Let's Talk 2000

"The heartbeat of 2000 A.D. from cyberspace"

July 1, 1996, Volume 2, Issue 12, a bi-weekly bulletin

Topics covered in this issue:

The Millennium Doctor Speaks
News from the Field: Talk from the Forum: New Millennial Sites: Contact Information

The Millennium Doctor Speaks:
"Taking the pulse of 2000 A.D."

With the recent terrorist bombing in Dhahran, questions are surfacing again about the religious motivations of terrorism. Our first feature gives you an inside look at how the Millennium Watch Institute tracks millenarian movements of all varieties. The Institute just went online ten days ago with past highlights from its quarterly "Millennial Prophecy Report."

The next feature unveils how Millennium Interactive is hatching artificial life in cyberspace this fall through its new "Creatures" CD-ROM, evoking thoughts of a second genesis. Talk about technology dancing with apocalypse!

In the review of web sites, check out the Dutch Millennium Foundation which is doing some very innovative things for the city of Harrlem as they approach 2000. I visited their web site and downloaded their avant garde "Monument to the 20th Century" as a pic for my screen saver.

This issue marks six months of "Let's Talk 2000." To celebrate, I am taking a vacation from publication until our August 1st issue.

News from the Field:
"Here is the latest news on year 2000 efforts."

In the wake of the recent bombing of American servicemen in Saudi Arabia, Ted Daniels, 57-year-old scholar and millennial monitor feels we are in "for a good deal of more terrorism, much of it millenarian based."

This month, Daniels posted leading features on the web <http://www.channel1.com/mpr> from his more than five years of publication of the Millennial Prophecy Report (MPR). As a quarterly 20-page journal, MPR has been a one-of-a-kind publication documenting millenarian movements. It has earned accolades from respected academics for its objective coverage of global change prophecies from such camps as Christian, New Age, UFO and environmentalists.

Daniels says the idea to monitor the millennium "came to me in a vision-- really." The year was 1987. He was working on a PhD in Folklore at the University of Pennsylvania, when one day the idea dropped on him with absolute certainty that "people were going to get real interested in millenarianism as the millennium approached." At that point, Daniels said he knew very little about the subject, but he decided to set up a clearinghouse and circulate what he found to fellow scholars and journalists. After writing a 600-page international bibliography on Millennialism, he started publishing his quarterly journal.

Daniels compares the turn of the millennium to a "supersaturated solution," like the ones we used to make in science lab. "The idea was you take enough of something and you dissolve it and you keep on dissolving it and then you take one last little crystal and it all precipitates out of the solution and falls to the bottom of the beaker." For Daniels, the disolved substance is millenarianism in American culture. The advent of the year 2000 is the little crystal trigger.

Daniels claims he monitors more than 1,500 sources of millenarian beliefs. Avoiding a value-laden judgement, Daniels prefers not to classify millennial groups as constructive or destructive, but rather place them on a continuum ranging from "right-wing to left-wing." On the right are the more apocalyptic, Armaggedon focused groups, such as the Branch Davidians, the Japanese Aum Shinrikyo sect, or the patriot group "The Republic of Texas."

Although Daniels claims each group encompasses some destructive and constructive features, the further left you go on his continuum you find groups more focused on paradise. The "Photo Belt" folks come to his mind, a New Age camp which "considers there is an enormous energy ring" off the earth's port bow which we are about to swing into. When this happens (yes, by the millennium!) all electromagnetic machines will stop. After three days of blinding light the planet will be purified. Daniels then shares the clincher, "After that the space brothers will land, and restore the planet to its original beauty."

Rather than representing alternative committed communities, Daniels says most "global change" prophecies he tracks comes from "millennial entreprenuers" struggling to "sell inspiration as they understand it." Although the millennium is exerting a strange mystical pull on the human imagination, Daniels feels millennial madness will not overtake America by 2001. "As a society, we are too diverse, too big, and too complex to be swamped by Nazism, for example. But we could be in for more hate groups that might do some real damage." Source: Bimillennial Press, talk2000@rmii.com

According to a June 24th "Business Wire" release, a second genesis is about to hatch life on PCs around the world this fall. This time creation will not be the work of the gods, but the business of software engineers.

Los Angeles entertainment company Inscape is teaming up with England-based "Millennium Interactive" to release a "Creatures" CD-ROM which allows users to create silicon life forms "which react and behave just like real life."

Inscape claims this Artificial Life technology represents an unprecendented leap forward in entertainment and education. Utilizing Millennium's propriatory "digital DNA" software engineers claim that PC users will be able to apply the basic building blocks of life to the Creatures, that virtually think and live on their own.

"Owners of Creatures have the opportunity to care for and play with these 'pets,'" says Anil Malhotra, Director of CyberLife at Millennium, "teaching them how best to survive their world -- bringing users a unique mix of two-way interactivity and learning, resulting in relationships that cross the carbon/silicon chasm."

The Creatures CD-ROM provides users with six eggs in an environment approximately 12 screens wide by three screens high. Up to 40 different types of objects within the environment are designed to provide interaction for the creatures, who gradually learn when these objects can be used to help them survive.

The silicon pets groan, cry and exhibit a wide range of human expressions, including sneezing and shaking. They respond to being tickled or touched, and they kiss. They can learn basic language in their infancy, and as they reach their adolescence (about six to 10 hours into the program), their thoughts turn to the opposite sex.

As the creatures age, they grow, learn and eventually die (a typical lifespan is 40 computer hours playing with the creatures). Successive generations evolve, with digital DNA strings passing on traits. As in life, no two silicon creatures are alike.

Creatures is the result of some of the most sophisticated science ever applied to a home entertainment product and has taken a 'dream team' combination of biologists, Artificial Life experts and computer scientists four years to develop.

Creatures will debut in September on PC CD-ROM. A Macintosh version will follow shortly. The title comes on one CD and requires 8 MB of RAM. Estimated street retail price will be about $40.

Millennium Interactive is a leading developer of leisure and entertainment software. Founded in 1989, Millennium's headquarters are in Cambridge, England.

Talk from the Forum:
"Here is a recap of recent conversations"

Ted Daniels <mpred@usa.pipeline.com> forwarded to the Talk 2000 Forum a millenniarian song. Daniels said, "It's not 'Marching through Georgia' or 'John Brown's Body,' but what can you expect?" I kind of pick up an anti-millennarian thread.

Forwarded message from Dick Eney <dickeney@access.digex.net>. On Wed, 26 Jun 1996 PathLeader@aol.com wrote:

JUST A DAMN MINUTE, GOD! (Tune: Anne Boleyn)

Now Nostradamus said it long ago,
The Hopi and the Mayas chimed in too
And Cayce* and Blavatsky let us know (*KAY-see)
Of what the Year 2000's going to do
O yes, the leading prophets all agree:
The Gods have got it in for you and me!

They'll wreck the world and trash the human race
Before 2010!* (*two thousand ten)
They'll wreck the world and trash the human race
With a cosmic grin!

Perhaps we'll all be drowned or capsized when the icecap melts,
Perhaps we'll all be fried in passing through the Photon Belts,
Or maybe AIDS will snuff us all, or maybe Something Else
Will wreck the world and trash the human race!

They'll wreck the world and trash the human race
Before 2010!
They'll wreck the world and trash the human race
And start up again!

Now there's a catch in all this prophecy:
The victims are assumed to cringe and run.
I rather think that folks like you and me
Got overlooked by Those who planned Their fun --
Who never thought when cosmic creeps attack
Instead of running we'd be fighting back!

They'll wreck the world and trash the human race
Before 2010!
They'll wreck the world and trash the human race
Just for the suffering!

No Gods are going to sacrifice the just with the unjust --
No Fiends are going to quench our fire or drag us down to dust --
And if Yahweh wants to try he's going to have to come through us
To wreck the world and trash the human race!

New Millennial Sites:
"Here are new sites in cyberspace"

DUTCH MILLENNIUM FOUNDATION: "Creating monuments of time in culture"
This foundation in the Netherlands is dedicated to helping celebrate the turn of the millennium through creations "which will make people think about time: the future, the past, and how are we going to live with it. Since 1987, annual projects have been undertaken, including photography exhibits, modern monuments, or architectual exhibits. The Foundation is planning a trip to New York in September to build contacts with likeminded artists. For information contact:
Stichting Millennium
P.O. Box 5467
2000 GL Haarlem, The Netherlands

MILLENNIUM HOTELS: "A New Era in Hospitality"
Traveling to Singapore, London, New York or Sydney? A global hotel chain has recently undergone a name change to "Millennium Hotels" reflecting the sense of the millennium as "a 1,000 years of peace and prosperity." They claim by the year 2000 tourism will be the largest global industry, with revenues doubling by the year 2010. For an explanation of their name change and a list of hotels see the following web sites:

Contact Information:
"Your link to the third millennium"

Talk 2000 Forum Home Page: http://hcol.humberc.on.ca/talk2000.htm
Talk 2000 Newsgroup: bit.listserv.2000ad-l

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Submissions of newsworthy items: 2000ad-l@usc.edu
Publisher & editor: talk2000@rmii.com
Jay Gary, aka The Millennium Doctor
author, The Star of 2000
(719) 636-2000 Phone
Publication keywords: media, society, millennium
LET''S TALK 2000 © 1996 Bimillennial Press, Inc. All rights reserved.
LET''S TALK 2000 is a trademark of Bimillennial Press, Inc.