You get the feeling that Islamic State militants are just attention-seeking brats who have mummy issues?
- Islamic State militants reportedly bulldoze ancient city of Nimrud. And Hatra. And Khorsabad. And destroy artefacts in Mosul museum. Are Libya's treasures next?
- New fossil finds suggest human family is much older than previously thought.
- The search for Genghis Khan's hidden tomb.
- Impressive tomb of Celtic prince found in France. Obviously would have been the loser if he played hide and seek with Genghis Khan.
- Is this the home of Jesus Christ? Lack of a wine rack a telling feature?
- Did the colour blue not exist before 2500 BCE?
- Ancient 'Blue' Mars lost an entire ocean to space. So blue was on Mars, then it came to Earth in 2500 BC, right?
- Do animals have consciousness? A positive answer to that question has huge ramifications.
- Study finds that psychedelic drug use 'does not increase risk for mental health problems'.
- Anti-science advocates are freaking out about Google's truth ranking.
- The Vatican says it has received a ransom demand for the return of a stolen letter by Renaissance artist Michelangelo.
- LSD researchers are crowdfunding the first images of the brain on acid. And have already raised £15,000 more than their goal. So not much interest in that then...
- This is what it is like to die - and it's pretty scary. Pretty much a hack job of a story we covered 6 months ago.
- Four-year Bigfoot research project in Oklahoma yields intriguing and unexplained results.
- When things happen that you can't explain.
- Video of the Day: Give it up, you'll never kick butt with the style of 1930s Jiu Jitsu exponent May Whitley.
Quote of the Day:
Experience is not what happens to you; it's what you do with what happens to you.
A couple of years ago I mentioned some fascinating research about ancient meteorite impacts being possibly recorded in the oral folklore of indigenous Australians. The researcher who wrote that paper, Duane Hamacher, has a new paper out on the same topic in the journal Archaeoastronomy ("Recorded Accounts of Meteoritic Events in the Oral Traditions of Indigenous Australians" - PDF).
One interesting example covered in the paper is that of the Henbury crater field, located in Central Australia roughly 150km south of Alice Springs, which was the site of a meteor impact around 5000 years ago. There was a vague suggestion that the event may have been commemorated in the name of the place (chindu china waru chingi ya bu - “sun walk fire devil rock”), but it was not until recently that it was realised there was other supporting evidence - evidence which had been around for some 90 years:
When James M. Mitchell visited the site in 1921, he took an Aboriginal guide. His interest was piqued when his guide refused to go
near them, saying that it was a place where a fire “debil-debil” [devil] came out of the sky and killed everything in the vicinity. He visited the craters again in 1934 and took another Aboriginal guide with him. The guide said Aboriginal people would not camp within two miles of the craters or even venture within half a mile of them, describing them as a place where the fire-devil lived. He claimed they did not collect water that filled some of the craters, fearing the fire devil would fill them with a piece of iron. The guide said his grandfather saw the fire devil and it came from the sun. Aboriginal groups to the north of Henbury (including the Kaitish and Warramunga) hold traditions that meteors are fiery “debil-debils” that hurtle from the skies to feast upon the entrails of the recently deceased.
I have a little confession to make: I don't listen to a lot of modern music anymore. It's not that I've reached some middle-aged phase in which I only tune in to 'adult contemporary' radio stations (which apparently play Nirvana nowadays? WTF); as a matter of fact, most of the time I'm listening to podcasts instead of live broadcasts nowadays, and as a result I'm simply not exposed to current musical trends --with some rare exceptions.
One of those exceptions is Die Antwoord, the controversial South African rap group composed of Ninja, Yo-landi Vi$$er and DJ Hi-Tek. Both their music and visual aesthetics are so vibrant and in-your-face that passive indifference is just simply impossible --you either <3 it of h8 it.
But for me Die Antwoord is more than just music, though; It's a glimpse of what the interconnected 'mashup-ness' of the digital global village is going to really look like, beneath the flimsy veneer of corporate uniformity mainstream media is constantly bombarding us with: Chaotic, raw and ethnically eclectic despite of the use of universal symbolism.
It's really no wonder Ninja and Yo-landi are such good friends of Neil Blonkamp, the maverick film-maker who earned a lot of critical and commercial success with his debut film District 9. Neil's fictional worlds look realistic because they're gritty and imperfect --More Mad Max than Star Trek. The Brave New World is going to be just a filthy and full of pornographic graffitti as ours; in such a future Banksy will be regarded as Rembrandt and Die Antwoord as The Beatles --and that's just as delightfully ironic as alien guettos and robots speaking with Afrikaans accent.
Which is why I'm anxiously waiting to watch CHAPPiE once it finally arrives to a multiplex near me. Why, even Wired's Angry Nerd gave it the two thumbs up! (sorta). In the meantime, here's a short featurette showing Ninja and Yo-landi talking about their involvement in the film:
No doubt CHAPPie is going to be the first exposure to Die Antwoord's music for a lot of movie-goers, who are probably not aware they actually paid to watch the biggest movie-length music video since Michael Jackson's Moonwalker. They won't know what fokken hit them, bra!
CHAPPie premieres in theaters around the world (and maybe others) starting March 4.
Alan Watts wonders what is wrong with our culture, starting with TV...
You know, for the vast majority of American families, what seems to be the real point of life, what you rush home to get to, is to watch an electronic reproduction of life. But you can't touch it, it doesn't smell, and it has no taste.
You might think that people getting home for the real point of life in a robust material culture would go home to a colossal banquet, or an orgy of love-making, or a riot of music and dancing...but nothing of the kind. It turns out to be this purely passive, contemplation of a flickering screen. You see mile after mile of darkened houses, with that little electronic screen, flickering in the room. Everybody isolated, watching this thing. And thus, in no real communion with each other at all.
...Even in the spectacles one sees on this television, it's perfectly proper to exhibit people slugging and slaying each other, but oh dear no, not people loving each other, except in a rather restrained way. One can only draw the conclusion that expressions of physical love are far more dangerous than expressions of physical hatred. And it seems to me that a culture that has that sort of assumption is basically crazy...
In light of our recent incidence of collective missing time --how else to explain we're already in March!-- today's news have a little more UFO content than normal. Enjoy.
- Is this the first official acknowledgment by the US government of the controversial Rendlesham UFO event?
- To learn more about Rendlesham witness John Burroughs' legal victory against the VA, listen to his interview on The Paracast.
- Thomas Reed's UFO and alien encounter 'declared true' by Bostonian historical society.
- 2015 International UFO Congress recap, courtesy of Open Minds.
- UFO photobombs Argentinian TV news show.
- Recently declassified Soviet-era files purportedly document military encounters with USOs.
- Frank Drake talks about the dire state of SETI.
- I want to Belittle: Fox Mulder and the problem of the 'romantic conspiracy theorist' --if you're a seudo-skeptic, that is…
- The true night owls: What is it like to need just a few hours of sleep?
- Pot causes moms to have crack babies, and turns stoned rabbits into jackalopes!
- 'Biracial' twins show us how stupid our ideas about Race really are.
- Is the Syrian civil war the first Climate Change conflict?
- A door to wonder: Revisiting the great gate of Ishtar.
- ...But did Babylonians 'see' the gate's blue tiles as blue? What if blue didn't exist until modern times?
- Perhaps MU's Ben and Aaron can attend a robot funeral during their trip to Japan.
- Red Pill of the Day: How your morning jacket could help save the planet.
Thanks to Chuckycabra and a Baby Duck.
Quote of the Day:
"They need magic. That's why. They're taught from the very beginning, when they're taught about Santa Claus, and angels, and devils, and demons out of the earth and into the sky. They're told all this fanciful stuff as small children, and they get to believe that. And they want that to be theirs, that kind of magic to visit them. And they want to—pardon me [ noisily sneezes]. Ah yes, that shows my respect for them, so there."
~James Randi, 'splaining why ignorant people like to believe in paranormal lies [/sarcasm]
Time for the news, I believe.
- 'Garish' fairies lower tone of neighbourhood.
- Childhood home of Jesus said to have been found.
- Historic carving found during village tidy-up.
- Man may have purchased 3,000-year-old seal of Pharaoh Ramesses II for $19.
- How hunting with wolves helped humans outsmart the Neanderthals.
- Ancient Britons had wheat 2000 years before they had farms.
- After handshakes, we sniff people's scent on our hand.
- First 'Stone Avenue' found for nearly three hundred years?
- More on the City of the Monkey God: lost for 1,000 years.
- The first detailed image of the world's smallest known life-form.
- Collecting vintage paranormal games.
- Quadriplegic flies F-35 simulator with her mind.
- Bank of Canada urges Star Trek fans to stop 'spocking' their fivers.
- Human waste is ruining Mount Everest.
Quote of the Day:
With most men, unbelief in one thing springs from blind belief in another.
Georg Christoph Lichtenberg
Probably the closest thing we'll ever have to Schrödinger's cat shown both alive and death: A research team has managed to capture light as both a particle and a wave, the dual behavior lying at the foundation of Quantum mechanics --and which also opened that can of wormholes known as "the observer effect" as well as the "spooky action at a distance" Einstein dreaded so much --ironic, considering *he* was the one who first proposed the dual nature of electromagnetic radiation in the photoelectric effect.
"This experiment demonstrates that, for the first time ever, we can film quantum mechanics – and its paradoxical nature – directly," says Fabrizio Carbone [head of the team at the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne]. In addition, the importance of this pioneering work can extend beyond fundamental science and to future technologies. As Carbone explains: "Being able to image and control quantum phenomena at the nanometer scale like this opens up a new route towards quantum computing."
Congrats on your future Nobel prize, signore Carbone --now about that UFO detecting machine I requested…
Learn to swim...
- Welcome to Los Atlantis: Maps imagine the modern world, post-flood.
- Buzz Aldrin insists we need to send humans to live - and die - on the Red Planet.
- First ever photograph of light as both a particle *and* a wave.
- Remember that time thieves stole Charlie Chaplin's dead body and held it for ransom?
- Americans are turning away from organised religion in record numbers.
- New study reveals participants unconsciously sniff their right hand after shaking it with others as part of process to pick up chemical signals about others. Still beats smelling their butts.
- Well-preserved brain recovered from 2600-year-old body in Britain. We can rebuild him...
- Philip K. Dick on fine-tuning your BS-meter to spot 'pseudo-realities'.
- First seeds arrive at Norwegian 'doomsday vault'.
- One year on, the mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 still confounds.
- 'Short sleepers' walk among us. Presumably late at night and very early in the morning.
- Image of the Day: Just a weasel riding a woodpecker...nothing to see here, move along.
Quote of the Day:
Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right.
Over at National Geographic, there's a fascinating article detailing the recent discovery of one of South America's most pervasive mysteries: The fabled 'White City' or 'City of the Monkey God', which was said to have been kept intact during the Spanish conquest due to its remote and inhospitable location in the remote valley of La Mosquitia, deep in the Honduran rainforest. the 'monkey god' is a reference to the tale of a giant buried statue of a monkey god, as was told by natives to American explorer Theodore 'Ted' Morde in 1940; Morde's alleged discovery of the mythical city was never confirmed --he refused to reveal its location, and later committed suicide in 1954.
But now thanks to modern LIDAR technology, an international expedition has managed to pinpoint a highly advanced urban center that is over a thousand years old;
Christopher Fisher, a Mesoamerican archaeologist on the team from Colorado State University, said the pristine, unlooted condition of the site was “incredibly rare.” He speculated that the cache, found at the base of the pyramid, may have been an offering.
“The undisturbed context is unique,” Fisher said. “This is a powerful ritual display, to take wealth objects like this out of circulation.”
The tops of 52 artifacts were peeking from the earth. Many more evidently lie below ground, with possible burials. They include stone ceremonial seats (called metates) and finely carved vessels decorated with snakes, zoomorphic figures, and vultures.
The most striking of the objects found so far was a stone head of a 'were-jaguar', which would seem to indicate that the inhabitants practiced some form of shamanic religion --possibly involving the use of psychedelic substances, which would trigger in the shaman the illusion of shape-shifting into a jaguar.
But more than solving once and for all the legend of the 'White City', the archeologists are now convinced this urban center is in fact part of a previously unknown civilization which thrived in the Mosquitia valley around 1000-1400 AD. Therefore, many more 'lost cities' are bound to be found --that is, if they're not razed first by the illegal deforestation of the forest.
Here's hoping the Honduran government manages to secure this incredible discovery, so that archeologists can continue finding more remnants of this previously unknown civilization. Maybe one day they'll unearth the monkey god statue after all --or at least a couple of crystal skulls...
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Live long and prosper...
- Most people knew him as Spock, but Leonard Nimoy was a huge Fortean influence for many (including myself).
- New theory behind dozens of craters found in Siberia. I'm calling it: Snow-worms!
- Does the Sun have a heart of dark matter?
- The dark quest to reanimate the dead.
- Music of the Maya: Mysterious ancient whistles confound experts.
- 13 science myths that you probably believe.
- General anesthesia may impair brain development in babies and young children.
- The controversial origins of the Maine Penny, a Norse coin found in a Native American settlement.
- The girl who gets gifts from the birds.
- After thousands of years, Earth's frozen life forms are waking up.
- Officials are evacuating the city in Kazakhstan where villagers fall asleep at random. God I hope they do it while they're asleep, just to screw with them.
- Video of the Day: Skydiver suffers epileptic seizure during freefall, instructor flies to him and pulls his ripcord.
Quote of the Day:
Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business.