News Briefs 02-06-2017

“Thence we came forth to rebehold the stars.”

Quote of the Day:

“When I had journeyed half of our life's way, I found myself within a shadowed forest…”

Dante Alighieri

WTF? This 1949 Science Fiction Novel by a Legendary Rocket Designer Names the Leader of Martian Civilization as "Elon"

Project Mars book cover

Follow The Daily Grail on Facebook and on Twitter.

In recent years entrepreneur Elon Musk has put himself at the forefront of the emerging commercial space industry with his company SpaceX enjoying multiple orbital rocket launch successes (as well as the development of their self-returning, reusable rocket systems).

Just last year Musk dreamt big when discussing the future of space travel, saying it was his goal to see a million people living on Mars within 50 years. But with a population that large, the logistics and planning wouldn't just involve space travel, but would also have to take into consideration a variety of social, economic and political factors. For instance, Who would be in charge? Who would be mayor, or governor, or president of the Red Planet?

Never fear, the answer may have already been given to us: in 1949, rocket scientist Wernher von Braun - former Nazi rocketeer, soon to be NASA's star rocket designer - wrote a science fiction book about humanity's first mission to Mars. Von Braun put his considerable technical knowledge to use (according to many reviewers, perhaps adding *too* much detail) in writing Project Mars: A Technical Tale. In his story, set in the 1980s, ten large space ships make the journey, a project which required "upwards of 1,000 flights into Earth's orbit" in order to "build, supply and fuel these ten ships, and it is an international, cooperative project."

By chapter 22 of von Braun's novel, the human visitors have discovered a peaceful indigenous civilization that resides underground on Mars (remembering when he wrote it, little was known about the planet's habitability). And then, in chapter 24, we are given an outline of how Mars is governed by this civilization. It's here that we come across a wonderfully surprising discovery:

Project Mars Excerpt

The Martian government was directed by ten men, the leader of whom was elected by universal suffrage for five years and entitled "Elon." Two houses of Parliament enacted the laws to be administered by the Elon and his cabinet.

The Upper House was called the Council of the Elders and was limited to a membership of 60 persons, each being appointed for life by the Elon as vacancies occurred by death. In principle, the method was not unlike that by which the College of Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church is appointed. Usually the Elon chose historians, churchmen, former cabinet members or successful economic leaders who could offer lifetimes of valuable experience.

Yes, you heard von Braun - one of the progenitors of human space travel - correctly: the leader of Martian civilization is called 'Elon', the same name as Elon Musk, who is currently leading the field of human space travel. Predestination, time vortex, or just a delicious coincidence? Maybe throw this one in the Mars weirdness file with Jack Kirby drawing the Face on Mars in a comic 17 years before it was discovered...

Wernher von Braun's Project Mars: A Technical Tale is available to download in multiple formats from archive.org.

(via Reddit)

Related stories:

News Briefs 01-06-2017

Let them drink covfefe.

  • CRISPR may not be the genetic magic bullet we all hoped for.
  • Astronomers may finally have the first picture of a black hole.
  • Meet Stratolaunch: The world's biggest plane, designed to release satellite-carrying rockets into space.
  • NASA's 1st mission to the Sun launches next year.
  • Former pilot for JFK claims he talked about UFOs with him.
  • District 9 director Neil Blomkamp's new project is sure to delight David Icke fans.
  • When UFOlogy starts to resemble a D&D game session.
  • UK's The Mirror runs a story on how Peter Robbins had a huge falling out with Left at East Gate's co-author Larry Warren.
  • Supernatural Staffordshire: Perception and the shadow of fear.
  • A.I. researchers think transparency in their work is cumbersome, despite the threat of catastrophic outcomes.
  • How a brain tumor gave Pat Long a persistent state of deja vu --along with a unique perception of how memory works.
  • The 6 most mysterious unsolved murders of all time.
  • *Sigh* if only white supremacists could get their History right, for a change…
  • Are flat earthers being actually serious?
  • Red Pill of the Day: That time when Hunter S. Thompson ran for sheriff of Aspen, Colorado.

Thanks to the re-framers of debates.

Quote of the Day:

"My ego every day is more and more polite. I tame it."

~Alejandro Jodorowsky

New Lovecraft Anthology from the Folio Society Is Sumptuously Gothic and Otherworldly

Artwork from New Lovecraft Anthology

The Folio Society has just published a new anthology of stories from H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos in two absolutely beautiful editions: a limited (750 copy) edition and a 'standard' (though still sumptuous looking) hardcover. The Call of Cthulhu & Other Weird Stories is a collection that spans Lovecraft’s literary career, charting "the development of his ‘cosmicist’ philosophy; the belief that behind the veil of our blinkered everyday lives lies another reality, too terrible for the human mind to comprehend."

The two new editions marry Lovecraft's best-known fiction...

...with two modern masters of the macabre, the acclaimed artist Dan Hillier and author Alan Moore. In his beautifully crafted new preface, Moore finds Lovecraft at once at odds with and integral to the time in which he lived: ‘the improbable embodiment of an estranged world in transition’. Yet, despite his prejudices and parochialisms, he ‘possessed a voice and a perspective both unique in modern literature’.

Hillier’s six mesmerising, portal-like illustrations embrace the alien realities that lurk among the gambrel roofs of Lovecraft’s landscapes. By splicing Victorian portraits and lithographs with cosmic and Lovecraftian symbolism, each piece – like the stories themselves – pulls apart the familiar to reveal what lies beneath.

The edition itself shimmers with Lovecraft’s ‘unknown colours’, bound in purple and greens akin to both the ocean depths and mysteries from outer space. The cover is embossed with a mystical design by Hillier, while a monstrous eye stares blankly from the slipcase.

Here's a promotional video that shows off the artistic work and production values behind this new release:

News Briefs 31-05-2017

Preachin'...

Thanks to Cult of Weird.

Quote of the Day:

I put things in probabilities, not absolutes... My only originality lies in applying this zetetic attitude outside the hardest of the hard sciences, physics, to softer sciences and then to non-sciences like politics, ideology, jury verdicts and, of course, conspiracy theory.

Robert Anton Wilson

Billionaire Robert Bigelow Tells 60 Minutes There is "an Existing Extraterrestrial Presence on Earth"

Robert Bigelow

Follow The Daily Grail on Facebook and on Twitter.

In recent years Robert 'Bob' Bigelow has become a major player in the fledgling commercial space industry, most notably through Bigelow Aerospace's development of inflatable space modules that have since been tested at the International Space Station. Bigelow Aerospace was made possibly by Bigelow's extraordinary success as the entrepreneur who created the hotel chain Budget Suites of America. But before Bigelow became big in extraterrestrial accomodation, he was interested in other extraterrestrial matters: namely, the possibility that aliens had visited - and to this day are still present on - Earth.

Back in the day, Bigelow funded the National Institute of Discovery Studies (NIDS), devoted to studying 'out-there' phenomenon in a scientific manner (at one time purchasing the legendary 'Skinwalker Ranch' outright in order to investigate the odd sightings reported there), and later (controversially) provided financial backing to the Mutual UFO network (MUFON) for field investigators, in return for access to the organization's data. (We've mentioned Bigelow many times here over the years, along with NIDS.)

But if anybody thought Bob Bigelow might be leaving UFOs and the paranormal behind in a bid for respectability, think again. In an interview this week with 60 Minutes reporter Lara Logan, Bigelow came right out and nailed his colours to the mast.

Lara Logan: Do you believe in aliens?

Robert Bigelow: I'm absolutely convinced. That's all there is to it.

Lara Logan: Do you also believe that UFOs have come to Earth?

Robert Bigelow: There has been and is an existing presence, an ET presence. And I spent millions and millions and millions -- I probably spent more as an individual than anybody else in the United States has ever spent on this subject.

Logan, surprised by this up-front revelation, pushed Bigelow, asking him if he thought it was risky for him - as a high-profile businessman, and CEO in the commercial space industry - to say publicly that he believed in aliens. I looooove Bigelow's response: "I don't give a damn. I don't care."

Lara Logan: You don't worry that some people will say, "Did you hear that guy, he sounds like he's crazy"?

Robert Bigelow: I don't care.

Lara Logan: Why not?

Robert Bigelow: It's not gonna make a difference. It's not gonna change reality of what I know.

Lara Logan: Do you imagine that in our space travels we will encounter other forms of intelligent life?

Robert Bigelow: You don't have to go anywhere.

Lara Logan: You can find it here? Where exactly?

Robert Bigelow: It's just like right under people's noses. Oh my gosh. Wow.

Bigelow Aerospace's Alien Logo

Link: Robert Bigelow interviewed by 60 Minutes

Related stories:

News Briefs 30-05-2017

Seeing double...

Thanks Baldrick.

Quote of the Day:

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

Steve Jobs

This Study Uncovered Common Words That Appear to Have Survived from a Mother Language That Existed During the Last Ice Age

Ice Age People

Follow The Daily Grail on Facebook and on Twitter.

We are all aware of similarities in words between different languages, and also how much some words vary between cultures separated both in time and location. Often it is the most common words in a language that retain a strong similarity to their origin languages: for instance, the English word brother and the French frère are derived from words in ancient languages: the Sanskrit bhrātr and the Latin frāter. It is obvious, therefore, that the distinctive sound of a word can remain associated with the same meaning for thousands of years. But how far back in time can we go to find common words?

A 2012 PNAS paper, "Ultraconserved words point to deep language ancestry across Eurasia", attempted to answer that question, with surprising results. Researchers noted that these early 'root words'...

...can be predicted from information independent of their sounds. We showed in a sample of Indo-European languages that the frequency with which a word is used in everyday speech, along with its part of speech, can predict how rapidly words evolve, with frequently used words on average retained for longer periods of time

We have recently extended this result to include speakers from the Uralic, Sino-Tibetan, Niger-Congo, Altaic, and Austronesian families, in addition to Indo-European, plus the isolate Basque and the Creole Tok Pisin. Even in languages as widely divergent as these, we found that a measure of the average frequency of use predicted rates of lexical replacement as estimated in the Indo-European languages.

The study uncovered 23 "ultraconserved words" that "point to deep language ancestry across Eurasia". How deep? This subset of words, the researchers believe, "have remained associated with their particular meanings independently in separate branches of this superfamily since the end of the last ice age."

The 23 words identified by researchers included obvious ones (in terms of common usage) - “I,” “we.” “who,” “not,” “that,” “mother,” "man" - but also less commonly used words today which nevertheless were likely very important some 15,000 years ago, such as "fire," "ashes,", “bark,” and "worm".

Researchers noted that their unique approach in predicting these words independently of their sound correspondences "dilutes the usual criticisms leveled at such long-range linguistic reconstructions, that proto-words are unreliable or inaccurate, or that apparent phonetic similarities among them reflect chance sound resemblances."

So if you're planning on time travel back to the end of the last Ice Age any time soon, it might be worth brushing up on those 23 words...

Link: "Ultraconserved words point to deep language ancestry across Eurasia"

(h/t @m1k3y)

News Briefs 29-05-2017

Free your mind, and your ass will follow...

Quote of the Day:

There's a reason you separate military and the police. One fights the enemies of the state. The other serves and protects the people. When the military becomes both, then the enemies of the state tend to become the people.

William Adama, "Battlestar Galactica"