Punk'd by a Blue Whale

File this under 'Damn Nature You Funny': Zoologist Mark Carwardine is explaining for the Big Blue Live BBC series just how difficult it is to spot blue whales in the ocean, when suddenly one of them makes the greatest photobomb ever.

When you get owned by the largest animal on the planet, the least you could do is take it with humor AND humility.

[Link by Twistedsifter.com, hat tip to Joshua Cutchin]

News Briefs 20-08-2015

Rest in peace, Anne…

Quote of the Day:

"On the anniversary of my burst aneurysm in October of 2004, many people have asked me what I've learned. I've written about this extensively in many of my earlier diaries, but I thought I'd sum it up here. You might even call this diary "What I Learned from the Sick Year" (to paraphrase of the diet book I am posting, one chapter at a time, every week on this website).
I guess the simplest way to put it is, you must live out of love. You must operate from a basic platform of loving other people. This must be your stance as you go through life."

~Anne Strieber, "You Must Live Out of Love"

New Study Offers Support for 'Telephone Telepathy'

Find more fascinating articles like this one by liking The Daily Grail on Facebook, and by following us on Twitter.

Have you ever heard the phone ring, and somehow knew the identity of the caller before you answered? Many people have reported so-called 'telephone telepathy', but skeptics generally write if off as selective memory (you remember the few times you were correct, forget the many times you were wrong) or pattern-based intuition (certain people call at certain times, or for certain reasons, which you unconciously recognise). But could it be that these experiences really do offer an insight into some sort of anomalous mind-to-mind communication?

There has in fact been some scientific testing of this idea, most notably by British scientist Rupert Sheldrake. Five experiments from 2003 onwards have all shown positive results, with hit rates above what would be expected by chance (see the video above for a short video about an experiment by Sheldrake involving 'The Nolan Sisters' - text summary here).

And now, a new study led by Sheldrake, created to explore the new possibilities of 'telephone telepathy' testing afforded by advances in digital communication technology, has reinforced those results. Here's the description of the experiment:

Participants registered online through Rupert Sheldrake's (R.S.) web site, www.sheldrake.org. The subjects entered their first and second names, sex, age, mobile telephone number, and email address, and also entered the names of two or three contacts (first names only) together with their mobile telephone numbers. The subject was told, “During the test, when you receive a call you will be asked to guess whether it is from contact 1, 2, or 3 (or 1 and 2 in the case of the two-caller test) so you will need to remember the order of your contacts. It will help if you put them in alphabetical order.”

There was also a field on the registration form for a group name, so when participants were part of a specific group, they all entered the same group name when registering, enabling their data to be retrieved as a group. The subject then received a welcome SMS message saying, “Thank you for entering the Telepathy Test which will start shortly. Your PIN is [nnnn]. Good luck!” The personal identification number (PIN) was a four-digit number, specific to this test. The contacts also received an SMS message saying, “Your details have been submitted by [SubjectName] as part of the Telepathy Test and the test will start shortly. Your PIN will be [nnnn].” (The subject was also told that she could stop the test at any time by calling the (landline) telephone telepathy test number (which was given at the bottom of the registration form) and pressing the star key on the keypad.)

Thus all participants' tests were pre-registered, and hence there were no data from this test in “file drawers.” The test proceeded as follows:

  1. After a random time delay of between 1 and 10 min, the system selected one of the contacts at random and sent a message saying, “This is the Telepathy Test. Please call [landline number] to be transferred to [SubjectName]. Your PIN is [nnnn]. Do not attempt to contact [SubjectName] directly.”
  2. The contact person then called the telephone telepathy test landline number and was asked to enter the PIN number, identifying which test the contact was part of. A voice message asked the caller, “Please stay on the line while we attempt to contact the subject.” While on hold, the subject heard music.
  3. The computer then telephoned the subject, whose caller ID display said, “Telephone telepathy test.” When the subject answered the phone, a message said, “ One of your callers is on the line. Please guess who it is by pressing 1, 2 or 3 (or 1 or 2 in two callers tests).” As soon as the guess was made it was recorded automatically, and the line opened up so the caller could talk to the subject, thus receiving immediate feedback. After a minute, the call was terminated.
  4. After a random time delay of between 1 and 10 min, this procedure was repeated, and then repeated again until the subject had completed six trials, at which stage the test was complete. The subject then received an SMS message saying “Thank you for taking part in the Telepathy test. You scored [CorrectAnswer] correct out of 6 trials.” The contacts also received SMS messages saying, “Thank you for taking part in the Telepathy test. Subject scored [CorrectAnswer] correct out of 6 trials.”

In tests with three callers, there were 2080 trials altogether, with a hit rate of 41.8%, well above the 33.3% hit rate expected by chance. In tests with two callers, there were 745 trials, with a hit rate of 55.2% - again, above the 50% chance hit rate. According to the researchers, the experiments "showed that it is possible to do tests for telephone telepathy using an automated system involving mobile telephones under real-life conditions", and that the "overall hit rates were positive and significantly above chance, as in previous research on telephone telepathy using landlines."

It's worth noting though that the researchers involved make clear that these tests were not 'air-tight' experiments given the ability of participants to cheat. "We did not film or supervise the participants, and hence it was possible that some were cheating", they note. "Therefore, we do not claim that positive results in these exploratory experiments are compelling evidence for telepathy". Instead, the main aim of these tests was exploratory: to point at new ways of investigating telepathy experimentally, to note problems that needed to be overcome with future tests, and also to investigate if the sex and age of the subjects had any noticeable effects (no differences were discovered on this latter point).

Link to Paper: Automated Tests for Telephone Telepathy Using Mobile Phones

A Doodled History of Time

The Guardian has created this cool animated video, quickly explaining the basic principles in Stephen Hawking's theory about black holes.

Nicely done, though IMO the clip would have benefited from having V.I.N.CENT as the narrator. Just sayin'...

(H/T Brain Pickings)

News Briefs 19-08-2015

Blowjobs and elves.

Thanks to Greg.

Quote of the Day:

Heresies are experiments in man's unsatisfied search for truth.

H. G. Wells

Movie Trailer: Victor Frankenstein

Purists will probably hate it, but Harry Potter teaming up with Professor X with a 'Guy Ritchie's Sherlock' style treatment sounds okay to me for some Frankenstein-themed fun.

Or it could turn out like Van Helsing, so...

Best Seats in the House! Aurora Seen From Space

Here's a spectacular short clip of the Northern lights, as seen from the vantage point of the International Space Station. Just Wow.

The vid was recorded by NASA astronaut Scott Kelly during his 141st day aboard the ISS --only 222 more days to go, chief!

With an office view like that, who would mind working inside a cramped, smelly room with NO cigarette breaks?


News Briefs 18-08-2015

Just in case you forgot, we've got a spaceship in orbit around Saturn sending us back photos of everything it's seeing...

Quote of the Day:

Mind has come up with this brilliant way of looking at the world — science — but it can’t look at itself. Science has no place for the mind. The whole of our science is based upon empirical, repeatable experiments. Whereas thought is not in that category, you can’t take thought into a laboratory. The essential fact of our existence, perhaps the only fact of our existence – our own thought and perception is ruled off-side by the science it has invented. Science looks at the universe, doesn’t see itself there, doesn’t see mind there, so you have a world in which mind has no place.

Alan Moore

The Water Nest of the Sky Serpent: Sinkhole Discovered Underneath Kukulcán's Temple

Find more fascinating articles like this one by liking The Daily Grail on Facebook, and by following us on Twitter.

The Yucatán peninsula enjoys a semi-tropical climate, yet despite its lush jungles potable water is rather scarce. That's why the ancient Mayas venerated cenotes, the natural groundwater wells formed in the limestone bedrock, as sacred places which could be used as conduits to the Underworld or Xibalbá. Indeed, archeological diving in recent years has found many artifacts which were thrown by the Mayas into the cenotes as offerings to the gods... including of course, human remains.

But now it seems that, for the builders of the famous ancient city of Chichen Itzá, one particular cenote held a special importance: Scientists from Mexico's National University (UNAM) have recently announced they have detected one of these natural sinkholes right underneath the temple of Kukulcán --also known as El Castillo-- worldly renowned for the incredible spectacle of lights and shadows formed at its stairways during the Spring equinox.

"Underneath the pyramid we detected a body of water surrounded by limestone, which indicates it's very likely [the temple] is seated over a cenote," said UNAM's Institute of Geophysics investigator René Chávez. The cavity was located indirectly through 3D electrical(resistivity) tomography, placing 96 electrodes around the pyramidal structure, which showed it had an approximate length of 30 to 35 meters, and a depth of 20 meters; the pyramid rises in one of the corners of this natural inner chamber, so there's no danger of collapse.

Chávez also mentioned that, prior to taking the readings on Kukulcán's temple, his team tested the equipment in another of Chichen Itzá's buildings: The pyramid of El Osario, also known as the tomb of the High Priest; interestingly enough, they managed to detect a similar well below this structure as well; the scientists think it's possible these two bodies of water could be connected through a subterranean tunnel.

It's interesting to note that in the Maya dialect used by the builders of Chichen Itzá, the name of the city means "at the mouth of the well of the itza" --itza means 'water sorcerers' and it's how the Maya group who inhabited the Yucatán peninsula in the post-Classic people called themselves.

The group of scientists have confirmed they will carry on a second field study in October, in which they will try to reconstruct the interior of El Castillo, and verify its constructive stages throughout history --Mesoamerican pyramids are like onions, with an original, smaller structure being covered by a newer layer after a given time period, usually concordant with the 52-year cycle in which the 365-day 'ordinary' calendar, and the 260 'sacred' calendar coincided, which was of significant importance for all the cultures of ancient Mexico.

More importantly, the researchers want to find out whether there's an actual passage connecting the cenote with the pyramid, which perhaps would help them understand "why the hell it occurred to them to build such a beautiful structure on top of that thing," as Chávez put it during the announcement.

My own personal speculation, is that for these 'water sorcerers' it was of vital importance to 'tap in' the energy flowing through these sacred wells. In my essay for the Intrepid magazine blog titled Across the Coils of the Feathered Serpent, I discussed how it is very likely the ancient cultures of Mesoamerica chose the placing of their temples, in accordance to the same rules followed by other ancient civilizations all around the world; rules Alfred Watkins re-discovered when he came up with the concept of Ley lines --which also seem to be somehow linked to the UFO phenomenon...

Like the waters contained in those sacred chambers to the Underworld, this new discovery will hopefully help the Truth keep seeping in through the dry cracks of Orthodoxy, and flow freely with a fresh understanding of our ancient past.
LINKS (in Spanish):

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News Briefs 17-08-2015

Australia, where even the cuddly-looking things want to attack you...

Thanks to @WeirdAustralia.

Quote of the Day:

You have power over your mind - not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.

Marcus Aurelius