A strange assortment to get you through the week...
- Forgetomori looks at the origins of the Chupacabras...err...'Chotacabras'.
- Michael Prescott looks into often-found flaws in paranormal investigations.
- Astrobiology has an interview with the original SETI instigator, Frank Drake.
- Scott Creighton, author of The Giza Oracle, has added some Flash movies to his website explaining his latest research on the Great Pyramid - Part 1 and Part 2.
- Skeptic Randi gets his Geller on in his latest newsletter, though he's doing it by stealth these days...stay sharp and you'll catch the entry.
- UFO Casebook #270 is now online.
- Daniel Dennett says our brains are just protein machines in an op-ed at Technology Review.
- Anthony North goes in search of "Soul Suckers" at Beyond the Blog.
- UFO Area have a new article available, "Is Mystical Sedona a Portal to Another Dimension?"
- Connie Shmidt continues her battle against 'the Secretrons' at her blog Whirled Musings.
The blog of Egyptologist Margaret Maitland ('The Eloquent Peasant') has an entry worth checking out entitled "Why the Aliens Did Not Build the Pyramids". While I'm all for listening to alternative hypotheses about ancient cultures, I do have to wade through a lot of rubbish from people who simply don't do any basic research before putting forth their theory. This article is a great primer for getting acquainted with the basics of how the pyramids were built, including such overlooked things as the quarries and tools/methods used. I would argue with some points in the essay though, not least the suggestion that Bauval and Gilbert suggested that aliens built the Great Pyramid in 10,500 BC. But a worthy read all the same.
Here's the alternative radio schedule for the first half of the week.
Coast to Coast AM: Tuesday is TBA (check the link for updates), on Wednesday Mark Farmer will discuss HAARP's new operational status and how it will be injecting megawatts of high frequency radio energy into the ionosphere. Thursday's guest is paranormal investigator Loyd Auerbach, who will discuss his recent techniques for improving ghost investigations as well as research using biometric sensing instruments.
More details including relevant guest links are available at the C2C website.
Are you being targeted by the perps? I'm pretty sure they've been dogging me for decades.
- The soil on Mars may indeed be teeming with microbes, according to a new interpretation of data first collected more than 30 years ago.
- Your guide to Tuesday's total lunar eclipse.
- Astronomers astounded by hole in the Universe. More. Yep, Captain Janeway had a heck of a time getting Voyager through one of those voids.
- Moon meteorites may hold clue to how life began on Earth.
- Guitarist and songwriter Brian May has completed his doctorate in astrophysics -three decades after he put academia on hold to form the rock group Queen.
- Archaeologist claims to have found famed lost city of Apollo on a ridge overlooking Stonehenge.
- Find of 700 Yorkshire skeletons deepens the mystery of medieval roundheads.
- Underwater caves may house a wealth of pre-European archaeological treasures, say Australian researchers.
- Letters reveal that Mother Teresa was tormented by a loss of faith. More.
- The science of out-of-body experiences.
- Human-derived stem cells can repair rat hearts damaged by heart attack.
- Babies born in June and July have a 24% greater chance of becoming severely myopic than those born in December and January.
- Mobile phones used to call owls. More importantly, the owls call back.
- Quest for ivory-billed woodpecker is worth the expense.
- The wild world of animal prostheses.
- China’s pollution problem has shattered all precedents.
- Pac-Man-like game that delivers electric shocks to gamers reveals the brain's reaction to danger.
- Award-winning filmmaker and libertarian political activist Aaron Russo died of cancer Friday. This webpage includes Russo's recent films Mad as Hell and America: Freedom to Fascism.
- Iraq whistleblowers are vilified, demoted, fired and treated like criminals.
- WikiScanner has discovered that American Airlines changed their Wikipedia entry to state that Flights 11 and 77 were not scheduled to fly on Sept. 11, 2001. Care to hazard a guess? Winston rectifying the past, hackers, disinfo, truth?
- Pwnage news: Data mining may well be replacing intuition, but that pales in comparison to the ambitions of Omneuron. Literally sounds ominous, doesn't it?
- A subterranean artifact in Slovakia.
- Former U.S. military commander says elites hide knowledge of, and contact with, extraterrestrials civilizations from humanity .
- Jimmy Carter's UFO experience suggests the 'Security and Prosperity Partnership' has possible extraterrestrial association.
- Is Russia researching mind control?
- From the world of psychic spies, paranormal goat killers, and Skinwalkers haunting remote regions of Utah, something wicked and wacky this way comes (scroll down), with government trying to use psychic spies to tap into the collective unconscious, where brains meet branes.
- Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean you're not being targeted by the perps. More. Humm, a few of these ...uhh ...'coincidences' are eerily familiar.
Quote of the Day:
I froze in amazement - there stands something like a large, black silo framed in white limestone formations. It is a glass-smooth flank of a seemingly man-made structure. Even the thought of a tower-sized artifact embedded in rock in the middle of an obscure mountain is bewildering.
Antonin T. Horak's Diary, October 23, 1944, quoted from 'A subterranean artifact in Slovakia'.
I've posted a new interview to the Grail today which I'm sure many of you will find fascinating. I had the good fortune to have a chat with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Deborah Blum, whose book Ghost Hunters (Amazon US and UK) provides a wonderful glimpse into a period 120 years ago when some of the most esteemed scientists in the world studied the possibility of an afterlife. I've titled the interview "Science and the Afterlife", as a good deal of our conversation also revolved around the way modern science has reacted to the topic of afterlife research. Deborah's answers are intelligent and well worth reading, so get a brew and sit down for a good read. I should mention too - as I have before - that at the time of posting Amazon have Ghost Hunters for an unbelievable $5 in hardcover - you won't get better value for your dollar than that this year. Thanks to Deborah for sharing her time with us, and also Michael Tymn for helping me set this up.
Stop press! 'First Out-of-body Experience Induced In Laboratory Setting'. Or, even better, 'Researchers Find an Explanation for Out-of-Body Experiences'. And so on. For more coverage, visit the always excellent Mind Hacks, which even has a link to video of researcher Olaf Blanke discussing the experiments.
It's the big news of today, with coverage everywhere from the BBC to New Scientist. But, as is usual, it's utter hype, and the headlines are completely incorrect. No explanation has been found at all, although the experiments are pretty funky and provide some interesting insights into our sense of self. However, no OBE was 'induced' - virtual reality masks and cameras were used to give a different perspective, and the scientists make this point explicitly, that they are not actually creating a true OBE. This is extremely important, as perhaps the most fascinating question of the OBE is whether the separate perspective which occurs during an OBE is a complex reconstruction by the brain, or consciousness actually perceiving from outside the body.
Further to this, there is evidence of the latter, and this research does not explain that aspect in any way. From people not recognising themselves (because they looked different to how they are used to seeing themselves, in a mirror), through to veridical perception, this is at the core of the mystery of OBEs. And to really push the boundaries, we also have to consider 'reciprocal apparitions', in which the OBE perceiver is seen by another person actually 'out of body'.
The encyclopaedic Irreducible Mind goes into some detail on these points, and actually mentions some of the earlier research done by Olaf Blanke and colleagues, with a pertinent comment:
To equate OBEs with pathological "body illusions," as Blanke et al. do, seems to us to beg the question of the nature of these experiences by ignoring the complexity of their physiological, psychological, and phenomenological aspects. In short, studies such as that of Blanke et al...have not provided anything like a complete and verified neurophysiological account of the OBE, but rather some preliminary findings and hypotheses to be pursued in further work.
Interesting how everyone is in such a rush to claim the OBE is now explained, when it is certainly not the case...it's worth a study of its own, this pathological need to explain things that don't fit the materialist paradigm.
Just a quick note to point out that when you add a comment to the site, you will now have to fill out a 'captcha' (at the bottom of the input page) to verify that you are a human being (you should only have to do this once per session when logged in). Apologies for this measure, but after 2000 spam comments were added to the site over the past 7 days, something had to be done. I am thinking about creating a special type of user account, who would be exempt from captchas, and moving all regular commenters to that user status - I'll get back to you on that once I've figured it out. Until then, remember to fill out the captcha if you want your comment posted (and please note, you have to use upper and lower case as required).
A few things to keep you busy over the weekend...
- Michael Tymn goes back a century, to a time "When People and Tables Flew".
- Dr Dean Radin tells of a recent precognitive dream he had.
- Andrew Gough's Arcadia has Part 2 of the guest article from Corjan de Raaf, "Last Message of the Initiate Jean Cocteau". Part 1 is here.
- The latest podcast from the Psychedelic Salon is ayahuasca artist Pablo Amaringo's talk "My Life as a Shaman and Artist".
- Curious Expeditions takes you to see "The Holy Right".
- Filer's Files #34 has the latest ufological roundup.
- Fortean Times has Part 1 and Part 2 of Gordon Rutter's article on the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
- Michael Prescott gives an abduction introduction.
- Paul Kimball looks at the MJ-12 brouhaha which is ongoing on the UFO Updates list.
- The Société Périllos have Part 2 of their series "Sauniere in Lyon".
- The Paranormal Report offers "Ouija Calling ET: Do You Copy?", and also a second instalment (still to be continued).
- Anthony North investigates "The Icon Killers" at Beyond the Blog.
- Loren Coleman discusses "an incredibly important contribution" to cryptozoological history.
'Tis the year of the UFO - both real and hoaxed. Readers no doubt have seen mentioned here (and elsewhere) the 'Haiti UFO video' on YouTube, viewed by more than 2 million people (and considered one of the top viral videos). David Sarno of the L.A. Times did some investigating, and managed to track down the creator of the clips:
Barzolff [a pseudonym], 35, is a professional animator who has a decade of experience with computer graphics and commercial animation. The videos, he said, were intended as research for a feature-film project he's been working on with Partizan, the company responsible for, among others, Michel Gondry's 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'.
When contacted to verify the story, Eternal Sunshine producer Georges Bermann said it was all true, and that Barzolff was "an absolute genius" who could "make anything look entirely real."
The movie Barzolff is working on for the big screen is about two guys who create a UFO hoax so realistic that it spirals out of their control. Barzolff stressed the videos were not intended as a viral marketing ploy. His movie is still in the idea phase, and he created the hoax strictly as a "sociological experiment" - in other words, just to see what would happen.
Following in the footsteps of the 'Chad drones', and last year's 'Australian UFO Wave', it appears we've reached a watershed moment where UFO images/video are worth pretty much zero evidential value. Not that we've given any credence to them here on TDG, but there's plenty of others out there who embarrass the rest of us with their credulity.
Sarno asked 'Barzolff' if he could provide some sort of confirmation that he was indeed responsible for the video clips, and before too long he posted the 'Naughty Grannies' clip on YouTube with the comment "Back from Haiti with a big, new toy". Nevertheless, it's instructive to note that 'Barzolff' described the results of his experiment "a little scary," because in spite of the evidence, "many people refuse to believe it's a hoax."
A shout-out to my big sis for her very big birthday yesterday...
- Sleight of mind: the magic of consciousness.
- Spooks vs psychics: who predicted 9/11 better? I think PNAC trumps them both.
- Space.com has a review of the recent MUFON conference.
- Former US military commander says an elite hides evidence of extraterrestrial contact.I wouldn't trust those former military commanders, they say all sorts of crazy things about Iraq...
- New study says Martian soil may contain life. Someone else says 'bogus'. And so it goes on...
- Perhaps the Mongolian Death Worm originated on Mars...
- Astronomers find gaping hole in the Universe. It's on God's to do list.
- The race to mine the Moon.
- John Carmack's Armadillo Aerospace suffers a crashing setback.
- Cold fusion heretics keep the research coming.
- Scientists investigate physics behind invisibility cloaks. Stupid muggles.
- More on the story about the Clovis culture comet mentioned previously.
- Mayan monuments escape the wrath of Hurricane Dean.
- German returns cursed Pharaonic carving to Egyptian embassy.
- Inside the Chinese Emperor's underground palace.
- Controversial scholar claims modern culture was born in the foothills of the Alps.
- Unravelling the mysteries of ancient human migrations.
- Seahenge saga comes full circle. With video.
- Report says Tara ruins must be preserved.
- A last chance to see the Dead Sea Scrolls.
- The secret history of the Nazi mascot.
- Sony develops bio battery powered by carbohydrates. Matrix, here we come.
- Underwater turbines to generate record power.
- Scientists ask: where have all the dolphins gone? Standby for a lot of news stories titled "So long and thanks for all the fish".
- 'Alien' creatures found on deep-sea mountain range. With images.
- Fact or fiction: Can an opera singer's voice shatter glass?
- Sasquatch chronicler John Green turns 80.
- Scientists drug-test whole cities.
Quote of the Day:
I think the very rigidity of science has made it an incredibly powerful investigative tool into nature - we reap the benefits of that daily. But that same exclusivity has made it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to do major investigations of some very important questions.