News Briefs 29-07-2014

Mythbusters' Adam Savage deserves all the (face)hugs for this amazing SDCC cosplay…

Quote of the Day:

Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Megaliths of Japan and East Asia

Most of us grew up hearing about amazing, mysterious megalithic structures from all over the world: Stonehenge in England, Baalbek in Lebanon, the temples of Egypt, Sacsaywaman in Peru. But very rarely did we hear - and thus know - that Asia also features a plethora of incredible stone structures. The video above gives a quick introduction to some of these megalithic sites of the East...a topic that I'm pretty sure Graham Hancock will be covering in his upcoming book.

Any readers visited these sites? Feel free to comment and add more information!

(via The Cosmic Joker)

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A Q&A with UFOlogical Heretic Jacques Vallee (via Open Minds)

If you were to conduct a poll about who is the most important UFO researcher in the world, the name of Jacques Vallee would rightfully appear among the highest rankings in the list. His books remain as provocative & influential today as when they were fresh out of the printers, several decades ago; and his proposal to regard the phenomenon as a 'control system' instead of merely the occasional visits of interplanetary interlopers, helped catapult UFOlogy into a whole different level.

As we all know, Jacques is no longer an active figure in this wacky field polluted with self-promoters, hoaxers & unaware disinformants —which, frankly, speaks volumes about his sanity— so it was an incredibly pleasant surprise to find that our friends at Open Minds had posted a recent e-mail interview with Vallee, conducted by a group of French UFOlogists who were kind enough to translate it into English. In the lengthy Q&A monsieur Vallee offers plenty of valuable insights —along with caustic criticism!— not only about the nature of the phenomenon and the current state of the field in general, but also how the undeniable existence of UFOs should move us to question the very nature of Reality itself.

Below are some of my favorite portions of the interview:

Q5: Do governments (and especially the USA) hide information about Ufos on the public (according to you and your experience)?

There are two levels to that question: (1) governments (and not only the USA) keep some information they think most sensitive, especially reports which come from the military. It seems that since 1947 this policy has been viewed as legitimate, in the interest of populations and in the hope of discovering technological breakthroughs. (2) The most difficult question is to know if breakthroughs have actually taken place. To my mind, the phenomenon has probably resisted all analysis, classified or not. The issue of opening all the files is going to arise again but it’s not as simple to understand the Ufo phenomenon as to dismantle a MIG or to secretly copy the space shuttle.

Q6: What advice would you give to the ufology community?

I don’t think I have personal advice to give. It is obvious that we won’t make real progress in an environment of petty squabbling. It would be best to avoid accusations that discourage researchers from working together. The phenomenon is accessible at a local level, so the possibility of field study and fast exchange of data is wide open. That would be more useful than speculating on inaccessible, hypothetical secrets in the drawers of governments.

Q1: In your books, you propose the hypothesis that manifestations of the Ufo phenomenon could correlate with a learning program for humanity. This system could be the same type as psychologist Burrhus Frederic Skinner’s training process. Would you explain this hypothesis and show that the manifestations of the Ufo phenomenon follow a program?

This hypothesis comes from data processing compilations made during the 60s and 70s, which lead to a frequency curve of the phenomenon which looks like a learning program (a “schedule of reinforcement” according to Skinner), that is to say, a sequence of stimuli which is pseudo-periodical. According to Skinner, such a program leads to irreversible learning. It is also difficult to detect unless we study a long series of observations.

Let’s notice at the same time that military studies like the US Air Force Blue Book Project, or academic analyses like that of Professor Condon at the University of Colorado have always treated Ufo cases one by one, without any global perspective, which obviously hides such a program if it exists. The often-recycled statement in the declarations of governmental agencies that Ufos are not a threat, has never taken into account the structure of the global evolution of the phenomenon.

To prove or disprove that hypothesis, we should review recent data and update former cases in order to expand the study in a longer period. I have had the opportunity to talk it over with computer scientists from CNES. It is possible that many hypotheses would converge within such an analysis.

Q2: What is your opinion about current evolutions of quantum physics ? According to you, would we be close to discoveries which can help partly to explain some phenomena related to Ufos?

The question is legitimate, especially as reliable researches about psychic functioning are facing the same problem. From the non-locality principle, we must wonder whether thought is not transmitted immediately (rather than electromagnetic waves, as in Soviet researches from 1930 to 1940 or French and English scientists’ works in the beginning of the last century with the “mental radio” concept). If so, it might be theoretically possible to get into contact with other forms of consciousness, while beings capable of moving in space might influence us at a distance, or even make us perceive imaginary scenes.

However, to tell the truth, it seems to me that in their enthusiasm some researchers use quantum physics a little bit too much: since these mechanisms remain mysterious, they can be stretched to explain a lot of phenomena in an exaggerated way. I am more interested in new ideas on the physics of information, as I said earlier. If space and time are a side effect of our consciousness and a physical illusion, we should face the problem of phenomena related to Ufos in a more fundamental way.

Link: Interview with UFO researcher and author Jacques Vallée

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News Briefs 25-07-2014

”Discover the force of the heavens O Men:
Once recognised it can be put to use.”

Quote of the Day:

“I used to measure the heavens, now I measure the shadows of Earth.”

J. Kepler

Our Alien DNA

DNA Coding

In 1960, a young astronomer by the name of Frank Drake pointed the Green Bank radio telescope at the stars Tau Ceti and Epsilon Eridani…and listened for the sounds of an alien civilization. Drake's little experiment marks the official beginning of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). Since that time, SETI has continued to scan greater parts of the sky, listening over wider and wider bands of the radio spectrum, but the silence has been deafening. While many have taken this as a likely sign that the cosmos is largely empty, it may be more likely that SETI's search has been far too restricted in its scope, relying on just one particular 20th century technology that is already fading in use. As the psychedelic philosopher Terence McKenna once dryly noted, "To search expectantly for a radio signal from an extraterrestrial source is probably as culture bound a presumption as to search the galaxy for a good Italian restaurant".

To broaden the search, other technologies of transmission have been suggested, such as lasers. But even those ideas seem limited to our cultural ideas of an 'advanced', artificial technology - but which seem likely to be considered as quaint just a century or two into our future. What if, however, aliens had already left a message for us, 'hidden in plain sight', since the dawn of history? What if we only had to look within ourselves?

A paper published last year in Icarus, the prestigious journal of planetary science, asked if it was possible that terrestrial life on Earth had been 'seeded' from beyond the Earth - and if so, does the building block of that life, DNA, contain any sort of message from our alien creators. Using mathematics, the authors of the paper - "The "Wow! signal" of the terrestrial genetic code" - looked for evidence of a statistically strong 'informational' signal in the genetic code, with surprising results:

Here we show that the terrestrial code displays a thorough precision-type orderliness matching the criteria to be considered an informational signal. Simple arrangements of the code reveal an ensemble of arithmetical and ideographical patterns of the same symbolic language. Accurate and systematic, these underlying patterns appear as a product of precision logic and nontrivial computing rather than of stochastic processes (the null hypothesis that they are due to chance coupled with presumable evolutionary pathways is rejected with P-value < 10–13).

The signal displays readily recognizable hallmarks of artificiality.

(For counter-comments against the claims of the paper, see this Pharyngula blog post).

Interestingly, this was not the first time that Icarus had featured a paper entertaining the idea of 'biological SETI'. In 1979 the journal - under editor Carl Sagan - published a paper titled "Is bacteriophage φX174 DNA a message from an extraterrestrial intelligence?", written by Japanese biochemists Hiromitsu Yokoo and Tairo Oshima. Given how crazy the idea sounded, Sagan asked a young protégé, David Grinspoon (now a prominent astrobiologist in his own right), to check out the paper to assess whether it was legitimate. Here's how Grinspoon describes the paper in

News Briefs 24-07-2014

Illusion only is sacred, truth profane.

Thanks to RPJ and Cat for links

Quote of the Day:

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.

George Bernard Shaw

Randall Carlson: Geometrician, Geomythologist (and All Around Mind-Blower)

While Graham Hancock, Robert Schoch & John Anthony West are undoubtedly 'house-hold names' in the Alt-history movement, the same might not be said of Randall Carlson.

Which is a bloody, unforgivable shame.

I first learned of Randall fairly recently, thanks in large part to the Podfather himself, Joe Rogan, who had him on his show The Joe Rogan Experience last May, and if you haven't listened to it yet, you should correct that mistake immediately; but if you don't have 3 hours to spare right now in order to listen to that JRE episode, here's a shorter video composed of several of Randall's lectures, in which he explains his interpretation of what the arcane tradition of the ancients' lost knowledge ("the essence of the Great Work," as he puts it) was all about: To show us 'a way out' from the constant cycles of destruction & rebuilding, brought upon our tiny paradisiacal planet by the cosmic envoys of Death —rogue comets & meteors.

"We are sitting ducks in a cosmic shooting gallery" he says; a claim which during the days of Velikovsky was considered fear-mongering pseudoscience, but that now is pretty much the standard discourse of mainstream Academia; for now we have mounting evidence that cosmic impacts are indeed much more frequent than we'd like them to be, and that comets may have had a key role in the modifying of our climate, as well as the fall of many cultures now lost in the sands of time. Randall's mission in declassifying the Hermetic Secrets, is to ensure our civilization does not suffer the fate of our forefathers, and according to him that's the whole reason why Momma Gaia raised us silly monkeys in the 1st place —very McKennaesque of him, yet I find it a fascinating idea nonetheless.

Carlson is one of Graham Hancock's collaborators for Magicians of the Gods, the update to his best-seller Fingerprints of the Gods, so I expect that when the book comes out we'll hear a lot more from Randall. Incidentally, my pals Darren & Graham of The Grimerica Show managed to book him for an interview this Saturday, so if you have some questions about his work in Catastrophism & Sacred Geometry, I'll be happy to pass them along :)

You can also find more about him at his website, Sacred Geometry International.

News Briefs 23-07-2014

It's hump day! To celebrate, here's some kayakers getting a lift from a humpback whale

Quote of the Day:

If you think you know what the hell is going on, you're probably full of shit.

Robert Anton Wilson

Did Ireland Convert to Christianity as a Result of Halley's Comet?

Did Ireland convert to Christianity as a result of Halley's Comet having a close encounter with the Earth around the year 532 ACE?