Little bit late today. What can I say, I try to have a life every now and then...
- America's Space Age turns 50.
- Navy tests electromagnetic pulse rail gun (with video). Such cool tech gadgetry, put to such shitty usage.
- New light on dark energy.
- Props from The Da Vinci Code movie auctioned off to raise money for Lincoln Cathedral.
- UN Peacekeepers vandalise prehistoric Saharan artworks.
- Medicine in Ancient Egypt. "Nurse, bring me an adze, stat!"
- Archaeologist strikes Nasca 'gold'.
- Forget needles...this farmer looks for a castle in his haystack.
- Blue eyed people descend from one person 6000 to 10,000 years ago. Papa...?
- New computerised plagiarism scan finds thousands of copycat scientific articles. Actually, I copied that sentence from the Sci Am article.
- To understand consciousness, we need to ask the right questions. Maybe starting with "who are you people?"
- Nick Bostrom argues that drug research should be about more than just treating disease.
- What happens when someone writes a book about hallucinogens for kids? Something like this.
Quote of the Day:
About the million dollar prize, I would be worried if I were you because of the fact that we have perinormal possibilities.
Richard Dawkins, to James Randi
For those die-hard Indy fans out there, here's this new pic of our favorite archeologist (Lara who?) wielding some serious fire power; I only hope he gets the chance to use it this time, not like in Raiders when he cowed from destroying the Ark of the Covenant.
Follow the links and you'll find an interview with Producer Frank Marshall. Harrison Ford and Shia LaBeouf (who plays the part of Indy's son Mutt... what's with George Lucas and dogs anyway??) are also appearing in February's cover of Vanity Fair magazine, and there's also a behind-the-scenes video of the photo-shoot.
-So, Doctor Jones, what was the topic of your Doctorate thesis anyway?
-Use of ordnance as a tool in archeological digs
I've always wondered about the James Randi "Million Dollar" prize for his paranormal challenge - rumours have flown that there is no million dollars, while others say it's there in cash waiting. Welp, in his latest newsletter Randi has given evidence for the prize, via a PDF image taken from the prize account's financial statement. Unfortunately, I don't really have the accounting knowledge to understand some of the terminology: I understand the $4K in cash, and can take a guess at the $52K in cash equivalents. But can anyone fill me in on what the $1 million in "Investment Grade Fixed Income" means? It certainly seems that this is 'actual' money of some sort, considering the $4K in interest earned during December. But I'd appreciate clarification.
By the way: stand by for more information about the actual challenge part...I've found out some interesting things and will be posting an article soon about it all.
Our good friend Robert Schoch has a new book released today, although this time around it's nothing to do with the Sphinx, pyramid cultures, or even archaeology. Instead, the new book is an anthology which looks at The Parapsychology Revolution (available now from Amazon US, or preorder from Amazon UK):
Grounded in both scientific acumen and constructive inquiry, this anthology shines a rare, clarifying light on the controversial realms of psychical and paranormal research, surveying reports, essays, and arguments from more than a century of investigation into matters such as clairvoyance, telepathy, and past-life regression.
In the past one hundred and twenty-five years-despite a relative paucity of funding and the troubling persistence of fraud-serious inquiry into the paranormal, particularly as it relates to clairvoyance and psychical perception, has successfully entered the scientific age.
Studies in the modern laboratory, employing rigorous methodology and peer-reviewed oversight, have conclusively detected statistical anomalies that suggest the presence of some not yet understood faculty of the human mind. In The Parapsychology Revolution, Robert M. Schoch, Ph.D.-a scholar widely known for his geological theories that question the conventional dating of the Great Sphinx-and researcher Logan Yonavjak introduce and anthologize core writings that underscore the range and continuing challenges of psychical research.
The book's extensive introduction and the editors' commentary on individual essays and sections highlight milestones, feuds, and key players that mark the nascent history of this fascinating and important field of research. Finally, The Parapsychology Revolution addresses and clarifies the all-important question: Is there legitimate evidence for a world beyond the ordinary?
I'll be taking a look at the book next week and reporting back, and will probably talk to Robert as well, exclusively to TDG.
In a few hours, two separate shows titled "UFO Hunters" will debut at the same time, on different networks: Sci Fi and the History Channel. Both were originally scheduled to air next week, but both networks moved their shows up a week to January 30:
It's unclear which network made the first move, but in what appears to be a game of trademark chess aimed at ensuring neither show can claim to have aired before the other, The History Channel and Sci Fi Channel have both announced plans to move the debuts their UFO Hunters programs up a week...
The History Channel's UFO Hunters will follow a team from UFO Magazine as they investigate UFO cases in North America and Europe while Sci Fi Channel's UFO Hunters will follow a team from the New York Strange Phenomena Investigators organization investigating their own set of UFO cases.
Sci Fi have a website devoted to their show, as does the History Channel, and both sites have extra information, videos to watch etc. Let's hope they do a decent job...
Likely my last Thursday news update for a while, with Red Pill Junkie coming on board to help out here at TDG. Make him welcome!
- Last glimpse inside the enigma of Silbury Hill.
- Luxury hotel opens on Easter Island.
- Ancient mass sacrifices and riches discovered in 2,500-year-old Chinese tomb. The sword looks amazing.
- Surprise Egypt tomb find yields ornate coffins and dog mummies.
- Pilots dismiss Air Force explanation for Texas UFO sightings.
- Also: Michael Shermer again pulls out the secret aircraft theory for the sightings, but is disputed by experts on 'black technology'.
- 'Free speech' institute cans scholar for writing about UFOs. It's a flood of UFO-related irony this week.
- Are we the aliens?
- Space rock misses Mars...barely.
- Call Richard Hoagland...there's a spider on Mercury.
- Dead spy satellite could crash into the U.S.
- Notch another one up for William Gibson: 24 years after Neuromancer, are "mirrorshades" about to become a reality?
- Electrical stimulation of areas deep within the brain 'boosts memory'. Michael Prescott offers an interesting comment.
- He aint' heavy, he's just gravity: the Holy Grail of physics.
- Artificial letters added to DNA alphabet.
- Ghandi's ashes spread across the Arabian Sea (video).
- Hummingbird chirps with its tail. No flatulence jokes, please.
- Heeere's Johnny! Is the Stanley Hotel really haunted?
- Oh dear. The gorillas are weaponised. Damn you all to hell!!
- The fear factory: is the U.S. government manufacturing ghosts? Also, there's an interesting side story.
Quote of the Day:
The fact that the Earth bends time has to be taken into account, otherwise our sat-navs would drift by 11km per day.
Dr Brian Cox
A friend sent me a link to a Newsweek story on the recent Texas UFO flap, which apparently discussed what scientists think of UFOs. "How exciting," I thought, wondering which scientists they had talked to...Jacques Vallee, perhaps Bernard Haisch? Umm, no.
Instead we get CSICOP Fellow Bob Park, Skeptic magazine editor Michael Shermer, and Theodore Schick (author of How to Think About Weird Things: Critical thinking for a New Age). Park does a wonderful job of not even understanding what the UFO acronym stands for, which ends up making each of his statements rather ridiculous if you read them correctly. Michael Shermer lets us in on what it really might have been (a Stealth bomber flanked by fighter jets). But wait, the "scientists" are really on the side of "UFO believers":
Scientists defend UFO believers against charges that they're psychologically deranged. People who report UFO sightings and abductions, a 1993 study in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology concluded, are just as intelligent, psychologically healthy, and free of fantasies as people without such experiences. People with UFO experiences differed on only one known measure: sleep deprivation.
But really, it's worth wading through the article to get to Bob Park's own UFO encounter, which had a prosaic explanation. Because what did it do for Bob?
With that, Park learned the ultimate lesson for a scientist: humility.
OMG, the irony...my eyes are burning.
Long and bitter, and a touch controversial.
- Issue #1 of New World Order: Dawn Of A New Day is now available at all good comics stores. Interview with the creator coming soon (creator of the comic, not The Creator).
- Presidential candidate John McCain dropped a bombshell recently, stating that "there's going to be other wars".
- It doesn't matter if you vote with paper, or use a touch-screen voting machine -- are the Primaries rigged?
- Brad Steiger discusses ancient secret societies, UFOs, and the NWO.
- Here's extraordinary video of UFOs filmed over Istanbul, Turkey. But can such evidence be trusted in today's world of photoshop and CGI?
- Billy Cox takes a well-aimed swipe at the media's coverage of the Stephenville UFO encounter in Texas.
- The UFO Mystic takes a look at fake photos of extraterrestrials. The DUI mugshot of ET is still out there.
- Intangible Materiality is an intriguing blog examining evidence of divine and extraterrestrial intervention in human history, among other paranormality subjects. With videos and pics.
- A transcript of Paola Harris's interview with UFO researcher Timothy Good from August last year. My review of Good's latest, Need To Know, will be posted next week (Amazon US or UK).
- The Book of THoTH's interview with Stanton Friedman from last December.
- Rogue hypervelocity stars are giving astronomers a glimpse into the volatile nature of the universe.
- This Friday, Venus and Jupiter are converging for a spectacular close encounter that is a match made in heaven.
- Transcript of Richard Branson's inspiring speech at the SpaceShipTwo unveiling.
- SpaceX has successfully tested multiple rocket engines for the first time.
- China's policy of blowing up old satellites in orbit is causing a dangerous orbital junkyard. Wait until McDonalds opens on the ISS.
- A twin-seat solar-powered car designed in Taiwan could be on the market within a year. It's 2008, where's my hoverbike?
- The American Geophysical Union states human activity is the cause of Global Warming. When the word "unequivocally" is used, there can be no arguments.
- Humans have altered Earth so much that a new geological epoch has begun.
- By selectively removing feathers, researchers have shown that a species of hummingbird produces loud chirps non-vocally by shaking its tail. I hope they put the feathers back.
- Lonely people are more likely to believe in the supernatural, say researchers. Does this mean Michael Shermer has the MySpace record for the most friends?
- Dubbed 'the new atheists', are skeptics such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens just new anti-dogmatists? Imagine The Breakfast Club, with atheist skeptics in Molly Ringwald's role.
- Dan Brown's latest mystery is why it hasn't been published yet.
- As more and more people are caught stealing and looting artifacts, are museums and collectors destroying cultures?
- Israeli experts have restored a unique 1400-year-old glass mosaic.
- Excavations at the birthplace of Zeus suggest worship was practiced there a thousand years before the earliest known versions of the Greek god's myths.
- Southern Illinois University Museum will return a 2300-year-old bronze cat object to Egypt. Or Zahi Hawass will make the Terminator look like a kitten.
- For some students at Ohio State, the occult is not just a field of academic interest but a way of life.
- This article about independent, specialist bookshops fighting to survive against multinational monsters includes an interview with the owner of my favourite, The Haunted Bookshop.
- Up Helly Aa! Shetland Islanders gathered recently to celebrate their viking heritage with a festival of fire and fancy dress. Brilliant photo gallery, my viking DNA wishes I could have been there.
Quote of the Day:
"Behind the scenes, high-ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about the UFOs. But through official secrecy and ridicule, many citizens are led to believe the unknown flying objects are nonsense."
Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter, former CIA Director (1960)
Short and sweet today.
- Genetic telepathy. A bizarre new property of DNA.
- Hexagonal craters on Mercury.
- More and more mystery space machines.
- Satellite could plummet to Earth.
- Empire state building car zap mystery.
- Russian scientist claims new ice age on the way.
- Mayans did not sacrifice girls.
- Black death did not kill indiscriminatley.
- The magical caves of elephanta.
- Cells internal clocks revealed.
- Another smoking gun on the moon.
Quote of the Day:
A little government and a little luck are necessary in life, but only a fool trusts either of them.
The website for Bloodline, the documentary on Rennes-le-Chateau related mysteries, finally has news about a release date. The producers say they have signed a deal with a studio in Los Angeles, and the movie will come out in cinemas this Spring.
Also in the news section are the results of some investigations related to Bloodline: a handwriting analysis of some documents said to be from the hand of Berenger Sauniere, and also an archaeological opinion on artifacts uncovered during the filming of the documentary.