In case you missed it: my book, Stop Worrying! There Probably is an Afterlife is available now from Amazon for just $5.99...
- News Briefs 28-10-2013 (Monday)
- Jesus and Mary on a Cloud in Google Earth
- News Briefs 29-10-2013 (Tuesday)
- News Briefs 30-10-2013 (Wednesday)
- Help Solve the Mystery of Ancient African Coins Found in Australia
- Stop Worrying! There Probably is an Afterlife
- News Briefs 31-10-2013 (Thursday)
- News Briefs 01-11-2013 (Friday)
- An App to Remember Your Dreams
- Graham Hancock Writes about 'The War on Consciousness for New Statesman
- The Cerne Abbas Giant Now Has a Moustache
Have a good weekend!
The famous British landmark of the Cerne Abbas Giant - a 55-metre-tall chalk outline cut into the side of a hill in Dorset, depicting a giant wielding a massive club (well, two massive clubs, if you know what I mean *wink* *wink*) - has been added to: it now has a moustache. The new facial hair isn't a case of overnight vandalism however - it's a sanctioned publicity stunt in aid of charity:
The Cerne Abbas Giant in Dorset is sporting facial "hair" in support of Movember, which raises awareness of prostate and testicular cancer.
The National Trust's Rob Rhodes said: "It's all a bit of fun to highlight an important subject so we were happy to give our support and join in the fun."
He said the moustache would remain for one day, and that there would be no damage to the giant.
"I am sure the giant would approve," he added.
What do you think? Harmless bit of fun, or desecration/belittling of an historic site (though there is plenty of conjecture over the actual age of the Giant)?
I mentioned in my news briefs last week that comedian Russell Brand was guest-editing an issue of the New Statesman, and had invited alternative thinkers including Graham Hancock and Daniel Pinchbeck to contribute articles. Graham's article, titled "The War on Consciousness", had to be shortened to fit the print magazine, but he has kindly posted the unedited text on Facebook for everyone to read. Here's an excerpt (link to full article below):
Consciousness is one of the great mysteries of science – perhaps the greatest mystery. We all know we have it, when we think, when we dream, when we savour tastes and aromas, when we hear a great symphony, when we fall in love, and it is surely the most intimate, the most sapient, the most personal part of ourselves. Yet no one can really claim to have understood and explained it completely. There’s no doubt it’s associated with the brain in some way but the nature of that association is far from clear. In particular how do these three pounds of material stuff inside our skulls allow us to have experiences?
Professor David Chalmers of the Australian National University has dubbed this the “hard problem” of consciousness; but many scientists, particularly those (still in the majority) who are philosophically inclined to believe that all phenomena can be reduced to material interactions, deny that any problem exists. To them it seems self-evident that physical processes within the stuff of the brain produce consciousness rather in the way that a generator produces electricity – i.e. consciousness is an “epiphenomenon” of brain activity. And they see it as equally obvious that there cannot be such things as conscious survival of death or out-of-body experiences since both consciousness and experience are confined to the brain and must die when the brain dies.
Yet other scientists with equally impressive credentials are not so sure and are increasingly willing to consider a very different analogy – namely that the relationship of consciousness to the brain may be less like the relationship of the generator to the electricity it produces and more like the relationship of the TV signal to the TV set. In that case when the TV set is destroyed – dead – the signal still continues. Nothing in the present state of knowledge of neuroscience rules this revolutionary possibility out. True, if you damage certain areas of the brain certain areas of consciousness are compromised, but this does not prove that those areas of the brain generate the relevant areas of consciousness. If you were to damage certain areas of your TV set the picture would deteriorate or vanish but the TV signal would remain intact.
We are, in other words, confronted by at least as much mystery as fact around the subject of consciousness and this being the case we should remember that what seems obvious and self-evident to one generation may not seem at all obvious or self-evident to the next. For hundreds of years it was obvious and self-evident to the greatest human minds that the sun moved around the earth – one need only look to the sky, they said, to see the truth of this proposition. Indeed those who maintained the revolutionary view that the earth moved around the sun faced the Inquisition and death by burning at the stake. Yet as it turned out the revolutionaries were right and orthodoxy was terribly, ridiculously wrong.
The same may well prove to be true with the mystery of consciousness.
Full article: The War on Consciousness
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Way back in September, Greg posted news of a Kickstarter for SHADOW, a dream recording app & online community. The app's creator, Hunter Lee Soik, assembled an impressive team of dream experts to help shape SHADOW -- Kelly Bulkeley, Deirdre Barrett, Scott Sparrow, and the oneiroboss Ryan Hurd himself, to name a few. I'd planned to interview Hunter recently, but a near-miss with a car saw my phone get run over. Then my mac decided to go to the great apple tree in the sky. Thankfully, Hunter was unfazed by this conspiratorial Pauli Effect and kindly took time from his extremely busy schedule to answer a few questions via email (one for each hour of sleep you should all be getting).
As I type this, there are only forty
winks hours to go until the Kickstarter ends. The pledge goal has been reached (which is fantastic news for the SHADOW team, congratulations!), and this is your last chance to snag some terrific swag and gain early access to SHADOW before it's officially released next year. In the meantime, give your spinning top a whirl and enjoy the interview.
RMG: In a nutshell, what is SHADOW and how did it come about?
HLS: SHADOW is a mobile alarm clock that helps users remember and record their dreams in a global dream database. The idea came about when I finally started dreaming again after a dozen years of hard work and little sleep. I wanted to remember what I was experiencing in my sleeping life, but I couldn't find an app that melded a social dream journal with the kind of sophisticated design aesthetic I was looking for. So I learned as much as I could about sleep and dreams, approached some dream researchers with the idea, and SHADOW was born.
RMG: How does the app actually work?
HLS: You set the alarm like any other alarm clock, but when it wakes you up it uses a series of escalating sounds that helps preserve your dreams. Traditional alarm clocks destroy dreams by transitioning you out of sleep too quickly. Once you're awake, SHADOW prompts you to record your dreams via voice or text (you can speak directly into the app or type what you remember). Then, with your permission, we pull
“We must think critically, and not just about the ideas of others. Be hard on your beliefs…”
- Peering at Earth’s twin?
- Staring into the Milk Way’s ‘monster’.
- In the Star Wars on Kinkade, everyone wins.
- From UFO to IFO.
- Tapping into the canine brain.
- Do you speak Bigfoot? Bring rocks.
- The rocks are listening.
- Watching for shadow figures.
- The dawn of quantum medicine?
- Re-routing genes for new antibiotics.
- Studying climate history via ancient plankton.
- Drawing NYC, one building at a time.
- When dinosaurs walked the earth... slowly.
- Bicycles go Victorian.
- The mystery of Russian screws and Klerksdrop spheres.
- Biggest. Ball pit. Ever.
- Coke v. Pepsi… A study in soft drink.
- This is Halloween.
- This week’s evidence of the looming robot uprising… ‘Bot Bartenders.
Quote of the Day:
“…Take them out onto the veranda and beat them with a cricket bat. Be intellectually rigorous. Identify your biases… Your prejudices… Your privilege.”
"Son," he said "Grab your things,
I've come to take you home."
- Hidden Experience audio interview with pioneer crop circle investigator Colin Andrews.
- Harmony with the Huldufolk: Why so many Icelanders still believe in invisible elves.
- Dark matter experiment has detected nothing. Has Thomas Fusco been vindicated?
- NASA UFO pictures From the mysterious, to the mundane.
- UFO fires laser at parked car in Michigan. Those damn aliens, always trying to ruin second base!
- If you apply for a job in the CIA, you might get interviewed by an alien [Part 1] [Part 2].
- Albert Rosales: Not Your Grandmother's Humanoids [Part 1] [Part 2].
- Martin J. Clemens's take on the Klerksdorp spheres.
- A drug can reduce your gambling addiction --if you're a rat, that is.
- Turn on, tune in & drop by the New York Public Library, where the Timothy Leary's archives are now publicly available.
- Are psychics who perceive 'auras' synaesthetes?
- Ectoplasm: When parapsychologists were looking for icky ether.
- The Strange Case of Bernadette Button: 20-year-old woman dies looking like a toddler.
- Remote 'lost world' discovered in Australia --no doubt filled with scary critters that can kill you 10 times before you drop.
- That time marine biologist Ben Ruttenberg had to punch a shark...
- Red Pill of the Day: Naturalist Sir David Attenborough's opinion on Miley's twerking.
Thanks to Rick, and to Greg for filling in for me during my Paradigm holiday.
Quote of the Day:
"There are three side effects of acid: enhanced long-term memory, decreased short-term memory, and I forget the third."
Ladies and gents, I'm very happy to announce that my new book, Stop Worrying! There Probably is an Afterlife, is now available from the Amazon Kindle store for just $5.99! And for the launch, I'm looking to use the Grail army to my advantage, if you'll be kind enough to join in. More details after the blurb:
Did Steve Jobs have a vision of the afterlife on his death-bed? Does quantum physics suggest that our mind might survive the physical death of our body? How do some near-death experiencers 'see' outside of their bodies at a time when they are supposed to be dead?
In Stop Worrying! There Probably is an Afterlife, author Greg Taylor covers all these questions and more. From Victorian seance rooms through to modern scientific laboratories, Taylor surveys the fascinating history of research into the survival of human consciousness, and returns with a stunning conclusion: that maybe we should stop worrying so much about death, because there probably is an afterlife.
Now, to try and make the maximum splash on entry into the eBook world, I'm asking interested Grail readers to grab a copy as soon as possible to push the book up Amazon's charts and thus make it more visible to other buyers. Here are the relevant Amazon links:
- Amazon U.S.: Stop Worrying! There Probably is an Afterlife
- Amazon U.K. Stop Worrying! There Probably is an Afterlife
If you can help out by hitting Amazon hard, I'd love to see the result. To add a bit of incentive, I'll give away a couple of limited edition hardcover versions of the book, which will be randomly drawn from those who comment beneath this story letting me know that they've purchased the eBook.
Update: I'll cut entries off on Sunday night, 10pm U.S. West Coast time, to allow non-daily readers a chance at a hardcover) and make the draw soon after. Don't forget to comment beneath when you've grabbed a copy to be in the running!
(For those that still prefer paper to electronic books, the 274-page paperback should be out next week sometime, and will retail for $11.95. Alternatively, if you're a collector I will be selling signed and limited hardcovers directly in the near future as well.)
Last month I posted a story about the mystery of ancient African coins discovered in northern Australia. In 1944, Royal Australian Air Force serviceman Maurie Isenberg discovered five coins dating back to Africa in the 12th century on a beach, some 10,000km (and 900 years) from their point of origin. How they got there is unknown.
For those interested in finding the answer to the mystery, you can now become a part of a crowd-funding project that aims to solve the puzzle, and which will document every step of the journey:
We call ourselves the 'Past Masters' and we are a multidisciplinary team of anthropologists, archaeologists, historians, and enthusiastic members of the public. We are affiliated with Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), the University of Melbourne, the Australian National University, and other institutions. Working closely with traditional Aboriginal Australians, sea rangers, and members of Norforce, a predominantly Aboriginal army unit, we seek answers to the mystery of the discovery of ancient African coins 8,000 miles from Kilwa (Tanzania) in north Australia in 1944.
Was an African or Arab or a Portuguese shipwreck implicated? Marooned Indonesian sailors? Had Aborigines traveled to Kilwa in days of old?
Our preliminary site survey of the remote Wessels Islands received global publicity in June 2013. In more than 20 countries, hundreds of television, radio, and newspaper articles were posted. CNN, Huffington Post, NBC, BBC, Channel Islam International, China Post, French Tribune, Voice of Russia, Der Speigel, Radio Australia and Radio New Zealand, and others covered the story. Our expedition has captured the imagination of people everywhere.
The standard view of Australian history is that British explorer Captain James Cook discovered the land Downunder in 1770. What these African coins suggest is that Australia has a far older history and that indigenous Australians were a part of the vast Indian Ocean maritime silk route that linked East Africa, Arabia, Persia, India, China and Indonesia. With your help, in our major expedition planned for Summer 2014 (the Australian Winter) we can put an end to the prevailing and outdated 'myth of isolation' and help reveal an infinitely richer past involving many peoples over the millennia. We seek answers in a search for shipwrecks, in an analysis of ancient rock art, and in the stories of the Dreaming.
- It's 75 years today since the War of the Worlds shenanigans.
- But did Orson Welles really cause nation-wide hysteria?
- Disney goes extraterrestrial with new attractions.
- Retired USAF officer talks about aliens, nukes, & the UFO cabal.
- Roman sculpture of an eagle & snake unearthed in London.
- Romani ite Mexico! How an eagle eating a snake created the Aztec Empire.
- Treasured diary of 19th century German Egyptologist found in Australia.
- National Geographic & Zahi Hawass accused of corrupt payments.
- It's not the first time for the self-proclaimed Greatest Egyptologist Ever.
- Science has lost its way, at a big cost to humanity.
20-sided dicechaos theory to predict 'dragon king' events.
- Are conspiracy theories destroying democracy?
- Does pure evil exist & what are the consequences of believing it does?
- Samhain: the Bronze Age origins of Halloween.
- 20 of Britain's most haunted places.
- Could synesthesia explain how some people see auras?
- Modern Mythology: we are narrative machines.
- Chile's Mapuche shamans weave myth & history to rewrite their story.
- A Poet in the Great Bear Rainforest: why black bears turn white.
- New species of dolphin identified off Australia's northern coast.
- Why aliens won't look like Flipper (Amazon US/UK).
Quote of the Day:
“No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water.”
HG Wells, The War Of The Worlds
From today's collection of news briefs, you may be able to deduce that Halloween is almost upon us…
- The strange and mysterious history of the Ouija Board.
- The curse of the mummy: why does it refuse to die?
- C. G. Jung’s spine-chilling nights in a ‘haunted house’.
- Spellbound: why witchcraft is enchanting a new generation of teenage girls
- The ghost in the rainbow: generations of terrified hikers and early mountaineers have found themselves suddenly confronting an enormous figure, floating in the sky, surrounded by radiating circles of light.
- Woman claims she spoke with God during her near-death experience.
- Jesus and Mary found hanging out on a cloud together in Switzerland.
- Peru's UFO investigations office to be reopened.
- Alien life experts urge creation of guidelines for interacting with extraterrestrials. Don't we have that sorted already?
- Book prompts Bigfooters to begin homework they should have done more than 50 years ago. Abominable Science is available from Amazon US and Amazon UK.
- Scientists have found three new vertebrate species isolated for millions of years in a rainforest in the far north of Australia.
- Could something more primal still lurk nearby? 'Nessie'-like monster spotted off Townsville in northern Australia.
- Science has lost its way, at a big cost to humanity.
- Mystery radar blob reveals odd man-made phenomenon.
- The man who wants to replicate the human mind in a machine.
- Britain’s ‘top scientist’ says our brains may not yet have evolved sufficiently to unlock the secrets of the cosmos.
- United Nations to form an International Asteroid Warning Group to help cancel the apocalypse.
- Scientists uncover evidence that a comet rained fire down upon Egypt in the ancient past.
- An illustrated history of Easter Island.
- The mysterious stone tower that features in many alternative histories of the New World.
- Image of the Day: the most terrible of trousers…NECROPANTS! (NSFW warning: flayed skin, private parts).
Quote of the Day:
It would do the world a lot of good if we all made a habit out of trying really hard to not be unnecessarily upset at things.