Pipe Guy: Low-tech Techno Music

It's nice to know how once the next Carrington event drives our entire civilization to a post-Apocalyptic collapse, that even without electricity we'll still be able to enjoy of some wicked techno beats at the Thunderdome; all thanks to a few PVC pipes, a pair of thongs* & a whole lotta insane talent:

Ginger Pipe Bro gets to be eaten last.

(*)Thongs: The Aussie term for flip-flops, because g'day mate!

[H/t Geekologie]

News Briefs 15-08-2014

“Nothing is so common-place as to wish to be remarkable.”

Quote of the Day:

“Death only grasps; to live is to pursue. 
Dream on! There's nothing but illusion true!”

O.W. Holmes Sr.

SETI, Terence McKenna Style

Shroom satellite dish
(Creator: Sean Gereson)

It is only the conceit of the scientific and postindustrial societies that allows us to even propound some of the questions that we take to be so important. For instance, the question of contact with extraterrestrials is a kind of red herring premised upon a number of assumptions that a moment's reflection will show are completely false. 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. And yet, this has been chosen as the avenue by which it is assumed contact is likely to occur. Meanwhile, there are people all over the world - psychics, shamans, mystics, schizophrenics - whose heads are filled with information, but it has been ruled a priori irrelevant, incoherent, or mad. Only that which is validated through consensus via certain sanctioned instrumentalities will be accepted as a signal. The problem is that we are so inundated by these signals - these other dimensions - that there is a great deal of noise in the circuit.

It is no great accomplishment to hear a voice in the head. The accomplishment is to make sure it is telling the truth, because the demons are of many kinds: "Some are made of ions, some of mind; the ones of ketamine, you'll find, stutter often and are blind." The reaction to these voices is not to kneel in genuflection before a god, because then one will be like Dorothy in her first encounter with Oz. There is no dignity in the universe unless we meet these things on our feet, and that means having an I/Thou relationship. One say to the Other: "You say you are omniscient, omnipresent, or you say you are from Zeta Reticuli. You're long on talk, but what can you show me?" Magicians, people who invoke these things, have always understood that one must go into such encounters with one's wits about oneself.

What does extraterrestrial communication have to do with this family of hallucinogenic compounds I wish to discuss? Simply this: that the unique presentational phenomenology of this family of compounds has been overlooked. Psilocybin, though rare, is the best known of these neglected substances. Psilocybin, in the minds of the uninformed public and in the eyes of the law, is lumped together with LSD and mescaline, when in fact each of these compounds is a phenomenologically defined universe unto itself. Psilocybin and DMT invoke the Logos, although DMT is more intense and more brief in its action. This means that they work directly on the language centers, so that an important aspect of the experience is the interior dialogue. As soon as one discovers this about psilocybin and about tryptamines in general, one must decide whether or not to enter into this dialogue and to try and make sense of the incoming signal. This is what I have attempted.

Link: Tryptamine Hallucinogens and Consciousness, by Terence McKenna

News Briefs 14-08-2014

This has been a bleak week. Let's just hope it doesn't get any darker…

Thanks to Rick & emlong

Quote of the Day:

“If you know why your God is so stupid, feel free and call us.”

~Matt Dillahunty, co-host of The Atheist Experience TV show.

Visions of the Past - How Far Should We Go in 'Restoring' Ancient Monuments?

Chichen Itza, Before and After

To most of us in the 21st century, the architectural ruins of the past possess somewhat of a magical aura. While the humans who built them have long since turned to dust, the buildings they left behind act as a portal through which we might better understand our long-dead ancestors - or, alternatively, allow us to mistakenly overlay our own beliefs upon them.

But until the 20th century, many of these ancient ruins stood in disrepair - whether due to their remoteness, or lack of the industrial machinery to fix them, as the image above of the Mexican site of Chichen Itza shows, it is only in recent times that we have been able to re-present these sites in pristine condition.

But how far should we go in rebuilding ancient sites, and how does the work we have done so far impact on our understanding of ancient cultures? Take for example, the Stonehenge of the 19th century, compared to the site now:

Stonehenge, Before and After

In placing the fallen megaliths into place, are we modifying both the past, and the passing of time? And, if we have done it, who else has done it since Stonehenge was first constructed. Alternatively, are we simply helping to preserve an important site for the future? But how far do we go to preserve things? The legs of the Great Sphinx in Egypt have become more brick than stone in recent years; given that restorations have been happening for millennia it does raise the question: at what point does the original disappear and a facsimile take its place?

This idea is taken to its limit when it comes to sites such as Newgrange in Ireland. The gleaming white wall that surrounds the entrance to Newgrange is a modern construction, despite the fact that debate continues as to whether the quartzite rocks found on the site were actually used to form a wall, or something else, such as a plaza surface.

Newgrange, Before and After

But perhaps concerns over our 'vandalism' of ancient structures is an illusion...after all, in another four millennia, we will be considered yet another ancient people who modified an even more ancient structure, just as King Tuthmosis IV's repairs to the Sphinx a thousand years after its construction (or at least, the orthodox date of construction...) have now become a part of the monument as we know it.

News Briefs 13-08-2014

The fool & the Holy Grail.

Quote of the Day:

"The real secret of magic is that the world is made of words, and that if you know the words that the world is made of, you can make of it whatever you wish."

~ Terence McKenna, from Alien Dreamtime

In the Wild with Robin Williams (1951-2014)

In light of the unexpected and tragic loss of Robin Williams, one of my favorite actors & comedians of all time, I decided that as a homage to his legacy, instead of linking to some memorable scene taken from one of his films --and there's SO much to choose from-- I would instead honor his passing by sharing Robin's participation in the TV documentary series In the Wild. 20-year-old documentary

The series --which seems to have gone completely off the Internet's radar, since there's barely any online info of it available-- featured several movie celebrities playing the Attenborough-like role of naturalist presenter, in a 50-minute documentary based on their favorite animal. Julia Roberts went to the jungles of Sumatra & Borneo to film orangutans, Anthony Hopkins picked lions, the late Bob Hoskins went with tigers, and Robin --unsurprisingly-- chose dolphins.

The other reason I wanted to post this clip in the Grail, it's because it occurred to me how another reason Robin might have felt identified with the so-called 'clowns of the sea', aside from their playful & energetic nature, is because when we humans go to marine parks to see dolphins perform on a show, we see their big serrated 'smiles' and assume they are enjoying themselves & having a jolly good time.

What we don't realize is that what we mistakenly interpret as a smile is just the way the dolphin's jaw is shaped; if we weren't so focused in our own search for entertainment, we might pay more attention to the dolphins' eyes, which might reveal the inner sadness caused by their deep isolation, and the silent despair of a captive creature which was meant to live free.

On August 11th, Robin Williams sought a way out of its inner imprisonment; and while this should NOT be interpreted as a condoning or condemning of his decision, which was obviously the result of a long history of depression, I sincerely wish that wherever he is now, he has managed to find the liberty he so rightly deserved.

Rest in peace, O'Captain my Captain.

News Briefs 12-08-2014

O'captain, my captain

Quote of the Day:

Carpe diem.

Has the UFO Era Come to an End?

UFOs Against the Wall

New York Magazine has a thought-provoking piece on the field of ufology and how it seems to be increasingly becoming a relic of bygone age, using the recent MUFON conference as a case example:

MUFON has been around for 45 years and the average age of those who ponied up $239 for the conference was way past that. Many of the presenters, most of them long-established figures on the scene (Stanton Friedman, the 79-year-old widely acknowledged dean of the field, had to cancel owing to a mild heart attack) were equally venerable, as were most of the subjects they discussed. Much talk focused on the genre’s greatest hits: the Betty and Barney Hill abduction account (1961), the Lonnie Zamora/Socorro, New Mexico sighting (1973), the Rendlesham Forest incident in the U.K. (1980), and, of course, Roswell, circa 1947.

...It is true that very little beyond a shadow of a doubt forensic proof of alien presence has come to light over the years, but there are a number of subsidiary reasons for the seeming twilight of the UFO moment. With voracious proliferation of vampires, New World Order conspiracies, and the unprecedented rise of evangelical Christianity, the simple flying disc from far, far away has become a quaint, almost nostalgic specter. The saucer may have been the post-war generation’s signifier of the strange, but even versions of the unknown outlive their usefulness.

It's not a new idea - I've read a number of discussions in the past decade that touch on the lack of quality sightings/encounters, and the dearth of honest, idealistic field investigators. What is to blame? The era of affordable CG effects? The proliferation of smart-phones making UFO stories less believable without photographic proof? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Link: The End of UFOs

News Briefs 11-08-2014

NOT the end of the world. Yet.

Thanks to Kat for links

Quote of the Day:

The supermoon is a 16-inch pizza compared with a 15-inch pizza. It's a slightly bigger moon; I ain't using the adjective 'supermoon.'

Neil deGrasse Tyson