When Julian Assange Meets Google and the CFR (and an eschatology roundup)

Been making the tech news rounds lately — a transcript of a (dinner? lunch?) meeting between the (former?) Scarlet Pimpernel of the Internet, Google’s CEO / privacy-for-himself-and-nobody-else advocate, the Vice President of the Council on Foreign Relations, and two State Department guys.

As if the CFR presence wasn’t enough for the conspiracy theorists, the meeting took place on the 23rd and lasted five hours. (Hail Eris!)

Too much to quote or even summarize. Link’s right here this time for convenience: http://wikileaks.org/Transcript-Meeting-Assange-Schmidt?nocache

As it happens, though, the number 23 plays a pivotal role in the recent events at MIT, too. Read on for more…

Eschatology roundup:
Today’s April 20, the deadline for a market-volatility bet I observed someone made back in February:

“Some very rich people nevertheless appear to be betting on zombies in March. (“Beware the Ides of March!”). Not only has someone put $11 million on market volatility going up before April (http://www.businessinsider.com/art-cashin-on-big-vix-bet-2013-2)…”

The bet in question was that the Volatility Index (“Fear index”) would go above 20 some time between February and today. Did it? Nope.

The historical prices (http://finance.yahoo.com/q/hp?s=^VIX+Historical+Prices) got quite close twice (19.28 on February 25 and 18.20 on April 18) but they never got above 20. In other words, our anonymous millionaire’s out $11 million.

However, it’s not for want of poor predictive power. In that two and a half month timespan, we’ve had chaos and bloodshed on a worldwide scale… even more so than usual by the standards of late April over there (http://edition.cnn.com/2011/US/04/19/april.attacks.conspiracy/index.html).

In case anyone needs a reminder of just what the world’s endured–

The VIX hit its high on February 25 as Beppe Grillo’s party won more votes than any other in Italy, calling the future integrity of the Eurozone and the 5000-year-old social order of the “1%” into question.

A little while later the Cypriots saw capital controls and bank failures threaten and then wipe out significant chunks of their savings… as the Russians, mostly unaffected, withdrew their savings in comfort from the London and Moscow branches of Cypriot banks.

In the space of a week Bitcoin went up up up — and then crashed to half (and, at times, a quarter) of its value within the space of a few hours.

Gold dropped too — dropping faster and further than it has in 30 years, a “seven sigma” event of such rarity it’s like meeting a 7’7′ guy on the street, after someone used margin selling to turn $1 billion into a sale of $10 billion worth of gold futures.

Just this past week, two pressure cooker bombs turned the athletic celebration of individual success that is the Boston Marathon into bloodshed and horror. As well as the FBI, 4chan and Reddit launched full-scale criminal investigations based on social media imagery… the FBI had a noticeably better success rate. Evidently they suspected something beforehand, too, as runners noted heavy security (“just a drill”) before the race.

The day after the Marathon bombings, Iran was struck by an extraordinarily powerful (7.8) earthquake, killing 15 people despite being centered on the sparsely-populated Pakistani border. (http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia/2013/04/2013416111232927572.html)

Five hours after the FBI distributed “wanted” photos of the presumed Boston bombers a few days later, the bombers shot and killed an MIT police officer responding to a report of a disturbance* near Stata and proceeded (for precisely 23 hours, 10:48pm to 9:45pm) to turn Boston into a real-life episode of “24.”

* (http://www.faz.net/aktuell/gesellschaft/kriminalitaet/nahe-boston-mit-bleibt-nach-schuessen-und-explosionen-geschlossen-12154593.html)

In the process it emerged that the one bomber was a boxer who’d once told a photographer covering his boxing that he’d rather fight for the US as long as Chechnya was unfree. The aftermath presented a different picture: the bombers’ mother reported the FBI had followed them constantly, claiming the boxer was an “extremist leader” whose every step was being “controlled” by Internet sites (http://rt.com/usa/tsarnaev-brothers-parents-innocent-124/).

Now China’s seen its share of death and destruction, with 150 (!) people dead from an earthquake more than an order of magnitude less powerful (at 6.6) than the Iranian one. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-22228225)

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