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Red Pills of the Week — March 8th

Greetings, fellow Coppertops! Our next mission on the Fortean Matrix will reveal to us many things: from a possible cure to HIV to a possible encounter between a fighter jet & a UFO; we’ll review NASA’s plans for a future mission to Europa, along with yet another tantalizing evidence for organic life in Mars’ ancient past. And as we analyze the possible identity of the mysterious Bitcoin founder, we’ll welcome the second edition of one of TV’s most memorable science programs. You won’t need to come aboard the spaceship of the imagination for this trip, you’ll just need to relax while our flight attendants impale your skull with the Nebuchadnezzar’s mind jacks –easy pease!

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HIV-budding-Color

Long before humanity was at war with the A.I. machines of Zero One, we’ve been fighting an even more relentless enemy: Viruses. By the 1980’s TV news programs warned us of a new member in our enemies’ ranks, known as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and my generation had yet another reason to avoid unprotected sexual intercourse, due to the social panic provoked by the new pandemic of the XXth century: AIDS.

Though the chances of survival for HIV patients has increased dramatically since those early years, a possible cure or vaccine still looks far away on the horizon. Or perhaps not that far, considering how last year a team of scientists announced that a baby born in Mississippi with HIV had been cured, following a procedure of aggressive drug treatment just 30 hours after birth. Skeptics were quick to doubt the ‘miracle cure’, but they may have to swallow their words in light of the announcement of a second baby born in Los Angeles, who was said to have been equally cured of HIV following the same early treatment.

Not only that, but Canadian scientists are reporting that at least 5 children who have been treated with the same medical procedure show “as little HIV virus in their bodies” as was reported in the Los Angeles baby.

[…] [A] clinical trial in which up to 60 babies who are born infected will be put on drugs within 48 hours is set to begin soon, another researcher added.

If that trial works — and it will take several years of following the babies to determine whether it has — the protocol for treating all 250,000 babies born infected each year worldwide will no doubt be rewritten.

“This could lead to major changes, for two reasons,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, executive director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “Both for the welfare of the child, and because it is a huge proof of concept that you can cure someone if you can treat them early enough.”

Fantastic news, which shows we may finally put an end to the scourge of AIDS. And not a moment too soon, it seems! given how global warming could resurrect strains of paleoviruses for which we might not have any resistance. We may win one battle, but the war goes on…

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Fighting deadly diseases is one thing, but fighting alien invaders? Now that’s the stuff of Science Fiction, son!

…Or is it?

It’s been a while since we covered a UFO news in this column, so I thank our friends at Open Minds from bringing this story to our attention: According to the Indian Air Force (IAF), a Su-30MKI fighter jet was scrambled from Halwara air base to intercept an unidentified object slowly moving toward India’s border with Pakistan. The Economic Times of India reports that the UFO was “a weather balloon” –typical…– flying with the wind in direction to the border, and that after 20 minutes it returned from whence it came. The incident will still be investigated by the authorities, due to a possible near-miss collision between the military aircraft & two civilian airliners.

Is the ‘weather balloon’ explanation part of a coverup? We need to remember that on previous Red Pills we covered a lot of UFO incidents occurring in India, so perhaps something else is going on. I for one would presume weather balloons are not as uncommon on those areas as to elicit such an aggressive response from the Indian Air Force.

There’s no denying that among the many diverse types of UFO encounters, those involving military jet pilots are among the most interesting & compelling; which is why we once again turn to Open Minds to learn the story of Yugoslavian Army jet fighter pilot Suada Hamzića, who has recently revealed his personal encounters with UFOs on the website Tango Six.

Hamzića’s first sighting was in the spring of 1972 in the early afternoon. He was flying a Mig-21 on a routine reconnaissance flight in the region on Delcina. The jet was a two-seater and in the back was Captain First Class Stipić Dušan. On takeoff they were asked to check something out. When they flew to the coordinates they saw a bright luminous object.

Hamzića could not determine the altitude of the object, but he knows it was much higher than he was. Because it was a routine reconnaissance flight, they were not equipped with the proper equipment to fly at high altitude or at a speed greater than Mach 1.6.

Hamzića began to climb to get a closer look and the object got bigger and bigger as he got closer. He climbed at Mach 1.4, and reached 13,000 meters, but could still not be sure how much higher the UFO was. He says it could have been 17,ooo or even 24,000 meters. It was impossible to say for sure.

Just then the object zipped out to the west, decreasing in size and luminosity, and then it was gone. Hamzića says what impressed him was that the craft must have been moving between 4000 to 6000 km/h (the equivalent of around 2500 – 4000 mph).

To learn more about the rest Hamzića’s sightings, visit the Open Minds website.

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europa_mission

Sci-Fi writer Arthur C Clarke was very skeptical of the extraterrestrial explanation for UFO’s, this despite the fact that he personally had had many sightings, including one with movie director Stanley Kubrick on the night they decided to film 2001 — or maybe it was BECAUSE of his sightings that he decided there had to be other explanation for UFOs aside of them being interplanetary craft conducting surveillance on our planet?

Clarke passed away in 2008 but I’m sure wherever he is he must be smiling, due to the recent news that NASA is starting to look into the details to a future mission to Europa, the Jovian moon which was so prominent in the sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey. Given how Europa is widely considered to be the likeliest place to find extraterrestrial life in our solar system, you can already see why this is such an exciting project.

The mission will likely involve a fly-by and –Firstborn willing– perhaps deploying a probe that could penetrate the icy crust covering the moon’s oceans.

“I would not be overly optimistic until I see the words, ‘We want to go to Europa’” from the administration, said planetary scientist Alyssa Rhoden of NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center.

What Rhoden and other Europa researchers are really looking for is a definite commitment to the Europa Clipper mission, which is estimated to cost $2 billion and is not officially part of NASA’s long-term plans. The mission has been planned for at least the last 15 years and is part of a back and forth tussle between the agency, the White House, and Congress in recent years.

Awesome news if you ask me. I think it’s great NASA is looking beyond sending rovers to Mars; and even though we’re finding more evidence suggesting the Red Planet once showed signs of organic activity –like the discovery of ‘microtunnels’ & little ‘blobs’ of carbon inside a Martian meteorite— at the moment we seem to be at some sort of cultural stalemate on the issue of life on Mars: we know it’s quite possible Mars was just like Earth millions of years ago, but any direct claim to the finding of actual fossils is met with derision & ridicule.

Perhaps finding evidence of PRESENT extraterrestrial life will force scientists to be more open-minded about FOSSILIZED extraterrestrial life.

2

satoshi-nakamoto-comic

Any future mission to Europa will be extremely expensive, and could suffer budget cuts imposed by the whim of future administrations. If only NASA sought the backing of private investors… like perhaps Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto, whose stash of digital currency is claimed to be worth millions of dollars.

The true identity of Satoshi Nakamoto evolved into a sort of Internet myth: Some imagined he was some young Libertarian hacktivist using a pseudonym, others even suggested there was NO Nakamoto, and that it was a cover for some secret radical organization seeking to disrupt global economy. But recently Newsweek published an article claiming they had solved the mystery, and that the enigmatic Satoshi Nakamoto’s real identity is… Satoshi Nakamoto, an eccentric mild-mannered 64-year-old Japanese immigrant with a passion for Mathematics & collecting model trains, who seems to be happy living a modest life in Southern California.

1792723_bitcoin_creator_AJS_

Instead of a Bugatti Veyron, the father of the most successful cryptocurrency rides a Toyota Corolla.

Which may validate the suspicions that Nakamoto has done classified work for the military & perhaps even intelligence agencies, since real spies don’t wear tuxedos or drink vodka martinis –shaken, not stirred– surrounded by gorgeous women in some Hong Kong casino. Spying in the real world demands keeping a low profile. Was Bitcoin part of a ‘black project’ which was accidentally set loose into the world wide web?

Descended from Samurai and the son of a Buddhist priest, Nakamoto was born in July 1949 in the city of Beppu, Japan, where he was brought up poor in the Buddhist tradition by his mother, Akiko. In 1959, after a divorce and remarriage, she immigrated to California, taking her three sons with her. Now age 93, she lives with Nakamoto in Temple City.

[…] Nakamoto, who was laid off twice in the 1990s, according to Mitchell, fell behind on mortgage payments and taxes and their home was foreclosed. That experience, says Nakamoto’s oldest daughter, Ilene Mitchell, 26, may have informed her father’s attitude toward banks and the government.

A libertarian, Nakamoto encouraged his daughter to be independent, start her own business and “not be under the government’s thumb,” she says. “He was very wary of the government, taxes and people in charge.”

Leah McGrath Goodman, the journalist who wrote the article for Newsweek, didn’t seem to have taken too many precautions to protect Nakamoto’s identity; a somewhat reprehensible decision, considering how the (alleged) founder of Bitcoin might now be at risk of someone wanting to cash in on his untouched stash. But if Dorian S. Nakamoto IS the real Nakamoto, then I can only say Hooray for middle-aged radicals! I’m 40 already & I’m tired of the world telling me I should’ve changed the world when I was still in my 20’s; Nakamoto is a role model I find more appealing than Mark Zuckerberg.

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cosmos

By 2140 there will be 21 million Bitcoins worth billions & billions of dollars. By then we will probably know a lot more about the billions & billions of galaxies conforming the Cosmos, and hopefully we’ll be well underway into becoming a space-faring civilization… IF we don’t blow ourselves up, that is.

Such was the wish & goal of the late Carl Sagan, who helped revolutionize Science popularization thanks to his critically & popularly acclaimed TV program Cosmos, who had a profound impact in my childhood, as well as that of many children of the 80’s & subsequent decades.

Obviously some of the theories & concepts discussed by Sagan have become somewhat obsolete, for such is the fast-pacing nature of Astronomical discoveries. Which is why this Sunday Cosmos will be updated & rebooted with the help of Sagan’s protege, Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey will be simultaneously released on 220 channels in 181 countries.

I have a somewhat odd love/hate relationship with Neil, just as I had it with Sagan himself. On the one hand I love the way they manage to capture & inspire the public’s imagination on scientific matters, and their message to keep pressing forward exploring Nature as we’ve done so for the last 200 years or so. But on the other hand, I can’t stand both their pedestrian attitude toward UFOs, and I fear this new version of Cosmos will continue will the veiled atheist proselytizing of its predecessor. Time will prove whether I’m right or wrong.

If you watch the premiere of Cosmos, please consider sharing your review of it with us on the comment section.

Until next time, this is RPJ jacking out. Reminding you of how the fact that we’re aware of our own irrelevance in the big scheme of things, is precisely what makes us relevant.

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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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