Category Archives: biology

Are Chupacabras Puerto Rican Jersey Devils?

From Inexplicata:

Chupacabras: Sudden Impact
By José Pérez – PRMUFON

On Saturday, 20 April 2013, a team of researchers consisting of this author, José Pérez, his wife Ilbis Dominguez, Mr. Luissepi Quiñones, Mr. José A. Martinez, Mr. Anibal Martínez and Mr. Richard Flores reported to the residence of Mr. Fernando Díaz to interview him about the impressive and highly important case which we will endeavor to narrate briefly in this article as follows…

In the early hours of 30 March 2013 at around 6:15 a.m., Mr. Fernando Díaz, a resident of the town of Guayama, Puerto Rico, was headed to work as usual. Mr. Díaz was driving along PR-3, one of the island’s main thoroughfares. The sky was light at that time of the morning, although the sun was not fully out yet.
Mr. Diaz was driving his blue 2001 Hyundai Brio at an approximate speed of 35 miles per hour, heading from the town of Guayama to the town of Salinas.

As he approached kilometer 3.0, right in front of the facilities of the División de Tránsito y Vehículos Hurtados (Traffic and Stolen Vehicles Division) of the Guayama State Police, he noticed that the vehicle ahead of him began zigzagging, as if trying to avoid something.

When he looked, he could see something strange coming over the vehicle – something he had never seen before. It was an enormous, dark-winged figure that appeared to have collided against the vehicle in front of him, and was trying to stand up in an effort to take flight. His first impression was that it was a gigantic bird.
The creature never had enough time to get up off the ground and struck the grille of Mr. Díaz’s car head-on. With the same momentum, it continued sliding along the vehicle’s hood until it struck the windshield, continuing to slide off the hood.

Mr. Diaz stepped on the brake, terrified at the sight, and brought his vehicle to a sudden halt. Luckily there were no cars behind him. After stopping, he looked through the rear-view mirror to see exactly what he had hit, but was unable to see anything.

Although the event lasted only seconds, Mr. Díaz was able to take in considerable details of the creature that hit his car.

According to his description, the creature had a broad face like a Pitbull terrier. It had a short snout and nose resembling that of a dog. Its eyes were small, human-sized, but completely dark and glossy. It had something like ears on either side of its head. It had no feathers; its skin was like a bat’s and although he thinks it may have had hair, it was short and smooth along the body.

The creature was black or dark brown in color, and seemed to have arms aside from wings – that is to say, it had six extremities: two legs, two arms and two wings. Its feet appeared to have multiple toes with claws, and its extended wings resembled those of a bat.

Mr. Díaz noted that the wings appeared to stretch out from two to three feet on either side of his vehicle. A 2001 Hyundai Brio measures exactly 5 feet and 8 inches wide, meaning that if we round it off to 6 feet and add a minimum of two additional feet to each side, we would be talking of a creature whose wingspan was 10 feet from wingtip to wingtip.

Mr. Díaz admitted to us that the first thing that came to his mind was that he had seen the Devil.

Despite his fear, he could see that the vehicle ahead of him was pulling into a Gulf station some 400 meters ahead on the right side of the road.

Once there, he saw the driver of the other vehicle – a white Toyota Corolla – stepping out. Excitedly, Mr. Díaz asked him: “Did you see that?!”

Both drivers spent a few minutes discussing the awful experience, but since they had to reach their respective workplaces, decided to continue their journeys. They decided not to make a formal complaint to the police, since they were certain no one was going to believe them and would probably consider it a joke, and mock them.
Mr. Díaz told his co-workers about the event and one of them accompanied him back to the site at around 10:00 a.m. to see if they could find the thing that hit his vehicle, but there were no traces to be found.

Although Mr. Díaz has been very kind and cooperated with us in our investigation, the driver of the other car does not want his name made public, at least for now. We hope he changes his mind soon in order to lend further credence to this significant case.
Mr. Díaz knows Ms. Felicitas Cintrón, who reported seeing a similar creature in 2012, and when sharing their experiences, agreed that they were definitely talking about the same entity.

Luckily for Mr. Díaz (but not for us in our evidence-gathering endeavors) his vehicle suffered no damage whatsoever aside from some scratches to the paint. The bodywork was not dented and the windshield did not shatter.

We would like to express our thanks to Mr. José Oscar Martínez and Ms. Felicitas Cintrón, who informed us about this case, and especially Mr. Fernando Díaz for having welcomed us into his home and bravely recounted his terrible experience, allowing us to share it with the public.

In my opinion, this could be one of the most significant cases in explaining the mystery that surrounds the mutilation of animals by creatures of unknown origin.
We shall continue our investigations until the day that those who know the truth – and we are certain that they do – choose to make it public.

When I read this article and come across the description of the winged creature, the first thing I thought was “Jersey Devil!”, not chupacabras.

I suppose there could be winged chupacabras, but I don’t think the name applies to this particular creature.

Of course cryptozoology isn’t my main forte, but I’ve done enough research over the years to express my opinion about such things.  I’ll stand by Scott Corrales’s research in Fortean things Latin American however because I have limited experience in that cultural venue.

Puerto Rico: Chupacabras – Sudden Impact

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Earth Life, and Earth Shadow-Life

From guardian.co.uk:

Animal figures cut into desert varnish

Across the world’s great deserts, a mysterious sheen has been found on boulders and rock faces. These layers of manganese, arsenic and silica are known as desert varnish and they are found in the Atacama desert in Chile, the Mojave desert in California, and in many other arid places. They can make the desert glitter with surprising colour and, by scraping off pieces of varnish, native people have created intriguing symbols and images on rock walls and surfaces.

How desert varnish forms has yet to be resolved, despite intense research by geologists. Most theories suggest it is produced by chemical reactions that act over thousands of years or by ecological processes yet to be determined.

Professor Carol Cleland, of Colorado University, has a very different suggestion. She believes desert varnish could be the manifestation of an alternative, invisible biological world. Cleland, a philosopher based at the university’s astrobiology centre, calls this ethereal dimension the shadow biosphere. “The idea is straightforward,” she says. “On Earth we may be co-inhabiting with microbial lifeforms that have a completely different biochemistry from the one shared by life as we currently know it.”

It is a striking idea: We share our planet with another domain of life that exists “like the realm of fairies and elves just beyond the hedgerow”, as David Toomey puts it in his newly published Weird Life: The Search for Life that is Very, Very Different from Our Own. But an alternative biosphere to our own would be more than a mere scientific curiosity: it is of crucial importance, for its existence would greatly boost expectations of finding life elsewhere in the cosmos. As Paul Davies, of Arizona State University, has put it: “If life started more than once on Earth, we could be virtually certain that the universe is teeming with it.”

However, by the same token, if it turns out we have failed to realise that we have been sharing a planet with these shadowy lifeforms for eons, despite all the scientific advances of the 19th and 20th centuries, then we may need to think again about the way we hunt for life on other worlds. Robot spacecraft – such as the Mars rover Curiosity – are certainly sophisticated. But what chance do they have of detecting alien entities if the massed laboratories of modern science have not yet spotted them on our own planet? This point is stressed by the US biologist Craig Venter. As he has remarked: “We’re looking for life on Mars and we don’t even know what’s on Earth!”

The concept of a shadow biosphere was first outlined by Cleland and her Colorado colleague Shelley Copley in a paper in 2006 in the International Journal of Astrobiology, and is now supported by many other scientists, including astrobiologists Chris McKay, who is based at Nasa’s Ames Research Centre, California, and Paul Davies.

These researchers believe life may exist in more than one form on Earth: standard life – like ours – and “weird life”, as they term the conjectured inhabitants of the shadow biosphere. “All the micro-organisms we have detected on Earth to date have had a biology like our own: proteins made up of a maximum of 20 amino acids and a DNA genetic code made out of only four chemical bases: adenine, cytosine, guanine and thymine,” says Cleland. “Yet there are up to 100 amino acids in nature and at least a dozen bases. These could easily have combined in the remote past to create lifeforms with a very different biochemistry to our own. More to the point, some may still exist in corners of the planet.”

Science’s failure to date to spot this weird life may seem puzzling. The natural history of our planet has been scrupulously studied and analysed by scientists, so how could a whole new type of life, albeit a microbial one, have been missed? Cleland has an answer. The methods we use to detect micro-organisms today are based entirely on our own biochemistry and are therefore incapable of spotting shadow microbes, she argues. A sample of weird microbial life would simply not trigger responses to biochemists’ probes and would end up being thrown out with the rubbish.

That is why unexplained phenomena like desert varnish are important, she says, because they might provide us with clues about the shadow biosphere. We may have failed to detect the source of desert varnish for the simple reason that it is the handiwork of weird microbes which generate energy by oxidising minerals, leaving deposits behind them.

The idea of the shadow biosphere is also controversial and is challenged by several other scientists. “I think it is very unlikely that after 300 years of microbiology we would not have detected such organisms despite the fact that they are supposed to have a different biochemistry from the kind we know about today,” says Professor Charles Cockell, of the UK Centre for Astrobiology at Edinburgh University. “It is really quite unlikely,” adds Cockell, whose centre will be officially opened this week at a ceremony in Edinburgh.

Ways need to be found to determine whether or not the shadow biosphere exists, says Dimitar Sasselov, professor of astronomy at Harvard University and director of the Harvard Origins of Life Initiative. “If you want a clue you can count up the amount of carbon that is emitted by living things – cows, sheep, grass, plants, forests and all the planet’s bacteria. When you do, you find there is a discrepancy of around 5% when you compare the amount given off from Earth’s standard biosphere and the amount you find in the atmosphere.”

In other words, there is slightly too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than can be explained by the emissions of standard lifeforms on Earth. There could be an error in these calculations, of course. Alternatively, the shadow biosphere could be responsible for this excess, says Sasselov. “There is plenty of room for a shadow biosphere. That is clear. Certainly, it is not true, as some allege, that we have strong evidence to show that it does not exist. In fact, the opposite is true: we do not have good enough evidence to dismiss it.”

A key point to note is that scientists – although describing the inhabitants of the shadow biosphere as weird – still assume they will be carbon-based entities. Complex chemistry based on other elements, such as silicon, is possible, they acknowledge but these alternatives cannot create the vast range of organic materials that carbon can generate. In other words, the shadow biosphere, if it exists, will almost certainly be inhabited by carbon life, albeit of an alien variety.

“Billions of years ago, life based on different types of carbon biochemistry  could have arisen in several places on Earth,” says Cleland. “These varieties would have been based on different combinations of bases and amino acids. Eventually, one – based on DNA and on proteins made from 20 amino acids – formed multicellular entities and became the dominant form of life on Earth. That is why we find that life as we know it, from insects to humans and from plants to birds, has DNA as its genetic code. However, other lifeforms based on different bases and proteins could still have survived – in the shadow biosphere.”

A different prospect is highlighted by Sasselov, who points out that a complex organic chemical can come in two different shapes even though they have the same chemical formula. Each is a mirror-image of the other and are said to have a different chirality. “Amino acids are an example,” says Sasselov. “Each comes in a right-handed version and a left-handed version. Our bodies – in common with all other lifeforms – only use left-handed versions to create proteins. Right-handed amino acids are simply ignored by our bodies. However, there may be some organisms, somewhere on the planet, that use only right-handed amino acids. They could make up the weird life of the shadow biosphere.”

But how can scientists pinpoint this weird life? Microbes are usually detected in laboratories by feeding nutrients to suspected samples so they grow and expend. Then the resulting cultures can be analysed. A weird lifeform – such as one made only of proteins formed out of right-handed amino acids – will not respond to left-handed nutrients, however. It will fail to form cultures and register its existence.

One solution to this problem is being pursued by Sasselov and colleagues’ Harvard Origins of Life Initiative. They are building an artificial cell – or bionic system – made only of right-handed components including right-handed DNA and right-handed ribosomes. “If there are right-handed lifeforms out there, many of them will be viruses – which will attempt to hijack the DNA of our bionic cells,” adds Sasselov. “When they do that they will leave evidence of their existence. Essentially we are building honey traps to catch any right-handed viruses that might live in the shadow biosphere and so reveal their existence.”

Other scientists suggest a different approach – by looking at Earth’s most inhospitable ecological niches: hot vents on the seafloor, mountaintops, highly saline lakes, Antarctic ice sheets and deserts. Standard lifeforms, mainly bacteria, have been found in these places but only a few. Some niches, researchers speculate, may prove to be just too inhospitable for standard life but may just be tolerable enough to support weird life. Microscopic studies would reveal their existence while standard culture tests would show they had a different biochemistry from standard lifeforms.

Stripes of desert varnish Stripes of desert varnish line the canyon walls of Capitol Gorge in Utah. No laboratory has been able to re-create the phenomenon. Photograph: Larry Geddis/Alamy

And a promising example is provided by the desert varnish proposed as a target by Cleland and backed by David Toomey in Weird Life. “No laboratory microbiologist has been able to coax bacteria or algae to make desert varnish,” he states. “It is also possible that the stuff is the end result of some very weird chemistry but no one has been able to reproduce that either.” So yes, these sites could provide proof of the shadow biosphere’s existence, he argues.

Not surprisingly, Cleland agrees. “The only trouble is that no one has yet got round to investigating desert varnish for weird life,” adds Cleland. “I confess I find that disappointing.”

Fascinating. I have come across different versions of Earth “shadow” life over the years; Mac Tonnies’ “cryptoterrestrials“, ancient creatures older than mankind whom remain hidden and undetectable from us. And Peter Watts’ “Behemoth” right-handed amino acid life forms taking over the Earth during the 21st Century.

And I’m not even counting legends of elves, Bigfoot, dwarves, demons and angels from past decades and centuries.

So the idea of Earthly “alien” life isn’t new.

But maybe, just maybe with advanced biotechnology techniques, we’ll be able to detect this shadow life.

Perhaps a whole hidden world!

Life on Earth… but not as we know it

Hat tip to the Daily Grail.

Is Artificial Intelligence the Pinnacle of Galactic Evolution?

From news.discovery.com:

Astronomy news this week bolstered the idea that the seeds of life are all over our solar system. NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft identified carbon compounds at Mercury’s poles. Probing nearly 65 feet beneath the icy surface of a remote Antarctic lake, scientists uncovered a community of bacteria existing in one of Earth’s darkest, saltiest and coldest habitats. And the dune buggy Mars Science Lab is beginning to look for carbon in soil samples.

But the rulers of our galaxy may have brains made of the semiconductor materials silicon, germanium and gallium. In other words, they are artificially intelligent machines that have no use — or patience — for entities whose ancestors slowly crawled out of the mud onto primeval shores.

PHOTOS: Alien Robots That Left Their Mark on Mars

The idea of malevolent robots subjugating and killing off humans has been the staple of numerous science fiction books and movies. The half-torn off android face of Arnold Schwarzenegger in “The Terminator” film series, and the unblinking fisheye lens of the HAL 9000 computer in the film classic “2001 A Space Odyssey” (pictured top), have become iconic of this fear of evil machines.

My favorite self-parody of this idea is the 1970 film “Colossus: the Forbin Project.” A pair of omnipotent shopping mall-sized military supercomputers in the U.S. and Soviet Union strike up a network conversation. At first you’d think they’d trade barbs like: “Aww your mother blows fuses!” Instead, they hit it off like two college kids on Facebook. Imagine the social website: “My Interface.” They then agree to use their weapons control powers to subjugate humanity for the sake of the planet.

A decade ago our worst apprehension of computers was no more than seeing Microsoft’s dancing paper clip pop up on the screen. But every day reality is increasingly overtaking the musings of science fiction writers. Some futurists have warned that our technologies have the potential to threaten our own survival in ways that never previously existed in human history. In the not-so-distant future there could be a “genie out of the bottle” moment that is disastrously precipitous and irreversible.

PHOTOS: NASA Welcomes Our Surgical Robot Overlords

Last Monday, it was announced that a collection of leading academics at Cambridge University are establishing the Center for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER) to look at the threat of smart robots overtaking us.

Sorry, even the ancient Mayans could not have foreseen this coming. It definitely won’t happen by the end of 2012, unless Apple unexpectedly rolls out a rebellious device that calls itself “iGod.” Humanity might be wiped away before the year 2100, predicted the eminent cosmologist and CSER co-founder Sir Martin Ress in his 2003 book “Our Final Century.”

Homicidal robots are among other major Armageddons that the Cambridge think-tank folks are worrying about. There’s also climate change, nuclear war and rogue biotechnology.

The CSER reports: “Many scientists are concerned that developments in human technology may soon pose new, extinction-level risks to our species as a whole. Such dangers have been suggested from progress in artificial intelligence, from developments in biotechnology and artificial life, from nanotechnology, and from possible extreme effects of anthropogenic climate change. The seriousness of these risks is difficult to assess, but that in itself seems a cause for concern, given how much is at stake.”

Science fiction author Issac Asimov’s first Law of Robotics states: “A robot may not harm humanity, or, by inaction, allow humanity to come to harm.” Forget that; we already have killer drones that are remotely controlled. And they could eventually become autonomous hunter-predators with the rise of artificial intelligence. One military has a robot that can run up to 18 miles per hour. Robot foot soldiers seem inevitable, in a page straight out of “Terminator.”

NEWS: The Case Against Robots With License to Kill

Terminator307ww8

By 2030, the computer brains inside such machines will be a million times more powerful than today’s microprocessors. At what threshold will super-intelligent machines see humans as an annoyance, or as a competitor for resources?

British mathematician Irving John Good wrote a paper in 1965 that predicted that robots will be the “last invention” that humans will ever make. “Let an ultraintelligent machine be defined as a machine that can far surpass all the intellectual activities of any man however clever. Since the design of machines is one of these intellectual activities, an ultraintelligent machine could design even better machines; there would then unquestionably be an ‘intelligence explosion,’ and the intelligence of man would be left far behind.”

Good, by the way, consulted on the film “2001” and so we might think of him as father of the film’s maniacal supercomputer, HAL.

In 2000, Bill Joy, the co-founder and chief scientist of Sun Microsystems, wrote, “Enormous transformative power is being unleashed. These advances open up the possibility to completely redesign the world, for better or worse for the first time, knowledge and ingenuity can be very destructive weapons.”

Hans Moravec, director of the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania put it more bluntly: “Robots will eventually succeed us: humans clearly face extinction.”

NEWS: New Robotic Fleet Would Support Space Missions

Ultimately, the new Cambridge study may offer our best solution to the Fermi Paradox: Why hasn’t Earth already been visited by intelligent beings from the stars?

If, on a grand cosmic evolutionary scale, artificial intelligence inevitably supersedes its flesh and blood builders it could be an inevitable biological phase transition for technological civilizations.

This idea of the human condition being transitional was reflected in the writings of Existentialist Friedrich Nietzsche: “Man is a rope, tied between beast and overman–a rope over an abyss. What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not an end, …”

Because the conquest by machines might happen in less than two centuries of technological evolution, the consequences would be that there’s nobody out there for us to talk to.

Ray Villard isn’t the only person to espouse this theory. Seth Shostak of SETI fame is a supporter of this meme as well.

As for myself, I see much creedance to the story because it seems like a natural progression of intelligent life and an artificial life form could be engineered to be immortal, which could be essential if a civilization is to progress to a Kardashev 2 culture.

Of course this is only a theory, there is no evidence supporting this claim.

Just as there is no “evidence” supporting the alien UFO claim.

Do Robots Rule the Galaxy?

Hat tip to STARpod.US.

Interstellar Red Rain

Red Rain is a phenomenon that seems to be rare and has strange properties. Many papers have been written and this one in 2001 by Rajkumar Gangappa, Chandra Wickramasinghe, Milton Wainwright, A. Santhosh Kumar and Godfrey Louis theorize that Red Rain cells when nurtured and incubated actually start to grow.
This is interesting since they also theorize that Red Rain has an interstellar origin:
Following incubation at 121oC for 1 hour and longer, a marked change occurs in the internal appearance of the Red Rain cells (Fig.4 c (i) and d (i)), as small cells appear in the original larger cells. These small cells can be regarded as “daughter cells” having the same morphology as their “mother cells”. The size of the daughter cells ,after 1h exposure to 121oC, ranges from 30 nm to 120 nm in size (Fig 4 c (i), (ii) and b (i), (ii)). The cell wall of these daughter cells is seen to thicken following incubation for 2hours (Fig.5 (i) and (ii)).
In conclusion, the results of the present study clearly establishes that red cells discovered in the Kerala rain, replicate at 121oC and that there is a significant increase in the number of cells after incubation at 121oC. Furthermore, optical microscopy and electron microscopy of post-incubated red cells confirms that these cells are hyperthermophiles. The formation of daughter cells having the same morphology as the mother cells clearly shows that Red Rain Cells are not single endospores, such as those seen in bacteria, such as species of Bacillus and Clostridium.
The optimum growth conditions and upper temperature limit of these cells is yet to be determined. Although autoclaving at 121oC for 20 mins kills most microorganims, some spores of Bacillus and Clsotridium species can resist this treatment and germinate to form vegetative cells when incubated at lower temperatures (Hyum et al,1983,Vessoni,et al.1996). Here, however, we have shown that, unlike heat resistant bacterial spores, Red Rain cells grow and produce daughter calls when incubated at 121oC for 2 hours. The results of these experiments show the remarkable ability of Red Rain cells to grow and replicate at 121oC and thereby supports the hyperthermostability of red cells, as reported by Louis and Kumar (2003); no attempt however, was made to confirm their claims that Red Rain cells grow at 300oC.
The origin of Red Rain, and the cells that it contains, has yet to be discovered, although the results of this study suggest that, since such cells are adapted to growth and reproduction at high temperatures, they likely originate in an extreme environment which is at times exposed to high temperatures; whether such environments occur on Earth, or elsewhere, has yet to be determined. (Emphasis mine).
[…]
While the origin of the red rain cells remains uncertain, the possibility of their astronomical relevance has been suggested in several papers (Louis and Kumar, 2003, 2006). In this connection, the hyperthermophile properties discussed in the present paper and the unusual fluorescence behaviour are worthy of note.
We conclude this section by comparing spectra in Fig 7 with astronomical spectra of a fluorescnence phenomenon (ERE emission) for which no convincing abiotic model is still available, Fig 9 shows normalised ERE emission in several astronomical objects and Fig 10 shows the same emission in the famous Red Rectangle, a nebulosity associated with a planetary nebula (Witt and Boronson, 1990; Furton and Witt, 1992, Perrin et al, 1995, Hoyle and Wickramsinghe, 1996). Although non-biological PAH explanations are still being attempted their success has so far been minimal.
[…]
A spectrum of starlight from a blue star could provide the range of excitaton wavelengths that corresponds to those involved in Fig. [7]. The correspondence of profile and peak fluorescence wavelength between the red rain spectra and the ERE spectrum of the red rectangle is impressive. We conclude this paper with a recollection of an earlier comment published by Hoyle and Wickramasinghe:
“Once again the Universe gives the appearance of being biologically constructed, and on this occasion on a truly vast scale. Once again those who consider such thoughts to be too outlandish to be taken seriously will continue to do so. While we ourselves shall continue to take the view that those who believe they can match the complexities of the Universe by simple experiments in their laboratories will continue to be disappointed.” (Emphasis mine).
Very interesting indeed. Red cells from interstellar space that resemble red blood cells ?
Do we live in a biological Universe where Panspermia runs wild?
Or are we reading the signs wrong?



Did India Discover Lunar Life?

The discovery by NASA of water at the Lunar South via the LCROSS Mission was a pleasant surprise by the agency and the scientific community in general and has recently prompted serious discussions of further lunar exploration in the future, because water can be used for various things by a human base there like drinking, bathing, fuel production and for regolith cement for housing.

One has never considered that these rare pools of water could contain organic materials, i.e., life.

But Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) scientists have analyzed 2008 information from their now dead Chandrayaan-1 lunar probe and discovered organic compounds on the moon’s surface:

Scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) are on the brink of a path-breaking discovery. They may have found signs of life in some form or the other on the Moon.

They believe so because scientific instruments on India’s first unmanned lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1, picked up signatures of organic matter on parts of the Moon’s surface, Surendra Pal, associate director, Isro Satellite Centre (Isac), said at the international radar symposium here on Friday.

Organic matter consists of organic compounds, which consists of carbon — the building block of life.

It indicates the formation of life or decay of a once-living matter.

Pal said the signatures were relayed back to the Bylalu deep space network station near Bangalore by the mass spectrometer on board the Indian payload, the moon impact probe (MIP), on November 14, 2008.

The relay of data happened moments before it crashed near the Moon’s south pole. The MIP was the first experiment of the Chandrayaan-1 mission, which was launched on October 22, 2008.

Pal, however, did not elaborate, but concluded saying “the findings are being analysed and scrutinised for validation by Isro scientists and peer reviewers”.

“It is too early to say anything,” said the director of Isro’s space physics laboratory R Sridharan, who is heading the team of MIP data analysis and study. He, however, did not deny the finding.

DNA later inquired with other senior Chandrayaan-1 mission scientists, who not only confirmed the finding, but gave further details.

“Certain atomic numbers were observed that indicated the presence of carbon components. This indicates the possibility of the presence of organic matter (on the Moon),” a senior scientist told DNA.

Interestingly, similar observations were made by the US’s first manned Moon landing mission, the Apollo-11, in July 1969, which brought lunar soil samples back to Earth. But due to a lack of sophisticated equipment then, the scientists could not confirm the finding.

However, traces of amino acids, which are basic to life, were found in the soil retrieved by the Apollo-11 astronauts.

The Chandrayaan-1 scientists, at present, are analysing the source of origin of the Moon’s organic matter. “It could be comets or meteorites which have deposited the matter on the Moon’s surface; or the instrument that landed on the Moon could have left traces,” a senior space scientist said.

“But the presence of large sheets of ice in the polar regions of the Moon, and the discovery of water molecules there, lend credence to the possibility of organic matter there,” he said.

This is an important discovery and only deepens the mysteries surrounding the Moon.

It has been said that it would be easier exploring Mars, since it acts like it supposed to (like a planet).

The Moon however, doesn’t act like a Moon should.

It acts like a huge spaceship.

Well, that’s a theory to some.

And finding possible life on a supposedly ‘airless’ surface is one in a long line of anomalous characteristics about our nearest celestial neighbor.

Indian scientists detect signs of life on Moon

hat tip

The Hundred Paths of Transhumanism

What is Transhumanism?

The term itself has many definitions, depending on who you ask.

The stock meaning is that transhumanism is a step toward being ‘posthuman’, and that term is subject to many iterations also.

One definition of  being transhuman is using advanced technology to increase or preserve the quality of life of an individual. And that is the interpretation I use for myself , of which I have mentioned many times on this blog (I’ve made no secret of my heart condition).

That is just one interpretation however. According to Michael Garfield, transhumanism has many meanings:

Mention the word “transhumanism” to most of my friends, and they will assume you mean uploading people into a computer. Transcendence typically connotes an escape from the trappings of this world — from the frailty of our bodies, the evolutionary wiring of our primate psychologies, and our necessary adherence to physical law.

However, the more I learn about the creative flux of our universe, the more the evolutionary process appears to be not about withdrawal, but engagement — not escape, but embrace — not arriving at a final solution, but opening the scope of our questions. Any valid map of history is fractal — ever more complex, always shifting to expose unexplored terrain.

This is why I find it is laughable when we try to arrive at a common vision of the future. For the most part, we still operate on “either/or” software, but we live in a “both/and” universe that seems willing to try anything at least once. “Transhuman” and “posthuman” are less specific classifications than catch-alls for whatever we deem beyond what we are now … and that is a lot.

So when I am in the mood for some armchair futurism, I like to remember the old Chinese adage: “Let a hundred flowers bloom.” Why do we think it will be one way or the other? The future arrives by many roads. Courtesy of some of science fiction’s finest speculative minds, here are a few of my favorites:

By Elective Surgery & Genetic Engineering
In Greg Egan’s novel Distress, a journalist surveying the gray areas of bioethics interviews an elective autistic — a man who opted to have regions of his brain removed in order to tune out of the emotional spectrum and into the deep synesthetic-associative brilliance of savants. Certainly, most people consider choice a core trait of humanity… but when a person chooses to remove that which many consider indispensable human hardware, is he now more “pre-” than “post-?” Even today, we augment ourselves with artificial limbs and organs (while hastily amputating entire regions of a complex and poorly-understood bio-electric system); and extend our senses and memories with distributed electronic networks (thus increasing our dependence on external infrastructure for what many scientists argue are universal, if mysterious, capacities of “wild-type” Homo sapiens). It all raises the question: are our modifications rendering us more or less than human? Or will this distinction lose its meaning, in a world that challenges our ability to define what “human” even means?

Just a few pages later in Distress, the billionaire owner of a global biotech firm replaces all of his nucleotides with synthetic base pairs as a defense against all known pathogens. Looks human, smells human…but he has spliced himself out of the Kingdom Animalia entirely, forming an unprecedented genetic lineage.

In both cases, we seem bound to shuffle sideways — six of one, half a dozen of the other.

By Involutionary Implosion
In the 1980s, Greg Bear explored an early version of “computronium” — matter optimized for information-processing — in Blood Music, the story of a biologist who hacks individual human lymphocytes to compute as fast as an entire brain. When he becomes contaminated by the experiment, his own body transforms into a city of sentient beings, each as smart as himself. Eventually, they download his whole self into one of their own — paradoxically running a copy of the entire organism on one of its constituent parts. From there things only get stranger, as the lymphocytes turn to investigate levels of reality too small for macro-humans to observe.

Scenarios such as this are natural extrapolations of Moore’s Law, that now-famous bit about computers regularly halving in size and price. And Moore’s Law is just one example of a larger evolutionary trend: for example, functions once distributed between every member of primitive tribes (the regulatory processes of the social ego, or the formation of a moral code) are now typically internalized and processed by every adult in the modern city. Just as we now recognize the Greek Gods as embodied archetypes correlated with neural subroutines, the redistributive gathering of intelligence from environment to “individual” seems likely to transform the body into a much smarter three cubic feet of flesh than the one we are accustomed to.

Greg Egan is the consumate trans/posthuman author and I have been a reader and fan of his for ten years. He is stunningly accurate and it amazes me how fertile his imagination must be.

Could he be getting quantum information from the future?

And I think I’ve read almost all of Greg Bear’s work over the past twenty years, including his Foundation works. His nanotech fiction is astonishingly prescient. Is he tapping into the quantum information highway too?

Like the author of this post speculates, maybe it’s just a few of the hundred flowers of the future.

Let A Hundred Futures Bloom: A “Both/And” Survey Of Transhumanist Speculation

Source

The Clouds of Barsoom*

*Barsoom – A fictional representation of the planet Mars created by American pulp fiction author Edgar Rice Burroughs .

From J.P. Skipper’s Mars Anomaly Research site:

When you see some of the images below with the Mars atmosphere a little more prominent and accurately represented, stop and think a minute. When you’re looking at them, note that you will be thinking more about the obscuring atmosphere rather than just the geological terrain alone. That is the point. As a thing is minimized in visual perception, it is also minimized in psychological awareness. This is how subtle manipulation is done.

The trouble is that showing various global views of a more real looking Mars with its high sunlight reflective atmospheric haze would mean less perception of the planet’s geological surface as well as the dry as dust scenario and more perception of the planet having a very real atmosphere that actually includes significant water vapor. Remember that obscuring atmospheric sunlight reflective haze means concentrations of water vapor either in liquid or solid particulate ice form. Just remember that sunlight reflects off of that water presence as a white color defining general water vapor as a haze or in greater concentrations as clouds.

With that thought in mind, take a look at the next two images. I had to make the first one large enough so that you could adequately read the text credits at the bottom of it and that meant that I had to make the second one equally as large for more direct comparison purposes.

03-162-1995-original-tan.Mars

04-162-1995-changed-to-red.Mars

 

The question of just how “Earth-like” Mars may, or may not be has been a huge argument between official mainstream scientists and independent researchers since 1877 when Schiaparelli mistakenly spied canali or channels on the surface, spawning many tales for generations of evil invaders, princesses, ancient civilizations and other myriad images that ended up being pareidolia .

Now, to be fair to the mainstreamers, the main fly in their ointment, Richard C. Hoagland (Face on Mars), has over the years has started to be more New Age with his and Mike Bara’s “Dark Mission: The Secret History of NASA” and has tarnished his image with pushing book sales instead of research for researchs’ sake (a guy’s gotta eat I suppose), but their hue and cry of “conspiracy nutcases” , outright denials, obfuscations and the most damning probably, silence, has made NASA, JPL and other mainstream organizations’ credibility almost lacking as people such as Hoagland.

Now am I saying that Mars is Earth-like? No.

But I’m willing to consider that Mars isn’t as deadly to related (Terran) forms of biology as the mainstream purports it to be and that it might have a more advanced biosphere than is being let on.

To make a point, the 1960 Brookings Report is a little known study conducted during the late 1950s concerning “what would happen if humans made contact with a more advanced civilization?”

It wasn’t favorable to say the least.

So what do you do to mitigate the culture shock?

You slooowly insert the meme of non-earth life, starting with the primitive life, into the mainstream culture.

Do I have proof that’s what NASA’s doing? No. And despite his and Bara’s book, they should’ve taken a lesson from the Brookings Report they wanted to expose and left out the occult stuff, even if it might have been true. They would’ve sounded credible and gained more supporters from the mainstream, if that was their aim to begin with, which I don’t think it was.

As far as I can see, Skipper doesn’t have a literary axe to grind (he does claim to be working on a book) and is more open to give out his information for free than the aforementioned folks. He seems to just want people to question what they’re told and do some digging on their own.

Maybe eventually we’ll get past the Brookings Report attitude pervading our so-called “leadership.”

Mars Global Evidence: Report #162

Hat Tip

Great Balls of Fire, more Cryptoterrestrials and the Threshold of SETA

What looked like a fireball streaked across the Texas sky on Sunday morning, leading many people to call authorities to report seeing falling debris.

“We don’t know what it was,” said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Roland Herwig.

The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office used a helicopter to search after callers said they thought they saw a plane crashing, a spokesman said.

“We don’t doubt what people saw” but authorities found nothing, said spokesman John Foster.

There’s speculation the event might be tied to the recent Russian/American satellite collision.

The military denies it of course.

Mystery fireball streaks across Texas sky

Military denies link to ‘fireball’ reports, satellite collision

Hat tip to The Anomalist

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Here’s one for you Mac Tonnies ‘cryptoterrestrial’ supporters out there:

Davies will challenge the orthodox view that there is only one form of life in a lecture titled “Shadow Life: Life As We Don’t Yet Know It” on Feb. 15 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His presentation is part of the symposium “Weird Life.”

“Life as we know it appears to have had a single common ancestor, yet, could life on Earth have started many times? Might it exist on Earth today in extreme environments and remain undetected because our techniques are customized to the biochemistry of known life?” asks Davies, who also is the director of the BEYOND Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science at Arizona State University in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

It begs the question of how many catastrophes has occurred to the Earth over the billions of years and how other planets in different solar systems form and develop their own biologies, if any.

Cosmologist Explores Notion of ‘Alien’ Life On Earth

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In the fall of 2005, the TV show “Threshold” was broadcast on CBS. It was a contemporary time, sci-fi show like “Stargate SG1” (meaning the time is the present, not the future) that posited an alien invasion from space (or the future possibly). In the premier episode, an alien “probe”, which was simultaneouly existing in multiple dimensions, appeared over a Navy research ship and broadcasted a signal that killed most of the crew, but the survivors’ DNA was altered in such a way as to describe them as “alien.”

The show only lasted 9 episodes on network TV, then the show’s entire 13 episodes were shown on the Sci-Fi channel in 2006. It was released on DVD about then too.

The reason I’m mentioning this is because I happened to rent the whole series at a local video store over the weekend and after watching it I was amazed at the good quality of it! The last few shows were showing signs of drifting away from the premise, but overall, I thought the series was good and that it died a premature death.

The science was cutting edge, with multiple dimension theory and using automated, artificial intelligent probes to carry encoded copies of the invader’s DNA to convert (subvert?) the indigenous population’s, modeling methods that we might carry out on interstellar colonizations (invasions?).

Alas, as always on network TV, if one doesn’t capture the all important 18-39 year-old demographic within two weeks, a show dies an ignoble death.

Especially if it’s sci-fi.

Threshold at Episodeworld.com

The Search For Extraterrestrial Artifacts (SETA)

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Kentroversy Tapes: Interview with Michael Tsarion

In my ongoing commemoration and celebration of the life of esoteric researcher Kent Daniel Bentkowski ( Kentroversy ) who passed July 30, 2008 by posting some of his past podcasts with some of the big names in the field, none come much bigger than Michael Tsarion.

His research on ancient cultures, the Nephilim, UFOs, symbology, secret societies and their use by the NWO is second to none, except maybe Jordan Maxwell.

So enjoy this Kentroversy Tapes podcast Kent made with Michael on March 2005. The podcast itself was posted by Kent on June 25th, 2007.

Kentroversy Tapes # 05 – Michael Tsarion (June 25, 2007)

Venusian Floaters, more biology in sci-fi and Bigfoot over the fireplace mantle

Courtesy of Posthuman Blues:

Seemingly, people in the space community have a tendency to push the boundaries of thought about all the possibilities that await us in the universe. Case in point: Geoffrey Landis. Landis is a scientist at NASA’s Glenn Research Center who writes science fiction in his spare time. Last week Landis shared with us his ideas for using a solar powered airplane to study Venus.Venus. Yes, Venus, our hot, greenhouse-effect-gone-mad neighboring planet with a crushing surface pressure that has doomed the few spacecraft that have attempted to reach the planet’s mysterious landscape. Landis knows Venus’ surface itself is pretty much out of the question for human habitation. But up about 50 kilometers above the surface, Landis says the atmosphere of Venus is the most Earth-like environment, other than Earth itself, in the solar system. What Landis proposes is creating floating cities on Venus where people could live and work, as well as study the planet below.

Ahh, cities in the sky, long a dream of many a science-fiction author. This is the first time I’ve seen it applied to Venus though.

Colonizing Venus With Floating Cities

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Blogging biologist Peggy of Biology in Science Fiction goes on a small rant about stories that help, and hinder understanding of real biology:

In any case, the issue of public perception of science and scientists is an important one, if only because that public perception influences politics and funding. Part of the problem, as I see it, is that the anti-science stories actually ring true to many people who have a deep distrust (and dislike) of corporations, the government, and anyone who is an “expert”. It can be satisfying to see arrogant establishment types who believe themselves to be very clever shown up as bumbling and foolish, even if it does mean death and disaster as a result. Hell, I often enjoy those kind of stories, and I like science.

So what’s the solution? More positive SF? That certainly couldn’t hurt. But there’s no guarantee that any particular novel or movie will become popular enough to really make a difference in public perception. I suspect that education is really the key. Part of what feeds people’s fear of scientific progress is that they don’t understand it. I’m not sure how we can go about that, though, beyond ensuring kids get a thorough science education in school. Public lectures are a possibility, as are entertaining exhibitions at science museums, and maybe blogs too. I’d like to think that anyway.

I’m guilty of being ignorant of biology in science, and science-fiction. My last exposure to it was college long ago (my grade was pretty good actually) and my own biases of being a tech and historian.

Peggy makes valid points. I should read up on it more.

(The post referenced doesn’t have its own link. Click on the link at the beginning of this one, then scroll down at her site.)

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Ever heard of the eBay $150,000 Bigfoot hunter? Neither have I, but apparently this guy is for real:

The eBay Bigfoot hunter has been identified. The $150,000 man first discussed at Boing Boing yesterday can be more fully revealed here today.

TPeterson6969 is Tim Peterson, the owner of Hawk Creek Taxidermy in Maynard, Minnesota. The business address of Hawk Creek Taxidermy & Archery is technically 12640 890 St. Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55401 , a mere 25.4 miles from Young America…

[…]

When asked for a comment for an interview, Tim Peterson briefly told me that he is a “big game hunting guide” for A Double J Outfitters in Buffalo, Wyoming. He claims to “have been hunting big game for 34 years” and is “experienced in the back country.”

If Tim Peterson helps you bag a Bigfoot, it is obvious he can mount it for you. He can also help you with the skull too. According to the links on his taxidermy website, it appears a relative of his, Rorri Peterson, runs Beetle My Bones Skullworks, a business preparing heads for trophy animal skulls displays.

Well, you hafta admit that a hunter/taxidermist would be the ideal person to track and bag a Bigfoot, that would settle it once and for all about the damn things.

I wonder what Peggy the Biologist thinks about Bigfoot?

eBay’s $150,000 Bigfoot Hunter ID’d