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Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994
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Archive for the ‘Cosmic Things’

Saffy is 12! Today she will grant wishes.

June 15, 2012 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats, Cosmic Things 65 Comments →

Happy Birthday, Saffron Sassafras Saoirse Sigourney Schmitz Scorsese Zafra-Safin!

We are not doing the annual advice thing because Saffy says all human problems are the same—Boring!—and humans should just get over themselves.

Instead of playing the Oracle, Saffy has consented to hear your wishes and grant the ones that please her.

You may petition her in Comments.

Appetite for Apocalypse

January 05, 2012 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Cosmic Things 1 Comment →


We just saw Melancholia. It’s beautiful and strange, two qualities we like.

THE DIFFICULTY with prophecies — whether based on passages from the Bible or ancient calendars, on solid climate science and economics or the visions of the Mongolian shamans Lawrence E. Joseph visited while researching his books — is that they are almost invariably wrong. Human beings are remarkably bad at predicting even relatively short-term, simple occurrences, such as the weather on Monday or the price of gold on Friday, much less something as vast and complex as the future of humanity. Many important events of the recent past came as a surprise to most people: World War I, the stock market crash of 1929, the Cold War, the computer age, the economic meltdown of 2008, the Arab Awakening, even the Occupy Wall Street movement. Part of the problem, as Scottish philosopher David Hume pointed out in the eighteenth century, is that we are equipped with a concept of “cause” that constitutes little more than an association of things or events in the past — and projecting the patterns of the past onto the future is perilous. We read books of narrative history and biography and get the impression that what made things happen, what shaped the story, was always sharply defined and clear, when in fact it wasn’t and more likely still isn’t. The real problem with the future is that it doesn’t yet exist, and the forces that bring it into existence are too complicated, too subtle and volatile and fractal, for us to know in advance — or ever.

And yet we continue to try. Why? Because we need to have a sense that we control our fates, even if all that means is that we know our fates.

Prophecies of impending doom — based on hard science as well as Scripture — abound. Where does our appetite for retribution come from? Read Apocalypse Soon by Daniel Baird in The Walrus.

Three-fourths Apocalypse

September 25, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Cosmic Things, Current Events, Fame 4 Comments →

Carina Nebula Panorama from Hubble
Photo: The Carina Nebula Panorama from NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day archive.

Last night as we were leaving Silk in Serendra we beheld a sight that caused our heads to do the Linda Blair 180-degree spin from The Exorcist.

Seated at a table outside Mamou’s were BB Gandanghari, Gretchen Barretto, and Chavit Singson.

It was mind-bending, like seeing a year’s worth of tabloids take human form and order drinks. In the general stupefaction no one thought to take a picture.

Admittedly fear was a factor. You know what one of them is capable of. Yes, Gretchen is terrifying.

What could they talking about? If there were four of them I’d be worried about the Apocalypse. More likely they were discussing something innocuous like kitchen tiles or sunscreen, but we’d like to think that the lives of the. . .famous are so much more exciting than ours. In this case we are absolutely certain that the lives of the. . .famous are so much more exciting than ours.

I reported this cosmic occurrence to several friends. Bernard-Henri noted that the three of them together is perfect casting for the next movie by the National Artist. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Apat Na Alas Sa Taguig (Oh God, You Must Be Kidding!)

Your front page today was our back page yesterday.

June 27, 2009 By: jessicazafra Category: Cosmic Things, Current Events, Music 5 Comments →

26.06.09

This column was written two days earlier and it appeared online hours before the death was announced. How did I know that Michael Jackson was going to die?

Am I psychic?

Do I know the secrets of the universe?

Do I know when you’re going to die? (Do you seriously want to know?)

Fine, I’ll tell you.

IT’S A COINCIDENCE.

In hindsight it seems obvious, but when I had the overpowering urge to listen to Jackson’s albums I thought it was just some midlife nostalgia trip. Fortunately I’ve just read Leonard Mlodinow’s book on randomness, so I can explain it to myself. Ooh, there’s a column.

So if you want to know the future or to place a curse on someone, you’d be better off consulting one of these.

Aswang

Aswang (sculpture by Ryan Villamael)

It’s only been 24 hours, but after the media overload we are now tired of hearing about Michael Jackson. Funny how the technology that is supposed to abate boredom really hastens its onset.

Satan Claus

December 24, 2008 By: jessicazafra Category: Cosmic Things, The Bizarre 1 Comment →


Greeting card by Charles Platt, 1994 (found on Boing Boing)

Here’s a tract by a theologian who argues that Santa IS Satan. And it’s not just dyslexia!

Bigger, Faster, Cooler

September 14, 2008 By: jessicazafra Category: Cosmic Things, Science, Technology 5 Comments →

It’s not easy to have a rational discussion of new technologies these days. Half the time the conversation may be boiled down into the question, “Where can I get it and how much will it cost?” Inevitably debate arises over whose thing is bigger. Or smaller. Or faster, more convenient to use, or just cooler.

Here is a gadget that is bigger, faster, more complicated, and infinitely cooler than nearly anything. You can’t buy it unless you have eight billion dollars and your basement can accommodate a 27-kilometer circular tunnel. It is the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the humongous atom-smasher at the Cern laboratory in Geneva. The LHC was built to try and answer the question: What is the universe made of, and how did it begin?

The Biggest Gadget Ever, in Emotional Weather Report, today in the Star.