Greetings, fellow Coppertops! This week's training session will involve celestial dynamics and quantum interferences, science-fiction projects and apocalyptic news; and as we try to ascertain the intentions of our cosmic neighbors, we'll have to sort out the rules to play in our own backyard. So sit down and try to relax --This will feel... a little weird.
(10) Before we begin our sparring session we'll need to prepare for a once-in-a-lifetime event occurring next week: the transit of Venus across the face of our sun on June 5-6. Although not a particularly rare celestial event, since the next transit will not happen until 2117, a whole battalion of astronomers are getting ready to make the most of it, and that's because Venus will make for an excellent opportunity to test and refine their exo-planet seeking techniques.
"During next month's transit, astronomers will have the chance to test these techniques and add to the data collected during only six previous Venus transits observed since the invention of the telescope in the early 1600s," according to a European Space Agency statement.
Venus, as some of you might know, was associated by the great Mesoamerican cultures with Quetzalcóatl/Kukulcán, the divine teacher who brought the basis of civilization to men --not unlike the Greek titan Prometheus I might add. And isn't interesting that in the year the collective imaginarium now firmily links with the Maya culture, this coming transit of the Morning Star just happens to coincide with the release of the hightly anticipated movie Prometheus? Synchromysticism at its finest, my friends!
(9) While we're all waiting for Scott to meet our expectations with this new revisit of a Sci-Fi classic, there are some die-hard fanboys willing to turn Science-Fiction into Science-Fact. This is the case with would-be Zefram Cochrane "BTE Dan", who wants to build a working replica of the USS Enterprise in 20 years --and he wants YOUR help in what surely could be the mother(ship) of all open-source projects.
No, this wouldn't be a life-scale mock-up, like the Vegas attraction that Paramount studios almost built. The operative word being 'working' here, as BET Dan explains at his buildtheenterprise.org site, what he aims for is a real-life & honest-to-God spacecraft that will phaser America's butt out of its stagnation:
The Enterprise would be three things in one: a spaceship, a space station, and a spaceport. Finally we will have a permanent and viable foothold in space – a sustainable, roving village out in the heavens. Building the Enterprise will provide a giant leap forward for the human race when it comes to the task of establishing a permanent infrastructure in space, on the moon, and on Mars – an infrastructure needed to pull us farther out into space, the place we are surely destined to explore and live.
Ok, so this wouldn't be a Warp-drive vessel, but it still sounds pretty neat. And with other feasible spaceship projects that got dissed due to bureaucratic short-sightedness, I honestly hope Dan gets to build his ship. Our civilization has always been propelled by visionaries who dared to dream impossible dreams *queue Man of La Mancha music*
(8) Another man not afraid of impossible dreams, and with enough economic leverage to actually pursue them, is Space-X's founder Elon Musk. After the successful retrieval of the Dragon capsule, which ended the historic mission of the fledgling little space company that could, Musk is now free to aim his sights to Infinity & Beyond --as long as he stays clear of NASA's claimed pieces of real estate that is. The sclerotic government agency is asking all future Moon visitors to respect the important heritage locations of the Apollo landings.
“NASA has recognized that these sites are important to mankind and have to be protected to make sure there’s no undue damage done to them,” said John Thornton, president of Astrobotic Technology Inc., a company competing for the [Google Lunar X Prize]."
Frankly, Space-X or other startups competing for the X Prize should be the least of NASA's concerns. Or maybe they don' want people snooping around sensitive locations Hmm?? Tinfoil hatters, start your conspiracy engines!
(7) Speaking of the Apollo landing sites, do you remember the opening scene in Independence Day --You'll get the chance to refresh your memory in 3D this summer if you don't BTW-- with the close-up on the astronaut's footprint, which are expected to last for tens of millions of years, but the big-ass mothership flies over and the vibration or whatever erases it?
A very symbolic image of how these interstellar interlopers weren't visiting the neighborhood just to check the sites and grab a little souvenir. Yet this display of galactic rudeness is nothing that we should worry about, according to former SETI director Jill Tarter (we covered her retiring of research duties last week) who doesn't shy away of politely disagreeing with Stephen Hawking's gloomy warnings of avoiding the attention of potentially hostile extraterrestrials:
"If aliens were able to visit Earth that would mean they would have technological capabilities sophisticated enough not to need slaves, food, or other planets. If aliens were to come here it would be simply to explore."
Excuse me, Dr. Arrow-- I mean, Dr. Tarter, but there's a difference between NEEDING something, and CRAVING something. Sure Benjamin doesn't really NEED to spend his weekends playing DIABLO 3, but I'm pretty sure his dear wife knows better than trying to dissuade him of the contrary ;)
Bottomline, Tarter is also guilty of anthropomorphizing the intentions of aliens. For all we know, after mastering Warp drive and uncovering all the secrets of the Cosmos, punking Earthlings once in a while might be the only relief against an Infinity of boredom.
(6) And maybe the aliens' favorite playground happens to be Camp Hero, where they indulge in a little bit of time travel, mind control and good ole teenage torturing. 'Montauk Chronicles' is a new documentary by Christopher Garetanoset, seeking to unravel the truth behind the controversial story of a group of men who claimed to have participated in the infamous Philadelphia experiment, an ill-fated event that allegedly made a worse entanglement of the Time-Space stream than Schrödinger's cat & the Flying Spaguetti Monster combined.
In the Wacky World of the Fortean Woo you could hardly find a wackier tale than the Montauk project, yet it probably would not be wise to dismiss it out of hand, since even the biggest pile of horse manure can contain a buried gold nugget inside. And even researcher Alexandra Chica Bruce became convinced that there was something behind the Montauk Moonshine, before a shady set of circumstances persuaded her to walk away from this story for her own good...
(5) The Montauk experiments seem horrific, but a new set of studies conducted by Dean Radin & Co. using the classic double-slit experiment, could provoke more than a few nights of insomnia to all those materialists convinced Consciousness is nothing but the software inside our mushy hardware. As reported by my Commander-in-chief Greg Taylor at The Daily Grail, the publication in Physics Essays of Radin's paper "Consciousness and the double-slit interference pattern" might bring back discussions about human consciousness in the quantum arena --sorry, Pentti Hirvonen!
A double-slit optical system was used to test the possible role of consciousness in the collapse of the quantum wavefunction. The ratio of the interference pattern’s double-slit spectral power to its single-slit spectral power was predicted to decreasewhen attention was focused toward the double slit as compared to away from it.
Now, as some astute commenters at TDG have already pointed out, these results do not necessarily imply a quantum nature of consciousness, or viceversa. But if confirmed, it at least points out to a mensurable influence of human attention in external reality. And that, my fellow MU readers, might just be the Pandora's box that brings about a major quantum leap in our understanding of Science and Nature. Oh Boy!
(4) Alongside the mystery of Consciousness is the mystery behind the rare displays of genius which separate personages like Einstein or DaVinci from the rest of us mere mortals. Such a quasi-divine spark of Eureka has been recently observed in a German teen of Indian origin, who managed to solve a Mathematical problem posed by none other than Isaac Newton more than 3 centuries ago.
For years, Ray has enjoyed what he says is an "intrinsic beauty" of maths. He moved from Calcutta, India, to Dresden, Germany, four years ago without knowledge of the German language, in which he is now fluent. He is preparing to take his secondary school exams two years ahead of his peers.
Ray began solving complicated problems when he was just 6 years old, but modestly denies that he's a genius, noting that he wishes he were better at certain things in school -- like sports. He is now deciding whether to study math or physics in college.
Math or Physics, Ray? Why not BOTH?! Add some Chemistry while you're at it, so I can feel like a total underachiever. Srsly though, these kind of news further confirms my idea that real genius is about having an intuitive grasp of Truth. Then again, having a grasp of Truth is totally worthless if you are not prepared enough to make good use of it --probably why all those Contactees trying to tinker with anti-gravity ended up with a pile of junk in their garages.
(3) A beautiful mind is a wonderful thing --only problem is, you end up being a zombie magnet. One of the most widespread stories on the net this week was the disturbing news of a naked man in Florida who was shot by the police when he refused to stop eating another man's face (Yikes!). This single news is already pretty disturbing as it is, but when you take it into context with other news that happened in the area, then you REALLY start to wonder if Florida has not become ground zero of a zombie infestation a-la 28 Days:
[May 16] McArthur High School HazMat Situation.
[May 21] Police: Man bites woman in Westchester.
[May 23] I-285 reopens after hazmat incident.
[May 23] Man Bites Cousin’s Nose Off.
Now that you've returned to your computer with your gas mask on --God bless the Army surplus!-- you'll be happy to know the CDC has quickly gone on the record to state they have no knowledge of "a virus or condition that would reanimate the dead (or one that would present zombie-like symptoms)." Of course if you're reading this then you probably haven't much respect for what the authorities tell you, amirite? so I vote we undertake Operation Bugs Bunny to stop the Zombie Apocalypse once and for all!
(2) Our civilization might be ended by an infestation of ravenous ghouls, but we are still uncertain of what ended one of the greatest civilizations in Antiquity. The cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro in the Indus Valley reached a level of modernity and sophistication that would not be equaled for another 2000 years; and now scientists are proposing that it was Climate Change the smoking gun which finished with these advanced urban centers.
The researchers collected data on geological history and determined the Harappans enjoyed a kind of 'Goldilocks period' when the monsoon-fed rivers which were usually prone to devastating floods eventually calmed down so they could be used for Agricultural purposes, leading to a flourishing of settlements and the founding of great cities in the Indus Valley. But then the cycle reverted and the rivers held too little water, making them unfavorable for civilization.
Sounds logical and entirely plausible, but is that the whole of the story? What of the discovery of radioactive ash over these archeological sites, suggestive (NOT conclusive) of an atomic blast in prehistoric times? And what of the great epic saga the Mahabharata, with its graphic depictions of ancient battles using sophisticated weaponry, including a bomb that carried "the energy of the universe" which could evaporate entire legions of war elephants and poison the waters?
Maybe Climate Change was the determining factor that put such pressure in these civilizations, that it eventually led to social turmoil and war, the same way we're witnessing right now on our present news. Is history about to repeat itself?
(1) The ancient Vedas describe flying Vimanas transporting the gods between Heaven and Earth, which many interpret as descriptions of advanced aircraft. And maybe one of those Vimanas had an encounter with an RAF pilot in the 1952, a case so impressive that it even made a believer of British Air Minister Duncan Sandys, who was later promoted to Defense Secretary.
The sighting occurred over West Germany, when Flight Sergeant Roland Hughes was on a training flight piloting a de Havilland Vampire FB9. As he was returning to base he reported a "gleaming silver, metallic disc" intercepting him and flying alongside his plane until it went away at great speed. The sigfhting was further confirmed by RAF radars, which recorded the object travelling at a velocity impossible to achieve by any human aircraft of the time.
Sandys got the chance to interrogate Hughes (eventually nicknamed "Saucer Sam" by his colleagues) and the first question he made was how many beers he had had the night before. Yet after the interrogation he was so impressed by the sincerity and reliability of the airman, that in a letter he wrote to the government's chief scientist Lord Cherwell who was skeptical about UFOs, Sandys stated thusly:
"Until some satisfactory scientific explanation can be provided, it would be most unwise to accept without further question the view that 'flying saucers' can be dismissed as 'a mild form of hysteria'."
But of course, this isn't the kind of reports professional skeptics bother to mention when they make fun of UFOs. Oh, well...
Until next time, this is RPJ jacking out & wishing you well.
And remember: always be nice with your operators.