Scienceblogging.com has a story up claiming that Harvard scientists have resolved the question of ESP - it does not exist:
The scientists used brain scanning to test whether individuals have knowledge that cannot be explained through normal perceptual processing.
"If any ESP processes exist, then participants' brains should respond differently to ESP and non-ESP stimuli," explains Moulton. "Instead, results showed that participants’ brains responded identically to ESP and non-ESP stimuli, despite reacting strongly to differences in how emotional the stimuli were and showing subtle, stimulus-related effects."
...Does this conclusively prove that ESP does not exist? "No," says Moulton. "You cannot affirm the null hypothesis. But at the same time, some null results are stronger than others. This is the best evidence to date against the existence of ESP.
I'm not sure I get the whole premise of the experiments, which appear to be making broad assumptions about a (possible) human ability and then testing those assumptions - namely, that there will be a difference in the brain scans. But I'll have to read the actual paper before I can offer any detailed comments.
However, parapsychologist Dean Radin has commented on the new paper on his website:
Here's the alternative radio schedule for the first half of the week.
Coast to Coast AM: On Monday L. A. Marzulli will discuss his research on the 'Luciferian Conspiracy,' as well as recent Mothman encounters in the Pt. Pleasant area. Tuesday's guest is paranormal investigator and columnist for Skeptical Inquirer, Joe Nickell who will discuss his latest work on the Shroud of Turin as well as his investigations of spontaneous human combustion, hauntings and the Nazca Lines. On Thursday John Longenecker will discuss his fight for reform of gun control policy, while Thursday is TBA at time of posting (check the link for updates).
Someone's been eating my porridge...
- Vanity Fair teases us with a five-page feature on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, including exclusive pics.
- Part 1 of aliens and UFOs in the Bible.
- A former British Royal Air Force official saw an alien orb create a crop circle.
- Files on UFO encounters investigated by a secret branch of the British MoD will soon be revealed.
- A couple in Canada film a dark spiral in the sky that defies explanation. The video is downloadable.
- Do you think it's similar to this UFO with spikes filmed above Sao Paolo, Brazil?
- Could we be sharing the planet with sentient beings who live deep beneath the world's oceans? Great movie, The Abyss.
- Amazingly, a carving of a stegosaur hasn't been looted from Angkor Wat. Yet.
- Taking a stroll through Cumberland's green grass and ancient stone circles.
- Are the stone circles of Bodmin's Moors aligned with the belt of Orion?
- 51'000 Buddhist statues in the Yungang Grottoes urgently need protection.
- PAGASA in the Philippines is seeking local legends and folklore about celestial objects and events.
- Can large birds of prey catch small children? Tales of pigeons swooping on small children is how Greg gets his kids to bed.
- When the snow falls in Kashmir, princes, demons and fairies come alive as storytellers revive ancient folklore.
- Daniel Brenton pays tribute to the late Madeline L'Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time (Amazon US or UK), who may have been a big influence on Philip Pullman (L'Engle, not Daniel, although I'm sure Pullman is a big fan of Daniel's Odd Little Universe as well).
- Is time slowing down and disappearing from the universe? Considering it's 2008 already, slowing down time is a good thing.
- The Amazing Kreskin, who predicted in 2002 that Rudy Giuliani would run for President, gets annoyed when you call him a psychic.
Quote of the Day:
Adventure is just bad planning.
Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen.
Last year's National Press Club presentation on UFOs provided major mainstream coverage for the topic. Held on November 12th, Reuters wrote of the event:
An international panel of two dozen former pilots and government officials called on the U.S. government on Monday to reopen its generation-old UFO investigation as a matter of safety and security given continuing reports about flying discs, glowing spheres and other strange sightings.
The panellists from seven countries, including former senior military officers, said they had each seen a UFO or conducted an official investigation into UFO phenomena.
As mentioned before Xmas, I'm the January 'Author of the Month' at Graham Hancock's website, and as such I'll be discussing various topics on Graham's messageboard, ranging from Darklore to Dan Brown, the Daily Grail, and how I see the current state and future of the genre(s) etc. It's a great place to get stuck into some serious chatting on these topics, so I'd love to see y'all get over there - post some new threads with questions, or respond to any threads that I start. There's all sorts of weirdness within my head jostling for the front door, so things should get interesting (or, if you're very lucky, ugly).
A few things to keep you busy over the weekend...
- The Xmas episode of Binnall of America Audio saw high-profile ufologist Stanton Friedman join Tim for a discussion of the Betty and Barney Hill case and a review of UFO history. Then the New Years show featured Nick Redfern (available as mp3/podcast or streaming via Flash). Quite a holiday treat!
- Cabinet of Wonders offers their "Best Damned Data for 2007", as well as the "Best of the Rest of the Best of 2007".
- Curious Expeditions also has a 2007 Retrospective worth checking out.
- Michael Prescott looks at the difficulty faced by afterlife communicators.
- Michio Kaku offers "Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey" on his website.
- The Book of Thoth also interviewed Stan Friedman on their website (transcript from an audio interview).
- The Societe Perillos debunks a popular Rennes-le-Chateau myth.
- Mac Tonnies gives you the best bits from his Posthuman Blues blog in 2007.
- Gary A. David tells the intriguing story of "The Hopi Blue Star".
- Michael Tymn has another afterlife anecdote with "Another Soliders 'Goes West'".
- Filip Coppens wades into "The Truths and Lies of WikiWorld". Hence The Red Pill.
- Speaking of Michael Tymn and the Red Pill - I've just added a new contribution from Michael on the psychical history of French scientist Charles Richet (pioneer on the topic of anaphylaxis, and seemingly separated at birth from Blade Runner's Leon).
- Alex Tsakiris continues his Skeptico podcast series, with further comments about his battle with the 'skeptics'.
- The latest MAPS news update is now available.
- Anthony North investigates out of body experiences at Beyond the Blog.
- The latest podcast from the Psychedelic Salon is McKenna, Sheldrake and Abraham talking "Grassroots Science".
- In the latest newsletter from James Randi, it's Randi vs Geller, round #392304.
- Filer's Files #52 has the latest ufological roundup.
Settle down Rick, I'm not talking about the enormously gifted guitarist for that Irish band. Once again, The Edge Foundation has released its annual 'World Question', posed to some of the brightest and/or freshest thinkers around:
The Edge Annual Question — 2008
When thinking changes your mind, that's philosophy.
When God changes your mind, that's faith.
When facts change your mind, that's science.
WHAT HAVE YOU CHANGED YOUR MIND ABOUT? WHY?
Science is based on evidence. What happens when the data change? How have scientific findings or arguments changed your mind?
163 contributors gave their answer, including Richard Dawkins, Freeman Dyson, Rupert Sheldrake, Michael Shermer. Sheldrake's comments are bound to cause some controversy, although he does have a central point worth making. And Susan Blackmore's commentary was 'interesting', considering the passages I've just read in Chris Carter's Parapsychology and the Skeptics. Perhaps more on that later. Plenty of excellent reading all round though, so get over there and take a look.
Hello! Are you still here?
- Say hello to the Seven Fortean Wonders of the World.
- The newest anomaly: the door on Mars.
- Stranger than fiction: parallel universes beguile science.
- Odds of huge asteroid hitting Mars next month increase. See the NASA website for more.
- What does a(n apparent) lack of alien contact mean for us? The Fermi Death Sentence.
- UK's Ministry of Defence to release their UFO files.
- SETI@home ramps up to analyze extra data.
- Tomorrow marks twenty years since the first space shuttle tragedy.
- Police chief causes outrage (at least in tabloid beat-it-up newspapers) after saying that 'ecstasy is safer than aspirin'.
- Was Dan Brown (semi-)right? Mark Oxbrow looks in the Louvre for the Holy Grail.
- Or is it in Iceland?
- Egypt (or is it just Zahi?) claims copyright on the pyramids.
- Speaking of the Egypt Ego, he's coming under fire for rejecting solutions to a rising groundwater problem at Giza.
- Whatever happened to the Norse Americans?
- From toast-bound Virgin Marys, to unidentified flying objects - are we seeing things?
- Jesus and his roughnecks rule the roost in Washington D.C.
- Scientists slam silly celebrities selling pseudo-science.
- UFO hits NASA satellite.
- Oddball weather events add to record-breaking 2007.
- Forget that big-ass asteroid...was it tiny insects that brought down the dinosaurs?
- Is quantum trickery at the heart of life on Earth?
- Secrets of the Miami Circle.
- Taking a tour of our dreamscapes.
- Ben Goldacre discusses a year of scares, quacks, and geeky truths in his Bad Science column.
- Cooking the Arctic - it's a joint effort between us and Mother Earth.
- Are the Top 25 censored stories worth pondering?
- Or do they belong with the 7 Craziest Conspiracy Theories?
- Pwnage news: FBI prepares a vast database of biometrics.
- Car accident caused by...pterodactyl?
Quote of the Day:
In practice, the goal of skepticism is not the discovery of truth, but the exposure of other people's errors. It plays a useful role in science, religion, scholarship, and common sense. But we need to remember that it is a weapon serving belief or self-interest; we need to be skeptical of skeptics. The more militant the skeptic, the stronger the belief.
It's time to hand out free stuff! Or at least, some free PDF magazines. Nick Redfern has charitably pointed out that the good folks at UFO Magazine have placed their entire latest issue online (free PDF download). Within you'll find contributions from the likes of Nick, Stan Friedman, John Jay Harper, George Noory , Regan Lee and Nick Pope (among a cast of thousands).
Jolly 'old' Saint Nick also points us to the fact that Fate too are offering a free magazine - this one a 'sample issue' - as a PDF download. Within you'll find the usual high profile Fate contributors, including that Redfern guy again, and also Brad Steiger, Hilly Rose, Kenn Thomas and more.
Of course, if that's not enough for you, there's always the six free PDF issues of our own magazine, Sub Rosa, which you of course have already read considering they contain interviews with Jacques Vallee, Graham Hancock, Robert Bauval, etc. and a bunch of fascinating articles besides.
Happy New Year
- Parasite theory stirs a revolution.
- More mystery space machines.
- It is possible to be moral without God.
- Hello, 16p11.2. Are you just like me?
- Anthrax: a cancer killer?
- The era of the hunter-gatherer was not the social and environmental Eden that some suggest.
- Invention turns toxic waste into electricity.
- Seeing things: is perception everything?
- Electric universe continues to baffle astronomers.
- Aztec pyramid found in Mexico city could rewrite history.
- Ancient Greenland mystery has a simple answer.
- Twins reunited after 35 years apart.
- Is there an opposite to absolute zero?
- Beer from the bronze age.
Quote of the Day:
Humility is the best part of you remaining silent