Last month I responded to Sarah Scoles' Twitter request for people who knew or were interested about the Electric Universe theory. She sent me a few questions which I responded via e-mail, thanked me for my contribution and told me she would send me a link to the article once it was posted; which she didn't.
Fast forward to last night --after I had completely forgotten about the matter-- when Kat was kind enough to send me a bunch of article links for usage on the news briefs, and among those was Sarah's article, which turned out to be way too skeptic-sided and negative for my taste. In it, she writes:
“I believe history has showed us again and again that many novel ideas which were initially met with skepticism or angry rejection eventually gain more adherents and momentum until they end up as part of the orthodox corpus of scientific knowledge,” said Miguel, who encountered EU in his work as a contributor to the website The Daily Grail, which explores “the fringes of science and history.”
And, to some extent, he’s right. The idea that Earth goes around the Sun, and not the other way around, was once considered heretical. Before revolutionary ideas become revolutionary, they simply sound fringe.
But the problem is that most fringe ideas don’t turn out to be revolutionary. They just turn out to be wrong. And equating pseudoscience, or even just bad science, with solid science isn’t just unorthodox. It can be dangerous.
Climate change denial slows the cleanup of the planet. Anti-vaccination movements give kids measles. GMO hysteria makes it harder for starving kids to get nutrient-rich rice. The Electric Universe theory doesn’t seem to be hurting anyone at the moment, but wouldn’t it be better for the Thunderbolts to expend their energy understanding good science? Or at least be as suspicious of EU as they are of “the astronomy establishment.”
Whoa. So from having an interest in something like the EU, you're a defacto Antivaxxer and Climate Change denialist? How did that happen??
Thing is, on my answers I made sure to indicate to Sarah that I do not 'believe' in the EU theory, the same way I don't 'believe' in UFOs, PSI abilities, paranormal phenomena or all the other things we discuss at the Grail. Why? Simply because I don't *like* to use the word belief when discussing such things. I'm trying as best I can to subscribe to RAW's Maybe logic.
So, since I can't comment on the Motherboard's article because they don't happen to have a comment section --guys, do you even Internet??-- here it is the original transcript of the questions Sarah asked me, and the answers I provided:
1. When did you first encounter Electric Universe Theory?
A: I'm a regular contributor on the news website The Daily Grail (http://www.dailygrail.com/) , which --as our motto says-- deals with "exploring the fringes of science and history," adding a very apropos "Caveat Lector" as a warning to our readers.
I joined TDG in 2007, so I guess I first encountered the EU theory not long after that. One of our former news administrators, Kat, used to link posts from the thunderbolts.info website quite regularly. This is how I got introduced to this idea.
Mind you, I've never read the book Thunderbolts of the Gods, nor have I watched the 2005 documentary of the same name
2. What did you initially find interesting about it that made you want to check it out?
A: As a 'Grailer' (member of The Daily Grail) I'm personally interested in all sorts of alternative theories and topics that tend to be shunned by 'mainstream Science', like for example the UFO phenomenon and the non-locality of consciousness. I realize that in some respects that would equate me in the eyes of many people as being no different from Creationists, Flat-Earth supporters or even Holocaust deniers --all of which I'm adamantly against, may I add-- but I believe History has showed us again and again that many novel ideas which were initially met with skepticism or angry rejection, eventually gain more adherents and 'momentum' until they end up as part of the orthodox corpus of scientific knowledge.
Currently I feel there aspects of our theories re. the origin of the Universe which seem to be conflictive; take for example the concepts of dark matter and dark energy, which were proposed to solve the problem of the lack of visible matter in the observable Universe, as well as its accelerated rate of inflation. These solutions look rather like 'patches' meant to keep together the prevalent cosmological theories in concordance with scientific observation.
It seems that people are attracted to the EU theory because it offers a more 'elegant' solution to what astronomers are detecting with their instruments.
3. Are you active in any of the online communities (like the Thunderbolts)? If so, have you formed friendships or benefited from forum discussions (or anything else kind of social)?
A: No, I'm not an active member in that particular community.
4. As you learned more about the Electric Universe, what aspects of it appealed to you most?
A: Like I stated earlier, I'm not particularly knowledgeable in the EU theory, and I personally don't think they will end up being right in EVERYTHING they posit. However, there are a few things which I find rather interesting, like the idea that the current orography on the surface of Mars may be the result of formidable electric 'arcs' instead of less dramatic geological processes. I'm also interested in how they interpret ancient legends as the result of previous civilizations observing astronomical displays caused by these ginormous electric discharges.
5. Why do you prefer EU to traditional modern physics?
A: Again, I'm not rejecting traditional modern physics in favor of the EU. One thing I've learned in my years on The Daily Grail is to avoid the polar opposites of an argument, and embrace the 'excluded middle' ;)
I find some elements of the EU interesting, believe they have a point in affirming astronomers and cosmologists should consider the effects of electric forces when creating their computer models, instead of just nuclear reactions and gravity, and I want to see what happens with the EU theory as the years go by. Will it forever remain labeled as a 'pseudoscience' or will it gain more support from the mainstream? We shall see :)
I feel Sarah was too focused on painting the 'EU believers' with too-broad of a brush, to bother with my nuanced adherence to the 'excluded middle'. Those general characterizations is why younger generations are shunning away from mainstream media, but sadly even the more popular websites seem not to be immune to such vices. Oh well...
That is the reported IQ of Joaquín "el Chapo" Guzmán, who once again managed to escape from a Mexican federal prison, in what it has become the biggest of a looooong chain of blunders for this administration.
It is also said Guzmán only went 3 years to school. He had trouble writing his own name, and he didn't like to read.
To me the real tragedy is not that this dangerous drug lord is walking on the streets of Mexico again. The REAL tragedy is that a man with a 137 IQ wasn't given the opportunity of a proper education, and could find no other way to put his intelligence to use than in trafficking.
That is the tragedy, and the waste.
If someone has any suggestions I'm all ears :-/
And now you know why Jedis avoided marriage ;)
— Mommy, when am I gonna get rid of these scars?
The young boy who made that question to his mother is named Héctor. He's one of the 76 kids who was able to be rescued from the fire that claimed the lives of 49 little children, 5 years ago, in the ABC daycare center in Hermosillo, Sonora. Like most of those survivors, Héctor will have to deal with the consequences of that tragedy for the remainder of his life —which explains why his mother would choose to be honest in an attempt to 'toughen him up' & improve his self-confidence, instead of giving him false hopes.
And as for the parents who lost a son or a daughter on that fateful day of June 5th, 2009, they keep clamoring for justice before an unsympathetic government that wishes to sweep the matter under the rug; a government that insists on backing the conclusion of the official 'investigation' —that the fire on the adjacent warehouse run by the local government of Sonora, was caused by a short circuit in a cooler— whereas there's every reason to suspect the fire was deliberately started, and went out of control while someone was burning sensitive government documents.
The loss of those 49 lives was a tragedy. The silence protecting the culprits is the real crime.
5 years ago I wrote the post The ABC's of Impunity; 5 years have passed, and many of the scars brought up by the fire & the silent complicity will never be fully healed.
But some scars do heal in time; and even horrific events such as these can bring up the best aspects of the human history.
The above image shows little Héctor, the boy I mentioned at the beginning of this post; with him is Julio César 'El Negro', the young man who saved him from the flames. 5 years ago, 'El Negro' and his friends were near the day care, getting high; when someone rushed to them alerting them of the fire, he didn't hesitate & forced his way into the burning building, found Héctor & other children & put them to safety.
After that literal trial by fire, 'El Negro' decided to change his ways & rehabilitate from his drug addiction. In saving the life of Héctor, he also managed to save his own.
This post started as a public & personal denouncement of the impunity surrounding the ABC daycare fire; but it has morphed into a homage to recognize the bravery of all those anonymous heroes who rose to the occasion, and risked their own lives in trying to save the lives of the children.
"There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends," reads the Bible. I dare say an even greater love, is when you do it for strangers.
The winds of change are blowing at Madrid's Plaza del Sol and its waving the old Republican flags, which had been kept in the closet for three quarters of a century, ever since generalísimo Franco won the Civil war.
Now the man Franco put in power after he stepped down, Don Juan Carlos de Borbón, is abdicating as king of Spain in favor of his son Felipe. For 40 years he reigned, and during most of that time he enjoyed the support of his people; but all that started to change in 2012... because of an elephant.
When the Spanish people, who were going through their worst economic crisis in modern history, looked at the pictures of their sovereign playing the role of big white hunter on a Safari trip paid with money from the public coffers, their love for Don Juan Carlos quickly started to evaporate.
Perhaps there's some weird connection between this historic event & George Orwell's famous short story 'Shooting an Elephant,' which tells the story of an anonymous police officer stationed in Burma, who is led by circumstances beyond his control to kill an unruly pachyderm at the pressing insistence of the angry natives.
To come all that way, rifle in hand, with two thousand people marching at my heels, and then to trail feebly away, having done nothing – no, that was impossible. The crowd would laugh at me. And my whole life, every white man's life in the East, was one long struggle not to be laughed at.
Well, Don Juan Carlos seems to have been pressed to abdicate by circumstances beyond his control, all right. And in doing so, perhaps he's fired the killing shot to the very concept of Monarchy itself in the XXIst century; ironic, considering how many pundits are right in pointing out that most parliamentary monarchies nowadays enjoy more democratic forms of government, than so-called 'democratic' nations —Russia, anyone?
But, just like that poor old elephant in Orwell's story endured in agony for a long time, I suppose Don Felipe might still have the chance to put on the silly crown & play the role of king for a few more years —something that will surely raise the hopes of a few poor fellows out there...
On my latest contribution for the Intrepid blog, I give my opinion on what the Fortean community should focus on, in order to try to move the discussion forward, past the tiresome quarrels with the skeptoids & debunkers.
Happy Día de Muertos!
Inspired by the latest PLUS extension in episode 10.14 of Mysterious Universe...