Cassandra has moved. Ugo Bardi publishes now on a new site called "The Seneca Effect."

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Cassandra is Dead. Long Live Cassandra!

This post was published on Feb 13, 2021 -- it appears with a different date here because it doesn't seem that there is a way to "pin" a post to the top of the page in blogger.

After the fall of Troy, Cassandra was taken as Agamemnon's "pallake" (concubine) and taken to Mycenae, where she was killed by Clytemnestra, Agamemnon's wife. The destiny of prophetesses is never so bright, especially when they turn out to have been right. Something similar, although fortunately much less tragic, happened to the Cassandra blog, censored on Facebook by the powers that be. So, I guess it is time to call it quits. But Cassandra is not dead! She reincarnated in the form of the Roman philosopher Lucius Annaeus Seneca. Click on the image below to link to the new blog "The Seneca Effect"

The Seneca Blog

On March 2, 2011, I started the blog that I titled "Cassandra's Legacy." 10 years later, the blog had accumulated 974 posts, 332 followers, and more than 5 million visualizations (5289.929). Recently, the blog had stabilized at around 2,000-3,000 views per day. It is now moving to a different site with a different title: "The Seneca Effect"

The reasons for this move are not because I wanted to. I was forced to change. Cassandra was a small blog, by all means, but I always had the sensation that it was not without an impact on the nebulous constellation of the people, high up, whom we call "the powers that be" (the PTBs).

It is a story that reminds me the legend that George W. Bush decided to invade Iraq in 2003 after he had learned about peak oil from something written by people belonging to ASPO (the association for the study of peak oil). Apparently, he was impressed by the concept of "peak oil", so much that he decided to invade Iraq to secure the oil reserves there. 

Reasonably, it can't be but a legend, but are we sure? After all, the people who take decision are not smarter than us, just richer. And they can misunderstand things just like we all do. Of course, their blunders make much more noise.  

And so, it may well be that many things that we are seeing around us have a logic. For sure, it is past the time when a certain kind of message could be eliminated simply by ignoring it. Now, it has to be actively suppressed. And that seems to be what's happening with censorship rampant in the social media. Even the Cassandra blog, even though not important in itself, attracted the wrath of the powers that be. It was censored on Facebook and it seems to me that it is also kept nearly invisible in the search engines. As I discussed in a previous post on Cassandra, we knew it was going to happen and it did. 

Of course, this blog could survive even while boycotted by Facebook, but when you discover that you are in the crosshairs of someone big and powerful, it is better to duck down, and take cover. It makes little sense to insist to keep an indefensible position. It is time for Cassandra to fold. 

But this is not a defeat. It is a badge of honor that the PTBs noticed this blog and acted against it (O.K., maybe it was just a glitch of some complicated AI program, who knows?). In any case, closing the blog simply means recognizing that the memetic war follows the standard rules of war. It is all about movement. And that's what Cassandra is doing. It is moving. We all do. The only things that never move are the dead, and we are still very much alive! And "Cassandra's Legacy" will remain on line, although it won't be updated anymore.

I am working at renewing a blog that I had already created, called "The Seneca Trap."  It is online now with the name "The Seneca Effect". We'll see if it becomes another target for the PTBs!

In the meantime, I am passing to you a few paragraphs that I took from Dmitry Orlov's book "The Five Stages of Collapse." (2013) where he correctly predicted how the West was moving along a path that's taking it to follow the steps of the old Soviet Union, even in terms of censorship. Orlov describes how, at that time, people defended themselves from an obtrusive and obtuse regime. I guess we'll have to adopt the same techniques.

The Rise of Steganography

by Dmitry Orlov -- From "The Five Stages of Collapse" (2013)

I am sure that certain readers will at this point recollect schlocky American Cold War novels they wasted their time reading, or automatically conjure up secret codes and communications technologies used Financial Collapse to play a spy vs. spy cat-and-mouse game with the KGB, while others will want to think that the KGB was sufficiently incompetent and/or demoralized to just let all that secret communication slip by (I assure you that it was not). Well, having seen how it all works in practice, I am happy to disabuse you of all such notions. The only technologies involved were spoken word and pen and paper; the good results were achieved thanks to mental fortitude and solidarity.

The technique I saw used was an instance of steganography, which “is the art and science of writing hidden messages in such a way that no one, apart from the sender and intended recipient, suspects the existence of the message, a form of security through obscurity. The word is of Greek origin and means ‘concealed writing’ from the Greek words steganos (στεγανός), meaning ‘covered or protected’, and graphei (γραφή), meaning ‘writing'. There is the outer, public message, which is innocuous or insipid or annoyingly redundant (except for a few easily overlooked details); then there is the inner, private message, which can only be discerned by the intended recipient, who has prior knowledge. The key security feature is that the recipient needs to know that the message is a message at all, never mind decipher it.
My mother and my grandmother kept up a voluminous correspondence augmented by regular telephone conversations. They discussed everything from the weather to their reading to what they ate for breakfast. They also seemed to be curiously obsessed with pieces of porcelain: which tea set was a present from whom, who would have liked it, who had owned a similar one at one time or another, from whom they may have purchased it and how much they may have paid for it, how many cups were cracked or broken, whether they could be repaired, who was the clumsy one and broke a cup, who had been particularly skillful at gluing together a broken cup so that it is now as good as new and so on and so forth, all seemingly innocent prattle between two dotty women reminiscing about sentimental bits of bric-à-brac—but for someone in the know, laden with secret meanings. Cups were thousands of dollars. Tea sets were tens of thousands. Cracked cups were expenses incurred. Broken cups were deals that had fallen through. Any persons mentioned were not referred to by full name but by informal diminutives and endearments and referenced not to actual places and times but to private, shared memories. But there were also passages of general interest, such as soup or cake recipes, sometimes supplied with a passing comment addressed directly to the KGB censor, such as “Others who are reading this might find this interesting as well.” Who could possibly suspect secret, nefarious, conspiratorial intent in someone so seemingly guileless? Not even the KGB!



Monday, March 22, 2021

Ugo Bardi's Latest Post on "The Seneca Effect". The Hydrogen Myth


Ugo Bardi's latest post on "The Seneca Effect"

The Hydrogen Myth: Technology and Religion in the Decline of Civilizations


I just started a new blog titled "The Hydrogen Skeptics." It is about the hydrogen economy and hydrogen as a fuel and it is a little technical as a subject. So I thought it was not appropriate to discuss it in a somewhat philosophical blog like "The Seneca Effect." Yet, there are points in common, as I am arguing in this post. Above: the nuclear-powered car "Ford Nucleon", unfortunate technological prodigy of the 1950s, that never was turned into anything practical.


Ugo Bardi is a member of the Club of Rome, faculty member of the University of Florence, and the author of "Extracted" (Chelsea Green 2014), "The Seneca Effect" (Springer 2017), and Before the Collapse (Springer 2019)