Radio 20-07-2007

Here's the rundown on the radio schedules for the second half of the week:

Whitley Strieber's Dreamland: This week Jim Marrs interviews Jerry E. Smith about his book Secrets of the Holy Lance, which journeys into the hidden world of occult beliefs about the lance that supposedly pierced the side of Christ.

Coast to Coast AM: Friday is open lines. Early show Saturday has now become a new replay series called 'Art Bell: Somewhere in Time', with this week's presentation being Art's interview with Richard Boylan on the 'Star Kids' phenomenon from 1/11/04. Afterwards, Ian Punnett talks with retired FBI Agent and former Legal Counsel for the FBI, Coleen Rowley, who will discuss her suggestions for improving the effectiveness of the War on Terror as well as her experiences inside government bureaucracy. On Sunday guest host Rollye James welcomes oncology physician and founder of the Near Death Experience Research Foundation, Dr. Jeffrey Long, for a discussion on NDEs.

More details including relevant websites are available at the linked pages above. Remember also that while Coast to Coast is subscription, Dreamland is free. Dreamland also now offers a podcast of the most recent show.

Skeptics - The Shoe on the Other Foot

Author Michael Prescott - one of the most insightful and eloquent bloggers out there on paranormal/supernatural topics - has posted an interesting series of blog entries which take a (real) skeptical look at...skeptical reports. Michael focuses on one particular article from Skeptical Inquirer, an analysis of the NDE case of 'Maria', who is alleged to have seen a tennis shoe on a ledge outside a hospital while 'out of body'. You can read through the five parts of Michael's piece, "Who Will Watch the Watchers" via the following links: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

It's worthwhile reading through some of the comments to each entry as well, as there's some additional material worth considering (supporting both positive and negative views of the case, and the skeptical report). Also, in a similar vein, check out my article from a few years ago which challenged the trustworthiness of a Skeptical Inquirer cover story on death-bed visions: "Blinded by the Light".

News Briefs 19-07-2007

A great line-up assembling for our Daily Grail anthology - stay tuned...

Quote of the Day:

When a person identifies himself with a group his critical faculties are diminished and his passions enhanced by a kind of emotive resonance. The individual is not a killer, the group is, and by identifying with it, the individual becomes one. This is the infernal dialect reflected in man's history.

Arthur Koestler

All in the Mind Indeed

The latest edition of the BBC's "All in the Mind" radio programme (available as Real Audio) features two items of interest to TDGers, the first on parapsychology, and the other on using neuroscience in war (separated by a piece on the psychology of laughter). Having said that, the section of the show which discusses parapsychology is pretty disappointing, with Chris French and Caroline Watt talking nearly the whole time about possible pathologies linked to paranormal beliefs, which simply puts forth a negative view of the subject. Really, it's obvious to most knowledgeable parties that psi effects increase with creative-minded people, so tying in all the possible pathologies likely in those right-brained people is a little bit of backward logic to me. There is virtually no discussion of positive psi results and the possible explanations for them. So a big thumbs-up to begin with for the BBC covering the topic, but then a thumbs-down for handling it badly.

News Briefs 18-07-2007

Pollution, all around, sometimes up, and sometimes down.

  • Here's a video news story from China with footage of the mysterious boat-sized creatures seen swimming in Kanas Lake. It's the Chinese women's swimming team.
  • Beijing persuaded the World Bank to cut from a report findings that pollution has caused about 750'000 premature deaths each year, according to the Financial Times.
  • Excellent Sky News video story with further proof of rampant pollution in China causing death and illness. As long as it's not causing Global Warming, who cares right?
  • This year could see the biggest dead zone form in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico since records began.
  • Thousands of coins from China's Tang Dynasty era have been found in a central Vietnam province.
  • Archaeologists think naming Petra as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World will see more tourists damage the ancient ruins.
  • A group of Israeli archaeologists has condemned the Antiquities Authority for allowing Islamic trust officials to carry out a dig on the Temple Mount.
  • Roadworks in Greece have unearthed a rare Mycenaean grave thought to be over 3000 years old.
  • Blistering barnacles, Tintin in the Congo has been removed from the children's section of Borders stores in the UK, US and Australia because some find it racist (Amazon US or UK).
  • A century after Ota Benga, a Congo pygmy, was displayed in a New York City zoo, a troupe of pygmy musicians visiting Brazzaville for a music festival were made to stay in the local zoo.
  • The president of the Pagan Awareness Network in Brisbane says the magic of Harry Potter rings true for Wiccans. Please don't turn me into anything unnatural, Kat.
  • Pagans have pledged to perform rain magic to wash away a giant outline of Homer Simpson painted next to the Cernes Abbas giant. If it's to promote the new film, surely they could just use CGI?
  • Can't make it to New Mexico for the 60th anniversary of Roswell, then watch this video.
  • At last, footage of eleven UFOs chased and filmed by the Mexican Air Force three years ago. A plethora of pinyatas?
  • The anthropic principle is dividing physicists, exciting multiverse pundits, and confusing me. Which me is confused, I don't know yet.
  • Out of sight and sound, Michael Prescott discusses NDEs and OBEs.
  • New treatments for sudden cardiac arrest are saving more patients, and providing more Near Death Experiences.

Thanks Kat and Eibon

Quote of the Day:

“We're in a giant car heading towards a brick wall and everyone's arguing over where they're going to sit.”

David Suzuki

Borderlands Network

The Borderlands Network (TBLN) launched July 8th, 2007 during the celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of the Roswell Incident. TBLN is apparently an attempt to create a media outlet for films on the paranormal, and other topics on the fringes of science (ie. typical TDG fodder). Though starting purely as a broadband network, the founders are hopeful that success will breed success, leading to an environment in which paranormal media production is well-funded:

I want to have more than a small broadband channel that presents films and documentaries. I want TBLN and our producers, directors and researchers out there to grow with us. There are many more films to be made, many expeditions to be covered, and this all requires funding and the resources required for making these programs a reality.

Though there is little information on the site for new visitor, it seems the network offers movies and documentaries via broadband, on a pay-per-view basis. The list of features available (and soon to be available) includes the brilliant crop circle documentary Circlespeak, and the alien abduction investigation Touched. Will be interesting to see how it goes.

Egyptian Myths in Harry Potter

Many long-time Daily Grail readers are probably aware that I'm a big fan of the Harry Potter books. But if you haven't read them yourself, perhaps you've wondered what I (and other adults) find so interesting about these 'children's books.' If so, here's a big part of the answer for you:

Egyptian Myths in Harry Potter -- original editorials by S.P. Sipal

Part 1: Harry of the Two Ways

Part 2: The Contendings of Harry and Voldemort

Part 3: Harry's Sacred Egyptian Triangle

Reading these essays may even provide some insight into my devotion to The Daily Grail. ;-)


News Briefs 17-07-07


  • Why did Rome fall? It is time for new answers.
  • La Brea yields oil eating bacteria.
  • Mercury’s gooey centre raises problem of origin.
  • Rock hypocrisy and the warming hoax.
  • Deep inside you are a comma.
  • Moebius strip solved at last.
  • Planets go splat on stars.
  • Seeing circuits.
  • What science can and can’t tell us about the insanity defense.
  • A race to solve the mystery of the subterranean chambers of Mystic Pointe.
  • Homer-sexual.
  • Back from the dead.
  • Evidence found for novel brain cell communication.
  • The myth of consistent scepticism.

Thanks Greg

Quote of the Day:

Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone elses opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.

Oscar Wilde

Tuesday Roundup 17-07-2007

A strange assortment to get you through the week...


New Skeptical Investigations

The excellent resource site Skeptical Investigations has had a makeover, with the express intent of making it easier to navigate about the site and read the numerous articles of interest available. Simply use the dropdown menus found beneath the main topics at the top of the page - you'll find plenty of intelligent argument against so-called 'explanations' offered by debunking organisations and individuals, as well as information about the best anomaly researchers out there.