Good googly moogly! Dr. Rupert Sheldrake, TED's favorite heretic scientist, was on the JRE podcast last Tuesday. He discussed with Joe everything from morphic resonance --which might be responsible for the passing of fears and talents from parents to their children-- experiments showing telepathic abilities in humans and animals, to the possibility of perceiving future events a few seconds beforehand.
Of course this being the Joe Rogan Experience, psychedelic substances and the visionary experiences they elicit were one of the main subjects, and Sheldrake was certainly up for the task --nothing less should be expected from someone whose first DMT experience was shared with Terence McKenna ;)
But also Sheldrake shared his life journey from being an atheist & a hardcore materialist in his early years --the sort of profile you were supposed to have if you cared about Science-- to realizing there had to be something more than genes in order to explain the complexity exhibited by all life forms; how he later started to practice transcendental meditation & yoga, dabbled with acid for a while, and later traveled to India where he joined an ashram run by a Catholic priest, where he re-embraced the Anglican faith in which he was raised by his family; it was Anglicanism which suited better his ideas of a spiritual life on a collective level, and trying to improve the lives of your community, instead of "seeking out your own personal enlightenment" the way his Hindu colleagues kept advising him. One gets the sense it is out of this yearning that he decided to become a public figure and write books in order to start a much-needed discussion about seeking a way out of the Materialism adopted by Science in the last 2 centuries --even when his books being considered suitable for a bonfire in the eyes of his most strident critics.
One of the highlights in the conversation was when Rupert discussed his experiments involving the sense of being stared at, which was something nobody had bother to look into until he was started to run tests in the eighties. He soon discovered most people register results slightly above chance, but what surprised him was when he tried the same experiment with his young son Merlin, who was then 4 years old: Merlin got an astounding 100% accuracy. At his insistence he switched places with his dad, and when he realized you could actually get it wrong sometimes, that's when the possibility of failure crept in his awareness; afterwards Merlin would only get a 75% accuracy when tested --which is still pretty 'magical' if you ask me!
All in all, a very enjoyable conversation. Rogan has become one of the most influential persons in the Internet --he's not called 'the podfather' by his friends for nothing-- and I'm sure this was the 1st time that thousands of listeners got the chance to be introduced to the work of Sheldrake, a scientist who I believe will be remembered as a sort of modern Copernicus by later generations --though probably the skeptic community would rather he became the next Giordano Bruno...
Happy birthday to my favorite museum!
Goodheavens! The most (in)famous UFO death cult's webpage is still up & running.
- Why atheists like Sam Harris don't get terrorism.
- Interview with an Auschwitz guard: "I do not feel like a criminal."
- Hitchcock thriller reveals brain activity in vegetative patient. I'm sure Alfred would be pleased.
- Max Tegmark: Consciousness is a mathematical pattern.
- Children of the Bard: An interview with Terence McKenna's daughter Klea, and his son Finn.
- How close are we to building a Warp drive?
- Here's a short story from Plan 9's Ed Wood, resurfaced for the 1st time in over 40 years.
- UFOs over Normandy.
- Strange object in the clouds over Budapest.
- Crop circle with an owl.
- The Dark Knight of the Rising Sun.
- Magellan & his Patagonian giants.
- How to combat a sharknado? With a Spinosaurus!
- What goes around, comes around: Longsword fighting is now becoming a popular sport.
- Red Pill of the Day: The solution to texting while walking?
Thanks to Rick & Kat
Quote of the Day:
“Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.”
~Martin Luther King
How's September working out for you? It's been a pretty good month for professional golfer Billy Horschel: at the start of the month, he finished second in the PGA Tour's Deutsche Bank Championship, followed it up a week later with a win in the BMW Championship, and the following week (this weekend just past), he won the Tour Championship, pocketing a bonus $10 million on top of his other multi-million dollar prize winnings. Oh, and if that wasn't enough, two days later he became a dad for the first time! Not a bad 16 day stretch by anyone's standards...
But why is this getting posted on the Grail, I hear you ask? Well, though I'm a keen golfer, the main reason is that, in perusing Billy's PGA Tour profile page, I was surprised to see that he lists being "a believer in Bigfoot and UFOs". We're a bit more partial here to an interested agnosticism rather than belief (and let's not mention the Twilight book series part of the profile), but I think we can safely claim PGA Tour champion Billy Horschel as a member of the tribe of the weird. Hell, the guy even has precognitive dreams:
When Billy Horschel was 10 years old he had a dream that he was going to get hit in the eye playing baseball. It came true. When he was in college, he dreamt that he would marry his then-girlfriend Brittany and later did. Sunday at East Lake, he lived out another premonition. After dreaming earlier this year that he would hoist the FedExCup trophy, Horschel shot a 2-under 68 to win the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola by three strokes over Rory McIlroy and Jim Furyk and claim the FedExCup and its $10 million bonus.
...“There's certain things throughout my life that have come true, and I've sort of seen it beforehand,” Horschel said. “I woke up and I wasn't sure if it was real or not because it was very faint, but I remember holding up the FedExCup trophy, and as the season went along, I never thought about it, but I just said, 'Well, maybe it was just a dream that wasn't real.'”
Billy, consider this an honorary Grail membership (because it felt like your month so far was lacking something, right?!).
Pioneer primatologist Jane Goodall was highlighted in Nova's web series 'The Secret Lives of Scientists & Engineers', and in the clip above she talks about some of the ways in which Science has gone wrong: namely, its lack of empathy and its confusing of coldness for 'objectivity.'
At the beginning of her career, she was heavily criticized for naming the chimpanzees she was observing. "I was told you have to give them numbers because you have to be objective as a scientist," Goodall says in the video, "and you mustn’t empathize with your subject. And I feel this is where science has gone wrong. To have this coldness, this lack of empathy, has enabled some scientists to do unethical behavior." It was precisely her ability to connect & empathize with her observation subjects, what enabled her to do the groundbreaking work she's famous for, which eventually help revolutionize our understanding of social groups in primates & other animals.
"I think empathy is really important, and I think only when our clever brain and our human heart work together in harmony can we achieve our full potential."
A vortex of news flying right at you...
- Massive 5000-year-old stone monument linked to moon god.
- Hanuman the monkey god has a biometric identity card.
- Deciphering hidden text on a 500-year-old map that guided Columbus.
- A beehive dating to 1446 found in Scotland's Rosslyn Chapel.
- Andrew Gough explores bees & beehives, from prehistory to Freemasonry.
- The strange history of Turkey's mad honey, hallucinogenic & deadly.
- Taking the Kraken: Colossal squid caught off Antarctica.
- The Japanese language has more than 50 nouns for rain.
- Believing in Fiction: the rise of hyper-real religions.
- I used to read a lot, until I took a Harry Potter to the eye.
- Ursula K. Le Guin talks science fiction, volcanos, gender, & Virgil's Aeneid.
- A little cat dreams of a big cat in this medieval French manuscript.
- Onwards, my noble steed! Genets caught riding rhinoceros & buffalo.
- If mice build a supercomputer, it's because of this.
Quote of the Day:
At the end of a day, life should ask us, ‘do you want to save the changes?’
~ Bill Murray
Remember those wonderful kids books of old such as The Golden Book of Chemistry, since deemed too dangerous for our over-protective times? In recent times, our yearning for those daring days has seen success for the rather non-risky 'Dangerous Book for Boys' series.
The occult equivalent of the Golden Book of Chemistry might just be How to Make Magic, a 1974 book that showed kids how to perform a little stage magic, and oh SUMMON THE DEVIL HIMSELF. Thankfully, this classic tome has been rescued from obscurity by @Cavalorn, who has posted scans of the book to his blog, with commentary.
The book seems to begin innocuously enough, with some neat little 'stage magic' tricks to mystify your friends and family with. Although, like the Golden Book of Chemistry, the book is happy enough to recommend a child go and purchase some volatile chemicals. As Cavalorn reminisces: "Oh for the lost days of our youth when a small boy could come skipping out of a chemist's shop with a manual of witchcraft in one hand and a bag of bomb ingredients in the other."
But really, what could go wrong with some of the juvenile stage magic tricks in the book, as long as there are clear directions to ensure the safety of the child? I mean, really?*
(* Full disclosure: I once did the 'pencil up the nose, out the mouth' magic trick in front of a 12-year-old. Minutes later they staggered out of their room screaming with blood pouring from their nose)
But of course, these were different times, when we didn't fixate on little details that might be harmful, given the unlikely scenario of a bunch of unfortunate circumstances combining. So let's not castigate the authors for well-meaning passages that....wait, what's this?
Witches used to make wax or wooden dolls of their enemies and stick pins in as a spell to hurt them. Has your teacher, or a friend, made you a little angry lately? Here's what a witch with a sense of humour might do.
That's right, a magic book for kids recommended making a voodoo doll if friends or teachers had "made you a little angry". We've obviously left the stage magic section well behind now, although I shudder to think what the recommendation is for anyone that's made you really angry...
Head on over to Cavalorn's blog for plenty more occult tuition for juniors, including such gems as:
- "Ask your parents if you can bewitch a corner of your garden at home. The centre piece should really be a tree around which you should plant a circle of white flowers - snowdrops or daisies, perhaps - in honour of the moon goddess"
- "Of course, this is no ordinary cat but a 'familiar' sent by the Devil himself to lend a helping hand"
- "Be careful not to put the pentagrams upside down because they look a bit like the Devil with his horns and you don't want him turning up"
That last pearl of wisdom comes from the spread in which young children are taught to construct a circle to conduct ritual magick in. I would totally have made this book my personal bible if I had ever come across it in my own youth.
I mean, seriously...DIY Ouija craft!
It's not uncommon that surgeons listen to some classical music during an operation --what's uncommon, is when the music is being played by the patient itself.
Naomi Elishuc, a former violinist at Lithuania's philarmonic orchestra, had been suffering from hand tremors for the past 20 years, which affected her ability to play her beloved instrument and ended her career. The doctors had always assured her that the condition was incurable, but last week a team of neurosurgeons from the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, performed a correcting procedure by placing an electric pacemaker on her brain, and Naomi was once again able to play Mozart free of shakes while she was under local anesthesia.
She was fully conscious during the operation, and her performance was both a method to locate the damaged region in the brain that needed repairing, as much as a way to regale her doctors and show them her appreciation for restoring her lost gift.
“My great love is playing the violin, but for many years, I have had to make do with only teaching. The tremor didn’t allow me to play professionally, and this was very hard for a woman who was used to performing all her life,” she said before being wheeled into surgery.
Prof. Itzhak Fried, head of functional neurosurgery at the hospital who performed the operation, explained that he and his team installed a pacemaker with an electrode in the brain region that was damaged. Sterotactic technology was used to reach the area within a few millimeters. Only a local anesthetic was needed, as the brain itself does not feel pain. To find the exact region, Elishuv’s cooperation was needed to stop the tremor. As she played the violin – at first with very shaky notes and finally with a normal sound, the surgeons located the affected area. The electrode was inserted through a small hole made in her skull.
The electrode, with four leads, was permanently implanted in the ventral intermedius nucleus in the thalamus region.
“When we turned on the electric current, we saw the tremor melt away,” said Fried, “and Naomi continued to play the violin beautifully.” Elishuv said she was told that she will now be able to write, play her stringed instrument and drink from a glass normally, without shaking. “
This is the first time ever that I have performed brain surgery on a person who played the violin during the operation,” the veteran neurosurgeon concluded. “We enjoyed the private concert of a talented and noble performer. I hope now she will be able to perform before a larger audience.”
[The Jerusalem Post]
As the father of a beautiful girl named Isis, the recent news headlines have been getting me down. Help me out by taking a look at this petition to the media.
- NASA says the search for extraterrestrial life is like hunting for pizza in a dorm. Hey NASA, Imma let you finish, but Terence McKenna made a better analogy between SETI and Italian food…
- SETI announces game jam to enlist developers in the search for alien life.
- Comet landing site chosen. Let's hope it doesn't play out like this…
- Expanding our reality by 'jacking' new data into our brain through technological augmentation.
- Astronomers, writers and an astronaut weigh in with the idea from science fiction that they'd most like to see become reality.
- $1million prize offered for cure to ageing.
- The mysterious celestial spheres of the ancient Mughal Empire.
- Will misogyny bring down the skeptical-atheist movement?
- 'Slenderman stabbing' judge says there is reason to doubt girl's competency for trial.
- It's okay to admit that H.P. Lovecraft was racist.
- Why do people believe in ghosts?
- The paranormal is (still) normal.
- The latest Binnall of America podcast features cryptozoological legend Loren Coleman discussing his pet topic, as well as his work on the 'twilight language' and 'copycat effect'.
- The latest Mysterious Universe podcast features author James Nestor discussing his book Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science, and What the Ocean Tells Us about Ourselves.
- Is this the Loch Ness monster? Given it's not in Loch Ness for a start…doubtful?
- Experts say more 9.0 megaquakes are coming.
- Nerve endings in your fingers found to perform complex neural computations that were thought to be carried out by the brain.
- Study finds fracking not to blame for gas leaks into water supply.
- MIT lets its robotic cheetah off the leash.
- Image of the Day: Alan Moore wearing an Oculus Rift
Quote of the Day:
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.
When Alan Moore wears an Oculus Rift, I'd like to think he just projects Idea Space out of his eyes on to the inside of the Rift, no power source required.
The image was taken by @AmoebaDesign while filming Alan for the stage adaptation of Robert Anton Wilson's Cosmic Trigger that we've mentioned previously (AM is voicing a character for the play).
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Ever fancied traveling to Egypt to take in the last remaining wonder of the ancient world, the Pyramids (and Great Sphinx) of Giza, but haven't had the cash or aren't too fond of the actual travel part? Google Street View has your back, with the addition of a new walking tour of the Giza plateau added to a list of fascinating virtual tours that includes other ancient marvels such as Stonehenge and Angkor Wat.
While the actual experience of being there can never be surpassed, Google's tour does bring some facets of the real thing into your home - not least the overpowering size of the things. Having been lucky enough to visit Giza myself (way back in 1998), what really blew me away was standing up close to the Great Pyramid and taking in the way the massive blocks seemed to just extend upwards into the blue sky - and Google's tour does its best at providing that feeling.
But as much as I love the addition of Giza to Google's Street View tours, I can't help but feel that they've really missed a trick here. Why not get the permission of Egyptian authorities to go off the beaten track, so that millions of people at home could walk in the 'forbidden areas' of the Plateau, such as right up between the paws of the Sphinx, or on top of the Great Pyramid? Or, at the very least, inside the pyramids themselves, so we could all walk up the amazing Grand Gallery, take in the grandeur of the King's Chamber, or feel the claustrophia of walking within the tight passages? Even the Sphinx Temple is off limits, though thankfully you can take a look inside the Valley Temple on the way to the viewing platform for the Sphinx.
That said, I'm hardly one to look a gift horse - or camel, as the case may be - in the mouth, and am really pleased to see this tour of Giza now available for us all. And also note that the new Egyptian Street View tours aren't restricted to Giza, with a number of other sites, including the Step Pyramid of Djoser, also now available for viewing.
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