Early last year I reviewed Will Storr's book The Heretics, a wonderful exploration of how we reinforce our own belief system and fight off attacks upon it. I also noted a controversial story that emerged with the book's publication - James Randi's defence of Social Darwinist philosophy, not to mention his admission that he lies to win arguments. For those that haven't got around to buying the book yet, you'll be happy to learn that The Heretics is now out in a very affordable paperback edition, which you can grab from Amazon UK. Here's the blurb:
Why do obviously intelligent people believe things in spite of the evidence against them? Will Storr has travelled across the world to meet an extraordinary cast of modern heretics in order to answer this question. He goes on a tour of Holocaust sites with David Irving and a band of neo-Nazis, experiences his own murder during 'past-life regression' hypnosis, takes part in a mass homeopathic overdose, and investigates a new disease affecting tens of thousands of people - a disease that doesn't actually exist. Using a unique mix of personal memoir, investigative journalism and the latest research from neuroscience and experimental psychology, Storr reveals why the facts just won't convince some people, and how the neurological 'hero-maker' inside all of us can so easily lead to self-deception and science-denial. The Heretics will change the way you think about thinking.
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This film follows the ancient cycle of sunset, to night, to sunrise. A continuous loop of perpetual movement that has been unbroken since the dawn of time, and the only true constant in our lives.
I shot this film over 12 days around the San Pedro de Atacama region of Northern Chile. San Pedro is an oasis town in the Atacama and sits at an altitude of 2600m. The town is a great base to explore the fascinating landscapes that surround it, and everything just goes up and up.
The Atacama is well-known for what are arguably the cleanest, darkest skies on Earth. The dry air adds an extra transparency and this coupled with the altitude creates a night sky like no other. I visited at a time when Venus was situated quite close to the centre of the Milky Way; an astronomical event that only takes place every 8 years or so. I also timed my visit with the Autumn equinox which is a good time of year to capture Zodiacal light; the celestial phenomenon caused by sunlight scattering interplanetary space dust in the Zodiacal cloud. It stretches across the ecliptic and glows for a short while after sunset like a UFO beam and I was lucky enough to witness this every night I stepped out into the dark.
As always, I recommend taking the time to truly comprehend what we're looking at in a clip like this: pretty much our entire galaxy, and millions of stars beyond. Blows my mind every time I grasp that fact.
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- The children who have near-death experiences.
- Is belief in immortality hard-wired?
- This man can recall four symphonies in his head - simultaneously!
- Scientist says psychedelic brew consumed by Amazonian shamans could fight cancer.
- Scientific American: "End the ban on psychoactive drug research".
- Ecstatic epilepsy: how seizures can be bliss.
- Scientists watch glowing molecules form memories in real time.
- Dean Radin has a few choice words to say about National Geographic's recent ESP story.
- The positive effects of placebo sleep: believing you've slept well, even if you haven't, improves performance.
- Pope John Paul II's blood stolen. Also: Pope Francis' dove of peace attacked by a crow. It begins…
- Katy Perry believes in aliens, plans to ask Obama about them…
- Early Europeans had dark skin and blue eyes. I'm not saying it was aliens, but….
- Is there an ocean inside the Earth?
- Quantum image: physicists illuminate an object using one colour, then view it at an entirely different wavelength using photons that never even hit the object.
- Our quantum reality problem: if it undermines science itself, some sort of collapse is inevitable.
- China's 'Jade Rabbit' moon rover has broken down and may freeze to death tonight.
- Google buys British artificial intelligence start-up for $400 million.
- The truth about the Bermuda Triangle.
- German farm shed explodes after cow farts ignite.
- Image(s) of the Day: The Greys…
Thanks Kat and Michael Scott.
Quote of the Day:
We’ve all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the Internet, we know this is not true.
Bob Milne is one of the best ragtime piano players in the world, but his talents go further than that - right into the land of amazing. Bob's brain works a little differently to the rest of us, as he can compartmentalise various functions, which allows him to play complex piano pieces while carrying on a conversation. But when Penn State neuroscientist Kerstin Betterman decided to investigate Bob's incredible ability, she discovered something even more amazing: he can 'play back' four different symphonies at the same time in his head, and what's more, he says he 'sees' these symphonies being played in his head in three dimensions, and can fly around within this audio-visual space and listen to the music change from different perspectives. Here's an NPR Radiolab feature on Bob Milne and Kerstin Betterman from a couple of years ago that tells the story:
Sometimes you really do wonder what sort of latent abilities we all hold that we might one day all be able to harness.
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Has the ghost ship of cannibal rats floated off yet?
- American Botanical Council publishes revolutionary analysis unlocking mysteries of 500-year-old Voynich Manuscript.
- A 4000-year-old tablet from ancient Mesopotamia contains the specifications for an ark pre-dating the story of Noah.
- Nurse provides evidence for near-death experiences in new book.
- Physicist develops mathematical formula in quest to solve the mystery of how life came from matter.
- How social psychologists are gathering evidence of the Hive Mind.
- Why is National Geographic lying about ESP, and at the same time, promoting the idea of birthstones to kids? Balance?
- Ball lightning’s optical spectrum revealed - matches soil.
- Review of Ronald Hutton's Pagan Britain. Buy it on Amazon US/UK
- Interplanetary dust particles could deliver water and organics to jump-start life on Earth.
- No evidence of aliens helping ancient cultures.
- How alchemists’ breakthroughs were pillaged by the forefathers of modern science.
- Scotland's last glacier discovered.
- Stephen Hawking wants to redefine black holes.
- Popular Twitter account @HistoryinPics run by 2 teenagers ignores copyright and creative credit and many of its photos are fake.
Thanks to Rick and Greg.
Quote of the Day:
Adventure lies lurking in these lines where I point the way for younger feet than mine … who will strike the trail?
Alfred Watkins (Happy Birthday!)
Two species of spider have been discovered building life-like spider effigies from dead insects, leaves, & twigs. What's remarkable is that one species is in Peru, the other in the Philippines. Scientists think the spider sculptures either help lure prey or scare off predators. Perhaps the spiders are just very lonely. Or even more disturbing, the effigies are shrines of worship. So far, "terrific pig" hasn't been seen written in the web.
The spider behaviour raises some very interesting questions about evolution, questions that may be uncomfortable or even heretical for the hard materialists. I'm not convinced this is just random Darwinian trial & error. Science has taken us far, but there's something else at play here that the materialists fall far short of explaining. The dead leaf moth and countless other examples in nature hint at other possibilities. Could mavericks like Rupert Sheldrake be on the right track?
"The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence." ~ Nikola Tesla
In the meantime, bow to the Great Spider Lord Clikzzrt.
Further reading from the Grail archives:
- Go home evolution, you're... creepily superintelligent?
- Biologist Rupert Sheldrake on the Ten Dogmas Holding Science Back.
As geek-child of the 80's,I might have missed the Silver Age of comic books by a few decades, but right now I'm thrilled to be going through the Golden Age of webcomics, thanks to increased bandwidth & a plethora of talented artists willing to offer their art free of charge.
For several years I've been a devoted fan of Trying Human, a webcomic created by the talented Emy Bitner, who should be right up the alley of Grailers since it's inspired by one of our favorite subjects: The UFO phenomenon.
Reading the pages of TH one is quickly aware of 2 things: Emy is a very accomplished artist --after she polished her drawing chops, she decided to remake a big chunk of the pages she'd already posted, in order to get a more unified style; that's dedication for you!-- AND she's also well-steeped in the nuances of the UFO mythos & the alien abduction lore; because of this the theme of the comic is a bit dark, yet it's first & foremost a very original romance story between Hue, a 'tall gray' alien who falls in love with Rose, a red-haired girl whose world is turned upside down after she realizes she's an abductee. Add a couple of quirky reptilians to provide some comedic relief, and you're up for an enjoyable read!
Emy has completed Volume 1 of Trying Human, and she's launched a Kickstarter campaign in order to raise funds for a printed edition, with a lot of juicy rewards for the backers. I've already pledged for a signed paperback copy, but there's still 22 days to help her reach her goal.
So check out her website, and if you like what you see then try to be a generous human, and help bring this interstellar affair to the printer shop.
“My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.”
- Hawking vs. Black Holes.
- Water, water-- everywhere and not a drop to drink…
- Riding waves of sound and light.
- A solution to space debris?
- Quantum teleportation feels the squeeze.
- Blame the bunny: New theory on Easter Island collapse.
- Is the bee decline virus-related?
- From molecule to memory.
- The latest salvo in the Wikipedia Wars.
- Google Chrome is listening.
- Plant a tree, stave off floods?
- A potential problem with treating flus?
- Insane cinema sans insanity.
- Do you hear an echo?
- The ending of a literary masterpiece… and George Orwell.
- Take another Trip to raise some Caine.
- This week’s evidence of the looming robo-pocalypse… ‘bot blind dates.
With thanks to Kat & RPJ!
Quote of the Day:
“…Next time someone complains that you have made a mistake, tell him that may be a good thing. Because without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist.”
The latest issue (Vol 5, Number 1) of the free PDF journal Paranthropology ("anthropological approaches to the paranormal") is now available to download (or you can read it online via Scribd). Here's the complete rundown of features in the latest issue:
- "Is the Anomalist on a Fool’s Errand?" - Thomas E. Bullard
- "A Phenomenological Evolution of Parapsychology’s Philosophy of Science" - Jacob W. Glazie
- "Commentary: Contemplating Parapsychology's Evolving Philosophy of Science" - Mark A. Schroll
- "Experiences of Synchronicity and Anthropological Endeavours (Part 2): ‘Beyond a Psychology of Projection into a Cosmology of Synchronicity’ "- Christel Mattheeuws
- "The Mystical Brain: The Primordial Roots of Religion" - Charles D. Laughlin
- "The Paranormal Body: Reflections on Indian Perspectives Towards the Paranormal" - Loriliai Biernacki
- "A Case of Xenoglossy Occurring Under Hypnosis" - Ohkado Masayuko & Okamoto Satoshi
- "Navigating to the Inside: First Person Science Perspectives on Consciousness and Psi " - Rafael G. Locke
And in case you haven't read this great resource before, all of the previous issues remain available to download from the site as well. I know from experience the work that goes into doing something like this, so if you get something out of the journal make it your mission to throw some money their way with a PayPal donation.
Fear is the mind-killer --and also the pants-pooper…
- Is our sun sleeping on the job? And if so, how can we find a replacement??
- Rosetta, the space-chasing spacecraft, is getting ready to par-teeeh!
- Thar she blows!: Water detected on largest asteroid in our solar system.
- New species of Antarctic sea anemone a hint of alien life on Europa?
- Ball lightning captured on video for the 1st time.
- The Feuds in UFOs, or that time when APRO & MUFOn fought over the Cash-Landrum case [Obligatory].
- A rare interview with Colby Landrum, the sole survivor of one of the most important UFO cases of the 1980s.
- A look at the life & work of Dr. John Mack from the POV of Alexa Clay, daughter of his partner & last sentimental companion.
- Midichlorians & the Harry-Potterization of Star Wars.
- Sir Morien, black knight of the Round Table.
- The enduring mystery of Oak Island.
- Did ancient Romans discover the 'New' World?
- The International Cryptozoology Museum needs your help.
- The side of Martin Luther King they don't want you to know.
- Pope Francis to Davos elite: "Get your $#it together!" ← not actual quote
- Red Pill of the Day:
Beijing is so polluted by now, citizens watch sunrises on a video-screen[Obligatory]. [UPDATE]: This story is actually a hoax.
Thanks Rick, Curt & Kat.
Quote of the Day:
"Awakening means coming to your senses - but of course, to do that, you have to go out of your mind."