The above clip is part of the promotional campaign for both Jaime Maussan's Be Witness live presentation --which will be featured on May 5th at the National Auditorium in Mexico city-- as well as Adam Dew's Kodachrome documentary. It shows (alleged) random reactions of passersby in Chicago, after they are shown what has purportedly been claimed to be 2 black-and-white slides of a humanoid being inside some sort of glass showcase --If you want to see a low-res image of one of those slides, click here.
If there's one thing that's clearly shown in the video, is how the images seem to perfectly conform with our pop culture assumptions of what an alien being is supposed to look --short stature, slim body and large cranium. What it's not shown, though, is whether these images are as real as the Santilli 'alien autopsy' video of the 1990's, which was equally hyped as the smoking gun that would finally unravel the 'Cosmic Watergate' behind the truth of UFOs and ET visitation.
To say these images are controversial is the understatement of the century. A lot of assumptions have been made with regards to the slides by the people behind tomorrow's presentation. There's the assumption that the slides were taken by Hilda Ray, who was a lawyer, a pilot, the wife of geologist Bernerd Ray; there's the assumption that the couple's illustrious careers and connections with the top elite of American society in the 40's and 50's, would have somehow made them privy to very sensitive material --like the retrieval operations of crashed saucers conducted by the Military.
And of course, there's the majestic assumption --see what I did there?-- that the body (or bodies) shown on the slides are of an extraterrestrial biological entity, AND that these entities were involved in the (in)famous Roswell event of July 1947. That's enough 'ifs' to make your head spin faster than a Reticulan spaceship, which is why some of the most prominent researchers involved in the history of the Roswell affair --namely Stanton Friedman and Kevin Randle-- declined to actively participate in what Maussan and Dew call "the biggest UFO event of all time."
"Is this for real?", one person asks after being shown the slides. That's what Don Schmitt, Tom Carey, Adam Dew and Jaime Maussan keep telling us, and they promise to show us all the evidence to back that claim tomorrow onstage and via live streaming. I'll be there to see whether they deliver the goods... or crash and burn trying.
- Out of body experience (OBE) traced in the brain.
- Science claims the out-of-body experience mystery is solved again - but is it really?
- A sceptic speaks about the 'Enfield Poltergeist', subject of a new TV drama in the U.K.
- Drama, controversy and confusion: The legacy of the Enfield Poltergeist.
- Scientists can make you feel ghosts. Or is that make ghosts feel you?
- 'Disneyland Ghost' debunked.
- Were the Nazca Lines part of an ancient pilgrimage route?
- Will archaeologists find non-Chinese Terracotta Warriors?
- Archaeologists battle Chinese mining interests in fight to save an ancient Buddhist paradise.
- Medieval 'witch burial' girl likely just had scurvy, new study finds.
- This museum is, quite literally, full of historical crap.
- NASA tests 'warp drive' that could carry passengers to the Moon in just four hours.
- Hypernova: one direct hit and life on Earth will be obliterated.
- Do these mysterious lights mark the beginning of an alien invasion?
Thanks Tom Head.
Quote of the Day:
I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones.
A summary of all the stories and news briefs posted on The Daily Grail over the past week. Feel free to share anything interesting!
- Dark Star: H.R. Giger's World
- Liquid Mercury Found At Teotihuacan
- News Briefs 27-04-2015 (Monday)
- Remember that Time the Russians Found Scorpions on Venus?
- News Briefs 28-04-2015 (Tuesday)
- Disneyland Ghost Debunked by Captain Disillusion
- News Briefs 29-04-2015 (Wednesday)
- News Briefs 30-04-2015 (Thursday)
- Science Claims OBE's Solved, Yet Again! But Is It Really?
- News Briefs 01-05-2015 (Friday)
Have a good weekend!
"All things lie dark in possibility."
- The holographic universe.
- Space laser cannons… It's about time.
- The polar ice of Pluto?
- The spacecraft who fell to earth.
- The first casualties of climate change.
- 7 NDE experiences.
- Occam’s invisibility.
- The petrified remains of Lake Natron.
- Here to stay is the new bird.
- Have we reached Warp Factor 5?
- New light shed upon continental migration to South America.
- New exoplanet challenges old beliefs.
- Do altered states follow road maps?
- Studying 1000 years of CO2.
- Airspace reserves seeks to save avians.
- Just a monkey trying to crack a nut.
- The new trailer... for every film.
- This week’s proof of the pending robo-pocalypse… Bake ‘bot.
Quote of the Day:
“Genius is play, and man's capacity for achieving genius is infinite, and many may achieve genius only through play.”
So here we go again; popular science media outlets are declaring the phenomena of Out-of-Body Experience to be solved, based on a study of what can only be described as a proximal experience in the laboratory.
I’m talking about the way science news journalists like to spin the results of any experiment involving OBE’s or NDE’s (near-death experience), so that the conclusions seem to fit the mainstream narrative that such experiences are simply illusory products of brain activity. To be perfectly clear, I’m not saying that they aren’t illusory experiences, nor am I saying that they’re factually genuine. What I am saying is that the quoted studies do not, cannot support that specific claim. This is an old complaint from me, but I’ll happily illustrate why yet again.
A group of neuroscientists from Sweden published a paper on April 30 in the journal Current Biology, which explains a set of experiments they undertook to image brain activity using an fMRI machine, of patients who were experiencing an induced out-of-body illusion. The stated goal of their research was to identify and study the areas in the brain that are responsible for or are related to body-ownership and spatial awareness. As they note in the abstract, no one has ever looked at how those concepts, and the brain structures involved with those concepts – parietal and medial temporal cortices – might be involved in experiences similar to OBE’s.
According to their paper, they were able to identify activity in certain structures, namely the hippocampus and intraparietal cortices, among others, that bears a strong correlation to our sense of body ownership, and spatial cognition. They specifically claim that the posterior cingulate cortex plays a key role in the integration of spatial awareness and body-ownership. This research could potentially be significant in the treatment of certain mental disorders such as schizophrenia and certain forms of epilepsy.
But there is a very important part of this study that’s being misrepresented by news outlets, specifically by Live Science.
In order to achieve a brain-state in their tests subjects that can be thought of as similar to that which is present during an OBE, the researchers had to create a perceptual illusion using cameras and mirrors, which caused the subject to perceive their body in abnormal spatial orientations. Admittedly, that seems logically similar to what OBE reporters claim to be their experience. However, these researchers, and those reporting their findings are glossing over the very real and very important assumption that lies at the heart of that similarity.
Is the brain activity associated with the induced illusion of an abnormal spatial orientation the same as the brain activity of someone who is undergoing an Out-of-Body Experience? It’s conceivable that they are, but that connection has not been proven by this paper.
To make matters worse, the Live Science writer in question didn’t even provide a direct link to the paper in question so that readers could, and would be encouraged to, go look at the results themselves, rather than taking that one writer’s word for it.
If you’ll recall last year, the science magazine Frontiers published a story about the “study” of a Canadian woman who claimed that she can, in the manner of an OBE, leave her body at will. The story painted the picture of a clinical trial involving fMRI scans of her brain while she thought she was out of her body. Though, as I pointed out in that case as well, the assumption that what she was experiencing, or claimed she was experiencing, was in fact the result of an OBE was completely overlooked in the story. To make matters worse in that case, the story was actually just a story. It was the anecdotal telling of how one researcher put this self-proclaimed OBE’er through a single fMRI scan and then interpreted the results of that scan as they saw fit, with no controls, methodology, or clear goals in mind. And, predictably, science news reporters lapped up the narrative and ran with it as though this is how science is done.
In light of these two cases and the clear bias they highlight in science reporting, is it really any wonder so many people don’t trust this entity, this persona called Science, any further than they can throw it? Don’t get me wrong, I loath science denial as much as unfounded science worship, but this kind of blatant bias, which at times seems to be calculated and deliberate, is almost enough for me to change sides, at least for a little while.
- Darpa's homing bullets are almost as creepy as Gary Oldman's hairdo in The 5th Element.
- Google was granted a patent involving robots that mimic dead celebrities. I'm sure Disney's lawyers will be thrilled...
- Climate Deniers to Pope Francis: There's no global warming --the rise of oceans' levels are just the tears of Jesus!
- Potential ice cap detected over Pluto's surface by New Horizons.
- Going with a bang: NASA's Messenger closes in on Mercury crash-landing.
- Numerous witnesses observe bright-red UFO over NYC --including our own friend LastLoup.
- "Honey, there's an egg-shaped flying creature on our backyard!"
- UFO researcher Marc Dantonio sez the UFO hovering near Chilean erupting volcano was a drone.
- Lockheed's new drone will help find
persons of interestmissing people.
- The loch Ness salamander.
- The flying devil of Elizabeth lake.
- Chris Knowles' personal take on past lives.
- The use of DMT in early Masonic ritual.
- The solution to your social anxiety? An invisible body!
- Bukkafkian: Do men manipulate their sexual partners with their semen?
- Red Pill of the Day: Be corteous to monkeys --or else!
Abstinence makes me cranky, so I ain't thanking anyone this week.
Quote of the Day:
"Wine is bottled poetry."
~Robert Louis Stevenson
Gecko robots make cute noises.
- Cannabis use could implant false memories, scientists warn. Where have I heard that before?
- Did a Native American travel with the Vikings and arrive in Iceland centuries before Columbus set sail?
- Neuroscientists create illusion of having invisible body.
- Neurons constantly rewrite their DNA to store information.
- Woman's 'embryonic twin' is not really an embryo, or a twin.
- Scary collection of recent mass die-off reports.
- The Mindscape of Alan Moore now available on demand (US and Canada only).
- Mysterious land mass appears overnight off Japan's coast.
- Could we reboot civilisation without fossil fuels?
- Is LSD about to return to polite society?
- Unearthed Roman skulls could be victims of Boudicca.
- Bees are becoming addicted to the nicotinic pesticides that are killing them off.
Quote of the Day:
People shouldn't be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.
Captain D. returns with another close-to-perfect* takedown of a YouTube paranormal sensation: the 'Disneyland ghost'. See it before Disney takes it down!
(* Needs a musical number)
- Giant Easter Island 'hats' were rolled into place, new study suggests.
- Stonehenge's tallest stone points at the winter sunrise.
- Hunting for Templar treasure at the legendary Oak Island.
- 'A God that could be real' in the scientific sense.
- Islamic State bans archaeology due to fears of idol worship. Also: because they're stupid wankers.
- 'Art of Dying' Conference explores spiritual and scientific approaches to dying.
- These radical undertakers want to reinvent funerals, for the better.
- Relax 1-D fans - Stephen Hawking says that the band is still together (in a parallel dimension).
- A theory of precognition.
- Why the future of religion is bleak.
- Baby born in India with eight limbs touted as reincarnated god.
- The fact and fiction of head transplants (or is that body transplants?).
- Not enough Martian anomalies for you yet? Add the Martian bison to your list.
- Hey even the Russians see animals on other planets - remember that time one of their planetary scientists found scorpions on Venus?
- Hiker photographs giant cloud god after Chilean volcano.
- Image(s) of the Day: Rosetta captures stunning new images of comet's surface and activity.
Quote of the Day:
Throughout human history, as our species has faced the frightening, terrorizing fact that we do not know who we are, or where we are going in this ocean of chaos, it has been the authorities — the political, the religious, the educational authorities — who attempted to comfort us by giving us order, rules, regulations, informing — forming in our minds — their view of reality. To think for yourself you must question authority and learn how to put yourself in a state of vulnerable open-mindedness, chaotic, confused vulnerability to inform yourself.
Is there life on Venus? Most planetary scientists would say 'no', or at least 'unlikely' - despite being almost a twin to Earth in size, the second planet from the Sun is the closest thing we might imagine to being hell. With surface temperatures close to 900°F, even the Devil might be looking for a vacation to a cooler climate.
And yet, in 2012, a senior Russian planetary scientist claimed not only that Venusian creatures existed, but that they had already been photographed. With all the modern publicity for Mars exploration - especially by the Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity rovers - it is often forgotten that the former Soviet Union successfully landed probes on Venus nine times in the thirteen year period between 1972 and 1985. By virtue of the hellish conditions on the planet's surface, these missions were short affairs - the longest any of them survived once on the ground was a little over two hours.
But during their short Venusian encounters, a number of these probes did transmit photos back to their orbiters, taken from a camera that repeatedly scanned across the panorama. Apart from giving us a glimpse of the alien landscape, Russian scientist Leonid Ksanfomaliti has suggested these images might also show us alien life.
Ksanfomaliti was inspired to re-analyse the images by the many recent discoveries of exoplanets of many sizes and conditions, which made him question whether we have made a mistake in thinking that life likely only exists under Earth-like conditions. Another factor might have been the ongoing discovery in modern times of many 'extremophiles' on Earth: organisms that live in conditions well beyond what we previously thought life was capable of.
To search for signs of life, Ksanfomaliti compared multiple images of the same area, taken at different times as the cameras scanned backward and forwards over the landscape, looking for changing - that is, moving - elements. The challenge then was to figure out whether anything that moved was living, or instead some sort of non-biological phenomena (e.g. dirt being blown by wind), or effects of changing light, digital imaging artifacts and so on.
His startling conclusion: the images do indeed show forms of life, including one that he nicknamed a 'scorpion'. Because Venus isn't hellish enough already, am I right?
At the blog of the Planetary Society, Emily Lakdawalla was impressed enough by Ksanfomaliti's credentials that she decided to critically evaluate his claim, despite it seeming "so obviously ridiculous" that she would "ordinarily not give it a second thought." With a strong understanding of image transmission and processing in planetary exploration, she was less than impressed by his analysis:
With all of these natural and artificial reasons why there may be changes in pixel values from one image to the next, it's hazardous to read too much into small changes of blobby shapes. But that's exactly what Ksanfomaliti goes on to do. There is a bold sentence in the paper that I asked Twitter help in translation, and it reads: "It must be emphasized that in the present work on the processing of the initial images images any retouching, drawing-in, additions to, or adjustment of images was completely ruled out." And he says that the use of Photoshop was "categorically ruled out." Yet he goes on to say that adjustments were, in fact, made. Missing bits of images were filled in with data from other images, contrast and brightness adjusted, and (most strangely), the "Blur" and "sharpen" functions in Microsoft Windows Paint were sometimes employed. These are all fairly standard operations in image processing (except for the use of Windows Paint instead of Photoshop for blur and sharpen filters, which is just odd), but they are most definitely "adjustments" of images, especially that blur and sharpen business. Sharpening, in particular, can have weird effects on noisy images.
...There is so much variation in noise among these five images, and they have been so processed with sharpening and infilling of data, that I think it is pointless to micro-analyze tiny little features and whether they have changed, much less whether they represent the presence of moving, living creatures or not. These images are much less convincing even than those of the Mars Sasquatch.
What was perhaps most surprising to Lakdawalla was how such a respected and knowledgeable planetary scientist could come up with something "so patently off the wall". Someone noted to her that Ksanfomaliti has always been interested in ideas "slightly on the edge of reality", while another suggested that perhaps three decades of analysing old data sets might make anyone crazy. Her own thoughts, however, were more about the dangers in being so smart that you convince yourself that your new theory is the start of a new paradigm:
I've seen before when successful people become so convinced that they are smart and right that they go over some edge and suddenly think that any crazy idea that flits into their head must be right, because they thought it and they're always right, right? There's no way for me to know what's made Ksanfomaliti make so much out of absolutely nothing. All I know is, there's nothing here. Move along.
Dammit, I was so hoping that Venusian scorpions were a thing.