Ignoring Stonehenge

The Guardian Online has an excellent opinion piece titled "The final insult", which asks a very good question - why is Stonehenge not treated by officials as being on a par with other great ancient sites such as the Giza pyramids?

The first view of Stonehenge as you approach from Salisbury is a clutter of what looks like scrap metal. It reminded me of a rural junk yard, but on closer inspection this turns out to be the Stonehenge car park. You can see why English Heritage feels the need to apologise to visitors before they even reach the turnstile; plaques acknowledge the unsatisfactory state of Stonehenge and describe, with beautiful diagrams of an underground museum and visitors' centre, the utopian near-future. None of this is now going to happen.

I was lucky enough to visit Stonehenge at first light on a Spring morning (some ten years ago to the day). The morning mist slowly cleared to reveal stark, grassy terrain and a monument that, quite simply, encapsulated the word "ancient". It was a wonderful space to be in, and I can only hope that more people in future get to experience it - whether at Stonehenge, or other wonderful 'sacred sites' in the United Kingdom.

In the writer's words, "Stonehenge has been talked down by the experts. And now the philistines have an excuse to treat it as if it was nothing special." That truly would be a crime.

Weekend Blogscan 08-03-2008

A few things to keep you busy over the weekend...


Hobbit War Continues

The controversy over the Flores 'hobbit' discovery continues, with publication of a new paper (full text pdf download) arguing that the alleged new species was actually a colony of outcast, dwarf cretins:

The scientists who originally discovered the remains hailed them as representing a heretofore unknown species, Homo floresiensis, that lived at the same time as modern humans 18,000 years ago. Since then researchers have squared off against each other, poring over skeletal traits, regional histories, and the medical literature to argue for or against the unique-species designation.

Peter Obendorf of RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, decided to enter the fray after noticing the hobbits looked similar to people with a disorder of the thyroid gland called cretinism. Cretinism can cause dwarfing and mental retardation, and is related to nutritional deficiencies, primarily a lack of iodine.

"Very quickly I found there were some quite surprising similarities between the dwarf cretins and these little people of Flores," Obendorf said.

The new hypothesis is the latest attempt to explain away the 'new species' via a medical condition. Despite initial skepticism towards the Flores discovery, it may be finally making some ground though, with a number of researchers attacking the new paper as being weak in evidence. More at the Sydney Morning Herald, including quotes from the University of New England scientists who discovered the hobbits.

World Mysteries Forum 2008

The fourth annual World Mysteries Forum will be held in Basel, Switzerland on the weekend of 10th and 11th May 2008. The speakers lined up included a number of international scientists and thinkers discussing cutting-edge theory and discoveries. Presenters include panspermia expert Prof. Chandra Wickramasinghe, Biocosm author James N. Gardner, and pre-Inca researcher Renate Patzschke, M.A. Fun topics, in a beautiful setting, at the perfect time of year.

News Briefs 07-03-2008

This is the end, my only friend, the end...

Thanks to all

Quote of the Day:

We have no evidence of secrecy concerning UFO reports. What has been miscalled secrecy has been no more than an intelligent policy of delay in releasing data so that the public does not become confused by premature publication of incomplete studies of reports.

Edward Condon

Dean Radin Video Thoughts

Parapsychologist Dr Dean Radin has been interviewed by the Global Oneness Project, and their website offers short videos in which Dean gives his thoughts on various topics. Everything from global consciousness to quantum physics is covered, and it's certainly thought-provoking stuff - a little more speculative thinking than you usually get from Dean's talks on psi (where he presents scientific evidence in more detail). I've embedded one of the videos here on TDG: "A Quantum View of the World". This one really resonated with me, exploring the idea that the cosmos is more about information than matter. Head over to the Global Oneness Project website to view the rest.

Rennes-le-Chateau Roundup

A few news items relating to the Rennes le Chateau mystery have landed on my desk, which no doubt some of you will be fascinated by:

The mystery continues...

Fresh Brains....mmmm!

Just a quick note to introduce two new Daily Grail admins - Perceval and Turner Young. TY will be doing Friday news briefs from next week, while Perceval is helping out as needed - starting with today's news. Hopefully the helping hands will allow me to focus on improving TDG and offering more feature content. Give the lads a warm welcome!

Also, while I'm noting changes here on the Daily Grail, the bi-weekly roundups are now named "Blogscans", just to point out that they are links to blogs (and podcasts) - so the content is likely speculative and/or opinionated (but nearly always fun!). As always, with the weird topics we cover here on TDG, you should take a hot cup of caveat lector with you on your travels.

News Briefs 06-03-2008

THE END IS COMING! The End... of the week, thank God ;-)

Gracias Rick

Quote of the Day:

“When he awoke, the dinosaur was still there.” (*)

Augusto Monterroso Bonilla (1921-2003), guatemalan writer.

(*): Actually, this is not exactly a quote, but the world’s shortest story.

The Tesla Enigma

The Christian Science Monitor has a review of a fascinating new novel which explores the last days of enigmatic scientific pioneer Nikola Tesla, titled The Invention of Everything Else (Amazon US and UK):

Some people thought he was literally from the future; others suspected Venus... Interplanetary theories aside, the electrical engineer was actually from a small village in Serbia, where at age 7, he created an engine that was powered by June bugs. As an adult, he showed up in New York at Thomas Edison's factory with almost no money and a letter of introduction from Charles Batchelor, Edison's factotum. It read simply: "I know two great men and you are one of them; the other is this young man."

Samantha Hunt's novel seems to lean towards hagiography, but by the same token sometimes its nice to leave the cynicism at the door. Tesla's life certainly offered more than its share of strange and wonderful tales, so definitely worth taking a look at. The CSM review also features an audio interview with the author. Thanks Kat.