and bedding as well in some of the cavern’s alcoves.

It is unclear who exactly the homeless people are, or how they dug such
deep entrenchments."

Hmmm... kind of looks like Cappadocia

Allegedly, however, the tunnels beneath Kansas City, Missouri, were made by a group of homeless people. Well, we don't actually see the homeless people... though at the end of the KMBC newscast video found here, a scruffy fellow named Scott ambles into the frame and then walks away pushing his bicycle... ?

Crypto-strange-o to me... And Mac, whose last home was in Kansas City, just might've agreed. ;-)

Welcome to 2045

"We believe that it is possible and necessary to eliminate aging and even death, and to overcome the fundamental limits of the physical and mental capabilities currently set by the restrictions of the physical body.

Scientists from various countries in the world are already developing technology that ensures the creation of an artificial human body prototype within the next decade. We believe the biggest technological project of our times will become the creation of such artificial human body and a subsequent transfer of individual human consciousness
 to such a body."

Joining the Billionaire-Boys-With-Big-Ideas-Club in 2011 (along with the likes of Elon Musk - the man who wants to die on Mars - and Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg) was Russian media mogul, Dmitry Itskov, 32. Whereas, Futurist Ray Kurzweil may have predicted a technological Singularity for 2045, Itskov launched his own political party in Russia last year- Evolution 2045 - to orchestrate Kurzweil's ideas into official reality. And, apparently, he means business... Big Business, involving his fellow billionaires, and/or, at least, their bucks, with the formal launching of his 2045 Strategic Social Initiative.

In June of this year, Itskov will host the second annual International Global Future 2045 Congress at the Lincoln Center in New York. The goal is to create a "suitable environment for the creative synthesis of scientific theories and spiritual traditions and practices". Two speakers at the congress will be Hiroshi Ishiguro, who is widely known for his robot doppelgangers, and David Hanson, famous for creating robot versions of Albert Einstein and Phillip K. Dick.

Itskov's agenda, and one of which he has no doubts about? To eventually produce the ways and means of uploading human consciousness into holographic "Avatars", thereby attaining human immortality.

I think Mac Tonnies would've found Itskov's enthusiasm exhilarating... up to and including Itskov's "synthesis" of science and the spiritual. For a few Posthuman Blues essays on the subject, try here, here, and here. One the other hand, here's a post regarding Mac's "transhumanist misgivings".

Monday, April 1, 2013

Death in Cyberspace

"As we lead more of our lives online, we leave behind an ever bigger digital footprint when we go. There are the public parts - the blogs, the tweets, the forum posts - but also the private things such as the emails stored on servers owned by companies like Google. Sorting out the digital legacy is becoming as onerous as being a traditional executor."

The conundrum continues.

If you've followed this blog for several years, you're probably already aware of several treatments of this topic - death in cyberspace - all of which mention Mac Tonnies, and, all of which I've posted about in the past. There was a 2009 German television spot, the 2011 New York Times article, a 2011 Kansas City NBC television spot, and the VOA radio broadcast from last year.

The quote above is from BBC Radio 4, which, in today's broadcast, treats the subject from a more legal standpoint. No, Mac isn't mentioned this time around - though I was approached initially, but had to decline due to a schedule conflict -  but, you can listen to Out of the Ordinary (Part 3) now on the BBC's RadioPlayer. It'll be available throughout the week.

UPDATE - 4/8/13: To listen to the BBC Radio 4 broadcast now and in the future, here's the dedicated link: Out of the Ordinary (Part 3).