Greetings, fellow Coppertops! Our journey aboard the Nebuchadnezzar continue this week, and we’ll not only travel to the farthest reaches of the planet, but beyond its atmosphere en route to the Moon. We’ll encounter orbiting anomalies & foul-mouthed A.I.s, ancient mariners & mythical cities of gold. And as we ponder on the nefarious intentions of rich tycoons bent on creating their own space stations, we will look into the ongoing controversy surrounding a piece of rock that fell from the heavens, which might unlock the secrets of life here on Earth. So get ready and do your best, and maybe after the mission’s over we’ll head to the Oracle’s apartment to grab some milk & cookies.
(10) As any seasoned explorer of the Fortean Matrix knows, any tragic or significant event can easily trigger any number of conspiracy theories. And although history will teach us time & again that conspiracies *do* happen, the truth is that behind most of the more controversial theories –and the Internet has become a primordial soup oozing an endless number of outré ideas– there’s the subliminal desire to try to make sense of things that don’t seem to make sense at all, along with a subjective projection of our personal fears & ideologies –tell me your favorite conspiracy theory, and I’ll tell YOU your political affiliation.
As evidence of this, consider a group of people claiming that the Sandy Hook shooting, who shook the small community of Newtown –and the world in general– did not happen(!). People like James Tracy, a college professor who’s turning into the spokesperson of this new collective, who insists the tragic murder of small children & school teachers at the hands of Adam Lanza was nothing but a hoax perpetrated by the Obama administration, in order to ban assault rifles & ultimately take all firearms from the hands of American citizens, so that a despotic NWO rule can be installed.
I will only say this, so we can move on to more interesting pills: we humans are always on the lookout of information that will reinforce our own bias, and filter said information through the lens of our own preconceptions. It makes me wonder whether true objectivity is attainable at all –though obviously THAT is a sign of my own subjective interpretations…
(9) Some people like to dig up through newspaper clips or online forums in search for The Truth, while others prefer to dig up the ole fashioned way –which can still render fantastic results. Just take a look at the discovery made by a group of Italian archeologists, who beneath an old wine cellar uncovered the first Etruscan pyramid ever found, in the city of Ovierto (central Italy). Temples? Tombs? Something entirely different? No-one can tell yet.
I’m sure that to someone like Dr. John Ward, whom I had a chance to befriend during the Paradigm Symposium, an Etruscan pyramid though interesting, wouldn’t be that remarkable since the pyramid is the most basic architectural construction one can come up with –basically piling up layers stones or bricks on top of a wider base. But I can’t stop thinking how maybe back in the old days a few dazzled individuals scattered all around the globe were playing with their food like Roy Neary…
Though I’m sure that Imhotep missus was much more supportive than Neary’s.
(8) Another thing we’re certain that our ancestors grokked to do, aside from pyramids, was to travel. And yet each year we keep on learning just how connected the ancient world truly was, even in places we’ve always considered as isolated –places like Australia.
A new genetic study is contradicting the long-held view that Aborigines were a completely isolated group prior to the arrival of Europeans. The study shows that 4000 years ago settlers from India traveled to the Australian continent and intermingled with the local settlers, and taught them their stone-making techniques ; and it also seems they brought along their canine pets, since dingos are closely related to Indian dogs too.
Sheila van Holst Pellekaan, a geneticist at the University of New South Wales, Australia, and a co-author of the earlier genome-wide study, welcomes the latest research, but warns that the finding is “definitely not representative of Australia,” because it only looked at people from the Northern Territories. She believes that the Aboriginals’ vast genetic diversity suggests that multiple waves of migration could have occurred, but that new genes would not always have dispersed through the pre-existing peoples.
Indeed, Australia seems to be the key to finding the way ancient mariners managed to colonize new frontiers –or maybe they were not mariners at all? Our friend Rex Gilroy will probably have more things to say re. the legends of the Silver Bird. Vimanas, anyone?
(7) Our forefathers crossed the oceans & the lands in search of adventure, but also in search of wealth. The Spanish Conquistadores risked it all, including their lives, for the promise of fabled treasures hidden deep in the untamed jungles of the New World. One of the most famous of these legends is the city of El Dorado, a place where the buildings & the roads were said to be made of solid gold.
But, as usual, myths are nothing but distortions of true events. And it turns out that El Dorado was not a place, but a person: the legends spawned from the traditions of the Muisca culture of Colombia, who held gold in high regard not for its monetary value, but as the perfect offering for their gods. Whenever a new ruler was selected, a sacred ceremony at lake Guatavita was celebrated which would culminate a long initiatory process. At the center of the lake there would be a raft where 4 high priests would sail accompanying the new ruler, who would be clothed with nothing but dust gold. The ‘golden one’ would then proceed to toss out jewels of gold & emeralds as votive offerings, while the gross of the population would wait at the shores of the lake and swear their allegiance to the new chief.
But, is that all? I would be careful to say there’s nothing more to the legends of El Dorado, as our satellite scans continue to pinpoint advance urban settlements that were later swallowed by the Amazonian rainforest, disputing the belief that organized civilizations were more common in temperate or even arid climates. And even among some esoteric circles there are still those claiming that deep in the jungle there are still large cities that are repositories of knowledge far beyond our own –cities like the mythical Paititi.
(6) The Muiscas treated their leaders as living gods, and although we ‘modern’ Westerners would like to make fun of the ancient traditions, the truth is we still treat some individuals as divine beings –only nowadays we call them ‘celebrities’ in order to keep appearances…
One of those select few, young sex symbol Megan Fox, has recently revealed on an interview to Esquire magazine his interest in fringe topics, and her belief in leprechauns, aliens & even Bigfoot:
“What distracts me from my reality is Bigfoot,” she said, bizarrely adding that fairy tale creatures “are my celebrities.”
Though it’s clear the intention of Fox News in highlighting Fox’s remarks —“oh look that the dumb broad and her woo woo beliefs”— I personally give her credit for going on the record to acknowledge her fascination with the Fortean realm. Granted, it’s obvious that it’s her more-than-evident physical attributes & not her acting talents –or lack thereof– the ones that granted her the chance to climb on a soap box & proclaim her interest on the things that go bump in the night; after all, if someone like Meryl Streep had gone on the record and said she believes in ghost & reincarnation the media would treat her with more respect –and she’ll probably win an award of some kind in the process.
But let’s be honest here: any person who prefers to read about UFOs & lake monsters instead of clubbing is OK in my book.
…Or maybe I’m just going easy on her because I’m secretly expecting her to be a reader of my Pills, in which case maybe someday I’d be invited to her mansion in order to have a nice chat about the paranormal 😉
(5) Since Megan Fox is interested in Cryptozoology, perhaps she’ll be thrilled to know that the Thylacine has been caught on video… maybe.
As reported by the Centre of Fortean Zoology in Australia, a video recorded on October of last year by Victorian researcher Murray McAllister using a trailcam, seems to show at least one of these officially extinct marsupials.
I confess that in my list of favorite crypto-creatures, the Thylacine is not one of them. Then again I’m aware of how important it is for a fair amount of folks in & out of Australia, who keep hoping that this animal has still managed to avoid complete extinction. If you’re among those folks then what do you think of this video?
(4) There’s one species whose possible extinction we are ALL pretty interested on –and that’s US. The rising of sentient machines bent on kicking the human race off the top of the pyramid is a concern shared by both Sci-Fi fans and a few serious technologists. Cold logic & lack of feelings has always been the typical portrayal of a hostile A.I., but what if Skynet turns out to be as foul-mouthed as a sailor too?
Salty language was the reason why IBM technicians decided to wipe out the hard drive of Watson, the heuristic system who attained notoriety after winning on Jeopardy in 2011. After they fed its memory banks with the contents of online’s Urban Dictionary, in hopes that Watson would learn to ‘speak’ more fluently. Turns out this was a f$#%ing bad idea!
Eric Brown, the IBM research scientist in charge of tutoring Watson, had taught the computer the Urban Dictionary in an effort to make his communications seem more natural, Fortune reported.
It was an attempt to give Watson the knowledge he needed to pass the so-called Turing test, which gauges whether a computer can really ‘think’ by whether it is capable of carrying on natural sounding small talk.
But while Watson hungrily scoffed as much knowledge as he was offered, Mr Brown, 45, found that that his microprocessor-based pupil had much more difficulty understanding the subleties of human communication.
It was after he started answering ‘bullsh*t’ back to human researchers that it was decided to pull the plug on attempts to teach Watson slang.
The programmers assumed that Watson didn’t manage to learn the nuances of the English language, but MY take is that the machine did attain true sentience, and concluded that all these tests were a tedious waste of time —“Stop bothering me with your bull$#!t, you Meatbag a$$hole!!”
I for one welcome our swearing overlords.
(3) Do aliens curse? Although I don’t know the answer to that question, what I do know is that amateur astronomers keep seeing strange anomalies on the Moon, and even near the International Space Station.
The official interpretation, voiced by veteran debunker James Oberg, is that these are nothing but reflections or space junk floating around the ISS. As for the lunar anomalies, people have observed strange phenomena on the Moon for centuries, but NASA keeps giving them mundane –er, selene?– explanations. I imagine that when commercial space flights begin in full, things are gonna get pretty interesting…
(2) In the near future a few privileged individuals will be able to spend their holidays orbiting our planet. And the man accommodating them is named Robert Bigelow.
Bigelow’s plans to create a space hotel are about to enter a new developmental stage, thanks to the aid of NASA & the ISS. Bigelow Aerospace –whose secondary company logo looks eerily familiar– already has two prototypes orbiting the Earth, but a third module christened the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) will be tested aboard the International Space Station, and is scheduled to launch in mid 2015.
Bigelow has invested about $250 million in inflatable habitation modules so far. It has preliminary agreements with seven non-U.S. space and research agencies in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Australia, Singapore, Japan, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates.
“The value to me personally and to our company is doing a project with NASA,” Robert Bigelow said. “This is our first opportunity to do that. We do have other ambitions.”
Those ‘other ambitions’ allegedly involve cooperation with non-human entities, according to Jesse Ventura’s TV show, which portrayed Bigelow as a XXIst century Howard Hughes obsessed with creating his inflatable space station as an escape plan for him and a select few, in preparation for a future alien invasion. Though I don’t personally share the sensationalistic opinions exposed in this program –what protection would a flimsy space balloon offer against an advanced alien race anyway?– I do have some concerns with the close ties Bigelow has with certain sensitive branches of the US government & the Military Industrial complex, along with his clear intention to hoard all important UFO information for his personal benefit.
(1) Not only would those space balloons provide little protection against a Reticulan phaser, they would probably be also too frail against a more logical threat: meteorites.
Our planet is continuously pelted with rocks from outer space. And although our atmosphere provides an excellent protection, some of those bolids do manage to impact the surface –and in doing so, they may have managed to carry a few stranded stowaways in the process.
Panspermia is the scientific theory proposed by Chandra Wickramasinghe & the late Sir Fred Hoyle, which posits that life exists throughout the universe and is spread across the planets through comets & meteors. This week, Wickramasinghe managed to make quite an impact –pardon the pun– with the announcement that a meteorite found in Sri Lanka contained evidence of fossilized diatoms of non-terrestrial origin. If confirmed, this would be one of the most important scientific discoveries of all time.
Already several skeptics have criticized Wickramasinghe’s claims, accusing him of being too subjective & of not carrying out his studies with the required level of rigurosity. The diatoms, they say, are proof of Terrestrial contamination & nothing more.
Wickramasinghe has since responded to the attacks, assuring that at least half a dozen of the fossilized specimens have not been able to be identified. And that the rock is without a doubt a meteor from outer space, instead of a common rock which was struck by lightning.
“If only ideas that are considered orthodox are given support through award of grants or publication opportunities, it is certain that the progress of science will be stifled as it was throughout the middle ages,” Wickramasinghe wrote to HuffPost.
Over the years similar stories have crop out from time to time. I still remember the excitement that NASA’s press conference involving the finding of the Martian meteorite AH84001 stirred, and the heated controversy that ensued. In the end, I believe that the scientific community will never accept any type of evidence of microscopical extraterrestrial life that was found in our own planet. Only if the discovery was made on Mars or elsewhere (like Jupiter’s moon Europa) will it be finally accepted, and ONLY after the finding was able to convince those who would attribute it to Earthly contamination prior to the mission’s launch. Hopefully after that people like Wickramasinghe will finally earn their place in the annals of history, alongside Copernicus & Galileo.
Until next time, this is RPJ jacking out. All right, we’ll head out to the Oracle’s joint –but remember: ALL the chocolate cookies are mine.