In recent years there has been a surge in interest in the idea that human behaviour might be sometimes manipulated by microscopic parasites, as this has been observed happening in many other species. Perhaps the most famous example is the brain parasite toxoplasma gondii, which manipulates rodents' behaviour to make them less fearful of cats. It does this because toxo only reproduces inside a cat's stomach - by making the rodents less fearful, they are more likely to be eaten and 'deliver their payload' to where it needs to be.
Some have suggested that humans too might be affected by toxo, an idea that sounded even more plausible when last year researchers found that chimpanzees with toxo seem to be less fearful of a feline predator, the leopard. Previous to that study, other research had implicated toxo as the possible cause of a range of psychological effects in humans, from delayed reaction time right through to suicidal thoughts.
But a new piece of research has now thrown doubts over that idea, with scientists finding no evidence that cat ownership contributes to mental health problems in teenagers:
Congenital or early life infection with Toxoplasma gondii has been implicated in schizophrenia aetiology. Childhood cat ownership has been hypothesized as an intermediary marker of T. gondii infection and, by proxy, as a risk factor for later psychosis. Evidence supporting this hypothesis is, however, limited.
We used birth cohort data from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) to investigate whether cat ownership in pregnancy and childhood (ages 4 and 10 years) was associated with psychotic experiences (PEs) in early [13yo] and late [18yo] adolescence, rated from semi-structured interviews. We used logistic regression to examine associations between cat ownership and PEs, adjusting for several sociodemographic and socioeconomic factors, household characteristics and dog ownership.
Cat ownership during pregnancy was not associated with PEs at age 13 years or 18 years. Initial univariable evidence that cat ownership at ages 4 and 10 years was associated with PEs at age 13 years did not persist after multivariable adjustment. There was no evidence that childhood cat ownership was associated with PEs at age 18 years.
The researchers concluded that while pregnant women "should continue to avoid handling soiled cat litter, given possible T. gondii exposure", overall the study "strongly indicates that cat ownership in pregnancy or early childhood does not confer an increased risk of later adolescent PEs."
So there's one less excuse to use when your child asks you for a kitten...
Our lives are always the prelude. What comes next is up to us.
- Nearby star hosts 7 Earth-sized planets. At least 3 of which could be habitable.
- Michael Strauss: Our universe is too big for even the most imaginative Sci-Fi.
- Tom DeLonge gets the 2017 UFO Researcher of the Year award at the IUFOC. Welp, Disclosure brought upon by a rocker would NOT be the most outrageous story of 2017, that's for sure…
- Russian military zapped by aliens after shooting down UFO, CIA declassified document claims.
- That time when the CIA asked Ingo Swann to remote view Jupiter.
- When the NSA feared psychics could make cities lost in time and space --or, as we say, shifting the gear to Eleven...
- YESSSSSS! The One wants to do a Matrix sequel :D
- Why were Americans obsessed with ghosts in the 1940s?
- Yes, you ARE crazy. But not because of your cats.
- Lyle Blackburn has a new book about the Fouke Monster.
- Is California bound to be struck by a 200-year storm of massive proportions?
- The Rome of America: What lies under Teotihuacán.
- Organ-on-a-chip mimics heart's biomechanical properties.
- Psychedelics help reduce opioid addiction according to new study.
- Red Pill of the Day: Swedish politician wants workers to have paid sex breaks to improve their health. Eff universal income. Give us THIS!!!
Quote of the Day:
"I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death."
My daughter Isis reviews fantasy genre books from her viewpoint as a teenager - check out her blog 'The Book Goddess' for some cool recommendations (both old and new).
- New evidence for the strange idea that the Universe is a hologram.
- Twitter has made our alien contact protocols obsolete.
- NASA's Fermi telescope has found a signal at the centre of the Andromeda galaxy that could indicate the presence of dark matter.
- The ten weirdest physics facts, from relativity to quantum physics.
- Five experiments that show the universe is weird...really weird.
- The example of Easter Island shows why humanity will be extinct within 100 years.
- Greece displays 7000-year-old archaeological enigma.
- Search for secret chamber in King Tut's tomb to recommence.
- Mysterious downfall of the Aztecs may have been caused by salmonella.
- DNA reveals prehistoric Native American dynasty centered on women.
- The post-human world: A conversation about the end of work, individualism and the fate of the human species.
- A warning from Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking.
- This brain implant makes telepathic typing possible.
- Someone just bought Hitler's personal phone for $243,000.
- Alex Jones's misInfoWars: 7 batshit conspiracy theories.
- Batshit enough to give him the ear of POTUS.
- But does Alex Jones know if the owls are what they seem?
- Democrats are now embracing conspiracy theories.
- The strange photographs used to prove conspiracy theories.
- Meet the albino woman who survived a kidnapping by people who wanted to use her body parts for magic.
- Is there evidence for life after death? Of course there is, as you all know from reading my book on the topic...
- Video of the Day: Jaguar vs giant anteater.
Quote of the Day:
Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.
Martin Luther King Jr.
When I was looking for suitable artwork for the cover of Darklore Volume 8, I was lucky enough to serendipitously come across the amazing drawings of Steve Richards, aka the (poetically named) 'Cosmic Joker'. When I asked Steve about how he fell into drawing sacred geometry-themed artworks, he told me that the urge to make art hit him just seven years ago in 2010, though stopped shortly after, before returning in 2012, when "I immediately knew it was staying and it wasn't going to just disappear". Along with this urge came a "throbbing" in Steve's forehead as well as tinnitus.
So for 6 months I just drew non stop bright vibrant pictures with colouring pencils...and then in Dec 2012 I picked up a fineliner [and] haven't stopped since!
My life long passions regarding the nature of reality, consciousness, ancient Egypt, synchronicity, cycles and symbols are themes I'm trying to put into my Art and finding ways of including information too, where symbolic, coded or literal. Trying to make information beautifull springs to mind.
Steve now has more than just a book cover as part of his portfolio - he has an entire book! As part of the recent interest in colouring-as-a-form-of-meditation, Steve created the illustrations for the recently released book The Golden Ratio Coloring Book: And Other Mathematical Patterns Inspired by Nature and Art. If you're into colouring, and you read this site, then it's likely this book will be right up your alley with illustrations like this:
You can find out more about Steve/follow him on social media/buy his stuff via the following links:
Nothing to see here, move along...
- The strange link between the human mind and quantum physics.
- How lucid dreaming can make you more calm and creative. (To learn to lucid dream, see this book from Daily Grail Publishing.)
- NASA to host major press conference on Wednesday concerning a "discovery beyond our Solar System".'
- The Masada mystery: Have archaeologists proven the ancient tale of mass suicide in the Judaean desert or twisted science for political end?
- Cosmic controversy: The universe is expanding, but at what speed?
- 'Meditating mice' reveal secrets of mindfulness training.
- Astronomers propose a cell phone search for galactic fast radio bursts. Ah, is that what U.S. border agents are doing?
- Disney develops a method for wirelessly powering an entire room.
- Russian scientists make anti-aging breakthrough.
- Bill Gates warns of bioterror doomsday.
- Alarm as climate skeptic is named head of the U.S. environment agency. I'm just waiting for announcement of Trump's special investigator into pizza stores...
- 70% of Mongolian nomads now have solar power.
- A ground-breaking report on gene editing says we shouldn't create enhanced humans.
- 2000-year-old seeds found in Chinese tomb may reveal clues about the past.
- Video of the Day: Watch SpaceX land its reusable rocket from drones-eye view.
Quote of the Day:
This is where we are at right now, as a whole. We are experiencing a reality based on a thin veneer of lies and illusions. A world where greed is our God and wisdom is sin, where division is key and unity is fantasy, where the ego-driven cleverness of the mind is praised, rather than the intelligence of the heart.
- SpaceX successfully launches and lands reusable rocket with cargo bound for the International Space Station.
- This is why sending messages to aliens might be a good idea.
- This neuroscientist wants to know why people who see UFOs feel so good.
- I can control a computer with my mind - from inside a dream.
- Meet the hackers trying to solve the problem of death.
- The corpse factory and the birth of fake news.
- How mammoth cloning became fake news.
- Scientists revive 10,000-year-old microbes extracted from cave containing gigantic crystals. The sci-fi reader in me feels this is not going to end well...
- What is the mysterious 'handbag' see on ancient carvings across the world?
- Archaeologists to break ground at Biblical site where the Ark of the Covenant stood.
- Volanic eruption may have plunged the Maya into a 'Dark Age'.
- Has there been a 'nuclear incident' in the Arctic?
- Can plants learn to associate stimuli with reward?
- Want to know the future? Most people don't, study suggests.
- Private detective claims to use psychic powers to solve crimes.
- Antarctic sea ice used to be the darling of climate doubters. Not anymore.
- Elon Musk trolls SpaceX truthers.
- Video of the Day: Astronaut in space witnesses blue jets streaming upwards from thunderstorms.
Quote of the Day:
We all live our entire life for the three, agonizing, last three minutes in which you are going to die. And you very fast realize - at a speed beyond anything we know - you realize what you did, and what you didn't.
Guillermo del Toro
When, in 2000, conspiracy theorist cum Presidential advisor Alex Jones infiltrated the infamous 'Bohemian Grove' - a meeting place for the rich and powerful - he was confronted with a pagan sacrificial rite (or a piece of theatre, take your pick) taking place in front of a 30-foot high sculpture of an owl, the official symbol of the Bohemian Grove meeting.
From this it was clear: the owl is a symbol of the global elite, our hidden and not-so-hidden rulers, who gather at Bohemian Grove to decide our fates. So much so that even 8 years later, Jones's InfoWars site ran with their insights on a video of George H.W. Bush wearing a cap with an owl on it...
[In the video] Bush 41 unabashedly wears a ball cap with an owl, the mascot of the Bohemian Grove Club. After the video loads, scrub to 2 minutes, 20 seconds to see George’s hat.
The initiation ceremony totem animal of Bohemian Grove is the owl, which figures prominently in occult symbolism as the fusion of “wisdom” and nature. So important is the occultic owl to our rulers, it long ago found a place on our fiat currency.
Bush, of course, is a fixture at Bohemian Grove, although the vast majority of the people are ignorant of this fact. And maybe that’s why George is rubbing this in our faces, as the elite are wont to do, even on national television.
Fast forward 17 years from Alex Jones's first-hand look at the goings-on at Bohemian Grove, and now, incredibly, Jones himself is buddies with the President of the United States, with InfoWars acting as an official propaganda channel for the Trump candidacy and subsequent administration.
But Trump needed more help than just Jones's proselytising to get elected. He also needed campaign finance: and one of his biggest backers was mysterious billionaire Robert Mercer, CEO of the equally enigmatic Renaissance Technologies, who chipped in more than $20 million to Trump's Super PACs. Mercer's "people" were also installed in high places in Trump's team, such as Kellyanne Conway and Stephen Bannon (Mercer had earlier backed Bannon's Breitbart website to the tune of $10 million).
So maybe someone should tell Alex Jones that Robert Mercer is fixated with owls...
Mercer has dubbed his house the Owl’s Nest. Owls seem to be something of a familiar for Mercer. He’s commissioned a succession of yachts, all called Sea Owl, the latest of which stretches to 203 feet, with a pirate-themed playroom for the grandkids and a chandelier of Venetian glass...
...At the Owl’s Nest, visitors pass through pillars crowned by a pair of owl statues, their wings outstretched as if taking flight. People who’ve been inside describe a pistol range, a series of secret passages, and an octagonal tower holding a two-story library.
I'm sure you wouldn't have to remind Jones that one of the 'camps' (groupings) of people at the Bohemian Grove event is..."Owls Nest" (consisting of "U.S. Presidents/Military/Defense Contractors"). Could it be that Alex Jones has had the wool pulled over his eyes, and - rather than being a Presidency for the people - the man pulling the strings of the Trump presidency is Bohemian Grove personified?
Or perhaps I'm assuming far too much here, and the owls are not what they seem. But all the same, I do like to imagine the batshit insanity we would be seeing from Jones right now if Clinton had been elected president instead, and it turned out one of her major financial backers embraced the owl symbol in the way Mercer does...
A summary of all the stories and news briefs posted on The Daily Grail over the past week. Feel free to share anything interesting!
- News Briefs 13-02-2017 (Monday)
- New Research Into the Mystery of Anomalous Meteor Sounds
- News Briefs 14-02-2017 (Tuesday)
- Life (2017): Because ET's Are Still a Big NOPE
- News Briefs 15-02-2017 (Wednesday)
- Researchers Say We Should Check for Alien Messages in Neutrinos
- News Briefs 16-02-2017 (Thursday)
- News Briefs 17-02-2017 (Friday)
- Sleep Paralysis Nightmares Recreated By Photographer
Have a good weekend!
For years, photographer Nicolas Bruno has suffered hypnogogic sleep paralysis. His mind is awake, but his body feels completely paralysed. Unable to move, Bruno is assaulted by hyper-realistic visions of malevolent presences, screaming disembodied heads, demonic creatures crushing his chest, and other nightmares. So real are the experiences, Nicolas began to think he was possessed by demons.
I would go to bed and I would wake up immediately right into one of those dreams. I wouldn't sleep for two days at a time because I was so afraid to go to bed.
Soon, insomnia and suicidal depression became worse than the sleep paralysis. A conversation with a high school teacher changed his life, and Nicolas began to recreate his hypnogogic hallucinations through photographic art. His work is both fascinating and frightening.
“For people who haven’t experienced it, and say they want to – they really don’t. You’ve never woken up being choked out by shadow hands. You’ve never had a looming figure floating above your bed, screaming into your ear.”
Nicolas's art has reached out to other sufferers, and he's now working on a virtual reality project. You can find more of Nicolas Bruno's photography on his website, and by following him on Facebook and Instagram.
If you're curious to know more about sleep paralysis, a phenomenon experienced worldwide and since ancient history, I highly recommend Sleep Paralysis: A Guide to Hypnagogic Visions and Visitors of the Night by Ryan Hurd, an in-depth and practical exploration. Australian sleep paralysis experiencer Louis Proud approaches the phenomenon from a perspective a la Colin Wilson and Whitley Strieber in Dark Intrusions: An Investigation into the Paranormal Nature of Sleep Paralysis Experiences. The Terror That Comes In The Night is a scholarly investigation by David Hufford, with historical accounts.
“One of us is obviously mistaken.”
- Life on Ceres.
- Life after extinction.
- Europa:The next frontier.
- When worlds collide.
- When DNA blinked.
- Hacking the brain.
- Aliens in the iPhone.
- 3D space laugh.
- Oceans of plastic.
- Fighting plastic pollution one supermarket at a time.
- Mr. Trash Wheel sets sights on pollution.
- From exhaust to ink.
- There’s life underground.
- Sketching the brain.
- An eighth continent?
- I love lamp.
- This week’s evidence of the looming robot uprising… Robo-taxes.
Quote of the Day:
“Genius is play, and man's capacity for achieving genius is infinite, and many may achieve genius only through play.”