The Deep End

* Large and small Websites are participating on July 12 in a Day of Action to preserve Net Neutrality, a free, open, and accessible Internet to anyone. The Federal Communications Commission is threatening to turn it into a system where cable and communications companies are gate keepers, that dictate prices and speeds to everyone else.
* That would be the end to Colltales and millions of sites, including those that serve as lifelines to billions, who depend on them for self-expression, to speak the truth to power, and to communicate with the world. Make your voice heard and fight for the democratic right of access of everyone to the World Wide Web.


Diving With Spiders 
In the World Wild Web

The wonder about the Internet is that it’s still expanding at an incalculable rate, and it remains defiantly free and democratic, despite all attempts at controlling it. So there’s no embarrassment to admit we’re far from grasping even a fraction of its multi billion-plus sites.
But as vast as the Web may be, it is but a shallow dip into its depths. To dive unprepared into the bowels of what’s known as Deep Web, is not advisable. Unreachable by search engine spiders, it’s like falling into an abyss, and like the ocean, it can crush you.
It’s not enough to Google ‘dark net’ in order to get to it, but it does bring up a staggering number of links. And that’s a start for a glance of the Deep Web which is some four to five hundred times larger than what’s available to everyone: about 6,500 terabytes compared to the meek 20 terabytes you can all access to. As for what’s in really in there, it’s another matter.
Close to 500 billion of that numbing figure are of sites you’ll probably never be admitted to, and as you’ll find out, nor should you try to. That is, unless you’re absolutely sure about what you’re getting yourself into. Consider that a fair warning.
Of course, not all that info is really relevant to the lives of the majority of people. But if you really need to be granted access, and there are ways to get it, what you’ll find is way more reliable data that you’re used to be fed by a regular search. A lot of it sits inside directories, under specific topic-driven searches, though.
WHERE THE WEB IS STICKIER
Despite the benign imagery used to invoke the differences between the regular Interweb and the Deep Web – fishing through the surface of the ocean as opposed to deep sea fishing – there’s not much that’s benign about this bottomless well of info, and many may find themselves, well, out of their depth while searching it.
That’s because traditional search engines have standard (more)
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Earth Cavities

Worlds Inside, Real & Imagined,
Offer Insights Into Human Psyche

‘Why may we not suppose four ninths of our globe to be cavity?’ Edmond Halley’s 1692 Hollow Earth theory was rightly debunked for its faulty science. But it did lend, at least for a while, credence to a recurrent feature in ancient mythology, folklore, and legends.
No pun intended but underneath it all, he too was drawn to the allure of tunnels, caves, and the underground. The hidden and the obscure are innate to our psyche and beliefs, just as natural or manufactured burrows, are ideal temples for practical and mystical needs.
‘Descend, bold traveller, into the crater of the jökull of Snæfell, (…) to attain the centre of the earth. I did it. Arne Saknussemm.’ Two centuries after the Isaac Newton collaborator made famous by a comet had given up on his idea, Jules Verne concocted his own atemporal version of the enduring myth, in the best-selling novel, Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Halley, an accomplished scientist thought to have been instrumental for the 1687 publishing of the Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, was ironically betrayed by what’s deemed a flaw of the revolutionary treatise: Newton’s erroneous attribution for the mass of the Moon.
By overweighting that mass in relation to Earth, by a factor of 1 to 26, instead of 1:81, the man responsible to our understanding of gravity laws unwittingly gave room to Halley’s supposition: Earth should be hollow, possibly inhabited. And the source of the Aurora Borealis, too.
None of this is detrimental to the two genius of science, or our debt to them. But Halley’s hypothesis did hit a resonant note, if not for its sacred past, then for a long string of mentally ill visionaries and phony prophets, way back from the Enlightenment to, sadly, our days.
BELOW THE BOTTOM
Even before antiquity, caverns were considered places of power, dwelling of spirits of good and evil, passages to other worlds. Many peoples and tribes, some whose descendants still walk among us, believed that the’d come from the Earth’s insides, and were supposed to return there someday.
All civilizations had some reference to the underworld, the Hades, the place where the dead lived. Dante Alighieri placed the Christian hell under our feet, so the faithful would live in fear and don’t stray. Throughout history, burials may have been so popular presumably for reasons other than just recycling.
Even today, some believe that UFOs actually come from beneath us. And just like vampires, fly out at night from hidden entrances in the poles. But the fact is, even if it were scientifically possible for this rock to have a giant hole inside, without cracking, it wouldn’t be big enough to accommodate all theories about it.
SECLUDED CATHEDRALS
To be sure, nature is not shy of keeping us away from its secrets, and often land or underwater caves are as inaccessible to most humans as the outer space is. Vietnam’s Hang Son Doong, the world’s largest cave, has its own jungle, rivers, and climate. And lethal challenges and a roll call of dead people too.
Its exploration is beyond most people’s athleticism and endurance. Just like astronauts are a special breed, so are cave enthusiasts. Also, due to Earth’s volatile geological and seismic configuration, while there may be even bigger caves yet to be discovered, some may suddenly cave in or shape up overnight.
Just as their enclosed universe will remain intimate and challenging, so will one’s connexion with those places. They may serve as a meditation sanctuary or a spot to hide, and the strength of one’s (more)
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Gatekeeper of Outerspace

Pluto & the Fading Thrill
of the Great Discoveries

Little engine that could. Ugly duckling. Nine-day wonder. Pictures that the New Horizons satellite took of its arrival at Pluto, after a nine-year trek, have stunned the world by their unexpected beauty, and even jaded space buffs have marveled by what’s been revealed to humanity.
The going has been rough for the heavenly body that sits at the edge of our Solar System. Not long after the probe’s departure from Earth, Pluto had already lost its planetary status and been downgraded to a dwarf planet. Other indignities could have followed it as well.
But the striking images still arriving from Pluto may change all that, at least in part, igniting a new found curiosity about the universe in the process. The last time that happened was arguably when the Pioneer twins brought us closer to the wondrous realm of Saturn and its ring system, in the 1970s.
Still, whether newly acquired knowledge radically speeds up our current understanding, Pluto’s planetary arch, from Mythology to joining the brotherhood of the Solar System, and then falling precipitously from grace, is already a rare and impressive saga.
Pluto was eagerly anticipated to be discovered since Antiquity, way before Clyde Tombaugh spotted it in 1930. Venetia Burney, 11 at the time, suggested its name, ‘because it hadn’t been used,’ as if unaware of the Greeks, who called it the God of the Underworld.
Known as the ninth planet orbiting the Sun for 76 years, Pluto‘s ride as such came to a crashing halt when the International Astronomical Union redefined the concept of what it means to be a planet. Despite heated arguments, Pluto failed to pass the new classification.
As for Tombaugh, who died in 1997, one may say that he was spared the embarrassment of seeing Pluto’s status demotion, but is somewhat sharing the glory of its resurgence to the eyes of the world: his ashes are entombed on the New Horizon capsule.
In Brazil, there used to live a German astrologer who believed that every time a planet would be in evidence, Continue reading

Deep Net


Diving Into the
World Wild Web

The wonder about the Internet is that it’s still expanding at an incalculable rate, and it remains defiantly free and democratic, despite all attempts at controlling it. So no one should be embarrassed to admit they’re far from knowing even a fraction of the estimated billion sites currently on it.
What few know, though, is that its accessible side is only a percentage of its real size. A much larger WWW realm lies just below its surface. The bowels of the web, known as Deep Web, are unreachable by search engines. And just like an ocean, if the surface is fraught with risks, its depths can be fatal.
Ironically, to find out more about this hidden world it’s enough to Google it. And what such search brings up is truly staggering. For starters, the bulk of data found on the Deep Web is some four to five hundred times larger than what’s available to everyone, about 6,500 terabytes compared to the meek 20 terabytes you can access.
For that billion of sites, there are close to 550 billion of unique records, that you probably won’t be admitted to, and as you’ll find out, nor should you try to. That is, unless you know really well what you’re getting yourself into. Consider that a fair warning.
Of course, not all that info is really relevant to the lives of the Continue reading

Divine Pests

If Our Saints Are Thugs,
Your Angels Must Be Insects

Let’s face it, there are way too many saints around. If one is not careful, it’s easy to get carried away and lose sight of who they are or whether they are prayer-worthy. Yet, the very choices that some exercise in the matter may be reason for concern.
Take Venezuela’s Holy Thugs, for example. They wore baseball hats, jeans barely covering their behinds, and high-caliber weapons on their belt. They are also dead, but still command a huge following in a country with arguably the highest murder rates in the world.
And who can blame John Coltrane worshipers? He too commands a hefty following. Thank goodness, his weapon was a jazz saxophone.
Now, heard the latest about angels? They can’t be vertebrates, some say, since they have wings, which are technically extra limbs.
At the end of the day, there are people who’d put anything on an altar and begin to pray. A few years back, Argentinian soccer great Maradona also had a church founded in his honor. Probably because at that time, the man was a walking death-defying act.
Not for us this business of kissing someone’s er picture, and ask for guidance. No easy job either, mind you. The cult of miracles as a path Continue reading