Greetings, fellow Coppertops! This week our curiosity will drive us to explore the arid landscape of Mars, as well as the deserts of our own world. We’ll trace our footsteps back from the cradle of humanity from whence we began our long journey, to the stumbles we’ve suffered in our recent past; and as we marvel at the accomplishments of cultures long extinct, while we wonder about the journey ahead we’ll be forced to face our own fallibility. My apologies beforehand if this post turns out a bit (more) nonsensical –I had to sequester all of Dozer’s booze cache on account of Mexico’s victory against Brazil *Hic* Arriba!!
(10) Our first stop should start where we left off last week. In case you yourself are living in another planet, you ought to be well aware by now of Curiosity’s resounding success in the first stages of its mission. My sombrero is rightfully tipped to all the NASA, JPL & all the scientists involved in this historic episode in space exploration.
Ok then, enough lazying around: Chop chop! Find me some Martian bugs, you wide-assed rover.
(9) It’s amazing how some people don’t get any excitement from the hi-res pictures already sent by Curiosity. I believe it’s not only a case of nihilistic apathy, but also the result of just how similar our planetary sibling turned out to be; tweak the hue of the sky, and the Gale crater could easily pass for Arizona or the Atacama desert in Chile –after 4000 generations and longing dreams of bold visionaries, Mars has finally become a place.
Which leads me to this next news about the possible discovery of some new Egyptian pyramids thanks to Google Earth by satellite archeology researcher –read armchair Indiana Jones– Angela Micol. Although the sites need further confirmation in situ from Egyptian archaeologists, what I particularly find interesting about this discovery, is because of how much they remind me of similar pictures taken some 225 million kilometers away –that’s right: I’m taking about the Elysium pyramids in Cydonia, Mars; structures so geometrically regular even the late Carl Sagan considered them worthy of further investigation –that is, before Richard Hoagland came into the pool and pissed in it.
What’s that you say? You’re telling me the most recent imagery taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter over Cydonia has conclusively proven all these anomalies –including the face– to be nothing but natural features? I’d recommend you’d take a look to some of the oldest pyramids in our own planet; no, not the ones in Egypt, but the pyramids in Peru, which have suffered such an amount of erosion, that viewed from above anyone would conclude they’re nothing but small hills.
I’m not a Hoagland fan. I’m a Mac Tonnies fan; and like him used to, I still think there’s a case to be made about artificial structures in the surface of Mars.
(8) When millions around the world were following the live stream feed from JPL’s mission control last week, millions managed to observe just how much things have evolved in NASA’s labor landscape. Probably the most telling evidence that the old days of slide rulers and clunky workstations are a thing of the past was none other than Mohawk dude:
You could almost sense the collective ‘WTF’ rippling through the interwebz. A huge cognitive dissonance when we compare him to the buzz-cut short-sleeved (and balding!) stereotype of what Hollywood has taught us a NASA engineer is supposed to look like, thanks in no small part to movies like Apollo 13. But, we should always be mindful that there’s always a huge difference between fiction and reality –and in case of Apollo 13, probably bigger than we had anticipated…
In the movie, if you recall, the whole problem of getting the astronauts safely back to Earth was totally solved ‘in house’ by Nasa; but a former Nasa staffer has recently denied this, and claims the Eureka solution came instead from an MIT student:
All the engineers and everybody else at NASA in Houston were working hard at recovering the moonshot, and they were in real trouble, weren’t sure they could get it back. They got a phone call from a grad student at MIT who said he knew how to get them back. They put engineers on it, tested it out, by God it worked. Slingshotting them around the moon. They successfully did. They wanted to present the grad student to the President and the public, but they found him and he was a real hippy type — long hair and facial hair. NASA was straight-laced, and this was different than they expected, so they withdrew the invitation to the student. I think that is a disgrace.
So there you have it: if this is true, then Nasa firmly stuck to their sign at the front of the building which said “long-haired freaky people need not apply” –apparently the sign didn’t say anything about Mohawks or punk-rock hair styles, eh?
(7) Apollo 13 is still one of y favorite space-related movies ever. The other one is Contact, as I have mentioned some other time; so imagine my surprise when I discovered Carl Sagan didn’t seem to have been too crazy about the film’s script. Helped by his wife, Mr. Billions & Billions was struggling to keep the studio’s feet firmly on scientific ground –not an easy feet when you review Hollywood’s hit-and-miss performance in previous Sci-Fi movies.
Still, any cinephile knows fully well there’s a big difference between the literary & the cinematic experience, and that movies which ended up as classics were reviled by the authors of the books they were based on –exhibit (a): Kubrick’s The Shining. That’s why pleasing the audience will always come first in MY book, pardon the pun.
(6) In the movie, Dr. Eileen Arroway suffers scorn and ridicule out of the incredulity her work engendered. A similar professional ostracism was suffered by another scientific heretic, but this time in real life: Martin Fleischmann, the infamous British chemist who alongside his associate Stanley Pons became the poster-boy for pseudo-science after their claims of ‘nuclear fusion in a bottle’ at room temperature failed to be replicated by their peers.
Fleischmann died last week at 85, without having the chance to clean his reputation. Will history books treat him with more kindness than his contemporaries? If modern attempts to follow on his footsteps are proven to be successful, that may very well be the case.
(5) History is filled with countless of events that are firstly rejected, only to be gradually accepted by later generations –which is the reason some wounds take longer to heal, and leave deeper scars.
One of the nastiest scars which is finally starting to close is the aftermath of the Vietnam war, and the effects caused by the use of agent orange long after the armed conflict came to an end. Terrible malformations and cancer have plagued the inhabitants of the zones where the use of this poisonous chemical was more prevalent, but now the United States has finally started the clean-up operations to remove the dioxin from the contaminated soil.
(4) Vietnam and the rest of Indonesia were once the domains of Homo Erectus, our direct ancestor –and the one hominid with the best PR campaign to promote its sex appeal. Recent discoveries are starting to reveal that the Human family tree was bushier than we previously thought –here we go with the erotic innuendos again!
Three new fossils were announced last Wednesday, with at least 2 of these hominids being the neighbors of H. Erectus in East Africa as early as 2 million years ago.
The question one should ask is thus: if we shared our planet with others in the past, would it be impossible if we were still sharing it to this day? Have our cryptic cousins retreated to the lonely corners of the world, or are they sitting right behind our noses, cloaked not so much by their adaptive skills but by our own near-sightedness?
(3) Granted, we haven’t yet found a Bigfoot mass grave, or an Elf burial chamber. Not anything as impressive as this amazing new Aztec burial discovered in Mexico city’s Templo Mayor, anyway. What makes this archeological finding stand out is that the skeleton of a young woman was found surrounded by piles of 1789 human bodies, which suggests this woman was of a very high status in the Aztec society.
…Wait a minute –Aztec site, young woman surrounded by thousands of bodies… I think I’ve seen this movie!
Yep, that makes sense.
(2) Being the sex slave of a voluptuous vampire might not sound too bad, but being the victim of a deranged individual who submits you to water-boarding torture is absolutely unacceptable –specially if the torturer happens to be your own father.
Unfortunately, these happen to be the charges a notable NDE researcher is facing, along with his wife. The person in question is Dr. Melvin Morse, who is being accused of mistreating his 11-year-old daughter, and submitting her to a manner of ‘correction’ involving “holding the daughter’s face under running water, causing the water to fill her nostrils and over her face”, while her mother watched on.”
What makes this even more regrettable, is that Morse was famous for his pioneer work in near-death experiences among children, as recounted in his books, such as Closer to the Light.
Since this is still an on-going investigation, we ought to refrain to condemn Morse in the court of public opinion, before he even sets a foot on a court of law. But that has certainly not stopped some skeptics from suggesting perhaps Morse was bent on using his own daughter as a guinea pig in his research to prove there’s life after death.
All I care to say at this point is that, if this accusation is proven to be true, there’s life after Morse for NDE research.
(1) There’s also seems to be life after death for Roswell, the one UFO case that keeps rising from its grave no matter how much dirt you keep piling on its tomb. Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some crashed saucers as much as the next guy, but I certainly agree with Nick Redfern and others who have grown tired of the way American UFOlogy keeps its obsession with this senile case.
Maybe we should put a date on it? Let’s say that if by 2017 –70 years after Roswell allegedly happened– we haven’t yet found a final answer to this mystery, we should all agree to close the case anyway and move on.
Yeah, right –like that’s ever going to happen…
And the reason we can’t drive a stake through the gray heart of the Roswell case is because people keep creeping up to rattle the hornet nest. In previous pills we’ve mentioned Chase Brandon and his book Crypto’s Conundrum, but now the newest Roswell whistle-blower is retired Air Force Lt. Col. Richard French, and what is making all Roswell hounds scratch their heads with his story is that, according to him, (a) there were 2 crashed saucers, not just one –um, Ok– and (b) the first saucer was taken down by an experimental electro-magnetic weapon developed by the Air Force —Whaaa?!
Even more astounding is the fact that French used to debunk UFOs in the past, as part of his job working for Blue Book. I’m sure Stanton Friedman will relish this, considering how he’s always maintained that Donald Menzel –who used to be an intransigent UFO debunker back in the old days of UFOlogy– was actually a member of Majestic 12.
So yeah, I have no problem with an AF officer dabbling in a bit of double-speak as per the guidelines laid out by the Robertson panel. But claiming we had EMP weaponry powerful enough to knock down a craft from an intergalactic/interdimensional/time-travelling/what-have-you civilization in the 1940s?? If that is true, why was there ever a Cold War in the first place? Hell, if you can take down a UFO, a nuclear missile would prove no problem whatsoever!
In the mean-time I’m saving my money so I can go to the Roswell anniversary in 2017. Anybody signing up?
Until next time, this is RPJ jacking out. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to see if the Nebuchadnezzar’s first aid kit has any aspirins left —Ay mierda…. >_<