“A frog in a well cannot conceive of the ocean.”
- Nanoblock holograms.
- Seeking proof of ABC.
- As the crow flies… toward using tools.
- Will algae unlock biotechnology?
- The 100th monkey?
- Cleaning the ocean one plastic-gobling sea bin at a time.
- Boosting memory via brain stimulation.
- New York’s Fukushima?
- Solar cells 2.0?
- Future tech that could change lives.
- Dandelion rubber.
- The nose knows... how to fight drug-resistant staph.
- This week’s evidence of the looming robot uprising… Worm ‘bot.
Quote of the Day:
“The wise man looks into space and does not regard the small as too little, nor the great as too big, for he knows that, there is no limit to dimensions.”
Grailers: get in quick to be sure to have a chance at winning this signed Alan Moore comic...
- Archaeology continues to reinforce the psychedelic truth: that human history has been one long trip.
- Easter Island bacteria may contain fountain of youth drug.
- Why did Iran's Lake Urmia just change from bright green to blood red?
- Trove of ancient jars found in the waters off Sicily.
- Throughout human history we have been fascinated and fearful of the eternal.
- Orangutan found to be copying sounds of human speech.
- How miraculous microbes help us evolve better, faster, stronger.
- Website tests predictive powers of the hive mind.
- What can we learn from recording and reading people's dreams?
- SETI: Detecting 'stellified' objects.
- Futurist Ray Kurzweil is talking bullshit again.
- Scientists discover mysterious purple blob at the bottom of the ocean.
- Mercedes demonstrates its self-driving bus of the future in Amsterdam.
- A professor is working with NASA to 3D-print houses on the Moon.
- Ten strange inventions that could exist in ten years.
- 'Ice Bucket Challenge' leads to ALS breakthroughs.
- Mysterious vanishings at the Nevada triangle.
- 'Infomercial psychic' Miss Cleo has died, aged 53.
- Listen to the rare, uncut recordings of the 67 terrifying exorcisms of Anneliese Michel.
Quote of the Day:
If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.
A continuing bone of contention in modern physics is the strange manner in which our universe seems perfectly tuned to give rise to life. For some, it is evidence that our existence is no accident, while more skeptical thinkers have suggested that the thinking is back to front - and we only see things as perfectly tuned because life was what arose under the conditions of our universe.
The video above is from a recent discussion hosted by the Institute of Art and Ideas titled "A Goldilocks World", featuring philosopher Massimo Pigliucci, M-Theorist and author of Universe or Multiverse? Bernard Carr, and Oxford constructor theorist Chiara Marletto:
Is the universe finely tuned for life? Copernicus and Darwin taught us to be skeptical of feeling we were special. Yet from the size of the electron to the cosmological constant our universe is strangely fine-tuned for life. Is this a spectacularly fortuitous accident? Has the universe been tailored for us or do the theories just make it look that way?
- The LUCA - last universal common ancestor of all life on Earth - was only half alive.
- UCSB researchers find similarities in chaos and entanglement.
- Ants invented farming 60 million years ago after ditching hunter-gatherer lifestyle.
- New DNA tests on Paracas skulls yield unexpected results.
- Researchers find pre-Inca petroglyphs at Machu Picchu that could rewrite Andean history.
- Data storage breakthrough could store the Library of Congress on a dust mite.
- Voice control in orangutan gives clues to early human speech.
- UFO hunter spots ‘alien city’ on Google Earth.
- Google’s quantum computer just accurately simulated a molecule for the first time.
- We'll only have one year's warning before a planet-devastating super-eruption.
- Social status leads to trust, but not vice-versa.
- Has the Beast of Dartmoor mystery been solved?
- Why can’t we remember being a baby?
- Britain’s ‘Pompeii’ likely torched by Bronze-Age warriors.
- Properties of spider silk continue to surprise scientists.
Quote of the Day:
The multiverse is the last refuge of the die-hard materialist.
A recent paper on ancient cannabis use has made news this week, with some fascinating insights into its origins and spread through Asia and Europe. You can read a good summary of the research at the New Scientist link, so no need for me to rewrite it here.
What did catch my attention though is the following image from the paper, which maps archaeological sites in Eurasia that have been found to contain cannabis remains that date to more than 3000 years ago (ie. 1000 BCE).
What this clearly shows is how widespread the usage of cannabis was in ancient times, with some of the dates stretching back well before the advent of written records. In his wonderful book The Long Trip: A Prehistory of Psychedelia*, Paul Devereux offers fascinating insights into how not only cannabis, but many other psychoactive plants, have been used the world over for millennia, often for ceremonial and/or religious/mystical reasons. It is one hell of an eye-opening read, especially for those who think 'tripping' was something that started with the counterculture of the 1960s, and I can't recommend it highly enough (no pun intended)!
Understanding this fact makes modern culture's outlawing of many of these plants as even more nonsensical than it already is. Our ancestors across the globe have actively used these plants as both physical and spiritual medicine for at least 10,000 years, but suddenly in the last few decades our governments and law-makers have seen fit to not just ban them from human consumption, but to make them illegal and even imprison people who choose to use them.
It is an absolute joke that such laws continue to exist - persecuting those wishing to explore their own mind - when prominent political leaders (the last three U.S. presidents), scientists (Carl Sagan, Francis Crick, Oliver Sacks etc.), tech leaders (Apple's Steve Jobs etc.) and artists and musicians (too long a list to even begin) have all admitted to using psychoactives, and in some cases have been passionate advocates for their use and benefits.
That is certainly not to dismiss the dangers that such mind-altering substances can sometimes pose. But as long as no-one else is being hurt by a person's decision to explore their own mind with psychoactives, I don't see how it is any business of the government, or law enforcement, to stop people from doing so (let alone imprison them for doing it!).
The laws are a nonsense, and it's far beyond time for us to state that plainly and make the necessary changes. The story of human history is one of exploring and expanding our minds to uncover new ideas and understand ourselves better, and the archaeological record continues to reinforce the fact that psychoactive plants have been an integral part of that entire history.
* Full disclosure: 'The Long Trip' is a release of Daily Grail Publishing.
- Was this canal, recently discovered under Pacal's pyramid at Palenque, a path to the afterlife?
- The mammoth tool that helped our ancestors make rope 40,000 years ago.
- Mystery ancient human ancestor found in Australasian family tree.
- A new explanation for one of the strangest occurrences in nature: ball lightning.
- What lies beneath the clouds of Venus.
- Making Jupiter a star.
- Five places aliens might be hiding in our Solar System, according to scientists.
- Your robot butler will arrive in the next five years! Shame it might get hacked and kill you.
- Cowboys and dinosaurs.
- We've been wrong about lichen for 150 years.
- World's first solar-powered around-the-world flight touches down in Abu Dhabi.
- Mysteries, myth and death at New York's cursed lake.
- The mystery of how a shark in a Sydney aquarium came to spit out a human arm. Hrmm, there's a fish named Dory that has shark friends, is known to travel long distances to Sydney, and an aquarium, conveniently forgets things...I think you see where I'm going with this.
- Fisherman captures footage of epic battle between hammerhead and tiger sharks.
- Video of the Day: Lightning obliterates telegraph pole.
Quote of the Day:
The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.
It works the same in any country.
The phenomenon of ball lightning remains largely a mystery to modern science, although it has at least largely become an accepted, if little understood phenomenon. One of the anomalies of ball lightning that have kept it on the outer margins of scientific respectability has been the seeming 'impossibility' of its manifestation and movement - sometimes apparently appearing within buildings and aircraft, or passing through closed windows.
A new theory from Chinese scientist H.-C. Wu, of Zhejiang University, may hold a possible answer to this strange behaviour. Wu has proposed that ball lightning might be 'microwave bubbles' formed from radiation emitted by storms, and this could explain their ability to appear or move within enclosed spaces:
Wu theorizes the microwaves arise from a bunch of electrons accelerated to speeds approaching the speed of light when the Earth is struck by lightning. Specifically, the electrons are accelerated by the strong electric field created as a channel of electrons moves stepwise from the base of a cloud toward the ground, just prior to the bright flash we know as a lightning bolt. “At the tip of a lightning stroke reaching the ground,” Wu says, “a relativistic electron bunch can be produced, which in turn excites intense microwave radiation.”
Regardless of their source, the atmospheric microwaves produce plasma by charging up the surrounding air. The radiation exerts sufficient pressure to push the plasma outward into a bubble, which we see as ball lightning. Microwaves trapped inside continue to generate plasma and so maintain the bubble for its brief lifetime. The ball lightning eventually fades as the radiation held within the bubble is dissipated. On the offhand chance the bubble is ruptured, microwaves can leak out and cause the ball to come to an explosive end.
The presence of microwaves and plasma as components of ball lightning can explain several of its properties. For example, microwaves can pass through panes of glass, which is why windows don’t bar the entrance of ball lightning. Microwaves also tend to make an audible noise when they encounter a person’s inner ear, and the plasma they produce will in turn generate acrid-smelling ozone from atmospheric oxygen.
What sets Wu’s microwave origin theory apart is that it explains how ball lightning can appear inside an aircraft. Electrons, being tiny relative to atoms, are able to pass through the metal shell of an aircraft after being accelerated outside of it via a lightning strike. Microwaves are then emitted by the suped-up electrons inside where they form ball lightning. The electron-microwave-plasma pathway also explains the size of ball lightning, since the length of the electron bunch sped up by a lightning strike matches up with the typical 20-50 centimeter diameter of the resulting microwave bubble.
You might also like:
- Key dark matter detection experiment comes up empty-handed again.
- The hidden science of the missing gravitational waves.
- Scientists work toward storing digital information in DNA. Now why does that sound familiar...?
- What is this x-shape at the centre of the Milky Way?
- New DNA testing on 2000-year-old elongated Paracas skulls changes known history.
- Farming began in two separate places in the Mideast.
- Have archaeologists mis-identified a painting of a leopard's skin as a volcano?
- Mighty axe found in tomb of Viking 'power couple'.
- How Alex Jones uses fear of the government to sell diet supplements.
- This 1980s police-training video on Satanic cults features a join-the-dots guide to ritual sacrifice.
- This guy's 'scientific' articles on chemtrails keep getting redacted.
- Chinese scientists plan first human test with gene-editing tool.
- Grassy trampolines are appearing in Siberia's tundra - but you probably don't want to jump on one.
- How to summon the wild bird that will guide you to honey.
- Set the controls for the heart of the Sun: NASA's Solar Probe Plus mission will plunge into the Sun's corona.
- Got roach? Cockroach milk is the health drink of the future.
- What is it like to see ideas as shapes? Inside the mind of a man with a rare form of synesthesia.
- Will U.S. soldiers soon be riding jet powered hoverboards into battle?
- New theory: 'Planet 9' knocked our solar system out of alignment.
Quote of the Day:
Language is to the mind more than light is to the eye.
Upcoming Giveaway of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Signed by Alan Moore, for Supporters of the GrailPosted by Greg at 12:33, 25 Jul 2016
Well I think just about enough time has passed for people to have been given a fair chance to become a 'Friend of the Grail', so it's we started giving out some goodies (beyond the goodness we serve up here every day) to those fabulous people who are supporting us. And we'll start off with a prize that I wouldn't have minded putting on my own bookshelf... *sob*
Our first giveaway is a great one for the book/comic collectors out there: a copy of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier (as pictured above), signed by the author - the one and only Alan Moore (see image below)!
For the slackers out there who have been meaning to support the site but just haven't got around to it - we'll give you until just next week, with the winner being randomly drawn on Friday the 5th of August. You can become a Friend of the Grail by supporting us in any way you can, from offering your services to chipping in a bit of coin. See this page for details, or click the Patreon button below to chip in with a 'voluntary subscription':
These giveaways will continue into the future with other specially signed swag and cool kit...so get in, support the Grail, and best of luck!
Huge thanks to Alan Moore for providing this fantastic giveaway, and to John Reppion for his assistance!
A summary of all the stories and news briefs posted on The Daily Grail over the past week. Feel free to share anything interesting!
- Lone Man Has Spent More Than a Half Century Building a Cathedral By Hand
- News Briefs 18-07-2016 (Monday)
- Pokémon App, or Alan Moore's Idea Space Directly Imaged?
- News Briefs 19-07-2016 (Tuesday)
- Walkers Between Worlds
- News Briefs 20-07-2016 (Wednesday)
- A Robot Car Just Saved the Life of a Human, No Big Deal
- News Briefs 21-07-2016 (Thursday)
- This 1980s Police Training Video on Satanic Cults Features a Join-the-Dots Guide to Ritual Sacrifice
- News Briefs 22-07-2016 (Friday)
Have a good weekend!