News Briefs 22-06-2015

If it felt like a long day at work, then you probably live in the northern hemisphere...

Thanks @djp1974.

Quote of the Day:

Bush v. Clinton for Prez. Jurassic Park, Terminator, & Star Wars in theaters. Believers in 6K year old Earth. Our timeline is broken.


Uplifting Civilisation 2: The Atemporal People's Republic

We Were Always the Monolith.

This is a loose sequel, as the title may suggest, to an earlier post: Uplifting Civilisation into the 22nd Century... and Beyond! That post largely concerned itself with sketching out a future where humanity and the coming AI have joined together, along with some Uplifted Animals, to form a next-level, pluralistic space faring civilisation. Putting forward the idea of a truly posthuman culture that was an attempt to offer up...

[a] vision to help chart a course through the current extinction crisis towards a twenty-second century full of sentient beings in space; a living universe populated with the physical and virtual, human, machine and animal, and multiple combinations of them all. And that's just for starters. Science only knows what comes after that.


The territory of the future moves beyond a human-machine civilisation, to a richer, space faring cyborg ecology.”

In this post I want to look forwards once more by looking backwards to our earliest origins – to cast our vision over that entire timeline, no less - and see how naturally we've merged the biological and the technological to get here, and will only continue to do so.

To draft an “Atemporal People's Republic” that stretches from what we know of our first tool-using ancestor species to what we imagine our posthuman descendants will be and sideways to ... Read More »

Comic Great Jack Kirby's Legendary 'Lord of Light' Artwork - in Psychedelic Colour

Psychedelic Kirby

Last month, Heavy Metal magazine announced it would be bringing color versions of Jack Kirby’s iconic Lord of Light (and later Operation Argo) art to print the very first time. Before that happens though, io9 is proud to reveal some of the images — as well as how you can get your hands on prints of it at SDCC this year.

Kirby’s art isn’t just fantastically weird and grand — it has an important place in history as part of the 1979 Operation Argo (which you might be familiar with from the recent Oscar-winning movie). Originally drawn as work for Barry Ira Geller’s planned film (and theme park) adaptation of the Roger Zelazny novel Lord of Light, the art was ultimately used as part of a CIA mission to extract hostages from the American embassy in Iran as concept art for a fake movie, Argo. The fake production was used to allow CIA agents to infiltrate the country undetected.

Although we’ve seen much of Kirby’s concept work before, this is the first time ever that it’s been colored — and colorist Mark Englert has doone a pretty fantastic job of emphasising the weirdness of Kirby’s art with a brilliantly psychedelic color palette.

Link: Behold The Psychedelic Glory Of Jack Kirby's Argo Art, In Color At Last

Kurzgesagt's Conspiracy Debunking Tool

The German design studio Kurzgesagt believe they have the perfect sharpening stone for your Ockham's razor, so you can cut through the B.S. of illogical conspiracies.

Don't agree with them? Put on your tinfoil gloves and type your refutation in the Comments section!



News Briefs 19-06-2015

“The present contains nothing more than the past, and what is found in the effect was already in the cause.”

Quote of the Day:

“I cannot escape the objection that there is no state of mind, however simple, that does not change every moment.”

Henri Bergson

The Timeless Mystery of Hy'Brasil

The above video is a nice and short compendium of the mystery surrounding the legendary Hy'Brasil, a mythical island which has been popularized as 'the other Atlantis.'

The fact that it was portrayed in several ancient maps, and that there's even some first-person accounts of actual mariners who claimed to have visited the island, is nowadays dismissed by modern historians and cartographers as nothing but folklore. The same reason behind why those maps also showed the customary warning "Here Be Monsters" on regions still uncharted.

But the mystery of Hy'Brasil got a recent rekindling a few years ago with the release of the book The Rendlesham Forest Incident [Amazon US & UK], co-written by Jim Penniston , Jim Burroughs and Nick Pope. Penniston and Burroughs are first-hand witnesses to the famous Rendlesham UFO case of December, 1980; many years after the incident, Penniston claimed that when he touched the strange triangular craft roaming through the British forest on that fateful December night, he received a 'binary transmission', which was later encoded and said to directly pinpoint to the geographical location of Hy-Brasil.

It has to be said though, that the new book has been challenged by a few investigators within the UFO field. Mainly Peter Robbins, the co-author of Left At East Gate [Amazon US & UK] with Larry Warren, who has always been the subject of attacks by some of the other characters involved in the Rendlesham story --e.g. retired Colonel Charles Halt. Peter wrote an entire e-book as a critique to Encounter in Rendlesham Forest, which you can download here.

To listen to the Grimerica Show interview with Burroughs and Pope, click here.

Incidentally, last year I had a chance to chat with Irish researcher Barry Fitzgerald at the Paradigm Symposium, and among the things we discussed was Hy'Brasil. Barry told me how one of his associates had apparently found remnants of an ancient coral reef right in the coordinates of Hy'Brasil, implying that an island could have existed there in the past.

But if so, what happened to it?

No doubt this mystery will continue capturing our imagination for many years to come. In fact, I kind of suspect J.J. Abrams might have been inspired by the legend of Hy'Brasil and used it as source material for his famous Lost TV show --or infamous, depending on whether you liked how the series ended or not.

Who knows? Maybe there were a few polar bears roaming around the Irish island, along with the giant black rabbits.

Alien Cat Doesn't Even CARE About Your Leader

Meet Matilda, the 2-year-old Canadian kitten who will either make you go D'aww or cringe in horror, depending on whether the cover of Whitley Strieber's Communion gave you nightmares or not *raising hand*

Her other-worldly glassy eyes are the product of a congenital condition called 'spontaneous lens luxation', which has caused the lens in her eyes to detach. Their abnormal size is still a matter of some debate, though, and her veterinary suspects it's got "something to do with her collagen structure" --IMO I would fire up the MRI machine in search of metallic implants…

Despite the appearances, Matilda's illness does not bring her any pain, even though she's practically blind. I wonder if knowing she's become an overnight Internet celebrity would bring her any comfort.

All joking aside, though, this freaking-looking feline reminds me of how many people in our field believe cats and other animals, are able to perceive things with their acute sense than we humans are oblivious of. Fortean blogger and researcher Mike Clelland is among the many cat care-takers who have noticed their four-legged owners stare at a spot in the wall or an empty room with eerie fixation, as if they were aware of some invisible presence:

Last night I was alone in my little cabin sitting on the couch watching a DVD, my cat was sitting next to me, as always. Suddenly I was aware that she was acting really scared. She got into this really scrunched-up defensive pose and her tail poofed up huge. The hair along her back was sticking straight up. I tried to pet her to calm her down, but she didn’t respond at all. I could feel her back was rigid with tension. I leaned over and looked at her face and her eyes were entirely dilated and black.

She wasn’t moving, and she was entirely focused at an empty spot the center of the room just a few yards in front of the couch.

I saw nothing, and I sensed nothing. But my cat's overt display meant something.

I got up and walked around the house, and when I stood in the living room in front of the couch I could see right where she was focused. She stayed frozen in that anxious pose with her dilated eyes fixed on an empty spot right in the center of the room.

And there's even a few interesting anecdotes in which our furry overlords have become entangled with their alien counterparts. I already mentioned Strieber and Communion, which should be unquestionnably credited with inserting (or should that be 'probing'?) the stereotype of the Gray alien into the pop culture's psyche. In Transformation, the sequel to his best-selling book, Whitley mentions how once when he was about to be taken by the entities he call 'the Visitors' --he's never been comfortable with calling them 'aliens' or 'Et's'-- he grabbed one of their 2 cats --Sadie, a Birman-- with him as a sort of 'reality test'. When he found himself inside a normal-looking room, still holding the terrified cat between his arms and surrounded by 4 non-human entities, even though one appeared to be a 'blonde Nordic'; one of the entities asked him why he had brought the cat --the fact that these entities hadn't stopped him in the first place is interesting in itself. Forced somehow to provide the most honest answer by the overwhelming 'pressure' of their mere presence, Strieber replied that Sadie was part of his family, and as such she had the right to participate in family affairs.

The Visitors put Sadie to sleep --not permanently, as Whitley originally feared-- by pressing a strange metallic object on one of her thighs, which immediately caused her to collapse as if she had been anesthesyzed. The next day the poor cat stayed sleep curled in a ball until dinner time, when she drank a lot of water; she showed a stiffness in her leg until the next morning, in the exact place where the metallic object had been in contact with her skin.

Perhaps later ole Sadie took revenge by scratching her human's favorite armchair.

Is there indeed a parnormal connection between cats and 'the other side'? Is there a reason why ancient Egyptians showed such a huge veneration to them, other than the utilitarian benefit cats provided by eradicating vermin from their barns and grain mills?

If Matilda had the collar of Jake, the Cat from Outer Space perhaps she could tell us that, indeed, the Truth is Meow there.

Cats Are (Sneaky) Ancient Aliens.

News Briefs 18-06-2015

You don't ride the wave,
You are the wave.

Thanks to Bruce, Robert and Greg.

Quote of the Day:

"It is ourselves that are paranormal and see causation in a reversed and upside down modality that answers the Zen like question I asked myself some time ago…...How can nature be unnatural?
It is not. Our minds are unnatural in how we conceive “reality”"

~Bruce Duensing, "The Coherence of Chaos"

UFOlogical Jam Session to Celebrate the Life and Work of Bruce Duensing

Earlier this year, when I downloaded the Radio Misterioso podcast in which my friend Greg Bishop had a guy by the name of Bruce Duensing as the guest, I knew nothing about him or his ideas --a big stain in my UFOlogical record, given how he'd been blogging about the phenomenon for many years. That day I ended up listening to that episode twice in a row, fascinated by the things Bruce was saying with regards to UAPs --his favored acronym-- which heavily resonated with my own thinking.

Since then I timidly started to have a little bit of online interaction with him, on Facebook and his blog posts, which were definitely not 'UFOlogy 101' material. Bruce's paragraphs were packed with content, and his writing style was often oblique and obscure in meaning, which was not done out of intellectual pedantry as much his most honest attempt to elucidate upon a mystery which is oblique and obscure in intention to begin with.

It nevertheless made me realize that when it comes to UFOs I'm still at the Kindergarten level, and I had much to learn from him.

On the morning of Thursday, June 4th, Greg read a message on the Facebook wall of Bruce's daughter, informing of the passing of his father after having gone through open-heart surgery on the previous Monday. The news hit me harder than I'd expected, seeing how I was just (barely) starting to know him. Perhaps it was because that same week I myself had gone through a different kind of personal transition, after being fired from the job I'd worked in for the last 15 years.

Transience. It's something we rarely notice because we're so focused on the trivial minutiae of our daily routine, yet it's always happening all around us. It's only when a certain critical mass is reached in our cognitive awareness --an accident, being fired from your job, the death of a loved one-- that we stop acting like automatons for a minute, take stock of our surroundings and we begin to pay attention.

(Maybe UFOs are meant to be a wake up call intended to shake us out of our dull complacency, before we fall off the cliff ahead)

Transience and Transition seemed to have been in Bruce's mind, even to the last. The name of his blog was 'A Transit of Contingencies' and the title of his last blog entry was 'The Voyages of the Dead', which of course caused me to speculate: Was the title a hint to his fears about the appointed surgery? An indication of depression? A premonition even?

The last paragraph in the post, which I urge you to read in its entirety, is not only a fitting way for a great intellectual to say adieu, but it also captures Bruce's love of art, literature and poetry, and perhaps his yearning to reconcile the oblique and obscure within himself:

In every fiction there is an element of truth and the same could be said by reading that statement in reverse order, and so this writer thinks on poetics as a series of observations that indirectly point to a reality not directly manifested in their sentences.

The same may apply to us.

After the sudden shock of the news, Greg asked me to come to the show the next Sunday to talk about Bruce and how he had began to influence the both of us in the way we look at UFOs, forcing us to adopt a broader, bolder scope of it and other phenomena. Robert Brandstetter, a brilliant friend of ours who uses the alias 'Burnt State' in the Paracast forums --and also shares with us a nascent kinship with Bruce and his ideas-- was also invited to join in, and even though I still felt a certain inadequacy in being part of this radiophonic eulogy --a close friend of him or one of the many people who discussed things with him online, would have been far more suited to speak with authority about his philosophy and who he was as a person-- I accepted the invitation; in the end I think we did an acceptable job, and the three of us conducted an amenable 'jamming session' in saying farewell to our departed peer --The lion's share of the credit should go to Robert, who did an outstanding job re-reading Bruce's blog, and researching additional info about his background, like his love for clockwork toys and model trains which IMO was very telling of his analytical albeit-whimsical character.

(The images above were the 'notes' I doodled to prepare myself prior to the radio show. "What am I?" is the answer Bruce once gave to Greg's question: 'If you ever met an alien being, what would you say or ask to it?')

We wrapped up the session by having Robert read the Thomas Wolfe quote Bruce had chosen as the intro for his last blog post, and after that I requested Greg to play Café Tacuba's 'Olita del Alta Mar' (Little Wave of the High Seas). Not only it's a song I loved the moment I first listened to it, but that Sunday morning --as I was getting ready for Radio Misterioso's nightly broadcast-- it was thanks to Bruce that I finally understood the true meaning behind the lyrics: A human life is like a wave in the sea; it's made of the same stuff as the sea, but for a little while it has a distinct shape and momentum; like all waves it reaches its peak at one point, breaks into the shore, and then recedes back.

You could say the wave ceased to exist, even though its water never left the sea. The fact the wave had a transitory existence is what gave it its shape and beauty, the force carrying it ashore waning and then gently returning that which formed the wave, to the immensity from whence it came.

Safe travels, Bruce. And godspeed.