Star Stuff: The Curious Boy Who Would Become Carl Sagan

Star Stuff is a short albeit powerful film written and directed by Ratimir Rakuljic, inspired by the life journey of Carl Sagan; from his start as a young Brooklyn boy wanting to learn more about those pale lights filling the night sky, who ended up becoming one of the most famous scientists and educators of our time.

The film takes inspiration from Cosmos' Chapter VII, The Backbone of Night, in which Sagan recounts a trip he made to the library and how, when he asked the librarian for a volume about stars, she first returned with a book filled with pictures of celebrities like Clark Gable and Jean Harlow. When young Carl complained because this wasn't what he had come for, the old librarian smiled and put in his hands a book that changed the course of his life forever --and, I daresay, also the lives of all the young minds who were influenced by Sagan's lauded TV series and his books... myself included.

Hurrah to Ratimir. I really wouldn't mind seeing this expanded into a full-length motion picture.

[H/T Laughing Squid]

News Briefs 08-09-2015

Information for you. I leave it to you to find meaning...

Quote of the Day:

If there is an antidote to boredom, it is not information but meaning.

Dougald Hine

Superhenge: Archaeologists Discover Massive Megalithic Site That May Predate Stonehenge

Durrington Walls Superhenge

British researchers have discovered the remains of a major new prehistoric stone monument that dwarfs the nearby, more well-known site of Stonehenge. Using non-invasive remote sensing technologies, the 'Stonehenge Hidden Landscapes Project' team found evidence for a row of up to 90 standing stones - some of which may have originally stood 4.5 metres in height - beneath the massive bank of a henge later raised over the top of the megaliths, burying them out of sight for millennia.

The discovery was made at Durrington Walls, one of the largest known henge monuments (measuring 500m in diameter), which is thought to have been built around 4,500 years ago.

Although none of the stones have yet been excavated a unique sarsen standing stone, "The Cuckoo Stone", remains in the adjacent field and this suggests that other stones may have come from local sources.

...Previous, intensive study of the area around Stonehenge had led archaeologists to believe that only Stonehenge and a smaller henge at the end of the Stonehenge Avenue possessed significant stone structures. The latest surveys now provide evidence that Stonehenge's largest neighbour, Durrington Walls, had an earlier phase which included a large row of standing stones probably of local origin and that the context of the preservation of these stones is exceptional and the configuration unique to British archaeology.

Location of new Superhenge

The discovery of these buried megaliths has significant implications for British archaeology. As the enclosure at Durrington Walls was built about a century after the Stonehenge sarsen circle, the newly discovered stone row is likely from an earlier period than this. With evidence of up to 90 stones discovered, some of massive size, this could demonstrate an earlier phase of megalithic architecture previously unrecognised.

The discovery also reimagines the landscape that was already in place when Stonehenge was being constructed.

"This discovery of a major new stone monument, which has been preserved to a remarkable extent, has significant implications for our understanding of Stonehenge and its landscape setting," said Professor Vince Gaffney, one of the archaeologists leading the project. "Not only does this new evidence demonstrate a completely unexpected phase of monumental architecture at one of the greatest ceremonial sites in prehistoric Europe, the new stone row could well be contemporary with the famous Stonehenge sarsen circle or even earlier."

This new discovery - see computer-visualisation below - will quite literally rewrite the history of books of Great Britain.

(h/t Fintan)

Paradigm Shift in 3... 2... 1...

Only 24 days for the event I've been waiting for all freaking year: The Paradigm Symposium, the kind of eclectic event suited for open-minded-yet-grounded people like the members of the Grail, is bringing once again an impressive menagerie of thinkers and researchers to the Twin Cities from October 1st to the 4th.

Paradigm started in 2012 as the brainchild of Scotty Roberts and my Cosmic Compadre Micah Hanks, taking positive advantage of the 'esoteric' momentum of that year, and the renewed interest in ancient mysteries through shows like 'Ancient Aliens', in order to have --as Micah put it, very tongue-in-cheekly-- "the best 'end-of-the-world' party we could throw."

Obviously the world didn't end that year --or maybe it did, in ANOTHER dimension!-- and so Scotty and Micah, with the help of John Ward and others, decided to soldier on and make Paradigm an annual event with its own, distinctive flavor. The tone has shifted away from the initial 'ancient aliens' vibe --which IMO is for the best-- and although prehistoric mysteries and megalithic sites are still a central topic, they are counter-balanced with presentations about other subjects like UFOs or altered states of perception --although of course, we Grailers know these are not isolated phenomena anyway...

So please, check out the symposium's website if you're interested in having a phenomenal time with some of the best thinkers in the field, like Randall Carlson --who gained a lot of notoriety thanks to Joe Rogan's podcast, and will gain even more once Graham Hancock's Magicians of the Gods is released-- Nick Redfern, Peter Robbins, Rich Dolan, and many MANY others.

If you're still undecided, perhaps reading my 'Take me Down to Paradigm City' series, which I wrote for Mysterious Universe as a review of everything that transpired last year might finally convince you.

And if you do decide to come, please look for me and say hi --I'll be the tall guy wearing a red luchador mask ;)

UPDATE (14/09/2015): Unfortunately, the Paradigm symposium has been postponed. More later.

News Briefs 07-09-2015


Thanks @tobadzistsini and @anomalistnews.

Quote of the Day:

In what terms should we think of these beings, nonhuman yet possessing so very many human-like characteristics? How should we treat them? Surely we should treat them with the same consideration and kindness as we show to other humans; and as we recognize human rights, so too should we recognize the rights of the great apes? Yes.

Jane Goodall

News Briefs 04-09-2015

“Those who make no mistakes are making the biggest mistakes of all — they are attempting nothing new.”

Quote of the Day:

“Spirituality means waking up. Most people, even though they don't know it, are asleep.”

A. de Mello

Electricomics: A New Digital Comics Platform


Electricomics is a brand new, free digital comics platform that debuted this week with original content from the likes of Alan Moore, Garth Ennis, Peter Hogan, and our friends Leah Moore and John Reppion. You can download the Electricomics app via this iTunes link.

The bundled content takes advantage of the digital format to explore and extend the capabilities of comics, with user interaction, character movement within panels, and iPad movements to unlock 'parallel storylines' all showcased in their short stories.

Perhaps even more exciting though is the feature that will appear in the next iteration of the Electricomics app:

Coming very soon, you will be able to go to and download the creator tool to your desktop PC or MAC. It lets you lay out, and package your own comics, and read them in the app. You can build Infinite Canvas comics, where the reader follows the story from panel to panel in whichever direction it leads. You can make Panel delivery comics, where you have control of the reading experience at panel level, every panel can be a reveal, and the page is fluid, changing.

The professional comics are a jumping off point, we want you to join in, and push forward what is possible for yourself. Apart from the four free comics, when you start to make your own Electricomics and read those of other people, the App is ready for you:

Maintain control of your own content. We don’t host it, it’s yours. You store it where you like, make what you want out of it. Comics load in the Electricomics App instantly from their URL.

Keep a library of your favourite comics, whether they were made by you, your friends, or your greatest heroes, they are all accessible in the same app.

Open Source code is used throughout, and full access to our JavaScript library, so if you can see a piece of functionality you could add to it, the code is there to use, and we can add it to the next update.

Whatever is added to Electricomics remains Open Source, and the property of the community using it. Take it. Make with it. Improve it. It’s yours.

If you've got an iPad, go grab the app and check it out!

Link: Electricomics for iOS

News Briefs 03-09-2015

  • A deadly match between 2 of the world's most venomous creatures --no, I'm *not* talking about that angry tycoon...
  • Russian idol 3 times as old as the pyramids --the ones in Egypt, you know. Because TDB has never heard of Graham's books, apparently…
  • Cracking the Maya Code: Timeline of Decipherment --Linda Schele FTW!
  • How ​Oliver Sacks helped me deal with my hallucination-inducing headaches.
  • Treating Intellectually-disabled people with anti-psychotics is pretty cray-cray --and f#$%ed up…
  • Interview with the man who was picked by Kennedy to be the first black man in space --and why he was forced to quit.
  • Seth Shostak's op-ed on UFOs is further proof the people more fanatically devoted to the ETH… are the skeptics.
  • Minneapolis deputy's 1979 UFO encounter still 'extraordinarily important' --and still more recent than YOUR 'Wow' signal, Seth!
  • When aliens stopped Terrorism.
  • Radio Misterioso with guest Paul Kimball: Canadian para-conferences, hauntings, synchronicities, and a mysterious EVP during the show!
  • A Trojan Feast's Joshua Cutchin announces his next project --I 'smell' another hit coming ;)
  • Can a video game turn you into a vegan?
  • Is the feeling that we're immortal innate in humans?
  • Be careful your love of Science doesn't turn into a religion.
  • 23 ways to tell you've read waaay too much Robert Anton Wilson.
  • Red Pill of the Day: Auschwitz museum installs gas-chamber-like showers to keep visitors cool --Banksy approves.

Thanks to Bob Ross, godfather of ASMR and master of the happy little trees.

Quote of the Day:

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself"

~George Bernard Shaw

Time Travel Rookie Error: Aiming at Days That Never Existed

Rookie Time Travel Error

Like the Daily Grail on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter for more fascinating articles like this one.

In the year 1752, British and (soon-to-be) American citizens went to bed on the night of September 2nd...and all woke up on September 14th. How did they lose 11 days?

From Roman times, the Western world had worked with a calendar developed by Julius Caesar - the 'Julian Calendar'. But this calendar wasn't perfectly accurate, with its years actually being around 11 minutes out. Which isn't so bad over a few years, but after a millennium or two adds up to days.

By 1582 the mistake had multiplied out to 10 days, and the Catholic Church didn't like what it was doing to the timing of Easter. So Pope Gregory XIII instituted a new calendar - the one we use today (the Gregorian calendar) - but to do so the error needed to be corrected. Pope Gregory therefore decreed that that October 4th 1582 would become October 15th.

Protestants weren't such big fans of the Catholics, so they weren't about to listen to any papal decrees. It took them another 170 years to start instituting the change to the Gregorian calendar, with Britain and its colonies (including the soon to be United States) not changing over until 1752.

By that time, the error in the Julian calendar had built up to 11 days - so to fix the problem, in 1752 September 2nd was immediately followed by September 14th. Children with birth certificates showing each of those two dates were only born a day apart.

And if that isn't confusing enough: at that time the year began on March 25th, but with the calendar revision this was shifted to January 1 - so the year 1752 ran from March 25 to December 31, with September only being 19 days long as well.

This change in calendar results in some odd historical quirks, such as George Washington's birth certificate showing that he was born on February 11, 1731, while his birthday is now celebrated by us on February 22nd, 1732.

An important historical note to remember when setting the dates on your DeLorean!