Aug. 22 2016 04:42 PM

Sorting through the hype, spin and lies of future tech

Peter Thiel
Photo by Dan Taylor / wiki commons

Things are getting stranger by the day, sometimes by the hour, on the fringes of technology, and no will blame you if you can't keep up or don't want to.

At least no one will blame you. The people behind the keyboards, ostensibly seeking truth in a world of spin, hype, secrets and lies, I have less sympathy for. I've tried to talk with a couple reporters ("real" full-time reporters at major national publications, not part-time avocational types with a nose for the bizarre like me) about the strange, unsettling subjects we're going to cover today. Neither of them dismissed what I was saying—everything I'm about to tell you is indisputably true—but neither had any hunger to dig into them any deeper, either, because, as one wrote to me "I just don't want to think about this stuff. It's too disturbing."

Call me crazy, but I always thought digging into the stuff nobody wants to talk about was one of the primary purposes of journalism. "Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable," as Finley Peter Dunne wrote in 1902. So I guess that leaves it up to us.

We'll start with Peter Thiel, the billionaire tech investor, co-founder of PayPal, vindictive destroyer of Gawker, Donald Trump delegate, Bilderberg attendee and source of other questionable behaviors and motivations.

Peter Thiel wants to live forever. And he thinks regularly scheduled transfusions of young people's blood into his aging body is the way to do it.

That was the story earlier this month in Inc. Magazine, which dug into Thiel's investments of millions into startups working on anti-aging medicine. Inc. discovered Thiel "spends considerable time and money researching therapies for his personal use, and believes society ought to open its mind to life-extension methods that sound weird or unsavory."

Unsavory? That's as intriguing as it is creepy. Especially as the article turns to talk of "parabiosis," the transfusion of young people's blood into the veins of the old, and Thiel's acknowledgment that he is actively investing in technology that can make parabiosis a reality.

The Inc. story also introduces Jason Camm, the chief medical officer at Thiel Capital. Camm is an osteopath and "Personal Health Director to Peter Thiel...and a number of other prominent Silicon Valley business leaders and investors," according to his professional LinkedIn profile. "He enables his clients to...increase their prospects for Optimal Health and significant Lifespan Extension."

So far, parabiosis has allegedly worked on rats, but we'll spare you a cheap shot analogy. Though, beyond rats, the modern-day vampire equation is just sitting there. But what's most interesting to us is the question of why someone is so afraid of dying, so bloodthirsty for physical perpetuity. Perhaps it's nothing more than a lack of belief in any kind of afterlife. Or maybe it's something else.

And when it comes to "something else," there's nothing weirder than whatever the hell is going on at CERN (the French acronym for Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire), Switzerland's miles-wide underground sub-atomic particle collider that is ostensibly being used to discover how the universe formed.

There have been all kinds of maybe crazy conspiracy conversations about what CERN's really doing—Time travel? Black-hole creation? A Star Trek-like transporter?—but nothing you could hang onto without being dismissed as a nutter until last week, when somebody posted a YouTube video of a Satanic ritual mock human sacrifice, complete with black robes and stabbed female victim dressed in white, on the central outdoor grounds at CERN, right in front of its huge statue of the Hindu god Shiva the Destroyer.

The video was quickly removed from YouTube, but people mirrored the video and the British tabloids started writing about it (though the American press has been dutifully silent, even though it would surely drive page views), so YouTube began permitting people to post it again.

The video caused such a stir that a spokesperson (never named in any account I've been able to find) has been forced to confirm the event actually did take place and was filmed on the CERN campus, but was done as a joke by scientists and researchers at the facility without official knowledge or permission. It was just a group of super-intelligent people "taking their sense of humour too far," CERN stated.

So taking the "joke" at face value and accepting CERN's story, I still think it's fair to ask...What the fuck? Why are scientists replicating a human sacrifice on the grounds of one of science's most controversial and mysterious ongoing projects, in front of the Hindu god of destruction to boot? Who filmed this? Who are the participants? Who was the "victim?" What does this say about security at such a revolutionary scientific site?

Even if the most benign explanation of what happened at CERN is accepted, it still raises a slew of unsettling questions that deserve answering. Let's see who, if anybody, chases them down.


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