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Category Archives: Immortality

Calgary folk fest: Dave Alvin and intimations of immortality – theyyscene.ca

Posted: July 21, 2017 at 12:15 pm

Born in Downey, California, in the 1950s, Dave Alvin and his brother Phil were perfectly placed in geography and time to have front row seats as the blues, rockabilly and country formed a drunken, dirty backwoods threesome and begat rock and roll.

Growing up, the brothers listened to Big Bill Broonzy, Chet Atkins, Big Joe Turner and other masters. They later took those moments with them when they formed renowned roots band the Blasters, rubbing shoulders with the emerging Los Angeles punk scene featuring X and Black Flag in the early 1980s.

Like The Kinks Ray and Dave Davies, the brothers acrimony was legendary. Dave left the band to go solo while Phil continued on with them in different configurations and intervals over the next decades while also pursuing solo work. In the meantime, Dave briefly joined X, and the Knitters, before continuing on with his solo career, enjoying different forms of success. Dwight Yoakam recorded his song Long White Cadillac in 1989. He has produced many albums, including ones for the Derailers and for Tom Russell, and has been a session musician for Rambling Jack Elliot, among others.

After Phil had a near-death experience in Spain, the two brothers reunited to put out Common Ground, their 2014 album of Big Bill Broonzy covers. They followed it up with Lost Time, an album of beloved covers from their youth, in 2015. They will appear together with their band The Guilty Ones on Saturday and Sunday of the Calgary Folk Music Festival.

Before heading up north, Dave spoke with theYYSCENE.

Q: I was surprized when I looked it up and found out when you last played the folk fest it was 2006!

A: Well, you can shut me up. Wow! It seems to me maybe six years ago at the most. That does not seem right, but I think that is right. Thats pretty wild, wow. I remember that show very well. I was still a bit of a drinker in those days and I so remember having a hangover the next day when I saw Kris Kristofferson, and when he did Sunday Morning Coming Down I thought, I can relate to that. I remember having a nice conversation with Dar Williams, who approached me after the show, and she and I had a long conversation about songwriting.

Q: Why did you and Phil choose Big Bill Broonzy as the artist to cover on your first album together after youd been on separate musical paths for years?

A: He was one of the catalysts when we were kids that set us on the road that weve traveled. Unlike some blues performers you know, if you are going to do someone like Lightnin Hopkins, you would have to sound like Lightnin Hopkins, because his art was so personalized. So if you are going to do a tribute to Lightnin Hopkins, you gotta make it to sound like Lightnin Hopkins. That can be fun for a song or so, but theres no reason for whole album: Heres the Alvin Brothers trying to sound like Lightnin Hopkins.

Whereas with Big Bill, he certainly had a style of playing guitar that was uniquely his own, but he was a songwriter. The songs were strong enough that if you wanted to you could remove them from the Big Bill Broonzy quote-unquote sound and interpret them any way you wanted. Which is kind of what we did on the record. There are a couple that are close to sounding like Big Bill, there are others that dont, but theyre still his songs.

Its like, if you are doing a tribute to Bob Dylan, I would hope you try not to sound like Bob Dylan, but try to sound like yourself, and the same kind of rule applies to Big Bill Broonzy.

Q: I saw Dylan on Sunday. Even him doing his own stuff from the past; think how boring it could be to play the same songs for 50 years. He re-wrote himself (again) and in some ways his songs, yet kept it true to the heart of the songs.

A: Its always debatable, because I can go either way on that. I am sort of blessed because I dont get sick of playing my own songs, and the reason, I tell people, is I still cant believe I wrote em. Its kinda like, Really? I wrote that! Wow, Im good!

I can always find something new inside the song, and in my mind, no matter where I am in the world, I can always go to where I was when I wrote the song what I was thinking, what I was going through.

In Bobs situation, its a little different. If you ever listen to weird outtakes, like the recordings of Like a Rolling Stone or outtakes from Positively 4th Street, his version is different each time. He is not a by-the-note kind of guy. I think that for him, part of it is a natural contrariness, in that he kind of wants to mess with the audience a little bit, lovingly, but still mess with them.

His vocal styles have changed over the years and I think that his phrasing it might be one of the things that attracts him to the standards his phrasing is excellent. He knows how to phrase a damn song. Thats true whether its a Bob Dylan song from 1966 or a Burke-Van Heusen song from 1960. He knows how to phrase a lyric; he knows how to wring the emotions out of a lyric.

Because hes not, lets say, Richard Thompson on guitar his instrumental genius is the way he sings and the way he phrases his lines. And I think when he goes onstage thats the challenge for him thats what hes looking forward to. I dont know where I am in the world, but I am going to sing these songs, and I am going to phrase them differently.

Q: A great thing about seeing Dylan, and many others, still going in their 70s, is that we have almost stopped hearing about how rock and roll or music is a young persons game. In the 1950s and 60s, people thought an artists career would be done in six months or a few years, and then it would be on to the next thing. We dont hear stuff like that anymore.

A: I imagine if you talked to a 17-year-old they might think that way, but part of it is that the audiences have gotten older and they dont want to see their heroes stop, because that might mean something heavy. The people that Phil and I admired as a kid played until they died. Thats what (Russian pianist) Vladimir Horowitz did.

And it changes. Youre not the same artist at 60 as you were at 24 you can summon that 24-year-old, but you have to stay where you are now, at some point. I dont begrudge guys for trying to stay 24. Its something I can summon, I can pull out the songs and say, OK, were all 24 again. And I am certain Dylan does the same thing.

When you hear a song for the first time, the ones that usually really resonate with you are the ones that you heard on your parents car radio when you were eight-years-old or the ones that you heard during your first big make-out session with a girl or guy, or when you got your heart broken.

Like a Rolling Stone is going to resonate with an audience. If he wrote his greatest song on his next album, its not going to resonate the same way because theyve lived with it for 53 years.

Q: Speaking of things that resonate and the past, do you get a lot of people telling you that you should do a reunion with the Blasters?

A: Yes. What I say is the Blasters are a band in and of themselves. They have a guitar player; they dont need me. And theres a certain thing to having those four or five guys together on stage thats certainly magical, but usually its unannounced in a bar. Ill just drop in and pick up a guitar. And thats good enough for me.

The reason I used Gene Taylor, the piano player from the Blasters, who plays on the two albums I did with my brother, is he is one the worlds best boogie-woogie blues piano players. But if I was to do the Blasters, if made an album with the Blasters, that means theyre Blasters records, and I want to make Dave and Phil Alvin records. Even the guys in the Blasters we all grew up together we were the Alvin Brothers before we were the Blaster Brothers. Also, Ive got a pretty amazing damn band.

Q: Whats changed between the way it was when you used to play with Phil and the way it is playing with him now?

A: We dont fight. I think in the past four years weve had two minor disagreements. One was I was not playing a note that my brother wanted to hear. It was an F-sharp, and I was like, No, youre out of your mind. And, it turns out he was right, Goddamn it. So what could I do?

When we first did the Big Bill record my brother was still relatively frightened over his near death experience in Spain, so the Big Bill Broonzy record, with the exception of the F-sharp note, was easy as hell. It would have taken the Blasters a couple of years to do that record Im exaggerating. We just dont fight like we used to there is a mutual respect.

I have to grudgingly admit that some of the things we used to fight about when we were in the band, Ive come around to his way of seeing things, you know, You were right about that. But dont tell him that. And vice versa, I think my brother has come around to seeing certain things my way. We meet about halfway.

Q: Are you able to speak about your brothers near death experience?

A: Its really complicated, but long story short: he was on stage in Valencia, Spain, with his band, and he was having trouble breathing, so when the show was over, they rushed him to a hospital where he proceeded to die.

And I was in California, and I got a phone call saying, Your brothers dead. He was brain dead for at least 10 minutes, and were not sure how long, somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes he was brain dead, and then they revived him. A Spanish doctor, Mariella Anaya Sifuentes, managed get on top of my brother and do what Ive always wanted to do which is beat the living shit out of him. And she got his heart to start again. Its a long story, but she brought him back to life.

And so in that long period while she is pounding on his chest to get everything moving, I am sitting in California thinking my brothers dead and kind of going over, Gee, what did I screw up here? And I realized we didnt ever do any records for the little 13-year-old boys in us. Thats kind of around our age when we discovered Big Bill Broonzy and Big Joe Turner and people like that. (Im thinking) if I had it to do it all over again, I would so some records of certain material just for ourselves. And he pulled out of it, and as soon as he was ready, we went in the studio.

Q: How did you choose the tracks on you last album, 2015s Lost Time?

A: We knew we wanted to do some Big Joe Turner songs. He was our friend and mentor and he taught my brother how to sing. He is a little bit like Lightnin Hopkins in that to do Big Joe you kinda have to do Big Joe.

But hes also a little like Big Bill in that he had a long career and he didnt necessarily change his style, but the musicians around him changed, so he went from in his early days doing Kansas City jazz to 50s rock and roll rhythm and blues to 60s west coast blues. So if were going to do some Big Joe we can cover all the styles of Big Joe. The rest are songs weve always loved since we were kids.

We were trying to be aware that there are so many songs in the blues tradition that have been done too many times that the world didnt need another version, so we tried to stay away from those.

Q: Are you writing new songs at this time?

A: I am always writing and throwing things away. I am the harshest critic of my own songs that youve ever met.

Q: Whats shifted since you were first playing in the 1970s and early 80s?

A: Well, the actual being onstage hasnt changed. Youre still immortal onstage. Thats the addiction. Back to Bob Dylan, I dont know if he is still touring because hes got debts to pay, but I imagine its because he gets the same high I get.

When youre onstage and everythings clicking, there is no time. Youre not old, youre not young. You exist in this other realm. Its like a runners high. Youre living totally in a moment. The past is the present and the future is the present. Its a pretty ethereal state. Ive talked to other people about this, and lots know what Im talking about.

Other people are punching a time clock. You know, 20 more minutes. For me, its if Im onstage, all my dead friends are alive, my family, my mother and father are alive, my heroes, you know, Big Joe Turner is alive. And now were done, OK, now back to reality.

So being onstage hasnt changed at all, but a lot of whats around being onstage has. The music industry has changed drastically for better or for worse.

The main thing Ive noticed, we did a show about four or five years ago, and the other act on the bill was these young guys, about eight of them. We shared this big dressing room. So, they went up on stage and did their thing, and I went and we played our set, and I go to go back to the room and I think the room will be filled with smoke, alcohol, drugs, and there will be people flying through the air because theyre 22-years-old. And I think, Oh, I gotta field that.

And I get up to the room and its dead silent. And theyre all sitting, each on their own computers, doing whatever theyre doing. Jesus Christ guys, youre 22-years-old, dont you know youre supposed to have fun?

The motels are either swanky or theyre crap holes, the food at truck stops is still terrible, but the biggest change is 22-year-old guys are not out making idiots of themselves. Gee, I am glad I was 22 when I was 22!

Q: You mentioned you were drinking less?

A: I will still enjoy a beverage, but I dont enjoy them in bulk. Ill have a beer before I go onstage because it kind of loosens up the brain. It makes me less shy and inhibited because I am shy and inhibited unless demon rum is involved. And Ill have a beer after Im done, but thats about it. Alcohol used to be a religion and now I nod at it.

Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin + the Guilty Ones play Saturday, July 29 and Sunday, July 30 at the Calgary Folk Music Festival on Princes Island. For tickets, call 403-233-0904 or visit the festival'swebsite.

Mary-Lynn Wardle is a Bragg Creek writer who covers her two passions, music and horses. She has written in the Calgary Herald, FFWD Weekly, Swerve, Western Horsemen, Western Horse Review, Horses All and other publications, for over 25 years.

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JT’s immortality a certainty after State of Origin heroics | Gympie Times – Gympie Times

Posted: July 19, 2017 at 4:11 am

SHORT PASS: Queensland State of Origin rugby league captain Cameron Smith says he is the greatest player to ever wear the maroon.

He is touted by many rugby league commentators as not only being the best player in the world at the moment, but potentially the best player to have ever played.

You only have to have a passing interest in rugby league to know Johnathon Thurston is already a legend of the game.

Humble and gracious as he is talented, the man is everything that is right with rugby league in the modern era.

He has steered home countless matches for the Cowboys and put his unique stamp on every level of the game.

I believe he is set to become rugby league's ninth immortal.

An honour reserved only for the most influential and ground breaking players, Thurston's heroics in Origin II, where he kicked the winning goal and sent Queensland to the decider which they subsequently won, have all but assured him a seat at the table.

Clive Churchill, Bob Fulton, Reg Gasnier, Johnny Raper, Graeme Langlands, Wally Lewis, Arthur Beetson and Andrew Johns are the current immortal inductees, and while Thurston still has a couple of years of play in him, I am calling for his induction to happen sooner rather than later.

After all, who else could possibly compare.

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Federer on verge of Wimbledon immortality – Inquirer.net

Posted: July 18, 2017 at 4:10 am

This combination of pictures created on January 29, 2017 shows Switzerlands tennis player Roger Federer holding up his 18 Grand Slam titles. 1st row, from left : Australian Open 2017, Wimbledon 2012, Australian Open 2010, Wimbledon 2009, Roland Garros 2009, US Open 2008. 2nd row, from left : US Open 2007, Wimbledon 2007, Australian Open 2007, US Open 2006, Wimbledon 2006, Australian Open 2006. 3rd row, from left : US Open 2005, Wimbledon 2005, US Open 2004, Wimbledon 2004, Australian Open 2004, Wimbledon 2003. / AFP PHOTO / STF

Five years after his last Wimbledon triumph, Roger Federer can capture a record eighth All England Club title Sunday and become the tournaments oldest mens champion of the modern era.

With his 36th birthday fast approaching, the evergreen Swiss will comfortably succeed Arthur Ashe, who was almost 32 when he won in 1975, as Wimbledons most senior champion.

Victory over Croatian giant Marin Cilic will also give him a 19th career Grand Slam title and second in three majors this year after sweeping to a fifth Australian Open in January following a six-month absence.

I was hoping to be in good shape when the grass court season came around, said Federer who, for good measure, also pocketed back-to-back Masters at Indian Wells and Miami as well as a ninth Halle grass court crown.

The first three, four months were just like a dream really. So this is something I was working towards, you know, Wimbledon, to be in good shape. Im happy its paying off here now.

Federer admits his form in 2017 has surprised even himself after he shut down his 2016 season to rest a knee injury in the aftermath of his brutal five-set semi-final loss at Wimbledon to Milos Raonic.

He has 30 wins and just two losses this year and he has reached his 11th Wimbledon final without dropping a set.

Sundays match will be his 102nd at the tournament and his 29th final at the majors.

It makes me really happy, making history here at Wimbledon. Its a big deal. I love this tournament, said Federer, who has been tied with Pete Sampras on seven Wimbledon titles since beating Andy Murray in the 2012 final.

All my dreams came true here as a player. To have another chance to go for number eight now, be kind of so close now at this stage, is a great feeling.

Yeah, unbelievably excited. I hope I can play one more good match. 11 finals here, all these records, its great. Im so close now.

While Big Four rivals Murray, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal failed to even make the semi-finals, Federer has been reborn.

He came into Wimbledon having radically pruned his playing schedule, skipping the entire clay court season.

Wimbledon is just his seventh event of the year; 28-year-old Cilic is in his 15th.

Federer, reveling in the spotlight of having played all his matches on Centre Court, has hardly been troubled on his way to the final.

He has lost serve just four times and spent four and a half hours less on court than Cilic.

Federer also boasts a 6-1 career record over Cilic, the 2014 US Open champion who has made his first Wimbledon final at the 11th attempt.

However, Cilics game is made for grass and 12 months ago he led Federer by two sets to love and held three match points in an epic quarter-final which the Swiss superstar eventually claimed.

When Cilic won his only Slam in New York three years ago, he demolished Federer in straight sets in the semi-finals.

I dont want to say its more relaxed going into it because I have a good head-to-head record against Marin, even though the matches were extremely close, said Federer.

But its not like weve played against each other 30 times. You feel like you have to reinvent the wheel.

Its more straightforward, in my opinion. I think thats nice in some ways. Its a nice change, but it doesnt make things easier.

Cilic is only the second Croatian man to reach the Wimbledon final after Goran Ivanisevic, his former coach, who swept to a memorable title victory in 2001.

A win on Sunday would also make him the first Wimbledon champion outside of Federer, Murray, Djokovic and Nadal since Lleyton Hewitt triumphed in 2002.

However, he has only won one of his last 12 matches against a top five player at the Slams, even if that was over Federer in New York three years ago.

Cilic has fired 130 aces at Wimbledon this year and dropped just 10 service games.

This is Rogers home court, the place where he feels the best and knows that he can play the best game, said Cilic.

Obviously Im going to look back, 12 months ago I was one point away from winning a match against him here. But its still a big mountain to climb.

Federers defeated semi-final opponent Tomas Berdych sees only one winner on Sunday.

Idont see anything that would indicate Roger is getting older. Hes just proving his greatness in our sport, said the Czech.

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Cory Doctorow on technological immortality, the transporter problem, and fast-moving futures – The Verge

Posted: July 17, 2017 at 4:09 am

Cory Doctorow has made several careers out of thinking about the future, as a journalist and co-editor of Boing Boing, an activist with strong ties to the Creative Commons movement and the right-to-privacy movement, and an author of novels that largely revolve around the ways changing technology changes society. From his debut novel, Down And Out In The Magic Kingdom (about rival groups of Walt Disney World designers in a post-scarcity society where social currency determines personal value), to his most acclaimed, Little Brother (about a teenage gamer fighting the Department of Homeland Security), his books tend to be high-tech and high-concept, but more about how people interface with technologies that feel just a few years into the future.

But they also tend to address current social issues head-on. Doctorows latest novel, Walkaway, is largely about people who respond to the financial disparity between the ultra-rich and the 99 percent by walking away and building their own networked micro-societies in abandoned areas. Frightened of losing control over society, the 1 percent wages full-on war against the walkaways, especially after they develop a process that can digitize individual human brains, essentially uploading them to machines and making them immortal. When I talked to Doctorow about the book and the technology behind it, we started with how feasible any of this might be someday, but wound up getting deep into the questions of how to change society, whether people are fundamentally good, and the balance between fighting a surveillance state and streaming everything to protect ourselves from government overreach.

Walkway feels timely in terms of present politics and sociology, but the technology is more theoretical. How much of this future do you consider plausible?

Oh, the technology is the most hand-wavey stuff in the book. Its probably easier to identify the stuff thats least plausible, like consciousness uploading. If our consciousness isnt inextricably tied to our bodies, we have no good way to know that, apart from wishful thinking. That sort of thing should always be looked at suspiciously as a metaphor, and not as a prediction. When we were making steam engines, we were all sure we could make a steam-powered brain. We had a lot of other different versions of this in fiction at different times it always turns out by this amazing coincidence, we think whatever technology we use every day is the best way to understand our own cognition. The most common technology of the day is definitely the thing that is most like our brains, rather than something coming up in the future. So Im deeply, deeply skeptical of the idea that our brains are things that well put in computers.

But we do live a lot of our lives in the digital realm. We project our minds into the digital world. So as a metaphor for understanding who we are and how we relate to other people, consciousness uploading is a useful metaphor. Machine-learning-based vision systems are getting better at recognizing objects. Like a lot of fast-growing things, we dont know if its on an S-curve or a J-curve. Is it going through a burst of productivity that will reach an actual limit and then taper off, or are we in some crazy exponential curve that will just go up and up, with machine learning getting better and better, and delivering more and more dividends? We cant answer, because a lot of what were getting out of machine learning right now is incremental, but some of it is breakthroughs. Its got that sexiness factor, where a bunch of people who would have historically not given a shit about machine learning are suddenly looking really closely at it, discovering easy wins that were invisible to earlier practitioners. Maybe there will be all new kinds of amazing discoveries.

Other things in Walkaway All of the biotech stuff, like turning urine back into beer, that feels like something within the realm of CRISPR hackers. Its something they might attempt, though maybe not pull off to the extent that I would drink what they made. CRISPR is one of those brands where theres so much crazy, awesome, interesting stuff, and also so much hot air and bloviating that its hard to tell whats hand-waving and whats real. As a fiction writer, thats my sweet spot. Exciting, expansive, fast-moving, and full of bullshit? That is science-fiction-writing gold, right there. Everything you write about it sounds eminently plausible.

With the first Homeland book, it felt like you were suggesting real ways to resist surveillance overreach and react to real politics. Walkaway deals with similar issues, but in a far more speculative way. Can readers learn anything useful from Walkaway about dealing with current economic and power inequities?

Consciousness uploading in Walkaway is not a solution more like a McGuffin. Nobody really solves any problems with that. They solve problems with ethics and social movement and organizational tools, with communal living and unselfishness and commitment to abundance. Having Airs that act like house elves is just fashion. But other things they do, like using networks to build flexible political groups that allow them to pool their labor, I think if were going to have a resistance, thats the resistance. Thats what we get out of technology.

Ive had years of debating with friends in political movements about whether technology is a distraction. Malcolm Gladwell wrote a column about how real activists lay down shoe leather ringing doorbells. They dont post online petitions. But the reality is that if shoe-leather is needed, the way you mobilize it is with networks where you can find people who want to go and ring doorbells. And anyone who says, Well, I dont know why I would use a communications tool that will allow me to find people who feel the same way I do anywhere in the world, and recruit them to my cause, I just want to ring doorbells, that person is talking out of their ass.

In the book, you dont address the usual problem of human brain duplication, which is basically the transporter problem if you make a copy of yourself and destroy the original, is the new one really you, or are you dead? How do you feel about that question personally?

I have this super-glib answer, which is, Everyone who cares about that will die. If immortality is only available to people who dont care about that stuff, just wait a hundred years, and all the people with moral quandaries about it will be dead.

My thoughts on it are that if your hypothetical transporter had hypothetical characteristics that made it like murder, it would be like murder, and if your hypothetical transporter had hypothetical characteristics that didnt, it wouldnt be. Its your Gedankenexperiment, you give it the contours that you want it to have. I wrote an essay about this once, specifically about a classic science-fiction story called The Cold Equations, and how it omits the writers hand outside the frame, manipulating things so theres only one answer to their problem. The inevitability of The Cold Equations is not the inevitability of the universe. Its a contrivance. If you have a thought experiment and its clear that it can really only be answered one way, our next question should be, Why did you structure your thought experiment that way?

One of the three books youve often cited as inspiring Walkaway was Rebecca Solnits A Paradise Built in Hell, about the positive, generous ways people respond to crisis, and how people in power usually make crisis worse by attempting to stabilize situations with heavy-handed measures. How early in the process of writing this did those parallels occur to you?

The elements of Walkaway were self-assembling in my subconscious out of things I wrote for Boing Boing and things I have seen in the world, whether they were at Maker Faire or Burning Man or on the 9 oclock news. Solnits book helped crystallize a lot of those ideas. I started actually writing this book by re-reading Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom and thinking about what story I could tell about how that society came into being. That primed me to start noticing things in the world that hinted at the kind of story.

Im filling in the blanks between our present day and Down and Out in The Magic Kingdom. I got as far as Walkaway, and I want to stick a pin in the board there, or hammer a piton into the side of the cliff, to help me find the next step there. My theory of change in my activist work is that theres no point charting a course from A to Z, because the world is dynamic. If your course from A to Z works now, by the time you get to M, everything from M to Z will have rearranged itself. Youre going to need a new plan. And so my view is, you do hill-climbing. You find that step you can take that makes the world a little better, that gives you a slightly more advantageous position, and then you see from there what your next step might be. In my activist work, Im going from A to B. In my imaginative fiction work, Im going from Z to M. Maybe theyll meet in the middle? Its just very abstract.

One outgrowth of that expansion is that in your writing in general, you often dig deep into what one technological change does to the world, then zip past the next few, because that first change makes things alter so fast that theres no time for consideration. Does that approach in fiction come out of your attitude about radical technological change?

Yeah. I do think things are intertwingled. I think it was Arthur C. Clarke who said if an old, well-established scientist says something is possible, theyre probably right, and if they say something is impossible, theyre probably wrong. The world is weirder than we tend to extrapolate. We make thought experiments that are stripped-down models, where a small thing changes another thing and then stops there, as opposed to rippling outward and making interference patterns with other changes. Like Gardner Dozois said, a science-fiction writer should see cars and cinemas and not only predict the drive-in, but also the sexual revolution. And it occurred to me one day that in the 21st century, the major effect all of those things that lingers isnt the sexual revolution, the car, the drive-in, or the cinema. Its the fact that because the sexual revolution necessitated a driving license, for the first time in American history, civilians started covering government issued ID, and that created the entire modern bureaucratic surveillance state. So if you really want to be a real badass science-fiction writer, you should predict that hitching government-issued credentials to the procreative act would profoundly change our current world more than anything else.

Youve said you consider science fiction to be a sort of social-engineering fly-through of possible technology. Once youve considered what technology or social issue you want to write about, at what point do the characters come in for you?

Well, here, Im trying to get people on an emotional fly-through here. Walkaway isnt about the impact of technology, so much as a shift in our social mores toward the belief that your neighbors are part of the solution, and not the problem. Competitive market economies create amazing productivity gains. We talk about how wasteful capitalism is, and how much pollution it produces, and so on, but if you look at any material object that you use thats been made in the last five years a car, a refrigerator, whatever the labor, energy, and material inputs to that object are an infinitesimal fraction of what they were when we were born. And that is an astounding accomplishment.

So market capitalism works really well. But it has a failure mode, and that failure mode is to pit us against one another so we have adversarial exclusive destinies, where my success is your loss. And that produces this world where when things go wrong, instead of turning to your neighbors, you run away from them. And we cant solve our problems without our neighbors. All those preppers who have bugout bags so they can run for the hills when the lights go out, those people are crazy, because if they get a burst appendix or bad stuff in their water, they cant solve their problems. Society is built up by having a variety of perspectives and expertises all convened under one roof, as opposed to each person for themselves. So the emotional fly-through here, where the characters come in, is in figuring out what would it be like if in a crisis, you turned to your neighbor and asked them how you could help them, and the two of you got together to help the next person you could find. Which I think going back to Rebecca Solnit, thats what we do in a crisis, but its not what we think well do. Its statistically illiterate to imagine that most people are bad, when most of the people you know are good. What are the odds that you would happen to know the very, very rare good people out of a pool of extremely bad people, as opposed to you knowing a fairly representative slice of people?

Is there a technological solution for what you call the virtue deficit, the fear that other people are probably bad and cant be trusted?

The leaderboard system in Walkaway [where people are competitively rated by what they contribute to a collective] is a really good example of how technology can pit us against us. One of the things Im really interested in is how the different frameworks of our social media produce different outcomes. So Twitter shows you the number of followers people have, and thats seems to be inextricably tied to social media. Its very rare now to find a social technology that doesnt show you how many followers people have. Tumblr doesnt, which is super-interesting. If youre on Tumblr, you dont know how popular another Tumblr person is. Flickr was one of the first social technologies, but it marked itself out from things like MySpace by refusing to allow you to see how many followers other people had. If youre making a technology about being sociable and finding your authentic self and expressing it to other people, then creating a system where people can easily compete to see whos the most popular runs antithetical to it. I think social media has optimized a mechanism for being compelling without being enjoyable.

We become inured to a lot of these technological techniques for manipulating our emotional states.

I can spend endless hours on Twitter, even though Im not enjoying it. The maximization of engagement rather than pleasure has been a hugely transformative and not-for-the-better shift in the way we do application and technology design. If we want to make technology that encourages pleasure instead of engagement, or cooperation instead of competition, there are conscious choices we can make. Well reach some natural limits. People become adapted to whatever kinds of social rewards they get from our technology. We tend to forget, when a new technology sweeps through our world like a bonfire, that well become inured to it, and itll cease to be impressive or compelling. Old ads for soap basically said, Buy soap and you will be clean. Talking about the value of the product used to be a fantastically persuasive technique. But through exposure, we became inured. Today, if you want to advertise soap, you do it like Axe body spray: spray this on your body and women will throw themselves at you! Its like a junkie chasing a high a dose that used to make us feel great now just makes us feel normal. We become inured to a lot of these technological techniques for manipulating our emotional states.

There are always people at the margin who dont become inured. A lot of people will try a casino game and find that mechanic really compelling, until they realize they wont win in the long term, and walk away. But other people are unable to disengage, and become problem gamblers. So are we going to use technology to make ourselves better or worse? Well find some techniques that people are broadly vulnerable to, or receptive to, and minorities of people will be susceptible to them in very profound ways, or will be totally immune to them. And then well develop new techniques, and theyll go in both directions to make us better and make us worse. But that doesnt mean that they wont make us better or worse. It just means that they create this boom-and-bust cycle of making big changes that become smallish changes that then beget a new big change.

Speaking of walking away from something that doesnt give you long-term gains, the hardest thing for me to buy in Walkaway wasnt brain uploads, it was the idea that you could put your heart and soul into building something, and then just quietly walk away if someone else tried to take it. Its a radical philosophy throughout the book, but ownership is so baked into American culture the twin ideas that having things makes you important and happy, and that if you make something, you deserve it. How would you convince someone to walk away from something they made and care for?

Well, theyre walking away from the physical reality of the home theyve built, but not the digital afterlife. So theyre like programmers who fork open a project because they cant agree with one another. Yeah, they walk away from the server where their code is running, but they dont walk away from all the knowledge they gained making it, or the individual talents theyve honed. They walk away to do something better.

Its a bit like the rationalist community, who are trying to find a way around our cognitive blind spots, to apply behavioral economics to get people to do what will be best in the long term, instead of what your emotions tell you is best in the short term. The reality is, when you look back on people who have done amazing things, they usually walked away from several failures in order to get there. If you want to triple your success rate, you triple your failure rate. Walt Disney had to walk away from Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, which was owned by the studio he worked with, so he created Mickey Mouse. And if it wasnt for that failure, he would have been a middling cartoonist drawing Oswald the Lucky Rabbit for the rest of his life. There are a lot of those failures in the lives of people who have very successful careers. Elon Musk was forced out of PayPal. That stings a lot when it happens. But everyone whos found true love, with very few exceptions, walked away from times when they thought they found true love, and it turned out that they hadnt.

You do have to write off a lot of failures on your way to success.

Today, theres a lot of big movement for successful people to admit their failures, rather than paper over them, and to talk about their other challenges, like depression and mental illness, as opposed to pretending to be super-people who have no problems. Thats part of it, helping people understand that you do have to write off a lot of failures on your way to success. In Walkaway, you also cushion the blow by having technology that makes it easier to salvage the best parts of the things you walk away from.

Streaming technology becomes vitally important in Walkaway, and theres a tension between the surveillance state, where the rich can track everyone elses movements, and the ability to broadcast your reality to get past news filtering and censorship, and show people whats really going on. Its notable that our government is simultaneously trying to keep us from recording things it doesnt want seen, and trying to record and examine everything we do.

I think that just tells you that their arguments are self-serving bullshit. When they say, Well, we dont want you to record the police because it puts them at risk, or it interferes with their job, or they have the right to privacy, and then they say, By the way, your privacy is totally worthless, theyre having their cake and eating it too. And theres another framing for this, which is that when you do the peoples business with a gun on your hip, the people have a right to know what youre doing. And when you are the people, the government doesnt have the automatic right to know what youre doing. Thats actually not a novel prospect. Thats a thing baked into the US Constitution. Transparency for the strong and privacy for the weak. Thats the Fourth Amendment.

On a lighter note, like one of the things that I really enjoy about the book is the emphasis that you put on people creating art even in the most crisis-ridden circumstances. There are a lot of details in that vein. What made that aspect of creativity interesting to you?

In every kind of adversity, you get people making art.

Well, thats certainly the world I inhabit. Everyone I know has laptops covered in stickers. When laser cutters first came along, everyone was engraving everything they could engrave. We do ornament our things, especially in times of adversity. Some of my very favorite art in the world, like vintage folk art, is trench art. Stuff that comes out of World War I, where people made things out of bullet casings. Prison art is amazing, and so are the paintings flyers put on the nose cones of their fighter planes. One of the things that was really formative to me was a book of poetry by children in Auschwitz that was circulated when I was a kid. I went to a socialist Yiddish school, and we read these poems that had been written in Yiddish by these kids who all died. They had teachers who convened classes to keep the kids occupied, and they wrote poetry. In every kind of adversity, you get people making art. It is really a universal trait, and it particularly manifests in times of extrema and adversity.

Activism is important right now, but so is optimism. What about the tech world right now gives you hope for the future?

Its really easy to focus on the terrible things people do with social media, for the same reason that its really easy to focus on the turd floating in the punchbowl. But when I reflect on my experiences of networks, communication, and media, over and over again, its people coming together to help one another. And its true that a few people acting very flamboyantly badly can make it easy to forget, or even cancel out some of the benefits there. But over and over again, when theres a disaster, when someone has a personal crisis, even the people who like, I look around on Tumblr and every now and again therell be someone who will write a post about their depression and then other people will come in and kind of comfort them and help them out. Its just such a motif thats easy to miss. When you see it its so obvious, and once you start looking at it, you see it everywhere. And so that I think thats a thing that gives me hope, that the evidence of our fundamental goodness is there on the network for us to see. You have to look past all of the shouting and the anger, which obviously loom large and it looms large for really illegitimate reasons. And Im not saying that it excuses, but the nobility should give you hope that the people who are kind and good are in the majority and its a matter of figuring out how to use the technologies but it doesnt create a false multiplier for the minority of bad actors, so that the rest of us can get on with the business of our ancient dream of our species, which is collaborating to make the world better.

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Federer on verge of Wimbledon immortality – Yahoo Sports

Posted: July 15, 2017 at 11:11 pm

London (AFP) - Five years after his last Wimbledon triumph, Roger Federer can capture a record eighth All England Club title Sunday and become the tournament's oldest men's champion of the modern era.

With his 36th birthday fast approaching, the evergreen Swiss will comfortably succeed Arthur Ashe, who was almost 32 when he won in 1975, as Wimbledon's most senior champion.

Victory over Croatian giant Marin Cilic will also give him a 19th career Grand Slam title and second in three majors this year after sweeping to a fifth Australian Open in January following a six-month absence.

"I was hoping to be in good shape when the grass court season came around," said Federer who, for good measure, also pocketed back-to-back Masters at Indian Wells and Miami as well as a ninth Halle grass court crown.

"The first three, four months were just like a dream really. So this is something I was working towards, you know, Wimbledon, to be in good shape. I'm happy it's paying off here now."

Federer admits his form in 2017 has surprised even himself after he shut down his 2016 season to rest a knee injury in the aftermath of his brutal five-set semi-final loss at Wimbledon to Milos Raonic.

He has 30 wins and just two losses this year and he has reached his 11th Wimbledon final without dropping a set.

- 'Unbelievably excited' -

Sunday's match will be his 102nd at the tournament and his 29th final at the majors.

"It makes me really happy, making history here at Wimbledon. It's a big deal. I love this tournament," said Federer, who has been tied with Pete Sampras on seven Wimbledon titles since beating Andy Murray in the 2012 final.

"All my dreams came true here as a player. To have another chance to go for number eight now, be kind of so close now at this stage, is a great feeling.

"Yeah, unbelievably excited. I hope I can play one more good match. 11 finals here, all these records, it's great. I'm so close now."

While 'Big Four' rivals Murray, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal failed to even make the semi-finals, Federer has been reborn.

He came into Wimbledon having radically pruned his playing schedule, skipping the entire clay court season.

Wimbledon is just his seventh event of the year; 28-year-old Cilic is in his 15th.

Federer, revelling in the spotlight of having played all his matches on Centre Court, has hardly been troubled on his way to the final.

He has lost serve just four times and spent four and a half hours less on court than Cilic.

Federer also boasts a 6-1 career record over Cilic, the 2014 US Open champion who has made his first Wimbledon final at the 11th attempt.

However, Cilic's game is made for grass and 12 months ago he led Federer by two sets to love and held three match points in an epic quarter-final which the Swiss superstar eventually claimed.

- 'Roger's home court' -

When Cilic won his only Slam in New York three years ago, he demolished Federer in straight sets in the semi-finals.

"I don't want to say it's more relaxed going into it because I have a good head-to-head record against Marin, even though the matches were extremely close," said Federer.

"But it's not like we've played against each other 30 times. You feel like you have to reinvent the wheel.

"It's more straightforward, in my opinion. I think that's nice in some ways. It's a nice change, but it doesn't make things easier."

Cilic is only the second Croatian man to reach the Wimbledon final after Goran Ivanisevic, his former coach, who swept to a memorable title victory in 2001.

A win on Sunday would also make him the first Wimbledon champion outside of Federer, Murray, Djokovic and Nadal since Lleyton Hewitt triumphed in 2002.

However, he has only won one of his last 12 matches against a top five player at the Slams, even if that was over Federer in New York three years ago.

Cilic has fired 130 aces at Wimbledon this year and dropped just 10 service games.

"This is Roger's home court, the place where he feels the best and knows that he can play the best game," said Cilic.

"Obviously I'm going to look back, 12 months ago I was one point away from winning a match against him here. But it's still a big mountain to climb."

Federer's defeated semi-final opponent Tomas Berdych sees only one winner on Sunday.

"I don't see anything that would indicate Roger is getting older. He's just proving his greatness in our sport," said the Czech.

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Letter to the Editor: Conditional immortality? – Sunbury Daily Item

Posted: July 14, 2017 at 5:12 am

If a person were interested in knowing what it might be like to live in Paris, it would probably be more useful to seek out the opinions of those who actually spent a fair amount of time there rather than relying on the speculations and guesses of those whod never even made the trip.

In his column in the Faith and Reason section of July 8 Daily Item, my dear friend Kerry Walters takes us to a somewhat more exotic destination thats of interest to many of us the afterlife. Kerry outlines the view, expressed primarily by the ancient philosopher/theologians Theophilus of Antioch and Irenaeus, that only a portion of us those who had chosen to act in a Godly and morally-upstanding manner in this earthly life were destined for immortality; the rest of us, would simply cease to exist.

Unfortunately, at the time they wrote, neither Theophilus or Irenaeus had been to Paris. Their personal experience of the afterlife was nil. Fortunately, other sources do exist that we can turn to for more first-hand information.

From almost two decades of intensive research in this very subject (my book on the topic will hopefully be completed later this year) I can state that the consensus (closer to unanimous) opinion of those whove actually been there spirits whove finished their earthly life and made their journey to the other side is that those who believe in conditional immortality are, no pun intended, dead wrong.

Based on post-mortem communications from these spirits (144 of them, ranging from the famous to the infamous to just-plain-folks) delivered through some of the most highly-respected, intensively-observed, and scientifically-studied mediums of the 19th and 20th centuries plus communications from a 145th spirit (the Virgin Mary) the prevailing experience of the afterlife is that (1) its open to essentially everyone, that (2) the quality of ones initial afterlife experiences will be totally dependent on how one lived his or her earth-life, and (3) that learning, growth and development are not limited to our earth-lives, but continue on the other side.

Take if as you will, but this is the take from those whove actually been there.

Donald C. Porteous Jr.,

Milton

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Virtual graveyards: Algorithms of death and the cost of immortality – The Conversation CA

Posted: July 13, 2017 at 7:09 am

Gifts left behind for the deceased are translated into tokens in an online setting.

For those who have lost their loved ones, social media platforms can allow for RIP memorials, and for recreating memorable visual and audio collections that keep those who have passed away alive in our imaginations.

In fact, digital immortality/virtual immortality that escapes the constraints of time and space is a hot commodity. From mobile apps that allow people to create digital avatars that can look and sound like your deceased best friend to those that allow you to relive shared memories through photographs, video clips and favourite tunes, your beloved remains present in your life. You can tell the digital avatar of your mother, who passed away before getting a chance to watch your children grow up, about the play your son is in or your daughter making the honour roll.

For the past six months, I have been examining the importance of virtual graveyards with a group of graduate students. We are looking at the significance of these virtual sites for marginalized identities in Canada. Virtual graveyards and cyber-memorial sites have become increasingly commonplace on the web.

This kind of technology can help people through the grieving process and help with the healing after a great loss. Indeed, neuroscientists have argued in favour of such technologies, suggesting that social networking sites like Facebook can help with the grieving process.

Yes, these are graveyards in cyberspace and they function much like the cemeteries in real life, with one exception you can go there at any time and from any place.

Thinking about Canada hundreds of years from now, what would such sites reveal about the everyday contributions of the countrys inhabitants? What stories of the nation could these sites tell us? As repositories that memorialize stories of common people leading common lives, virtual graveyards are potentially invaluable to historians and others seeking to understand the past.

What adds to their value is that they are accessible. For marginalized communities, printed obituaries may be inaccessible, structured as they are by criteria that demand remarkable personalities performing extraordinary feats or making singular contributions to the country; or, alternatively, notorious individuals whose deaths need to be publicized so as to appease our sense of a restored and balanced social order. Online memorials allow for a memorialization of the deceased in a public way, generating a sense of community.

These sites represent a shift in traditional rituals around death. Therapists are now recognizing that mourning does not end after one month or a year, but is rather ongoing, reflecting our continued attachment to friends and family after they have passed. Cyber-memorials and virtual graveyards assist with the healing process by providing space for ongoing grief.

In contrast to printed obituaries, which tend to be more descriptive rather than emotional, these virtual graveyards offer people a means to commemorate their loved ones in a less restricted way. We can write about our fathers unpublished poetry or our sisters generosity and more importantly, how much we love and miss them. We can celebrate their everyday lives and role in our communities.

Following the tradition of leaving tokens at a grave, these sites allow users to place virtual flowers or light candles for the deceased. One can upload pictures, video clips, songs, or a poem. By allowing mourners to interact with others who knew the deceased, or who are also grieving, these sites also provide the potential for building community support during the grieving process providing some relief from the pain of loss.

But these sites come at a price. It may be the invasion of privacy in the vein of Facebook using personal photographs posted by users for its sponsored stories content. The emotional cost could also be the constant reminder of loss, or confronting visual memories that are assembled in such a way as to focus primarily on positive and loving memories instead of addressing the pain and suffering one experiences while grieving. Add to this, the issue of ephemerality: sites are notorious for their temporary nature, here today and gone tomorrow. Your memorial could vanish within minutes.

The economic costs are also factors to be considered. Most virtual graveyards charge at least $50 a year and sometimes more. There are few Canadian sites that offer such services for free, and if they do, they are often tied to other economic costs related to death rituals, such as funeral costs.

On the plus side, though, these sites are accessible to those who are literate in the ways of the Internet.

Should the sites survive, theyll offer an archival treasure trove for those looking to see how ordinary people lived their lives and contributed to society. They could be a window into how marginalized groups lived, loved and struggled.

In that vein, virtual graveyards afford us an opportunity to reject a past based on erasure and ignorance. In Canadas future, they could become invaluable national assets that should be supported, but only if they are freely available to their users and regulated in the best interests of all people.

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Immortality in the Rg Veda – San Diego Reader

Posted: at 7:09 am

The Man has a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, a thousand feet. He pervades the earth everywhere and extends beyond for ten fingers breadth. The Man himself is all this, whatever has been and whatever is to be. He is the lord of immortality and also lord of that which grows on food. Such is his greatness, and the Man is yet greater than this. All creatures make up a quarter of him; three quarters are the immortal heaven. With three quarters the Man has risen above, and one quarter of him still remains here, whence he spread out everywhere, pervading that which eats and that which does not eat. When the gods spread the sacrifice, using the Man as the offering, spring was the clarified butter, summer the fuel, autumn the oblation. They anointed the Man, the sacrifice, born at the beginning, upon the sacred grass. With him the gods, Sadhyas, and sages sacrificed. With this sacrifice the gods sacrificed; these were the first dharmas. And these powers reached the dome of heaven where dwell the ancient Sadhyas and gods.

from Hymn 1.2 of the Rg Veda

The Rg Veda is a collection of ancient Vedic Sanskrit hymns. The title means, in Sanskrit, praise, shine (rg) and knowledge (veda). One of the four canonical texts of Hinduism known as Vedas, the book is organized into ten sections called Mandalas. In the eight earliest books, the hymns meditate on creation and the relationship between immortality and mortality, such as the above hymn indicates. It is thought that the Rg Veda was composed between 1500 and 1200 BC.

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Immortality Inducer – TV Tropes

Posted: July 12, 2017 at 12:27 pm

These characters typically weren't born immortal, but they didn't let that stop them. They find or create an object, magical or scientific, that will grant them that which they seek. This trope happens whenever a character is immortal through the agency of a physical object. How the object works can be very varied. It may be Powered by a Forsaken Child, thus invoking Immortality Immorality, or it could be powered by harmless Techno Babble. The extent to which it works and what kind of immortality it bestows also varies. It might only work on a single character, or it could work on anyone in the vicinity. It may also have negative side effects, especially if it's a prototype or created by a Mad Scientist. Said object will often be an Amulet of Dependency: they will typically lose that immortality if the object is destroyed or sometimes just if they lose contact with the object, often resulting in No Immortal Inertia. In some cases, characters may try to merge with this item in order to gain its effects permanently. This may work, or it might backfire horribly, depending on the story and what the object is. There are typically three forms this trope can take: the object simply existing grants them immortality, the object must be used in some way periodically to keep them immortal, or the object must be worn or carried in order to make them immortal. Likely to be a MacGuffin or Plot Coupon. If the Immortality Inducer can be mass-produced, it may lead to a Society of Immortals. Supertrope to Soul Jar and Heart Drive. Subtrope of Immortality. Contrast Artifact of Death.

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This Witherless Rose will wither away instead of you... This Immortal Heart will cease to pump blood, instead of yours. This Diamond will turn to dust in place of your mortal body.

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DARK NIGHTS: METAL 101: The Immortal Man & The Four Tribes – Newsarama

Posted: July 11, 2017 at 10:10 pm

Credit: DC Comics

Immortality lies at the center of Dark Nights: Metal. Not only is immortality the driving force behind the investigations being conducted by both Hawkman and Batman, but the event will feature a set of immortal characters in its cast - including one aptly named The Immortal Man.

In Dark Days: The Forge #1, readers discovered that Hawkman has been investigating Nth Metal for years, trying to unlock its abilities. During his studies, he comes to understand that its conducting powerful energy from somewhere beyond his understanding.

That powerful energy is also being investigated by Batman, and the story of its discovery - and the Dark Multiverse it reveals - is at the center of DCs summer event series Dark Nights: Metal, which launches in August and reunites writer Scott Snyder and his Batman co-creator Greg Capullo.

The Forge and its this week's upcoming counterpart Dark Days: The Casting are written by Snyder and James Tynion IV, serving as prequels to Metal and introducing concepts that will form the backbone of the events story.

The Forges Clues

Hawkmans investigation not only leads him to an understanding of energy, but it reveals a link to the Earths past. Hawkman says he got a glimpse of a historic clue - and by glimpse, he was probably referring to one of the visions that he says occur in his reincarnation process, like dreams during his time between lives.

He describes the glimpse as a story that began with the first men to walk the Earth - three tribes. Hes shown to also have some type of artifacts that represent what he discovered about these tribes, as readers are shown what appear to be the sign of a hawk, a bear, and a wolf.

In the same issue, readers were also introduced to the Immortal Man, a modern version of the character from DC Comics history. The character was first introduced in 1965 in Strange Adventures #177, in a story titled I Lived a Hundred Lives.

Immortal Origin

In various stories in Strange Adventures, the character's portrayed ase a modern man who has strange powers he doesnt understand. Raised as an orphan, his only clue to his past lies in an amulet he finds that was left with him when he was a baby. When he looks into the amulet, he remembers that he has lived hundreds of lives, from his time as a caveman until present day, and his body and mind have retained the knowledge they gained during those lives.

There it was before me in the amulet reflection, the character said in his debut. The explanation to all the mystery that plagued my present life! For then and there I realized I had lived not one life, but a multitude of lives.

Originally, the character was only shown to be from a race of powerful cavemen, but in later stories, the Immortal Man was given a more DC-centric origin.

He was Klarn Arg, the caveman leader of the Bear Tribe and archenemy of Vandar Arg of the Wolf Clan (better known as Vandal Savage).

In this origin story, Vandal and the Immortal Mans pre-historic origins were linked - they were battling each other when a meteorite hit the Earth 50,000 years ago.

The meteorite made Vandal immortal, but the Immortal Mans powers lie in an amulet he fashioned from the meteorite. Each time he is resurrected - sometimes as a baby and sometimes as an adult - he is an enemy of Vandal Savage.

Because of this connection between the two characters, and the use of the Bear Tribe and Wolf Clan in their past stories, its likely that the Dark Days: The Forge reference to tribes with the signs of a bear and a wolf refers to these two characters. The hawk that represents the third tribe is probably a sign of Hawkman himself, although its possible it could relate to other DC characters, including the Blackhawks, who are also in The Forge.

Team Player

In post-Crisis continuity, the Immortal Man worked with a team of heroes to stop the evil machinations of Vandal Savage. His team was called the Forgotten Heroes. Although none of those heroes seem to be involved in the current story of The Forge and Metal, a similar idea might be behind the formation of the Immortal Men." This team, also mentioned in The Forge, has been given their own DC title beginning in the fall. Among the team members announced by DC is Immortal Man.

Image from Dark Days: The Forge #1

The description of Immortal Men indicates that five siblings have eternal life, fighting foes in an eternal war. Its not clear whether the Immortal Man is one of these five siblings or not. But in The Forge, as hes discussing the Immortal Men, there are two people talking and four other individuals shown - a total of six. So Immortal Man, whos described in the issue as the great and powerful Immortal Man, may be more of a leader of the five siblings.

In this incarnation, Immortal Man is an older man, with a streak of white in his hair. He works in secret in a lair located a mile beneath Philadelphia. He reveals that he offered Elaine Thomas (mother of Bat-family teen hero Duke Thomas) the opportunity to become immortal somehow. Whether Elaine is one of the Immortal Men, reincarnated without realizing it, or whether the offer was a new one, is not clear.

One of the heroes shown in the Immortal Men scene in The Forge appears to be Native American, and her origin might be tied to the DC hero of the past known as Super Chief. This character, in his original incarnation, was also part of the Wolf Clan and was imbued with powers by a meteorite.

Crisis Tie

Another Bear Tribe member was Anthro, the first boy on Earth who played a key role in Grant Morrisons Final Crisis. Morrison also included the Immortal Man in his Mutiversity mini-series, although the hero was part of a group on Earth-20 and was there revealed to be Anthro, a hero imbued with powers from a meteorite.

Its possible all these meteorites and the energy within them can now be linked to Nth Metal and to the dark energy that will lead Batman to the Dark Multiverse.

Its also obvious, reading through Immortal Mans history, that his powers of reincarnation and flight can be easily connected to Hawkman and Hawkgirl, which seems to be the direction Snyder is heading with Metal.

In the three tribes scene in The Forge, Hawkman adds a fourth tribe - one with the symbol of a bat. This symbol can also be connected to Anthro and Final Crisis, as Batman was tossed back in time by the events in that story and its Morrison-penned follow-up, Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne.

Struck by the space-bending Omega Beams of Darkseid, Bruce Wayne becomes stranded in time, jumping into different eras - beginning with the paleolithic era. During his time as a caveman, he fights against the tribe led by Vandal Savage.

The word Crisis is also used by Immortal Man himself in the issue, although it refers to future possibilities. He says the "world of public heroes is careening toward a crisis unlike anything they've seen before."

Looking at Immortal Mans history and the Metal possibilities for his Immortal Men and Hawkmans tribes, its pretty clear that Snyder is connecting many different dots in the history of the DCU. And although the entire picture wont become clear until readers get their hands on Augusts first issue of Metal, there are definitely some obvious lines being drawn related to immortality in the DCU.

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