News Briefs 03-07-2014

July 2nd is as much a worthy date to celebrate World UFO Day, as the USA team is a worthy candidate to win the World Cup championship.

Oh wait…

Quote of the Day:

"[Cryptozoologists] have been, I think, quite badly treated by scientists over the past 50 years."

~Doctor Bryan Sykes

A Gnostic Vision of the Conquest: A Review of Graham Hancock's War God

[Before you read this book review, know that I not only intend to offer my opinion on the novel, but also explore the historical events of the Mexican Conquest in some depth. If you are a complete neophyte in the topic & want to enjoy Graham's War God without 'spoilers', then I suggest you close this link & open the Amazon page to order it instead, since my ultra-ultra short review is "I liked it, get the book" anyway --same goes for anyone daunted by the prospect of reading a 3000+-word-long essay, which will only reinforce your decision to buy War God. For the undecided (and the masochists) please enjoy]

Broken spears lie in the roads;
We have torn our hair in our grief
The houses are roofless now, and their walls
Are red with blood.

Worms are swarming in the streets and plazas,
And the walls are spattered with gore
The water has turned red, as if it were dyed
And when we drink it,
It has the taste of brine

We have pounded our hands in despair
Against the adobe walls,
For our inheritance, our city, is lost and dead
The shields of our warriors were its defense.
But they could not save it.

We have chewed dry twigs and salt grasses:
We have filled our mouths with dust and bits of adobe.
We have eaten lizards, rats and worms
When we had meat, we ate it almost raw.
[...]
Weep my people
Know that with these disasters
We have lost the Mexican nation
The water has turned bitter
Our food is bitter
These are the acts of the Giver of Life.

~From the book The Broken Spears, chapter XV

As a literary fan, I honestly don't know which would be harder: To write a completely fictional story, or a fictionalized account of a true historical event. The open-ended freedom of pure fiction could turn into a double-edged sword in the hands of an inexperienced writer; whereas with fictionalized events, you wouldn't be allowed to surprise the reader by deviating too much from what was actually recorded in the History books – unless you're Quentin Tarantino, that is.

Which is why I was very interested in reading Graham Hancock's War God, his first non-fiction (‘first non-fiction-based novel’, or ‘second fiction novel’?) book & a novelized exploration of an event I probably know better than most: The Spanish Conquest of Mexico in the 16th century. ... Read More »

Fabergé Fractals: Alien Objects from Another Dimension

Faberge Fractal by Tom Beddard

Forget the story of the shoemaker and the elves...the 21st century equivalent might be the laser physicist and the machine elves. Scotland-based physicist-turned-artist Tom Beddard (aka subBlue), creates computer-generated 3D fractal artworks that he refers to as 'Fabergé Fractals'...and they look like something that the denizens of the DMT realms might use as furniture.* Beddard uses iterative fractal formulas to create his astounding CG models:

The 3D fractals are generated by iterative formulas whereby the output of one iteration forms the input for the next. The formulas effectively fold, scale, rotate or flip space. They are truly fractal in the fact that more and more detail can be revealed the closer to the surface you travel.

The fascinating aspect is where combinations of parameters can combine to create structural 'resonances' of extraordinary detail and beauty— sometimes naturally organic and other times perfectly geometric. But then like a chaotic system it can completely disappear with the smallest perturbation.

I look forward to someone bringing these things into the real world with a 3D printer.

Beddard is also the co-creator of an app called Frax that lets you create your own fractal art. And he also has a pretty cool Vimeo channel full of fractal animations to make your head spin, like the one below.

For similar videos and images, see some of the links at the bottom of this post.

(* Beddard's use of the word 'Fabergé' is interesting, given Terence McKenna's own description of what he saw under the influence of DMT: "So you burst into this space. It's lit, softened lighting, some kind of indirect lighting - you can't quite locate it. But what is astonishing and immediately riveting is that in this place there are entities - there are these things, which I call "self transforming machine elves"...and then they proceed to sing objects into existence. Amazing objects. Objects that are Fabergé Eggs, things made of pearl, and metal, and glass, and gel; and you, when you're shown one of these things, a single one of them, you look at it and you know, without a shadow of a doubt, in the moment of looking at this thing, that if it were right here, right now, this world would go mad. It's like something from another dimension. It's like an artifact from a flying saucer. It's like something falling out of the mind of God - such objects do not exist in this universe, and yet, you're looking at it.")

(via Science Alert/@RakRazam)

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News Briefs 01-07-2014

Proof that Grailers are ahead of the curve: the news headlines today read like a summary of books we've released in recent years…

Quote of the Day:

All your beliefs, they're just that. They're nothing. They're how you were taught and raised. That doesn't make 'em real.

Bill Hicks

Ufologist Stanton Friedman Suffers a Heart Attack

Stanton Friedman

Cryptozoology legend Loren Coleman informed me today of the concerning news that well-known ufologist Stanton Friedman suffered a mild heart attack last Friday night. Thankfully, Stan survived the emergency and is making good progress. Here's the latest update from one of his close friends Kathleen Marden, with whom he has co-authored multiple books:

I spoke with Stan Friedman this morning and am very pleased to report that he is feeling strong and chipper. His heart enzymes have declined, so he has turned the corner. He wants me to make it clear that he will be transported to a larger hospital, only because his local facility doesn't have the equipment to do a dye test and an echo cardiogram. This will probably occur today or Wednesday, as July 1 is a national holiday in Canada.

"Well wishers can send cards to Stan at P.O. Box 958, Houlton, ME 04730. He appreciates everyone's thoughts and prayers.

Stan's medical issues will sadly stop him from attending this year's Roswell UFO Festival, but hopefully his good medical outcome will allow him to spend many more future years there. We send our best wishes for a speedy recovery to him.

News Briefs 30-06-2014

Deluded? Nah, not me!

Quote of the Day:

When told that man lives in delusion everyone thinks of himself as the exception; hence his delusion.

Vernon Howard

UFOs Explained: It's the Alcohol Silly!

UFO Chart

A new low in UFO debunkery from The Economist, with the chart above suggesting that UFO sightings are simply a function of people drinking too much alcohol.

[T]he National UFO Reporting Centre, a non-profit, has catalogued almost 90,000 reported sightings of UFOs, mostly in America, since 1974. It turns out that aliens are considerate. They seldom disturb earthlings during working or sleeping hours. Rather, they tend to arrive in the evening, especially on Fridays, when folks are sitting on the front porch nursing their fourth beer, the better to appreciate flashing lights in the heavens (see chart). The state aliens like best is Washington—a finding that pre-dates the legalisation of pot there. Other popular destinations are also near the Canadian border, where the Northern lights are sometimes visible. UFOs tend to shun big cities, where there are lots of other lights, and daylight hours, when people might think they were just aeroplanes.

The numbers obviously have nothing to do with the fact that 'drinking hours' strangely coincide with the time of day that most people would notice something in the sky (night-time), but are not yet asleep. I totally expected that the highest number of sightings of things in the sky would be when people are asleep in their bedrooms... (/snark).

Paranormal Experiences, Shared with Where Did the Road Go?

Where Did the Road Go? is a wonderful radio show featured every Saturday night from 11 pm to midnight (EST), in which the host Seriah Azkath explores all aspects of Fortean mysteries with his guests.

Last week Seriah started to release a series of 'videocasts' on the show's Youtube channel, in which he'll invite run-of-the-mill, ordinary folks to share their own extra-ordinary experiences. The first one starts with a guy named Dave, who shares a couple of rather odd encounters, including seeing a full-front apparition of his brother --who was at the time in a coma after suffering a terrible accident.

One of the reasons I personally loathe the term 'paranormal' is that it gives a (false) impression of extreme rarity an infrequent occurrence, which then skeptics use to claim that only 'cranks & weirdos' report things like UFO sightings or ghosts apparitions. Yet the fact of the matter is MANY folks have had an unusual experience at least *once* in their life, and most would opt to keep quiet (or share them only with their closest friends) for fear of ridicule.

With this initiative, Seriah is trying to prove to anyone who might be hesitant to come out of the 'Fortean closet', that they're more people who have had a brush with the Unknown than they probably realize, and I for one wholeheartedly support that goal.

You can subscribe to Where Did the Road Go? on both iTunes & Stitcher. You won't be disappointed.

News Briefs 27-06-2014

"The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent;"

Quote of the Day:

“But if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death — however mutable man may be able to make them — our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.”

S. Kubrick