New Briefs 14-12-2015

Bicycling is perfect for meditation; both are about balance.

Quote of the Day:

"Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes."
- Yoda

*Batteries not included.

A Modern Kōan Of Consciousness

If you haven't been following Rich Reynolds's great UFO Conjectures, you've been missing an interesting digression on consciousness and artificial intelligence. Amidst his brilliant posts are links to recent Dilbert strips regarding the topic, bordering on genius.

Consciousness hurts, meatbag. Or does it?

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News Briefs 11-12-2015

"Serenity now."

  • Angkor Wat unveils new buried spiral structures.
  • Flying by built-in compass.
  • Epsom salts unravel Ceres’ bright spots?
  • Space Race 2.0?
  • Talking SW vs. ST with Bill Nye the SG.
  • Images that made history.
  • Vampires prowl the galaxy.
  • Unusual study of nonassociative quantum mechanics gets underway.
  • Suleiman’s tomb located. Neil Diamond fades in.
  • Fossil fuels’ end is in sight.
  • Outsmart your instincts.
  • Rocking sans guitar strings.
  • The real great white whale.
  • How to build a Death Star [acc. to NASA].
  • Edited genes make pigs resistant to common viral disease.
  • Receive messages… from the future?
  • E 3 star cluster reveals ghosts of Milky Way’s past.
  • Saunders on storytelling.
  • This week’s evidence of the looming robot uprising.
  • Objects discovered at edge of solar system revive ‘Planet X’ debate.
  • Fusion power for all or another hack hover-board hopeful?
  • Unobservable chemical state observed.
  • Storm on tiny star akin to Jupiter’s Great Red Spot.

Quote of the Day:

“To celebrate the holiday season, a charitable donation in your name has been made to the Human Fund. ”

G. Costanza

Ancient Aliens & Tesla Conspiracies, Brought to You by Pepsi

When it comes to marketing strategies, the geniuses at PepsiCo are famous for knowing no boundaries. After all, they are the ones responsible for one of the most famous TV commercials in all history, featuring the late King of Pop: Michael Jackson --of course, that particular commercial is memorable for reasons the Pepsi executives would probably prefer to forget

And yet, this latest ad I found during one of my latest online meanderings seemed like it crossed a strange borderline: One marking the limits between 'normal' mainstream pop culture and… well… OUR turf of the strange and bizarre.

The video in question --almost a mini-movie, truth be told-- released on November 18th 2015 and directed by Jabbar Raisani, deals with one of the most interesting and captivating pieces of modern mythology that's been spawned from the World Wide Web: The story of the Black Knight.

Black Knight Decoded starts with some ominous text:

"In 1899, Nikola Tesla discovered a satellite orbiting Earth.
It's origin can be traced back over 13,000 years.
This is NOT Science Fiction. This is real."

And from there the Fortean lever goes up to 10.5 --sorry, but to reach a full 11, they should have also included some mention about Philip K. Dick and VALIS.

Still, Black Knight Decoded does a pretty good job of mixing together government conspiracies, ancient aliens, Zecharia Sitchin's Annunaki, secret ET codes AND that Steampunk version of Gandalf the wizard that was our beloved St. Tesla.

And maybe THAT is the reason why the Black Knight mythos is so darn compelling: Because it manages to connect *all* these seemingly disparate themes floating around in the Fortean blogosphere in a yarn that almost makes sense --whether that yarn, and Usher lyrics manage to increase the sales of sugary carbonated water branding a bi-color logo remains to be seen of course…

Also, never mind that those badass 'official' photos of the Black Knight itself have been IMO convincingly debunked. Skepticism cannot bring a good story down, dammit!

But wait, there's more: The PepsiCo production is clearly also a flashy advertising tool for the Urthecast company: The Canada-based enterprise responsible for the hi-def camera onboard the ISS which made all those 'gods-level' takes from Xi'An (China), Cancún (Mexico), Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Sydney (Australia), Ostrava (Czech Republic), Cluj (Romania), Warsaw (Poland), Sochi (Russia), DaNang (Vietnam), Delhi (India) and SinCity (USA) --really America? You're going with a freaking emoji to communicate with superior alien beings for the first freaking time in History??.

So, not only did PepsiCo let us learn there's a PRIVATE surveilance system onboard of what was supposedly a publicly-funded multinational space station, but that for some strange reason they chose to name their company after the Sumerian city of Ur --you know? the primordial city in the Fertile Crescent where the Annunaki gods left their mark?

So I don't know about you, but me I'm getting clear of that Crystal Pepsi stuff for the time being --I think those Nibiru Reptilians finally realized fluoridated water wouldn't cut it anymore...

News Briefs 10-12-2015

Just think of me as Santa's little Truth fighter…

Thanks to Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Dunder and Plissken --what, you never heard of him? That's the badass reindeer with an eyepatch!

Quote of the Day:

"God gave us the gift of life; it is up to us to give ourselves the gift of living well."

˜Voltaire

Did The Earth Move For You, Gregory Laughlin?

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Global warming is a huge concern. Average temperatures have risen an average of 2° Celsius across the globe, sparking concerns over the fate of our biosphere. These changes are nothing compared to the catastrophe a few billion years in our future. Our sun, a yellow G-class star, is most likely going to evolve into a red giant with a diameter greater than Earth's orbit. If we're still around, our successors will be nostalgic for the good old days of the 21st century.

Enter Gregory Laughlin, planetary scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center, who formulated a solution to prevent Earth's destruction. With help from D.G. Korycansky and Fred Adams, they outlined a plan to nudge Earth out of her orbit with asteroid flybys over the course of millennia. What Greg couldn't model was mainstream media's outrageous reaction to, and twisting of the science behind Astronomical Engineering: A Strategy For Modifying Planetary Orbits. The media's ridiculously short attention span is just the icing on the cake.

News Briefs 09-12-2015

"There are strange things lost and forgotten in obscure corners of the newspaper."

Quote of the Day:

Every branch of human knowledge, if traced up to its source and final principles, vanishes into mystery.

Arthur Machen

Age / Species / Location? Chimps Join The Internet!

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On the internet, nobody knows you're a dog as the saying goes. But the next time you come online, there's a chance your chat buddy could be a chimpanzee. Musician Peter Gabriel has always been keen on sharing the internet with other species. He's joining forces with Vint Cerf and Neil Gershenfeld to bring our primate cousins online.

If the experiment goes ahead – a spokesperson for Monkey World said the plans were still at a very early stage and wouldn’t comment further – the hope is to see if chimpanzees could learn to use videoconferencing to communicate with each other. “The idea is to extend a big video network that already exists in labs at [MIT] so that different species including our own have a chance to communicate,” said Gabriel. “I am also interested in how they would use the internet to communicate.” After that, he would be looking at how they could communicate with us.

Of particular interest is if this will encourage chimps to ask existential questions. Apes taught human sign language know words like "who", "what", and "where" but, from Joseph Jordania's Who Asked The First Question?:

Nevertheless, according to the accounts of the experiment authors, apes do not ask questions. Wonderful examples of conversations with their human teachers have been recorded and published (Terrace, 1980; Gardner & Gardner 1975, 1984; Premack, 1976; Rumbaugh, 1977; Rumbaugh & Gill, 1977; Patterson & Linden, 1981). Analysis of their conversations shows that in human-primate conversations questions are asked by the humans only. The same can be said about the question words: apes understand them and give appropriate responses, but amazingly they themselves do not use question words in conversations with their human teachers.

On the bright side, the internet's love of cats crosses species boundaries evinced by Koko the Gorilla and her pets. Monkeys also love selfies. Our times get exponentially more interesting with each passing moment.

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News Briefs 07-12-2015

Let's do this, fam.

Gratz to Patrick Huyghe for sending me a few of these links.

Quote of the day:

"Remember that your enemy is never a villain in his own eyes. This may leave you an opening to become his friend."
- Robert A. Heinlein

News Briefs 04-12-2015

"Forgive me my nonsense as I also forgive the nonsense of those who think they talk sense."

Quote of the Day:

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep...”

Robert Frost