Egyptian Cargo Cult

This is an interesting explanation of “cargo cults.”

From Wikipedia:

“A cargo cult is a Melanesian millenarian movement encompassing a diverse range of practices and occurring in the wake of contact with the commercial networks of colonizing societies. The name derives from the belief that various ritualistic acts will lead to a bestowing of material wealth (“cargo”).

And from a university webpage:

“The Cargo Cult members built replicas of airports and airplanes out of twigs and branches and made the sounds associated with airplanes to try to activate the shipment of cargo. Although the existence of the Cargo Cult only became known after World War II the cult had developed long before, when the Europeans first arrived in the area in ships. There were legends among the islanders of their distant ancestor-god having journeyed to the west and promised to someday return.”

So… Where is this going? Is this an exercise in “flash fiction” of the sci-fi variety? Or for real? Either way, you heard it here first.

The idea being floated here is that ancient Egyptian civilization was nothing more and nothing less than a cargo cult, revering the super-intelligent, extra-terrestrial giants, “demi-gods” if you will, who founded (and then abandoned!) their colony on Earth. Their statues are shown in the photograph below. Actual size!

Believe it Or Not!  Well, it’s not April Fools Day, but close, July 21, my birthday…


The more things change…

Two things strike me as absurd in Israel’s latest offensive against Gaza.

The first was Israel’s leadership pointing out, in a carefully worded statement, that Hamas was firing rockets from civilian areas. This statement relies on the international community forgetting that all of Gaza is a residential zone and one of the most densely-populated areas in the world. It’s a wall to wall city.

The second absurdity is Israel asking some 100,000 people within Gaza to “evacuate” as reported on the Drudge report. The city is basically quarantined, living under a strict blockade (blockades are always acts of war).

There is another absurdity, of course, which is based on the idea of Israeli restraint (with occasional press-friendly tactics), as Palestinian casualties push into the hundreds, and as Israeli casualties remain near zero…

In any case, if Hamas actually killed the Israeli teenagers, provoking the current crisis, then Hamas reveals a brand of cowardice, lacking the courage to take on uniformed agents of control/occupation and choosing, instead, to kill schoolboys.

This all appears to be a marriage made in ‘heaven’ then, by the newfound cowardly, psychopathic gods of both sides. That nothing has changed for decades – and that the same news stories are likely to be repeated 11 years from now – is all the proof we need that the forces behind those on the ground simply scale up – and amplify – the curse upon this planet.


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Language acquisition

Hopefully, impatience can also be a virtue. I’ll be attempting to learn as much conversational Chinese as possible in August, when I have off. A 30-day crash course. Also, I will be posting longer and more regular articles, etc., slowly cranking back up again.


In the summer program here, I’m teaching with an interesting guy from Suny/Buffalo, a philosophy professor specializing in the philosophy of religion. No one can ever accuse him of sitting around; he’s thinking, working… It is interesting to have long conversations on, for example, the topic of his dissertation, free will. He agrees that it is heavily constrained, but does not quite go to my extreme that, facing constant manipulation and interference, humans do not have sufficient free will to be held accountable. Context over agency. Free will, the broken promise. Do lab rats have free will?

Feeding Frenzy

“Pack journalism” is back in vogue as mainstream and alternative reporters and commentators parasite off the plight of immigrants coming across the border. The most common meme is to report this as some kind of infestation, as if the nation were being infected. Lots of medical related terminology. This problem, originally caused by the elites on both sides of the border, now represents the staple food for the media’s new feeding frenzy.

High Speed

China has a vast and dense system of trains, but the map here includes just the rapid bullet trains.



The bullet trains are very comfortable, complete with snack service and the rest of it, and attended by

glamorous stewardess types. A 2-hour ride from Chongqin to Chengdu only costs about US $14.

Meantime, back in the US, we are stuck with rickety, accident-prone Amtrak…

Back in Business


A fairly large train station in Chongqin, heading to Chengdu, for university summer school in academic writing.

Cup of World Cup

There is a good article in the June 30 issue of The New Yorker, about how Americans rightly scorn the drama queen players who feign injuries, in order to trick referees into calling fouls.

Sometimes, a player will appear to be in extreme pain on the ground, and the instant replay will then reveal that absolutely nothing happened. When will FIFA red card these theatrics?

Otherwise the 2014 World Cup appears to be on track, with some powerful teams getting taken down (Spain, England, Portugal), others remaining amazing (Netherlands, Germany, Brazil) and middle-ranked ones looking better than ever: Mexico. Personally I’m routing for Mexico, the US and the Netherlands in that order.