Greetings, fellow Coppertops! Let us commence the month of June with a deluxe selection of Red Pills, fresh out of the batch: We’ll first discuss the biggest news story of the week and how it made all cosmologists drool with excitement, before fizzling out into the ether; we’ll then say adieu to every conspiranoid’s favorite secret installation (again) & take our turn for the new suspended animation trials; later we’ll enter the kinkiest aspects of communicating with the dead, and end our session by test driving one of Google’s prototype Autobots. This week the column is fondly dedicated to my friend & colleague Brent Swancer, who is currently suffering from some health-related issues, which for now prevent him from overloading the MU servers with all the traffic generated by his top-of-the-notch articles; get well soon, Rookie!
Gamma Gamma Down Dubido Down Down!
It’s the kind of thing which make both astronomers & doom mongers wet their trousers: A gamma ray burst, possibly the most energetic phenomenon in the visible Universe, with enough power to obliterate everything on its path –eat your heart out, Forerunners!
Before May ended many astronomers sent Twitter ablazing with the announcement that such an event had occurred right next to our own backyard –well, in cosmological terms at least– in the neighboring galaxy of Andromeda, which would have made it the closest one ever observed.
Unfortunately, instead of acquiring the green hue of Dr. Bruce Banner, said astronomers ended up with red in their face, after it was confirmed the burst had been a false alarm. Oh well…
And since we’re talking about science news which have come under hard scrutiny, we need to discuss a previous Red Pill from March of this year, which discussed the announcement of ‘gravity ripples’ confirming the scientific theory known as Cosmic Inflation; during the few months after the historical discovery, different scientists studies have raised objections over the alleged detection of the so-called gravity waves, arguing that the March detection was too weak to be of any significance.
This is the way the scientific game is played, and while I do consider that Science can sometimes uphold certain ideas & theories to the level of dogma, to Science’s credit those dogmas CAN be overthrown in a matter of years or decades –instead of centuries, like in religious articles of faith.
A HAARP Unplayed
Whereas a gamma ray burst is among the deadliest & most frightening threats one could ever think of, the type of phenomenon that occupies most tinfoil hat-wearing conspiracy theorists’ waking thoughts, are the screwing around with the ionosphere they’ve accused the infamous HAARP facility ever since they knew of its existence. The military research center has been blamed for everything ranging from weather manipulation, the triggering of earthquakes, to long-range mind control over large chunks of the population.
Until now. The Air Force has announced Congress it’s planning to close HAARP for good, something we here at the Pills had already announced almost a year ago.
Science writer David Naiditch says it is easy to explain why HAARP is an attractive target for conspiracy theorists. It is because its “purpose seems deeply mysterious to the scientifically uninformed”.
Perhaps, but Naiditch should also keep in mind the Air Force didn’t set up the Alaskan facility just because they were incredibly interested in studying the ionosphere. Since its inception, the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program had several military-related goals, including the possible disruption of enemy radar systems, and using the ionosphere as an ULF antenna to communicate with submerged submarines.
Suspended Animation… For Science!
Before we became obsessed with global conspiracies involving weather-control secret facilities, the old idea of a mad scientist consisted of a dungeon-type laboratory full of Tesla coils, pickled brains & the frequent shouting of “it’s aliiiiiiive!” amid crackling thunders –the hunchbacked assistant was optional.
This recent Red Pills feels as something right out of an Ed Wood flick –sans the cross-dressing: The UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is ready to conduct the first suspended animation trials in human patients; the Sci-Fiesque technique is not intended for traveling to a far-away star system (yet) but it will be used instead in an attempt to save the lives of victims of severe trauma wounds:
The technique will initially be used on 10 patients whose wounds would otherwise be lethal in an attempt to buy the surgeons some time. It works, as suggested by science fiction, by cooling the body — but not by applying an external temperature change.
Instead, a team of surgeons will remove all of the patient’s blood, replacing it with a cold saline solution. This will cool the body, slowing its functions to a halt and reducing the need for oxygen. Effects similar to this have been seen in accidents: Swedish Anna Bågenholm survived trapped under a layer of ice in freezing water for 80 minutes in a skiing accident; Japanese Mitsutaka Uchikoshi survived 24 days without food or water by entering a state of hypothermic hibernation.
“We are suspending life, but we don’t like to call it suspended animation because it sounds like science fiction,” Doctor Samuel Tisherman, the surgeon who will lead the trial, told New Scientist. “So we call it emergency preservation and resuscitation.”
Although the prospect of implementing similar procedures in long-term space travel is very cool indeed (no pun intended) right now I’m thinking of other interesting outcomes, possibly occurring while the bodies of emergency patients are literally ‘switched off’: what happens if some of them report veridical out-of-body events, akin to the ones reported by near death experiencers?
Spectrophilia (Yep: It *IS* a Thing)
I guess anyone successfully surviving from a suspended animation trial is technically a reanimated corpse –which may or may not work as a pickup line, depending on the circumstances…
But in any case, this week The Daily Grail linked to an even fringiest sexual practice than necrophilia: Spectrophilia, which could be understood as actively participating in sexual intercourse with the discarnate entity purported to be a long-deceased individual.
Go on, take your time to wrap your head around that.
The sexorcist in question is Adrien Blackwell, a 34-yearl-old psychic based in Hawaii who told The Daily Star she has a 250-year-old Native American lover she calls Beta. I guess 2 & a half centuries are enough to explore all the techniques included in the Kamasutra –and having no physical body would also improve your flexibility…
She described having sex with hunky Beta as being out of this world.
She said: “It is like being on another planet, something much more than anything humanly possible.
“My first experience was not scary, just strange.
“It felt new, but at the same time something that felt very old, as if I had done it before.
“I remember Beta getting into the bed and holding me, but when I looked up no-one was there.
“Then I felt him get on top of me, like a warm blanket covering me from head to toe.
“It was like having sex with our whole bodies – no part of my body was left untouched.”
Taking Blackwell’s testimony seriously for a minute, my main caveat is how I always assumed unevolved spirits would be the ones still clinging to Earthly pleasures –like sex, for instance. Many of my Coppertop readers are no doubt familiar with the famous Entity case, in which a woman named Doris Bither claimed to suffer regular rapes perpetrated by an incorporeal specter; so from that perspective, wouldn’t Blackwell’s affair with Beta go against his spiritual advancement?
The Brave New World of Solar Roads & Self-driven Cars
Being in bed with a bodiless lover is probably less stressing than riding a driver-less car, and yet that’s exactly the type of future that the Google engineers –Googlineers?– have in store for us: this week the most commented-upon news was the unveiling of the Silicon Valley giant’s prototype of a 2-seat vehicle, capable of navigating through traffic without the aid of a living pilot.
A quick glance at Dezeen’s comment section shows most critics are focusing on the ‘kawaii’ style adopted by Google –which, some argue, was a deliberate move in order to ease the fear of the public when facing such a radical idea. And although we should wait & see if Google will eventually seek to partner up with some of the big automakers, as a designer I’m struck by the clear statement portrayed in the car’s design: This is not your parent’s Winnebago, a metal chariot intended to traverse the great American landscape & try its tiny rubber wheels on route 66; this is a commuting gadget, designed for single professionals or small one-parent families, who currently devote far too many hours of their schedule trapped on traffic jams, and unable to safely use their smartphones to kill the tedium.
The Google Car may not be the future, but it’s clearly a sign of our present.
Yet the cute Autobot wasn’t the only bold proposal for renewing our transport infrastructure. This week an Indie Go-Go campaign was launch to back an idea so radical, it makes the Google Car look like a bland iPhone upgrade in comparison: Solar-paneled roads!
Best idea ever, or weed-fueled pipe dream? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
Until next time, this is RPJ jacking out. Always remember that the most difficult changes we can take, are those we’re not immediately forced to accept by circumstances.