Greetings, fellow Coppertops! After a small Easter break in which the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar interpreted our own version of the Passion –instead of a cross we use a tentacled chair— we resume our explorations of the Fortean Matrix. This week we’ll encounter cursed rings & 3D-printed skeletons, life-size dinobots & alien ‘Mini-Mes’. And after we peel the skin off the new poll revealing the growing interest of American voters in Reptilian politicians, we’ll look for hidden alien messages in the unlikeliest of places: inside us.
If there’s something we here at The Pills hate more than black-suited agents & killer sentry robots, is the daylight saving system!
10 Our 1st pills takes us back to one of our favorite topics in this column: Dark matter. Last February we informed of an upcoming historical announcement, aimed to confirm that the enigmatic stuff that constitutes 85% of the known universe had finally been identified. And this week new ‘teasers’ were published on the news alluding to a $2-billion-dollar experiment that has apparently hit the cosmic jackpot:
The detector, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), measures cosmic-ray particles in space. After detecting billions of these particles over a year and a half, the experiment recorded a signal that may be the result of dark matter, the hidden substance that makes up more than 80 percent of all matter in the universe.
Specifically what the Spectrometer detected was about 400,000 positrons (antimatter) which they think were created when particles of antimatter collided with each other and self-annihilated. So, in the end scientists have NOT detected dark matter, but the effects of dark matter which behave according to the current model of what dark matter is supposed to be –weakly interactive massive particles, or WIMPs. These WIMPs pack quite a punch if you ask me!
People like Neal deGrasse Tyson think that since we now require such costly & energetic experiments to detect exotic matter, that this confirms we have a pretty good grasp of the laws of Nature –hence there’s no way there could be aliens hidden undetected below our radar. But then the egg-heads keep telling us that the Multiverse is composed of extra-dimensions that we can’t neither detect nor interact with; so which one is it, docs?
9 From dark matter we now turn our attention to the dark language of Mordor, and a series of lines every self-respecting Tolkienist should know by heart *Googles it*.
A recent news article about a ‘cursed’ Roman ring seems to bring together Fantasy with Reality. According to the story, this gold ring –with inscriptions in Latin, with an image of the goddess Venus & linked to a ‘curse tablet’– is said to have been the source of inspiration for the One ring in Tolkien’s novels. Its discoverer, archeologist Sir Mortimer Wheeler, is said to have discussed the ring with the famous author & to have sought his help.
The ring has been linked to a curse tablet found at the site of a Roman temple dedicated to the god Nodens in Gloucestershire.
Tolkien worked on the etymology of the name Nodens and repeatedly visited the temple.
His fantasy novel The Hobbit was published in 1937. The “One Ring”, which plays a central role in Lord of the Rings, is also gold and contains an inscription in a fictional language called the “Black Speech of Mordor”.
The only caveat I have with this story is that in The Hobbit, Gollum’s ring is not yet given the central role it would later gain in the LOTR trilogy. Then again we do know that Tolkien didn’t view his books as just the fruits of his fertile imagination, and that he genuinely believed the events in the War of the Ring could be safely placed in a remote historical context, during the European Bronze Age. So in the end I have no problem with a scholar absorbing information that will be allowed to brew inside his mind, to be later distilled in the form of possibly the greatest work of Fantasy of all time.
8 But of course, we must ALWAYS remember that magic & non-human beings more advanced than us is merely the domain of children’s fairy tales. Ours is a world of matter, Science & hard-cold verifiable data that don’t rock the boat too much –those are the only ideas worth spreading…
It is time to review the latest chapter in the sad deterioration of the TED brand: Not happy with relegating Graham Hancock & Rupert Sheldrake to the ‘naughty corner’ of their website, the TED establishment has now decided to remove the license of TEDx WestHollywood, just as they are about to launch their planned event “Brother Can You Spare A Paradigm?”, because they had the gall of inviting people like Russell Targ to speak about things like Remote Viewing –of which he has amassed a considerable amount of scientific evidence during his long career. For the love of Entropy, TEDx WestHollywood, weren’t you thinking of the children???
But for all you despicable Woo woo people, you’ll be happy to know that the West Hollywood event will be celebrated with or without the TED endorsement. No doubt you’ll be more than eager to help Suzanne Taylor promote the streaming program, which will be aired live on April 14 –I don’t know how you can live with yourselves, you anti-Science doe-eyed believers of nonsense… /end sarcasm mode
7 When it comes of matters of Faith vs Doubt, few artifacts can elicit such polarizing views as the shroud of Turin. If you’re a skeptic then it’s a no-brainer: the long piece of cloth is nothing but a medieval forgery concocted to fool the ignorant masses; and if you’re a devout Catholic the issue is equally simple: the shroud is the single, most important evidence of the glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Since the media looooves to exacerbate such quarrels –specially when the news flow slows to a crawling halt during the Easter holidays– the British newspaper The Telegraph published an article regarding an upcoming book co-written by Giulio Fanti, a professor of mechanical and thermal measurement at Padua University, & journalist Saverio Gaeta. The book is intended to document the tests performed by Fanti & his colleagues on the fibres of the sindone –using infra-red light and spectroscopy– which date it to ancient times, a few centuries before or after the death of Christ.
The experiments were carried out on fibres taken from the Shroud during a previous study, in 1988, when they were subjected to carbon-14 dating.
Those tests, conducted by laboratories in Oxford, Zurich and Arizona, appeared to back up the theory that the shroud was a clever medieval fake, suggesting that it dated from 1260 to 1390.
But those results were in turn disputed on the basis that they may have been skewed by contamination by fibres from cloth that was used to repair the relic when it was damaged by fire in the Middle Ages.
Mr Fanti, a Catholic, said his results were the fruit of 15 years of research.
Skeptics reading the last line would say “Aha!”, but may I remind them that even people they admire, like Richard Dawkins for example, is not immune to intellectual bias –which is why after Graham Hancock’s invitation to try an entheogenic substance, he was a priori sure the experience would not amount to anything but brain-generated hallucinations.
As for me, the famous (or infamous) shroud will always remain what I think it’s been its intended purpose all along: a puzzling “what if…” which can be either used to cement your established belief system, or propel you to search for new answers.
6 The most interesting ideas behind the ‘photographic negative’ imprints in the shroud of Turin, is that they were the result of a powerful burst of energy, which affected the molecular integrity of the fibers at a very microscopic level. Our modern science is now familiarized with the implementation of electromagnetic radiation to help us illuminate –no pun intended– the regions of the human body which are shrouded –again, pardon the pun– by the opaque tissue of our flesh & skin.
Thus MRI scans have been used to observe cancer tumors, skeletal abnormalities, blood clots, and sexual organs during intercourse –wait, WHAT??
I decided to omit the usual NSFW warning, because SERIOUSLY: if you happen to work in an office where this kind of monochromatic blobs result offensive, then you definitely need to think about getting yourself a new job, pronto!!
5 As was seen with the previous pill, MRI can be either used or abused, to pursue either useful or silly endeavors. And while watching a penis & a vagina doing the horizontal mambo –at least I think they did it horizontally?– might help advance our knowledge of anatomy, taking X-rays of an alleged tiny alien mummy is much MUCH more questionable.
The UFO community seems to be in a state of eager anticipation with the future release of Dr. Steven Greer’s documentary Sirius, in which he intends to uncover the multinational cabal that’s depriving the world of free energy, by blocking the knowledge learned after analyzing the wreckage of recovered alien craft. Oh, and he also found a teenie weenie alien munchkin on the Atacama desert in South America, too.
Some weeks ago I listened to the Joe Rogan Experience podcast episode in which he had Greer as guest, where the good doctor briefly discussed his alien Oompa Loompa. I must admit that the show left me with a nasty taste on my mouth, after enduring all the ‘me me mes’ Greer spouted to the microphone. The man has an ego the size of an alien mothership, which is funny considering how he’s gonna use an economy-size
doll cadaver to sustain his arguments about the inefficacy of an oil-based economy –which are not that senseless if you think about it.
That said, I’m not so sure the world is ready for free energy. I mean, look at the things we spend energy in right now! With a zero-point alien core drive I fear that we’d only find quicker ways to download porn :-/
4 If Greer’s movie becomes a blockbuster –and mind you, that’s a BIG ‘if’– would he then choose to sell miniat– um, I mean life-size replicas of his alien mummy? With the new 3D-printing technologies we’re so fond of reviewing in this column, it wouldn’t be such a difficult endeavor.
So those wacky 3D-printing enthusiasts have done it again: now their latest accomplishment is the polymeric re-creation of the skeleton of a living, breathing animal –a rat, as is usually the case.
Doney used several freeware programs to convert data from CT scans into a format that could be read by a 3-D printer. As a proof of principle, he and colleagues printed a rat skeleton in white plastic and printed a removable set of lungs in green or purple. They also printed out a rabbit skull.
Mi parents still keep a small clay imprint of one of my sisters’ hands. I wonder if this 3D-craze will result in a boon of morbid memorabilia –would you want to have a plastic model of your significant other’s skull as a Valentine present in 2014?
3 One of the cool advantages of 3D-printing is easy to foresee, is that even modest museums will now be able to afford life-size replicas of dinosaur skeletons. And maybe 3D printers will also help Aussie billionaire Clive Palmer’s crazy/genius plans of a real-life Jurassic Park into fruition.
(Yes, this is the same dude who wants to build a replica of the Titanic. Props for thinking big)
Palmer ordered 117 animatronic dinosaurs in order to create what is being called a Jurassic Park-style attraction at the resort on Australia’s Sunshine Coast, according to Australian Associated Press.
“We’ll have the world’s biggest dinosaur exhibit, with 165 animatronic dinosaurs,” Palmer said, according to the Agence France-Presse.
The dinosaurs, some of which will be over 20 feet tall and weigh more than a ton, will move their tails, heave their chests and even blink their eyes, reports note. It looks as if Palmer’s grand vision isn’t far from becoming a reality. The animatronic dinos are scheduled to arrive by the end of April.
Would a robotic version of the Velociraptor be more dangerous than the real thing? I bet Kurzweil didn’t foresee THAT outcome for the Singularity –unless all those pills he takes are intended to make him run faster.
2 What’s scarier than 20-foot-high lizards? the answer is 6-foot-high lizards that can pass as normal humans. The recent results of the Public Policy Polling on the impact of conspiracy theories on the U.S. public –I guess they grew tired of playing Sudoku while they wait for the next big campaign– got a lot of websites & media channels jumping in to conclude that ZOMG! 12 million Americans believe Reptilians are running the world!! I’m sure David Icke feels incredibly flattered.
You can download and read the results for yourself here (H/T to Doubtful News) and personally the one thing I found odd about this poll is how few Americans believe aliens exist –which might be a result of how the question was phrased. Would Seth Shostak be comforted to know he’s a member of a minority?
1 I think it’s fairly safe to assume that Seth Shostak has never read any book by David Icke, or maybe even Erich von Däniken’s. He may have, I’m sure, read quite a lot of novels written by the late Arthur C. Clarke.
In Clarke’s short story The Sentinel –which was later adapted as a longer script for the seminal movie 2001: A Space Odyssey– human astronauts discover a message left by an incredibly advanced alien civilization, in the form of a mysterious black monolith. The rationale is that by hiding it on the Moon, our alien overlords would ensure that we humans would only get our hands on their legacy until we were wise enough to comprehend it.
But there are people who think that the similar result could be achieved, if the message was preserved & multiplied in the very essence of our being: our genetic code. Such is the idea proposed by Vladimir I. shCherbak of al-Farabi Kazakh National University of Kazakhstan, and Maxim A. Makukov of the Fesenkov Astrophysical Institute, who conceived the concept of Biological SETI –the search for Extraterrestrial intelligence not in the form of radio signals diffused amid the void of space, but encoded as a non-randomly intelligible signature left by a superior race of extraterrestrial Gepettos –who would be inclined to leave their craftsmanship signature for reasons we Pinocchios cannot yet elucidate.
To pass the designer label test, any patterns in the genetic code must be highly statistically significant and possess intelligent-like features that are inconsistent with any natural know process, say the authors.
They go on to argue that their detailed analysis that the human genome (map here) displays a thorough precision-type orderliness in the mapping between DNA’s nucleotides and amino acids. “Simple arrangements of the code reveal an ensemble of arithmetical and ideographical patterns of symbolic language.” They say this includes the use of decimal notation, logical transformations, and the use of the abstract symbol of zero. “Accurate and systematic, these underlying patterns appear as a product of precision logic and nontrivial computing,” they assert.
Naturally these kind of ideas don’t sit well with the Western scientific establishment, who are deeply averse of anything merely resembling the facade of an intelligent designer –whether an idle astronaut or a careless deity. I for one have encountered such arguments many times, most recently in the highly recommended book The Other Side of Truth, penned by the incomparable Fortean raconteur Paul Kimball:
This brings me back to Michio Kaku and the example of the e-mail he used in answer to my question about a galactic conversation. He might have had it right, but perhaps he applied it in the wrong way. Yes, there could indeed be a message, and the information in the message is broken up into all sorts of little pieces, just like we do with e-mails. The mistake that Kaku might have made, however, is in seeing the message as something for us, or about us, or beyond us, when it may well be the message is us [emphasis mine]. Perhaps we are the information, and slowly, over the course of time, the message is being re-assembled into its whole.
But I don’t expect Paul giving a TED talk about his ideas anytime soon.
Until next time, this is RPJ jacking out, advising you to imagine at least six impossible things before breakfast.