News Briefs 01-09-2015


Quote of the Day:

You are being force fed the worst the world has to offer, in graphic detail, on a daily basis. It is not natural, healthy, or useful.

John Reppion

Hunting Dogs on Hallucinogens: Why Do People Around The World Get Their Dogs High Before Hunting?

Ancient hunting dogs in a cave painting

Humans and canines have a long history of working together, with the use of hunting dogs stretching back to perhaps 20,000 years ago. And in some cultures, it seems ancient shamanic practices related to hunting success have extended to their four-legged partners: according to a new paper in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, at least 43 difference species of psychedelic plants have been used in cultures around the world to allegedly improve the performance of hunting dogs.

The researchers focused on the Ecuadorian Shuar and Quichua people - who use at least 22 species "for ethnoveterinary purposes" - trying to determine the possible pharmacological basis for the use of these plants with hunting dogs:

The use of psychoactive substances to improve a dog׳s hunting ability seems counterintuitive, yet its prevalence suggests that it is both adaptive and that it has an underlying pharmacological explanation. We hypothesize that hallucinogenic plants alter perception in hunting dogs by diminishing extraneous signals and by enhancing sensory perception (most likely olfaction) that is directly involved in the detection and capture of game. If this is true, plant substances also might enhance the ability of dogs to detect explosives, drugs, human remains, or other targets for which they are valued.

For more on the topic of animals and psychedelics, see the links below.

Related links:

News Briefs 31-08-2015

Happy 17th birthday to us! If only I had of known how many posts I'd be making in the next 6200 days....

Thanks @anomalistnews.

Quote of the Day:

I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.

Oliver Sacks

Sponsor Shout-Out: New Dawn (Special Issue Vol.9 No.3)

The Daily Grail would not be able to continue without support from advertisers on the site, and the oh-so-cool readers who send voluntary subscriptions or purchase some of the books from Daily Grail Publishing. So here's a quick shout-out to New Dawn Magazine, who have been a supporter of this site for some time (see the banner at the top right of the page) and provide some cool reading material to boot - the latest being New Dawn Special Issue Vol. 9, No. 3, titled "Mystery of Consciousness and the Mind Matrix". Check out the full listing of articles from the latest issue below.

If you're in Australia or New Zealand you can grab a copy of New Dawn Special Issue Vol. 9 No. 3 from your local newsagency, or you can grab the digital edition regardless of your location for only US$5.95 direct from the New Dawn website:

New Dawn Special Issue Volume 9 Number 3

New Dawn Special Issue Vol 9 No 3

Mystery of Consciousness and the Mind Matrix


  • "Return Trip: The New Psychedelic Science", by Erik Davis
  • "The War on Drugs & the Control of Consciousness", by Graham Hancock
  • "Chavín de Huántar: Labyrinth of the Mind. Drugs, Rituals & Altered States of Consciousness in Ancient Peru", by Alistair Coombs
  • "Entheogens, Initiation & the Modern World: There are No Shortcuts to Spiritual ‘Enlightenment’", by Robert Black
  • "Alex Grey & the Mind Parasites", by Jonathan Zap
  • "A Neurosurgeon’s Journey to Worlds Beyond: An Interview with Dr. Eben Alexander", by Richard Smoley
  • "Where Does Consciousness Reside? Eben Alexander & the Brain-Mind Problem", by Richard Smoley
  • "Science of the Whole: Integrating Matter & Spirit", by Chris Thomson
  • "The Divine Art of Self-Correction: A Path of Unfolding Our Innate Divinity", by Danielle Graham
  • "A Practical Guide to Power of the Mind", by D.J. Carville
  • "Primal Vision & ‘Active Seeing’: Why We Don’t Perceive What’s Right in Front of Our Eyes?", by Colin Wilson
  • "Doublethink & the Mental Construction of Reality", by Nick Meador
  • "The Unlimited Mind of Doctor John C. Lilly", by Marshall Hammond
  • "Earth Coincidence Control Office (E.C.C.O.)", by Dr. John C. Lilly

Link: New Dawn Special Issue Vol. 9 No. 3

Name Your Favorite Bibliophilic Film

They say Video killed the Radio star --and then Youtube went out to kill Mtv-- but the same cannot be said of movies and books. Even though there may be more people who would prefer to go to the movies than their local library, both the film industry and editorial companies engage in an interesting synergistic symbiosis, with Hollywood making millions out of the cinematic versions of best-selling novels, and the publishing of spin-off book series spawned by popular movies.

But what about movies whose center subject ARE books? The ones in which these precious forms of millenarian transmission of knowledge are duly praised and revered? That's why I hereby want to invite all the Grailers out there to name their favorite Bibliophilic film; the one who manages to capture your passion for books, as well as our common fetishism for these marriages of pulp and ink --Srsly, what's a better SMELL than that of a brand-new book fresh out of the printing press?

Since I'm the one proposing this game, allow me to start with my own personal favorite film of the Bibliophilic kind: The Name of the Rose (1986) based on the homonimous novel by Umberto Eco. Not only it's one of Sean Connery's best performances --and Ron Perlman is at his finest as Salvatore, the humpbacked heretic!-- but it also shows how in the times full of superstition and ignorance of Medieval Europe, Christian monasteries became sanctuaries for many 'forbidden' books, which were forced to wait for a more enlightened age in order to acquire new readers.

[Spoiler Alert]

I tried unsuccessfully to find on Youtube the scene in which William of Baskerville (Connery) finds the secret chamber inside the monastery with his pupil Adso (Christian Slater), and is overjoyed to be inside "one of the greatest libraries in all of Christendom." What I found instead was the scene in which Baskerville is faced with the heart-breaking decision, of trying to choose which of the precious books to save from the fire started by the old, murderous monk, Jorge de Burgos.

Have at it, fellow bookworms! ;)

News Briefs 28-08-2015

“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”

Quote of the Day:

“I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center.”

Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Do Weird Quantum Effects Hold the Key to Solving Biological Mysteries?

For a long time, the weird world of quantum effects was thought to reside only at the nanoscale level. However, as nuclear physicist Jim Al-Khalili points out in the video above, a new field of research - 'quantum biology', has begun to ask the question: do quantum effects also play a role inside the living cell?

And on investigating this question, scientists are finding that the answer appears to be 'yes'. For example:

Some years ago, the world of science was shocked when a paper was published showing experimental evidence that quantum coherence takes place inside bacteria, carrying out photosynthesis. The idea is that the photon, the particle of light, the sunlight, the quantum of light captured by a chlorophyll molecule, is then delivered to what's called the reaction center, where it can be turned into chemical energy. And in getting there, it doesn't just follow one route; it follows multiple pathways at once, to optimize the most efficient way of reaching the reaction center without dissipating as waste heat. Quantum coherence taking place inside a living cell. A remarkable idea, and yet evidence is growing almost weekly, with new papers coming out, confirming that this does indeed take place.

To explore these topics in more detail, see Jim Al-Khalili's book with Johnjoe McFadden, Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology.

News Briefs 27-08-2015

"I guess you guys aren't ready for that yet. But your great-great-great grandkids are gonna love it."

Thanks to Leonardo and Michelangelo, for making me learn their art was worth the 4 ½ hours in line.

Quote of the Day:

"Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us."

~Calvin and Hobbes, by Bill Watterson.

Stranger Than We Can Imagine: Making Sense of the Twentieth Century

Stranger Than We Can Imagine Book Cover

A breathtakingly lucid and coherent map of the tectonic shifts which drastically reshaped the human psyche, and the human world, within a hundred thrilling, terrifying years [and which] leaves us asking ourselves how we could have missed so much about the wider implications of a time we lived through. An illuminating work of massive insight, I cannot recommend this magnificent work too highly.

-Alan Moore

When Alan Moore describes a book - Stranger Than We Can Imagine: Making Sense of the Twentieth Century - in such an effusive manner, you can bet that it's going to be a fantastic read. And when the author is our good friend John Higgs, and the subject is a tour of the backwaters of history and science, you can double down on that bet. John's the writing genius behind, among others, two brilliant non-fiction books on counter-culture icons Timothy Leary (I Have America Surrounded) and The KLF (KLF: Chaos Magic Music Money), as well as a couple of wonderful 'strange fiction' books (The Brandy of the Damned and The First Church on the Moon).

If you've read John's non-fiction, you'll know how adept he is at illustrating history in a different light, by finding and connecting various esoteric moments via synchronicities and hidden history. If you haven't, see as an example his Darklore 7 article "From Operation Mindf**k to The White Room: The Strange Discordian Journey of the KLF" (PDF), or more quickly this article I wrote discussing some of the wonderfully odd material about Doctor Who covered in John's KLF book.

John's a long-time collaborator and friend - he's contributed to multiple Darklore releases - and was closely involved with the Cosmic Trigger revival last year in the UK. But even if I only knew him through his writing, this would likely be the book release of the year for me - so I can't recommend this highly enough. And I'm not the only one - apart from Alan Moore's high praise, Stranger Than We Can Imagine is already getting big ups from many quarters, from New Scientist to Robin Ince.

The book is released today in the UK (later this year in the Americas, but since when do geographical boundaries bother us anymore?), so head to Amazon UK and grab a copy, stat! For those interested, here's the blurb:

The twentieth century should make sense. It's the period of history that we know the most about, an epic geo-political narrative that runs through World War One, the great depression, World War Two, the American century and the fall of the Berlin Wall. But somehow that story doesn't quite lead into the world we find ourselves in now, this bewildering twenty-first century, adrift in a network of constant surveillance, unsustainable competition, tsunamis of trivia and extraordinary opportunity.

Time, then, for a new perspective. With John Higgs as our guide, we step off the main path and wander through some of the more curious backwaters of the twentieth century, exploring familiar and unfamiliar territory alike, finding fresh insight on our journey to the present day. We travel in the company of some of the most radical artists, scientists, geniuses and crazies of their age. They show us that great innovations such as relativity, cubism, quantum mechanics, postmodernism and chaos maths are not the incomprehensible, abstract horrors that we assume them to be, but signposts that bring us to the world we live in now.

John Higgs brings us an alternative history of the strangest of centuries. He shows us how the elegant, clockwork universe of the Victorians became increasingly woozy and uncertain; and how we discovered that our world is not just stranger than we imagine but, in the words of Sir Arthur Eddington, 'stranger than we can imagine'.

For those wanting to learn more about the book, check out John's recent appearance on the Little Atoms radio show. And to put a face to the name - and learn a little bit along the way - see John's talk about Robert Anton Wilson embedded below.

Link: Stranger Than We Can Imagine: Making Sense of the Twentieth Century on Amazon