Greetings, fellow Coppertops! Our weekly sojourn to the very matrix of reality will show us ancient crimes and modern secrets, monstrous things both big and small —some small enough to burst out of your own chest!— and the light at the end of the rabbit tunnel might signal the dawn of a new era. So pay attention, and stop looking at the woman in the red dress.
(10) The last space shuttle is getting moth-balled at the Smithsonian as we speak, and while many Americans woe at their nation’s apparent loss of their foothold in the final frontier, they forget the fact that there’s always been two space programs: the public NASA-directed space program which has suffered numerous set-backs and cuts; and a secret space program maintained by the Military that doesn’t answer to the Congress, which is very much alive and doing well. Extremely well I should say, now that the USAF robotic X-37B space plane continues to break records with its nearly 430-day mission in orbit. The fact that the Air Force has kept mum about the mission objectives and capabilities of this mini-me unmanned version of the iconic shuttle has stirred all sorts of controversy and speculation: is it a spy drone or a weapons platform? And what has it been doing up there all these months exactly?
Whatever the case, the X-37B seems to be a clear example that all those wild rumors about the incredible capabilities of the secret space program —with the famous ARV and clandestine off-world bases at the extreme end of the spectrum— might still contain a teeny-weenie kernel of truth behind them. A kernel that keeps sucking billions of dollars from the US annual budget...
(9) Arthur C Clarke used to say dinosaurs became extinct because they didn’t develop a space program, but a new study suggests that the demise of the mighty lizards was brought up by their mighty farts. British scientists have calculated the methane output of sauropods (giant four-legged behemoths like the Brontosaurs) and estimate that the dino population as a whole produced 520 million tonnes of gas annually; and since methane is one of the most powerful green-house gases, this could have been a key factor in the warm climate of the late Jurassic 150 millions of years ago.
After recovering from that oh-so lovely picture of a Flatu-calypse in Earth’s ancient past, which might or might not have been worsened by the arrival of a big-ass incandescent space rock —like those Youtube clips we’ve all seen... times a trillion!— it occurs to me we should consider this valuable info next time we try to find the elusive Mokele Mbembe. Memo to all monster-hunters visiting the Congo Basin: stop asking the locals or showing them pictures, and just follow your nose.
(8) Farting dinos is a rather colorful image, but not nearly as colorful as the wondrous cave-art paintings in Chauvet, France; which have been confirmed to be the oldest & most elaborate known to-date with an age of about 32,000 years. For a long time scholars believed these dynamically vivid images of bear, rhinos, horses, lions and other fine examples of paleo-fauna could only be 12 to 17,000 years old at the most, because of their great level of sophistication; yet aside from previous radiocarbon dating evidence a new geological analysis has shown that an overhanging cliff began collapsing 29,000 years ago and did so repeatedly over time, definitively sealing the entrance to humans around 21,000 years ago. So once again our pre-conceptions about what the ‘primitive’ ancients were capable of doing come tumbling down like a pile of pebbles.
If time-travel becomes a reality some day in the distant future, then meeting the GENIUS —or group of geniuses— that painted this masterpiece should definitely become a priority mission.
(7) Then again, maybe they were so good at it because they had nowhere else to go? Scientists with NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory mission, a space-based telescope keeping tabs on our home star, have detected a massive solar structure mentioned as a "monster sunspot" in a recent Twitter announcement. "With at least four dark cores larger than Earth, AR 1476 sprawls more than 100,000 km from end to end, and makes an easy target for backyard solar telescopes," the website Spaceweather.com reported last Monday.
For me it’s impossible not to think of all the ancient legends which talk about how a large chunk of the human race took refuge deep underground due to a massive cataclysm long ago, like the Hopi oral tradition describing how they traveled below the Earth seeking shelter with the Ant people while fire rained down upon the world. Is history about to repeat itself?
(6) Monsters come in all shapes & sizes , and one who used to terrorize the streets of London during the Victorian era was the famous Jack the Ripper, with his bloody murders that kept Scotland Yard scratching their heads; or should that be ‘her’ bloody murders? A Birmingham writer’s new book, Jack the Ripper: The Hand of a Woman, has shocked historians by proposing Welsh-born Lizzie Williams as the Whitechapel monster, choosing women as victims out of spite for her own sterility.
Lizzie was wife of royal physician Sir John Williams, himself seen as a prime suspect by many other crime experts; another suspect was Sir William Gull, an eminent physician also along with heavy masonic connections, who was portrayed as the Ripper in Alan Moore’s graphic novel From Hell; but as the old saying goes, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” Jack or Jackie? the game’s still afoot methinks...
(5) Those dark London alleys were pretty insecure, but now it seems that many individuals can’t even find safety in the sanctity of their own homes, with thousands of people claiming to have suffered painful medical procedures at the mercy of non-human entities, after being removed from their bedrooms under the cover of night. Many skeptics have tried to propose different scenarios which would expound these bizarre anecdotes in purely mundane terms, ranging from plain hoaxes to repressed memories triggered by a sexual assault at an early age; the latest attempt is trying to explain abductions as lucid dreams, and that the surreal imagery of the dreams was fueled by Sci-Fi and other manifestations of pop culture, such as the classic TV program The Outer Limits.
I’m not really sure if little bug-eyed aliens are taking human beings from their homes to perform procedures that may or may not involve genetic experimentation, but frankly I find all these debunking exercises a bit frustrating and, well, annoying even! Sure, you can find plenty of imagery that resembles some of the elements of the archetypal abduction scenario —and even this is deceiving since there doesn’t seem to be something like a ‘typical’ abduction— in the pages of comic books or in the scenes of cheesy B-type movies; it would also be naive to assume that witnesses do not address a hypothetically fantastic experience from the perspective given by their own cultural bias. But there are several authors who think this chicken/egg pursuit is more complex than we realize, and ultimately pointless; like Jeffrey Kripal with his book Mutants & Mystics, in which he shows how Culture and the Anomalous cross-pollinate each other back and forth; and they will keep doing so as long as the Culture keeps churning out new methods of narrative expression.
We shouldn’t really be asking about the intentions and procedures of the aliens behind these events; what we should first be asking is this: “is there an external factor behind the triggering of these accounts?”, and “Is that factor sentient?”. After that the provenance of these factors and the state in which the contact with the abductees takes place might be easier to elucidate. Or not.
(4) Another fascinating mystery that has escalated to apocalyptic proportions is of course the coming end of the 13th Mayan baktun, which has many people in the western world fearing for the worst. But a recent find at the Xultún (Guatemala) archeological site of a 1,200-year-old room filled with wall paintings and astronomical markings will probably help some folks to breathe easier —and stop buying all that damn freeze-dried food from Alex Jones. Along with the richly detailed paintings depicting important figures identified as “Younger Brother Obsidian”, “Older Brother Obsidian”, some scribes and a Maya king seated and wearing an elaborate headdress —although not nearly as elaborate as this other ‘adornment’ IMO— rows of numbers an hieroglyphs denoted lunar cycles of 177 or 178 days, along with calculations related to the periods for Venus, Mercury and Mars. These wide scales of time suggest the Maya were expecting many more baktuns following the end of the 13th:
"It's very clear that the 2012 date, this end of 13 baktuns, while important, was turning the page," David Stuart, an expert on Maya hieroglyphs at the University of Texas at Austin, told reporters today. "Baktun 14 was going to be coming, and Baktun 15 and Baktun 16. ... The Maya calendar is going to keep going, and keep going for billions, trillions, octillions of years into the future."
Ok, so no end of all life as we know it, but I still think it’s interesting how the Maya considered the coming end of the long-count cycle as having a special significance. I also find interesting the name of the archeologist in charge of this recent finding: William Saturno, from Boston University. Playing a bit of Twilight language here, ‘Saturno’ means Saturn in Spanish; and as we all know Saturn is the name of the Titan that used to rule the Earth and devour his sons as soon as they came out from their mother’s womb, until one day he was defeated by Jupiter who then proceeded to found the Golden Age of the gods —things that make you go Hmmm...
(3) One of the few titans who helped Jupiter was none other than Prometheus, a name that has turned *extremely* popular this year thanks to the piling expectation for Riddley Scott’s upcoming movie. So far all the released trailers & bonus material, along with Scott’s personal disclosures in recent interviews, suggest that Prometheus will turn out to be much more than your usual Summer blockbuster, and it might just transform into the best campaign instrument UFOlogy in general —and the Ancient Alien theory in particular— has had in a very, VERY long time.
The latest evidence of this is a recent featurette in which Scott says:
"The planet where they go is called Zeta(2) Reticuli, and what they find there is an establishment that is not what they expected it to be,” adding, "this story kind of walks around the truth of what there may be out there... It presents some big questions."
Ok, granted: Mr. Scott’s astronomy knowledge is a bit subpar, and Zeta Reticuli is not actually a planet —nor a moon just off Io— but a binary star system 39-light-years away from Earth... but COME ON! Zeta ZOMG! Reticuli. I can already picture Stan Friedman with a beaming smile standing in front of the line in some Canadian movie theater ;)
(2) Alas, we’ll still have to wait a couple of weeks to watch the silver light of Zeta Reticuli projected on a cinema screen. But the light of a Super-Earth alien planet has already been detected for the first time thanks to NASA’s Spitzer space telescope. The planet, called 55 Cancri, is about twice as big and eight times as massive as Earth. And although the infra-red light emitted by the exo-planet shows it’s sun-facing side is way too hot to support life —at least, life as we know it— this is nevertheless a very exciting achievement, because it means that the day when we’ll finally detect a life-bearing world outside our solar system is getting nearer. And when that day comes, the news will be so huge and shocking it will drown out any other thing happening at that particular moment. A true paradigm shift, just like my buddy Micah likes it.
(1) Paradigm shifts can be brought about with the aid of advanced technology, or sometimes with far simpler means —like a bullet, for instance. Yes, I’m talking about our favorite hirsute wanderer the Bigfoot, and that endless Byzantine discussion among crypto-fans: To shoot or not to shoot.
And now it seems the moral dilemma has been somewhat eased for would-be Sasquatch hunters, if they happen to live in Texas, that is. Oregonian Squatcher John Lloyd Scharf recently contacted the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department inquiring about the possibility of hunting unknown creatures. He received a somewhat dry response from Chief of staff Lt. David. Sinclair, who focused not on the possible existence of the mythic cryptid, but rather on precisely how the government would label it:
“An exotic animal is an animal that is non-indigenous to Texas. Unless the exotic is an endangered species, then exotics may be hunted on private property with landowner consent.”
As far as the law is concerned therefore, if Bigfoot is Texan it can be killed.
But put the safety on for just a minute: what if Bigfoot is a migratory species that travels not only across different states, but maybe even across different sovereign nations? If Bigfoot was to receive protection as an endangered species in Canada, wouldn’t that trigger a nasty diplomatic debate?
Besides, this rationale that you need to kill an animal in order to protect it seems a bit odd and, well... primitive. Although I concede snatching a body might be the only think that would erase the mischievous smirk from another type of bipedal specimen that also happens to dwell in the Texas territory—one with a penchant for The Ramones :P
Until next time, this is RPJ jacking out & reminding each and everyone: no matter how long they keep telling you, Ignorance is NOT bliss.