- The sun has 'gone blank' for the second time this month. Here's what that means.
- Stephen Hawking warns of an 'artificial intelligence arms race.
- Deathnauts: Strange scientific journeys into the afterlife.
- These people UFO so much harder than you. Wired throwing down the gauntlet to Grailers right there...
- The man who left his body.
- Spray and pray: Does intranasal oxytocin increase spirituality?
- Huge cache of ancient helium discovered in Africa's Rift Valley. Someone turn this into a comedy skit, stat!
- First telescope to track dangerous asteroids goes live in Russia.
- Prosecutor may use a 'witness' parrot's words as evidence in murder trial.
- An interview with John Higgs about Robert Anton Wilson, the KLF, and the cult of the individual.
- New evidence suggests that sperm whales form clans with diverse cultures and languages.
- Plants grown in simulated Mars conditions found to be safe to eat.
- Memorial planned for Isaac Newton would have eclipsed the pyramids.
- 30 years on, why is Jim Henson's Labyrinth so memorable?
Quote of the Day:
Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.
Looking for a pet who, instead of needing to be cleaned up after, does the cleaning? The future might provide exactly what you want: check out SpotMini, the latest robot to be unveiled by Boston Dynamics.
SpotMini, weighing in at just 55 lbs (65 lbs if you include its arm), is all-electric (no hydraulics) and "runs for about 90 minutes on a charge, depending on what it is doing":
It also has a variety of sensors, including depth cameras, a solid state gyro (IMU) and proprioception sensors in the limbs. These sensors help with navigation and mobile manipulation. SpotMini performs some tasks autonomously, but often uses a human for high-level guidance. For more information about SpotMini visit our website at www.BostonDynamics.com
The good news: the first defence against any robot rebellion will, apparently, be banana skins.
The bad news: If you watch the video at the top of the post, it doesn't slow them down for long...
In case your day isn't turning out exactly as expected: a little perspective...
- Has an Australian researcher discovered the secret to Stonehenge?
- What caused the strange outbreak of 'dancing mania' that struck Germany six centuries ago?
- A mysterious medieval text, decoded.
- Steganography in the internet age: How a kitten video can transmit secret instructions to criminals.
- Pigs have a magnetic supersense.
- Smart bugs: some insects can count, recognize human faces, even invent languages
- Ancient insects carried corpses of their prey for camouflage.
- NASA considers turning Curiosity rover into a scout for water on Mars mountain
- Mysteries of space: 'Inverted crater' discovered on Mars.
- First science-backed anti-aging drug to be tested in humans next month.
- Chinese scientist may have an explanation for ball lightning.
- Forty people suffer burns during firewalk at seminar by motivational speaker Tony Robbins.
- Ready or not, companies will soon be tracking your emotions.
- Indigenous languages are dying in Canada. Here's how people are trying to save them.
- Devil names and Fortean places.
- A study in journalistic skepticism: cell phones and cancer.
- Video of the Day: As we approach the halfway point of the year, please watch this important, thoughtful documentary about 2016 so far.
Quote of the Day:
Everybody's got a little light under the Sun.
A summary of all the stories and news briefs posted on The Daily Grail over the past week. Feel free to share anything interesting!
- Comics Legend Jack Kirby Worried That Our Attempts to Contact Aliens Might Attract a 'Tiger'
- News Briefs 20-06-2016 (Monday)
- The 5th Young One: Pay No Attention to the Girl Behind the Sofa
- News Briefs 21-06-2016 (Tuesday)
- News Briefs 22-06-2016 (Wednesday)
- EdgeScience #26
- News Briefs 23-06-2016 (Thursday)
- Alan Moore Discusses Eternal Time, Virtual Reality Mysticism, and Quitting Comics Soon
Have a good weekend!
The great Alan Moore (Watchmen, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, V for Vendetta etc.) recently sat down for a chat with our good friend John Higgs (Stranger Than We Can Imagine) at the 2016 Brighton festival. In a wide-ranging discussion (and subsequent Q&A session with the crowd), Alan and John covered topics including virtual reality mysticism, creating a new counterculture, Alan's upcoming 'epic novel' Jerusalem, reinventing magick, and the eternal nature of time.
Fans of the bearded one's comics might be dismayed by one particular reply Alan gave, in response to John asking what he is wanting to do now that Jerusalem is finally done (it's been a work-in-progress for around a decade):
Well one of the things I’d like to do is, I really do want to finish up with comics. I’ve got a lot of other things [I'd like to do]…I came up through the Arts Lab, where we did everything, that was why the Arts Lab was fun. I did some comic strips in the Arts Lab, but I did a lot more performances and poems, and pieces of prose. I’ve always liked doing just about everything…but the comics thing, that paid off unexpectedly well.
…at this point, I thing that probably I’ll be finishing off Cinema Purgatorio…and there’s another series that I’ve got about 48 pages on to do, and then me and [illustrator Kevin O'Neill] want to do a final book of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen that will just tie up all of the loose threads, even the ones that you didn’t know were loose threads from all of the previous books. I reckon that’s about another 250 pages of comics. Then, I should just like to do whatever takes my fancy.
…You have to understand one of the things that’s put me off of comics - and this is probably an admission of kind of immaturity on my behalf - but comics are like really acceptable now. Everybody really likes comics. They’re a good thing to have on your coffee table…I really liked comics when everybody hated them. I thought this is a brilliant medium that is being overlooked, it could be used for some fantastic things. And now, here we are…
…These days, I would rather do things that nobody wants…. That’s what art is about - it’s not about what people want, it’s about what I want.
Be sure to actually watch the video though (embedded below) - the transcript takes the fun and humour out of the discussion, making the above words perhaps sound grumpy or negative, when Alan says he explicitly doesn't want to give that impression ("I'm perhaps a lot less angry than you might suspect...[though] if you hear me talking about corporations I can see where you might get that impression"). Instead, as always, AM is a fantastic raconteur, so worth grabbing your favourite brew and sitting down to listen to him chat with John.
- Funding campaign to study mysterious 'alien megastructure' reaches its target.
- SETI eavesdrops on a nearby star in smart alien hunt.
- Scientists have invented a mind-reading machine. But it doesn’t work all that well.
- Why you should worry about intelligent machines.
- Can we sense invisible magnetic fields?
- Mystery of the bent trees: Expert claims trunks that veer into a right angle found dotted around the US are secret Native American trail markers.
- When monkeys lose a friend they grieve for hours.
- Ancient long-headed skull from Korea was naturally formed.
- More treasures recovered from Antikythera Wreck.
- The Folklore Tapes: Excavating England's 'black dog' and occult stories.
- Researchers with The Immortality Project publish book that offers naturalistic explanation of near-death experiences.
- Quantum mechanics might be even weirder than we thought.
Quote of the Day:
Science is perhaps the most effective tool that human consciousness has yet developed with which to explore the outer universe, and yet this polished and sophisticated instrument of scrutiny is hindered by one glaring blind-spot in that it cannot examine consciousness itself.
- "Hypnosis, Trance, and Human Evolution", by Adam Crabtree.
- "The Deep Mystery of the Prime Number", by Owen O'Shea.
- "The Temporal Architecture of Life: A Survey of Environmental Dynamics in Human Health", by Kenneth Smith.
Grab the free PDF of EdgeScience 26 from the SSE website, or purchase a printed copy from MagCloud for just $4.95. Please consider a small donation to help the EdgeScience team continue with this excellent publication, via the link on the right-side of the webpage. And join the SSE if you want to keep up with the latest academic research into the 'edgier' areas of science.
First we feel then we fall
- Hundreds of genes seen sparking to life two days after death.
- The Great Pyramid of Giza is lopsided, new investigation reveals.
- Dan Brown is paying a lot of money to digitize a library devoted to mysticism.
- Researchers map the most common coincidences.
- Graham Hancock and humanity’s true origins.
- Archaeologist claims to have found a fragment from the throne of the Kings of Mycenae.
- New life found that lives off electricity.
- The woman with hyper-sensitive eyes.
- Humans: the hyperkeystone species.
- The atmosphere of Venus is more terrifying than we imagined.
- Night vision: UFO spotting in Sedona, Arizona.
- Caribbean Sea acts like a whistle and can be 'heard' from space.
- Confused snake gets caught in a loop while trying to shed its skin.
Thanks to Kat
Quote of the Day:
The meandertale, aloss and again,
of our old Heidenburgh in the days when Head-in-Clouds walked the earth.
James Joyce, Finnegans Wake
Patreon supporters: I've posted a sneak peak of the cover of the upcoming Darklore 9 for you all. Thanks for your help in keeping this site running!
- The most mysterious object in the history of technology.
- Stonehenge experiment may show how the monument was built.
- The Great Pyramid isn't quite square at its base, researchers find.
- Comics legend Jack Kirby worried that sending messages to aliens might attract a 'tiger'. Or even a Galactus...
- Making contact: Inside the world's biggest UFO convention.
- In 2013 Britain's Ministry of Defence said they had released all of their 'UFO files'. Turns out, there's more.
- An astrophysicist says extraterrestrial civilizations “almost certainly” existed at one time or another. Here’s what’s wrong with his argument.
- Elon Musk is wrong: we aren't living in a simulation.
- China builds the world's most powerful computer.
- The new Berenst*in Bears: Did you ever notice there was a fifth member of 'The Young Ones'?
- Awe-inspiring visions of a Victorian spirit medium.
- 15 years on from his influential book DMT: The Spirit Molecule, Dr. Rick Strassman sits down for a discussion on the human brain, visions, spirituality and dying.
- The monsters hidden beneath the sea.
- It's the sort of question that can really take you down the rabbit hole: How long is a second?
- Image(s) of the Day: Early 1900s hair dryers, or data probes for insertion into The Matrix? You decide!
- Bonus Video of the Day: Crab invasion.
Quote of the Day:
I see no wisdom in the eagerness to be found and approached by any intelligence with the ability to accomplish it from any sector of space. In the meetings between 'discoverers' and 'discoverees,' history has always given the advantage to the finders... My point is, who will come a-knocking - the trader or the tiger?
In the early hours of Saturday morning, ignoring the blare of children's television, I muzzily and reflexively poked at the Twitter icon on the battered screen of my knackered phone. Down I scrolled through the dozens and dozens of updates I'd missed during my five or so hours of child-interrupted sleep until I came upon one by comic artist Jamie Smart. It read
Oh my god. There was a fifth housemate in The Young Ones and she was terrifying.
Huh? I blinked, took a big swig of my bitter, luke-warm, instant coffee, and clicked the link Jamie had posted.
On Business Insider Australia I read the headline REVEALED: There really was a creepy fifth housemate lurking in cult British TV show The Young Ones. The article had been posted that very morning (18th June, 2016). What the...?
For those of you who don't already know, The Young Ones was a seminal, anarchic comedy series that ran on the BBC for two series between 1982 and 1984. Much like Monty Python, but in the era of VHS, The Young Ones became a show that many of us who were born in the 1970s ended up watching again and again and again. Business Insider news editor Peter Farquhar had, it turns out, quite recently watched a video on YouTube entitled The Young Ones ~ The 5th Roommate, which had been posted back in July 2012. This video had been inspired by a 1999 posting on The Easter Egg Archive website, which took its cue from a page last updated the previous year on a now defunct site called The British Comedy Library (still, thankfully, available via The Internet Archive's wonderful WayBack Machine). The strange person at the back of the house is the title of the page. It contains a few quotes from viewers who have emailed in to the site about something they've spotted re-watching the original 1982 series of the BBC comedy show The Young Ones. Things like
Has anyone else noticed the strange person who appears to share the flat with the guys. If you look carefully in the first five episodes you can see a mysterious person with long black hair who appears sitting against walls in the background of quite a few scenes.
And yes, the 2012 YouTube video shows it: a fifth housemate appearing at least once in every episode of the entire first series. She never moves, she never speaks, you never see her face, and her presence is never acknowledged by any of the other characters, but she's there.
This, apparently, blew Peter Farquhar's mind so much that he ended up contacting some of the people involved with the series including one of the writers, Ben Elton. Elton's prompt and short response was he had no idea what he was on about. A few days later however, Farquhar received a response from another member of the Young Ones team - Geoff Posner, who was one of the three directors on the series.
In his reply Posner said that he and fellow director Paul Jackson
thought it would be funny to have some ghostly figure in the background of some scenes that was never explained or talked about. Hair all over the face so you shouldn't be able to decipher the gender, either. The fact that we forgot to do it consistently shows what a bunch of amateurs we were in them days.
In his article Farquhar goes on to write
So maybe the fifth housemate idea wasn’t such a big deal to the cast and crew back then. Often what artists think of their own work is only half of the story. The other is what impact it has on the audience and its legacy and in this regard, “The Young Ones” still stands up incredibly well 34 years after it first aired. The appearance of the running “fifth housemate” gag is a great example.
Posner's short email explanation was, happily, enough to allay Farquhar's worries, and general sense of unease about the mysterious fifth housemate. Not mine though. No, not mine. Because you see, to me, Posner's explanation doesn't quite make sense. The fifth housemate - or the ghost as we should probably more accurately call her - isn't ... Read More »