Category Archives: philosophy

There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now…

The above title is a quote attributed to William Thomson, Lord Kelvin in the year 1900. But it is not what Thomson said. It really was said by Albert A. Michaelson, another great 19th Century physicist.

So what is the meaning of all this stuff? The fact that whenever a great scientist(s) proclaims that in our reality, there already has been all that has been discovered in Nature? That the self-same scientists are usually wrong when making such claims?

Yes to the above. And here in the early 21st Century, the more things change, the more they stay the same.:

Physicist Sean Carroll, speaking at James Randi’s “The Amazing Meeting”, tells how anomalous phenomenon simply can’t happen because the laws of physics are completely understood:

There are actually three points I try to hit here. The first is that the laws of physics underlying everyday life are completely understood. There is an enormous amount that we don’t know about how the world works, but we actually do know the basic rules underlying atoms and their interactions — enough to rule out telekinesis, life after death, and so on. The second point is that those laws are dysteleological — they describe a universe without intrinsic meaning or purpose, just one that moves from moment to moment.

The third point — the important one, and the most subtle — is that the absence of meaning “out there in the universe” does not mean that people can’t live meaningful lives. Far from it. It simply means that whatever meaning our lives might have must be created by us, not given to us by the natural or supernatural world. There is one world that exists, but many ways to talk about; many stories we can imagine telling about that world and our place within it, without succumbing to the temptation to ignore the laws of nature. That’s the hard part of living life in a natural world, and we need to summon the courage to face up to the challenge.

There’s a lot of elements to like about the talk, and Sean Carroll is no doubt a smarter man than me, but the pre-emptive debunking of apparent anomalies in science (such as parapsychology and the evidence for the survival of consciousness) – in effect, saying that we need not even test these anomalies because the laws of physics are already understood and preclude them – left me thinking of another well-known scientist’s thoughts on the apparent completeness of science. Considering the alternative scientific viewpoints from the likes of physicist Henry Stapp, on theoretical explorations of the possibility of an afterlife, and Dean Radin’s recent work on conscious influence in the famous double-slit experiment, the famous (though possibly apocryphal) fin de siècle quote of Lord Kelvin immediately came to mind when contemplating Carroll’s pronouncements:

There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement.

Within a few years, science was turned on its head by relativity, and followed by quantum mechanics. One can only wonder if current-day anomalies, such as those explored by parapsychologiests, might one-day lead to some similar revolution, this time involving consciousness or information as primary elements of the cosmos.

Although Greg is understandably mistaken about Lord Kelvin’s quote, he is spot on about Carroll’s proclamations and I am surprised that Carroll actually made such claims.

Well, maybe not. I guess it just shows the inherent uber-conversatism in science.

But in the general population, not so much.

I think we might be ready for a new physics that breaks Mankind out into the Universe and answers some of our questions about Consciousness, UFOs, ghosts and other paranormal activities.

The Laws of Physics Are Completely Understood

William Thomson, Lord Kelvin Quotes

As always, many hat tips to Greg Taylor’s Daily Grail.

NatGeo and the UFO Debate

NatGeo ( National Geographic TV ) has put out two versions of the UFO conundrum.

First is its show “Chasing UFOs” in which it has three protagonists look into various UFO stories all over the U.S. A lot of hard-core UFO researchers hate the show, but I find it entertaining ( I hold no illusions about any scientific veracity about the series ).

Now we have NatGeo’s latest production “Secret History of UFOs” which shows the other side of the coin. The “debunking” side:

 Well-known “skeptic” Robert Sheaffer’s performance in Secret History of UFOs, the National Geographic network’s latest debunking-disguised-as-documentary, begs the question: At what point does the systematic presentation of half-truths and outright falsehoods about the UFO phenomenon cross the line from incompetent scholarship to intentional disinformation?
As I noted in my last article,given the extremely biased and propagandistic treatment of the UFO subject one consistently finds on Nat Geo, it might reasonably be argued that the network has been working behind the scenes with the CIA to debunk the phenomenon.

This is not some paranoid fantasy. Indeed, the history of the agency’s covert efforts to spin or suppress UFO-related stories, utilizing its contacts in the news and entertainment media, is now well-documented. The policy resulted from the findings of the CIA’s 1953 Robertson Panel, which explicitly recommended using the mass media to debunk UFOs in the interest of national security. Journalist Terry Hansen’s excellent, scholarly book, The Missing Times: News Media Complicity in the UFO Cover-up,  just republished as an e-book, details the agency’s decades-long use of the television networks, among other organizations, as tools to disinform the American people about the UFO reality.
While it would be nearly impossible to prove or disprove that producers at Nat Geo are in cahoots with the spooks—barring the intrepid efforts of some journalistic sleuth who is willing to ferret out the facts—it can at least be said that those responsible for the ongoing series of UFO “documentaries” at the network are slavishly spouting the agency’s official party-line regarding the supposed non-existence of UFOs, year after year, program after pathetic program. Their reliance on Robert Sheaffer, in particular, as a purportedly objective scholar on the UFO topic, belies either their naiveté or their premeditated participation in a disinformational ruse.
Highly relevant to this discussion is my research into Sheaffer’s affiliation with the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) which was previously named The Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP). As journalist Terry Hansen has argued in The Missing Times, the historical role of CSICOP (now CSI) strongly suggests it has been performing as an intelligence community “front organization”—pumping anti-UFO propaganda into the media without revealing its true source or motivation.
My own findings about Sheaffer’s “skeptical” group—he was a founding member of its UFO Subcommittee—relate to my 39-year investigation of UFO activity at nuclear weapons sites, as documented in declassified files and military witness testimony. Many years ago I discovered that two of CSICOP’s leading members had professional ties to the U.S. government’s nuclear weapons program, something they seemed very shy about publicly discussing in any meaningful way.
Moreover, one of those individuals, James Oberg, once privately harassed a former U.S. Air Force officer, Lt. Robert M. Jacobs, after he openly discussed a still-classified, nukes-related UFO incident in various magazine articles the 1980s. As discussed in my bookUFOs and Nukes and online, Oberg—who had worked as a nuclear weapons researcher and security officer while in the Air Force in the early 1970s—chastised Jacobs, in a personal letter, for releasing “top secret UFO data” relating to the September 1964 Big Sur Incident. This was a very odd accusation indeed, coming from someone whose public, supposedly-skeptical stance is that UFOs don’t even exist.
(According to now-Dr. Jacobs, a UFO had been inadvertently filmed through a high-powered telescope/camera as it paced and then circled a dummy nuclear warhead during a missile test flight at Vandenberg AFB, California. Apparently, four beams of light were seen shooting from the domed-disc to the warhead in rapid succession, whereupon the warhead began tumbling, eventually falling into the Pacific Ocean hundreds of miles short of its target. This amazing encounter has been confirmed as a real event by a second USAF officer, retired Major Florenze J. Mansmann, who unequivocally says that two CIA agents confiscated the Top Secret film.)
After Jacobs went public with the story, another leading member of CSICOP/CSI, the late journalist Phillip Klass, engaged in what Jacobs considered to be a thinly-veiled threat by pointedly mentioning, also in a private letter, his close professional associations with two leading figures in the U.S. intelligence community, Admiral Bobby Inman and U.S. Army General Daniel Graham.
Over the years, Klass had been accused of being a government disinformation agent by various UFO proponents. In response, he had always recoiled indignantly and dismissed the charge as nonsense. Interestingly, to my knowledge, never once did Klass openly cite Inman and Graham as associates and personal character references, as he did with Jacobs, when privately pressuring the former USAF officer. Fortunately, rather than being intimidated by Klass and Oberg, Dr. Jacobs eventually released the contents of their self-incriminating letters to him.
A third leading member of Robert Sheaffer’s organization, Skeptical Inquirer magazine editor Kendrick Frazier, published two demonstrably-inaccurate articles about the Big Sur case in an apparently frantic effort by CSICOP to debunk the incident, no matter how badly the facts had to be distorted or completely misstated to achieve the ruse. My documented exposé on the group’s now-discredited, attempted sleights-of-hand may be read at my website.
Significantly, although one will have to search diligently to find information confirming this fact, Kendrick Frazier was employed for over 20 years as a Public Relations Specialist by Sandia National Laboratories—one of the key facilities involved with the U.S. government’s nuclear weapons program—during the same period his “skeptical” magazine was repeatedly pooh-poohing UFOs and ridiculing those who reported them. Frazier has even ducked mentioning his longtime job as a government-paid spin doctor in his self-written biography.
So, let’s recap here: Among CSICOP/CSI’s leading members are a former USAF officer (Oberg) who publicly rejects the reality of UFOs but privately chastised another former officer who leaked information about an Air Force/CIA cover-up of one very important case; a journalist (Klass) who publicly ridiculed those who suggested a disinformational motive for his UFO debunking, but privately acknowledged his close professional associations with top-level officials at the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency; and a magazine editor (Frazier) who continues to work for a magazine ostensibly devoted to dismissing UFOs on purely scientific grounds but who simultaneously worked as a PR mouthpiece for the U.S. nuclear weapons program for two decades, a position he has avoided mentioning in published references to himself.
In short, Robert Sheaffer’s “skeptical” organization has some very suspicious links to the U.S. government which it has attempted to downplay and even hide from public scrutiny. And this is the group of “UFO experts” that Nat Geo calls upon when seeking a supposedly knowledgeable, objective authority to interview about the nature of the phenomenon, when producing its alleged “documentaries” on the subject.
Whether by design or default, the latest debunking effort by the network is possibly the worst piece of anti-UFO propaganda ever produced by them, comparable to the crudest of the former Soviet regime’s notorious and now-laughable fact-spinning exercises during the Cold War era.
For example, to hear Secret History of UFOs tell it, the reason Americans began reporting sightings of disc-shaped “flying saucers” in the late 1940s is because they had been whipped into a near-hysterical frenzy by sensational news reports in July 1947 relating to the Roswell Incident which, according to debunkers quoted on the program, was in reality the recovery of a secret military balloon-train belonging to Project Mogul, not a crashed extraterrestrial craft, as many now believe.
Dr. David Rudiak, a leading Roswell researcher, says, “Those guys are merely parroting the theory originally adopted by an Air Force counter-intelligence team at the Pentagon in 1994 to thwart U.S. Congressman Steven Schiff’s official inquiry into what happened at Roswell.” Rudiak further notes that the project’s own records confirm that the specific test flight alluded to, Flight #4 on June 4th, had been cancelled due to cloud cover, thereby discrediting the debunkers’ and the Air Force’s claims about its alleged involvement in the now-famous Roswell object debris-recovery operation.
Rudiak explains, “The Air Force also deliberately brought back the two previous flights from the dead, #2 and #3, in order to make a case for #4 being the crash object. In reality, Mogul records unambiguously show these flights were likewise canceled due to high winds and equipment failure. All three flights were therefore written out of the project summaries, as can easily be seen in one image excerpt:

- click image(s) to enlarge -

Note that the summaries instead list Flight #5 as the first ‘successful’ Mogul flight, and it is so-listed in NASA’s records and in an official Air Force history of flight. It cannot account for Roswell, nor can any other real Mogul flight, the fates of which are all well-documented. ‘Flight #4’ is a fiction created in modern times purely to debunk Roswell. How can a nonexistent balloon flight explain anything?”
In spite of this documentation, Robert Sheaffer and the other debunkers continue to assert that misplaced public interest in the supposedly-discredited reports of a recovered flying saucer resulted in thousands of ongoing UFO sighting reports, even decades later, as gullible Americans jumped on the bandwagon. In doing so, Sheaffer and company conveniently fail to mention the U.S. military’s own secret assessment of the mysterious aerial objects, undertaken not long after the Roswell Incident, as revealed in the now-declassified “Twining Memo”, which was only released to the public via the Freedom of Information Act, decades after it was written.
In the late summer of 1947, after a three-month, nationwide sighting wave, Air Intelligence at the Pentagon urgently requested a report on the “Flying Discs”, as the military called them at the time. In response, Air Force Lt. General Nathan F. Twining, Commander of the Air Materiel Command (AMC), based at Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, held a conference with personnel assigned to the Air Institute of Technology, the Office of the Chief of Engineering Division, various aeronautical laboratories within the Engineering Division designated T-3, and Technical Intelligence officers. For raw data, these groups used in their evaluations interrogation reports supplied by the Pentagon, containing statements by military UFO sighting witnesses.
Summarizing the input he received from his engineering and intelligence staff, Twining sent a memorandum to Brigadier General George Schulgen, Chief of the Air Intelligence Requirements Division, in which he presented AMC’s initial assessment of the unexplained aerial objects. Dated September 23, 1947 and classified Secret, the key portions of the memo are as follows:

1. At the request of AC/AS-2 there is presented below the considered opinion of this command concerning the so-called “Flying Discs”… 2. It is the opinion that:

a. The phenomenon reported is something real and not visionary or fictitious. b. There are objects probably approximating the shape of a disc, of such appreciable size as to appear to be as large as man-made aircraft. c. There is a possibility that some of the incidents may be caused by natural phenomena, such as meteors. d. The reported operating characteristics such as extreme rates of climb, maneuverability (particularly in roll), and action which must be considered evasive when sighted or contacted by friendly aircraft and radar, lend belief to the possibility that some of the objects are controlled either manually, automatically, or remotely. e. The apparent common description of the objects is as follows:

(1) Metallic or light reflecting surface. (2) Absence of trail, except in a few instances when the object apparently was operating under high performance conditions. (3) Circular or elliptical in shape, flat on bottom and domed on top. (4) Several reports of well kept formation flights varying from three to nine objects. (5) Normally no associated sound, except in three instances a substantial rumbling roar was noted. (6) Level flight speeds normally above 300 knots are estimated.

In other words, despite the debunkers’ bogus claims on Secret History of UFOs about the reasons underlying public interest in the supposedly non-existent Flying Saucers—allegedly the result of inaccurate news reports relating to Roswell, coupled with Cold War hysteria and a widespread fascination with the dawning Space Age—in reality, behind-the-scenes, government analysts and officials took the UFO sighting reports by both civilian and military observers absolutely seriously.

Over on Rich Reynold’s site ‘The UFO Iconoclast(s)‘ , Rich speaks about Robert Sheaffer’s “unkept” appearance and how it’s a sign of “unclear” thinking.

I haven’t seen the show yet, but I will certainly see how any such thinking affects his debate. This certainly will be interesting.

After all, this is a thinly veiled attempt by NatGeo to present both sides of the UFO issue and most importantly, make the most money for its sponsors.


Robert Sheaffer — WTF?

The Great Filter vs the ETH

Via Sentient Developments:


Bostrum has an interesting take on the Paradox which is inimical to the UFO phenomenon, especially to the ETH (Extraterrestrial Hypothesis).

These opposing views themselves are conundrums that won’t be solved until humans expand out into the Universe(s) to see where the evidence lies.

Nick Bostrum on the Fermi Paradox

hat tip

A Quantum After-Life?

Much has been written recently about quantum functions and how it affects nature.

Recently Robert Lanza and Bob Berman’s ‘Biocentrism‘ evoked some responses from the mainstream with accusations of ‘woo-woo’ mysticism trying to hijack real science and visions of Deepak Choprah giving lectures on quantum mechanics.

All are straw-man arguments of course and this little article from Greg Taylor gives some attention to how consciousness and the quanta of the Universe might be one and the same:

The enigmas of quantum physics always provide fertile ground for fascinating science stories, as well as a good springboard into ontological and epistemological speculation. In recent weeks we’ve had interesting news about quantum coherence in biological systems and also yesterday’s headline ofquantum effects being seen in a visible object for the first time (RPJ also linked to a wonderful summary of recent ‘quantum science’ by Alan Boyle on his Cosmic Log).

Most physicists though are very careful not to be seen departing from the strange concepts inherent found in the quantum world, into the (seemingly extended) area of metaphysics. Henry Stapp though is not one of those – a physicist with a distinguished history (having studied/worked under Pauli, Heisenberg, and other luminaries), Stapp disagrees with a purely materialist view of the cosmos, instead seeing consciousness as being of extreme importance via its role in the collapse of the wave-function. And, while reading a recent interview he did withEnlightenNext Magazine (PDF download), I was very interested to see the following comments:

[R]espectable theorists hold a wide variety of views as to how to understand quantum mechanics. That theory accommodates a large variety of phenomena that are not allowed by classical mechanics. The key point here is this: If something like [William] James’ fantastic laws of clinging do exist, and they are sufficiently strong, then aspects of a personality might be able to survive bodily death and persist for a while as an enduring mental entity, existing somewhere in Descartes’ world of mental things, but capable on rare occasions of reconnecting with the physical world. I do not see any compelling theoretical reason why this idea could not be reconciled with the precepts of quantum mechanics. Such an elaboration of quantum mechanics would both allow our conscious efforts to influence our own bodily actions, and also allow certain purported phenomena such as “possession”, “mediumship”, and “reincarnation” to be reconciled with the basic precepts of contemporary physics.

These considerations are, I think, sufficient to show that any claim that postmortem personality survival is impossible that is based solely on the belief that it is incompatible with the contemporary laws of physics is not rationally supportable. Rational science-based opinion on this question must be based on the content and quality of the empirical data, not on the presumption that such a phenomenon would be strictly incompatible with our current scientific knowledge of how nature works.

You can read more about Stapp’s ideas on this in his paper “Compatibility of Contemporary Physical Theory with Personality Survival” (downloadable Word document), and for a more comprehensive overview see his book Mindful Universe. For video of Henry Stapp explaining some of his ideas, make sure you head over to the ‘Closer to Truth’ website(one of the greatest websites I’ve ever had the good fortune to find) and search through the videos for his intriguing interviews with Robert Lawrence Kuhn.

Afterlife in the Quantum Realm

Heavenly Strangeness

An interview with Michio Kaku:

PG: You are a proponent of string theory, which envisages an 11- or 13-fold dimensional universe. How do you envisage these extra dimensions?

MK: We live in a three-dimensional world. Length, width, height, and we also have the fourth dimension, which is time. But anyone who talks about higher dimensions is sometimes called a crackpot. Now, when I was a child, I used to go to the Japanese tea garden in San Francisco where there are fish swimming in a shallow pond. And I imagined being a fish myself. And if I was a fish, I could travel forward, backward, left, and right, but the concept of “up” made no sense because the pond is the universe.

So I imagined there was a scientist there who would say, “Bah, humbug. There are no other dimensions other than forward, backward, left, and right. There’s no such thing as up. What you see is what is. If you cannot measure it, it doesn’t exist. So then I imagined as a child reaching down and grabbing the fish, lifting the scientist into the world of up, hyperspace, the third dimension. What would he see?

He would see a world where beings move without fins, a new law of physics. Beings breathing without water, a new law of biology. Then I would put the fish back into the pond, what stories he would tell. A universe beyond the universe.

Well, today many physicists believe that we are the fish. We spend all our lives in three dimensions, going forward, backward, left and right, up and down. And anyone who talks about another, unseen dimension is considered a crackpot. Well, not anymore. This summer, the largest machine that science ever built, the Large Hadron Collider, 27 miles in circumference, costing eight billion euros (about ten billion dollars), will be turned on. And we hope to get evidence of the eleventh dimension. One of time, ten of space.

We work in an area called string theory, which used to be a bunch of outcasts in the physics community. But now, we’re center stage. We have gotten the major faculty positions at Harvard, Princeton, Yale; all the young crowd coming up are string theorists. My generation suffered enormously because people thought, “Oh my god, this is Star Trek, beam me up to the higher dimensions,” they said.

The young people, however, have the benefits of realizing that we are now the center of gravity. What happened? What happened was we physicists began to smash atoms, and we have a pretty good understanding of the theory of particles. It’s called the Standard Model. Except it is the ugliest theory known to science. Why should mother nature at a fundamental level create this ugly theory called the standard model? It has 36 quarks, it has eight gluons, it has three W bosons, it has a whole bunch of electrons, a whole bunch of neutrons, it just goes on and on and on.

The Music of Creation

Why should this be nature’s supreme theory? It’s like getting an aardvark, a platypus, and a whale, start shaping them together and calling this nature’s finest evolutionary creation, the byproduct of millions of years of evolution of the earth. I would like to believe that these 36 quarks, eight gluons, three W bosons are nothing but the lowest octave of a vibrating string.

Now, these strings are special. They are not ordinary strings. These strings, when they vibrate, create the musical notes which correspond to the particles we see in the universe. We can explain why we have leptons, muons, hadrons, photons, neutrinos, the zoo of subatomic particles; it’s nothing but the lowest vibration of the string. The normal aspect of the string is that they only vibrate in ten or eleven dimensions. They vibrate in ten dimensions. When you add membranes or beach balls, they can vibrate in eleven dimensions. So we think that’s what the Big Bang was. The Big Bang was an instability in eleven-dimensional hyperspace.

Einstein wanted to read the mind of God. That was his goal in life. He wanted an equation one-inch long that would allow him to read God’s thoughts. That’s what dominated his thinking. For the first time now, we have a candidate for the mind of God. The mind of God is: cosmic music resonating through eleven-dimensional hyperspace. That is, we think, the mind of God.

The trouble is, you have to subscribe to FATE Magazine to read the rest of the interview, but it might be worth the money. Michio Kaku is one of the least ‘mainstream’ of the mainstream physicists.

Hey, small victories are better than none!

Interview with Michio Kaku by Phyllis Galde

Hat tip


Pareidolia of the Gods?

Perhaps the most incredible space photos ever put on view are enfolded in a great mystery known as “pareidolia.” A category of optical illusions, pareidolia is an uncertain impression perceived as something clear and distinct. The astronomer Carl Sagan thought that seeing faces in clouds is an evolutionary trait. “Confirmation bias” refers to the tendency to notice what confirms one’s beliefs, and to ignore what disagrees with them…

Some psychologists promote pareidolia under clinical conditions to evaluate their patients. The most well known example is the Rorschach inkblot test. The Baltimore Sun in recent times reported: “Pareidolia is common enough, and predates the space program by a millennium or two. We’ve all seen the Man in the Moon, or faces and images of ships and elephants in cloud formations.”

Space photos pose a fuzzy hurdle for scientists now programming computers to observe images and to recognize objects. If a computer were taught to make out the symbolic abstractions of modern art, how would it perceive the contents of deep space photos? Some might argue that teaching machines to see “arty abstractions” is simply a waste of time. Yet we surely expect our GPS-fitted cars of the future to identify ordinary road sign symbols, which are likewise graphic abstractions.


Do human beings have this inborn need to look for ‘gods’ in the heavens in order to feel better about their place in the Universe?

Read on.

First Ever Photos of God

Another hat tip to the Anomalist


Anthropic Black Holes/Paracast 6/14/09

The Standard Model responsible for creating other Universes?

Louis Crane, K-State professor of mathematics, is studying new theories about why the universe is the way it is. He has a grant from the Foundational Questions Institute to study new approaches to the quantum theory of gravity, his primary research area as both a mathematician and a physicist. Crane hopes to uncover implications of these theories for the origin and the future of life.

He said that the standard model, which is the accepted theory of physics, has a large number of fundamental constants. Examples are the strengths of fundamental forces and the masses of fundamental particles.

What complicates things, Crane said, is that the theory does not explain the values of these constants. Rather, they are known by measurement and put into equations by hand.

“If they had just slightly different values, we would live in a different universe,” Crane said. “If they were a little different, we wouldn’t be here.”

“Life couldn’t exist if stars didn’t shine for billions of years,” Crane said. “Only a fine-tuning in the constants causes them to do so. Another fine-tuning in the constants causes carbon, the foundation of life, to be abundant.”

Crane suggests that if he is correct that artificial black holes are possible, then successful industrial civilizations — maybe ours — will eventually produce them. That’s because at a certain size they would be a perfect energy source for interstellar travel.

“I started doing calculations and found that the right-sized black hole to fuel a starship is just on the edge of what’s possible,” he said. “If you can build one, it has implications for the future of life because we would eventually spread life throughout the galaxy if we could build starships.”

Black holes are believed to produce a new universe on the other end of the singularity, but one that lies in our future and is always out of reach. Yet such universes, Crane said, also would be fine-tuned to produce life, civilizations and, eventually, more black holes.

“If this is possible, then we will fill the universe with life,” he said. “I’m suggesting that life forms are part of a grand evolutionary cycle, which includes universes and black holes.”

This is rife with Anthropic Principle (that in of itself is a misnomer) doctrine.

Now I’m not a physicist, but I’ve read enough over the past two years to conclude that yes, present observable evidence seems to indicate that the Universe might follow a biological nature, i.e., it is suitable for life because humans are here to observe it. I get that.

But so far there is only a sample size of one, us, to verify that hypothesis. There is simply not enough evidence to conclude that human beings, ergo, intelligent life (some would argue that) did not appear by pure chance and accident.

And the Standard Model is questioned not only by Electric Universe folks, but by others as well because of such concepts as dark energy/matter.

Stay tuned folks.


Hat tip


Sunday’s (6/14/09) Paracast features Dr. David M. Jacobs and Budd Hopkins in a “square table’ discussion of alien abductions, MIBs, possible alien/human hybrid programs, just what these ‘beings’ might be and other possible reasons for perceived abduction scenarios.

Interesting topic and conversation.

Jacobs and Hopkins Interview

Martian Glaciers, Transhuman Hearing and Black Swans

INFRARED light can stimulate neurons in the inner ear as precisely as sound waves, a discovery that could lead to better cochlear implants for deaf people.

A healthy inner ear uses hair cells that respond to sound to stimulate neurons that send signals to the brain. But hair cells can be destroyed by disease or injury, or can contain defects at birth, leading to deafness. In such cases, cochlear implants can directly stimulate neurons.

The hearing provided by today’s implants is good enough to enable deaf children to develop speech skills that are remarkably similar to hearing children’s. Implant users still find it tough to appreciate music, communicate in a noisy environment and understand tonal languages like Mandarin, however. That’s because the implants use only 20 or so electrodes, a small number compared to the 3000-odd hair cells in a healthy ear.

Some of these advanced medical tech treatments have a lead time of a decade or more, but with the push for a Singularity of some kind, this could be cut in half or even shorter.

It would be nice to see this used for what is claimed.

Light opens up a world of sound for the deaf


Vast Martian glaciers of water ice under protective blankets of rocky debris persist today at much lower latitudes than any ice previously identified on Mars, says new research using ground-penetrating radar on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

“Altogether, these glaciers almost certainly represent the largest reservoir of water ice on Mars that’s not in the polar caps. Just one of the features we examined is three times larger than the city of Los Angeles, and up to one-half-mile thick, and there are many more,” said John W. Holt of The University of Texas at Austin’s Jackson School of Geosciences, lead author of a report on the radar observations in the Nov. 21 issue of the journal Science.

This is a pretty significant find, but I have to ask, “Is the water salt brine or fresh?”

Most of the findings of the Phoenix lander and the Rovers found evidence of whatever water there was, it was salty.

Maybe it doesn’t matter, any water is better than no water.

And I don’t think we’re going to get there anytime soon.

New Research:: Blankets of Soil May Hide Vast Martian Glaciers


The lesson of the black swan is that the world is governed not by ordinary and predictable events but by extraordinary and unpredictable ones. The asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs is an example of a black swan. The Internet is a good black swan, the crash of ’08 a bad one. Except for one or two eccentric cranks, no one saw it coming.

I remember when I went to get my hair cut in September. As he snipped away, my hairdresser told me his mutual fund had gone down, and he was so ticked off that he’d sold it and stuck his whole life savings in the bank. Poor guy, I thought smugly. The market will go back up and he’ll be sorry. Ha ha ha.

Another lesson of the black swan is that expertise is useless. No one has a clue why the markets have gone down so far, or whether they’ll go down more, or how long it will really take for the world to absorb China’s three-year backlog of refrigerators. You might as well ask the nearest cab driver. And if he tells you, “God only knows,” he’s giving you a more honest answer than the well-paid people in good suits who have devoted their careers to analyzing these matters. Yogi Berra was right when he said it’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.

I would definitely say to this person that there were alot more than “a few cranks” who predicted the dire economic straits the world is currently experiencing.

But we human beings are hard-wired to try to make sense out of chaos, to wit, to make order to the Universe.

Some people prefer that higher beings such as God make predictable, preordained and orderly events happen, thus eliminating the chaos.

Others feel that free will is an illusion because our brains make decisions microseconds before we are aware of them.

These are defense mechanisms our brain uses to organise the chaos into recognisable structures, i.e., patterns.

Unless your brain is short-circuited like mine.

Sometimes viewing the chaos is better than an acid trip!

A black swan comes home to roost


Space vandals, warping space and philosophy

Here’s some advice that you would hope is more than unnecessary. NASA employees – astronauts, in particular – should avoid writing their names on any landscapes they encounter on their trips through the solar system.

This plea against space vandalism is not a NASA directive. It comes from University of North Texas philosophy professor Eugene Hargrove . He is making the request today as part of a talk on eco issues in space exploration during this week’s NASA Lunar Science Institute’s conference at the Ames Research Center.

There is no doubt that we have already made an impact on the Moon. Each Apollo mission released gas equivalent to the whole of the existing lunar atmosphere. If and when spacecraft start going back more regularly, we might create a permanent atmosphere of rocket exhaust.

“Create a permanent atmosphere of rocket exhaust” ? 

Y’gotta be shittin’ me, right?

Read the comment section of this article, they say it better than I can. 8)

Return of the space vandals


For those of you who don’t see Spaceflight, a magazine published by the British Interplanetary Society, it may be useful to know that an article by Richard Obousy and Gerald Cleaver (Baylor University) on warp drive theory from the April issue is now available on the arXiv server. This material was presented at the November, 2007 symposium held by the BIS in London. Kelvin Long, who organized the session, had earlier passed along several documents from the proceedings that we looked at here, and also wrote up the duo’s ideas in the same issue of Spaceflight.

But let’s backtrack a minute to Miguel Alcubierre’s 1994 paper, which demonstrated that it would be possible — within the context of General Relativity — to envision a space drive that could get you to your destination in a time shorter than it would take light itself to get there. Contracting space in front of the craft while inflating it behind, the drive is permissible because the starship itself would not be going faster than light. Rather, the space around it would be moving in such a way as to make the trip possible.

And that’s the key — the speed of light stricture does not apply to spacetime itself. Can we learn how to generate a region of expanding spacetime and one of contracting spacetime? Obousy and Cleaver argue that nature can offer insights, for spacetime itself is already expanding, a fact we realized with the work of Edwin Hubble in 1929 and have been wrestling with in various ways ever since. A warp drive would demand that the slow expansion of space that we observe be made to function extremely quickly, which makes understanding the cosmological constant the key demand of any attempt to build a true warp drive.

This is why I love the Centauri Dreams blog so much, Paul Gilster isn’t afraid to put out some extreme engineering posts at time. I have to admit, he’s good at finding these papers on the arXiv server!

As for the feasibility of warp drive, yes, the energy requirements are tremendous, so unless there is a way to create a warp bubble or fiddle with string theory in anything meaningful without the enormous energy input, it ain’t gonna happen.

And in the Trek Universe, the element in “dilithium” crystals facilitate the creation of a warp bubble without infinite energy input. People tend to forget that when the topic of inventing a real warp drive pops up. But Paul’s post puts a realistic spin on the research and is recommended reading.

A new take on warping space-time


I have a theory that the human energy body that certain so-called psychics say that they can travel out of body in and that which persons involved in so-called near death experiences claim to have is simply a body made of a material, perhaps super cooled non-relativistic neutrino material that is produced by the electroweak unification between the electromagnetic force and the weak nuclear force. As one might be aware, the neutrino is the particle with zero electric charge but which interacts with matter through the weak nuclear force reaction. A beam of pure neutrinos can accordingly travel thru light years of lead and remain largely unattenuated.My theory in another version is that the material out of which human and extraterrestrial energy bodies are made is composed of photo-neutrinos which would be a hybrid force particle with characteristics of both the electromagnetic photon and the weak force neutrino. My theory would explain why energy bodies appear or at least are reported to pass through material objects by those having near death experiences. Which ever version of my theory is correct, the electroweak unification in physics, the basic form of the theory for which a Nobel Prize was awarded, is the basis for suggesting that super cooled neutrinos, or photo-neutrinos, can interact by electric fields or electronic like fields and thus form the continuous material that energy bodies and auras appear to be made of in the form of aggregates of massive numbers of cooled neutrinos or photo-neutrinos in bound states.

My man Jim Essig here sounds like a nut at times, but he’s a deep thinker of many things and that is good.

He’s almost like a scientific Highwayman! Without the expletives of course!

As Geez says, “I’ll sit at his campfire any time and the coffee is always good.” That goes for all these guys.

Reflections on the Nature, Meaning, and Purpose of the Frailty of Life

SETI Spirituality

God, I must be a glutton for punishment!

The past few posts I’ve delved into some philosophical debates and gotten some awesome comments in return, which is why I continue to poke my finger in the “Eye of the Super-Unknown”.

Maybe I’m just a pig-headed old Leatherneck who doesn’t know any better when to shut up? ;^)

That too.

So that’s why I’m posting this little piece concerning SETI:

There’s a surprising amount of overlap between seekers of extraterrestrial life and seekers of God.

Not that the folks at SETI are actually hoping to detect the deep-space transmissions of a bearded deity from SGR 1900+14, handing them off to Vatican astronomers for inscription on silicon tablets. Far from it. But in my reporting for an article on the religious implications of finding extraterrestrial intelligence, I noticed that much research was produced in collaboration between scientists and theologians.

Why this partnership between parties whose relationship typically amounts to a truce, and an uneasy one at that?

In part it’s practical: Christianity boasts a small but rich history of so-called astrotheology, particularly within the Catholic Church. It makes sense that they’d run in some of the same circles as the SETI crowd. And since discovering aliens would prompt religious self-examination — if God is universal, maybe the image of God isn’t a hairless biped called homo sapiens — and perhaps devotion, it’s probably good that they’re already talking.

Now some would say that the Catholic Church isn’t Christian anyway, so it is no surprise they have this take. Others would say that since God created us, it stands to reason He created others also, so since we exist, thus they exist.

But some people in SETI don’t have the certitude that alien civilizations exist, like there’s seekers of God who don’t have the certitude God exists. According to Douglas Vakock, the Unitarian director of SETI’s Interstellar Messaging Composition, certitude of any kind is misplaced:

“One of the greatest misconceptions about SETI is that we know in our hearts that there is life out there, and the question is whether we’re going to be the generation that finds it. That’s false,” he said. “SETI requires an acceptance of ambiguity. If there’s a virtue to SETI, it’s that it’s making ambiguity acceptable at a time when people are focused on the concrete and short-term. It is very often uncomfortable not having the answers, but we need to accept that. We try to recognize that, in this domain, with what we now know, the best we can do, the most honest thing we can do, is live with a sense of ambiguity.”

Wise words. Especially at a time when we have a probe on another planet that might very well find the environment sterile and organic compounds never formed there at all (if they can get the soil samples to sift through that is!).

I would be disappointed if Mars is found sterile and the anthropocentrists (like Nick Bostrum) are proved right. It means humanity will never have someone else to bounce philosophical questions about the Universe off from. Not to mention boring.

Maybe that’s the way it’s meant to be, humanity will always need that sense of ambiguity to drive us along the road of discovery.

The Surprising Spirituality of SETI


More quantum woo-hoo mysticism…

From Intangible Materiality:

If time is a spacial phenomenon of observation unique to the processes of consciousness that is pliable rather than a discrete or enfolded phenomenon that is mechanism in of itself….this is one of the many issues currently debated in the field of quantum theory. At the same time, it is interesting to see the enormous amount of activity devoted to the practical application of quantum field detection.On a practical level we see potential applications in the spectrum of energetic bands associated with x ray and radar devices, some of which have already reached the prototype stage. This prompts some admittedly highly speculative musings from this writer toward quantum theory in relation to Ufology. While this mechanism has not been identified as an agent in these events, one wonders aloud if that this effect is what we are observing. If this is so, a diplomatic luncheon with the delegation from Planet X at the United Nations may be more attributable to a fantasy more akin to Star Trek than a foreseeable event. The sociological aspects of the UFO phenomenon distract us from these considerations in a circular path, then also perhaps we are distracted by what we see instead of why we see what we see. Again little ink has been expended on this aspect of the phenomenon. The majority of what we read is what government agencies may or may not be doing as well as what was seen. This is a fairly narrow band of consideration, which over the course of time appears to recycle the same material ad nauseam. This makes one wonder what the shelf life of interest in this phenomenon will be. I myself have been guilty of saying “this may be the year”.
Years turn to decades.

I have discovered in the one year my blog has inhabited the InnerTubes that more and more individuals and groups have jumped the ship of “nuts and bolts” theories of the UFO/ET phenomenon and climbed onboard the train of immateriality, cognitive, quantum physics, consiousness, psychic and even spiritual explanations of why it exists. And exist it does, there is no doubt about that.

Jacques Vallee was one of the first UFO investigators who proposed that they might not be actual material objects, or piloted by ET life ala Star Trek. His radical theory on how the objects/beings are perceived depending on the current dominant culture, individual/group’s upbringing and knowledge base was, and is, controversial, even in the UFO community. Today the mantle is taken up by people like Nick Pope, Nick Redfern, Greg Bishop, Paul Kimball and Mac Tonnies. Tonnies take is peculiarly interesting because he proposes that “crypto-terrestrials”, beings who are native Terrans (or native in a higher dimension), ahead of us millions of years on the evolutionary scale, are responsible for the UFO phenomenon and other cultural “sightings” and “manifestations” in the past.

I put abductee/authors Jeremy Vaeni and Whitley Strieber in the Jacques Vallee category since they “slip” mentally/psychically into the creature’s dimension (4th, 5th?) without cause or control. Is this a symptom of being abducted? Are they being “summoned”? Or are they favored “pets” of the enigmatic, god-like crypto-terrestrials?

What do I think,  you may ask? My original take was the standard spaceship/ET thing, but I’m not so sure now.  I’m taking the “wait and see” approach, especially since France and the UK are releasing UFO documents.

Chickensh*t? Yeah maybe. I just prefer to wait for more evidence should some appear.

Some musings on quantum events


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