"Education is our only political safety. Outside of this ark all is deluge."
- Solar systems unlike our own.
- New Antikythera wreck dive reveals new details.
- Lunar H2O.
- Graham Hancock discuses latest news from Gunung Padang.
- Dark matter lightens up.
- Whales adapt to communicate with dolphins.
- The oldest known cave paintings just got older.
- X-37B gets a new home.
- The four cities.
- Let there be light.
- Unlocking the secrets of LSD.
- Are 3D transplants the next step?
- Searching ancient human soil for answers.
- Looking for Eve... or WALL-E.
- Life in 2025.
- Drought exposes submerged town.
- As above, so below.
- When consciousness starts… or ends.
- Secret Sun places the Cocteau Twins under the microscope.
- The next nautilus.
- This week’s evidence of the looming robot uprising… Hatsune Miku.
Quote of the Day:
“If any man seeks for greatness, let him forget greatness and ask for truth, and he will find both.”
What if we could use those peak experiences to make us whole, to render us holy?... and in Houston Smith's immortal words: 'Might we begin then to transform our passing illuminations into abiding light?
More Jason Silva monologues:
Better late than never!
- NASA eyes deep sleep option for crew of Mars mission.
- Ancient aliens and astronomical alignments.
- Does this new scientific paper offer the 'first hint' of life after death?
- Related: an excerpt from my book Stop Worrying! There Probably is an Afterlife, in which I discuss the AWARE project and the now-famous veridical OBE in detail.
- Seeing the light: are we immortal in some way?
- UK 'psychic' Sally Morgan threatens legal action - and more - against sceptic. More here.
- New Ghostbusters film in the works…with an all-female cast.
- Surrender to the void - a metaphysical Q&A with Sam Harris, International Man of Reason.
- The placebo effect doesn't just apply to pills.
- The extraordinary beginnings of human consciousness.
- Indonesian cave painting discovery transforms ideas about how humans first developed the ability to produce art.
- The hydraulic telegraph of Aeneas - long-distance communication of antiquity.
- Also: the steam-powered pigeon of Archytas, the flying machine of antiquity.
- What's this? Oh nothing, just an ancient Egyptian snake coffin.
- Stunning depictions of ancient comets that scared the hell out of humans.
- UK Met Office opens solar storm centre. (Why? See Robert Schoch's article "Death Star" for some scary thoughts…)
- Ebola is in America - and finally, within range of Big Pharma.
- Mercedes is making a self-driving semi to change the future of shipping.
- Beyond the machine: metaphors of the body (featuring Rupert Sheldrake).
- Are we over-thinking the dangers of artificial intelligence?
- Two British newspapers embarrass themselves over marijuana.
- Why people believe things that you don't believe.
- Image of the Day: this mushroom looks like a zombie's hand emerging from the ground.
Quote of the Day:
Everyone has a belief system, B.S., the trick is to learn not to take anyone's B.S. too seriously, especially your own.
Robert Anton Wilson
The near-death experience (NDE) has blazed its way back into mainstream media this week, with the long-awaited publication (in the journal Resuscitation) of the results from one of the biggest ever scientific investigations into awareness after cardiac arrest. A number of years ago, Dr. Sam Parnia, an expert in the field of resuscitation, established the AWARE project, which is now a major collaboration between doctors and researchers in the coronary units of medical centers and hospitals across the globe. In the AWARE study, patients who survive a cardiac arrest were asked if they had any memories or experiences while 'dead' - and if they had an out-of-body experience during their brush with death, whether they were able to see certain ‘hidden targets’ placed in hospital rooms that can only be seen from a vantage point near the ceiling.
The headlines have been a little over the top. "First hint of 'life after death' in biggest ever scientific study", the Telegraph announced.
Death is a depressingly inevitable consequence of life, but now scientists believe they may have found some light at the end of the tunnel. The largest ever medical study into near-death and out-of-body experiences has discovered that some awareness may continue even after the brain has shut down completely.
[S]cientists at the University of Southampton have spent four years examining more than 2,000 people who suffered cardiac arrests at 15 hospitals in the UK, US and Austria. And they found that nearly 40 per cent of people who survived described some kind of ‘awareness’ during the time when they were clinically dead before their hearts were restarted.
One man even recalled leaving his body entirely and watching his resuscitation from the corner of the room. Despite being unconscious and ‘dead’ for three minutes, the 57-year-old social worker from Southampton, recounted the actions of the nursing staff in detail and described the sound of the machines.
I'm really glad to see the AWARE study results finally published in a journal, but despite all the news headlines, there is little new information in this paper. As readers of my 2013 book Stop Worrying! There Probably is an Afterlife (available in paperback or as a Kindle ebook) would know, I covered the results of the AWARE study back then. If you haven't read the book, I've posted the relevant excerpt today here on the Grail for those seeking more information about the AWARE study, and a more detailed description of the experience of the patient who left his body.
For those with TLDR syndrome: the paper examines 2060 cardiac arrest events at participating hospitals, of which only 16% of patients survived (330). Of those 330 patients, only 140 proved eligible to be interviewed for the study. 85 out of 140 (61%) reported no perception or memories during their cardiac arrest. However, one of the interesting findings of the study was that 55 patients (39%) responded in the affirmative to the question "Do you remember anything from the time during your unconsciousness?", despite the fact that cardiac arrests are believed to shut down the brain and inhibit any of this sort of consciousness.
However, another interesting finding of the study was that 46 of those 55 "described memories incompatible with a NDE", such as "being dragged through deep water" and "seeing a golden flash of light". So even though their perception during cardiac arrest was 'anomalous', it wasn't an NDE. Only 9 patients had NDE-like perceptions, and of the entire 2060 cardiac arrests just one patient had an out-of-body experience (OBE). And sadly, it wasn't in an area with one of the shelves intended to test the reality of the OBE.
Nevertheless, the OBE patient was able to describe a number of aspects of the hospital room scene accurately - a so-called "veridical NDE". On its own, this doesn't seem much, but as I point out in my book, it adds to an ever-growing list of accounts where people who should not be able to perceive anything due to their physical condition are able to give accurate details about thing happening both in the room they are in and outside of it. Contrary to the Telegraph's "first hint", this new paper just adds to an already long list of hints.
The shorter summary of the AWARE paper?
- If you have a cardiac arrest, the odds are really not in your favour.
- That if you survive, there's about a 5-10% chance you might have a near-death experience.
- That people don't just experience NDE consciousness during cardiac arrest - they also find themselves in other modes of consciousness with totally different perceptions and imagery.
- That the AWARE study recorded what seems to be another veridical NDE account, to add to the growing number already on record.
- These veridical NDEs appear to suggest either (a) that some people are hyper-sensitive to their surroundings during a cardiac arrest, using any sensory modes available to reconstruct the scene in their minds, or (b) that the mind is actually able to somehow perceive things from a vantage point outside of the body - in short, that consciousness is not confined to the brain.
So, when looking at all the news stories and blog posts on this topic, be aware (hah!) that (a) a lot of the headlines are hyped up, and (b) plenty of them are looking at this study in isolation, when it is perhaps more interesting when considered with other evidence already collected.
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A critical care doctor and expert in the field of resuscitation, Sam Parnia has been fascinated with the question of what happens to consciousness at the moment of death since the time he lost a patient as a student doctor at the age of 22. Parnia’s joint fascination with resuscitation and the near-death experience (NDE) led him to establish the AWARE project, which is now a major collaboration between doctors and researchers in the coronary units of medical centers and hospitals across the globe. Dedicated to exploring and advancing our knowledge of these two inter-related areas, it began with an 18 month pilot study restricted to just a few hospitals in the United Kingdom, before the AWARE project proper launched on September 11, 2008 with the investigation extended to more locations, including some in Europe and the United States. To examine the veridical out-of-body experience component of near-death experiences, Parnia and his team installed approximately one thousand shelves high up on walls within rooms in the emergency, coronary and intensive care wards of participating hospitals, though they were unable to cover all beds due to time and financial constraints – with 25 participating hospitals, the total number of shelves they would have needed to install for full coverage would have been closer to 12,500. On these shelves they placed a hidden ‘target’, which they hoped patients who had OBEs might report back on after being successfully resuscitated. By targeting these specific wards they were hoping to cover some 80% of cardiac arrest events with their ‘shelf test’.
In the first four years of the study, AWARE has received a total of more than four thousand cardiac arrest event reports – some three per day. But while four thousand events may seem a good sample size for in-depth research into veridical NDEs, it must be remembered that these are cardiac arrests – not ‘heart attacks’, with which many people confuse the term, but cases in which the heart has completely stopped beating. As such, in only a third of those cases were medical staff able to resuscitate the patient – and then, only half of those critically-ill survivors remained alive to a point where they could be interviewed by the AWARE team. Further, those medical staff doing interviews on behalf of the AWARE study had to do so around their normal daily duties, and so not all patients were able to be interviewed post-resuscitation (especially so if they came in on the weekend). And, unfortunately, the team’s coverage of cardiac arrest events via shelf positioning was lower than hoped – only 50% occurred in a location with a shelf, rather than the hoped-for 80%.
Now, given that near-death experiences were only reported by 5% of survivors in the AWARE study, and that the out-of-body experience only occurs in a low percentage of NDEs, you might begin to see the problem. Out of some 4000 cardiac arrest events, the AWARE team was left with little more than a hundred cases in which a patient with a shelf in their room reported back after their resuscitation, and then only 5 to 10 of those actually had an NDE. In all, after four years, and four thousand recorded cardiac arrest events, the AWARE study has
Do students of Zen sing "If you're happy and you know it clap your hand"?
- First hint of 'life after death' in biggest ever scientific study. Abstract of the paper is here.
- Self-promotion alert - I covered pretty much all of that 'breaking news story' above in my 2013 book, Stop Worrying! There Probably is an Afterlife.
- The incredible picture that proves there is life on other planets. Grains of salt available on request.
- Devil worship on a man-eating mountain.
- Ball lightning vs UFOs - the differing ways in which scientists have treated each phenomenon.
- Man tempts fate by traveling around the Bermuda Triangle…in a floating hamster ball.
- Another 'Blood Moon' lunar eclipse returns to the sky on Wednesday.
- That TV show you liked is coming back into style: new series of the legendary David Lynch TV show Twin Peaks will air on Showtime in 2016…with Lynch to direct every episode.
- Why are scientists always the bad guys in movies? I'd do a statistical analysis to illustrate the confirmation bias in that article, but I don't want to seem like the bad guy...
- The navy is building robotic weaponized boats that use swarming strategies. Damn, now the Navy are making scientists out to be the bad guys as well!
- Charging your iPad or iPhone beside your bed could make you put on weight, say Spanish scientists.
- First teleportation of multiple quantum properties of a single photon.
- New particle is both matter and antimatter.
- 3D printed heart saves baby's life.
- Man complains of itchy ear; doctor pulls 3-inch-long cricket from his ear. I christen thee Babelcricket.
- Did the mythical Saraswati river of the ancient Vedas really exist?
- Image of the Day: Red Pill Junkie meets the red pill kingpin, our good friend Graham Hancock.
Quote of the Day:
Through the darkness of future's past, the magician longs to see. One chants out between two worlds... "Fire... walk with me."
That TV Show You Liked Is Coming Back Into Style: A New Series of David Lynch's Twin Peaks Announced!Posted by Greg at 13:35, 07 Oct 2014
If, like me, the above image brings back memories of both confusion and wonderment, I'm guessing this piece of news will excite you. Twenty-five years ago, in the finale of the great David Lynch TV series Twin Peaks, Laura Palmer sat in the 'Red Room' and told Agent Cooper (in typical reverse speech) "I'll see you again in 25 years". Turns out the wrapped in plastic girl was telling the truth, because show creators David Lynch and Mark Frost have just announced that a third series of Twin Peaks will air on Showtime in 2016:
The groundbreaking television phenomenon, Golden Globe and Peabody Award-winner Twin Peaks will return as a new limited series on Showtime in 2016. Series creators and executive producers David Lynch and Mark Frost will write and produce all nine episodes of the limited series, and Lynch will direct every episode. Set in the present day, Twin Peaks will continue the lore of the original series, providing long-awaited answers and a satisfying conclusion for the series' passionate fan base.
I'm not sure the phrases "David Lynch" and "long awaited answers and satisfying conclusions" have been used together in too many sentences before, but who cares? Twin Peaks is coming back, and it looks like at least some of the old gang are returning as well. Damn good show!
- Isolation and hallucinations: Why the mental health of astronauts is one of the biggest hurdles when it comes to successful space missions.
- The US is holding on to nuclear weapons to defend the Earth against rogue asteroids.
- Huge feature on the Moon may be an enormous volcanic vent system.
- Exploring the monstrous creatures at the edges of the dark matter map: What if the most popular hypothesis is wrong? Plenty of fringier theories exist.
- Green snot is taking over the world's rivers.
- How we really feel about drugs.
- Healing trip: How psychedelic drugs could help treat depression.
- Memory loss associated with Alzheimer's reversed using systems approach.
- What will it take for computers to be conscious?
- Late addition: The Most Ambitious Environmental Lawsuit Ever: A quixotic historian tries to hold oil and gas companies responsible for Louisiana’s disappearing coast.
- Managing a Nightmare: How the CIA watched over the destruction of Gary Webb.
- Kill the Messenger: Since the Contra-crack-cocaine scandal surfaced in 1985, major U.S. news outlets have disparaged it, most notably when the big newspapers destroyed journalist Gary Webb for reviving it in 1996. But a NYTimes review of a movie about Webb finally admits the reality.
- Monsanto spends millions to fight GMO labeling efforts in a few US states.
- Inside the Koch brothers' toxic empire.
- iPhone? It's a spyphone: Apple devices can record your every movement.
- Leaked documents reveal chemical industry arm-twisting in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal, which is poised to derail European regulations on chemicals, endocrine disrupters and GMOs.
- A confidential report and a fired bank examiner’s hidden recorder penetrate the cloistered world of the Fed — and its history of deference to banks.
- New Intel Doc: Do not be 'led astray' by 'commonly understood definitions'.
- For the first time, filmmakers in the forests of Borneo's Mount Kinabalu have documented the so-repulsive-it's-captivating behavior of a large, red, worm-guzzling predator, which remains unclassified by science.
- Fairies and Elves - a history (sort of). Leave your wings at the door.
Thanks to Kapryan.
Quote of the Day:
NSA plays a lot of word games.
The DIA document shows that for the NSA, 'collection' of your e-mails doesn't mean what you think it means. It means something totally different. They want to be able to say they're not 'collecting' your data, so they claim that even though they copied all your e-mails, put them in a server for five years, and searched them at will, that's not 'collection' because your e-mail didn't go into a report.
The NSA plays the same games with all of the words they use — they say you are not a 'target,' even though they collect, store and search all your data. They say your data is collected only 'incidentally,' even though the NSA intentionally designs its programs to collect everything you do online. They say your data is not collected 'under this program,' which almost certainly means it is collected under some other program. The NSA says things, using some very tortured and legalistic definitions, which are technically true but designed to mislead Americans about how it collects and uses our data. The NSA's collection and use of Americans' data would never stand up to any kind of public scrutiny or judicial review. The only way these programs survive is because they are shielded from review and oversight and challenge in the courts.
John Tye, a former State Department official, in 'New documents show how Reagan-era executive order unbounded NSA'.
This article is excerpted from Darklore Volume 8, which is now available for sale from Amazon US and Amazon UK. The Darklore anthology series features the best writing and research on Fortean and hidden history topics, by the most respected names in the field: Robert Schoch, Nick Redfern, Loren Coleman, Robert Bauval and Daniel Pinchbeck, to name just a few. Darklore's aim is to support quality researchers, so it makes sense to support Darklore. For more information on the series (including more free sample articles), visit the Darklore website.
A Social History of Ball Lightning
The chimera that came in from the cold
by Martin Shough
Back in 1967 the astronomer Gerard Kuiper dismissed a 10% residue of unexplained UFO reports with a wave of the hand, thinking it “reasonable to assume” that this testimony must be “so distorted or incomplete as to defy all analysis.” However, he advocated a major Defence Department/FAA programme to research “very rare natural phenomena” such as ball lightning. Why? Because “no adequate data yet exist of ball lightning”, even though its existence had been “known for at least a century”.1
This raises a very interesting question: How was it possible for science to “know” anything with “no adequate data”? The answer is that science did not know. Rather, ball lightning had been kept in the natural philospher’s cabinet of curiosities along with a jumble of Forteana such as sea serpents, will-o’-the-wisps, fabulous mirages and spirits of the dead for a couple of hundred years. Disbelief and credulity swirled around together in a miasma of hopeless speculation until, during the early 20th century, the authoritative consensus settled into scepticism - a position which had only quite recently begun to change at the time Kuiper was writing.
Unpicking some of the reason and unreason behind this curious condition of scientific double-think is instructive. Logically and evidentially speaking, there is precious little difference between a “very rare natural phenomenon” which is unexplained and an unexplained phenomenon characterised as a “UFO”. Even more subtle is the distinction sometimes drawn between “a unique natural phenomenon never before observed” and a UFO. There will always be unique combinations of natural phenomena never before observed (in practice), so how is a distinction to be supported between such effects and UFOs? Is there a real epistemological distinction? Or is it mere semantics?
The difference appears in practice to arise because there are two levels of “explanation” whose meanings are weighted differently in the two cases: There is a level of detailed physical understanding, i.e. a link-by-link chain of observed processes accurately modelled in theory; and there is a level of conceptual classification. When either of these levels is satisfied we experience a sense of accounting, and when both are satisfied there is a closure which we experience as “explanation”.
Neither in the case of “unknown natural phenomenon” nor in the case of “unidentified flying object” is the level of detailed physical understanding satisfied, by definition; the difference enters in the conceptual classification and has to do almost exclusively with the way these ideas are emotionally connoted. Specifically, it is the mechanistic aura of the former and the animistic aura of the latter that sets them apart. The history of science associates mechanistic models with productive explanations, animistic models with backward-looking resistance to explanations. The extraterrestrial hypothesis (ETH) and its analogues are for practical purposes regarded as examples of relict primitive animism.
Ball lightning emerges with some sense of explanation out of the primary category of “rare and unexplained phenomena” to the extent that it replaces (these days) animistic with mechanistic connotations. The collective term is emotionally neutral, the terms “ball lightning” and “UFO” are not individually so, and parity is broken; a coupled particle-pair of overall neutral charge is, so to speak, dissociated into two particles of opposite charge which fly in different directions in the social field potential. The positive “ball lightning” particle is eventually scavenged by surrounding atoms of incomplete theory; the “UFO” particle is left to wander, a free negative ion in a lonely search for an appropriate theory with which to recombine. It is a pragmatic fact, quite separate from the question of evidence, that ... Read More »
A summary of all the stories and news briefs posted on The Daily Grail over the past week. Feel free to share anything interesting!
- Did Marco Polo 'Discover' America in the 13th Century?
- News Briefs 29-09-2014 (Monday)
- The 'Nazca Lines' of Asia - Archaeologists Discover Massive Geoglyphs in Kazakhstan
- News Briefs 30-09-2014 (Tuesday)
- Free Sample Articles from Darklore Volume 8
- News Briefs 02-10-2014 (Thursday)
- Urban Tunnellers - What Lies Beneath Our Streets?
- News Briefs 03-10-2014 (Friday)
Have a good weekend!