Monthly Archives: September, 2009

Of BYOEs and The Trickster

My blog pal Rick Phillips of The Heavy Stuff has an unique take on the UFO phenomenon and it nearly matches my own theories.

BYOEs or ‘Billion Year Old Entities”

Recently, I’ve been having some fun commenting with Greg Bishop of Ufo Mystic and others – on my Ufo Disclosure Countdown Clock blog (I’ll put that link at the bottom) UDCC about `Billion’ – with a B – Billion year old entities. And, despite that post – I want to further expand upon the concept – and perhaps, tie it back into anomalous events humans experience.

Now, in my UDCC post and comments I stated that most probably any entity that we would encounter that was a Billion years old – would most likely be a `machine-hybrid’ that was most likely at one time `put into motion’ by a biological entity like a human or comparable creature on another planet hospitable to life. Which is really nothing more than classic science fiction that a species creates an `eternal representation’ of themselves that wanders the Universe with a set of purposes by the `beings’ who create such a machine to represent themselves in Long Time. Long time being that view of time that would try to outlast the very structure of time-space itself.

And, I will get to some specifics I’ve considered along these lines soon.

Meanwhile, I got to doing a little internet digging on this subject (finding that I was indeed number one on page one of google for `billion year old entities’) – looking for what type of life has been around on Earth for the longest time — 1 Billion Years — Green Algae

Although the division between a colony with specialized cells and a multicellular organism is not always clear, around 1 billion years ago[48]the first multicellular plants emerged, probably green algae.[49]

From –  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Earth

And, from this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oldest_life comes this

  • Various claims have been made about reviving bacterial spores to active metabolism after millions of years. There are claims of spores from amber being revived after 40 million years, and spores from salt deposits in New Mexico being revived after 240 million years. These claims have been made by credible researchers, but are not universally accepted.[1]
  • A Great Basin Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva) called Prometheus was measured by ring count at 4,862 years old when it was felled in 1964. This is the greatest verified age for any living organism at the time of its killing.[3]
  • The Hydrozoan species Turritopsis nutricula is capable of cycling from a mature adult stage to an immature polyp stage and back again. This means that there may be no natural limit to its life span.[21] However, no single specimen has been observed for any extended period, and it is impossible to estimate the age of a specimen.
  • The Antarctic sponge Cinachyra antarctica has an extremely slow growth rate in the low temperatures of the Antarctic Ocean. One specimen has been estimated to be 1,550 years old[22].
    As with all long-lived plant and fungal species, no individual part of a clonal colony is alive(in the sense of active metabolism) for more than a very small fraction of the life of the entire clone. Some clonal colonies may be fully connected via their root systems, while most are not actually interconnected, but are genetically identical clones which populated an area through vegetative reproduction. Ages for clonal colonies, often based on current growth rates, are estimates.[3]

    Whew, ………………… so let it be said, that when talking about Billion Year Old Entities – what I am going to be talking about is a `Space’ – an – `Object’ – that has literally been `in existence’ for one Billion years. Unlike anything on Earth has ever existed. So, perhaps almost obviously – our definition of `living’ – being ascribed to such an object is tentative – but – EXISTING – absolutely.  Existing with a purpose – absolutely. With intentionalities. With actualization.

  •  

    Such beings would be above us as we are above slime-mold. And they would have no trouble popping in and out of the Universe at will.

    My variance on this theory is that these entities might very well be our own descendents, if we accept the idea that time is holistic, not linear. And that the idea of a Technological Singularity is possible, thus the result of it could bring about the uber-evolution of entities that can exist in the past, present and future simultaneously.

    It could explain the lack of SETI results too.

    Billion Year Old Entities

    Here’s more commentary about the “trickster” element of the UFO phenomenon and the possible nature of the “entities” involved.

    I listened to just a few minutes of last night’s program, and found last night’s guest Christopher O’Brien extremely interesting. (Who mentioned Tonnies by the way, in terms of researchers, thinkers and writers considering the alien-ETH vs. Trickster/Something else idea.) O’Brien has a new book: “Stalking the Trickster”, which of course I will have to read. (I wonder why O’Brien didn’t mention George Hansen and his work, The Trickster and the Paranormal? Maybe he did and I didn’t catch it.) O’Brien, who has been investigating UFO, cattle mutes and other UAD’s, high strangeness in general, etc. in Colorado, is the author of several articles on these events as well as three books about the strange happenings in Colorado’s San Luis Valley. O’Brien, who has had his own UFO experiences, has come to a place where he thinks much more is going on than a simplistic ET explanation. yet. Isn’t is possible it’s both? Maybe I want to cling to this idea because I find both possibilities equally intriguing: space beings from Mars, and ultra/inter dimensional, terrestrial other . . .

    Round and round we go it seems, for no one can dismiss the Trickster behavior in so much of UFO and other weird areas (Fortean, paranormal, etc.) and yet… and

    Or, it could be some of the aliens are capable of manifesting such behaviors so ancient and convoluted they appear to be beyond what’s now become a jaded explanation for some: the ET. I think some consider ET to be advanced technologically, but don’t go beyond that. Aliens, some of them anyway, could very well be exceedingly capable of performing all kinds of feats that appear almost magical to us, and so, we call them angels, or demons, or Tricksters, or inter-dimensional whatevers. And maybe some of the ETs are all of those things, and it’s all in the naming. Angels and demons are ET, or the aliens are angels and demons? Same thing, different names, different human created constructs made to control and indoctrinate. Meanwhile, the ETs/angels/demons are doing their thing, and they don’t care what we call them.

    Ancient time warping groovy effects inter-dimensional, or aliens from space? Why couldn’t the space-man from Mars be perfectly capable of performing tricks for our entertainment? Why force the space being into a box; aliens are supposed to act this way, and if they don’t, they’re something else. Why do we think we can figure them out, predict their behaviors, assume their motivations, presume their cultures and their abilities?

    It’s possible some ETs mimic other non-human behaviors: ghosts, or who knows what. Fairies, angels, gods. . . an alien very well might want to confuse us, or maybe, it’s just playing around. They could know how to manipulate things that stress our credibility: we can accept there are aliens on Mars (or wherever) and can travel in UFOs, but they can’t visit us on the astral plane. When that happens, we shift from alien to something else; angel, god, ultra terrestrial, etc. Maybe it’s as simple as it seems: aliens can manipulate a lot more than we think.

    Often when we talk about ET we present it as if there is just one kind of ET. “ET” we say, as if it’s a single entity. It seems pretty obvious there are many kinds of ET (Dr. Greer’s didactic list of specific numbers excluded) and some of these aliens are advanced not just technologically, but in so many other ways as well.

    Again, these beings might or might not be material at all, thus prompting the question whether their very nature isn’t material at all, they only take the material from our environment when they manifest themselves.

    Mac Tonnies on Coast to Coast and the Trickster

    LCROSS Team Changes Target

    Via Space Fellowship:

    Based on new analysis of the latest lunar data, the science team for NASA’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite mission (LCROSS) decided to change the target crater for impact from Cabeus A to Cabeus (proper).  

    An artist's concept of LCROSS approaching the Moon. Credit:NASA An artist’s concept of LCROSS approaching the Moon. Credit:NASA 

    The decision was based on a consensus that Cabeus shows, with the greatest level of certainty, the highest hydrogen concentrations at the south pole. The most current terrain models provided by JAXA’s Kaguya spacecraft and the LRO Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) was important in the decision process, as the latest models show a small valley in an otherwise tall Cabeus perimeter ridge, which will allow for sunlight to illuminate the ejecta cloud, making it easier to see from Earth.

    The decisison was based on continued evaluation of all available data and consultation/input from members of the LCROSS Science Team and the scientific community, including impact experts, ground and space based observers, and observations from (LRO), Lunar Prospector (LP), Chandrayaan-1 and JAXA’s Kaguya spacecraft. This decision was prompted by the current best understanding of hydrogen concentrations in the Cabeus region, including cross-correlation between the latest LRO results and LP data sets.

    As for the sunlight illuminating the ejecta cloud on Oct. 9, it should show up much better than previously estimated for Cabeus. While the ejecta does have to fly to higher elevations to be observed by Earth telescopes and observers, a shadow cast by a large hill along the Cabeus ridge, provides an excellent, high-contrast, back drop for ejecta and vapor measurements.

    See this link for how to observe the impact from Earth. Eastern and central north America has the best chance of seeing the impact.

    The LCROSS team concluded that Cabeus provided the best chance for meeting its mission goals. The team critically assessed and successfully advocated for the change with the Lunar Precursor Robotic Program (LPRP) office. The change in impact crater was factored into LCROSS’ most recent Trajectory Correction Maneuver, TCM7.

    During the last days of the mission, the LCROSS team will continue to refine the exact point of impact within Cabeus crater to avoid rough spots, and to maximize solar illumination of the debris plume and Earth observations.

    LCROSS Team Changes Target Crater for Impact

    Monday Mysteries

    Remember the hub-bub about the discovery of water and hydroxyl molecules on the lunar surface?

    Well, it looks like we have a technique to ‘live off the land’ so to speak, if we decide to go back to the Moon:

    American boffins say they have developed a viable process for making oxygen out of moon dirt, which could allow humans to live for long periods in lunar bases. The new tech has been tried out under the equivalent of the moon’s one-sixth-G gravity aboard NASA’s famous “vomit comet” low-gee simulator plane.

    A long-term moonbase, which is still officially part of NASA’s plans for the coming decades – though the whole US manned space programme is seriously imperilled by lack of funds – would surely require a means of producing oxygen locally. Astronauts need the precious gas to breathe, of course, but the need to refuel rockets on the Moon is perhaps even more critical. If all the fuel to be used on the Moon-to-Earth return trips must first be hauled up from Earth to Moon – requiring the burning of huge amounts more rocket juice to do so – the vast majority of the programme’s budget and activity will be eaten up simply moving propellants through space.

    A sustained moonbase programme would still be hugely expensive with lunar fuel production, but not nearly as much so: and a source of rocket fuel on the Moon could in time make the further exploration of the solar system much more economical as well. Fuel for voyages to Mars or the asteroids, rather than having to be hauled up through Earth’s heavy gravity, could be fired up relatively easily and cheaply from the lunar refineries.

    So the human race – assuming it would like to explore personally beyond its home planet* – would like to have rocketfuel refineries on the Moon. With current chemical rockets, the mainstream spaceflight technology, this also means oxygen. So how to make oxygen out of Moon dirt?

    Well, according to boffins at Case Western Reserve uni in Ohio, the way ahead is to scoop up moon dust (probably using a robotic digger machine) and dump it into a hopper. Metal oxide particles of the correct size would be sifted from the dirt and heated with hydrogen at 1000°C, so breaking out the oxygen and attaching it to hydrogen to form water, which could then be used to produce oxygen easily via electrolysis.

    It is yet to be seen if this discovery will impact what the Obama Administration’s decision to increase NASA’s budget or not.

    NASA has been dying the death of a thousand cuts for decades.

    Will this make a difference?

    Oxygen-from-Moon-dirt passes vomit comet test

    Who says amateur astronomers don’t see UFOs through their telescopes?

    Check out what this amateur astronomer sees here.

    UFO_1488257c.betts.9289

    Was the cigar-shaped object seen in sky by photographer a UFO?

    Is human civilization far older than mainstream science cares to admit?

    In the past ten years, many sites in Turkey have pushed back the dates of civilization to perhaps 10,000 years instead of the 5,000 that is currently taught.

    One of these sites pushing the envelope of antiquity is Gobekli Tepe:

    The discovery of the biblical town of Jericho and its stone walls, dated to c. 8000 BC, was the first to push back the date of the birth of “civilisation”. ‘Ain Ghazal is often seen as a sister site of Jericho and, with its 15-hectare area, is the largest Neolithic site in the Middle East and four times as big as Jericho. American Gary O. Rollefson, its principal archaeologist, was able to date the town to 7250 BC, and there is evidence of agriculture in the area dating back to c. 6000 BC—later than the establishment of the town itself. In its heyday, 2,000 people lived at ‘Ain Ghazal. However, by 5000 BC the town was completely deserted. Thirty statues have been found there, measuring between 35 and 90 centimetres; they are human in appearance but may represent deities or the spirits of ancestors. Jericho’s discovery added weight to the argument that the Bible is history, not myth. But when it was next learned that there are even older sites than Jericho, “unfortunately” not located in Palestine but further north in Anatolia, southeast Turkey, media interest in these new discoveries seemed to wane.
    The most famous of these sites is Çatal Höyük. It was discovered in 1958 by British archaeologist James Mellaart, who began excavations in 1961 and eventually dated the site to 7500–5700 BC. It is the largest and best-preserved Neolithic site found to date. Mellaart described it as “a Neolithic Rome”, and it is indeed worthy of the name “town”. Its constructions show clear signs that its inhabitants possessed a religion—labelled by some to be a Mother Goddess cult, although this theory has been the subject of much controversy. What is known is that the dead were buried beneath the floors of the buildings, and that several of these structures contain depictions of bulls. Some people have gone so far as to suggest that there is likely a common origin between Çatal Höyük and the Minoan civilisation on Crete, despite the fact that 3,000 years separate the two.
    Çatal Höyük was the first of several discoveries to slowly unveil the Turkish region’s ancient history. Göbekli Tepe is but one of several extremely old sites and is the oldest discovered so far. However, the existence of these sites has only been reported within the specialised press, although each site has a wow factor.
    The site of Çayönü, located around 96 kilometres from Göbekli Tepe, conforms to a design that is known as a “grill plan”, as it looks like a grill. This reveals that careful planning went into its construction. Americans Linda and Robert Braidwood, together with Turkish archaeologist Halet Çambel, began to excavate Çayönü in 1964 and found that the floors of the buildings were made of terrazzo (burnt crushed lime and clay), although at the time of the discovery it was thought that this had first been used by the Romans. The site also revealed the use of metals and the earliest evidence of the smelting of copper, though some nevertheless argue that the copper was originally cold-hammered rather than smelted. The use of copper should not come as a total surprise, as the site is within range of copper ore deposits (as well as obsidian) at Ergani in nearby Diyarbakir Province. And all of this in a site dated to 7500–6600 BC. Çayönü is often seen as the site that began the epoch that would culminate in Çatal Höyük.
    Çayönü presented evidence of the first farmyard pigs, but it also revealed a hoard of human skulls, one found under an altar-like slab and stained with human blood. Some have concluded that this is an indication of human sacrifice, while others have been unwilling to go that far based on a single type of artefact. Other archaeological evidence suggests that some people were killed in huge death pits, while children were buried alive in jars or roasted in large bronze bowls. Çayönü is therefore civilisation, but perhaps not as we like to know it.
    Another important site is Nevali Çori, in Hilvan Province between Diyarbakir and Sanliurfa. Here, Harald Hauptmann began excavations in 1979 and was able to uncover large limestone statues. In 1991, the site was submerged with the construction of Lake Atatürk Dam. It shares many parallels with Göbekli Tepe and is dated to 8400–8000 BC. All the artefacts retrieved are now in museums, including a life-sized egg-like head with crude ears and a carved ponytail, found in a niche at the centre of a north-western wall. Interestingly, the ponytail is actually a curling serpent that ends in a mushroom-like cap. Whatever being the figure is meant to represent, German archaeologist Klaus Schmidt believes it was worshipped as a deity.
    Nevali Çori set the stage for Göbekli Tepe: shortly after its disappearance under the waters, Göbekli Tepe emerged from the sands. Many people highlight the T-shaped pillars of Göbekli Tepe as the “signature” of the site. However, such T-shaped pillars were also found in Nevali Çori. Site-wise, Nevali Çori is more square than circular in design, although a square precinct has been found at Göbekli Tepe, too. Although there are several parallels between the two sites, Nevali Çori’s pillars are nevertheless smaller and its shrine is located inside a village.

    gobekli_3.9289

    Even with hard-core physical evidence, the kind that scientists scream all of time that is needed to verify claims, cannot change the minds of mainstream archeology!

    It just proves the saying that physicist Max Planck once noted:

    New scientific truth usually becomes accepted, not because opponents become convinced, but because opponents die, and because the rising generation is familiar with the new truth at the outset.

    I wonder if Planck himself was guilty of such?

    Göbekli Tepe: the world’s oldest temple

    The Black Iron Prison and Writing

    I just finished reading Philip K. Dick’s VALIS a couple of days ago and the effort left me more than a little dazed.

    The ending was a little weak I thought, but the tome was an ecumenical hodge-podge of freaked-out genius that was Dick and unique in science-fiction literature.

    I spoke briefly about this last week (“The Empire Never Ended“) and I used Dick’s term ‘The Black Iron Prison’ in conjuction with it. PKD used it to describe the Evil Empire and how it keeps its people in constant despair, blurred sense of reality and confusion.

    Much as today is described.

    We all know that 9/11/2001 represents an event that set other wheels in motion. Wheels in which many evil things were done in the name of all of the good that’s in humanity. And that now, “orwell speak” (war=peace, good=evil, etc.) is common vernacular that was used then to hynoptise the American population into believing they were holy in their ‘righteous might.’

    What would Philip Dick think of all this today?

    After all, he believed the downfall of Richard Nixon was the beginning of a new enlightened era of peace and gnosis (knowlege).

    Dick, like most human beings, overlook the small details. He was a literary genius bar-none and his intuitiveness into the strange and esoteric bordered on the prophetic, so how could he have missed Nixon’s henchmen Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld?

    As human beings, most of us anyways, prefer to look forward to better times than the ones we’re experiencing at the time and PKD was no different.

    He was looking forward to escaping his Black Iron Prison and seeing the jailor put away for good.

    Unfortunately, he neglected to see the jailor’s students/apprentices.

    Today, we have the alternative media of the Internet to balance out the control mechanisms used by the corporate held media. Oh sure, most of it is undisciplined trash and almost all of it is personal opinion, but there is gold to be panned from its muddy streams, if one is willing to work and practice at it.

    So how do we eventually escape from today’s Black Iron Prison and the world elite who want to evolve it into a surveillance Panopticon?

    Keep doing what we’ve been doing of course, by ranting, raving, opinionating and doing most of all what an informed citizenry must do in order to survive.

    Write.

    Philip K. Dick would approve.

    Thursday High Strangeness

    The Iranian Revolutionary Guard recently shot down some UFOs according to them:

    Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has targeted and downed an unidentified shining object after sighting it over Persian Gulf waters.

    “Glowing objects were sighted over the Persian Gulf. IRGC air defense targeted one of the objects successfully, forcing it to plummet and sink in the seas off Boushehr (Province),” said top regional commander, Brigadier Ali Razmjou.

    “The three bright objects were detected by our radars when flying over the Persian Gulf Islands of Khark and Khargou,” he added, according to a Monday report posted on IRNA.

    Brig. Razmjou explained that when the radars indicated that they were not Iranian aircrafts, the IRGC fired at the three objects. He also added that the fallen objects’ remains have not been found yet.

    The exact time and location of the sighting and downing of the weird aircraft has not been announced.

    They’re not claiming the UFOs are of extraterrestrial origin and the objects were very likely unmanned spy craft, but the Iranians say they can’t find the remains.

    Not that the parties involved, no matter what or whom they are, would claim responsibility anyway.

    Iran downs strange bright craft over Persian Gulf

    Nazca lines in Kazakhstan?

    Media outlets as well as the official government website in Kazakhstan are reporting the surprise discovery of local geoglyphs or ‘Nazca Lines’.  Geoglyphs are drawings created on the ground by arranging stones or removing the top layers of earth. These designs typically cover large areas. The most famous geoglyphs are those found in the Nazca desert in Peru. These show hummingbirds, spiders, monkeys, fish, sharks, llamas, and lizards.
    The Kazakhstan Geoglyphs (photo above, thanks to photojournalist N. Dorogov) appear to depict a humanoid figure wedged between two unusual structures. The drawings are located in the remote Karatau Mountains in South Kazakhstan.
    Geoglyphs are of interest to UFO researchers, some of whom believe they might be messages or markers created by ancient people for the benefit of visiting extraterrestrials.  It is alleged by these UFO scholars that in times of distress these were a way of asking ‘Star Gods’ to return and Assist these early societies, however this hypothesis has not been proven.
    It is expected that some scholars of extraterrestrial matters will claim that the being shown in the drawing might well depict an alien that once visited the area and interacted with the locals.
    Kazhakstan is an area of intense UFO sightings and activity. Recently the Kazakhstan Government toyed with the idea of creating a UFO landing field and an alien embassy.
    nazcalinekazak
     
    Not once is there a mention of any archeologist, or geologist for that matter verifying this claim.
    I think the government of Kazakhstan is just scrounging for the tourist business.

    The criteria for looking for extraterrestrial life has always been this; water as a solvent, carbon and oxygen.

    This is simply because we only have a sample size of one to compare our results with; Ourselves.

    Finally, mainstream science has decided to broaden the search criteria somewhat:

    In the search for extraterrestrial life, some scientists say we’re focusing too much on finding signs of existence as we know it, and in the process, we may be missing more strange forms of life that don’t rely on water or carbon metabolism.

    Now researchers from Austria have started a systematic study of solvents other than water that might be able to support life outside our planet. They’re hoping their research will lead to a shift in what they call the “geocentric mindset” of our attempts to detect extraterrestrial life.

    “With our current measurement strategy for life on other planets, we will only be able to detect life which shares most of its parameters with terrestrial life,” astrobiologist Johannes Leitner of the University of Vienna, who presented his research Friday at the European Planetary Science Congress in Germany, wrote in an e-mail. “Presently we will not be able to detect exotic life, because we have no idea of its potential properties and by this, our probes to planetary surfaces do not carry instruments which can look for something exotic.”

     

    For instance, Leitner said, we can send rovers to Mars carrying antibodies that detect traces of chemicals and bacteria that would indicate life. But because we can only make antibodies to known substances, this method will be limited to finding Earth-like life.

    “When we try to find a definition for life, in most cases, such a definition is more a summary of the specific properties of terrestrial life,” Leitner said. Because life on Earth requires water, most of the search for extraterrestrial life thus far has focused on the “habitable zone,” or the relatively narrow region around a star where liquid water could exist.

    But while water is liquid only between zero and 100 degrees Celsius, other solvents are liquid over a much larger temperature range. For instance, because ammonia stays liquid at a lower temperature, an ocean of ammonia could exist on a planet much further from its host star. By exploring the properties of more potential solvents, such as sulfuric acid and formamide, the researchers hope to expand the potential life-supporting zone.

    This is certainly an improvement, but will we still be able to decipher what we’re looking at?

    Probably not.

    Read the comments at the bottom of the post, pretty entertaining it is.

    The Hunt for Extraterrestrial Life Gets Weird

    Thanks today to The Anomalist.

    November Dragon Launch, Moon Water and NASA’s Pork

    The Augustine Committee’s pre-report to Congress last week wasn’t received well in the House or Senate, mainly because of misconceptions about the Commercial Space Program:

    Next Step in Space, a coalition of businesses, organizations, and people working toward ensuring the future of human spaceflight in the United States, today issued a white paper titled “Acquiring U.S. Commercial ISS Crew and Cargo Services Creates New Industry in LEO, Enables Program for Exploration Beyond” to help clarify issues discussed at a September 15th hearing of the House Committee on Science & Technology on “Options and Issues for NASA’s Human Space Flight Program.”

    “Some comments made at the House hearing last week incorrectly suggested that the Augustine Committee’s recommendation to procure crew services to the International Space Station would necessarily be in lieu of further development of NASA’s exploration program to travel beyond Earth orbit,” said Bretton Alexander, President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation. “However, these two programs are complementary, not competitive. As former NASA Administrator Mike Griffin has pointed out numerous times, the Constellation Program is designed and optimized for missions beyond low-Earth orbit, not for Space Station servicing.”

    With the Space Shuttle program nearing its end of life, the most economical options for transportation to the International Space Station (ISS) are: 1) sending taxpayer dollars to buy seats on the Russian Soyuz, or 2) investing in the American commercial space industry.

    “The American public has begun to realize that we are about a year away from sole-sourcing our human spaceflight needs to Russia,” said Elon Musk, CEO and CTO of Space Exploration Technologies. “Fortunately numerous companies within the commercial space sector have been raising and investing private capital to develop the capability to service the ISS, and we are confident that we can be ready to transfer crew within a few years.”

    Musk’s company, SpaceX has recently made it known that their initial Falcon9 rocket will have an actual Dragon capsule on it instead of a ‘dummy’ fairing when it launches on or after November 29, 2009.

    Whether that proves to be a wise move for SpaceX will be a matter for debate in the future, but we all know that private industry takes more risks than government anyway.

    I guess  Musk wants to let NASA know SpaceX means business. Literally.

    Sept. 15 House of Representatives Hearing on Space Flight Includes Misconceptions; Industry Group Offers Clarity

    Did the Indian Chandrayaan-1 Lunar probe discover “lots of water” on the Moon before it died?

    Reliable sources report that there will be a press conference at NASA HQ at 2:00 pm this Thursday featuring lunar scientist Carle Pieters from Brown University.

    The topic of the press briefing will be a paper that will appear in this week’s issue of Science magazine wherein results from the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) aboard Chandrayaan-1 will be revealed.

    The take home message: there is a lot of water on the Moon.

    I guess we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out, eh?
    NASA Briefing To Reveal Evidence of Water on the Moon – Lots of It

    The myth of the Ares 1 and 5?

    “Urban myth,” Wikipedia tells us, “is a form of modern folklore consisting of stories thought to be factual by those circulating them.” More often than not, any kernel of truth at the core of the stories is somewhat exaggerated in their modern retelling. As we recede from the 40th anniversary of the first steps taken by humans on another world, it has become clear that the intervening time has allowed for many myths to arise in the exploration folklore. And those myths have now led us down a dead-end, almost certainly unsustainable, path back to where we started.

    One such myth is the idea that “bigger is better.” Since the dawn of the space age, the people who build rockets have almost continuously sought to make them bigger, enabling larger and larger payloads to be thrown intact into orbit. The behemoths are needed, we are told, for a number of reasons, mostly mythical as well: integrated testing of multi-module equipment on the ground is too complicated; assembly on orbit is risky; extravehicular activities (EVAs) are dangerous; high flight rates lead to logistics logjams; and multiplicative probabilities of failure in piece-wise assembled systems result in lower mission reliabilities.

    Yet, somehow, the international space station (ISS) complex is on orbit. It has been incrementally assembled from smaller pieces of international origin. And while they may never become routine, the 253 EVAs to date were mostly regular non-events. As many as 19 flights from all partner countries are scheduled for lift-off to ISS next year and are being accommodated logistically. Lifetime projections for this modular assembly now run out to the vicinity of 2028. Pretty good numbers for such an “improbable” vehicle.

    The space shuttle came into being on a multiuse premise, sharing now extinct requirements with the Department of Defense. Heavy-lift launch vehicles initially configured for human spaceflight cargo are once again being sold for their ability to loft larger, more complex science payloads as well. Of course, with an infrastructure- and operations-dominated budget, one has to ask just where the extra funds will come from to develop and build the multibillion-dollar telescopes that would justify the infrequent use of such lifting capability? We are told that human missions to Mars will require multiple launches in short periods of time to loft mass on the order of the size of the ISS. Yet, a heavy-lifter approach that puts a significant fraction of one-of-a-kind, high-value mission hardware on a single launcher, bets the program each time ignition occurs.

    “Heritage is faster,” is another myth holding us back. We have now driven that into the heads of undergraduate engineers so hard that most have lost the ability to innovate and typically start with an existing design to claim cost advantages for the development of their senior design projects. Still, any advantages of starting with off-the-shelf hardware are immediately mitigated by the first swipe of the refining pencil.

    Consider the history, still on paper, of the Ares 1 and 5. Four-segment solid-rocket boosters, common with the space shuttle have now mutated into brand new five-segment boosters, with different propellant grain, nozzles, stiffened structure and thrust oscillation characteristics. The shuttle external tank design has to be modified to handle the compression caused by five or six rocket engines pushing from below. These “heritage” designs require all of the structural and thermal loads analysis and testing that a clean sheet design would require along with band aids addressing the original design’s inefficiencies. Accordingly, preliminary design reviews and critical design reviews have gapped to the right from their original heritage-based streamlined prognostications.

    The Constellation Program with its component parts, Ares 1 Orion capsule lifter and matching Ares 5 Heavy Lift Vehicle have long been political pork barrel projects in my view. They have little or no value in building an important space infrastructure that’s needed to extend mankind’s push into the Inner Solar System.

    The Constellation Program is based more on Pyramid Building than anything else and is destined to last a lot less!

    One only has to witness what U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who is married to a NASA astronaut by the way, said to Norm Augustine at the Congressional hearings last week:

    […]the U.S. could not “gain anything by confusing hypothetical commercial capabilities that might someday exist with what we can actually count on now to meet the nation’s needs.”

    That could be one of the reasons SpaceX moved up its launch date using a Dragon capsule instead of a test-launch fairing, but that is just an observation on my part.

    It doesn’t look like the Pentagon isn’t going to publicize their space tech anytime soon, and NASA is beholden to special interests, so it looks like good ol’ fashioned capitalistic greed might be an incentive for a civil space program, so go SpaceX!

    Maybe.

    Human Spaceflight Myth-busting

    Letter: An Idea Whose Time Came — a Decade Ago

    h/t

    Update:

    To be fair, NASA has moved up its launch date of the Ares 1-X rocket with dummy ordinance on it to October 27, 2009 instead of Halloween (Oct. 31st).

    Next month’s Ares 1 test flight moved up four days

    Hmm, maybe Augustine’s report already is having an impact, wouldn’t you say?

    UFO Chem-Trails and More Chinese UFO

    Via Rochester Paranormal:

    Stanton T. Friedman on ufo’s.

    Recently the weather here in Western New York had gifted us with clear conditions in a region known for its natural overcast or chem-trails produced by aircraft, which skeptics have informed me are really only contrails. Which is interesting as I have actually witnessed high altitude aircraft minus any evidence of chem-trail or contrails.

    This past summer I had also witnessed two high altitude aircraft laying down chem-trails which were traveling on a collision path. Where upon contact had flown through each other in then continuing independently across an open sky.

    Perhaps evidence of a matrix existence not so far removed from the original movie script where many people have reported experiencing phenomena which lead them to more thoroughly question the solidity of what we today call reality.

    So with such optimal weather condition had I taken advantage by visiting one of several locations known to have ufological activity.

    Our first night out proved cold with only a few aircraft flyovers complete with an occasional shooting star.

    Our second night produced visual observation on a singular illuminated object which remained semi stationary for almost three minutes before blinking out as if someone had turned off a light switch.

    So while unknown object had remained in view was I able to capture a number of images now provided here in animation as evidence.

    Stanton T. Friedman

    I certainly look at high-flying aircraft and the ‘contrails’ that are left a little more closely than I used to.

    Morgellons? Electro-magnetic reflective materials? Hmm…

    Stanton T. Friedman on UFOs

    h/t

    Remember the UFO flying over a Chinese city recently?

    Well, here’s a photo from Google Earth:

    UFOchinesecitygoogleearth.92109

     

    An sharp-eyed reader has sent us these intriguing images […] of what looks like a possible UFO hovering or zooming above the rooftops of the city of Shenzhen in China. What might be a some sort of tail is preceded by what hazily appears to be a classic metallic flying saucer.

    Is this object of extraterrestrial Origin? In the past few years, UFO sightings in this part of China have been an almost weekly affair.

    I take what Mike Cohen posts on the All News Web with multiple grains of salt usually, but I find these photos intriguing.

    Especially if there’s any truth that they were snapped by Google Earth.

    UFO found on Google Earth over Chinese city?

    “The Empire Never Ended”

    “The Empire Never Ended” is a quote from Philip K. Dick’s VALIS published in 1981. The phrase is often used in conjunction with another phrase, “The Black Iron Prison.”

    Let’s first make one thing clear, Philip K. Dick was a prolific, prophetic and often insane genius. And like all insane genius’, his appetite for self-destruction often fed his creativity and VALIS clearly showed that. In fact, Dick went out of his way by claiming the protagonist, Horse-lover Fat, was a semi-autobiographical character.

    In the book, Horse-lover Fat under-goes several visions that are epiphanic in nature. One such episode clearing leaves Fat the impression that he saw a past self, a Gnostic Christian, hiding and running from the Romans! In fact, he claimed the personality over-took his body for a while!

    There was no accident this incident was in the book. Dick himself claimed this event happened to him and led him to exclaim “The Empire Never Ended” because the whole scene over-layed the present to him!

    Of course, he was talking about the Nixon Era, because this vision started in 1974 (March) and continued over the spring.

    Dick passed away in 1982, in the beginnings of the St Ronny Raygun Era, and many of the players that learned their trade at Nixon’s knee honed their skills during that time, i.e., Rummy the Mummy, Cheneyburton, David Adder-ton, Bu$hco #1 (even St. Ronny didn’t trust this guy!) and other cast of characters that carried on the Empire through into the 21st Century with Bu$hco #2.

    I wonder, in a parallel universe if Dick lived through the Raygun and Bu$hco #2 Eras there, if he would’ve written more about The Empire That Wouldn’t Die and it’s Black Iron Prisons?

    Read more about Philip K. Dick here and here.

    “The Empire Never Ended.”

    “Black Iron Prison.”

    1991 Vintage Publishing version

    VALIS

    Accelerating Singularity Tech

    Is the Terminator becoming real?

    8028reaper

    An American “Reaper” flying hunter-killer robot assassin rebelled against its human controllers above Afghanistan on Sunday, and a manned US fighter jet was forced to shoot the rogue machine down before it unilaterally invaded a neighbouring country.

    The Reaper, aka MQ-9 or Predator-B, is a large five-ton turboprop powered machine able to carry up to 14 Hellfire missiles – each capable of destroying a tank or flattening a building. It is used by the US and British forces above Afghanistan as a “persistent hunter-killer against emerging targets”.

    According to USAFCENT Public Affairs:

    The aircraft was flying a combat mission when positive control of the MQ-9 was lost. When the aircraft remained on a course that would depart Afghanistan’s airspace, a US Air Force manned aircraft took proactive measures to down the Reaper in a remote area of northern Afghanistan.

    The statement goes on to say that the errant killdroid “impacted the side of a mountain” and that there “were no reports of civilian injuries”.

    USAFCENT don’t specify just what manned jet went up against the mutinous machine, or what methods the pilot used. However the logical choice would be a fighter plane – probably an F-15, -16 or -18 – and the cheapest and most fun weapon to use would be cannon fire. Opposition from the Reaper wouldn’t be an issue, as it is a low-performance aircraft compared to a jet fighter and has no air-to-air capability.

    It wasn’t clear from the US military announcement whether the erratic death-bot had turned on its masters and was planning an attack on critical US logistics bases located north of the Afghan border, or whether it had sickened of reaping hapless fleshies like corn and was hoping merely to escape. Alternatively the machine assassin may merely have succumbed to boredom or – just possibly – a mundane, non-anthropomorphic technical fault of some kind.

    Despite the wording of the article, I don’t think these aircraft have sentient capabilities. They are remote controlled by a pilot in a control room/tent at USAFCENT like a video game.

    If anything, once the control link went defective, the guidance system just maintained its last known input heading. They destroyed it for safety reasons, not because it decided to run away from home.

    But if DARPA develops more sophisticated software for the damn things though, all bets may be off!

    Machine rebellion begins: Killer robot destroyed by US jet

    Source

    Since we’re discussing Singularity Tech here, how about a little interview with Nick Bostrum, a philosopher who deals with the futuristic effects of accelerating technology.

    Here are parts of a September 9, 2009 session:

    Modern science already offers ways to enhance your mood, sex drive, athletic performance, concentration levels and overall health. But is such medically driven self-improvement always a good idea? Nick Bostrom, the director of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University, believes it’s time to open the ethical debate surrounding human enhancement — a term that is growing to include genetic, pharmaceutical and technological ways to improve our physical and mental abilities and even dramatically extend human life. He recently edited a collection of essays on the subject, Human Enhancement, and in an e-mail exchange explained why our future holds great promise — and grave danger.

    You believe it’s time to have this ethics conversation. Why?
    For the most part, the ethical discussion is running ahead of reality, which is as should be. However, we already have alertness enhancers (caffeine, modafinil), athletic enhancers (steroids, EPO), sexual-performance enhancers (Viagra), immune enhancers (vaccinations) and concentration enhancers (Ritalin). One can expect improved versions of these to become available in the short term. In addition, memory enhancers are currently in clinical trials. Perhaps there will be compounds that facilitate trust — such as Oxytocin — and encourage pair bonding, or improved diet pills, or treatments that slow the rate of aging and increase sustainable mental energy. Each intervention has to be judged on its merits, the benefits weighed against the costs and risks.

    Even small enhancements can have profound impacts, right?
    There are approximately 10 million scientists in the world. If you could improve their cognition by 1%, the gain would hardly be noticeable in a single individual. But it could be equivalent to instantly creating 100,000 new scientists.

    You recently completed work on whole-brain emulation. Could you discuss that and its relationship with human enhancement?
    Whole-brain emulation is a hypothetical future technology which would enable human minds to be “uploaded” from biological brains onto computers. This is a radical technology that’s a long way off. It is nevertheless worth analyzing now because if it is developed, it would have profound consequences in relation to enhancement. For example, a mind that runs as software on a computer is not subject to biological aging. Such a mind could also be sped up by moving it to a faster computer. Backup copies could be made for safety. And so forth. But it is important not to conflate these more remote possibilities with what is possible today or in the near future.

    Whole brain emulations are the Holy Grail of Singularity Tech. It effectively garuantees a sort of physical immortality.

    I wonder what the ethical ramifications there is with that?

    The Future of Human Enhancement

    P.S. I’m kind of biased about the subject because without enhanced vascular reconstructive surgery, I wouldn’t be here writing about the issue!

    Proving Shroedinger’s Cat and The Montauk Chair

    Can a real world version of quantum theory’s “Shroedinger’s Cat” be finally realized and proof that ‘living’ objects can be subjected to ‘superposition?’

    In quantum theory, a single object can be doing two different things at once. This so-called “superposition” is a delicate state, destroyed by any contact with the outside world. The largest objects that have been superposed so far are molecules. It is hard to put a much larger object such as a cat or human into a superposition because air molecules and photons are always bouncing off it.

    But it might be possible with a small life form, according to Oriol Romero-Isart of the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching, Germany, and his colleagues. They hope to prove the concept with the flu virus, which exhibits some properties of life, because it can survive in a vacuum – solving the problem of pesky air molecules.

    Laser hold

    Their scheme would use two laser beams, whose light exerts a gentle force on matter. Where the two beams cross they form an “optical cavity” holding the virus in place.

    By adjusting the frequency of the beams, the laser photons can be made to absorb the vibration energy of the trapped virus about its centre of mass until it is slowed to its lowest possible energy state. In this “ground state” the virus is ready to go into a superposition.

    Sending a laser photon towards the trap should do the trick. Since a photon is a quantum entity it has more than one option open to it. Thus it will be both reflected and transmitted at the trap, putting it into a superposition.

    By impinging on the virus, it forces it into a superposition of both its ground state and next vibrational energy state. Now the virus should be doing two different things at once – the equivalent of you simultaneously mowing the lawn and doing the shopping. “They have come up with a really neat experiment – inventive and I think feasible,” says Peter Knight of Imperial College London.

    Romero-Isart and his colleagues speculate that they could pull off the same feat with a tardigrade, or water bear, an animal less than a millimetre in size that can survive extreme temperatures and a vacuum …

    Hmm.., could mainstream physics be finally catching onto what DARPA has been supposedly doing to human subjects (children) using retrieved (or traded?) UFO technology since the 1960s?

    Listen to this podcast at Red Ice Creations as Henrik Palmgren interviews Andrew D. Basiago about Project Pegasus, Stargates, Montauk Chair and psychic powers!

    Could we create quantum creatures in the lab?

    hat tip