Who Got There Before Gagarin?

From  “The Haunting Mystery Of The USSR’s Lost Cosmonauts“:

In 1961, Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space. However, some conspiracy theorists speculate that the Soviets reached the cosmos on an earlier mission but covered it up because they lost cosmonauts.

Although, in the grand scheme of things, the USA has lost as many astronauts as Russia.

Russia, though, is the only country to lose astronauts out in space.

Raising The Drawbridge

Daniel J. Sawyer, science fiction and mystery writer, recently posted his annual look at the future, this year entitled “The Year of the Jackpot“.

It’s a fairly dim view of the immediate future.  Sawyer assembles his argument with aplomb, though.

As I’m outside the United States, I have a different perspective, but still can’t argue with most of his observations.  The current NAFTA negotiations are bogging down in the mud.  The Pan Pacific Trade Agreement is heading in the same direction.

From the outside, the United States is raising the drawbridge.

Does that isolationist paranoia remind you of anything?

Happy New Year…yes?

This day in 2009 — only eight years ago — the first block of the blockchain of the Bitcoin decentralized payment system, was established by the creator of the system, Satoshi Nakamoto.

Bitcoin spent years building business on the dark web, but just in the last few months has exploded upon the legitimate business world.  Everyone seems to be getting into blockchain investments, Bitcoin in particular (although Bitcoin is just one of several applications built upon the blockchain technology).

Ironically, the first block that Nakamoto launched was called the Genesis block.

Why would I mention a money system/hot investment opportunity on a blog about thriller novels?

Because at the heart of some of the very best thrillers lies a conspiracy and I love a damned good conspiracy.  Ludlum, Baldacci, and the paranoia king himself, Dan Brown (in admittedly small doses).

The thought occurred to me that the whole Bitcoin phenomenon could be a huge private conspiracy to tear down the world’s financial institutions.  In my quiet corner of the globe, I have not yet seen Bitcoin in operation.  I only know it exists because the media and the Internet say it is, and we all know how reliable the word of those two estates is, right?

Everyone keeps expecting the Bitcoin investment bubble to explode sooner, rather than later.  But everyone is holding on, anyway–have you noticed?  There are even new investors scrambling to hop aboard the gravy train, figuring it’s better late than never.

It reminds me strongly of the everyman investment craze that preceded the Wall Street crash in 1929.

The whole point about the blockchain technology is that it keeps participants anonymous.  It allows a cartel kingpin to handshake a seventeen million dollar deal with a buyer in Europe…who could very well be the CIA sniffing around for a clue, but who cares?  The kingpin can’t see them.  They can’t see him.  Money is exchanged, the deal is done, everyone wins (unless it really was the CIA, in which case…sucker!).

It’s been said that decentralized money systems could bring the world into a new phase of political power.  So why are current power holders tripping over themselves to invest in the technology?  It can’t be simply to shut the tech down once they get a majority sharehold, or to spike the system and make it stumble.  The tech is open sourced software — out there for anyone to download and use.  There must be thousands of copies of the software by now, living on hard drives and cloud storage across the globe.  There are a dozen other Bitcoin clones that would happily take the #1 spot, too (again, allegedly waiting).

I can’t help thinking of the British armada made of wood and canvas that De Needle stumbled over in Eye of the Needle, by Ken Follett.

You have to ask yourself who would benefit from the implosion of western financial institutions?

The possible candidates make an unsettling list.


Now it is 2018, I’ll be settling into the conception work and plotting for the first thriller series.

I’m thinking a nice meaty conspiracy might be in order….

 

 

Overlooked and Underappreciated

I tend to catch up with TV shows long after it is sexy or trendy to be watching them. I like to binge watch a season, too—so I can absorb the structure of the story arcs as a whole That’s why I’m only just starting to watch Quantico, the ABC network’s TV series featuring new agents in training and a high-stakes conspiracy involving a nuclear bomb just to make it interesting.

I’ve spoken elsewhere about the general quality of the show (surprisingly good), and its watchability (engaging).

I did want to circle back to something that bothers the shit out of me about the show, however.

All the major characters in the show are training to be field agents.

So far, so good.

Halfway through the season, though, a cadre of analysts-in-training go nose-to-nose with the “nats” (new agent in training). Through three or four episodes, the analysts were portrayed as geeks or worse, nerds, good for nothing but staring at screens. They were disparaged. When one of the major characters was kicked out of nat training and placed with the analysts, everyone—including the character himself—considered the move to be a demotion. A second-best compromise.

Which makes me shake my head.

I do understand that there’s nothing sexy about analyzing data. Only, it saves lives.

It has been stated more than once, in dozens of sources, books and by even more experts, that many of the world’s crises and in particular, terrorist activities, are anticipated by the intelligence community. Like a fly making a cobweb tremble, alerting the spider in the center, intelligence operatives pick up rumors and rumbles, disparate facts and uninteresting data that, if put together in the correct way, would terrify the crap out of their governments. 9/11 was not so much a failure of the intelligence community, but an inability of the intelligence analysts to put the raw facts together correctly.

Name any major political event in the last one hundred years, and I bet solid money that operatives had most of the major facts in hand before the event, but failed to pool their data, which would present a complete picture, or the analysts failed to interpret the data correctly—and probably because they didn’t have all the major facts to do so.

While operates are sexy and Bondesque, and I can understand the entertainment world’s focus on them as the heroes, I think it’s wrong to paint the analysts as second-best, because they’re not. They’re at least equal with operatives, the yin to the operatives’ yang.

Without analysts, the world would be a scary place.

TV and movies have a huge social impact—their influence is undeniable, and provable. Yale researchers have demonstrated, for example, that the movie The Day After Tomorrow increased the awareness of global warming and environmental change in the movie-going public. With clout like that, shouldn’t entertainers pause to consider the message they’re giving, while they’re soliciting next season’s budget?

The Auspicious First Post

Given the general theme of this site and my books, it seems appropriate that the very first post be posted today, Remembrance Day — Veteran’s Day for those in the USA.

I will add posts here occasionally, giving updates on progress of the first series and other news, but I wanted to get this one out of the way.

Although, I do have a question for you.  How did you find this site?  If you let me know in a comment, that will help me connect with more readers like you.

Thank you.

Cam.