- Cats wearing jetpacks discovered in 16th century artwork.
- The ringing rocks of Stonehenge.
- Looking for the ultimate source of the myth of the alien origin of the pyramids.
- Earth is an alien planet: Diver explores the world's oceans to photograph some of Earth's most bizarre-looking creatures.
- The reality show: Schizophrenics used to see demons and spirits. Now they talk about actors and hidden cameras – and make a lot of sense.
- Meet the people who believe in medical miracles.
- A new generation of transhumanists is emerging. Transhumans 2.0?
- Disintegrating asteroid was blown apart by quantum effects.
- The reboot of Cosmos has hit television screens to warm reviews. But did they pick the wrong hero in Giordano Bruno?
- Critiquing the militarisation of science.
- The big balls of history - petrospheres and their imposters.
- Researchers crowd-source funds to back Ouija Board science project.
- Death and the Big Wow.
- Con-artist psychic jailed for 10 years.
- Vanished: Missing plane mysteries through history.
- Hidden fortress discovered beneath Alcatraz.
- Mysterious underground caves discovered in Chile.
- World's oldest underground fire has been burning for 6000 years.
- Police called by witness to scene of 'baby sacrifice' instead find a chicken cooking.
- Camera drone used to make eerie, psychedelic light paintings inspired by Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
- Mothership Connection: Man arrested for using a drone to in attempt to fly drugs into a prison.
- Family hospitalised after eating steak laced with LSD.
- The '60s are gone, but the psychedelic research trip continues.
- Uh-oh. The clowns are going bad.
Quote of the Day:
In a seamless overlapping instant, she felt the back of her head at rest against the ceiling of the room; a phenomenon that rarely indicates the successful conclusion of a medical procedure.
Brooklyn-based photographer Joey L. has photographed movie stars including Robert de Niro and Jennifer Lawrence, but perhaps his most breath-taking images are of quite a different subject: Holy Men of the world.
Starting in Northern Ethiopia, Joey has traveled the world searching for wandering monks and spiritualists. The latest installment of his Holy Men series features holy men, or sadhus, living in Varanasi, India. All of the world’s faiths have their own forms of ascetics, but the ascetics of the Hindu faith are known for sometimes extreme acts of self-denial, such as keeping a single arm aloft for months or even years.
Most of the portraits focuses on aghori, a sect known for engaging in postmortem rituals such as covering themselves in human ashes, meditating on corpses or crafting jewelry from human bones. “The Aghori have a profound connection with the dead. Death is not a fearsome concept, but a passing from the world of illusion,” says the photographer. Joey’s travel companion, filmmaker Cale Glendening, also managed to capture enough behind-the-scenes footage to turn it into a beautiful documentary film called “Beyond”. which you can see below.
(via Bored Panda)
"Nonsense is nonsense, but the history of nonsense is scholarship."
- Earliest British examples of metal-working and wood turning found on Dartmoor.
- Tubs of flour provide clue to earthquake lights phenomenon.
- Study reveals astronomical alignment of Nabatean monuments including Petra.
- Scientists unlock mystery of out-of-body experiences. Or do they?
- Epistemic vigilance in the nursery. Some people mistake circular arguments for a sign of authority. 3-year-olds know better.
- Mexico's Pyramid of the Sun is slowly turning into a pile of dust.
- Why King Tut's DNA is fuelling race wars.
- No Planet X.
- One day, your antivirus software may kill you, let alone your killer robots.
- The growing Israeli pagan scene.
- "Dark matter MAY have killed the dinosaurs" does not equate to "Dinosaurs were NOT wiped out by dark matter". Just sayin'.
- The emerging science of the self.
- Do the dead outnumber the living?
- How many times has Dr. Robert Schoch been wrong? asks Dr. Sam Osmanagich.
Quote of the Day:
The human mind is a delusion generator, not a window to truth.
Plenty of attention being given to a new study with a subject who can apparently have out-of-body experiences (OBEs) on demand:
After a class on out-of-body experiences, a psychology graduate student at the University of Ottawa came forward to researchers to say that she could have these voluntarily, usually before sleep. "She appeared surprised that not everyone could experience this," wrote the scientists in a study describing the case, published in February in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.
...The 24-year-old "continued to perform this experience as she grew up assuming, as mentioned, that 'everyone could do it.'" This is how she described her out-of-body experiences: "She was able to see herself rotating in the air above her body, lying flat, and rolling along with the horizontal plane. She reported sometimes watching herself move from above but remained aware of her unmoving “real” body. The participant reported no particular emotions linked to the experience."
An unusual find, wrote the scientists, University of Ottawa researchers Andra M. Smith and Claude Messier - this is the first person to be studied able to have this type of experience on demand, and without any brain abnormalities. Instead of an "out-of-body" experience, however, the researchers termed it a "extra-corporeal experience" (ECE), in part because it lacks the strong emotions that often go hand-in-hand (such as shock & awe, for example).
To better understand what was going on, the researchers conducted a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study of her brain. They found that it surprisingly involved a "strong deactivation of the visual cortex." Instead, the experience "activated the left side of several areas associated with kinesthetic imagery," such as mental representations of bodily movement.
I'd love to see researchers employing subjects such as this young woman in tests of so-called 'veridical OBEs' - out-of-body experiences in which the OBEr reports accurate details of their surroundings (see for example number one on this list). There have been a number of NDE reports that have included an OBE component during which the 'dead' person 'saw' accurate details that they should not have been able to - such as the one reported by pioneering heart surgeon Dr. Lloyd Rudy. So many in fact that a project has been initiated in which hidden 'targets' have been placed in cardiac rooms in hospitals to see if NDErs can 'see' them - the 'AWARE' study.
Using a conscious, healthy OBEr would have advantages over the AWARE study, not least that the OBE could be produced, on-demand, in a controlled environment (see my book Stop Worrying! There Probably is an Afterlife, paperback version here, for discussion of the difficulties involved in the AWARE study). On demand OBEs in a controlled environment - with a healthy person - would also allow for the placing of a more noticeable target (or alternately a number of targets).
On the downside, some might say that an OBE in a healthy person might not be the same thing as an OBE that occurs as the body shuts down, so any negative results would instantly be dismissed (perhaps fairly). But if a positive result was obtained - that is, if a target was identified by the OBEr, as apparently occurred in the 1968 test of 'Miss Z' by Professor Charles Tart - the ramifications for our understanding of human consciousness would be paradigm-shattering.
A summary of all the stories and news briefs posted on The Daily Grail over the past week - check 'em out if you missed any:
- The Art of Dying: Beatles Guitarist George Harrison 'Lit Up the Room' When He Died
- News Briefs 03-03-2014 (Monday)
- Scientific Research Suggests We Unconsciously React to Events Up to 10 Seconds Before They Happen
- News Briefs 05-03-2014 (Tuesday)
- Jason Silva Discusses 'The Death Problem'
- Is Our Universe the Only Universe?
- News Briefs 06-03-2014 (Thursday)
- News Briefs 07-03-2014 (Friday)
- The Ringing Rocks of Stonehenge - Was This the Original 'Rock Concert'?
Have a good weekend!
A study published this month in the journal Time & Mind has shown that the 'blue stones' of Stonehenge, quarried in the Preseli Hills of Wales and hauled some 200 miles to south-west England, may have been treasured for their sonic properties. Thousands of stones along the Carn Menyn ridge on Mynydd Preseli were tested, and a high proportion of them were found to "ring" when they were struck, a quality that has been highly valued in many ancient cultures.
The principal investigator on the project is a good friend of the Daily Grail, Paul Devereux (author of The Long Trip: A Prehistory of Psychedelia, available from Amazon US and Amazon UK). Here's what he told BBC News:
It hasn't been considered until now that sound might have been a factor. The percentage of the rocks on the Carn Menyn ridge are ringing rocks, they ring just like a bell. And there's lots of different tones, you could play a tune. In fact, we have had percussionists who have played proper percussion pieces off the rocks.
The research paper, "Stone Age Eyes and Ears: A Visual and Acoustic Pilot Study of Carn Menyn and Environs, Preseli, Wales", is in the March issue of the journal Time and Mind. Check out the BBC news story for audio examples of the 'ringing rocks'.
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”The easiest way to solve a problem is to deny it exists.”
- Measuring the speed of a monster black hole.
- When black holes kill.
- Earth-shields-- Activate!
- Scientists witness asteroid break up for the first time.
- Thirteen year-old amateur nuclear scientist builds fusion reactor.
- Remnants of a hidden world?
- Secret of planet-forming disks, unlocked?
- Dishwashers… In… Space.
- Take-off aborted after jet strikes... fish?
- The study of voluntary OBEs.
- Spreading the tribo-electric buzz.
- Not to be confused with the trilobite buzz.
- The birth of origami computers?
- Steering the arrow of time.
- The Simpsons En Francais.
- Space War needs new recruits.
- This week’s evidence of the pending robo-pocalypse… Superhuman bionic drummers and exo-skeletons.
Quote of the Day:
“There is no belief, however foolish, that will not gather its faithful adherents who will defend it to the death.”
That was one small step for a Charolastra, one giant leap for Mexican filmmakers.
- Aningaak: Companion short story to Gravity, directed by Jonas Cuarón.
- NASA is beginning preparations for a (possible) future mission to Europa.
- The biggest challenge for colonizing Mars: Defeat boredom.
- A 30-meter asteroid just flew above our heads.
- Here's a double whammy of Hidden Experience audio conversations: Alien experiencer Suzanne Chancellor & UFO researcher Richard Dolan.
- Stonehenge is like a sacred 'prehistoric glockenspiel'; which leaves only 1 question: What the F#$K is a glockenspiel??
- Cahokia was the 1st 'melting pot' of North America.
- The X-Files risk to Global Warming: Resuscitation of ancient viruses.
- Your guacamole days may soon be over, my dear Chipotle customers.
- Real-life Barbie doll wants to live off air & light --I think her head is pretty filled by now…
- Sanjay Gupta is a man on a mission --and that mission is to extol the benefits of medical marijuana.
- Considering the therapeutic value of LSD.
- Is Buddhism turning into the designer drug for the 1%?
- Is Ray Kurzweil's ignorance in how to make coffee proof that he's an MIB, or simply that he's never lived without a maid?
- Researching quantum computing while spinning on the dance floor.
- Red Pill of the Day: Forget about The Wolf of Wall Street! Watch instead The Worf of Starfleet.
Quote of the Day:
"Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution."
Because the universe just isn't big enough...
Is there more than one universe? In this visually rich, action-packed talk, Brian Greene shows how the unanswered questions of physics (starting with a big one: What caused the Big Bang?) have led to the theory that our own universe is just one of many in the "multiverse."
In the video below, 'awe pundit' Jason Silva discusses the 'problem of death', and how humans have approached solving that problem throughout the ages. He extols the virtues of our creative power and development of technology as the way forward, to "transcend our limitations".
The human condition is characterised uniquely by our awareness of our mortality; in other words, we are the only species who are aware that we are mortal beings. This causes a tremendous amount of anxiety.
We have this capacity to ponder the infinite, we're seemingly capable of anything; we can mainline the whole of time through the optic nerve with our astronomy and with our space telescopes...and yet we're housed in these heart-pumping, breath-gasping, decaying bodies. So to be godly, and yet 'creaturely', is just impossibly cruel.
The belief that death can be conquered by technology is a common one in the Transhumanism and Singularity communities. But is it just another form of naive Utopianism that has previously characterised religious thoughts on the life eternal? Can we ever truly escape the threat of death, given that no matter how far we 'scale up' our imperviousness to existential threats, we will likely never be able to make ourselves truly safe from danger (for example, cataclysms can occur on galactic levels)?
Furthermore, is there an argument that our mortality, and our changeability, are what make life so precious in the first place? Though I have written about the possibility of the survival of consciousness after the physical death of our body - thus opening myself up to similar acccusations of wishful thinking about my mortality - I also was keen to tell readers that this possibility should not be the focus of our lives. In the final chapter of the book (titled 'Memento Mori'), I wrote that regardless of our belief, we are united by the common thread "that this life is very likely the only time that you - at least, as 'you' - will experience this Earth and the singular joys it brings... We should therefore cherish every day alive on Earth as a gift".
Scientists tell us that we are all "made of star dust", while Christian funeral liturgies exhort us to remember that "you are dust, and to dust you shall return". Both statements are worth contemplating: our bodies are a miraculous assembly of molecules born from dying suns, infused with the mystery of life and consciousness for the blink of an eye in the cosmic scale of things, before disssipating back into the universe once more. Regardless of our model of reality we should all recognize, and embrace, how truly magical our conscious existence is.
Returning to the question of whether an eternal life might somehow decrease our valuation of conscious existence, I am reminded of a quote from the movie Troy that I opened that particular chapter with. "I'll tell you a secret, something they don't teach you in your temple," Achilles says. "The gods envy us. They envy us because we're mortal, because any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we're doomed. You will never be lovelier that you are now. We will never be here again."
What do you think? Is death simply a human 'illness' that we should invest heavily in 'curing'? Or is it one of the things that make us human and allow us to appreciate the beauty of our existence?