Future Speculations

Many people like to speculate on what will happen in the next decade, or century. How many will put money on it though? Over at the Long Bets Project, you can see exactly who is willing to bet the farm (or at least, a few thousand dollars for charity) that they know what's going to happen:

Long Bets is a public arena for enjoyably competitive predictions, of interest to society, with philanthropic money at stake. The foundation furnishes the continuity to see even the longest bets through to public resolution. This website provides a forum for discussion about what may be learned from the bets and their eventual outcomes.

Personages including Ray Kurzweil, Freeman Dyson, Michio Kaku and Brian Eno have thrown down, and the subjects cover everything from artificial intelligence to extraterrestrial life and the Yeti.

Tuesday Roundup 15-01-2008

A strange assortment to get you through the week...


Rennes-le-Chateau Video

For all those grail seekers out there who operate on a budget, here's a way to get to Rennes-le-Chateau without traveling: the RlC Research and Resource page now has a video section, which has a number of films related to the small French village which many believe holds a great secret. From tours of the village and its enigmatic church, to History Channel documentaries on the Templars, there's plenty to check out. You just have to learn to ride the interface first (don't drink alcohol beforehand)...

News Briefs 15-01-2008

Jameske's out till next week, so you're stuck with me...

Quote of the Day:

There is a danger for science in encouraging self-appointed protectors who engage in polemical campaigns that distort and misrepresent serious research efforts. Such campaigns are not only counterproductive, they threaten to corrupt the spirit and function of science and raise doubts about its credibility. The distorted history, logical contradictions, and factual omissions exhibited in the arguments of the critics represent neither scholarly criticism nor skepticism, but rather counteradvocacy masquerading as skepticism. True skepticism involves the suspension of belief, not disbelief.

Charles Honorton

Alien Worlds Magazine

Over the past few years, magazines on UFOs and the paranormal have slowly been disappearing...most likely due to the rise of the Internet as an information source. However, there's nothing like holding a good old magazine in your hands and having a fun read (or a book, in the case of Darklore...yes, I'll get a plug in any way I can). However, there is a new magazine about to be released which might be worth a look - Alien Worlds:

Alien Worlds is a brand new magazine coming to newsstands very soon. Issue 1 will appear on UK retail sale on February 8th. 2008. It will also be on sale internationally and can be purchased by subscription as well.

Alien Worlds is different to previous magazines of the genre. We are not solely focussed on UFOs or on SETI or astrobiology. We are interested in the entire concept of extraterrestrial life and the origins of life here on Earth. That gives us a very broad remit to look a lot of very interesting areas.

Alien Worlds is the brainchild of Stuart Miller, who has been publishing the online 'zine UFO Review for the past few years. The website has a number of free articles on it already - likely to be a decent read, so make sure you take a look.

Radio 15-01-2008

Here's the alternative radio schedule for the first half of the week.

Fate Radio: This week Hilly talks to Dr. Miceal Ledwith about "ghost orbs" (Real Audio or mp3).

Coast to Coast AM: Monday is TBA at time of posting (check the link for updates). On Tuesday Amelia Kinkade will discuss her work helping humans to understand the thoughts and emotions of animals by using telepathy. Wednesday's guest is astronomy writer James Mullaneym who will discuss his book Edgar Cayce and the Cosmos, which examines the American prophet's readings about the universe. On Thursday Brad Steiger will discuss his landmark work, Atlantis Rising, which was one of the first books to cover the study of lost civilizations and alien contact.

More details including relevant guest links are available at the C2C website. You can listen to C2C live, or to recent archived shows, at CJOB.com.

News Briefs 14-01-2008

Be here now.

Quote of the Day:

All right, you win. You win. I give. I'll say it. I'll say it. I'll say it. DESTINY! DESTINY! NO ESCAPING THAT FOR ME! DESTINY! DESTINY! NO ESCAPING THAT FOR ME!

Dr Frederick Frankenstein, in Young Frankenstein.

Richard Dawkins Comes to Call

Dr Rupert Sheldrake has given me permission to post his commentary on his 'involvement' with Richard Dawkins's recent documentary Enemies of Reason (Part 1 and Part 2 on Google Video). Given the one-sided judgements of the documentary, I think it is important to put forth Dr Sheldrake's account. It certainly shows that it's worth understanding *all* points of view before coming to a decision, considering the ability of television programs to shoot and edit things to their liking. My thanks to Rupert for allowing us to reproduce the article here on TDG:


Richard Dawkins Comes to Call

By Dr Rupert Sheldrake

Richard Dawkins is a man with a mission – the eradication of religion and superstition, and their total replacement with science and reason. Channel 4 TV has repeatedly provided him with a pulpit. His two-part polemic in August 2007, called Enemies of Reason, was a sequel to his 2006 diatribe against religion, The Root of All Evil?

Soon before Enemies of Reason was filmed, the production company, IWC Media, told me that Richard Dawkins wanted to visit me to discuss my research on unexplained abilities of people and animals. I was reluctant to take part, but the company’s representative assured me that "this documentary, at Channel 4’s insistence, will be an entirely more balanced affair than The Root of All Evil was." She added, "We are very keen for it to be a discussion between two scientists, about scientific modes of enquiry". So I agreed and we fixed a date.

I was still not sure what to expect. Was Richard Dawkins going to be dogmatic, with a mental firewall that blocked out any evidence that went against his beliefs? Or would he be open-minded, and fun to talk to?

The Director asked us to stand facing each other; we were filmed with a hand-held camera. Richard began by saying that he thought we probably agreed about many things, "But what worries me about you is that you are prepared to believe almost anything. Science should be based on the minimum number of beliefs."

I agreed that we had a lot in common, "But what worries me about you is that you come across as dogmatic, giving people a bad impression of science."

Weekend Roundup 12-01-2008

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


Paranormal Investigator Profiled

The Chronicle of Higher Education has a refreshingly objective profile of paranormal investigator (and Professor of Philosophy) Stephen E. Braude, which is definitely worth checking out. Excerpted from the article:

Braude, 62, is one of the few mainstream academics applying his intellectual training to questions that many would regard at best as impossible to answer, and at worst absolutely ridiculous: Do psychic phenomena exist? Are mediums and ghosts real? Can people move objects with their minds or predict the future? A professor of philosophy at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, Braude is a past president of the Parapsychological Association, an organization that gathers academics and others interested in phenomena like ESP and psychokinesis, and he has published a series of books with well-known academic presses on such topics.

His latest, The Gold Leaf Lady and Other Parapsychological Investigations (University of Chicago Press), is sort of a summing up of his career, filled with stories of people who claimed to have otherworldly abilities. The writing is so fluid that the book at times seems made for a screen adaptation. (In fact, Chris Carter, creator of The X-Files, contributes a blurb to the back of the book. Braude advised Carter on a screenplay he is writing.) But Braude also includes some dense philosophical arguments — especially in a chapter about synchronicity, in which he ponders whether humans can orchestrate unlikely coincidences through psychokinesis, the ability to move or influence objects with the mind.

As mentioned in the article, Braude has a new book out: The Gold Leaf Lady and Other Parapsychological Investigations (Amazon US and UK), which he describes as his "kiss-and-tell book" about his paranormal research (with plenty of dumping on the 'skeptics' by the looks of it too). Looks interesting.