Greetings, fellow Coppertops! In this week’s gathering of the most interesting or unusual stories in the Fortean Matrix, we’ll study how Winnie Pooh is making your kids as stupid as he is; speaking of stupidity, we’ll also take a look at Rick Dyer’s admittance that he is indeed the #1 Bigfoot hoaxer in the world. After that, we’ll try to bore a hole inside Enceladus’ icy crust, in search of possible aquatic life forms. And after we celebrate the UN’s decision to ban whaling ‘for science’, we’ll try to elucidate whether or not Bill Clinton knows where they keep the frozen aliens inside Area 51. If you still had any doubts that the Matrix is a system designed to fool humans, you just have to look at the most pernicious form of truth manipulation ever conceived: The Daylight Saving Time! Why do you have to rob me of 1 hour of my precious sleep, you dirty machines??!
Are you a parent, dear reader? And if so, do you often read to your little Coppertop tales filled with talking animals who wear clothes & behave like humans? If the answer is ‘yes’ then assistant professor Patricia Ganea is concerned that you are making your precious offspring dumber! The results of a study she & her team conducted, concluded that anthropomorphic animals affect children’s learning by conveying an unrealistic portrait of Nature.
“Books that portray animals realistically lead to more learning and more accurate biological understanding. We were surprised to find that even the older children in our study were sensitive to the anthropocentric portrayals of animals in the books.”
Wait a minute! Isn’t this a tad melodramatic, though? After all, Winnie the Pooh is not supposed to be a factual tale of how bears, rabbits, tigers & droopy mules behave! –least of all because they’re all stuffed toys animated by Christopher Robins’ schyzo… um, I mean, vivid imagination– Western culture has a long tradition of using animals as characters in order to teach valuable moral lessons –wot, are we also gonna blame Aesop for the death of Timothy Treadwell, too?– not to mention the many non-Western cultures which also use animals in their myths to illustrate human traits; “cunning as a fox” is as widespread as foxes in the ecosystem.
My opinion is that Mickey Mouse or Pooh are not the real problem. The real problem is that our urbanized children are growing more detached from nature, and the only knowledge they have of real animals come from books or Animal Planet. If you want to expand the world of your kids, my advise is to supplement those Babar books with regular visits to the zoo, your relatives’ farm or a trip to a national park.
Bottomline, stop blaming things on Disney characters, dammit! I spent my whole childhood watching Jungle Book & many other wonderful movies with anthropomorphic characters, and I turned out perfectly fine –now where did I leave my bottle of Tequila? darn mice must have stolen it as usual…
But on the slim chance that watching talking animals makes you stupider, then Rick Dyer would hope you own the entire Disney Platinum collection! Last time we mentioned our hapless hero –& by ‘hero’ I mean ‘slimy scumbag’– he was about to embark in a ‘world tour’ in order to con gullible folks out of their hard-earned cash, with his Bigfoot hustling hoax named Hank.
Well, it seems the tour took a (not so) unexpected turn: Our friends of Who Forted? reported that Dyer is announcing an end to his Barnum days; what’s more, he’s publicly admitted to that which everybody with 2 functioning neurons knew all along —that Hank is nothing but a rubber doll.
You can head over to Greg Newkirk’s site to read the statement in its entirety –if you can stand the abhorrent grammar & spelling errors, that is– & if you do you’ll learn that even though Dyer is admitting all his crew members were into the scam, that he nonetheless DID shoot a Bigfoot & has the body stored somewhere; and if you believe that, I’m sure he’s willing to offer you the deal of a lifetime by selling you the Point Pleasant Silver bridge, Mothman & all!
When I was interviewed on The Paracast, Chris O’Brien said that in his opinion it was hoaxers like Rick Dyer the ones that hurt the Fortean field the most, but I still disagree with that assertion. I think über-skeptics are much more hurtful, for unjustifiably lumping EVERYONE inside the Cryptozoology community with the likes of Dyer; I also think the people who are interested in the Paranormal are more than capable to police themselves and spot the fakers & the liars without the debunkers’ supervision. We knew Dyer was full of it from the get-go, and we didn’t need Ben Radford or Sharon Hill to remind us of it.
Will we confirm the existence of Bigfoot within our lifetimes? Sometimes I think confirmation of extra-terrestrial life is more likely to come first, and the more we learn about our own solar system, the more suitable candidates for habitable spots we can find.
The new gravity measures gathered by the Cassini spacecraft on Enceladus, has confirmed what was already hypothesized since the NASA probe photographed big plumes of water vapor spewing out of the surface of Saturn’s moon in 2005: There is a subsurface ocean beneath the ice the size of Lake Superior.
“For the first time, we have used a geophysical method to determine the internal structure of Enceladus, and the data suggest that indeed there is a large, possibly regional ocean about 50 kilometers below the surface of the south pole,” says David Stevenson from Caltech, a coauthor on a paper on the finding, published in the current issue of the journal Science. “This then provides one possible story to explain why water is gushing out of these fractures we see at the south pole.”
If there is water, is there life then? Though excited by the recent confirmation, most astrobiologists are not ready to jump to that conclusion. Liquid water is an imperative for the emergence of organic life as we know it, but that is not the only ingredient; life also needs energy sources & temperature gradients to promote the combination of complex chemical reactions, and the absence of solar light inside Enceladus’s ocean would mean that thermal vents or inner volcanoes would be needed in order to ‘stir the primordial soup’ as it were.
Still, it’s a very exciting news, and perhaps within the next decades plans to make a more in-depth study of this remote region of our solar system will be undertaken. At the very least, having a supply of water could make Enceladus a vita asset in our future plans to expand our footprint outside the confines of our home planet.
Remember the movie Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home? It was released in 1986, and it showed the crew of the Enterprise traveling back in time to the XXth century, in search of a species which had gone utterly extinct in their age: Whales.
1986 was also the year in which Japan, a country with a long tradition of whale hunt, found a legal loophole to the moratorium enacted by the International Whaling Commision: All they needed to do was claiming they were slaughtering cetaceans for ‘scientific purposes’ & they could keep doing business as usual –the fact that the meat of their ‘specimens’ ended up at Tokyo’s marketplaces was merely circumstantial.
Well, enough is enough: The International Court of Justice has finally decided to grow a pair and has prohibited Japan from keep killing whales under the guise of scientific research. As a result, the Japanese fleet is returning from the Antarctic & Tokyo has announced the cancelling of the next annual hunt later this year.
This is great news for environmental organizations, but is it enough? This year Sea World is preparing its 50th anniversary celebration, amid the controversy spurred by the documentary Blackfish & a bill proposal to ban spectacles employing whales in the state of San Diego. Keeping intelligent beings locked up in a tiny tank might be just as bad as hunting them to extinction.
The Kyoto protocol was established in 1997, during the Clinton administration, and the United States decided not to sign it. Clinton also saw the establishment of NAFTA, which resulted in a widening economic disparity between the rich & the poor in this continent; and despite all the problems he faced, the 42nd. president is still viewed as one of the greatest leaders the US had in the XXth century –the performance of his successors might have something to do with his current panache…
In a recent appearance on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’, the former president was willing to answer a question most political figures would instantly shun away from: the possibility that the United States might have in their possession evidence of extraterrestrial life:
Oh, isn’t it nice that Mr. Clinton is so down with Disclosure, that he would’ve brought all the secret info about UFOs & aliens to the public faster than what it takes to light up a cigar inside the oval office?
Yet this isn’t the 1st. time he has publicly talked about the subject –and he DOES seemed to be somewhat obsessed with Independence Day!– and in this other interview he concedes the possibility that, if there is indeed some secret kept by the United States government concerning extraterrestrial life, it could be a secret that is not shared with elected officials like he was, who would only be living at the White House for 4 or 8 years at the most:
This is a topic UFO researcher Grant Cameron has investigated at length, and in his website Presidential UFOs he has this quote of what Clinton responded to senior White House reporter Sarah McClendon, when she asked him why he wasn’t doing anything about UFO disclosure:
“Sarah, there’s a government inside the government, and I don’t control it.”
I hardly think things will change much if his wife ever gets into the White House.
Until next times, this is RPJ jacking out. Remember that the biggest threat our species is facing, is our willingness to see ‘the other’ as alien.