Greetings, fellow Coppertops! Our weekly exploration of the Fortean Matrix has in store for us psychic spies, mirage men & rubber aliens. We’ll also take a look at a projection on how the human face might evolve in the centuries to come, along with current judicial decisions which could have a great impact in the future of our species. And finally, we’ll penetrate the mystery of an ancient underground network discovered in Europe; so let’s get ready since we have no time to waste & Zion waits for no-one!
10 Before we proceed to news of a more Fortean flavor, we can’t escape revisiting the revelations of last week, concerning the programs launched by the NSA to gather massive amounts of data from cell phones & on-line communications. We now know that the whistle-blower behind this new scandal is a 29-year-old programmer named Edward Snowden, who is currently staying in Hong Kong hoping to receive political asylum in some sympathetic nation, while the US State Department is quickly moving to demand his extradition.
There’s a lot of controversy surrounding this bespectacled man of shy expression. Some people wonder how such a young contractor with no credentials could have gotten access to such sensitive material. Others were all too happy to turn him into a new scapegoat & accusing him of treason.
“I’m neither traitor nor hero. I’m an American.” ~Edward Snowden
Meanwhile Google, Yahoo! & Facebook denied any direct involvement with PRISM, in a vain effort to ensure their customers that they are committed to the protection of their privacy, and if the NSA is gathering any data from their servers, it’s being done without their explicit consent.
9 Spying is a very old game. In the times of John Dee, the original 007, it was done with encrypted letters written on parchment & sent through carrier pigeons; whereas now cutting-edge computational technology & powerful encryption algorithms, to send or receive messages through the electronic ether are the norm.
But as anyone who has either read the book The Men who Stare at Goats, or saw the film starring Clooney, McGregor & Bridges know, there was a time when more alternative methods of espionage were proposed, which relied not on expensive satellite systems but merely the minds of a few talented individuals. According to a recently released documentary filmed by Vikram Jayanti, Uri Geller of spoon-bending fame (or infamy, if you’re a fan of Randi) was one of those individuals, offering his services to both the Mossad & the CIA –even after 9/11 when he was allegedly ‘reactivated.’
“Uri has a controversial reputation. A lot of people think he is a fraud, a lot of people think he is a trickster and makes things up but at the same time he has a huge following and a history of doing things that nobody can explain,” Jayanti says of his Zelig-like subject.
Speaking to The Independent, Geller acknowledged alarm when he first saw Jayanti’s documentary.
“I was worried and I am still concerned,” Geller said of the way the documentary outs him as a spy. “I didn’t realise that Vikram was going to do such a thorough job of tying all the loose ends…making that the little hints I dropped throughout my career were real.
The documentary seems to portray Uri in a rather grandiose fashion, yet since it does not rely solely on his testimony, we can’t accuse the film-maker of putting together a PR stunt for the Israeli psychic. Personally, I don’t know what to think of Geller; I don’t consider him a complete fraud, like Randi & his minions keep insisting, nor do I believe in the image of himself Geller likes to present to the world. Perhaps he does have genuine special abilities, but doesn’t shy away from pulling deceptive stunts once in a while, when said powers do not manifest as regularly as he would like them to.
Or maybe the shams were part of a front Geller intentionally pulled off, in order to remain conveniently ambiguous?
8 At the beginning of his public career, Uri Geller was not shy of claiming that the secret to his psychic abilities was an early close encounter with aliens –nowadays though he never mentions the subject. Interestingly enough, psychokinesis & precognition are some of the alleged rewards Scientologists believe they’ll obtain if they manage to achieve the state of Operative Thetan. The 1996 movie Phenomenon starring John Travolta –one of the most famous Scientologists– explores these ideas by telling the story of George Malley, a simple-minded individual whose life changes overnight after witnessing a weird celestial phenomenon: for all intents & purposes, a UFO.
Yet the church of Scientology has never been comfortable involving itself with UFOlogical controversies –the Xenu elephant in the room?– so when the British tabloid The Sun reported that 3 passenger jets had close encounters with ‘flat silver discs’ as the airliners were flying just above the church of Scientology HQ in East Grinstead, West Sussex last Dec. 30th, the all-mighty legal arm of the church was put into motion. After all, according to our friends of Open Minds the sightings took place a few miles away from the premises of the Scientology’s facility.
The Sun was thus forced to issue a public apology… to the aliens.
In an article on Saturday headlined ‘Flying saucers over British Scientology HQ’, we stated “two flat silver discs” were seen “above the Church of Scientology HQ”.
Following a letter from lawyers for the Church, we apologise to any alien lifeforms for linking them to Scientologists.
Nations of the world, take note: the best weapon against an alien invasion, is a legal threat.
7 Nick Pope, the former MoD investigator on UFOs, claims the West Sussex sightings remain unexplained, even though the British Ministry of Defense has officially stopped researching UFO cases since they are concluded not to be a threat to the UK. In fact there are some who think our current UFO paranoia was specifically engineered by the US government, in order to protect their ultra-secret black weapons projects by using UFOlogists as useful idiots.
Such is the case of Mark Pilkington, who has finally released his much anticipated documentary Mirage Men:
So far the overall reviews have been fairly positive, and after the film makes its rounds on the festival circuit, I hope it’s eventually released for livestream viewing since I’m really looking forward to seeing it –even though I don’t happen to agree with EVERYTHING Pilkington postulates –if Richard Doty admits to have fed disinformation to people in the UFO community, then why take anything he says at face value?
…And if you don’t know who Richard Doty is, then I highly recommend you get yourself a copy of Greg Bishop’s Project Beta.
6 But whether you agree with Pilkington or not, there’s no denying the UFO community is filled to the brim with useful idiots, who will unwittingly help perpetuate the giggle factor surrounding the topic.
Last Thursday, as I was doing my DIY version of monitoring on the Fortean blogosphere, I noticed that around 4 in the afternoon the hashtag #alienabductee had become a worldwide trending topic on Twitter. Puzzled, I started to do some digging, and found out the source of this hashtag was a British TV documentary titled Confessions of an Alien Abductee, which featured Chantelle, who “has been taken by ETs on thousands of occasions, often while chowing down on a KFC meal.”
Well of course these are the characters who are going to be shown on TV for the amusement of an audience craving for novelty. Heaven forbids someone was actually going to make a documentary showing highly intelligent, well-adjusted individuals who also happened to claim direct interaction with non-human entities! Better to label them all as loonies craving for attention –after all, “they are not hurting anyone” right?
5 On Britain claiming to be an abductee might just get you a couple of chuckles & witty Tweets –“Rumour has it the aliens are hiding in her hair”– but on China such claims might have much dire consequences, especially if you’re being sloppy. A lesson a Chinese farmer learned the hard way, after being accused of hoaxing a close encounter with a crude (& somewhat revolting) rubber doll of an alien corpse.
Shortly after he proudly posted photographs of his alien on the internet, he was arrested by the police for five days for “fabrications” that “disturbed the public order”.
Mr Li was forced to admit that he had indeed sought to use his model, held together with chicken wire and glue, to mislead his fellow Chinese about the existence of celestial creatures.
Nice try China, but this seasoned blogger knows a conspiracy when he finds it. And I for one welcome our elastomeric overlords.
4 As any UFO buff worth its tinfoil hat is well aware, orthodox Science flat out dismisses any & all claims of extraterrestrial contact, while at the same time taking for granted the existence of thousands of advanced technological civilizations inhabiting our galaxy alone. Seth Shostak & his friends remain hopeful that in 25 years or so humanity will have detected its 1st bonafide radio signal from ET.
But what if we were to take a more direct approach? That is what proponents of what is known as ‘active SETI’ –also called METI— propose by way of transmitting signals to outer space, in hope that somewhere in the vast reaches of the Cosmos might detect & make sense of our unsolicited spamming.
As commented by our friends Aaron & Elliot on the last episode of MU, George Dvorsky at io9 wrote about Lone Signal: the first continuous message beacon to communicate with extraterrestrial civilizations, which would allow anyone willing & able to pay a certain fee the chance to transmit their words across the vastness of space –an endeavor Dvorsky considers either wasteful or particularly dangerous.
Lone Signal will be sending two signals: one is a continuous wave (CW) signal, a hailing message that sends a slow binary broadcast to provide basic information about Earth and our Solar System using an encoding system created by astrophysicist and planetary scientist Michael W. Busch. The binary code is based on mathematical “first principles” which reflect established laws that, theoretically, are relatively constant throughout the universe; things like gravity and the structure of the hydrogen atom, etc.
“This hailing message is a language we think could be used to instigate communication,” said Haqq-Misra, “and is the most advanced binary coding currently in use.”
The second signal, embedded in the first signal, will be messages from the people of Earth.
My personal reaction is not that antagonistic, since I think that cat has been out of the bag a loooooong time ago. Also, after all these decades learning about the UFO phenomenon, my general impression is that the intelligence(s) behind it seem to be interested in a grassroots type of contact from the bottom up, instead of the top-down assumptions we all imagine –i.e. the hypothetical landing on the White House lawn.
So my suspicion is that this weird anonymous e-mail sent on 2010 might just be a more effective approach to open contact than any type of official or commercial project.
3 If Seth Shostak’s scenario came into fruition, Humanity would pick up a signal from some distant civilization, and after some deliberation we might decide to reply back. Given the constrains of radio-based communications, the ‘hi there!’ message sent by us might receive a ‘whuzzup’ reply in 50, 100 or even 100,000 years in the future –which means Galaxy Twitter sucks donkey balls!
How much would have our descendants changed in that time span? In trying to answer that question, Artist and researcher Nickolay Lamm has partnered with a computational geneticist in ordered to imagine a plausible future evolution of the human race; and even though such exercises always turn out to be more indicative of the culture doing the prospection itself –to wit, how an article magazine of 1950 imagined life in the year 2000– the results are rather entertaining nonetheless –unless you happen to hate Japanese anime, in which case you’d feel revolted at the sight of Lamm’s digital rendition of future Adam & Eve, with their elongated foreheads & astonishingly large eyes.
All jokes aside though, I wonder if the authors of this study were influenced by the accounts of people who claim the alien abduction experience, as their manga-nesque men & women look eerily similar to the pop-culture renditions of human-alien hybrids.
2 All these modern prospective studies on human evolution, seem to give for granted the idea that in the future our species will take full control on the artificial manipulation of our genome, taking our original template & reshaping it to whatever configuration we see fit.
But what of the legal implications? When Sci-Fi utopia meets the hardcopy reality of our legal system, the end result is hardly worthy of a Spielberg ending. This week the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that human genes can neither be patented nor held for profit, a decision so patently obvious it’s depressingly telling on the way our laws can often twist even the most self-evident tenets.
The decision invalidates a Utah company’s patents on two genes that are linked to breast and ovarian cancer, and is likely to lead to several thousand other gene patents being tossed as well.
“This is a landmark decision,” said Dr. Stanley Robboy, president of the College of American Pathologists. “Genomic medicine has the potential to be a cornerstone of medical testing, treatment and clinical integration, but the question of who owns your genes needed a definitive answer. Now we have it.”
Given the past ruling of the Supreme court to uphold the warrantless collection of DNA samples, I’d say their score now is 50/50.
1 To a Stone Age caveman, our current discussions on genetic manipulation would either seem utterly incomprehensible, or he would think our race had acquired god-like attributes. Ironically enough, a recent discovery of an intricate grid of Neolithic cave systems spanning from Scotland to Turkey (!) is a humbling reminder that we still have a lot of things to understand about our ancient origins.
Some experts believe the network was a way of protecting man from predators while others believe that some of the linked tunnels were used like motorways are today, for people to travel safely regardless of wars or violence or even weather above ground.
Cute hypothesis. Unfortunately, the fact that most of these passages are just 70 cm wide seems to throw the motorway idea by the wayside. The fact of the matter is that this massive tunnel system is a big WTF thrown at our quaint preconceptions about antiquity. Perhaps the caves are somehow connected to the concept of Ley Lines, and the caves are in fact underground water channels? I’ll just say that the first time I read of them, they made me think of ancient Teotihuacan, and how underneath the ancient pyramid there’s a natural volcanic grotto where magic ceremonies are thought to have been practiced.
What’s more tantalizing about the Mail article is the paragraph stating that “[i]n some cases writings have been discovered referring to the tunnels seen as a gateway to the underworld.”
As always, we’ve just barely scratched the surface at the mystery of who we are.
Until next time, this is RPJ jacking out, hoping all you Fortean fathers had a wonderful day.