Greetings, fellow Coppertops! This week we'll travel across the depths of Space, Time, and Human imagination. We'll discover ancient computers on the bottom of the sea, and giant space fortresses that have been battling alien enemies for the last 30 years. And as we hunt for the spiders from Mars and the hairy apes from the North Pacific, we'll need to strap on our official tinfoil hats to protect us from Masonic computer chips. Just a word of caution: We're going to pay a visit to the Oracle, so you'd better clean your shoes before you step into her apartment --or Seraph is gonna kick your ass.
(10) Our first stop takes us to the depths of the Aegean sea, where divers are preparing to revisit the discovery site of the famous Antikythera mechanism. As part of the cargo of a Roman ship that sank 2000 years ago --which included marble statues, weaponry, jewels and delicate furniture-- was a strange unimpressive lump that remained unnoticed in the courtyard of Athens' National Archaeological Museum, until it was cracked open to reveal a momentous discovery which revolutionized our pre-conceptions about the ancient world.
After a century of study, and not until our own modern technology was mature enough for the challenge, did the scientists start to unravel the mystery of this Hellenic version of a PowerBook, capable of tracking the motion of the sun, the moon and the main planets, along with calculating the dates of the Olympic games.
And now, after the initial discovery carried out by Greek sponge divers at the turn of the past century, and a brief visit by Jacques Cousteau --a.k.a. Captain Planet-- in 1978, Brendan Foley, a marine archaeologist based at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, finally has permission to dive at Antikythera. What new wonders and discoveries will they be able to recover this time? Perhaps a Bronze-Age version of a Segway?
(9) The Antikythera mechanism's finding was, like all great discoveries, something completely unplanned (non-Forteans would attribute them to 'chance' but we @ MU know better, right?). Another proof of this is Zhenya Salinder, an 11-year-old Siberian boy who has just found the remains of a woolly mammoth, in incredibly pristine conditions. If someday those eggheads do manage to clone this prehistoric behemoth, I do hope they give Zhenya first dibs to ride it.
(8) Whether our ancestors finished off with the Pleistocene pachyderms, or they were doomed by climate change we still don't know for certain, and perhaps we never will. What we do know for certain is that stopping the next great mass extinction will be in our hands, and for this is that a group of researchers --bordering on the 'mad scientist' status-- are proposing the next phase in humanity's role as planetary stewards: Geo-engineering.
It is in that vein that a group of Scottish scientists, who are obviously trying to follow the footsteps of the most famous 'miracle worker' in all Geekdom, are proposing to counter the effects of global warming by blasting the surface of asteroids to create giant clouds of dust which would act as sunscreen for the planet. Piece of cake, laddie!
'We can buy time to find a lasting solution to combat Earth’s climate change. The dust cloud is not a permanent cure, but it could offset the effects of climate change for a given time to allow slow-acting measures like carbon capture to take effect.'
My main caveats with geo-engineering schemes is twofold: First, we should bloody make sure that the remedy is not going to be a whole lot worse than the ailment, and that the 'solution' will not eventually provoke nasty side-effects. And secondly, when we are starting to talk about such bold technical solutions, we eventually need to put our feet on the ground and ask the obvious --who's going to pay for it?
Many people with Libertarian mindsets hate the concept of the United Nations with a passion, out of the fear of their nation's loosing autonomy to make domestic decisions. And even though I myself don't have any love for the current version of globalization multinational companies are coaxing us to accept, so they can still make obscene amounts of profit without any legal or political ties, it nonetheless frustrates me how we stubbornly drag our feet when it comes to trying to join efforts to solve problems that affect us all, be that global warming, global famine or pandemic threats.
So I guess if we're gonna try to buy ourselves more time so we can adjust to the major changes our planet will experience in the decades to come, our only hope now rests on the shoulders of... James Cameron.
...On second thought, let's all agree to die with our dignity intact, k?
(7) Though I can't really prove it, I wholeheartedly suspect that all these crazy-awesome scientists, who are bold enough to envision pie-in-the-sky engineering schemes on a planetary scale, are deep down Sci-Fi fans & Anime Otaku.
This past October 3rd was my birthday --the last one before the big 4-0, as in "O crap, when did I turn so OOOLD??!#$"-- and I was thus very excited to find out that Oct 3rd was also the 30th anniversary of the legendary Anime series Super Dimension Fortress Macross, which heralded the steady invasion of Pop Japanese culture into the American mainstream.
So happy birthday to you too, Macross! Thank you for inspiring me as a young Mexican geek, who fell in love with transforming robots, space battles, & the lovely Lynn Minmay.
(6) After the battle of Mars, Rick Hunter is promoted to lieutenant and awarded his own squadron. Presumably during the heat of the battle none of the human pilots had time to look on the surface of Mars, where they might have caught glimpses of the mysterious black spiders which pop up from time to time, to the amazement and puzzlement of Earth-men.
Since we can't ask Ziggy Stardust --honestly, when was the last time he allowed to be interviewed?-- scientists have had to come up with their own theories, and right now the leading one is that the star-like formations are the result of seasonal geysers of CO2 exploding from underneath the planet's surface.
"If you were there, you'd be standing on a slab of carbon dioxide ice," Phil Christensen of Arizona State University told NPR. "All around you, roaring jets of carbon dioxide gas are throwing sand and dust a couple hundred feet into the air. The ground below would be rumbling. You'd feel it in your space boots."
My favorite theory however is that the spiders are the result of biological activity, and I'm sure Mr. Arthur C Clarke would have preferred it as well.
(5) Discerning the reality behind what our photographs of Mars reveal involves a lot of informed guess work. Some folks are trying to do the same with a couple of images from Google Street View, which seem to show features of an other-worldly appearance.
Andrea Cove signed up to the popular online feature to plan a trip from her home near Houston, to the house of a relative in Jacksonville, when she noticed the ethereal-looking pink object which vaguely showed the classic feature of a good ole domed flying saucer. Initially explained as a lens flare by a video analyst, what's interesting is that a very similar anomaly is also shown on a different image, this one taken in nearly 1,000 miles away in Acoma Pueblo, N.M.
So between interdimensional craft to conventional lens flare explanations, we here at the MU Red Pills lean on to the excluded middle alternative: The colored farts of pink pegasi, the normal result of the uninitiated after their 1st exposure to Tex-Mex cuisine.
I <3 you, Rainbowshine! but please lay off the chili con carne...
(4) To Jacksonville we now travel to the archeological site of Waka, in the jungles of Guatemala --some 1,100 miles as the pink pegasus flies-- to study the discovery of a small alabaster jar, which helped identify the remains of the Lady K'abel, the Maya version of Xena the warrior princess, according the tales and legends that have survived to our days.
What's specially interesting about this new finding, is not only that the Lady K'abel had an even higher military status than her husband, but that archeologists had known of her years before they discovered her alleged burial site, through the deciphered texts of Maya stelae and other literary sources. So from a historical point of view this would be like finding the tomb of king Arthur himself!
(3) Speaking of powerful & respected women, Jane Goodall could very well be regarded as the Queen of Primatology --something I'm sure will come very handy to her once Cesar and his fellow apes reclaim the planet-- so it's always nice when she devotes a kind word or two to the taboo topic of Sasquatch.
That the Chimp Champion finds the search for the giant hominids worth pursuing isn't something new at all; Goodall has claimed on the record her interest in Bigfoot on previous occasions. And in a recent interview for the Huffington Post, she once again confirmed her stance on this rather heretical matter:
"I'm not going to flat-out deny its existence," Goodall said during an exclusive interview with The Huffington Post before a benefit dinner in La Jolla, Calif. "I'm fascinated and would actually love them to exist.
"Of course, it's strange that there has never been a single authentic hide or hair of the Bigfoot, but I've read all the accounts."
This shouldn't be surprising to anyone. After all, Goodall entered the field of Primatology as a complete outsider with zero credentials, and through her passion and hard work she almost single-handedly transformed all our preconceptions about our closest relatives the chimpanzees, which she is now committed to defend using her image and star-like status. So one would assume it's the same heterodoxical approach which allows her to appraise the evidence supporting the existence of Bigfoot --and her high profile makes her untouchable to the attacks any scientist merely flirting with these dangerous ideas are exposed to.
(2) Speaking about the existence of hairy hominids might get you some funny looks & sneers from your co-workers, but speaking about Masonic conspiracies on the other hand, might get you a nice restrain jacket and a weekend on a padded room. And yet it's hard not to feel a bit paranoid when you read the article written by Amy MacPherson, informing about an alleged project by the Freemasons intended to collect DNA information from children in the United States & Canada.
The Masonichip, which I envision having a triangular shape with a red led on its center, is being promoted as an identification tool for parents fearing the abduction of their offspring. And although the Masons try to ensure governments would not have direct access to their proprietary database, that still leaves the small fact that THEY are still left in control of this sensitive information. Philanthropy or clever world-dominating scheme? you be the judge.
(1) But wait! don't put on your trusty tinfoil hat to counter the effects of the Masonichip just yet. Turns out we in the Conspira-blogosphere have been duped by the greatest conspiracy of all time, and that the unaesthetic metallic contraption --as found out by a group of MIT students-- actually amplifies the radio waves the Illuminati are beaming to all you Manchurian candidates out there:
Using a $250,000 network analyser, we find that although on average all helmets attenuate invasive radio frequencies in either directions (either emanating from an outside source, or emanating from the cranium of the subject), certain frequencies are in fact greatly amplified. These amplified frequencies coincide with radio bands reserved for government use according to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). Statistical evidence suggests the use of helmets may in fact enhance the government's invasive abilities. We speculate that the government may in fact have started the helmet craze for this reason.
It all makes sense now! Steve Jobs was obviously going to release the iHelmet, which would have been more effective at suppressing those nasty government radio waves, and that's why they gave him the cancer! Well, no choice now but taking it to the next step, my fellow Conspiranoids: encasing our heads inside a Faraday cage --and NEVER taking if off.
But hey! look on the bright side: at least that way, we won't have to worry about all those people who keep telling we need to shave, because we look like Ted Kaczynski.
Until next time, this is RPJ jacking out. You know how Seraph keeps saying you never really know a person, until you fight them? Why do you think he runs his tea shop all by himself? It ain't the work hours, believe you me!