Happy reversed Pi day folks...
- Skylab was launched 40 years ago today. So why aren't we living in space yet?
- Three X-class solar flares erupt from our Sun within 24 hours. Somebody sacrifice something quickly dammit.
- Pulsar planets: strange worlds orbiting undead stars.
- 2012 Canadian UFO Survey released: twice as many UFOs reported in 2012 as 2011.
- Vanity Fair on the 'alien abduction' phenomenon, and the life and death of Dr. John Mack.
- Inner and outer space meet: Carl Sagan's letters to Timothy Leary.
- How many prime numbers come in pairs? See: angels dancing on the head of a pin.
- The Vatican doesn't like the cult of Santa Muerte. You can add that one to a very long list of things the Vatican doesn't like.
- Mayan pyramid bulldozed by construction crew. Now I understand the X-class solar flare problem.
- Noted religious scholar Geza Vermes passes away. More here.
- The Hanging Gardens of Babylon…now sans Babylon!
- Ogham Stones digitised digitised for 3D project. Visit the website.
- One of the first cities in the world, Uruk, too, has been resurrected in 3D.
- Our Australopith ancestors wouldn't have been able to hear our words.
- While Neanderthals would have shook hands with us with their right hands. Or smashed our puny sapien skulls with them.
- U.N. urges people to start eating insects to fight world hunger.
- In Dan Brown's Inferno, numeric riddles and controversial science mix. Warning: contains me.
- The WaPo verdict on Dan Brown's new book Inferno. Have just finished it myself, and will discuss it here on TDG tomorrow (muuust sleeeeeep now).
Quote of the Day:
The positivists have a simple solution: the world must be divided into that which we can say clearly and the rest, which we had better pass over in silence. But can anyone conceive of a more pointless philosophy, seeing that what we can say clearly amounts to next to nothing? If we omitted all that is unclear, we would probably be left completely uninteresting and trivial tautologies.
The Force was with photographer Rä di Martino when she accidentally stumbled upon the abandoned ruins of Luke Skywalker's Tattooine home. For over three decades, the Star Wars sets lay forgotten in the Tunisian desert, a little crumbled but still looking remarkably intact. No Jawas were spotted during the photoshoot, but the ruins are now home to a family of womp rats.
- A new theory about why Egypt stopped building pyramids.
- Have humans been abducted by extraterrestrials? A prestigious Harvard psychiatrist, John Edward Mack, thought so. His sudden death leaves behind many mysteries.
- Man and Wunderkammern: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert Ripley.
- In an excerpt adapted from his new book, A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert “Believe It or Not!” Ripley, author Neal Thompson retraces the brilliant and belief-beggaring career of a man whose name lives on in American culture as a symbol of wit and wonder.
- The inscrutable proof of
Japanese mathematicianInter-universal Geometer Shinichi Mochizuki.
- Up to 40 percent of patients with chronic back pain could be cured with a 100-day course of antibiotics rather than surgery -- a medical breakthrough 'worthy of a Nobel prize'.
- New pill which makes alcoholics want to drink less gives addicts fresh hope.
- Frequent marijuana use tied to reduced bladder cancer risk.
- Factories around the world are churning out synthetic recreational drugs, which have no history of human use, on an industrail scale. You'd probably be better off eating rat meat.
- The future of a globally warmed world has been revealed in a remote meteorite crater in Siberia.
- Melting Arctic prompts race for routes, resources.
- Our algorithms can predict future disasters. Now what?
- Why so many people - including scientists - suddenly believe in an afterlife.
- The trailer for Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity will turn your knuckles white.
Hat tip to @ClaudiaLives, and thanks to Rick and RPJ.
Quote of the Day:
In this issue of JAMA, Eappen et al1 reach the troublesome but not surprising conclusion that hospitals in the United States can profit handsomely from postsurgical complications, even if the hospitals could avoid them. The authors note that “Effective methods for reducing surgical complications have been identified. However, hospitals have been slow to implement them."
Although the authors do not expressly say so, readers may infer that the associated financial losses may discourage hospitals from reducing avoidable postsurgical complications as vigorously as they could. This brings to mind Shaw's famous lament in his play 'The Doctor's Dilemma' that “[i]t is not the fault of our doctors that the medical service of the community, as at present provided for, is a murderous absurdity. That any sane nation, having observed that you could provide for the supply of bread by giving bakers a pecuniary interest in baking for you, should go on to give a surgeon a pecuniary interest in cutting off your leg, is enough to make one despair of political humanity."
Uwe E. Reinhardt, PhD, in his editorial on 'Making Surgical Complications Pay' (JAMA, April 17, 2013).
Your daily dose of awesome: with his tenure aboard the International Space Station coming to an end, Commander Chris Hadfield sings David Bowie's "Space Oddity".
If you're looking for some Fortean reading this weekend, make sure you check out the three free sample articles from Darklore Volume 7* that I've added to the Darklore website. The first is "Mushrooms in Wonderland", in which Mike Jay asks whether Victorian fairy art and lore were inspired by experiences with mind-altering fungi. The second sample article is a fascinating exploration of the strange, Discordian-influenced history behind the work of the cult British band The KLF by J.M.R. Higgs. And lastly we have my own recounting of the turbulent and rather frightening seances held by the Icelandic medium Indridi Indridason in the early years of the 20th century. Close to 20,000 words of fun!'
If you like what you read, fill your boots by grabbing the complete book from Amazon and getting access to all 12 articles:
And if you're not caught up, there's another 18 free articles from previous releases to keep you busy too, all in printer-friendly page layouts.
Link: Darklore Sample Articles
* Unless you've already read Darklore 7. In which case, thanks for buying the book! And why not read them again!?
“It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.”
- The future of our solar system?
- When comets and planets… collide.
- H2O, H2O everywhere.
- The science of bubbles.
- I stop the world and melt with you.
- Paper goes hi-tech.
- Ancient crater reveals distant future.
- We are family.
- Armchair eclipse.
- The UK’s Atlantis?
- From Indus with love.
- Stonehenge, where the demons dwell-- 5,000 years earlier.
- Sailing the seas of cheese and chocolate hills.
- Wheel, reinvented.
- Gravity… the trailer.
- This week’s proof of the 'bot revolution... 2100-- Robo-pocalypse start-date announced!
My endless and sincere gratitude to GT, RPJ and Perceval for their tireless assistance the past few weeks. Huge props!
Quote of the Day:
“Things do not change; we change.”
Orson Welles discussing Chartres Cathedral in a monologue on authorship and existence. From the 1974 film essay F for Fake.
Man, that voice.
Do plants talk to each other using sound? That's the surprising hypothesis put forward by researchers who have found that symbiotic relationships between plant species continue even when the two different types of plants are sealed off from each other with plastic, removing the possibility of chemical interactions. According to Monica Gagliano and Michael Renton of the University of Western Australia, "the answer may involve acoustic signals generated using nanomechanical oscillations from inside the cell which allow rapid communication between nearby plants."
Over at Cosmic Log, Alan Boyle goes into detail. The acoustic hypothesis, he says...
...seems to fit with other findings on plant communication. Corn roots, for example, give off regular clicking sounds in the range of 220Hz (which corresponds to an A below middle C). Gagliano and her colleagues found that when young corn roots are suspended in water, they tend to lean toward the source of a continuous 220Hz tone transmitted through the water. The researchers suggested that acoustic signals could knit plants into an underground network of friends and foes.
But as Gagliano points out, no one has yet identified the precise mechanism by which one plant hears what another plant is saying. That's one of the reasons why other researchers haven't wholeheartedly embraced the idea that plants are talking to each other.
"Although the idea of plants communicating by sound is intriguing, there is still a long way to go before we know whether, and if so to whom, the woods sing!" the University of Leiden's Carel ten Cate wrote last December in the journal Behavioral Ecology.
Russell Targ is a well-known figure in the field of parapsychology, being a key figure (along with Hal Puthoff) in experimentation with techniques of 'remote viewing' in the 1970s. The talk above was given last month at the 'ExTED' conference "Brother Can You Spare a Paradigm" (formerly TEDxWestHollywood until TED withdrew their support in the wake of last month's controversy) in Los Angeles. In the talk he regales the crowd with tales of his work with everyone from psychics like Pat Price to the military and C.I.A. Told with a nice dose of humour, it's a fun little talk that also acts as a neat introduction to this topic if you haven't read the books about it.
Once more into the breach...
- The Paracast: Citizen Hearing on Disclosure special edition.
- Former members of Congress who formed the panel on Basset's Hearing were "unanimously impressed" with the testimonies given during the 5-day event.
- The Night Ravagers: Cattle Mutilations in Argentina, by Scott Corrales.
- Video: A 2008 Canadian TV show featuring the late Mac Tonnies.
- Secret Sun's Chris Knowles explains why the members of Heaven's Gate were the ultimate Trekkies.
- io9 shares an excerpt from Jaron Lanier's new book Who Owns the Future? [Amazon US & UK].
- The age of the 3d-printed gun... has come.
- Israel's not amused by Google Palestine.
- British Indiana Jones claims the Lemba tribe in Papua New Guinea has Jewish origins --but with a name like that, I suspect Elves were involved too...
- Rocks found in Brazil were part of a hidden continent buried beneath the Atlantic 100 million years. But THEN the geologists decided to call it 'the Brazilian Atlantis', thus ensuing the ire of the Skeptoid blogosphere.
- Aging: It's all in the brain --Srsly.
- Flame retardants linked to low IQ & hyperactivity in children --even if exposed before they were born.
- A man whose brain was literally leaking out of his nose!
- Anne Strieber: Dog is an anagram for God.
- To get in the mood of Inferno, the people in charge of translating Dan Brown's new novel were submitted to hellish conditions.
- Red Pill of the Day: A serious contender for the greatest car commercial of all time —& I *am* being logical about it!
A huge thanks to Susan.
Quote of the Day:
"The basic problem is that web 2.0 tools are not supportive of democracy by design. They are tools designed to gather spy-agency-like data in a seductive way, first and foremost, but as a side effect they tend to provide software support for mob-like phenomena."