SCIOPS 01.06: March of the Alchemists

Hey, it’s M again, with your weekly dose of brain-enhancing infoceuticals. A spoonful of science will help THIS medicine go down!

The numbers for the Science March seem high but we won’t know until we compare it to the numbers at the placebo march that’s also happening

— Siobhan Thompson (@vornietom) April 22, 2017

The March for Science , however unscientific its methodology may have been, attracted over four hundred thousand people worldwide (my estimate, based on Wikipedia data). I attended here in Seattle, and the crowds were so large I couldn’t see either end of the march from the middle. Satellite marches occurred on all seven continents, including Antarctica.

message from the Antarctic overwinterteam

The obvious message of the 600 satellite marches: Fascists, we have you surrounded.

In regards to the science of Revolution, correspondent C sent me a transcript of the Zapatistas and Consciences For Humanity

conference held in January 2017 in Southeast Mexico.

The Zapatistas are a Native-led insurgence movement that has recaptured and held their ancestral territory for three generations. They reject the capitalist system and the destruction it brings. And they question the ethics of science that cooperates with that destruction:

This makes us Zapatistas think and ask ourselves: Where are we poor people of the world going to live, because they, the rich, might just go and live on another planet? What should we do now, as we see that they are destroying our house? Or what happens if they take us to another planet to be their slaves?

After turning this over many times in our heads, we conclude that: Below there are women and men who study science, who study scientifically, who do good science. But the wicked capitalists come along and use this science to do harm to the very people who discovered that science.

What kind of harm? They use science to make the rich richer.

– Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

The fire of Moisés is tempered by the sly humor of Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano, who, in front of two hundred gathered scientists, claims the title of Alchemist:

One more profession, which is most relevant in this case, is that of alchemist. Really I should be a scientist, but as I have not yet managed to transform the essence of one thing into its contradictory opposite, I have not received the level of recognition that my admirable labors deserve. But not to despair, I continue experimenting in my laboratory with test tubes and plants, under the ever-critical gaze of the cat-dog, trying to eliminate the essence of that aberration of nature called squash soup and transmute it into something likable and nutritious like pecan ice cream, which, along with popcorn and hot sauce, are some of the few things that science has produced for the benefit of humanity and which differentiate us, along with the opposable thumb and despite the specimen of Donald Trump, from non-human primates.

Zapatista students at ConCiencias

The whole thing is worth a close read – you can find an English translation here .

And from correspondent B, a response to the question “Should scientists march?” :

The “march” format is, sadly, not scientific. In fact, contemporary forms of political dissent have been deprived of the cold glory of the scientific method. Rather than cede the public square to the idiotic babble of subjectivity I propose the following:

Any scientist worth their molar mass in pocket protectors shall go directly to the capitol to participate as subjects in a collective experiment. First, the crowd will commence a therapeutic 30 minute evil-scientist laugh therapy session that will terrify the world. Next, the group will attempt to answer a simple question: “what the fuck is the matter with these morons? Has everybody gone crazy?”

In order to discern whether or not everybody has gone crazy, the lab coated mass of scientist-data collectors will undertake a massive survey- first of their own, then of the out group. Individually, and in teams, scientists will rate first their colleagues, then the general population, on a scale of rationality, objectivity and degree of aggressive reaction to data collection. For the safety of survey participants, partisan resistance to data collection will be neutralized by drone strike. If it is determined that the general population is lacking access to a select few “keystone” facts about reality, they shall be provided instantly, solving the “what the fuck is the matter with these morons” problem.

If the “what the fuck” problem cannot be solved, it will be necessary to introduce aerosol hallucinogens into the weather machine, release the robotic hounds, unshackle Frankenstein’s monster, unleash the artificial intelligences, and, though some will hesitate to do so, it will be necessary to exhume the ancient alchemical texts and cast some seriously powerful spells. Swarms of nanobots will darken the skies and endlessly emit sonic pulses resulting in the loudest bass vocals ever to rattle human eardrums, repeating the words, “YOU MUST LEARN.”

At the stroke of midnight, any scientist still attempting to collaborate with the fascists will be transformed into a labrat. Climate change deniers will be trampled by wild elephants. There will be no more mistakes, no more stupidity.

Experimentally yours,



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