According to a number of sources, alternative history author Michael Baigent (Holy Blood, Holy Grail, The Temple and the Lodge, The Elixir and the Stone) has passed away. Baigent's influence on modern society is profound, via the inclusion of the research of he and co-authors Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln, in Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code - so much so that Baigent and co-author Richard Leigh took Brown to court over it. (as an homage, Baigent and Leigh's names were combined as an anagram to form the name of the character Leigh Teabing). Here's the report from Robert Bauval's Facebook page - please note at this stage the "unconfirmed" at the top!
Author and dear friend Michael Baigent passed away last night. I have known Michael for many years. I remember with great nostalgia the amazing trip we shared in Egypt in 1998. Michael (with co-authors Richard Leigh and Henry Lincoln ) published The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail in 1982, a huge book that even inspired Dan Brown's blockbuster Da Vinci Code.
Michael was a kind and gentle man, and a great writer. He was the real thing, original and with fine virtues and integrity, who wrote responsibly after carefully researching his subject. He was a Renaissance Man, a Gnostic on a quest for the divine spark. I had much admiration and respect for him.
You have left us, Michael, but your divine spark, your light, will always glow in the wonderful books you wrote fur us.
Fellow alternative history author Dr Robert Lomas has also tweeted the following message: "Sad news about Michael Baigent dying. He advised and helped me before I wrote my first book and remained a good friend. RIP Michael".
If anyone can confirm or deny the news, please let us know.
- The universe does not make any sense: physicists discover Douglas Adams.
- Uri Geller, psychic spy: the spoon-bender's secret Mossad & CIA life.
- A global psi dreaming contest is being held for the next IASD conference.
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- Erasing the history of Aghanistan's ancient Buddhist heritage, one mine at a time.
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- Fellow cosmonaut reveals how Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, really died.
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- Were the mirage men behind this 1954 UFO photo taken near Edwards AFB?
- Controversial art show causes hallucinations, fainting, & soothing effects.
- Step into Ryoji Ikeda's mind-bending, interactive multimedia art.
- Japanese scientists seek greenlight for animal-human embryo tests.
- The cheetah's secret weapon:
eyes that shoot lasersa tight turning radius.
- The rain in spain falls mainly on the plain. Millions of moths engulf Madrid.
- Stunning photos of insects that look like they're from alien worlds.
Greg TaylorAnonymous Queensland witness has terrifying Yowie encounter.
- Morris the cat runs for mayor of Xalapa, Mexico. An official RPJ can believe in!
Quote of the Day:
Sleep is the best meditation.
The Dalai Lama
Over the last two weeks I've posted the first four parts of the fantastic Standing With Stones documentary (England and Wales and Ireland), filmed over the course of a two year tour of the monuments by film-maker Michael Bott and presenter Rupert Soskin. If you're in a hurry to watch the entire thing, head to the Vimeo album that Michael Bott has put together. Otherwise, embedded in this story are the final three instalments in the series, featuring the megaliths of northern England and the Isle of Man, Scotland, and the Scottish Isles.
If you watch and enjoy the film, make sure you do the right thing by heading to the Standing With Stones website and donating a dollar or ten to the film-makers - I'm sure you'll agree its richly deserved, and we should be encouraging and helping to fund more features like this one by open-minded, independent people. They're still to recover production costs from two years of filming, so if you can spare the change do it!
Previously on TDG:
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- On the weekend Rick told you about a 'lost city' found in the Cambodian jungle. Alan Boyle has more details plus an update from the research team (city was "part of a vast urban network").
- Take a look around Tutankhamen's tomb in ultra-high resolution!
- The sounds of the ancient past. Worth it just for the ancient flute being played.
- U.S. government involvement in UFO disinformation is "a fractured hall of mirrors with a quicksand floor".
- Four government conspiracies that make PRISM look pedestrian.
- Mysterious subatomic particle may represent exotic new form of matter.
- How Darwin helped invent the idea of aliens.
- Humanity's next giant leap: our future in space.
- Here's what happens when you light a fire in space.
- Modern day alchemist Sash Shulgin turns 88!
- The case of the saucer and the devil girl.
- To the internet balloon!
- Scientists put backpacks on dragonflies.
- The need for weirdness in science.
- The Grimerica podcast chats with a legend in the parapsychological field, Dr Stanley Krippner.
- I was highly critical of how stupid the scientist characters in Prometheus were. I may have to revise that criticism.
- Epigenetics: how what grandma did has left a mark on your genes. That's genes, not jeans…another way spelling can totally change the meaning of a headline.
- The noctilucent clouds are coming for us all...
- The virtual dissection table. Can I get one of these for my kids?
- They're digging for Hoffa again.
Quote of the Day:
The mainstream media now seems far more interested in what I said when I was 17 or what my girlfriend looks like rather than, say, the largest program of suspicionless surveillance in human history.
Geez, I unplug for one week, and my favorite 'crackpot-blogger conspriacy theory' splashes onto the front pages of all the mainstream media worldwide. And judging by some of the news photos I've seen, a lot of those 'alien underground bases' in YouTube videos are actually full of NSA employees and computers. If you've already read some of today's news -- sorry, I'm still trying to catch up.
- Top secret US National Security Agency (NSA) documents disclosed by the Guardian have shocked the world with revelations of a comprehensive US-based surveillance system with direct access to Facebook, Apple, Google, Microsoft and other tech giants.
- Why have Western security agencies developed such an unprecedented capacity to spy on their own domestic populations? Concern about the risk of civil unrest at home triggered by catastrophic events linked to climate change, energy shocks or economic crisis - or all three.
- Connecting the dots on PRISM, phone surveillance, and the NSA's massive spy center.
- NSA sued over mass phone spying.
- Google's real secret spy program? Secure FTP.
- NSA whistleblower: The ultimate insider attack - from the NSA’s perspective.
- Edward Snowden took NSA secrets on a thumb drive. He became a firm proponent of civil liberties while working for the NSA.
- The Whistleblower's Guide to the Orwellian Galaxy: Wired updates last month's 'How to Leak to the Press'.
- Back in 2000, surveillance programs like Carnivore, Echelon, and Total Information Awareness helped spark a surge in electronic privacy awareness. Now, programs like PRISM, Boundless Informant, and FISA orders are catalyzing renewed concern. Why 'I have nothing to hide' is the wrong way to think about surveillance.
- NSA snooping was only the beginning: Meet the spy chief leading us into cyberwar.
- John le Carré on secret courts, surveillance and the excessive influence of the CIA and MI6 on democratic institutions.
- Uri Geller psychic spy? The spoon-bender's secret life as a Mossad and CIA agent revealed.
could supplanthas supplanted the US as the supercomputing superpower. Tianhe-2, with more than 3 million processor cores, can perform more than 30 quadrillion calculations per second -- easily dwarfing the runner-up at Oak Ridge National Laboratories.
- A rash of polemic on new physics: Are scientists deluded, betraying science, living in fairytale-land?
- The future of robotics: in a transhuman world, the disabled will be the ones without prosthetic limbs.
- Ethics: the questions posed by our bionic bodies.
- The future of food: As the global population rises and food prices do too, many scientists are looking for alternatives to traditional foodstuffs.
- The Heartland Institute's skeptical Chinese fantasy.
- Why has there never been a proper revolution in Britain? It's long overdue.
- Repairing bad memories.
- Human communities that do good for others and stick together are happier and cope better with crises. I'm wondering how the university found such a community to study.
- Where grand Spanish horses learn to be Medieval.
Quote of the Day:
The US National Security Agency's Prism program seems to be lifting personal data from the internet. How?
Internet giants including Google and Facebook strongly deny that the NSA has direct access to its servers. There is another way, however. A slide from an internal NSA Powerpoint presentation suggests the agency is siphoning directly from fibre-optic cables. To do this, it probably uses "splitters", which split the light beam.
Recent research by Andrew Clement at the University of Toronto, Canada, shows that 99 per cent of US internet traffic goes through one of just 18 cities. So if the NSA installed splitters at a few strategic points "it could intercept a large proportion of internet traffic", Clement says.
New Scientist, "We know who you are", June 13, 2013.
Half-way through watching Mirage Men, a new documentary on how U.S. Intelligence agencies have deliberately sabotaged research into the UFO topic, I literally shook my head, saying to myself with a laugh "it's a hall of mirrors". By the end of the documentary, my statement had been echoed and expanded upon by one of the interviewees, Linda Moulton Howe, who described the entire story as "a fractured hall of mirrors with a quicksand floor". Howe should know: in 1983, while researching a documentary on the subject of UFOs for HBO, she was engaged by Richard 'Rick' Doty, an agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI), initially with the promise of helping her investigate an alleged UFO landing near Ellsworth Air Force Base. But Howe's meeting with Doty took an unexpected turn when the AFOSI agent suddenly produced a manila folder, saying she could take a look at it but, not remove it from the office or make notes. Within it was a document titled "Briefing Paper for the President of the United States of America on the Subject of Unidentified Aerial Vehicles", which listed a number of alleged UFO crash retrievals by the government, as well as paragraphs that became "emblazoned" on Howe's mind concerning how they had discovered that Homo sapiens was a species created by extraterrestrials through genetic manipulation of primates. Amazed by the information fed to her by the government agency at the time, in Mirage Men Howe looks back with three decades of perspective and wonders at the the amount of effort that must have gone into the deception: "they must have had meetings about 'how do we stop a persistent and dogged reporter who has already demonstrated that she's going to go after a really difficult subject?'." The question that comes to mind, and which runs throughout this entire film, is 'WHY?'.
This was not the first time that AFOSI agent Doty had willingly mislead investigators of the UFO subject, and it would not be the last. As such, he serves as the focal character in the documentary; it begins with the deception he helped orchestrate on Albuquerque businessman Paul Bennewitz, goes on to discuss the Linda Moulton Howe case, the infamous Majestic-12 documents (described in the film by another AFOSI agent, Walter Bosley, as the "perfect Perception Management Device", though Doty denies any involvement with it) and extends forward to the more recent controversy over the 'Project Serpo' hoax.
And Doty is no doubt a worthy candidate for the film to revolve around. Coming to the documentary with a fair amount of knowledge about Doty's deceptions over the years – with consequences (direct and otherwise) ranging from the wasting of UFO investigators' time through to the mental disintegration, eventual hospitalisation and death of Paul Bennewitz – I already had a dislike for the man, and was ready to truly despise him. But one of the things that catches you off guard is how harmless and genial he seems - the man is sitting before the camera, telling you how he has deceived people, and yet you feel that he seems to be a nice guy that you'd happily chat with at a neighbourhood barbeque. Though as Bill Ryan, who was initially taken in by the Serpo deception, points out, that's what makes him so effective: "Rick's great strength is he's a wonderful story-teller", says Ryan. "He's a very friendly guy [and] builds relationships easily". ... Read More »
Archaeologists have made a stunning discovery in the jungles of Cambodia -- the lost city of Mahendraparvata. Strapping laser technology to a helicopter, the team scoured a mountain north of Angkor where ancient texts have long hinted at a hidden capital of the Khmer empire. The city was founded 1200 years ago by the Hindu warrior Jayavarman II, and predates the famous Angkor Wat by 350 years; but until now, no one knew where it was located. A decade of research combining historical and technological techniques resulted in a brilliant success.
[The University of Sydney team]... hacked through ... landmine-strewn jungle and waded through swollen rivers and bogs to discover the ruins of five other previously unrecorded temples and evidence of ancient canals, dykes and roads.
Incredibly, the remote mountain location and lack of rubble means the temples might never have been looted. It will take many more years to unearth Mahendraparvata's secrets, but the wait will be worth it. Hold on to your potatoes, Dr Jones!
You might also like to check out this interactive tour of Angkor Wat & the Khmer Empire, and the following video of Graham Hancock exploring the Hindu cosmology that is embedded within the construction of this amazing site:
We can visualise the ancient past thanks to a wealth of art, texts, and archaeological evidence; but what of its sounds? The music our ancestors played to celebrate spring, evoke battles and mythologies, and keep spirits high through harsh winters, largely remains a mystery. Led by Dr Rupert Till, the European Music Archaeology Project (EMAP) aims to reconstruct Europe's musical past.
It's an exciting project. Dr Till, along with Bruno Fazenda, recreated a 4000-year-old acoustic ritual at Stonehenge. You can read more about this at the Sounds of Stonehenge blog. In another project, this time by physicists at CERN of all places, the sounds of the epigonion, a long-lost ancient Greek instrument, were recreated.
Thanks to EMAP, modern audiences will experience the mists of prehistory when flutes made of mammoth bone accompanied the painting of caves, the bittersweet strings of a Celtic lyre on the Isle of Skye, ancient Greek amphitheatres dedicated to Apollo; and I have no doubt the band kept playing when Nero burned Rome. With the exception of Justin Bieber, music has been and continues to be an essential part of our evolution. We hear it in the wind and sea, the deep earth and starry skies, in love, life, death, and birth. As Aldous Huxley wrote, "After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music."
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”
- 26 black holes discovered in neighboring galaxy.
- Earth… the new Venus?
- Will newly discovered smallest galaxy unlock dark matter’s secrets?
- Life on Mars?
- Like a rolling stone… on Mars.
- More on the waters of Mars.
- New state of matter defies physics.
- LHC is so last decade. Bring on the ILC!
- New evidence for Pluto’s planetary re-entry?
- Unlike jeans, your genes are not inventions.
- Safety deposit boxes go cellular.
- The globe’s glittering geologic history.
- Nanoparticles… the future of clean energy?
- Mystery of marine mammals, unraveled.
- Time to speak for the trees… Loraxes apply herein.
- New class of star, catalogued.
- Flying bikes offer new hope in hoverboard quest.
- The ‘S’ turns 75.
- This week’s evidence of the pending robo-pocalypse… Mind-controlled copter-bots.
Quote of the Day:
“I do not want to foresee the future. I am concerned with taking care of the present.”
Guidestones is a web series that uses the enigmatic Georgia Guidestones as the basis for its conspiracy-themed storyline. You can watch the entire series on your computer at Guidestones.org for free, and/or purchase the entire series for download from iTunes. I've embedded the trailer above, and a synopsis below:
Based on true events, GUIDESTONES is the story of Sandy Rai (Supinder Wraich), as she and a fellow journalism student investigate an unsolved murder that sends them around the world in search of the truth.
Shot on location in Canada, the United States, and India, GUIDESTONES is a unique, interactive experience that combines narrative and documentary filmmaking techniques while blending mystery, action, and drama in a Da Vinci Code-style thriller.
Link: Watch Guidestones.
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