A group of Russian youths has (illegally) climbed the Great Pyramid at Giza at night, and posted some lovely photos online (such as the one above) for all of us law-abiding citizens to drool over.
I was taken by the fact that one of the images featured someone lying in almost the exact location on top of the Great Pyramid as the two ladies were standing in the photo I've posted previously from 1920 - we move through the ghosts of the past no matter where we travel. Compare the difference between skylines in the two following images: the first taken by the Russian adventurers this year, the second taken almost 100 years ago, in 1920. Cairo seems to have grown a little (especially considering the centre of Cairo is in the opposite direction)...
In juxtaposition, the stones on the Great Pyramid and Khafre's pyramid look not to have changed at all. As the old saying goes, "man fears time, time fears the pyramids"...
"The universe we seeing playing out in space and time may be just the surface level, where we float like little boats while leviathans stir in the deep."
- As well as detect the electric fields of flowers, honeybees can move each other with electric fields.
- 100 year starship video offers a virtual trip through the galaxy.
- A living ocean on a Jovian moon?
- Explosive volcanic eruptions triggered by cosmic rays.
- Planck telescope maps the distribution of all the matter in the cosmos.
- We're steadily losing our religion - but not our belief.
- The depiction of witches over the past 500 years.
- 19 year old develops plan to clean up ocean trash vortexes.
- Reality show seeks kids with past lives.
- Is it too late to stop the cyborgs?
- Damp squib: Chinese fishmonger finds a bomb inside a squid.
- Gravity-free black hole model proving useful.
- Ancient Egypt - a hypochondriac's nightmare.
- Is dark matter a glimpse of a deeper level of reality?
- The mysterious disappearance, and reappearance, of Ada Constance Kent.
- The most surreal places on Earth.
Quote of the Day:
Give me one free miracle and I will explain everything else.
An excellent post by Robert McLuhan over at his Paranormalia blog, on the 'guerilla skepticism' movement, in particular the concerted effort by upper-case Skeptics to keep Wikipedia a woo-free environment. Robert firstly points out the rhetorical technique of ending a paragraph about a certain claim with the skeptical counterclaim - doing so gives the impression of a neutral passage, though it gives the final word each time to the skeptical view.
Robert also notes the use of skeptical personalities as authorities worth citing, such as the god-awful commentaries of Robert Todd Carroll (of the Skeptic's Dictionary). I've written about this previously, on the referencing of Martin Gardner's opinion on Leonora Piper. Robert wonders...
...In what world could someone like Todd Carroll, a compiler of spectacularly biased and poorly informed encyclopedia entries, be considered a serious authority? If this sort of thing is allowed on Wikipedia then what's to stop me inserting remarks like, 'According to psi-advocate Robert McLuhan, this type of critical commentary is tendentious tosh by people who haven't a clue what they're talking about."
We can't really complain about hostile editing, as long it stays within the Wikipedia guidelines for editors, which Gerbic seems committed to doing. As she sees it, it's all about insisting on backing up claims with evidence, which is what sceptics are all about. In fact I've even seen it suggested that Wikipedia is by nature a sceptical endeavour, since it depends on evidence. Some seem to have taken heart when its founder Jimmy Wales came out against homeopathy, a subject that infuriates them more than almost anything else.
I'm not sure how worked up I can get about Wikipedia's view of homeopathy or about celebrity psychics, who can look after themselves. Still, it's a pity that this key source for learning and education is so compromised as far as serious parapsychology is concerned. There is of course plenty of information about parapsychology, but little that isn't gummed up with sceptic disdain. Even aside from that, it looks rather flat and lame. What's to stop editors giving quotes from credible people - scientists, psi-researchers, experients who are well-known in other fields - that give their own enthusiastic responses? Why are the dullards, ignoramuses and professional nay-sayers getting such a free run?
We need to make it clear that our evidence counts as evidence. At the very least, if sceptics insert a long section at the end of an entry that promotes their views exclusively, under the heading of 'Criticism' or some such, then it seems to me to be perfectly legitimate to add a following section headed 'Responses to criticism', in which the key points would be rebutted, at leisure and without constant heckling.
I did briefly consider making contributions of my own, but where does one start?
I'm not sure it's a battle worth getting into. Skeptics of this type are already well-ensconced in Wikipedia as editors, watching these topics vigilantly, and have a certain zealotry that will drive them to continue editing fringe entries longer than either you or I care. But certainly a topic worth discussing, and keeping in mind when reading and referencing Wikipedia as a source.
It seems the Universe has a sense of humour, as hot on the heels of the TEDx fiasco in which talks by Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock were removed from YouTube, comes some scientific backing for one of Sheldrake's claims: that the speed of light may actually not be a constant, but vary:
Two forthcoming European Physical Journal D papers challenge established wisdom about the nature of vacuum. In one paper, Marcel Urban from the University of Paris-Sud, located in Orsay, France and his colleagues identified a quantum level mechanism for interpreting vacuum as being filled with pairs of virtual particles with fluctuating energy values. As a result, the inherent characteristics of vacuum, like the speed of light, may not be a constant after all, but fluctuate.
Meanwhile, in another study, Gerd Leuchs and Luis L. Sánchez-Soto, from the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Light in Erlangen, Germany, suggest that physical constants, such as the speed of light and the so-called impedance of free space, are indications of the total number of elementary particles in nature.
Someone send the memo to Jerry Coyne...
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- Scientists suggest speed of light may not be fixed. Rupert Sheldrake 1, TED 0.
- When TED lost control of its crowd. Amazingly, with no discussion of the recent controversy.
- Are we Martians? How recent discoveries raise that possibility.
- Was there life on Mars? Bowie must be exceedingly happy that scientists are finally answering him.
- Uranus has a trojan object shadowing it. Given that today is the anniversary of Heaven's Gate, I suggest you don't take the advice of any kooky cult leader and believe that it's an alien starship come to rapture your ass up.
- The BBC on EVP: the people who think they tune in to dead voices.
- Human organ factories a step closer after scientists print embryonic stem cell using a 3D printer.
- Breaking: Has militant atheism become a religion? Also in this bulletin: water now believed to be wet.
- Tesla and the myth of the lone inventor.
- Positive side of climate change? Paleo fashion trend, as glaciers melt to reveal ancient garments.
- Russians illegally climb pyramids at Giza, share photos for your legal enjoyment.
- The changing face of Bigfoot.
- Monkey may have been spotted in the wilds of Dorchester. I think we can all agree that from now on we'll refer to this creature as Littlefoot.
- Have we grossly underestimated the scope and scale of animal intelligence?
- Ten dinosaur myths that need to become extinct.
- Binaural beat ambient music EP designed to send listeners into an altered state of consciousness.
- Those crazy kids in Germany don't get high by passing a joint around…they pass a toad around instead. Apparently.
- Prostitute dies during love-making, scares the bejesus out of everyone by waking up in her coffin.
- Image of the Day: this guy looks to be having a whale of a time.
Quote of the Day:
Donnie: Why are you wearing that stupid bunny suit?
Frank: Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?
What was I thinkin'? I knew there'd be hell to pay, but that crossed my mind a little too late.
- The first trillionth of a trillionth of a second after the Big Bang.
- In late 2013, UrtheCast will begin streaming video from the ISS of the Earth spinning below, with definition high enough to find your house and to see people!
- US lab produces first plutonium in 25 years.
- 'Lost' tectonic plate found under California.
- Billboard turns air into drinking water.
- Get ready to drone-proof your house.
- Skype's IP-leaking security bug creates denial-of-service cottage industry.
- Secondhand smoke detector outs puffers.
- Plants can hear, feel, smell, remember, and they can talk to each other. What a Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses by Daniel Chamovitz is available at Amazon US/Kindle & UK/Kindle.
- China’s environmental woes so severe, top government officials forced to acknowledge them -- but not to fix them. China, China, China...
- TED: Some ideas TOO fascinating -- Hancock, Sheldrake's censored talks.
- When your actions contradict your beliefs.
- When underdogs choose not to play by Goliath’s rules, they win.
- An 18th Century automaton that could beat human opponents at chess seemingly marked the arrival of artificial intelligence.
- Silk Road: the online drug marketplace that officials seem powerless to stop -- partly because it uses Bitcoins.
- Bitcoin: the fastest growing currency in the world. (video: 5:45)
Quote of the Day:
Can you imagine if we had restrictions of speech, or the surveillance state, 400 years ago? We wouldn't have had the Reformation, or the Enlightenment, or the scientific revolution. Those would have been stopped – and we're having other kinds of revolutions now.
Amir Taaki, Bitcoin developer and activist.
Coilhouse Magazine is "a love letter to alternative culture", covering the cutting edge of art, music, fashion, film, technology and literature, venturing from science fiction to punk rock and green technologies. Within its pages you'll find interviews and articles from a veritable menagerie of Grail-like folk, including Terry Gilliam, Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer, Chet Zar, Grant Morrison, and R.U. Sirius among others.
Sadly, the magazine has recently gone on hiatus (boo!), but the fine folk behind the magazine have made all six issues of the magazine available for free as downloadable PDF files (yay!):
Six glorious print issues of the lovingly assembled, lavishly produced, lackadaisically printed Coilhouse periodical.
At the time of the time of this writing, Issue 06 is still available in our shop, so if you’d like to experience the full-on glossy/tactile/sensory experience (and help to subsidize the cost of keeping our vast Coilhouse archival site active), click here. However, as issues one through five are long out of print and we have no plans to reproduce any of these magazines, we are now happily sharing ALL of them with the world as high resolution PDFs. Additionally, the Issue 06 PDF will be available next week. Scroll down and click the corresponding links to download them.
Beyond the magazine, there is also plenty of great content at the Coilhouse website. Enjoy!
This article is excerpted from Darklore Volume 6, available for sale from Amazon US and Amazon UK. The Darklore anthology series features the best writing and research on paranormal, Fortean and hidden history topics, by the most respected names in the field: Robert Schoch, Nick Redfern, Loren Coleman, Robert Bauval and Daniel Pinchbeck, to name just a few. Darklore's aim is to support quality researchers, so it makes sense to support Darklore. For more information on the series (including more free sample articles), visit the Darklore website.
The Calderstones of Liverpool
Forgotten history hidden in the parks of Great Britain
by John Reppion
After living in the district of Toxteth for ten years, my wife and I have recently moved – along with our son and cat – back into the area of Liverpool where I grew up. We now reside in deepest Beatle country. The unremarkable childhood homes of Lennon and McCartney within easy walking distance; Harrison and Starr’s each just a short bus ride away. Strawberry Field is just around the corner, and I regularly shove a pushchair up and down Penny Lane. Indeed, much of the area is practically unchanged since long, long before the days when moptops walked the earth – a good chunk of it being made up of parks, playing fields, cemeteries and other greenspaces. One of the most impressive of these parks stands next to the institution formerly known as Quarry Bank High School which Lennon attended and named his proto-Beatles skiffle group The Quarrymen after (other Quarry Bank alumni include horror novelist Clive Barker and actor Doug Bradley, most famous for playing Pinhead in the Hellraiser films which are (increasingly loosely) based on Barker’s books). After numerous mergings with other schools the institution was eventually renamed in 1985. Calderstones Community Comprehensive School took its new name from the adjacent Calderstones Park which is in turn named after the most ancient and perhaps easily overlooked monument in the city of Liverpool: The Calderstones.
Formerly a private estate, the land which makes up the park was purchased by Liverpool Corporation in 1902 for the sum of £43,000 from shipping magnate brothers Charles and David McIver. Calderstones Park was officially opened to the public three years later in 1905.1 The 94 acre (0.38 km2) space is well kept and always busy, boasting as it does a walled garden, a children’s play area, an historic Mansion House, a café, a former boating lake turned wildlife haven, a miniature ride-on railway, and even a thousand year old Oak Tree known as “the Law Oak”. It is beneath the spreading branches of this majestic tree that crime and punishment are alleged to have been discussed in the days before court buildings. Local folklore has it that, although the Law Oak (also known as the Allerton Oak) looks for all the world as though it has been struck by lightning at some point in its long life, the damage was actually done by the explosion of a gunpowder ship in the Mersey in the 1860s.2 The fact that the park and the Law Oak are more than a mile inland rarely, if ever, get in the way of the telling of the tale. Then there’s the tennis – the park is home to the annual Liverpool International Tennis Tournament in which globally renowned players such as Martina Navratilova, John McEnroe and Martina Hingis regularly participate. Buried amongst this myriad of amusements, attractions and events – set back from the pathway which leads from the park’s heavily ornamented main gates - an unassuming, semi-derelict looking conservatory. This weather-beaten structure is known as “the vestibule” and once served as the entry point to a network of greenhouses belonging to the Harthill community allotments beyond. Though the allotments are still in use, the greenhouses are long gone. Today the padlocked vestibule is home to half a dozen curiously ornamented sandstone relics ranging in size from almost 8 feet (2.4 m) to 4 feet (1.2 metres) tall, whose history was already all but forgotten when the Law Oak was still an acorn.
The Calldwaye Stones
The oldest written record of the stones dates back to 1568 where they are marked on a map relating to a boundary dispute between the districts of Wavertree and Allerton thusly: ... Read More »
“Morning comes whether you set the alarm or not.”
- El Sol’s alignment set in stone.
- Vernal equinox, from above.
- Recalibrating the age of the universe.
- Martian rock’s interior, exposed.
- Reclusive star spins out of control.
- In case of earthbound asteroid… find religion.
- Beware the ice blades of Europa.
- Forget ‘bots-- The metamaterial revolution has begun.
- Living in Keck’s shadow.
- Ancient extinction linked to megavolcanoes.
- Voyager I has not left the building.
- Racing to stop the next virus in time…
- Computer, heal thyself.
- Ocean, boil thyself?
- This week’s evidence of the looming ‘bot uprising… Robot, teach thyself?
Quote of the Day:
“There are no right answers to wrong questions.”
Ursula K. Le Guin
Another nicely done piece by Jason Silva, though my phlegmatic personality sometimes wants him to just chill a bit and get some of those concepts across without the adrenalin-infused hype and activity.
Created by Jason Silva in collaboration with CITIZEN. Follow Jason on twitter @JASONSILVA
This video is a non-commercial work created to inspire, made for educational purposes, inspired by the ideas of Douglas Hofstadter explored in the magnificent book GODEL, ESCHER, BACH: An Eternal Golden Braid.
It offers my interpretation of Strange Loops of Self Reference, recursion, and the emergence of consciousness and self-awareness:
"To Hofstadter, the human mind is a bright, shimmering, self-sustaining miracle of philosophical bootstrappery" - Lev Grossman.
"You know something. What you know you can't explain, but you feel it. You've felt it your whole life" - The Matrix
It is also inspired by some of the writing of Erik Davis in Techgnosis.com about the hero's journey taken by NEO in the Matrix in order to understand who he is:
"Neo must then face his own Cartesian "passage through madness," melting into a mirror that alludes not only to Lewis Carroll but to the mystic-psychotic collapse and disappearance of the externalized ego that stabilizes our inner void. As Neo phases out of the Matrix, he opens up, however briefly, the fractured bardo that is the secret thrill of every fan of the "false reality" genre: the moment when baseline reality dissolves but no new world has yet emerged in its pixelating wake. This is the most radical moment of the cogito, but it's tough to sustain."
It features the track "The Awakening" by Andy Quinn
Full credits for everything used in the remix at Vimeo.
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