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.
A few things to keep you busy over the weekend...
- At Paranormalia, Robert McLuhan investigates "Animals and Earthquakes".
- Mac Tonnies takes on the oil and water mix of "The SETI Institute and UFOs".
- The latest 'Aqua Corner' podcast interview at Filip Coppens' website is with famed 'ayahuasca anthropologist' Jeremy Narby, author of the The Cosmic Serpent (Amazon US and UK).
- Daniel Pinchbeck and Sharon Gannon go toe-to-toe in this video recording of their co-presentation "Asanas and Ayahuasca" (Google video).
- Paul Kimball takes to the infamous Condon Report on UFOs with a hatchet.
- At Cabinet of Wonders, Emps continues his exploration of the occult during wartime, discussing the recent news that the Allies were "Studying the Nazi's Stars".
- The latest eSkeptic newsletter features Michael Shermer's LA Times op-ed on Scientology.
- Greg Bishop discusses the infamous 'Aviary' which sits at the heart of many-a-UFO-conspiracy.
- Transhumanist pundit George Dvorsky educates with "Seven Ways to Control the Galaxy with Self-Replicating Probes".
- Intangible Materiality waxes philosophical with paranormal happenings in "Some Musings on Quantum Events".
- The CFZ's Jon Downes guest-blogs at UFO Mystic, discussing "The Island of Mystery".
- Aintitcool.com has some harsh words in its review of 10,000 BC.
- Greg.org (not related to me) unveils the secret history of "The Moon Museum".
- Diana Reed Slattery offers "Xenolinguistics I: Aspects of Alien Art" at Reality Sandwich.
- It's business as usual for the million dollar challenge in Randi's latest newsletter.
- Anthony North offers an entree of "Cannibalism" at Beyond the Blog.
- Curious Expeditions looks at the history of hermaphrodites in "A Curiosity of the Sexes".
- Filer's Files #10 for 2008 has the latest ufological round-up.
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.
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.
This is the end, my only friend, the end...
- Scientists identify origin of hiss in upper atmosphere. Don't tell me, it's a weather balloon coming down.
- Second Life avatars and Brazilians: the same carbon footprint.
- Speaking of Brazilian carbon underfoot, Arc of Fire aims to prevent new wave of deforestation.
- More on the exopolitics at the UN.
- Astrobiology: when will they start teaching that at school? The field trips would be out of this world!
- Fancy a one-way, solo trip to Mars? You could always hitch a ride back home with the Martians.
- Steve Fossett - yet another Pilot Doppelganger?
- Holographic Prince Charles explains jet trip that wasn't...
- Black box had 'presentiment' of 9/11.
- Stonehenge sentinel? or prehistoric rent-a-cop to keep the hippies out?
- And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks: a tale of misadventure from Kerouac and Burroughs is finally published.
- A chip off the old block? Saturn's moon Rhea may also have rings.
- Tree of life uprooted by comb jellies.
- Butterflies remember caterpillar experiences. (Eating leaf, eating leaf, take a crap, eating leaf, oh shite a bird!, Eating leaf, eating leaf...)
- Thinking with the body. I know where my brain is located.
- Brain scanner can tell what you're looking at. So can most young ladies I meet.
- OECD: World must act on climate change while we can afford it, but corporate social responsibility already under pressure from credit crunch.
- The Grand Canyon is three times older than previously thought.
- Microsoft Research gives 'outsiders' a look inside the doors of its magical kingdom.
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.
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.
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:
- Templar emblem found within shaft on Mt Cardou? With video.
- Treasure-hunter vandalises major landmark in the nearby village of Rennes-le-Bains - perhaps related to Abbe Henri Boudet's enigmatic book The True Celtic Language and the Cromleck of Rennes-les-Bains?
- Ben Hammott's website has a reprint of the academic paper "Archaeological GPR Investigation at Rennes-le-Chateau, France", by Robert Eisenman (of Dead Sea Scrolls fame).
The mystery continues...
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.
THE END IS COMING! The End... of the week, thank God ;-)
- Intuition more than just a hunch, says research. You know? Somehow, deep inside I already knew that ;-)
- Psychologist and Dog Expert, Dr. Stanley Coren says dogs are intelligent, but NOT telepathic. You & your dog can hear the entire interview here.
- Mind-reading machine knows what the eye sees. I hereby propose they call it… The Randitron!! ;-)
- The British Astrology Plot against Hitler.
- Happiness is partly inherited, according to study. Yo, eggheads! It’s called trust fund, stupids.
- World can 'afford' to solve its environmental woes: OECD.
- Foggy wars: Over Washington, big industries are embarking in a big lobbying effort to block new, tougher limits on air pollution.
- Are the birds on their side? Pollution help birds sing better, studio says. Wouldn’t that be a ‘swan song’ of sorts?
- Well, in any case, we can always replace them! Robotic bird makes first flight.
- Always two steps ahead: 2,200 Japanese homes run on fuel cell systems now. Goal is one-fourth by 2020.
- First Godzilla, now it’s blood-thirsty leeches what’s threatening Japan.
- Black Fungus Found in Chernobyl Eats Harmful Radiation. But what about the man-size worm?
- Sure, ‘10,000 B.C.’ looks like an awesome flick, but are the paleo-monsters depicted in it based on real science, or mere Tinseltown exaggeration?
- Loren Coleman & Henry Stokes (creator of the incredible blog ‘I Love the Yeti’) explore the evolution of the Yeti in popular culture throughout the decades.
- What New World?? Primate Fossil discovered in North America may be even older than the ones already found in Europe.
- Shackleton Crater: The New Tranquility Base?
- Move over shuttle! And make way for Europe’s cargo ship, ‘Jules Verne’.
- Those damn aliens and their juvenile pranks! NASA Baffled by Unexplained Force Acting on Space Probes.
- Alien graffiti! New alleged Video of Stephenville UFO leaked to the web. You be the judge. More info about this video at Linda Moulton Howe’s Earthfiles, here.
- Possible Photo of the Texas UFO, taken by a police officer with his patrol cam?
- How lame! British man makes hoax of UFO sighting by using a 13-year-old Mexican photo —which is probably a hoax to begin with. Do your homework you NOOB!
- ‘Only Fools & Goatsuckers’: The adventures of Jonathan Downes, Graham Inglis & a film crew in Puerto Rico, Mexico & Miami in early 1998 (Thx to Nick Redfern & UFO Mystic for the link).
- Say Hello to my little friend! A Goliath Sniper Rifle May Take Some of the Physics Out of War. Well, you know there was this young chap named David…
- Great in theory, flawed in practice: 'Virtual Fence' along border to be delayed.
- Oh s**t! Quick, act casual! US seeks terrorists in web worlds.
- Butterflies Remember What They Learned as Caterpillars. Man, I don’t even remember what I had for breakfast yesterday! (Note to Self: turn vegan).
- Let’s spark the controversy: Norwegian whaling lobby alleges that whale hunting is greener than farming livestock.
- Don’t have a cow, man? Go get one! California cows start passing gas to the grid. Here in Mexico, we pass cows… to the grill ;-)
- On ‘Beyond the Blog‘, Anthony North writes about Cannibalism, and helps us prepare for the day when beef becomes too damn expensive. Mmm… Soylent Green! ;-)
- Learn about the ‘Magic Teapot Cult‘, at Cabinet of Wonders.
- It has come to this: The tale of a French village where dying… is illegal!
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 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.