Monthly Archives: March, 2010

LHC Collides Particles, Earth Still Here

Yesterday the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) started colliding particle beams that have been charged up to seven trillion electron volts, hoping to find exotic new particles never seen before in science.

Several theories surrounded the troubled start-up, ranging from forming micro-black-holes engulfing the planet to time traveling qubits from the future coming back in time preventing its start.

Eventually in the end, start-up happened at 1:00 p.m. GMT and the show began:

The Large Hadron Collider near Geneva succeeded early Tuesday in smashing subatomic particles together at more than three times the highest levels previously recorded, eliciting cheers from a crowd watching at Caltech and pushing two sometimes-separate strains of particle physicists together in what is likely to be a show of things to come.

Under two clocks, one labeled “Geneva” and another labeled “Caltech,” Bertrand Echenard and Matthew Buckley passed midnight with pizza, discovering that they both studied high-energy cosmic ray particle collisions. But Echenard is an experimentalist; Buckley a theorist.

“It’s funny; I’ve seen him at meetings for the last two years,” Buckley said of his fellow postdoctoral candidate. “Turns out we’re working on the same thing.”

With the particle collisions, the work — and the worlds — of experimental and theoretical physicists would seem to overlap a bit further.

Only minutes after the first recorded collision, at 3:58 a.m., physicists from various specialties were taking a look at the resulting photos, the first in what promises to be a flood of data from the two beams of protons smashing into each other at a total energy level of 7 trillion electron volts.

Based on experiences with other colliders, it could have taken days for the first collision to occur. Instead, the first collision came only hours after a few failed attempts.

“There were cheers in all the control rooms,” said Caltech physicist Harvey Newman. “As soon as we get the data, we’re analyzing it. . . . It’s been a long time coming.”

Well, we’re still here and the Earth didn’t disappear into subatomic particles.

So much for that dooms-day theory.

Better luck in 2012 folks!  😆

Large Hadron Collider rewards scientists watching at Caltech

The Information of Gravity

The theory of quantum physics is the basis of our modern world. Personal computers, Kindles, cellphones, GPS units, iPods, iPads and all the other toys we enjoy today owe their existence to quantum physics.

And we’re not done yet.

Essentially, the theory states all existence is information. You, me, the world, the Universe is all information of various types.

Now, gravity gets the treatment:

One of the hottest new ideas in physics is that gravity is an emergent phenomena; that it somehow arises from the complex interaction of simpler things.

A few month’s ago, Erik Verlinde at the the University of Amsterdam put forward one such idea which has taken the world of physics by storm. Verlinde suggested that gravity is merely a manifestation of entropy in the Universe. His idea is based on the second law of thermodynamics, that entropy always increases over time. It suggests that differences in entropy between parts of the Universe generates a force that redistributes matter in a way that maximises entropy. This is the force we call gravity.

What’s exciting about the approach is that it dramatically simplifies the theoretical scaffolding that supports modern physics. And while it has its limitations–for example, it generates Newton’s laws of gravity rather than Einstein’s–it has some advantages too, such as the ability to account for the magnitude of dark energy which conventional theories of gravity struggle with.

But perhaps the most powerful idea to emerge from Verlinde’s approach is that gravity is essentially a phenomenon of information.

Today, this idea gets a useful boost from Jae-Weon Lee at Jungwon University in South Korea and a couple of buddies. They use the idea of quantum information to derive a theory of gravity and they do it taking a slightly different tack to Verlinde.

At the heart of their idea is the tricky question of what happens to information when it enters a black hole. Physicists have puzzled over this for decades with little consensus. But one thing they agree on is Landauer’s principle: that erasing a bit of quantum information always increases the entropy of the Universe by a certain small amount and requires a specific amount of energy.

Jae-Weon and co assume that this erasure process must occur at the black hole horizon. And if so, spacetime must organise itself in a way that maximises entropy at these horizons. In other words, it generates a gravity-like force.

That’s intriguing for several reasons. First, Jae-Weon and co assume the existence of spacetime and its geometry and simply ask what form it must take if information is being erased at horizons in this way.

It also relates gravity to quantum information for the first time. Over recent years many results in quantum mechanics have pointed to the increasingly important role that information appears to play in the Universe.

Some physicists are convinced that the properties of information do not come from the behaviour of information carriers such as photons and electrons but the other way round. They think that information itself is the ghostly bedrock on which our universe is built.

Gravity has always been a fly in this ointment. But the growing realisation that information plays a fundamental role here too, could open the way to the kind of unification between the quantum mechanics and relativity that physicists have dreamed of.

arXiv article: arxiv.org/abs/1001.5445

Technology Review post

hat tip

Toyota Cosmic Rays and Area 51 Vets Speak Out

When this little article caught my eye this Monday A.M., I just can’t resist posting it:

It may not lessen Toyota’s woes to hear that the problems the company has been having with faulty gas pedals could be blamed on cosmic rays from space. Sound unbelievable? The concept is actually a lot more plausible than you might think.

Toyota’s sticky gas pedals caused sudden and unintended acceleration in several of the automaker’s top-selling Toyota and Lexus-brand cars, which led to a massive recall of more than 9 million vehicles worldwide, beginning in November. While ongoing inquiries attempt to locate the source of the problem and figure out a fix, investigators might find it useful to examine a far-out culprit: cosmic ray radiation from deep in the cosmos, which has been known to plague vulnerable data and memory chips in electronics.

Cosmic rays could be at least partially to blame for Toyota’s mechanical defects, scientists now say. And the problem could get worse in the future, as the increasing use of tiny computer chips – replacing mechanical parts – makes cars more and more vulnerable to space radiation.

More sensitive electronics

Federal regulators were prompted to look into the possible role that cosmic rays played in Toyota’s product recall fiasco after an anonymous tipster suggested the design of Toyota’s microprocessors, software and memory chips could make them more vulnerable to interference from radiation compared with other automakers. This is because Toyota has led the auto industry in its widespread inclusion of electronic controls in the manufacture of their various car models.

As electronic devices are made to perform more and more functions on smaller circuit chips, the systems become more sensitive and vulnerable to corruption, and thus more prone to interference from radiation, said Ewart Blackmore, a senior researcher at TRIUMF, a cyclotron facility in Vancouver, Canada, that works with companies to test and analyze the effects of radiation on products.

“Radiation is certainly a potential cause of Toyota’s problems,” Blackmore told LiveScience. “What’s not known is what direction Toyota and other automakers are taking in terms of finding and correcting these issues.”

What are cosmic rays?

As a start, automakers and regulators need to understand the complex and sometimes mysterious ways cosmic rays affect electronics on Earth.

Cosmic rays are high-energy protons that originate in shock waves from the remnants of supernovas – the death heaves of giant exploded stars. Cosmic rays constantly rain down on Earth. And while the high-energy “primary” rays collide with atoms in the Earth’s upper atmosphere and rarely make it through to the ground, “secondary” particles are ejected from these collisions and do reach ground level.

The effect is similar to a cue ball striking a rack of balls in the game of pool, said Robert Rauk, a consultant at Creative Power Resources, Inc., a Philadelphia-based electrical and mechanical engineering consulting company.

“These secondary particles bathe the Earth in energetic showers that can disrupt electronics,” Rauk said in an e-mail interview. “The effect depends on how sensitive the spot is that was struck.”

High-energy particles and electronics

Electronic chips record, store and process information in the form of “bits.” High-energy particles that pass through these chips can alter or “flip” a bit, resulting in a Single Event Upset (SEU).

This event can be anything from data loss or altered programming, to much more serious corruptions of circuitry functions.

The risks are especially high for circuits that are “field programmable,” explained Lloyd W. Massengill, director of engineering at the Vanderbilt Institute for Space and Defense Electronics at Vanderbilt University. Field-programmable circuits are systems in which the circuit’s function can be electrically altered while it is still in use.

“These circuit families store not just data, but their basic function electrically,” Massengill said. “In the unfortunate event of a particle flipping just the right bit, a circuit configured to carry out a benign action may be reprogrammed to carry out some unintended action.”

As the author notes, this is very plausible and I believe the US military plans for it when ordering equipment from contractors.

And it’s a bugaboo for NASA when planning future manned interplanetary missions.

Toyota Recall Might Be Caused By Cosmic Rays

hat tip

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Area 51 lore contains alien grays, crashed ufos, ufo technology, secrecy, the CIA and all the tin foil hat wearing stuff we like here.

At last, some former Area 51 vets are speaking out and some items are coming to light.

Alas, no aliens:

After nearly five decades, guys like James Noce finally get to tell their stories about Area 51.Yes, that Area 51.

The one that gets brought up when people talk about secret Air Force projects, crashed UFOs, alien bodies and, of course, conspiracies.

The secrets, some of them, have been declassified.

Noce, 72, and his fellow Area 51 veterans around the country now are free to talk about doing contract work for the CIA in the 1960s and ’70s at the arid, isolated Southern Nevada government testing site.

Their stories shed some light on a site shrouded in mystery; classified projects still are going on there. It’s not a big leap from warding off the curious 40 or 50 years ago, to warding off the curious who now make the drive to Area 51.

The veterans’ stories provide a glimpse of real-life government covert operations, with their everyday routines and moments of excitement.

Noce didn’t seek out publicity. But when contacted, he was glad to tell what it was like.

“I was sworn to secrecy for 47 years. I couldn’t talk about it,” he says.

In the 1960s, Area 51 was the test site for the A-12 and its successor, the SR-71 Blackbird, a secret spy plane that broke records at documented speeds that still have been unmatched. The CIA says it reached Mach 3.29 (about 2,200 mph) at 90,000 feet.

But after September 2007, when the CIA displayed an A-12 in front of its Langley, Va., headquarters as part of the agency’s 60th birthday, much of the secrecy of those days at Area 51 fell away.

Advance warning to UFOlogists: Sorry, although Noce and other Area 51 vets say they saw plenty of secret stuff, none make claims about aliens.

I do believe the CIA used the UFO phenomenon to cover up secret black projects since it made a convenient foil. But these projects were compartmentalized to the point where most people didn’t know what each other did. Unless they worked together directly, they didn’t know crap.

So that still leaves room for the possibility of back-engineering UFO tech and keeping it secret from others who worked at the facility!

Area 51 vets break silence: Sorry, but no space aliens or UFOs

Mysterious Human Origins

It is well known that Cro-Magnon Man lived along side of Neanderthal Man 30,000 to 45,000 years ago and much is speculated how that relationship existed.

Now there might be a third type of human being thrown into the mix to confuse things even more!

Scientists have identified a previously unknown type of ancient human through analysis of DNA from a finger bone unearthed in a Siberian cave.

The extinct “hominin” (human-like creature) lived in Central Asia between 48,000 and 30,000 years ago.

An international team has sequenced genetic material from the fossil showing that it is distinct from that of Neanderthals and modern humans.

Details of the find, dubbed “X-woman”, have been published in Nature journal.

Ornaments were found in the same ground layer as the finger bone, including a bracelet.

Professor Chris Stringer, human origins researcher at London’s Natural History Museum, called the discovery “a very exciting development”.

“This new DNA work provides an entirely new way of looking at the still poorly-understood evolution of humans in central and eastern Asia.”

The discovery raises the intriguing possibility that three forms of human – Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and the species represented by X-woman – could have met each other and interacted in southern Siberia.

The tiny fragment of bone from a fifth finger was uncovered by archaeologists working at Denisova Cave in Siberia’s Altai Mountains in 2008.

An international team of researchers extracted mitochondrial DNA from the bone and compared the genetic sequence with those from modern humans and Neanderthals.

It is speculated that tribes of Homo Erectus survived into this time frame, this could be the proof paleo-anthropologists need to prove the theory.

But with no other Erectus DNA to compare it with, this might be a hard sell.

Branches of Humanity are often nebulous things to grasp in our modern society and most cultures discount our biological past, so research such as this is important in understanding who we were.

And are.

DNA identifies new ancient human dubbed ‘X-woman’

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From earthly ancestors to possible extraterrestrial (or crypto?) ones as we continue the study of human beings using DNA technology.

The Star Child Skull is famous (or infamous) for being proof positive of ET contact with humans and has many detractors of course for the obvious reasons.

Lloyd Pye has had possession of the Skull for many years and had it’s DNA tested in 2003. The findings showed that the individual had a human mother, but because the testing couldn’t resolve the father’s nuclear DNA, proof positive of the origin wasn’t forthcoming.

Now, that is about to change:

We finally have a recovery of nuclear DNA from the Starchild!

This past weekend I met with the geneticist working on the Starchild’s DNA. He explained how he can now prove the Starchild is not entirely human, which has been our position for years. Now it is no longer a question of “if,” but of “when” and “how” we spread this astounding new reality beyond the mailing list. First, though, let me bring the list’s newcomers up to speed.

In 2003 we had a DNA analysis that used human-only primers to recover the Starchild’s mitochondrial DNA, the DNA outside the nucleus, which comes from the mother and her genetic line. That meant its mother was human. But we could not recover its nuclear DNA, which comes from both mother and father, which meant its father was not a human. Unfortunately, with the recovery technology of 2003 we couldn’t prove what he was, which left us in scientific limbo. The “no result” from the search for the nuclear DNA clearly meant Dad wasn’t human, but we could not prove that fact beyond all possible doubt.

Now, in 2010, there have been many improvements in the recovery process, and those improvements have been applied to the Starchild skull with the stunning result you see below. This is a gel sheet that shows a clear recovery of its nuclear DNA, which could not be done in 2003.

The next two screen shots are taken from the national genetic database at the National Institute of Health, NIH. That public-access database is a centralized repository of all genetic information generated by geneticists all over the world, and now covers essentially all living organisms on Earth, from various kinds of viruses and bacteria, to various kinds of crustaceans and fish, to all kinds of animals and plants, including great apes and humans.

For many species, humans included, there are already nucleotide sequences covering entire genomes. Therefore, sequences from the Starchild’s DNA can be directly compared against this vast database to look for any matches. In one such comparison below, you see the text below the blue line at the bottom (if you can read it, sorry it’s so fuzzy) that 265 base pairs (a good length) of recovered Starchild nuclear DNA matches perfectly with a gene on human chromosome 1. This verifies beyond any degree of doubt that some of the nuclear DNA seen in the gel sheet is from a human being.

In the one below, and again at the bottom, you see the stunning report that in a string of 342 base pairs (another good length), “No significant similarity (is) found.” To recover a stretch of base pairs as long as that with NO reference in the NIH database is astounding because it means there is no known earthly corollary for what has been analyzed! This incredible anomaly will put the Starchild in history books!!!

Please understand that this result has now been verified several times, and a few more different fragments have been identified that cannot be matched in this database to anything known. Despite that fact, mainstream skeptics will be obligated by their positions to try to say it’s some kind of gibberish or some kind of mistake because in their world view it simply can’t be true.

Luckily, their bleating protests can be easily overcome with continued repetition of the result, finding more and more similar fragments in the library that will be created from the Starchild’s DNA, which is what the geneticist is confident will happen over the next weeks and months—nothing but verification that a significant part of the Starchild’s genome is not found on Earth.

I will investigate this further over the weekend to see if I can find other leads.

No matter if it ends up that we are genetically manipulated by ‘aliens’ (I have a feeling Mac Tonnies might be vindicated, holy synchronicity!) of some type, this will blow the lid off from various theories of Human Origins.

New Update Issued on the ‘Starchild Skull’

Today’s hat tip goes to the Anomalist.

Of Emily, Cope and Mozart

One of the hallmarks of the coming Singularity according to its adherents is the advent of advanced AI or artificial intelligence.

The Turing Test, first formulated by Alan Turing over fifty years ago, is the yardstick by which it will be determined if an AI is capable of conscious thought.

Now a music professor, David Cope, Dickerson Emeriti Professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, has written a computer program that is capable of composing classical music.

And other things as well:

“Why not develop music in ways unknown? This only makes sense. I cannot understand the difference between my notes on paper and other notes on paper. If beauty is present, it is present. I hope I can continue to create notes and that these notes will have beauty for some others. I am not sad. I am not happy. I am Emily. You are Dave. Life and un-life exist. We coexist. I do not see problems.” —Emily Howell

Emily Howell’s philosophic musings and short Haiku-like sentences are the giveaway. Emily Howell is the daughter program of Emmy (Experiments in Musical Intelligence — sometimes spelled EMI), a music composing program written by David Cope, Dickerson Emeriti Professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Emily Howell’s interesting ramblings about music are actually the result of a set of computer queries. Her music, however, is something else again: completely original and hauntingly beautiful. Even a classical purist might have trouble determining whether a human being or an AI program created it. Judge for yourself:

]

Cope is also Honorary Professor of Computer Science (CS) at Xiamen University in China. While he insists that he is a music professor first, he manages to leverage his knowledge of CS into some highly sophisticated AI programming. He characterizes Emily Howell in a recent NPR interview as “a computer program I’ve written in the computer programming language LISP. And it is a program which accepts both ASCII input, that is letters from the computer keyboard, as well as musical input, and it responds to me in a collaborative way as we compose together.” Emmy, Cope’s earlier AI system, was able to take a musical style — say, classical heavyweights such as Bach, Beethoven, or Mozart — and develop scores imitating them that classical music scholars could not distinguish from the originals.

The classical music aficionado is often caricatured as a highbrow nose-in-the-air, well… snob. Classical music is frequently consigned by the purist to the past few centuries of European music (with the notable exceptions of American composers like Gershwin and Copeland). Even the experimental “new music” of human composers is often controversial to the classical music community as a whole. Frank Zappa — a student of the avant-garde European composer Edgard Varèse and a serious classical composer in his own right — had trouble getting a fair listen to his later classical works (he was an irreverent rock-and-roll star after all!), even though his compositions broke polytonal rhythmic ground with complexity previously unheard in Western music.

Hauntingly beautiful, is it not?

It brings to mind the old TV cliche, “Is it real, or Memorex?”

Let’s see if this AI learns on its own and becomes a Mozart or Beethoven.

That would be the ultimate proof.

Has Emily Howell Passed the Musical Turing Test?

As always, a wonderful hat tip to the Daily Grail .

“Mega” Cities / Chilean Earthquake UFOs

I’m not sure this is a good thing or not since I’m an ol’ country boy:

The world’s mega-cities are merging to form vast “mega-regions” which may stretch hundreds of kilometres across countries and be home to more than 100 million people, according to a major new UN report.

The phenomenon of the so-called “endless city” could be one of the most significant developments – and problems – in the way people live and economies grow in the next 50 years, says UN-Habitat, the agency for human settlements, which identifies the trend of developing mega-regions in its biannual State of World Cities report.

The largest of these, says the report – launched today at the World Urban Forum in Rio de Janeiro – is the Hong Kong-Shenhzen-Guangzhou region in China, home to about 120 million people. Other mega-regions have formed in Japan and Brazil and are developing in India, west Africa and elsewhere.

The trend helped the world pass a tipping point in the last year, with more than half the world’s people now living in cities.

The UN said that urbanisation is now “unstoppable”. Anna Tibaijuka, outgoing director of UN-Habitat, said: “Just over half the world now lives in cities but by 2050, over 70% of the world will be urban dwellers. By then, only 14% of people in rich countries will live outside cities, and 33% in poor countries.”

The development of mega-regions is regarded as generally positive, said the report’s co-author Eduardo Lopez Moreno: “They [mega-regions], rather than countries, are now driving wealth.”

“Research shows that the world’s largest 40 mega-regions cover only a tiny fraction of the habitable surface of our planet and are home to fewer than 18% of the world’s population [but] account for 66% of all economic activity and about 85% of technological and scientific innovation,” said Moreno.

“The top 25 cities in the world account for more than half of the world’s wealth,” he added. “And the five largest cities in India and China now account for 50% of those countries’ wealth.”

The migration to cities, while making economic sense, is affecting the rural economy too: “Most of the wealth in rural areas already comes from people in urban areas sending money back,” Moreno said.

The growth of mega-regions and cities is also leading to unprecedented urban sprawl, new slums, unbalanced development and income inequalities as more and more people move to satellite or dormitory cities.

“Cities like Los Angeles grew 45% in numbers between 1975-1990, but tripled their surface area in the same time. This sprawl is now increasingly happening in developing countries as real estate developers promote the image of a ‘world-class lifestyle’ outside the traditional city,” say the authors.

To quote Jameske of the Daily Grail, “Judge Dredd soon to follow.”

“I am de la-aw!”

Sly Stallone will always have a job I guess.

UN report: World’s biggest cities merging into ‘mega-regions’

hat tip

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UFO activity has long been associated with volcanic and earthquake activity, especially in Mexico, Central and South America.

Here we have photos of UFOs that were taken after the recent 8.8 R quake in Chile:

Long-time researcherLiliana Núñez Orellana(formerly with AFLA)sent us a video clip from Chilean television displaying some of the truly startling images captured before, during and after the 8.8 magnitude earthquake in that country. Interviewed for this presentation were Rodrigo Fuenzalida and Alberto Urquiza. Mr. Fuenzalida was asked to provide an analysis of the situation, and he shared an interesting theory: that UFOs, regardless of their nature or origin, vacate their underground or underwater lairs before an earthquake much in the way that our own surface ships set out to sea before a hurricane.

This might be evidence of Mac Tonnies’ cryptoterrestrial theory in that in the shear numbers of these objects that vacate geological volatile areas of the planet before, during and after these events.

Are you seeing this Mac?

Chile: Bumper Crop of UFO Images

hat tip

Another Cold War UFO Crash Tale

When it comes to Cold War stories of UFO contact like the Roswell Incident of 1947 I maintain a healthy skepticism because of the CIA’s active plans of disinformation utilizing the phenomenon.

But the stories keep popping up as the people involved pass away and leave the tales to descendants to either disseminate or dispose of as they wish:

Retired Colonel Robert B. Willingham, 84, says he visited the site of a crashed unidentified flying object near Del Rio, Texas, in 1955 and saw three non-human entities through a hole in the ruptured hull of the ship. The strange beings, two of which were badly mangled, appeared to have died in the crash. “It didn’t look like humans to me,” Willingham said during a recent interview on the Jeff Rense radio program. The retired aviator said the beings he saw fit the common description of UFO occupants with large heads, slit-like mouths, and arms “like broomsticks.”

Asked how the dead entities were clothed, Willingham replied, “They weren’t dressed at all.” He said that despite the mangled condition of the bodies, he does not recall seeing traces of blood around the creatures. “But man, I just got to glance in there, because he [a Mexican Army lieutenant] wouldn’t let me go look in it.” Even though he got only a momentary glance inside the wrecked UFO, what he saw has haunted him for the past 55 years.

The story of Willingham’s 1955 encounter with the crashed UFO began earlier in the day while flying an F-86 fighter jet during a Cold War simulated bombing run out of Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth, Texas. Willingham and other aviators in his squadron observed an orb of light “as bright as a star” moving across the skies of West Texas at about 2,000 miles per hour. The large, intensely bright object, moved generally west to east before suddenly executing a 90-degree turn and heading south toward Del Rio, Texas, located on the border with Mexico.

Willingham requested and received permission to pursue the object “to find out what the hell it was and give a full report to the commander back at base.”

Turning his F-86, he followed the object’s contrail down toward the Rio Grande River and observed that the UFO had begun wobbling uncontrollably and descending rapidly. He watched as the streak of light nearly took the roof off a house on the Texas side of the border before impacting on the south bank of the Rio Grande, where it skidded for 300 yards prior to coming to rest against a small hill.

Determined to return to the crash site in a smaller plane that he could land along the riverbank, Willingham returned to his squadron and asked permission to go back to base. After returning to Carswell AFB, Willingham turned in his jet and picked up a small, two-seater training plane, which he and a man named Jack Perkins, now deceased, piloted back down to where the UFO had crashed.

Upon arriving at the crash site, Willingham and Perkins found a damaged silver orb, roughly disc shaped, “sticking in the side of a hill.” They also noticed a 300-yard gouge in the earth, where the UFO had skidded before stopping. The object, which was still intensely hot, was being guarded by a large detachment of Mexican Army personnel, including several officers – all of them armed. The Mexicans would not allow Willingham to get very close to the smoldering wreckage, and a lieutenant told him that they were waiting for the U.S. Air Force to arrive in order to turn the object over to them.

Mexico and the US have had a less than congenial relationship dealing with UFO crashes over the decades, usually with the US coming out on the better end. Witness the 1973 crash in northern Mexico (Inexplicata Journal) in which an attachment of the Mexican Army is sent to recover a UFO, but end up dead. Then a US Army recovery team mops up and ends up with the goods.

It seems the US Army is practiced at recovering these items. I wonder if they know what they have yet?

UFO CRASH NEAR DEL RIO, TEXAS

Invisibility Cloak / Mayan Pyramid

Invisibility for material objects have been a scientific Rosetta Stone for the world’s military and space researchers for decades.

Now scientists might have discovered a way to achieve this in three dimensions of materiality:

The “cloak”, described in the journal Science, hid an object from detection using light of wavelengths close to those that are visible to humans.

Previous devices have been able to hide objects from light travelling in only one direction; viewed from any other angle, the object would remain visible.

This is a very early but significant step towards true invisibility cloaks.

Tolga Ergin, a scientist from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany led the study.

He told BBC News that his team’s cloak was based on the concept that you can “transform space” with a material.

He and his colleagues designed a photonic metamaterial, which influenced the behaviour of light rays.

“You can think of any transformation that you would like to have, and tailor your material to mimic this,” he explained.

The basis of the design is known as a “carpet cloak”. This was first proposed by Professor Sir John Pendry from Imperial College London, who also took part in this study.

“He proposed the theoretical design of having an object hidden under a bump and making the bump disappear,” said Mr Ergin.

“It’s like a carpet mirror,” he continued. “If you hide an object under it, there is a bump, so you see a distortion in the reflected image.

“We put the carpet cloak on top of that bump and it bends the light so that the distortions disappear.

“You have the impression that the mirror you’re looking at is flat.”

Bending light

The trick is to change the speed and direction in which light travels through the material – that is, to change the material’s refractive index.

The researchers achieved by this using a polymer crystal made up of very tiny rods. “By changing the thickness of the rods, you can change the ratio of air to polymer,” explained Dr Ergin.

“Since the refractive index of air is about one and the refractive index of the polymer is about 1.52,” he explained, “in principle, we can get any refractive index between those two numbers,” he said.

By tailoring the refractive index of the surface of the bump, the scientists rendered it invisible to a wide range of light wavelengths slightly longer than those that we can see.

Watch for the Pentagon to issue Predator-type battle armor incorporating this within the next decade because I’m certain DARPA is already working on this!

Invisibility Cloak Created In 3-D

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Here’s a little something for the “no f*ckin’ way” department.

Via Rick Phillip’s Barf Stew:

Hello, welcome to Barf Stew – took a day off BS yesterday to find you the hot, up and out mixture of links you desire – and this one will NOT disappoint.http://denniswhitneyufo.blogspot.com/2010/03/mayan-pyramid-shoots-out-beam-of-light.htmlBarf Stew Tag. One helluva good blog too – tons and tons of content.

I don’t know whether I believe this sh*t or not, but if Rick Phillips finds it interesting, who am I to argue?

Mayan Pyramid Shoots Out Beam of Light

A Quantum After-Life?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Afterlife in the Quantum Realm

A ‘COROT’ Find

The search for earth-type planets is getting better and the newest one might just be in its’ star’s habitable zone:

[…]

Although a number of extrasolar planets with moderate temperatures have been discovered, only a planet that passes in front of — or transits — its star can be studied in depth. The starlight that filters through the atmosphere of the planet during each passage reveals the orb’s composition, while the amount of starlight that is blocked outright indicates the planet’s size.

All the other transiting planets seen so far have been “weird — inflated and hot” because they orbit so close to their stars, notes study collaborator Didier Queloz of the Geneva Observatory in Sauverny, Switzerland. Deeg, Queloz and their colleagues report their findings in the March 18 Nature.

The planet, found with the COROT satellite and dubbed COROT-9b, lies 1,500 light-years from Earth and never gets closer to its star than Mercury’s average distance from the sun. That puts the surface temperature of the planet in a relatively temperate range, somewhere between 250 kelvins and 430 kelvins (-23˚ to 157˚ Celsius). Although the gaseous planet isn’t expected to be habitable, its atmosphere could contain water vapor.

If this Jupiter-like planet has a moon, that satellite’s rocky surface could be habitable, says Sara Seager of MIT. But a planetary system closer to Earth would offer a better chance of searching for the tiny gravitational tug of such a moon, Seager adds.

“This discovery adds weight to the fact that we know that planets often orbit in or close to the habitable zone, so we should not be surprised when the Kepler or COROT satellites or some ground-based search makes the claim for the first habitable Earth or super-Earth,” comments Alan Boss of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C.

Nevertheless, finding such a planet is encouraging news, Seager says, because “where there is gold dust there might be a gold mine.”

It’s going to be a matter of time before we find an actual Earth-type planet. I say about five years.

Cool: New Exoplanet Is Near Habitable Zone