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Red Pills of the Week — November 9th

Greetings, fellow Coppertops! 2013 is rapidly ending, yet it’s still delivering oodles of fascinating news & stories powerful enough to challenge your concept of Reality. From 3D-printed human tissue, Indian missions to Mars & panthers roaming the wilds of England. And as we analyze a puzzling video of a multicolored UFO recorded in Michigan, we’ll dare to peer inside the wooden Box of Crazy –but once it’s open, will we be able to close it down? Will we even want to?

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“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.”
art
These are the 1st verses in the book of Genesis, which should be familiar to anyone who went to Sunday Bible school, where you were also taught that God made Adam out of clay. Now any mildly reasonable person grows to understand Genesis shouldn’t be interpreted as a literal explanation of the origin of the world, and yet a paper published this week at the Scientific Reports journal, is suggestive that there might be a hidden metaphor inside the ancient poetry: Cornell University biological professor Dan Luo suggest that clay could have been the perfect breeding ground for the complex biochemicals conducive to the emergence of proteins & nucleic acids that made life possible. The clay hydrogels could have served as a protective shell protecting those chemical processes until the membrane that surrounds living cells developed.

So, is this evidence that Life could arise in our planet without any need of ‘external’ intervention? Not necessarily. The JLP has recently announced they have discovered a microbe so resilient it can not only withstand the harsh conditions of outer space, but it also needs almost no food to sustain itself. In other words, the perfect vessel for Panspermia insemination.

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It’s impossible not to think that we in the XXIst century enjoy almost god-like powers: We can traverse great distances in very little time, communicate instantaneously with people across the world, and have the whole of human knowledge at our fingerprints. It would seem the only thing left to do is to create Life.

Enter the 3D printers: We’ve often mentioned in this column the quasi-magical potential these machines will bring in the near future, and this news is sure to make PETA *very* happy! bioengineering PhD student Alan Faulkner-Jones of Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, says that in 5 years 3D-printed human tissue could replace animal testing of new drugs:

The technology could be ready to replace animal testing within five years, he believes. “The micro-tissues I think would be in the order of five years away hopefully, if we carry on at the pace we are now,” he said. “You could even test personalised drugs. So you’d be able to use cells of the person that is ill and create specific micro-tissues that would replicate their response, rather than the response of a generic human.

An innovation that would not only be humane but also far more practical, especially when you consider how medicines that look very promising during the animal trials end up being useless or even harmful when applied to humans.

83D printers are bound to make the world look very different in the not-so-distant future. It’s quite possible that our children will be shocked when they learn we used to go out to ‘shops’ when we needed new stuff.

They might also be appalled & disgusted when they also learn we used to consume all sorts of food & snacks filled with trans fats: In the United States, the FDA is looking to gradually ban the unhealthy trans fats, a move Commissioner Margaret Hamburg says will prevent 20,000 heart attacks a year & 7,000 deaths –not to mention all the billions of dollars lost in medical care & lost days of work.

Enjoy it while it lasts, Homie

Enjoy it while it lasts, Homie

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Trans fats is not the only thing we’re gonna miss: Back in August we were all very excited for the return of Art Bell to the airwaves. Well, turns out the expectation lasted longer than Art Bell’s new show on Sirius XM Dark Matters! After just 6 weeks, the program has been indefinitely cancelled.

“Many thousands of my listeners came on board when it began but they have fallen off because of that reason,” Bell said. “It’s a systemic problem. For a caller-driven show like this one, speaking only to people on cell phones in moving vehicles is somewhat difficult.

“The show also is being pirated, oh you have no idea. We are all over the Net right now, from YouTube to a server in England, for example, that’s streaming the show live. And because of all this, I have asked SiriusXM to alter their normal method of doing business and allow free streaming for everybody from artbell.com.”

Perhaps Bell couldn’t cope with the new competition which came to fill in the void of his departure. Perhaps satellite radio proved too constricting for his style to do radio. Or maybe he really didn’t miss being on the air as much as he thought he did…

It matters not. The show must go on!

6Back in the 90’s Bell was the King of Paranormal radio, but as kings go he had far better luck than others. Take for example the famous King Tut, whose early demise has been the matter of discussion for decades. Did he die of natural causes, or was he assassinated?

Researchers have reanalyzed his mummified remains and concluded that he died after being hit by a chariot’s wheel in the torso. But what’s even more surprising is that once inside his coffin his body spontaneously combusted! Scientists blame an incompetent mummification process, but maybe the son of Akhenaten ended up paying for his father’s insult to the ancient gods of Egypt.

Tutankhamen: the Grimes of Giza –poor bastard…

5From Egypt we move to India: On November 5th a probe destined to planet Mars was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Center, at just a fraction of the cost NASA usually spends in similar missions. The spacecraft is expected to reach the Red Planet by March 2014.

Prof Andrew Coates, from University College London’s Mullard Space Science Laboratory, told BBC News: “I think this mission really brings India to the table of international space exploration. Interplanetary exploration is certainly not trivial to do, and [India] has found some interesting scientific niches to make some measurements in.”

Those niche areas include searching for the signature of methane (CH4) in the Martian atmosphere, which has previously been detected from Martian orbit and telescopes on Earth. However, Nasa’s Curiosity rover recently failed to find the gas in its measurements of atmospheric gases.

The more in the Space Race the merrier IMO. Having only 2 or 3 nations invested in expanding the reach of humanity past our planetary borders is not a good investment. Who knows? Maybe the 1st thing the initial colonizers of Mars will do, is organize a massive Bollywoodesque musical number.

Jhoomer Chopra from Mars

Jhoomer Chopra of Mars

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John Carter of Mars wasn’t that bad, but it was hardly the foundation for a solid series. Perhaps it was due to poor editing decisions & inefficient directing, or maybe it was simply because the material is not powerful enough to attain the level of Myth, unlike Star Trek & Star Wars.

Speaking of Star Wars, last Friday every geek in the planet felt a major disturbance in the Force: a date for the release of Episode VII has finally been officially given! December 18, 2015.

C’mon, admit it! You’re excited to return to that galaxy far far away.

3 Back in 1977, when Episode IV changed an entire generation forever, English laws allowed its citizens to have exotic felines as pets. Then the laws changed & many unconscious owners decided to release their overgrown kitties into the wild. Many cryptozoologists suspect that modern reports of ABCs (alien big cats) are the result of some of those panthers breeding a viable population; so far, the official position of British authorities is to deny any validity to the many sightings & occasional photos that have been piling up throughout the years.

Not big cats... but damn adorable! ~ E

Not big cats… but damn adorable! ~ E

Things may be about to change, though: Dr. Andrew Hemmings is a senior lecturer in animal science at the Royal Agricultural University, in Cirencester, and he’s investigating ABCs for a year. His research has concentrated in the pathology of animal remains, which show signs of having been killed & eaten by a large predator:

The teeth markings left on the bones were analysed to establish which animals had feasted on them. In a quarter of the cases, it was found that the “tooth pit” indentations – markings made by canine teeth, as they clamp on the bones – caused by something larger than species known to exist in the wild, such as badgers and foxes.

However, as dogs’ teeth can make similar indentations, a further analysis was carried out to look for markings made by carnassial teeth, used for shearing flesh and bone.

In a big cat, these are far wider apart than in a dog, so the analysis allows dogs to be discounted as culprits.

In 17 cases there were insufficient markings to make a judgement but in the remaining three they are not only clearly visible but indicate that big cats, rather than domestic dogs, are responsible.

If Hemmings’ investigation is confirmed & accepted, I wonder what the authorities’ reaction will be. Perhaps large hunting parties will be established to capture these predators, or ranchers will be helped to increase the security of their cattle. Whatever the case, there’s no more hazardous threat than that of which its existence is denied.

2Looking for elusive panthers in the woods is hard, but at least your search is constrained to the ground. Looking for UFOs takes a whole lot more than a pair of binoculars & security cameras…

Then again, security cameras CAN be useful sometimes: In October, a man from Michigan uploaded this fascinating video on Youtube, allegedly taken with his home security camera. The clip shows a mysterious ball of light which constantly changes colors, and even shoots a ‘laser beam’ downward –similar to the video we mentioned on the last Red Pills.

“I captured this footage on my home security camera around 11 pm in my front yard in Southeast, Mich., and I’m about eight miles north of an Air National Guard base,” jcattera wrote on his YouTube page. “I was on the lookout for capturing a fireball. I thought I might be able to catch one on video, but I never expected to capture this!”

jcattera has posted a second video, which has arisen suspicions among some investigators (pay attention to 2:25, when the light seems to ‘draw water’ from a pond).

Yes, the fact that the light is perfectly framed all time is fishy, but these are still pretty interesting videos. Fake? You decide.

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Imagine if you saw something like the light shown in the previous videos. What would that do to your psyche? Perhaps it would be far too shocking for most individuals to handle.

This week a mysterious wooden box has captured the imagination of the Internet: Dubbed the Box of Crazy, it was said to have been found on the side of the road in Asheville, N.C., in 2008 –more on that later– and we now it belonged to a man named Daniel Frederick Christiansen, who died in Rochester in 2010. The box contains luscious illustrations mixing UFOlogical themes with religious iconography —cherubs with extraterrestrial helmets & heavenly craft– along with pages written with carefully drawn block letters. It is the testament of a man obsessed with deep ideas. The gospel of a man who was ‘ravaged by the spirit.’

My friend Theo Paijmans decided to name this the Ezekiel Box, which IMO is a far more fitting name. I myself was reminded of the movie Knowing (2009) with Nicolas Cage, which tells the story of a man who becomes obsessed with a numeric code that he can use to predict future tragedies. Not only do we have here an interesting progression –2008 (year the box is found), 2009 (year Knowing is released) & 2010 (death of Christiansen)– but I had a personal synchronicity when I realized that in the movie Cage has a young son called Caleb, and my buddy Caleb Hanks –which looks A LOT like the strange Men in Black that appear in that film– happens to live in… Asheville, North Carolina (!).

An article published by The Tampa Tribune adds another piece to the puzzle: It proposes the theory that in 1977 Christiansen confused a light art installation with a UFO sighting, aside with the fact that in July 7 1977 (7/7/77) he witnessed a tornado in Tampa.

“Then I looked, and behold, a whirlwind was coming out of the north, a great cloud with raging fire engulfing itself; and brightness was all around it and radiating out of its midst like the color of amber, out of the midst of the fire.” (from The Book of Ezekiel)

I really don’t know what was the trigger of Christiansen’s maniacal creativity, nor I care. I can appreciate the kernel of brilliance embedded in those yellowing pages, and feel sorry for the people who only see madness in them –they suffer from the worst kind of madness: blind dullness.

“Was it the onset of acute schizophrenia, or was it a genuine mystic revelation?

And then again, is there any difference??”

(From The Religious Experience of Philip K. Dick)

Until next time, this is RPJ jacking out, hoping you’re never afraid of being blinded by the Light.

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Miguel Romero a.k.a. Red Pill Junkie is a cartoonist and fortean blogger who writes at Daily Grail and Mysterious Universe..
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