Win a copy of Tool's Ænima, signed by Danny Carey

Ænima, signed by Danny Carey

The CD edition of Tool’s epic album Ænima was released 20 years ago today (man, where does time go?!). To celebrate, we're giving away an original copy of the CD, signed by drummer Danny Carey! All you need to do is head over to our Facebook page, and like and leave a comment on the competition post offering your favourite album *other than* Ænima. Because it's obviously everyone's favourite, right?

Full terms and conditions are explained in the Facebook post, so get over there and get yourself in the draw!

Link: Competition to win a CD copy of Tool's Ænima, signed by drummer Danny Carey

News Briefs 30-09-2016

”We don't have to save the world. The world is big enough to look after itself…”

Quote of the Day:

“…What we have to be concerned about is whether or not the world we live in will be capable of sustaining us in it.”

Douglas Adams

Indiana Jones and the Animated Adventures?

Back in 2011, talented character designer and animator Patrick Schoenmaker started a project creating concept art for an animated series of Indiana Jones. Five years later, he's gone the extra mile and produced an awesome animated concept trailer. Disney and Lucasfilm need to call Patrick and make this right now! It's as good as the real thing, and if they could get Harrison Ford to voice the series... well, for Patrick, it would be like finding El Dorado or the Ark of the Covenant. Fortune and glory, Patrick... fortune and glory! Watching the trailer makes me giddy as a schoolboy.

Enjoy the trailer, and head on over to Patrick's website for more cool concept art.

Indiana Jones Patrick Schoenmaker animation Lucasfilm Disney

News Briefs 29-09-2016

"If you guys knew even a fraction of the shit we do, you'd never sleep again."

Thanks to viewers like you.

"The scientist explains the world by successive approximations"
- Edwin Hubble

Elon Musk Wants to Make Humans a Multiplanetary Species, in Our Lifetime

Tech billionaire Elon Musk is a man who has set his sights on transforming our world, from his push towards a future of electric cars (through his company Tesla) and solar power, through to him taking the lead on 'corporate space vehicles' with SpaceX. And today, he set out perhaps the grandest vision of space exploration heard since John F. Kennedy issued his challenge for the U.S. to travel to the Moon before the 1960s had ended.

"What I really want to try and achieve here is to make Mars seem possible...Make it seem as though it's something we can do in our lifetimes, and that you can go.", he noted in his speech today at the 67th International Astronautical Congress, in Guadalajara, Mexico. He then went on to discuss the 'long-term technical challenges that need to be solved to support the creation of a permanent, self-sustaining human presence on Mars'. (His hour-long presentation is embedded below, as well as a shorter 'highlights' package created by The Verge.)

For me, as a child of the 1970s who - after viewing the amazing images of of the Viking probes - thought that we'd be traveling to the Red Planet before the next decade was done, Musk's vision is seductive. Maybe I will one day get to venture to Mars myself! On the other hand, the technical challenges are not trivial - from getting off this planet, to staying safe and sane on the journey there, and then landing and setting up a settlement.

But, when you consider the success of JFK's challenge, perhaps what Musk is doing here is exactly what is needed. Stop talking in increments, in absolute safety, and instead have a grand vision and set yourself a timeline to try and do the near-impossible.

What do you think of Musk's vision of space travel?

Below are some links to news coverage of the announcement:

And, for a view from a completely different angle, remember that m1k3y has covered Musk's plans previously in his Nightmares of the Future series right here on the Grail.

News Briefs 28-09-2016

News today is a bit of a Musk-out, but I've still found enough to put together a diverse set of news briefs. Enjoy!

Thanks Kat and @AnomalistNews.

Quote of the Day:

I would like to die on Mars. Just not on impact.

Elon Musk

News Briefs 27-09-2016

Attempt no landing there...

Thanks @djp1974.

Quote of the Day:

Stupidity consists in wanting to reach conclusions. We are a thread, and we want to know the whole cloth.

Gustave Flaubert

Japanese Study Finds That 1 in 5 Dying Patients Experienced Deathbed Visions of Deceased Loved Ones or the Afterlife

The Deceased in the Afterlife Realm

In my book Stop Worrying! There Probably is an Afterlife I devoted an entire chapter to so-called 'end-of-life experiences' (ELEs) - one aspect of which is the death-bed vision, where a dying individual reports seeing deceased loved ones in their room and around their bed. It's a fascinating topic that has long been overshadowed by the more-famous near-death experience (NDE), but it deserves much more attention. One large scale study that I mentioned in my book found that almost two-thirds of doctors, nurses and hospice carers reported witnessing ELEs in their patients in the lead-up to their passing.

A recent study by Japanese researchers has added some much-needed extra data about the phenomenon. In 2014 a questionnaire was sent out to bereaved family members of cancer patients across Japan who died in hospital, palliative care units, or at home, in order to evaluate the quality of the end-of-life care they received. Part of that nationwide survey asked about deathbed visions - in Japanese, Omukae (literally, someone visiting a dying patient to accompany them on death’s journey) - which the researchers defined as "visions of deceased persons or afterlife scenes".

Of 2,221 survey responses, the researchers found that Omukae were reported in 463 cases (21%). Of those, 351 of the families stated that the patients themselves clearly described the deathbed vision, while 113 noted that, while the patient did not mention the vision, family members themselves witnessed the patient experiencing the phenomenon. Of the non-deathbed vision responses, 1,392 families reported no experience as occurring, while 365 families replied that they were unsure.

Of the patients who did experience deathbed visions, 87% had visions of deceased persons (most often parents), while 54% had visions of afterlife scenes. Some of the interesting findings were that deathbed visions were significantly more likely to be observed in older patients and female patients, and in families with more religious activities, or who believed the soul survive the body after death.

Overall the researchers believe that the study...

...highlights that deathbed visions are not distressing phenomena for all patients and families, and some regard them as transpersonal phenomena in the dying process, not hallucinations, consistent with previous preliminary studies.

Clinicians should not automatically regard deathbed visions as abnormal phenomena to be medically treated, and an individualized approach is strongly needed.

The findings that the contents of deathbed visions were mostly related to deceased persons, not religious figures, and that patients and families were reluctant to talk about this to healthcare professionals confirmed earlier observations.

In conclusion, the researchers note that their study shows that "deathbed visions are not uncommon phenomena", and that "clinicians should not automatically regard such visions as abnormal, and an individualized approach is needed".

Paper: "Nationwide Japanese survey about deathbed visions"

Related stories:

News Briefs 26-09-2016


Quote of the Day:

Skeptics, who flatly deny the existence of any unexplained phenomenon in the name of 'rationalism,' are among the primary contributors to the rejection of science by the public. People are not stupid and they know very well when they have seen something out of the ordinary. When a so-called expert tells them the object must have been the moon or a mirage, he is really teaching the public that science is impotent or unwilling to pursue the study of the unknown.

Jacques Vallee