Monthly Archives: December, 2009

A Year End Semi-Review: Peter Watt’s “The Island”

One thing I haven’t posted this past year very much is science fiction, mine or others’. Too bad given that it’s in the title of this ‘zine/blog.

Well, so I got distracted. It happens to folks at times. A lot of things caught my eye this year.

Enough excuses. For our end of the year/decade consumption I’m presenting to you a short taste from one of my very favorite authors, Peter Watts.

Peter Watts is one of those people whose life reads like one of his stories; dark, hard-luck, moody, witty and very prescient.

The proof of this is posted on his blog, No Moods, Ads or Cutesy Fucking Icons. The title itself gives you an indication of his general out look on life.

It’s this very quality that gives his writing the realistic hard edge that draws people in and grabs their attention:

You sent us out here. We do this for you. We break this painstaking trail, crawl across the universe while time itself runs down; we spin the webs and tie the knots and open the doors, then scuttle away before the light of your coming turns us into plasma.

Is it too much to ask, that you might talk to us now and then?

I know about evolution, and engineering. I know how much you’ve changed over a billion years. I’ve seen our portals give birth to gods and demons and creatures we can’t begin to comprehend. I’ve seen things I still can’t believe were ever human; alien hitchikers, perhaps, riding the rails we’ve left behind. Alien conquerers.

Exterminators too, if I’m not mistaken.

But I’ve also seen those gates stay dark and empty until they faded from our sight. We’ve infered diebacks and dark ages, civilizations burned to the ground and others risen from their ashes— and sometimes, the things that come out afterwards look a little like the ships we might have built, back in the day. They speak to each other— radio, laser, carrier neutrinos— and sometimes their voices sound something like ours. There was a time we dared to hope that they really were like us, that the circle had come round again and closed on beings we could talk to. I’ve lost count of the times we tried to break the ice.

I’ve lost count of the eons since we gave up.

A noninterference imperative, maybe? A nature preserve? Mustn’t interfere, mustn’t talk with the savages, mustn’t contaminate their quaint cultural worldviews. What culture, you imperious assholes? We’re stuck on a flying mountain, we’re riding a black hole to the ends of the universe so that you can frolic in our wake like spoiled children. The mission kills us off one by one, and we make do, really: we mix-and-match our replacements from bits of leftover genes, try to keep the Chimp from indoctrinating new generations with its own simpleminded vision of mission priorities. We’ve given our fucking lives for you, given a thousand lives, each one sliced into a thousand brief bright moments and strung out along a billion years. All so that you can step between the stars in an instant.

All these iterations of humanity fading behind us. All these hybrids and posthumans and immortals, gods and catatonic cavemen trapped in magical chariots they can’t begin to understand, and not one of them ever pointed a comm laser in our direction to say Hey, how’s it going, or Guess what? We cured Damascus Disease! or even Thanks, guys, keep up the good work.

We’re not some fucking cargo cult. We’re the backbone of your goddamn empire. You wouldn’t even be out here if it weren’t for us.

And more than all of that, you— you’re our children. Whatever you are, whatever you’ve become, you were once like this.

My sons. My daughters. Why have you forsaken me?

(link)

Good stuff, eh?

This is a draft version, or ‘fiblet’ of an excerpt from his recently published short story “The Island.” It’s in the new anthology by Gardner Dozois and Jonathon Strahan, “The New Space Opera 2.”

Needless to say I give it a hearty thumbs up and I urge you to read the freebie or buy it.

Perhaps this coming year I’ll post more new stuff from Watts and others. Maybe some more of my own amateur scribblings as well. Hell, compared to Watts, my crap is like crayon scrawling. And I failed that in kindergarten! Oh well, gotta try anyway.

So as 2009 draws to close I wish you all good luck and tidings for the coming New Year and may we all find wisdom in dealing with our daily lives and the future of this planet.

We need it.

Bigelow’s BAASS

Fortean blogger Rick Philips has found something strange and anomalous concerning UFO sightings reporting, MUFON and an organization called BAASS that is run by Bigelow Aerospace:

As many of you may know, I run several blogs including one about UFO Disclosure since late 2007. And, recently, again as you may know, I ran a post about how the UK has shut down the office that used to collect UFO reports from the public for investigation – here’s that link – http://ufodisclosurecountdownclock.blogspot.com/2009/12/what-uks-ministry-of-defenses-shut-down.html. The reason given by the UK was that in 50 years of investigating the reports – there never has been a security issue in regards to UFO’s – and – it will save money in these tough economic times – indeed, enough to even afford (now that the UFO office is shut) body armor for the UK troops in the middle east. ———————————– OKKKKKAAAAAY.

THEN, about a week later – the FAA – out of the blue — decides to issue a statement about where airline pilots and air traffic controllers should report UFO’s – this was the supposed statement:

“Persons wanting to report UFO/unexplained phenomena activity should contact a UFO/ unex­ plained phenomena reporting data collection center, such as Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies (BAASS) (voice: 1-877-979-7444 or e-mail: Reporting@baass.org)”

Now, being the type of person I am ——- suspicious ———- this seemed odd; weird, strange, —– almost Fortean. Why would the FAA, after ALL these decades, suddenly, have an interest in UFO reports and WHY would suddenly – there be a `specific’ group to call? WHY? And who is BAASS?

But, upon reading the story – I immediately was familiar with the Bigelow name – having read `In Search Of The Skinwalker’ years ago. I also knew about NIDS (National Institute For Discovery Science, I believe) a `study group’ that was funded by Bigelow in the past (perhaps still) to study anomalous events – I even ordered one of their `reports’ once. And, by following the links within this story – you can find out much more about Mr. Bigelow. Also, if you have read `Skinwalker’ you are aware that Mr. Bigelow’s study of the ranch basically `confirmed’ the existence of `dimensional portals with dimensional entities/creatures’.

Now, believe it or not – this is where all of this begins to get interesting to a UFO blogger like myself. The reason being — Mr. Bigelow recently became the moneyman behind a new MUFON endeavor called `Star Team’ – a supposed 24/7 group of folks ready to investigate UFO reports of an anomalous nature. Here’s the lowdown on `Star Team’http://www.mufon.com/documents/STARTeamImpactProjectOverview.pdf.

Are you still with me?

Now, all that sounds like GREAT news – right? I mean, what could be better than some money FINALLY being available to study UFO reportees – by an independent agency such as MUFON?—————– Right? ———– Well, not so fast, perhaps.

You see, some bloggers have been on MUFON’s case in the recent past and even before – always ignored up to now. Indeed, Joe Capp at UFO Media Matters recently outlined MUFON’s horrible `Star Team’ response of an amazing UFO encounter that ultimately involved, after the fact, MIB (men in black) and the typical unmarked helicopters. Here’s that post – http://ufomedia.blogspot.com/2009/12/mufons-600-lb-gorilla-common-sense.html — and, earlier this fall, Joe Capp also called for MUFON to release a study they supposedly did with folks who claim bedroom alien abductions using video cameras and such – wondering — where are the study results?

But, even before Joe’s post about MUFON’s 600 pound gorilla, Lon Strickler had printed
this criticism of MUFON from the internet forum called Above Top Secret – called `MUFON, Who Are They Really’ – http://naturalplane.blogspot.com/2009/12/following-is-from-thread-on-ats-for.html then Lon on Christmas eve posted `Press Release Proves MUFON And Feds Connected’ http://naturalplane.blogspot.com/2009/12/press-release-proves-mufon-and-feds-one.html. And, as a result of those posts — MUFON directly answered back to Lon with this response defending the organization http://naturalplane.blogspot.com/2009/12/mufon-responds-to-posts.html.

Now, reading between the lines about Mr. Capp’s assertions about MUFON and Lon’s readers experiences (Joe’s readers too) — it doesn’t take too much of an imagination to believe that UFO reports are now being `funnelled’ – into organizations that may be less than forthcoming with the results – (In the links above you can see how some MUFON reports `vanish’.) – while providing the `cover’ of real investigative interest.

Now, as Lon says – I don’t want to get into a pissing match with MUFON or BAASS either – and I’ve already detailed on my blogs Real Heavy Politics and UFO Disclosure Countdown Clock – how the government seems interested in my viewpoints* – so, lord – I’d hardly wish to cause their feathers to ruffle further – BUT, it seems mighty strange for the FAA to give one damn about who those reports should go to by the MOST BELIEVABLE AUTHORITIES – PILOTS AND AIR CONTROL — and then – for THAT company to have ANY link to MUFON – doubles that strangeness.

Or, could this be a way for Mr. Bigelow – to be positioned by our government – as the ultimate spokesperson for `Anomalous Disclosure’ to the world?

There have been many ‘spokespeople’ during the past decades who have donned the ‘disclosure’ mantle and nothing has been forthcoming.

The government can not control the UFO situation and they might not know anything better than anyone else.

But can they admit that to the public? A public who is constantly barraged with ‘terrorist’ fearing memes?

I think not.

FAA Makes Curious ‘UFO Call Statement’ – As UK Shuts Down Same

hat tip

SETI Hits The Mainstream

Well, to me SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) has always been mainstream.

The tools SETI uses for its searches are radio telescopes, primarily the Allen Telescope Array in Northern California. The idea is to scan the skies for radio signals from civilizations approximately the technological equivalent (or superior) of our own.

I have always had an issue with SETI’s methodology, but that’s not what I’m discussing.

I’m saying that the mainstream has excepted SETI for what it is and has separated it from UFOs.

I don’t know how people could’ve equated SETI with UFOs in the first place, but that just shows how some folks are ignorant of things outside of their comfort zone:

It was a dark day for SETI in 1993 when Congress cut off a very modest funding for radio searches ($12 million/yr.) thereby extending isolationism across interstellar space. They disconnected the phone on a targeted search of 1,000 nearest sun-like stars and a multi-million radio frequency all-sky survey.

Leading the attack was former Nevada Democratic Senator Richard Bryan who found a great taxpayer whipping boy in the SETI goals. He milked the patently un-scientific UFO phenomenon to belittle SETI as having any intellectual ballast. “The Great Martian Chase may finally come to an end. As of today, millions have been spent and we have yet to bag a single little green fellow,” he said in 1993. Other senators questioned the use of taxpayer dollars and cited the skepticism that confronts SETI research.

If this guy had done a little research instead of studying his re-election prospects, he’d have found that SETI and UFOs are mutually exclusive, not complimentary.

But that was then. Now SETI research has established itself as the nice and safe way of exploring the Universe, thanks to interstellar distance and our limited chemical rocket technology. Any ET civilization that might be found is safely too far away from us to hurt us, and far and few between:

Still, intelligent life may indeed be exceedingly rare. But, armed with powerful new telescopes and technology, if anybody is our there, we should find them in the next 25 years predicts the founder of SETI, Frank Drake. Drake had the scientific courage to listen for aliens 50 years ago when the idea was definitely un-cool in science circles.

The good thing a person who has been a space cadet for decades can take from this is that the idea of aliens isn’t so “alien” anymore.

Witness the popularity of Cameron’s ‘Avatar.’

The Search for Extraterrestrial Civilizations Comes of Age

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Is Climate Science a New Religion?

Physicist Wal Thornhill of Electric Universe fame laments on the terrible condition science is in now-a-days as it takes on the mantle of religion, mainly when it comes to Anthropogenic Climate Change:

The Global Warming circus in Copenhagen was politics driven by a consensus that, by definition, has nothing to do with science. The apocalyptic nonsense that opened the meeting highlighted that fact. How many who attended or demonstrated at the meeting actually understand the (disputed) scientific grounds for the hysteria? Meanwhile, leading science journals allow skeptics of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) to be labelled “deniers” and refuse them the right of reply. It is doctrinaire denouncement, not science. It is the journal editors who are denying the scientific method by censoring debate. It is they who are peddling ideology.

Despite the glossy media image, modern science is a mess. When the fundamental concepts are false, technological progress merely provides science with a more efficient means for going backwards. At the same time, government and corporate funding promotes the rampant disease of specialism and fosters politicization of science with the inevitable warring factions and religious fervor.

“Science has become religion! ..although religion may have borrowed some of the jargon of science, science, more importantly, has adopted the methods of religion. This is the worst of both worlds.” —Halton Arp

There have been several warm climatic periods documented in history that had nothing to do with human activity. There seems to be evidence that the Earth has actually been cooling since 2001, in line with reduced solar activity. So it would be more realistic to consider climate change as a normal phenomenon and to plan accordingly because despite all of the hoopla in the media, modern science is founded on surprising ignorance. An iconoclastic view suggests the following:

— cosmologists have been misled by theoretical physicists who don’t understand gravity, which forms the basis of the big bang theory. Imaginary ‘dark matter,’ ‘dark energy,’ and black holes have been added to make models of galaxies and star birth appear to work. When all else fails, mysterious magnetic fields are invoked. The bottom line is that cosmologists presently have no real understanding of the universe;

— astrophysicists don’t understand stars because they steadfastly ignore plasma discharge phenomena;

— particle physicists don’t understand matter or its resonant electrical interactions. They prefer to invent imaginary particles;

— geologists have been misled by astronomers about Earth’s history;

— biologists have had no practical help from theoretical physicists so they don’t understand what might constitute the ‘mind-body connection’ or ‘the spark of life;’

— and climate scientists have been misled by astronomers and astrophysicists so they have no real concept of recent Earth history in the solar system and they don’t understand the real source of lightning and the electrical input to weather systems. For example, the major city in northern Australia, Darwin, was utterly destroyed in tropical cyclone ‘Tracy’ in 1974. The catastrophe was described in part, “At 3am, the eye of the cyclone passed over Darwin, bringing an eerie stillness. There was a strange light, a diffuse lightning, like St. Elmo’s fire.” There was no solar energy being supplied to the 150km per hour winds at 3 in the morning. “A diffuse lightning” is an apt description of the slow electrical discharge (distinct from impulsive lightning) that drives all rotary storms and influences weather patterns. That is why the electrically hyperactive gas giant planets have overwhelmingly violent storms while receiving very little solar energy.

Yet with these unacknowledged shortcomings we have bookshelves filled with textbooks, science journals and PhD theses, mostly unread, that would stretch to the Moon, fostering the impression that we understand most things. And the public is assailed with documentaries that breathlessly deliver and repeat fashionable science fiction as fact. How can this be?

Science has left its classical and philosophical roots, rather like surrealist art departed from realism. The analogy is fitting. It is demonstrated by the fondness for expressing theoretical models in artists impressions, computer animations and aesthetic terms. The artist/philosopher Miles Mathis is of the opinion that “ Science has become just like Modern Art. The contemporary artist and the contemporary physicist look at the world in much the same way. The past means nothing. They gravitate to novelty as the ultimate distinction, in and of itself. They do this because novelty is the surest guarantee of recognition.” So why does the media not have science critics alongside art critics? Has science become sacrosanct? Bluntly, the answer is yes. No science reporter wants to have the portcullises lowered at the academic bastions. Happily, the Internet allows the curious to circumvent such censorship.

So far, the Internet is mostly censorless, except for certain nations where Google has helped their government authorities censor content. Plus you can only believe about 50% what you read. It takes effort to winnow wheat from the chaff at times.

But Thornhill makes valid points in that science has become dogmatic to the point of being a religion that nobody dares question, especially when it comes to anthropogenic climate change.

The Electric Universe: Science, Politics and Global Warming

hat tip

From the Thunderbolts Blog: Comet Crystals

Studying Fortean subjects sometimes mean taking on the status quo.

I have been interested in all things outer space for over forty years and one of the most controversial subjects I have studied is the Electric Universe Theory.

And the foremost website out there for proponents of the theory is Thunderbolts.info:

Saturn’s moon Phoebe

Comet Wild 2

Comets are said to be composed of “dusty ices.” Why have crystalline structures that require high temperatures been found in them?NASA scientists launched the Stardust mission on February 7, 1999. Its primary task was to collect dust particles from the coma of comet Wild 2 and then return to Earth. Fuel savings meant that the capsule required a gravity boost, so it returned to Earth orbit from deep space after almost two years of travel time. As it flew by the home planet, it was accelerated back out to its aphelion, 400 million kilometers from the Sun, reaching a distance greater than any other solar-powered spacecraft.

So that mission specialists could test the camera operation and other instrument packages, Stardust briefly encountered the 4-kilometer asteroid Annefrank on November 2, 2002 at a distance of 3000 kilometers while moving at 7 kilometers per second. Although the dust collectors on board were open to space, no material collection was expected in the vicinity and none was achieved.

After a five year journey, Stardust finally intersected Wild 2’s orbit on January 2, 2004, passing through its coma at the metaphorical hair’s breadth distance of 240 kilometers. The aerogel dust-capture system worked perfectly, scooping up fine bits of rock and trapping them inside for their return journey to Earth on January 15, 2006.

Although the spacecraft traveled more than a billion kilometers over a 7 year time span, the mothership successfully released its payload and the parachutes deployed, cushioning the precious cargo for a soft landing in the Utah desert. The aerogel was delivered to a thrilled team of researchers for analysis. That’s when the surprise and shock began.

Minerals such as anorthite and forsterite were found embedded in the aerogel—compounds that form only at extremely high temperatures—along with olivine. Perplexed scientists wondered how an object that was supposed to be a remnant from the early nebular cloud out of which the Solar System condensed, and that should have been kept in frozen hibernation in a theoretical “Oort cloud” billions of kilometers from the Sun, could exhibit crystalline structures that would require a blast furnace to create.

Stardust mission team leader Donald Brownlee said at the time, “In the coldest part of the solar system we’ve found samples that formed at extremely high temperatures.”

Now, according to a recent paper in the science journal Nature, a mechanism by which such high temperature crystals might form has been announced. A team led by Attila Juhász from the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy examined the light emitted by EX Lupi, thought to be a young star in the constellation Lupus. EX Lupi is a variable star, meaning it periodically brightens over a several month period. After one energetic pulse in 2008, the infrared spectral signature of the star seemed to indicate that some of the orbiting dust had been changed from a glasslike substance to one that is similar to what was seen in the spectrum of comet Wild 2: high temperature crystals.

The unfortunate part of the observation is the conclusion that was reached. Among astrophysicists, the consensus opinion is that stars like EX Lupi undergo energetic eruptions because they gravitationally drag material from their surroundings and accumulate it on their surfaces. The added mass compresses to the point where it explodes in a thermonuclear reaction and the stars “go nova.” Note that this is quite different from a supernova explosion where a star casts off its outer layers due to a disruption in its hypothetical core fusion reactions.

The supposed nova on EX Lupi is said to have heated the glasslike matter around the star until it became “thermally annealed” and changed its physical structure into harder crystals like the forsterite discovered in the coma of Wild 2. In other words, it is the old standby of gravity, heat, and shock waves that are responsible for what is observed.

Electric Universe advocates see things differently. Stars and comets share common characteristics because they are both born of similar parentage. Stars are nodes in vast electrical circuits connected by Birkeland current filaments within galaxies. Planets, moons, asteroids, and comets are electrically charged and exist within a radial electric current that surrounds stars like our own Sun.

Comets, specifically, have nothing to do with an ancient nebular cloud of cold gas and dust that became gravitationally unstable and collapsed into the Solar System of today. Comets and their asteroid sisters are relative newcomers to the solar family and might have been blasted out of larger bodies by tremendously powerful electric discharges in the recent past. They are not “snowballs” or blobs of muddy slush, they are solid, rocky, cratered, electrically charged objects.

When Stardust arrived at Wild 2, it found that the coma contained the “signature” of water vapor, although the distribution was anomalous. The farther from the surface of the comet, the greater the amount of vapor, surely a result that is diametrically opposed to the theoretical model of sublimating ices jetting out from the nucleus. So what was the “water vapor?”

Whatever water or hydroxyl compounds that can be found in cometary comas is created there because ionized oxygen from the comet reacts with hydrogen ions streaming out from the Sun. No “jets” of water vapor spew from comets, and no icy plains have ever been observed. It is electric effects that are seen—discharges and arcs form the comet phenomena.

Similarly, stars do not oscillate in brightness or energy output because they are accumulating excess mass. They do so because they are experiencing an increased electrical input from the galaxy. The electric current flowing into the star causes it to change its discharge behavior. It might go from a stable and (what is for it) “normal” glow mode to a more intense arc mode state. The greater current flow might cause z-pinch regions around the star where its plasma could then be reformed into different chemical compounds. It is more likely that processes involving plasma are responsible for the changes in stellar spectrograms.

So, in conclusion, the Sun and comets are part of one electrically active circuit that is occupied by many different regions of charge distribution. The Sun receives its power from the protean electric generator we call the Milky Way. Accordingly, planets and other bodies exist within a flow of charged particles constantly streaming from the Sun. As any first year electrical engineering student knows, a stream of charged particles is an electric current.

I find the similarity between the moon Phoebe and Comet Wild 2 very intriguing.

Could the Electric Universe Theory be more credible than the mainstream is willing to admit?

Comet Crytsals

hat tip

As always, ol’ Dad is taking the holiday off, family always takes precedence at times like this.

Have a Happy Christmas, Yuletide, Winter Solstice, Kwanza or whatever you choose to call it! See ya next week!

Climate Chaos

When people talk about ‘climate change’ now-a-days, they usually mean ‘anthropocentric’ climate change, which means climate change influenced by human activity.

I used to be in the above crowd. Why not? 250 years of Industrial Revolution actions that dumped millions of tons of hydrocarbon waste into the atmosphere surely must have an effect? And to note, ‘acid rain’, ie rain that is essentially sulfuric acid has fallen on the western side of the Appalachian Mountains here in Upstate New York during the 1970s through the early 1990s, the result of which from the smoke-stacks of coal-fired power plants in the Mid-West.

What has changed my mind?

Let me first say this disclaimer; I am not an atmospheric scientist, just a half-assed informed layman.

In that capacity, after 2 1/2 years of research I have IMHO discovered that there is a global elite who stand to gain significantly (economically) from centralized global control of ‘climate change’ policy.

Now do I think that we, as a global society, should get away from using fossil fuels to power our economies and societies?

Sure. But there are too many reasons to list here.

And the poor nations of the Earth, who get short shrift from the First World Nations anyway, know that their economies still need fossil fuel technology, just to break even and make their loan payments to the IMF.

But the recent climate conferences in the Netherlands in the EU (CO15) were not derailed by poor nations (they did walk out at one point anyway), but was jinked by the US and China (is China Third World or First World now?):

Following a meeting in Brussels to discuss how to rescue the Copenhagen climate process, EU environment ministers emphasized the need for concrete, legally binding measures to combat global warming.

The European Union went to Copenhagen with the hope of achieving a broad commitment to at least a 20-percent cut in carbon emissions below 1990 levels within 10 years, but that and other firm goals failed to emerge in the final accord.

The two-week, United Nations-led conference ended on Saturday with a non-legally binding agreement to limit global warming to a maximum of 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial times, but did not lay out how to achieve that.

Despite months of preparation and strenuous diplomacy, the talks boiled down to an inability of the world’s two largest emitters, the United States and China, to agree fixed targets.

“Expectations and pressure on the United States have risen after Copenhagen … to really deliver,” Swedish Environment Minister Andreas Carlgren told a news briefing on Tuesday after Sweden, as EU president until December 31, chaired pan-EU talks.

Ministers from the EU’s 27 member states will meet again in January to discuss what role the EU can play in cobbling together a stronger agreement.

DASHED PLANS

The bloc went to Copenhagen with a unified position and a plan for financing emissions cuts in the developing world, with a commitment to spend around 7 billion euros ($10 billion) over the next three years to aid poorer countries.

But those aims were largely sidelined as the talks failed to produce a breakthrough. Carlgren described the summit as a “disaster” and a “great failure,” despite what he called Europe’s united efforts.

“Europe never lost its aim, never, never came to splits or different positions, but of course this was mainly about other countries really (being) unwilling, and especially the United States and China,” Carlgren said.

Britain on Monday blamed China and a handful of other countries of holding the world to ransom by blocking a legally binding treaty at Copenhagen, stepping up a blame game that has gathered momentum since the talks ended.

In a sharply worded response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu rejected accusations that China had “hijacked” the climate talks and added: “The statements from certain British politicians are plainly a political scheme.”

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown described the summit as “at best flawed and at worst chaotic” and demanded an urgent reform of the process to try to reach a legal treaty when talks are expected to resume in Germany next June.

But Danish Climate Minister Connie Hedegaard, who quit as president of the talks midway through after being criticized by African countries for favoring wealthier nations in negotiations, said there was no point in getting depressed.

“What we need to do is to secure the step that we took and turn it into a result,” she told reporters as she arrived for the Brussels meeting on Tuesday. Asked whether Copenhagen had been a failure, she replied:

“It would have been a failure if we had achieved nothing. But we achieved something — a first step.

“It was the first time we held a process where all the countries were present, including the big emitters.”

In short, there must be a way to convert the worlds’ societies economies and technologies slowly and evenly with alternate tech over the next 50 years to shift away from fossil fuels. Is there sufficient wealth in the market to begin the change, or is technology being suppressed by the global financial/energy elites so only they have the power to begin the shift, if they feel like it?

If they see money in it, they will start the change.

And the elite aren’t as united as one would think.

EU calls for more U.S. involvement in climate works

hat tip

Tinfoil Tuesday: Nibiru Nadda

It’s been a long time since I posted something about Nibiru. Mainly because there hasn’t been anything new to write about.

Now there’s still many folks who claim that Nibiru is coming and the end of the world is nigh in 2012, since Nibiru is going to have a close fly-by of the Earth at that date.

And because the ancient Mayans predicted the event with their long-count calendar. It happens to end at that time.

I’ll admit I was on the Nibiru train for a while and it fits in my interest with ancient astronauts.

But when there hasn’t been a telescopic sighting of the planet and even if the governments of the Earth are covering it up, there hasn’t been any gravitational influence of a large planetary body disturbing the planets of the Solar System and our planet.

You can’t hide the laws of physics.

So with that little tidbit, I’ll offer up this post from The Interstellar Housewife, who also is a little disappointed with Nibiru:

Back in 2001-2003 when everyone was screaming about Nibiru, I was caught up in the new Mars photos of the Cydonea region, waiting to see if that damn mound was a friggin’ face or not. It wasn’t, in the end (though Hoagland certainly stood his ground for a bit).

Outwardly, these seemed like two fairly separate camps — Camp A. being those people in to new martian photos and hopeful of data showing traces of microbial life, if not photos of some extinct civilization and Camp B

Oh, it wasn’t a natural connection, to be sure. It required a bit of — um, leniency. And manipulation. Personally, I never bought into half of the stuff flying around at the time. I did entertain the Nibiru idea, briefly, because some of it seemed plausible enough – but only up until the part were it was a hollow planet that played home-world to a race of beings called the Annunaki, who just could not get enough gold!


The other part I didn’t buy was the prophesied impact date of 2003 — for one, because IT WASN’T IN THE MOTHERLUVIN’ SKY. And I’m pretty sure something that big would have been very visible in the years just prior to ’03.

This wasn’t the first time these kinds of idea poked about. In fact, these are mostly old ideas. But a resurgence surfaced sometime after Y2K, and names that had not been uttered in many moons were suddenly all the rage – particularly Sitchin and Von Daniken. The theories were interesting, admittedly, but it was just a bit much for me. It did, however, appear to over-saturate the online UFO community and after a while, my bullshit alarm was going off left and right with each new addition to an increasingly bloated theory.

So, I ducked out. I just walked away from that whole scene and buried those interests in the back of my mind, next to that copy of Redbook with Molly Ringwald on the cover that I can never seem to find in the labyrinth of boxes that is my basement.

When I’d had about enough of my self-imposed exile, I didn’t expect to find the same arguments going on, half a decade after Nibiru didn’t show up (and if you say it’s coming in 2012, I swear I’m going to stab myself in the face). But what was more crazy was that it was seeping into the mainstream, foaming up around the edges — and what was once a theory slapped together with odd-shaped pieces and a whole lot of imagination, was now a kind of religion.

And as I said, I entertained the idea for a brief time, to imagine what it all might have been like back in the day if it were true, but I eventually let it go. I’m not anti-ancient astronauts or anything. I think it’s certainly something to think about, and just as good as any creation theory floating around in the minds of mortals — I just find common interpretations of it sorta sketchy.

If the whole basic concept happens to be true, I feel safe in saying that its probably quite a bit different from what individuals like Sitchin claim. People (and especially authors) tend to inject their wants and needs into a subject they feel passionately about and Zacharia was no exception. In reading The Twelfth Planet, I noticed very quickly that he leads the reader a bit too much in his own personal direction, with definitive statements about what it is we are seeing on ancient stone tablets (I think he even claimed one tablet was obviously a depiction of a laser — really??).

Personally, I think a lot of those mysterious etchings and whatnot, do look like flying vehicles. They strike me as exceptionally odd, interesting and spectacular. Am I ready to say they are definitely otherworldly vehicles? No.

I mean, how do you prove something like that, anyway? We can’t even prove current extra-terrestrial visitation, let alone biblical stories — so what kind of chance does something like this stand? To the individual buying that bag of magic beans, it probably shouldn’t matter. I have a lot of beliefs that would cause even the sketchiest UFO zombie to go into permanent shock, but I can’t and won’t even attempt to prove any of them or direct someone else to believe as i do.

And this is my issue with people like Bob Dean, Hoagland (well, Hoagland for myriad reasons), and about 30 billion others. These voices present their opinions with an authority they don’t really have. Big deal right? Well sure, but what about the people who are just walking into this and hear these ‘gurus’ throwing around mysterious credentials and super-secret insider information (*cough*Wilcock*cough*). Some of these guys really sound good if you’re not privy to their backgrounds or if you don’t look close enough.

I hate to drop the evidence-bomb on you, but since this post is relatively F-Bomb free, I’m going to — and I will even paraphrase Sagan, to boot! If you’re going to make extraordinary claims, you better have some extraordinary evidence. Otherwise I’m going to sound like a broken record asking “well, how do you know?” “Well, how do you know?” “Well, how do you know?”…

Well? How do you?

Now, before you get your panties in a bunch, I’m not disputing evidence for UFOs. I feel there is evidence. — and some fabulous testimonial from exceptionally credible individuals. I just don’t think there is enoughany UFOs are extra terrestrial. Of course, I believe that some probably are. That’s a personal opinion, and a lot less iron-fisty than me saying “Extra terrestrials are definitely here and they really love gold!”

If there was ever any question if I was a Starchild, it should be made clear that I find gold tacky. I’m more a sterling silver kind of gal. And yes, I’m being an ass.

In closing, ancient Sumerian text is probably best understood by ancient Sumerians. Yes, we can learn a lot from them, but translations, in general, have never been perfect, even between our common known languages — so, claims of an accurate translation of meanings and symbols without allowing much margin for error, is a wee bit foolish. Think about the Bible translation disputes, for example. This is pretty much the same thing — and the bible is much younger than Sumerian tablets!

Ok, I’m off to find that Redbook!

Well, I don’t do Redbook thank fate, but my interests have taken a more mundane flavor lately.

Too bad about that Face on Mars!

Ancient Sumerian Secret, Huh?

ISS Expedition 22 Launch and Burnt Skepticism

ISS Expedition 22 crew launched yesterday from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at around 5:15 p.m.:

The Soyuz TMA-17 rocket launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Dec. 20, 2009 carrying Expedition 22 crewmembers Timothy J. Creamer of NASA, Oleg Kotov of Russia and Soichi Noguchi of Japan to the International Space Station. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Pretty soon (2010/2011), Soyuz will be the only transportation for US astronauts.

Some folks don’t care, others are up in arms.

Soyuz TMA-17 ISS Expedition 22 Launch
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When is an “apology” a “non-pology?”

When uber-skeptic James Randi does it:

Oh, it must be Christmas. As I mentioned in Wednesday’s news briefs, James Randi has come under fire from all quarters this week, after posting his thoughts about global warming to his blog:

An unfortunate fact is that scientists are just as human as the rest of us, in that they are strongly influenced by the need to be accepted, to kowtow to peer opinion, and to “belong” in the scientific community. Why do I find this “unfortunate”? Because the media and the hoi polloi increasingly depend upon and accept ideas or principles that are proclaimed loudly enough by academics who are often more driven by “politically correct” survival principles than by those given them by Galileo, Newton, Einstein, and Bohr. (Granted, it’s reassuring that they’re listening to academics at all — but how to tell the competent from the incompetent?) Religious and other emotional convictions drive scientists, despite what they may think their motivations are.

…It’s easy enough to believe that drought, floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes are signs of a coming catastrophe from global warming, but these are normal variations of any climate that we — and other forms of life — have survived. Earth has undergone many serious changes in climate, from the Ice Ages to periods of heavily increased plant growth from their high levels of CO2, yet the biosphere has survived. We’re adaptable, stubborn, and persistent — and we have what other life forms don’t have: we can manipulate our environment. Show me an Inuit who can survive in his habitat without warm clothing… Humans will continue to infest Earth because we’re smart.

In my amateur opinion, more attention to disease control, better hygienic conditions for food production and clean water supplies, as well as controlling the filth that we breathe from fossil fuel use, are problems that should distract us from fretting about baking in Global Warming.

Given that Randi’s skeptical peers and scientific admirers have spent the last couple of months attacking ‘Global Warming Deniers’, Randi found himself in the unlikely spot of being attacked for his ‘pseudo-scientific’ opinion piece. Blog posts decrying Randi’s statement appeared quickly on Pharyngula, The Quackometer, Cosmic Variance, Greg Laden’s Blog and Respectful Insolence. Even more vicious were the comments threads (lead, as it would be expected, by more than 500 Pharyngula comments) in which it was suggested that Randi was suffering from dementia and so on (although you’d have to say there may have been some karmic retribution for Randi in the meanness of it all…with friends like those, who needs ‘woo-woo’ enemies!) And, in a wonderful bit of timing, Randi managed to post his piece on the same day that a fund-raising drive for the James Randi Educational Foundation kicked into gear. Oops.

The back-pedaling was swift – the next day, Randi posted a new statement, “I’m Not ‘Denying’ Anything” (which P.Z. Myers labeled a ‘not-pology‘, leading to some fun exchanges between Myers’ minions and Randi’s followers in comments threads.) And then the back-patting, with plenty of ‘skeptics’ saying that the criticism of Randi showed how healthy the modern skeptical movement is.

But this is nonsense. Randi took a position which was diametrically opposed to the current scientific consensus, and furthermore one that was absolutely contrary to the argument being put forth on a regular basis by other skeptics such as Phil Plait and P.Z. Myers. There was no other option for them but to criticise Randi – it was either that or be hypocrites. What would be a better test of the health of modern skepticism is if other skeptics pulled Randi up for speaking nonsense about more fringe topics. Which he does on a regular basis. And the silence is deafening. The real truth of modern skepticism as a dogmatic faith is revealed in those particular moments.

In the comments threads, many people seemed shocked that their great beacon of truth was spreading misinformation. But the only reason was because Randi took on a topic which didn’t allow his sheeple to nod their head in agreement. Randi often posts rubbish and misinformation on his blog – I’ve criticised him before in the comments section to his blog (asking for references for dubious claims etc) only to be attacked by other ‘skeptics’. For instance, as I mentioned recently, Randi once attacked parapsychologist Dr Dean Radin by saying that he had recently moved into researching presentiment after his other research had failed – in truth, Radin has been publishing successful results on presentiment for more than a decade, in addition to his other research. On another occasion with which I was personally involved, Randi deliberately misled his readers to suit his own personal ends. Randi also often states his dislike (or at least distrust) of the ‘ivory tower’ of academia, perhaps a result of his own lack of education.

What caught my attention in this post was the statement, “Religious and other emotional convictions drive scientists, despite what they may think their motivations are.”

Which brings to mind that paragon of hard scientific study, Isaac Newton.

The mainstream science community forget to mention that Newton was a hard-core Zionist Christian scholar and alchemist who believed he reconciled religion, science and prophecy.

Hmm..double standards run rampant in the science community at times.

After all, they’re human too.

Global Warming Burns Randi

Holiday ‘MEarth’ and a possible new direction for NASA

Astronomers Wednesday have discovered ‘MEarth.’

No, not mirth (although some could use it this holiday season).

“MEarth”, as in “mega-earth”:

Astronomers said Wednesday that they had discovered a planet composed mostly of water.You would not want to live there. Besides the heat — 400 degrees Fahrenheit on the ocean surface — the planet is probably cloaked in a dark fog of superheated steam and other gases. But its discovery has encouraged a growing feeling among astronomers that they are on the verge of a breakthrough and getting closer to finding a planet that something could live on.

“This probably is not habitable, but it didn’t miss the habitable zone by that much,” said David Charbonneau of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, who led the team that discovered the new planet and will reports its findings on Thursday in the journal Nature.

Geoffrey W. Marcy, a planet hunter from the University of California, Berkeley, wrote in an accompanying article in Nature that the new work provided “the most watertight evidence so far for a planet that is something like our own Earth, outside our solar system.”

Only 2.7 times the size of Earth and 6.6 times as massive, the new planet takes 38 hours to circle a dim red star, GJ 1214, in the constellation Ophiuchus — about 40 light-years from here. It is one of the lightest and smallest so-called extrasolar planets yet found, part of a growing class of planets that are less than 10 times the mass of Earth.

Dr. Charbonneau’s announcement capped a week in which the list of known planets, including these “super-Earths,” grew significantly.

An international team of astronomers using telescopes in Australia and Hawaii reported in one paper that they had found three planets, including a super-Earth, orbiting 61 Virginis, a star in the constellation Virgo that is almost a clone of the Sun. It was the first time, they said, that a super-Earth had been found belonging to a star like the Sun; the other home stars have been dwarfs. And in a separate paper, they reported finding a planet somewhat larger than Jupiter at the star 23 Librae.

And in yet another paper, a subset of the same group reported finding a super-Earth and probably two bigger planets circling HD 1461, a star in Cetus.

Paul Butler of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, who was involved in all three papers, said astronomers thought that one-third to one-half of all Sun-like stars harbored such super-Earths orbiting at scorching distances much closer than Mercury is to the Sun.

In the 15 years since the first extrasolar planet was found, more than 400 have been detected. The field is getting more intense as dedicated planet-hunting instruments like the Kepler satellite from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, due to report a new batch of such planets next month, get into the game.

Alan P. Boss, a planetary theorist at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, said of the planet hunters, “Give them a couple more years and they’re going to knock your socks off.”

Dr. Charbonneau’s planet, only 1.3 million miles from its home star, is distinguished by its relative coolness — a consequence of the dimness of GJ 1214, which puts out one three-hundredth of the Sun’s energy. He and his colleagues had set out to search for planets around such stars, noting that they are more numerous and that it is easier to discern planets around them.

His planet-hunting equipment is a bank of eight telescopes called MEarth, pronounced “mirth,” on Mount Hopkins in Arizona. Each telescope is only 16 inches in diameter, no bigger than those that grace the backyard of many amateur astronomers. They monitor the light of 2,000 nearby stars, looking for the regular blips caused when a planet passes by, or transits.

In May, Zachory Berta, a first-year graduate student of Dr. Charbonneau, called the group’s attention to blips in the Ophiuchus star that seemed to be happening every 1.6 days. If he was right, Mr. Berta said, the next transit would occur at 6 a.m. on May 13.

Dr. Charbonneau was in Washington later that day preparing for a State Department dinner when he got a group e-mail message that began: “We have a winner. Congrats Zach!”

From the drop in starlight, the astronomers could calculate the diameter of the Ophiuchus planet, known now as GJ 1214b. Then they used a sensitive spectrograph on a 3.6-meter telescope in Chile to measure its gravitational tug on the star, thus deriving the planet’s mass. Using those two numbers, Dr. Charbonneau and his colleagues could calculate the density of the planet, about one-third that of Earth.

“What we probably have here is a water world,” Dr. Charbonneau said.

Dr. Charbonneau said the weight of the new planet’s presumptive atmosphere kept the water liquid rather than just boiling into space. He acknowledged that a different recipe, with more rock and a very puffy atmosphere, would also fit the data. That is unlikely, he and other planet experts say, but the steam-world theory may be soon tested.

The new planet is close enough to be studied directly by telescopes on or near Earth. Indeed, Dr. Charbonneau said his team had already applied for observing time on the Hubble Space Telescope.

“Our own TV signals,” he said, “have already passed this star.”

Actually, MEarth is the bank of telescopes on Mount Hopkins in Arizona that discovered this world. I just used a play on words.

It’s interesting that we’re discovering these water planets recently using ground telescopes. Must be that Microsoft planet discovering software works pretty good.

A Sultry World Is Found Orbiting a Distant Star

___

Well, President Obama did make a decision Wednesday when he had a talk with NASA head Charles Bolden.

And boy, the North Alabama Space Administration ain’t gonna like it!

President Barack Obama will ask Congress next year to fund a new heavy-lift launcher to take humans to the moon, asteroids, and the moons of Mars, ScienceInsider has learned. The president chose the new direction for the U.S. human space flight program Wednesday at a White House meeting with NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, according to officials familiar with the discussion. NASA would receive an additional $1 billion in 2011 both to get the new launcher on track and to bolster the agency’s fleet of robotic Earth-monitoring spacecraft.

The current NASA plan for human exploration is built around the $3.5 billion Constellation program, which would provide a way to get humans to the space station and beyond. But its initial launcher, Ares 1, has faced a string of cost and technical problems, and it was excluded from several options for future space flight put forth earlier this year by an outside panel chaired by retired aerospace executive Norman Augustine. Although that panel suggested a $3 billion boost to NASA’s $18.7-billion-a-year budget in order to take a firm next step in human space flight, Obama’s support for a $1 billion bump next year represents a major coup for the agency given the ballooning deficit and the continuing recession. And NASA just won a $1 billion boost from Congress for 2010 in a bill signed by the president.

According to knowledgeable sources, the White House is convinced that scarce NASA funds would be better spent on a simpler heavy-lift vehicle that could be ready to fly as early as 2018. Meanwhile, European countries, Japan, and Canada would be asked to work on a lunar lander and modules for a moon base, saving the U.S. several billion dollars. And commercial companies would take over the job of getting supplies to the international space station.

“The decision is not going to make anyone gasp,” said one source in the White House, which hopes to ease congressional concerns about the impact of the new plan on existing aerospace jobs. But the decision, which has not yet been formally announced, is sure to spark opposition from Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) and other members who fear that any change to the current Constellation rocket program will lead to mass layoffs in their states. Indeed, Shelby inserted language into the final 2010 spending bill for NASA requiring congressional approval before any changes are made to Constellation.

Former U.S. President George W. Bush proposed sending humans back to the moon in 2004. Since that time, however, interest has grown in other destinations. While the U.S. partners focus on lunar exploration, the White House is more intrigued by missions to asteroids and Phobos and Deimos as a precursor to a human landing on the Red Planet in the distant future. That option was given particular prominence by Augustine panel members when they testified this fall before congressional committees. To prepare for human visits, NASA may order additional robotic missions to the martian moons and asteroids in coming years.

The new program would jettison Ares 1. To appease congressional critics like Shelby, the Administration hopes to ensure that research and development work on the new rocket would proceed without significant job losses at NASA centers like Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

But Shelby appears to be preparing for battle. In a 14 December letter to NASA’s inspector general, he said that several Augustine panel members were registered lobbyists who took “direct advantage of their temporary roles on the Commission to further their personal business.” He asked the inspector general to conduct a thorough investigation into the matter.

Augustine could not be reached for comment. The panel did include the president of a company that stands to gain from a recompetition of the new launcher, but none of the committee members were registered lobbyists, according to a report in the Orlando Sentinel. But there were numerous staffers from industry backgrounds who helped compile the Augustine report released in October. Shelby’s press secretary, Jonathan Graffeo, did not return calls requesting comment.

The report has kindled heated debate within Congress, the aerospace industry, and the White House regarding what direction the president should take. Obama chose from several options presented to him by NASA, the Office of Management and Budget, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Those options included keeping the budget flat and delaying a new launcher, building a heavy-lift launcher with an additional $1 billion for the agency, ramping up NASA’s annual budget by $3 billion for an aggressive program, or abandoning space flight altogether and reducing NASA’s budget. The president’s decision to go with the second option is a major departure from his 2010 budget plan, which called for a 5% increase in 2010—the boost just approved by Congress—but then remaining flat through 2014.

This is a major coup for the nascent commercial space companies, such as Elon Musk’s SpaceX, who have yet to prove they can safely transport humans to Earth orbit.

The 2018 time frame for a “simpler” heavy-lift launch vehicle is interesting also, since any such vehicle, even using the mainstream chemical rocket technology, is a major undertaking involving many people and locations.

Maybe a bone to throw to Senator Shelby, as the article suggests?

Exclusive: Obama Backs New Launcher and Bigger NASA Budget

The Land of Woo and Biocentrism

I am not a scientist of any kind, in any sense of the definition.

Theories in science, especially nowadays, have taken on an aura that feels like stepping onto a speeding subway train without it stopping to let you on.

Now, I know that I have posted about various theories of quantum physics and its relationship to the mainstream world in the past and have been roundly flamed for it, especially since I really don’t know what I’m talking about.

But how does one learn, if one doesn’t take the occasional plunge into the deep end of the pool?

This next supremely interesting theory is named biocentrism and it’s proponent is Dr. Robert Lanza, a medical doctor.

Biocentrism, in a word, is all about what our brain perceives in the outside world, how it interprets it and a possible relationship with quantum physics:

Many of us fear death. We believe in death because we have been told we will die. We associate ourselves with the body, and we know that bodies die. But a new scientific theory suggests that death is not the terminal event we think.

One well-known aspect of quantum physics is that certain observations cannot be predicted absolutely. Instead, there is a range of possible observations each with a different probability. One mainstream explanation, the “many-worlds” interpretation, states that each of these possible observations corresponds to a different universe (the ‘multiverse’). A new scientific theory – called biocentrism – refines these ideas. There are an infinite number of universes, and everything that could possibly happen occurs in some universe. Death does not exist in any real sense in these scenarios. All possible universes exist simultaneously, regardless of what happens in any of them. Although individual bodies are destined to self-destruct, the alive feeling – the ‘Who am I?’- is just a 20-watt fountain of energy operating in the brain. But this energy doesn’t go away at death. One of the surest axioms of science is that energy never dies; it can neither be created nor destroyed. But does this energy transcend from one world to the other?

Consider an experiment that was recently published in the journal Science showing that scientists could retroactively change something that had happened in the past. Particles had to decide how to behave when they hit a beam splitter. Later on, the experimenter could turn a second switch on or off. It turns out that what the observer decided at that point, determined what the particle did in the past. Regardless of the choice you, the observer, make, it is you who will experience the outcomes that will result. The linkages between these various histories and universes transcend our ordinary classical ideas of space and time. Think of the 20-watts of energy as simply holo-projecting either this or that result onto a screen. Whether you turn the second beam splitter on or off, it’s still the same battery or agent responsible for the projection.

According to Biocentrism, space and time are not the hard  objects we think. Wave your hand through the air – if you take everything away, what’s left? Nothing. The same thing applies for time. You can’t see anything through the bone that surrounds your brain. Everything you see and experience right now is a whirl of information occurring in your mind. Space and time are simply the tools for putting everything together.Death does not exist in a timeless, spaceless world. In the end, even Einstein admitted, “Now Besso” (an old friend) “has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That means nothing. People like us…know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” Immortality doesn’t mean a perpetual existence in time without end, but rather resides outside of time altogether.

Dr. Lanza isn’t the first person to propose a theory like this.

I read a story 11 years ago that had a component like this that the protagonist experienced. And how death is, or isn’t perceived.

Is this a credible hypothesis, since we all know for a fact that Death exists?

Or is it something from the Land of Woo?

Does Death Exist? New Theory Says ‘No’