News Briefs 17-05-2017

Memo: remember to take more memos...

Quote of the Day:

We are the children of concrete and steel.

Living Colour, "Type"

Hidden History Debated: Graham Hancock and Randall Carlson Go Head to Head with Skeptic Michael Shermer on the Joe Rogan Podcast

Late last year 'alternative history' author Graham Hancock and 'renegade scholar' Randall Carlson appeared on the Joe Rogan podcast discussing a major topic in Graham's recent book Magicians of the Gods (Amazon US/Amazon UK) - namely, evidence pointing to the possibility that there was a major global catastrophe at the end of the last Ice Age, caused by a comet impact. Noted skeptic Michael Shermer - who has also previously appeared on Joe's show - was moved to comment about the information presented on the podcast, questioning the validity of what was being said.

So Joe decided to bring them all together in the same room to debate the topic face-to-face - resulting in the three and a half hour dialogue (quadralogue?) above.

Related links:

News Briefs 16-05-2017

No classified intel shared in today's news briefs...

Quote of the Day:

I exploit you, still you love me
I tell you one and one makes three
I'm the cult of personality

Living Colour, "Cult of Personality"

Portals of Strangeness

This article is excerpted from Darklore Volume 8, which is now available for sale from Amazon US and Amazon UK. The Darklore anthology series features the best writing and research on paranormal, Fortean and hidden history topics, by the most respected names in the field: Alan Moore, Robert Schoch, Nick Redfern, Loren Coleman, Robert Bauval and Daniel Pinchbeck, to name just a few. Darklore's aim is to support quality researchers, so it makes sense to support Darklore. For more information on the series (including more free sample articles), visit the Darklore website.

Portals of Strangeness

Portals of Strangeness

Symbolism, Synchronicity, and Fortean Phenomena

Or, What Does It Mean When Weird Things Happen?


by Ray Grasse

I was just thirteen at the time, sitting with a friend on the front porch of his home, talking about the sort of things 13-year-olds normally talk about, when I noticed an odd light in the distance out of the corner of my eye. My friend noticed it, too, and we turned our heads to see a glowing disc-shaped object rising up over the trees, probably a half-mile away. It was shaped like the top half of a hamburger bun, I thought to myself, and was cream-colored, but with an iridescent green outline along its fringe. After rising up a short distance, the disc darted around in a strange way, unlike any airplane or advertising blimp I’d ever seen, before moving off and dropping out of view beneath the tree line. The entire experience lasted maybe 40 seconds in all.

We were stunned by what we’d seen, because it was so different from anything else we’d encountered before—outside of Hollywood movies, anyway. When we tried describing what we saw to our parents, our accounts were brushed off as the products of over-active youthful imaginations. I even tried calling up the nearby airport to report what we saw to find out if anyone else mentioned it. But they dismissed my story as simple misidentification.

“It was probably just a blimp with advertising lights on it, that’s all,” he assured me patronizingly.

I wasn’t sure myself what we’d seen—and to this day I'm still not. But it’s safe to say it wasn’t a blimp with advertising lights strung on it.

We’ve probably all had brushes at one point or another with something that mystifies or startles us, even if that was just an unlikely coincidence or a hunch that turned out to come true. But what about the truly odd event – like a peculiar craft darting around in the sky? Or seeing a creature that isn't even supposed to exist? Or a rainfall of frogs from the sky, as one friend’s grandmother told me she witnessed as a child back in Indiana?

The renegade researcher Charles Fort (1874-1932) spent the better part of his life collecting such stories and compiling them into books like Lo! and Book of the Damned, inspiring countless other researchers in the process, and even a magazine commemorating his legacy—Fortean Times. Presuming we don’t simply dismiss all these strange accounts as mere hallucinations, hoaxes, or misidentifications, what are we to make of such tales?

Having studied accounts like these for decades by now, I’ve come to believe these events are

News Briefs 15-05-2017

Cult of Personality...

Quote of the Day:

I want all of my new special agents and intelligence analysts to understand the FBI's history [of] interaction with Dr. [Martin Luther] King and draw from it an understanding of the dangers of falling in love with our own rectitude. And the importance of being immersed in that design of the founders with oversight by the courts and Congress so that we don't fall in love with our own view of things.

James Comey (2014)

Canadian Miners Discovered a 110 Million-Year-Old Dinosaur 'Mummy'

Petrified remains of Nodosaur

A world populated by dragons is normally the sort of thing reserved for fantasy literature, but sometimes we're reminded that our own planet was once crawling with massive reptiles. That was certainly the case for some Canadian miners who chanced across an amazing dinosaur 'mummy':

On the afternoon of March 21, 2011, a heavy-equipment operator named Shawn Funk was carving his way through the earth, unaware that he would soon meet a dragon.

That Monday had started like any other at the Millennium Mine, a vast pit some 17 miles north of Fort McMurray, Alberta, operated by energy company Suncor. Hour after hour Funk’s towering excavator gobbled its way down to sands laced with bitumen—the transmogrified remains of marine plants and creatures that lived and died more than 110 million years ago. It was the only ancient life he regularly saw. In 12 years of digging he had stumbled across fossilized wood and the occasional petrified tree stump, but never the remains of an animal—and certainly no dinosaurs.

But around 1:30, Funk’s bucket clipped something much harder than the surrounding rock. Oddly colored lumps tumbled out of the till, sliding down onto the bank below. Within minutes Funk and his supervisor, Mike Gratton, began puzzling over the walnut brown rocks. Were they strips of fossilized wood, or were they ribs? And then they turned over one of the lumps and revealed a bizarre pattern: row after row of sandy brown disks, each ringed in gunmetal gray stone.

“Right away, Mike was like, ‘We gotta get this checked out.’

What they had found was the petrified, almost perfectly preserved remains of a 110 million-year-old dinosaur known as a Nodosaur. In fact, it is so well preserved that paleobiologist Jakob Vinther remarked that, at first appearance, you could assume it “might have been walking around a couple of weeks ago".

Head over to National Geographic for the full story and more pics.

American Gods

American Gods

Based on the bestselling novel by Neil Gaiman, American Gods has hit the Starz network this month. Starring Ian McShane and executive produced by Bryan Fuller, it exposes America's mythological underbelly, and a war brewing between the immigrant old gods of Europe, Africa, and Asia, and the new "gods of credit card and freeway, of Internet and telephone, of radio and hospital and television, gods of plastic and of beeper and of neon." If David Lynch was a fan of Joseph Campbell, you might get something like American Gods. Now about that The Sandman TV series...

Amazon US/Kindle
Amazon UK/Kindle

News Briefs 13-05-2017

“To different minds, the same world is a hell, and a heaven.”

Quote of the Day:

“The imitator dooms himself to hopeless mediocrity.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

News Briefs 11-05-2017

On the next episode of The Apprentice: White House edition…

Thanks to Baby Groot.

Quote of the Day:

"Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy, and the most aggravated form of tyranny and slavery out of the most extreme liberty."

˜ Plato

Solving the Fermi Paradox: Could Advanced Aliens Be Lovecraftian 'Old Ones', Sleeping Through Eons?

Aliens in hibernation

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It's not often that you find academic papers about the possibility of alien civilisations that cite H.P.Lovecraft. But that's exactly what you'll find in a new article authored by Oxford University researchers, "That is not dead which can eternal lie: the aestivation hypothesis for resolving Fermi’s paradox".

The researchers, from Oxford's Future of Humanity Institute, ask if advanced civilisations - who would likely be burning through power sources due to vast increases in computational ability - might make the decision to go into a hibernation of sorts ("aestivation") in order to take advantage of more energy-friendly conditions in the deep future:

[E]arly civilizations have a far greater chance to colonize and pre-empt later civilizations if they wish to do so. If these early civilizations are around, why are they not visible? The aestivation hypothesis states that they are aestivating until a later cosmological era.

The argument is that the thermodynamics of computation make the cost of a certain amount of computation proportional to the temperature. Our astrophysical and cosmological knowledge indicates that the universe is cooling down with cosmic time. As the universe cools down, one Joule of energy is worth proportionally more.

...Hence a civilization desiring to maximize the amount of computation will want to use its energy endowment as late as possible: using it now means far less total computation can be done. Hence an early civilization, after expanding to gain access to enough raw materials, will settle down and wait until it becomes rational to use the resources.

We are not observing any aliens since the initial expansion phase is brief and intermittent and the aestivating civilization and its infrastructure is also largely passive and compact.

In short, the paper says, very big civilisations might have a small footprint because they have "relocated most of their activity to the future". Advanced civilizations might have “seen it all”, the researchers say, and so "do not gain much more information utility from hanging around in the early era".

To 'relocate their activity to the future', the researchers say, advanced aliens could have figured out a way to either just 'hibernate', or otherwise perhaps even regulated their "mental speed" to change their subjective experience of time to enable them to 'traverse' large periods of time with minimum impact.

The paper is obviously all very speculative, even if they do offer real science (much of it too complex for me) to try and back up their hypothesis (they also note that the paper didn't originally aim to solve the Fermi Paradox, but rather was a consideration of how advanced civilizations might manage their resources).

But if you're going to have some fun speculating about hibernating ancient aliens, why not go hog wild and throw in some Lovecraft to paint a picture? That's exactly what the authors do to illustrate their scenario of 'sleeping Old Ones', inserting the two following quotes into their paper:

That is not dead which can eternal lie.
And with strange aeons even death may die.
H.P. Lovecraft

The Old Ones were, the Old Ones are, and the Old Ones shall be.
Not in the spaces we know, but between them. They walk serene
and primal, undimensioned and to us unseen.
H.P. Lovecraft, The Dunwich Horror and Others

Maybe they should have put 'eldritch' in front of every second noun just to really set a Lovecraftian tone...

Link: "That is not dead which can eternal lie: the aestivation hypothesis for resolving Fermi’s paradox" on arXiv.org

Related: SETI Should Consider Black Holes As Potential Targets

(thanks Norman)