Our friends at the Centre for Fortean Zoology have been making global news recently with their expedition to the Australian island state of Tasmania in search of the (thought-to-be) extinct carnivorous marsupial, the 'Tasmanian Tiger' (or Thylacine).
It had been considered extinct for nearly 80 years, but the Tasmanian tiger has been declared alive and kicking by an intrepid group of British naturalists.
A team of investigators from the Centre for Fortean Zoology, which operates from a small farmhouse in north Devon, is currently in Tasmania hunting down clues to prove the thylacine, commonly known as the Tassie tiger, still exists.
The group claims to have gathered compelling evidence of the thylacine’s presence in remote parts of Tasmania’s north-west, despite the last known animal dying in Hobart Zoo on 7 September 1936.
The Centre for Fortean Zoology said it has talked to several “highly credible” witnesses of the thylacine and has found animal faeces that could belong to the beast. The droppings have been preserved in alcohol and are being sent awayfor DNA analysis.
In the article, Darklore contributor and zoological director of the CFZ, Richard Freeman, is quoted as saying he has “no doubt” the species still roams isolated areas of Tasmania. Richard's view is shared by a number of witnesses to apparent sightings of the lost species, such as those who appeared in the following History Channel documentary:
Funnily enough, despite its name and appearance, the thylacine is/was more closely related to kangaroos than to dogs or cats - it was called the 'kangaroo wolf' by some early settlers in Tasmania, probably at least partly as a result of its occasional habit of hopping on two legs using its tail for support in exactly the same way as kangaroos do today, and also of course the fact that as a fellow marsupial it had a pouch for raising its young.
- Were people killing giant sloths in South America 30,000 years ago? Bones with marks left by human tools could point to earlier human arrival in the Americas.
- Board game piece from the seventh century casts Anglo Saxon feasts in a new light.
- Fighting the tide of jade plundering in Guatemala.
- Mars needed a different atmosphere, not just higher temperatures, to have been a warmer, wetter, more Earth like world in the past, according to a new study.
- Signs of life preserved in meteor glass.
- Bacteria can reuse small scraps of 'second-hand' DNA, including 43,000-year-old segments from a woolly mammoth.
- When we lose antibiotics, here's everything else we'll lose too.
- New bacterial life-form discovered in NASA and ESA spacecraft clean rooms.
- Top 5 imported foods from China that you should avoid.
- In mice, anti-inflammatories ameliorate medical marijuana's memory mishaps.
- Ayahuasca could revolutionize psychotherapy.
- How many human body parts remain undiscovered?
- Within 10 years, experts claim they'll be able to 3D print whole hearts for use in transplant surgery, in about 3 hours, using the recipients’ cells.
- The dogs that can operate a washing machine with a quick bark and a push of the paw. Watch Duffy the dog work the washing machine and do the laundry.
- A puzzling 'blackout' at Puerto Rico's famous bioluminescent bay.
- Man who 'tastes' words comes up with a flavour for each of the 274 London Underground stations, from jelly to Spam fritters and 'wet sand'.
- Autistic people may have a tangling of the senses. Imagine if you were such an autistic.
- Reincarnation: Fact or fallacy? Three case studies.
- Father of boy, 9, killed in May tornado says recent photograph of his niece clearly shows his son standing over her 'like a guardian angel'.
- Sweden's transdimentional gas station: A first-hand account.
- Law enforcement officers now are part of the revenue gathering system. An ex-cop's guide to not getting arrested. Fair warning: it won't work for everyone.
- How a radical new teaching method could unleash a generation of geniuses.
Quote of the Day:
If you put a computer in front of children and remove all other adult restrictions, they will self-organize around it, like bees around a flower.
Sugata Mitra, in the last article linked above.
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:
- News Briefs 18-11-2013 (Monday)
- Celebrate Alan Moore's 60th Birthday by Getting Inside His Mind
- Earth is an Alien Planet: The Bigfin Squid is a Minion of Cthulhu
- News Briefs 19-11-2013 (Tuesday)
- Paranthropology 4:4: Free PDF Download
- The Soul's Eruption: Jasun Horsley at Bonus Creative WeekMX013
- Archae-orgy-ly: Mystery Humans Spiced Up Ancients’ Rampant Sex Lives
- Woman's Artistic Transformation Under the Influence of LSD
- News Briefs 20-11-2013 (Wednesday)
- Humans Giving Birth to Dolphins as a Way to Solve Global Hunger (Wait, What?!)
- Sylvia Browne is Dead
- News Briefs 21-11-2013 (Thursday)
- Investigating Mediumship: The 'Dazzle Shot'
- News Briefs 22-11-2013 (Friday)
Have a good weekend!
“Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.”
- Emergence of doubly transient chaos challenges predictability of established systems.
- De-extinction technology finds new life.
- Venus’ ring.
- Muppets in… space?
- Ancient Martian meteorite unearthed in Sahara.
- A fare to remember?
- Big Bang… or Bounce?
- Record-setting 'monster’ cosmic burst witnessed from afar.
- High-energy jet detected in Milky Way black hole.
- The European lineage of Native Americans.
- Darwin’s end?
- Primed for new maths.
- A fire in the Pacific Northwestern sky.
- Rare jellyfish rediscovered.
- When T-Rex was prey.
- Uluru, from the ground up.
- Super science girls are super cool.
- 20 tips for understanding scientific claims.
- This week’s evidence of the looming 'bot revolution: If it tastes like robot…
With thanks to RPJ!
Quote of the Day:
“To those who do not know mathematics it is difficult to get across a real feeling as to the beauty, the deepest beauty, of nature... If you want to learn about nature, to appreciate nature, it is necessary to understand the language that she speaks in.”
In my book Stop Worrying! There Probably is an Afterlife (Amazon US/Amazon UK) I devote a chapter to the subject of mediumship, and how science should best approach investigation of this controversial area. One of the elements that I talk about is the so-called 'dazzle shot', where a medium hits on a single, idiosyncratic piece of information that is so specific that the sitter is convinced the reading is coming from a loved one, even if sometimes the rest of the sitting is non-evidential in tone. I feel that previous research which did not take these dazzle shots into account (by scoring readings on the total number of pieces of information that were correct) may have resulted in unnecessarily negative assessments of some mediums, and that future experiments should concentrate on comparing sittings on the overall reading, rather than tallying the number of accurate hits.
The above video of a 'non-believer' (Chad) receiving a reading has an excellent example of a dazzle shot, when medium Chris Stillar (at 10:45) seems a little confused by the "bizarre" and "cryptic" communication coming from the 'deceased personality', asking Chad quite simply "what's pickles?" As you'll see on the video, the sitter at this point is quite overwhelmed emotionally, and it turns out that his deceased friend was obsessed with pickles, to the point where Chad would buy him a jar every week. I'm unfamiliar with this particular experiment, and the researcher doing the work, so I can't vouch that everything was truly anonymous and the medium was definitely 'blind' to the sitter - but it does make you sit up and take notice, and it certainly grabbed Chad's attention.
Skeptics would see other things in the video that might portray things in a more negative light, such as the medium noting at another point that the sitter's eyes seemed to be saying "yes" in response to his question - perhaps evidence that he was at least subconsciously reading and reacting to Chad's body language and subtle cues. The two debrief videos below - the first with Chad, the other with Chris Stillar - also show that some of the information in the first video wasn't as accurate as it seemed (such as the mode of death of Chad's friend). But overall, I think it's a nice group of videos to get a feel for how mediumistic sessions can be so convincing to sitters, and also for a more personal 'chat' with a medium, rather than the usual sensationalised presentation of celebrity mediums that is the norm on television these days.
Here's Chad's debrief:
And here's the post-sitting interview with medium Chris Stillar:
Fascinating material, and well worth viewing if you're at all interested in this topic. And of course, for more on mediumship and other areas of 'afterlife' research, such as NDEs and death-bed visions, make sure you grab a copy of Stop Worrying! There Probably is an Afterlife.
Remember: The enemy's gate is down.
- Celebrity psychic Sylvia Browne dies at 77.
- Micah Hanks investigates how the JFK assassination sowed the ground for the modern distrust in official explanations.
- The truth behind the famous Milgram's 'shock machine' experiment.
- Do we live in the Matrix? And if so, where's the woman in red?
- Are we alone in the Universe?
- The SETI lottery bond: sounds like a Ponzi scheme to me…
- Oh oh: It looks like it's all over for Curiosity on Mars.
- Happy Birthday, ISS! Man, I can still remember when Charlie & the gang were promoting your never--realized big sister…
- When the Coneheads said they came from France, they weren't kidding!
- Radio Misterioso interviews Albert Rosales, creator of the most extensive database of humanoid encounters on the web.
- Why the Russian researchers disagree with the 'Bigfoot files' TV series.
- Combining glassware & honey bees to detect cancer.
- Understanding the language of killer whales.
- What did we do when we found the oldest living creature on the planet? We killed it, of course!
- Eat your heart out, Saruman! Here are 12 of the most unusual towers in the world.
- Red Pill of the Day: Just your average day in L.A., with a bear inside a yellow Lambo blocking the traffic…
Quote of the Day:
“I think that most of us, anyway, read these stories that we know are not "true" because we're hungry for another kind of truth: the mythic truth about human nature in general, the particular truth about those life-communities that define our own identity, and the most specific truth of all: our own self-story. Fiction, because it is not about someone who lived in the real world, always has the possibility of being about oneself. ”
~Orson Scott Card
The website of 'psychic icon' Sylvia Browne has today announced her passing:
World renowned spiritual teacher, psychic icon, author, and lecturer Sylvia Celeste Browne passed away at 7:10am this morning (Wednesday, November 20) at Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose, CA. Born October 19, 1936, Browne was 77 years old.
...A best-selling author, Browne published over 50 works throughout her life with 22 appearing on the New York Times Bestsellers List. She was also a frequent guest on radio and television shows including Larry King Live and The Montel Williams Show, where Browne’s appearances quickly became a popular weekly highlight among regular viewers for over 17 years.
"A beacon that shined for so many was extinguished today, but its brightness was relit and will now shine forever for many of us from above,” said Williams. “I, like so many of you, lost a friend today. But, as has been for the last twenty years, she'll always remain a part of me. My thoughts and prayers go out to Sylvia's family in this time of loss."
Browne is survived by her husband Michael Ulery, sons Christopher and Paul Dufresne, three grandchildren, Angelia, Jeffrey, and William; and her sister Sharon Bortolussi.
A private memorial service is to be scheduled.
I have never been a fan of Browne in any sense - everything I saw of her seemed false, and in many cases, downright ugly. She was infamous for her incorrect predictions regarding missing children - Amanda Berry and Shawn Hornbeck being prime examples - and these alone should stand as testament to her lack of care and empathy when it came to discussing such delicate matters. In fact, I find it difficult to understand what made her so famous - she was wrong often, she showed a distinct lack of emotional connection to 'sitters' (to the point of being outright rude to them), and her personality seemed abrasive and self-centred.
Some people obviously did have profound moments via her psychic readings, and she is survived by her children and grandchildren, so I'm sure there will be many who grieve for Browne. I can't include myself on that list though, sad to say.
In what surely will be the most WTF-esque story you'll read all week, I give to you "I wanna Deliver a Dolphin," an art project conceived by designer Ai Hasegawa as a way to raise questions about the use of synthetic biology to solve current problems --in this case, satisfying maternal instincts in an overcrowded world facing food shortages, by having women give birth to dolphins... before eating them.
Hasegawa proposes synthesising a placenta that could support an animal in a human womb.
"This project approaches the problem of human reproduction in an age of overcrowding, overdevelopment and environmental crisis," Hasegawa said. "With potential food shortages and a population of nearly seven billion people, would a woman consider incubating and giving birth to an endangered species such as a shark, tuna or dolphin?"
The designer also questions whether someone would feel differently about eating a delicacy having personally carried and nurtured it.
"Would raising this animal as a child change its value so drastically that we would be unable to consume it because it would be imbued with the love of motherhood?" asked Hasegawa.
"Hurry up, honey, our guests are getting hungry! Oh, and where do we keep the soy sauce?"
- Manchester Museum's mysterious rotating Egyptian statue solved.
- You may recall we covered the haunted statue story way back in June.
- Psychic Astronauts: can we explore outer space by remote viewing?
- Two dream characters we've all encountered in our sleep (Amazon US/UK).
- Does ESP exist? 11 premonitions that came true (Amazon US/UK).
- Supernature: do all creatures great & small have psychic abilities?
- A neuroscientist's radical theory of how networks become conscious.
- Bjork explaining television is pretty much how I view computers/the internet.
- Stunning paper sculptures of wolves, owls, & crows by Anna-Wili Highfield.
- An artist never retires. Hayao Miyazaki working on a samurai manga.
- A UFO sighting inspired Uruguayan Alexandro Garcia to make amazing art.
- The Falling Sky: words of a Yanomami shaman (Amazon US/UK).
- Home to gods & spirits, take a tour of China's sacred mountains.
- The mystery of the sunken ruins of Nan Madol in Micronesia.
- Graham Hancock presents evidence Nan Madol is linked to Angkor Wat.
- The half-submerged ruins inspired HP Lovecraft's city of R'lyeh.
- Archaeologists in Turkey dig up the guardians of the gates to hell.
- Wear your They Live sunglasses to the opening of Scientology's new shack.
Quote of the Day:
~ Yum yum yum!
Do psychedelics free our creative minds from the everyday shackles we place upon it, allowing us to transcend our normal patterns and expectations, as well as transforming our own self-image? Consider this series of 11 self-portraits drawn by a girl during an LSD 'trip', beginning with the image at the top of this post, and perhaps reaching its apotheosis with the image below, drawn 6 hours and 45 minutes after ingesting the powerful entheogen.
Link: 11 Auto-portraits on LSD