New Study Finds That Major Earthquakes Are Likely Caused by Lunar Forces

Moon rising over Glastonbury Tor

No the Moon and planetary bodies are not able to influence human behaviour, so shut up astrologists and full-moon fever theorists. They can only exert tiny forces, and thus can only be blamed for causing little things such as major earthquakes...

An almost-full, half-pie, waxing moon hanging lopsided in the night sky has long been a symbol of things to come. Now scientists have a new symbolism for the lunar phase we call first quarter: a looming risk of earthquakes.

...Studying data from the past two decades, Satoshi Ide and colleagues from the University of Tokyo measured the timing of high tides and reconstructed the amplitude of the moon’s pull at those times, focusing on the two weeks prior to large earthquakes. They measured the amplitude of the tides against the timing of those quakes, and found some of the largest and most devastating earthquakes in recent memory happened when the Earth’s crust was under the highest tidal stress.

...The mechanisms underlying this connection are not clear, however. The moon’s pull causes tidal disruptions that are orders of magnitude lower than those experienced in an earthquake. And not every change in tide comes with an attendant earthquake. Part of the problem is that scientists still don’t know exactly what causes a major earthquake. But one theory holds that they begin as smaller fractures that build up via a cascading process.

Link: More Evidence that the Moon Contributes to Earthquakes

News Briefs 12-09-2016

Reality used to be a friend of mine...

Thanks Kat, Cat and Chris.

Quote of the Day:

The possible has been tried and failed. Now it's time to try the impossible.

Sun Ra

The Prankster and the Assassin

JFK in limousine

This article is excerpted from Darklore Volume 9, which is available for sale from Amazon US and Amazon UK. Darklore 9 features essays from Alan Moore, Mike Jay, Robert Schoch and others, on topics ranging from hidden history to the occult.

Kerry Thornley was born on April 17th, 1938 in Whittier, California, the very same conservative bastion of Orange County blandness that bestowed upon us the honorable Richard M. Nixon, who some consider the physical embodiment of the Curse of Greyface.1

In 1958 – as an apparent counterbalance to Nixon’s ascension into the office of Vice President – Thornley and his teenaged pal Greg Hill (while sipping coffee in a Whittier bowling alley) inadvertently invoked Eris, the Greek goddess of chaos and discord. In the aftermath of their caffeine-induced vision, Hill and Thornley founded the so-called spoof religion Discordianism, as well as its disorganizational branch, The Discordian Society.

Initially an in-joke between Hill and Thornley, by the late 1960s the Discordian Society began to attract a loose knit group of writers, artists and free spirits who often adopted comical Pope names. Thornley embraced the Discordian persona of Lord Omar Khayyam Ravenhurst while Greg Hill became known as Malaclypse the Younger.

Other Discordian Popes included Playboy editors Robert Anton Wilson (Mordecai the Foul) and Robert Shea (Josh the Dill), who in tandem co-authored the counterculture classic, The Illuminatus Trilogy, with the first book in the series dedicated to none other than Hill and Thornley. Throughout Illuminatus are numerous references to Discordian memes such as The Law of Fives, The Sacred Chao, and the John Dillinger Died For You Society.

Many Discordian activities concerned pranks designed to not only poke fun at organized religion and uptight people, but also as a means of illumination through the use of surreal and irreverent humor. In recent years, the Discordian Society has grown into a worldwide underground phenomenon, although the only thing that its Popes and Momes can generally agree upon is that tried and true Discordian maxim: “We Discordians must stick apart!” For further information/confusion refer to Principia Discordia or How I Found Goddess And What I Did To Her When I Found Her.

During Thornley’s junior year of high school in the spring of 1956, he enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves, attending boot camp that summer, then returned to high school in the fall of 1957 for his senior year. The following year he attended the University of Southern California as a journalism major, but quickly lost interest in pursuing the academic life.

A budding writer intent on traveling the world, Thornley figured the most immediate way to do so was by fulfilling his two-year active duty in the Marines. Kerry enlisted in the spring of 1959, and his first stop was El Toro Marine Base, located near Irvine, California. It was here that his life was forever altered when his path crossed that of Lee Harvey Oswald.

The Prankster and the Assassin

At the moment I have every reason to believe I may get 20 years in a Louisiana prison for: 1) having gone to USC at the same time as Gordon Novel did; 2) having written a novel based on Oswald which re-inforced his apparent Marxist cover; 3) having been from that point out the victim of either the most fantastic chain of incriminating coincidences or the most satanically evil plot in history…

I was never very interested in the Kennedy assassination until lately. But goddamn and sweet Jesus do I want to see those bastards brought to justice now! Not out of revenge, but just simple self-preservation.

As I’ve been telling people, I’m up to my ass in a cheap spy novel. And right now that means I am in over my head.

– Letter from Kerry Thornley to Greg Hill, dated February 17th, 1968

Kerry Thornley and Lee Harvey Oswald were stationed at El Toro over a three month period, and much of their interactions occurred either during off duty hours at the rec hall, or in between drills and field exercises when the two engaged in ... Read More »

News Briefs 09-09-2016

“If you forget yourself, you become the universe.”

Quote of the Day:

“All beings are by nature are Buddhas, as ice by nature is water.”

Hakuin Ekaku

The Psi Encyclopedia: An Alternative to Overly Skeptical Articles on Wikipedia

Psi Encyclopedia

I have remarked previously here about how much of a dumpster fire Wikipedia is when it comes to topics at the fringes of science and history (ie. the topics we like discussing here). Due to both organised groups of, and 'lone wolf', skeptics, most pages on these topics communicate the skeptical point of view, without leaving barely a trace of the information or data that makes the topics interesting in the first place. As such, I've often recommended that people do *not* go to Wikipedia to find out more information on fringe topics.

But now, finally, a new resource has emerged that offers more comprehensive, balanced information - at least on topics related to 'psi' and afterlife research. The Psi Encyclopedia has been created by the well-respected Society for Psychical Research as an antidote to the biased information being presented on Wikipedia and elsewhere:

There is now a vast research literature that validates the existence of psi as an anomalous, fleeting and little understood aspect of human experience. Psi researchers believe that it has been demonstrated many times over, and in a variety of contexts. But this remains controversial, since psi appears to contradict long-accepted scientific principles. In particular, accumulating evidence of links between mental experience and biological brain functions lead many to believe that the brain is the sole source of consciousness. Some scientists are known to sympathize with psi experimentalists, who use well-established statistical methods and robust methodology: the possibility of psychic experience has been seriously considered by an impressive number of Nobel prize winners and other eniment people. However, a vocal minority of sceptics – often active in sceptic organisations – campaign in books, articles and in the media against psi research, disparaging it as 'pseudoscience' and disputing its conclusions.

In recent years this conflict has spread to the Internet, notably the free encyclopedia Wikipedia, where editors hostile to ‘fringe science’ routinely edit articles on psi research to make them conform to their view. As a result, articles that were originally written by knowledgeable experts have become adulterated with misleading claims and assertions.

The Psi Encyclopedia is being created by the Society for Psychical Research, funded by a bequest, to provide a more informative view of psi research (also referred to as ‘psychical research’ and ‘parapsychology’), one that reflects the findings of experimenters and investigators.

The writing project has been underway for a couple of years, but has only just now launched to the public with 110 entries written by around thirty authors and experts. (I was kindly asked to contribute a piece on James Randi's 'Million Dollar Challenge' (likely based on my previous essay on the topic here at the Grail.)

The SPR notes that readers "are asked to bear in mind that this is a work in progress, a multi-year project that will see numerous additions, changes and improvements" - so if you feel like something is missing, please be patient, and feel free to contact the SPR with your suggestion.

Link: The Psi Encyclopedia

News Briefs 08-09-2016

Station to station...

Quote of the Day:

Live long and prosper.

Spock

News Briefs 07-09-2016

Something for nothing

  • Prehistoric Cochno stone to be unearthed for first time since 1965 burial next to Glaswegian housing estate.
  • Everyone’s a little bit crazy: Schizotypy and strange phenomena.
  • ‘Bad trips’ from magic mushrooms often result in an improved sense of personal well-being.
  • How do we get something from nothing? The bridge from nowhere.
  • Tromp family: The mystery of a tech-free road trip gone wrong.
  • Consciousness is made of atoms, too.
  • Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones boasts about advising Donald Trump.
  • Mummified body found on Mexico's highest mountain goes on display.
  • An edifice worthy of the pharaohs rises next to the pyramids.
  • Brown dwarfs hiding in plain sight in our solar neighbourhood.
  • Scientists predict the existence of a new boson: New Madala boson might assist in the understanding of dark matter.
  • All of Earth’s carbon came from planetary collision 4.4 billion years ago.
  • Are animals conscious?
  • 3.7-billion-year-old fossils may be the oldest signs of life on Earth.

Quote of the Day:

The question of being is the darkest in all philosophy

William James

Space Probe Found on Comet

Philae Lander Found on Asteroid

There's something otherworldly, if you'll pardon the unintended pun, about looking at a photo of an asteroid traveling through outer space which clearly shows manmade technology sitting on its rocky surface. A few days ago, the Rosetta probe orbiting Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko was able to image the Philae probe which landed on the comet in late 2014.

The images were taken on 2 September by the OSIRIS narrow-angle camera as the orbiter came within 2.7 km of the surface and clearly show the main body of the lander, along with two of its three legs. The images also provide proof of Philae’s orientation, making it clear why establishing communications was so difficult following its landing on 12 November 2014.

Philae was last seen when it first touched down at Agilkia, bounced and then flew for another two hours before ending up at a location later named Abydos, on the comet’s smaller lobe. After three days, Philae's primary battery was exhausted and the lander went into hibernation, only to wake up again and communicate briefly with Rosetta in June and July 2015 as the comet came closer to the Sun and more power was available.

At 2.7 km, the resolution of the OSIRIS narrow-angle camera is about 5 cm/pixel, sufficient to reveal characteristic features of Philae’s 1 m-sized body and its legs, as seen in these definitive pictures.

The image comes at the 'last minute', as at the end of the month the Rosetta mission will also come to an end, with the orbiting probe itself descending to the comet's surface.

Now, can you imagine the excitement if, in one of these images, we saw non-human technology sitting on the comet's surface...

More information, and a high-res image, can be found at the European Space Agency website.

News Briefs 06-09-2016

In case you missed it: Darklore 9 is now available (featuring articles from Alan Moore, Robert Schoch, Mike Jay and others!). You can grab the paperback or limited edition hardcover from Amazon.com.

Thanks @ForteanUK and @UnlikelyWorlds.

Quote of the Day:

Evolution isn't about truth, it's about making kids. Every bit of information that you process costs calories, meaning that's more food you need to kill and eat. So an organism that sees all of reality would never be more fit than one tuned only to see what it needs to survive.

Donald Hoffman