Sunday, December 31, 2006

I have the feeling George Dvorsky doesn't realize just how right he is.

Here's a smart guy who's comfortable talking about existential risks, genetic uplift and ubiquitous surveillance -- but seems unwilling to consider that we might be engaged in a symbolic dialogue with an intelligence that purposefully camouflages itself using the belief system as its disposal. Or that we might be dealing with something so profoundly alien that our minds utilize familiar concepts in order to make sense of it.

"Blessed Art Thou" by Kate Kretz

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Hawking rewrites history... backwards

But in the first instants of the Big Bang, there existed a superposition of ever more different versions of the Universe, instead of a unique history. And most crucially, Hertog says that "our current Universe has features frozen in from this early quantum mixture".

In other words, some of these alternative histories have left their imprint behind. This is why Hertog and Hawking insist that their 'top-down' cosmology is testable. Hertog says that the theory predicts the pattern of the variations in intensity of microwave background radiation, the afterglow of the Big Bang now imprinted on the sky, which reveal fluctuations in the fireball of the nascent Universe. These variations are minute, but space-based detectors have measured them ever more accurately over the past several years.

[. . .]

The theory also suggests an answer to the puzzle of why some of the 'constants of nature' seem finely tuned to a value that allows life to evolve. If we start from where we are now, it is obvious that the current Universe must 'select' those histories that lead to these conditions. Otherwise we simply wouldn't be here.

(Via Sentient Developments.)

Could some of the never-were universes posited by Hawking have produced intelligent life? It's clear that Hawking and Hertog aren't proposing anything so extravagant; at best, they argue, the microwave background radiation -- the so-called "afterglow of creation" -- will reveal evidence of fossil universes entwined with our own.

Still, it's tempting to consider a ramped-up version of Hawking's model that allows all possible timelines to coexist and interact with a contemporary observer. A model of this sort might be able to shed light on "paranormal" happenings ranging from precognition to sightings of "aliens."

I'm not about to propose a formal theory that explains how this might be possible, but it's worth noting that even jaded Forteans still cling to a theoretically antiquated view of the Cosmos. Could a quantum approach yield a better explanatory paradigm?
Mothman Phone Home (Greg Bishop)

John Keel's Mothman Prophecies is a classic of fortean and UFO literature. If you don't think so, we can step outside.

Keel weaves the strange events of 1966-67 in Point Pleasant, West Virginia into a chilling tale which ended in a predicted disaster. Mothman was seen by over 100 witnesses, who usually described the entity as a six foot tall humanoid with a wingspan of ten feet, While no head was ever reported, witnesses said that it had two glowing red "eyes" between its shoulders. Like the legendary Springheel Jack, it only appeared at night and often chased people right to their doorsteps. It would also chase cars, never seeming to lose interest even if the terrified witnesses drove at over 100 mph. UFOs were also observed by many residents.

On the face of it, "Mothman" is a case that seems unlikely to represent extraterrestrial visitation: the creature appears more like a fever-induced apparition than an alien from another world.

Nevertheless, UFO activity plays a quiet but important role in the events at Point Pleasant, challenging "nuts and bolts" researchers with an unwelcome paradox. Are the UFOs somehow more real than the entity itself (in which case we might be able to attribute Mothman to a projection or ET misinformation campaign)? Is it the other way around? Or are both phenomena equally liminal, a testament to Keel's proposed "superspectrum"?

"The Mothman Prophecies" is a disturbing plunge that some "serious" ufologists would prefer you didn't take. Don't let them stop you.
Just because:

Ancient ice shelf breaks free from Canadian Arctic

A giant ice shelf the size of 11,000 football fields has snapped free from Canada's Arctic, scientists said.

The mass of ice broke clear 16 months ago from the coast of Ellesmere Island, about 800 kilometers (497 miles) south of the North Pole, but no one was present to see it in Canada's remote north.

Scientists using satellite images later noticed that it became a newly formed ice island in just an hour and left a trail of icy boulders floating in its wake.

Oh, and happy New Year.

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

Another huge surprise.
Blog of the day: The Orange Orb

Friday, December 29, 2006

Of course, it's just possible that UFOs come from . . . the third dimension!

(With thanks to Greg Bishop. Be sure to read his 20 Most Important Dates In Ufology.)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Food from Cloned Animals Safe to Eat - US Agency

Milk and meat from some cloned animals are safe to eat, the US Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday in a draft ruling that brings the controversial technology closer to American grocery carts.

If given final approval, the ruling would allow for the sale of food made from cloned cattle, pigs and goats, but not sheep, in the United States for the first time.

The agency said it would be unlikely to recommend special labels for food made from clones, which are genetic twins of donor animals, but would not decide on the labeling issue until it collects comments from the public over the next 90 days.
I visited a coffeeshop tonight and sat down next to a not-unattractive girl I'd seen many times before. (It was the only available seat.) We'd never spoken, so I said hi and asked her what she was reading, which turned out to be a work of slickly produced Fundamentalist Christian "scholarship" so deeply fuckwitted it made Tim LaHaye's output look like a bastion of reason. She told me matter-of-factly about how Satan and demons are fighting for our souls (invisibly, of course), leaving me to gaze on in mute horror, possessed (no pun intended) by a sudden urge to leave the premises.

At least I got a good look at the book jacket. According to the author, satanic forces are infiltrating in the guise of New Age beliefs. (I would expect that includes interest in UFOs.) Nothing new there, but it was somehow disenchanting to find a girl in her early- to mid-twenties lapping it up so uncritically.

Anyway, I'm home now. I'm considering never leaving my apartment.
Forget theories and hypotheses for a moment. What do I know (or think I know) about UFOs?

I've come up with two (count 'em!) statements that, when pressed, I feel generally comfortable asserting as "fact" (insofar as "facts" go when dealing with such a slippery phenomenon). They're admittedly vague and certain to elicit disagreement. Regardless, I think they're backed by the available evidence.

1.) UFOs represent a form of nonhuman intelligence.

That is, they sometimes behave in a manner that smacks of deliberate intent and awareness of their surroundings. This could be due to some symbiotic relationship with the human psyche, alien pilots, or something stranger.

Lest you think I'm conceding that the UFO enigma can be chalked up to some form of collective hallucination, here's my second assertion:

2.) The UFO phenomenon, in at least some instances, is physical.

Please note that I'm not excluding possible "psychic" or extrasensory aspects; it's conceivable that UFOs can operate as both "objects" and as paranormal influences.

Could I be wrong? Absolutely. But given the data accumulated since the dawn of the "modern" UFO phenomenon, I don't think my contentions violate the oft-cited "extraordinary claims" maxim (which, while well-intentioned, suffers its own share of epistemological maladies).

That's it -- no third contention (at least for now) . . .

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Cryptoterrestrial Hypothesis has met with mixed reactions. Some Forteans seem to think I'm onto something. Most UFO researchers are, at best, extremely skeptical.

Others think I'm parroting John Keel's "superspectrum," a variation on the "parallel worlds" theme that in turn shares memes with Jacques Vallee's "multiverse." Both ideas suggest that we somehow occupy dimensional space with our "alien" visitors, doing away with the need for extraterrestrial spacecraft while helping explain the sense of absurdity that accompanies many UFO and occupant sightings.

Keel and Vallee have both ventured essentially "occult" ideas in cosmological terms; both the "superspectrum" and the "multiverse" require a revision of our understanding of the way reality itself works. But the Cryptoterrestrial Hypothesis is grounded in a more familiar context; I'm not suggesting unseen dimensions or the need for ufonauts to "downshift" to our level our consciousness.

Rather, I'm asking if it's feasible that the alleged aliens that occupy historical and contemporary mythology are flesh-and-blood human-like creatures that live right here on Earth. Not another version of Earth in some parallel Cosmos, but our Earth. While I can't automatically exclude the UFO phenomenon's "paranormal" aspects, I can attempt to explain them in technological terms. (For example, I see no damning theoretical reason why "telepathy" and "dematerialization" can't ultimately be explained by appealing to cybernetics, nanotechnology and other fields generally excluded from ufological discourse.)

A lynchpin of the CTH is that at least some of the more remarkable abilities displayed by reported aliens are in fact subterfuge -- immersive fictional scenarios staged to convince us we must be dealing with beings from another star system. Vallee and Keel have, of course, argued much the same thing. But both have maintained (unnecessarily, in my opinion) that the beings must hail from somewhere else -- not outer space, but an unseen realm that makes the outer space option seem almost preferable.

Needless to say, today's ufological pundits have decided to stick with the ETH. Sure, it's weird and by no means offers a holistic understanding of the phenomenon it purports to explain, but at least it makes sense in light of our own technological trajectory. After all, we've visited space (albeit briefly); the ETH has the overall appearance of a logical extrapolation.

The CTH is a synthesis. In keeping with the "nuts and bolts" tradition, it incorporates what we know about our planet and its biology and arrives at a prospective anthropology of the "other." It eschews interstellar travel in favor of beings that may not be nearly as alien as we've been conditioned to expect -- by the media and (as I argue) by the UFO intelligence itself.

Ironically enough, the CTH manages to alienate champions of the ETH and those who support a more esoteric, "interdimensional" explanation. It offers no clearcut reconciliation. It does, however, wield explanatory potential lacking in both camps.

In a new post, partner-in-crime Paul Kimball calls me on my recent almost-dismissal of the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis. (In retrospect, I agree that my argument was too brash; maybe it just came out wrong.)

Paul, defending the validity of the ETH, writes:

I see nothing "extraordinarily unlikely" about the ETH based on the various reports. Let us suppose, for example, and just for the sake of argument, that the aliens are perhaps no more than 30 or 40 years more advanced than us.

While I agree that the ETH is a viable potential explanation for the UFO phenomenon (despite my recent preoccupation with other ideas), I don't think Paul's "30 or 40 years" argument survives careful consideration.

In a comment appended to Paul's post, I remark (in part):

Faced with the vast amount of time in which our galaxy has evolved into its present state, the odds of visiting aliens possessing a technology a few meager decades ahead of us are very, very low. We'd be more likely to expect aliens hundreds of thousands, millions (or even billions) of years ahead of us -- and I think mainstream astrobiologists like [David] Grinspoon would back me up on this.

Which, of course, leads to an unsettling realization: Most "mainstream" thinkers like Grinspoon (who could help ETH proponents in their ostensible quest for the truth) steer clear of ufology. It's possible this has less to do with the phenomenon's scientific validity than with the ETH proponents' unhealthy certainty that we're dealing with ET spacecraft.

As long as the ETH remains dogma, we'll see little or no productive dialogue between the ufological "community" and the scientific mainstream. And while neither side is totally to blame, I feel it's incumbent upon ufology to break the ice. It can start by refamiliarizing itself with scientific methodology and the need to suspend conclusions -- however fetching -- in the face of a genuine unknown.
I think my uber-annoying neighbors might be gone; I haven't heard any blaring TV or rap for at least a couple days. Could they have willfully abstained for sake of decency? Has my dream of a noise-free haven actually been realized? Or have I succumbed to wishful thinking?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


(Thanks: Cliff Pickover's Reality Carnival.)
I did another interview for The Paracast today. The episode will air online Dec. 31st. Kevin Randle ("Scientific Ufology," "The Abduction Enigma") headlines. (I talk about -- surprise! -- indigenous "aliens" in our midst.)

Greg Bishop weighs in with a generous and well-written review of my 2004 book "After the Martian Apocalypse." After enduring a spate of reviews by "critics" unable to extricate themselves from the "believers/debunkers" dichotomy, this comes as a most welcome post-Christmas surprise.

Greg writes, in part:

Two and a half years after it was published, I have just finished reading Mac Tonnies' book.

Yes, I know him, and I wouldn't have published a review unless I actually liked it, but not only do I like it, I think it's one of the best examples of the "new" sort of thinking on anomalies that is the hallmark of good fortean, nay skeptical writing. Tonnies drops all predetermined opinions about Mars, and asks us to do the same.

To order a copy from Amazon, follow this link.
Dustin at OddThings has compiled a list of links to some of my recent "cryptoterrestrial" essays.
Opt for the Veggie Burger

The long-short of it is that the infrastructure and its resulting effects to support the world's 1.5 billion cattle - burning fertilizer to grow feed and the clearing of vegetation for grazing, coupled with the gas and manure emitted from said livestock - is responsible for 18 percent of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming. In addition to this increase in greenhouse gases, there is also ranching-induced deforestation, which turns a fifth of all pastures and ranges into desert; pesticide, antibiotic and hormone polluted drinking water; and dead zones (low-oxygen areas in the world's oceans that support little to no life partially caused by an excess of plant nutrients from fertilizers and sewage).

As developing nations race to catch up to first world economies, so does the practice for raising livestock, and our current consumption rates are far from sustainable. The United Nations Population Fund estimates that, "each U.S. citizen consumes an average of 260 lbs. of meat per year." And as the previous examples illustrate, these rates are not without dire costs. The Food and Agriculture Organization report concludes that unless drastic changes are made, massive damage done by livestock will more than double by 2050.

Talk about karma. This is beyond apocalyptic -- it's downright Vonnegutian.

Monday, December 25, 2006

You Are a Fruitcake

People pretend you're sweet and precious, but they know how weird you really are!

Oh, big surprise.
Life Throughout the Galaxy?

Is there a galactic habitable zone, a region within the Milky Way where conditions for life are optimum? If so, we want to know its parameters, as they would help us define the search area for living worlds. The concept has kicked around for a while, and now surfaces again in an interesting paper by Nikos Prantzos (Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris). Prantzos ponders the main variables and, while concluding that the galactic habitable zone is far from well understood, believes it conceivable that the entire galactic disk may, at this stage of its evolution, be suitable for life.
Bruce Sterling on climate change:

"We have a window of opportunity. Some of us are gonna sneak through the window more or less unscathed. Some of us are gonna be thrown through the plate-glass head-first."

Sterling is one of many who saw it coming and was studiously ignored. Because science fiction is for, you know, escapists.
I just read that James Brown is dead.

I'm hardly a "soul" aficionado, but in my considered opinion anyone who doesn't at least turn up the volume a little when a James Brown song comes on the radio simply has no concept of fun.

Paul Kimball and Nick Redfern have both cited me as ufology's equivalent to Morrissey. But maybe what ufology really needs is its own James Brown.
Bush's nominee for envoy to Armenia fails to win Senate approval

The U.S. Senate has effectively declined to approve Richard Hoagland, President George W. Bush's pick for ambassador to Yerevan, who has been condemned by U.S. Armenian groups for refusing to characterize last century's Armenian killings in the Ottoman Empire as genocide.

Masonic NASA rituals, Data's head on the Moon, now this.
Disappearing world: Global warming claims tropical island

Rising seas, caused by global warming, have for the first time washed an inhabited island off the face of the Earth. The obliteration of Lohachara island, in India's part of the Sundarbans where the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers empty into the Bay of Bengal, marks the moment when one of the most apocalyptic predictions of environmentalists and climate scientists has started coming true.

But . . . but "global warming" is just a myth perpetuated by Leftist troop-hating fear-mongers!
Of course, not all bots are as user-friendly as Asimo . . .

(Thanks: Busy, Busy, Busy.)

A bit too heavy on the "cute," but still endearing.

(Thanks: Communist Robot.)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas never does much for me, but for some reason I get excited at the prospect of an imminent new year. Nothing actually changes, but it's one more step into the future, and that alone is worth at least some celebration.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

I've always been intrigued by the essentially clumsy methods employed by the purported aliens. Their induced amnesia has a way of crumbling over a curiously brief period of time. Their craft -- which proponents of the ETH would have us believe are arbitrarily more advanced than our own -- tend to leave incriminating scars on the terrain, if not crash with worrisome frequency. Coupled with their occupants' human mannerisms, such seeming anachronisms suggest that we rethink an extraterrestrial origin; instead of dealing with beings wielding technology "indistinguishable from magic," UFO files reveal beings with surprisingly limited capabilities.

Indeed, their arsenal of gadgets, while impressive, is only a few decades in advance of our own. This observation, culled from a near-inexhaustible catalog of close encounters, hints that the phenomenon is at least partly physical, yet extraordinarily unlikely to represent ET visitation.

For example, Betty Hill reported a pregnancy test identical to amniocentesis, a technique invented shortly after her abduction. Similarly, accounts of electromagnetic effects on car engines and appliances are more in keeping with proposed earthly propulsion technologies than the sort of stealthy efficiency in keeping with a species hundreds of thousands of years ahead of us.

Scientists are already creating microscopic robots for use in medicine and industry. Given the inevitability of such devices, the presence of large metallic craft manned by humanoid pilots would appear, at best, a remarkably inept way to go about observing and cataloging life on this planet. Wouldn't a genuine ET survey mission employ miniaturized surveillance in keeping with its need for secrecy?

Instead, UFOs cruise our skies with an implacable arrogance. If our visitors are indeed extrasolar aliens, then they have a most curious penchant for drama. If, on the other hand, we're observing the activities of a cryptoterrestrial civilization, the apparent desire to be seen can be readily explained in terms of misdirection.

"Alien" imagery is the perfect cover, as our own military understands all-too-well. Greg Bishop chronicles just one example in "Project Beta," a devastating critique of the black-ops underworld and its readiness to exploit ET mythology in order to deflate serious interest in secret Air Force projects.

By utilizing our innate fascination with interplanetary visitors, the cryptoterrestrials have ensured that any accidental sightings of their craft will be ascribed to the ETH. The mainstream media, quick to "debunk" for fear of inciting ridicule, thus ignores credible sightings and inadvertently assists the cryptoterrestrial agenda. And if by some chance the sighting is undeniable, its cultural connotations will almost certainly relegate it to our collective Fortean attic.

I don't think it's accidental that so many UFOs are adorned with mesmerizing flashing lights. While one can always argue that conspicuous lights indicate the presence of some truly unearthly propulsion system, it's just as possible that they're a deliberate (and relatively low-tech) attempt to make a rather ordinary conveyance look unearthly, thereby eliciting the excitement of the very ET enthusiasts whose sightings are certain to be ignored . . . or, at best, published in some obscure journal or website.

As Vallee has astutely noted, many accounts of UFO landings have the undeniable flavor of staged events. The controversial events at Rendlesham, for instance, seem to make sense only if they were intended to be witnessed, perhaps in an attempt to further impress us with the extraterrestrial meme. In the same vein, the famous Washington National sightings, in which objects were tracked over Washington, D.C. with ground- and air-based radar and confirmed visually by mutiple witnesses, smack of an orchestrated event.

Intriguingly, the objects over Washington were limited to inexplicable sources of light -- not the "structured craft" described in other notable cases. Could the UFO intelligence use a form of holography to trick us into thinking we're observing tangible vehicles? The possibility can't be discounted. Michael Talbot supports the holographic theory in his book "The Holographic Universe," noting that some UFO displays have more in common with sophisticated projections than spacecraft.

The same can be said of many close encounters of the third or fourth kind in which witnesses report anomalous spatial effects. Some witnesses have described the interior of apparent alien vehicles as considerably larger than the craft as seen from outside; this odd detail, so bizarre when considered in isolation, might be explained as a perceptual trick enacted by the "aliens" to render their vehicles more impressive than they actually are. Upon exiting, a witness would be more likely to describe her experience in otherworldly terms.

(That the ufonauts use a form of mind control is practically taken as a given by most abduction researchers. But once we concede that our visitors are able to induce or dampen perception at will, where does one draw the line? Who's to say the bulk of abduction narratives can't be interpreted in an illusory context? Perhaps some incredible abduction reports, while sincere, reflect an intimate brush with virtual reality rather than encounters with literal extraterrestrials.)
Inconvenient Facts About Abductions (Greg Bishop)

I daresay the book about the Hill case (The Interrupted Journey) has been digested and deeply ingrained in the minds of all UFO researchers who engage in hypnotic regression with supposed abductees. There is almost no way that anyone who is interested in the subject can put this template out of their minds when investigating extra-human encounters. As one researcher (a psychologist) -- and one very sympathetic to the issue -- told me, "Many of these people have little respect for or knowledge of the unconscious."

What may have occurred is that the influence of this particular episode and its subsequent dissemination in the abduction literature provided researchers and abductees with a convenient template for their experiences, whatever they were (and are.) I am reasonably sure that many hundreds, if not thousands of people may be latching on to this image to come to terms with something completely outside of their experience, if only to have a place to put it in their minds, and come to some sort of peace with it. For the "aliens'" part, it may be just fine with them that we do this.

In other words, we may not be dealing with anything so facile as flesh-and-blood creatures (indigenous or otherwise). They could be so devastatingly alien that our brains are forced to adopt science fiction imagery simply so we can deal with their presence -- perhaps to keep from going mad. I like Greg's idea that the "aliens" could be complicit in this.
Christopher Walken on global warming:

I think some readers have surmised that since I've been writing about the possible presence of "cryptoterrestrials" I must hold the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis for UFO visitation in disdain.

Not true.

Like Stan Friedman (who's raised some worthy arguments on the UFO UpDates mailing list), I think some UFOs are likely ET in origin. But I maintain that ET visitation in no way detracts from my proposal that some UFO events are terrestrial in origin.

This convergence of possibilities might be one of the reasons some UFO pundits automatically discount indigenous intelligent nonhumans; when it comes to hypothetical unknowns, it's always easier to stick with the most familiar of any given set of options. Conceding the reality of aliens in nuts-and-bolts spacecraft might seem downright easy if it means doing away with other, equally esoteric interpretations -- regardless of explanatory potential.

(By the way, I've decided to ditch "Indigenous Hypothesis" when referring to cryptoterrestrials. From now on it's merely the "Cryptoterrestrial Hypothesis," or "CTH.")

Friday, December 22, 2006

Academics tend to describe the spread of religious belief as a social phenomenon. But maybe, at its core, we're dealing with something more accurately described as "viral."

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Strolling Barnes & Noble yesterday, I was pleased to see that Walter Jon Williams' "Hardwired" has been rereleased.

Good novel. Sure, it's dated -- but dated in a way that illuminates the present and leaves you wondering about the future.
Bioengineered bone jewelry not her thing? Then show her you really love her with one of these . . .
I've recently seen my name used in conjunction with the word "ufology." Loosely defined, ufology is the study of the UFO phenomenon. This includes disciplines ranging from metallurgy to psychology, from neuroanatomy to String Theory. The best UFO literature benefits from the reasoned inclusion of as many perspectives as possible, even those that would seem to refute the very phenomenon under investigation. (The pronounced lack of such books is predominantly why it's fashionable for intellectuals to adopt a scoffing, can't-be-bothered approach when addressing UFOs -- a most intriguing reaction, given that "UFO" simply denotes an aerial object of unknown origin.)

Am I a ufologist? I don't know. Maybe. If I am, I should probably qualify the "U" word with "theoretical." There are theoretical physicists and literary theorists; why not theoretical ufologists?

The ufological "community" suffers from creative anemia. It has a disheartening tendency to refute dissenting voices -- even those within its own ranks -- with tired screeds that unnecessarily polarize the debate (such as it is) between cautious advocates of the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis and know-nothing science popularizers who seem genuinely incapable of considering the UFO inquiry outside the cognitive barriers posed by decades of cheesy sci-fi cinema and the legacy of myriad True Believers.

So it's no real surprise why ufology is marginal. While its luminaries might noisily claim otherwise, ufology collectively wants to be marginal. With the lamentable exception of a few spokesmen who feel the need to "explain" the phenomenon's intricacies to a wary public (often in the guise of would-be political discourse), the ostensible UFO community remains afraid of stepping into the rude glow of widespread public attention.

And it has a right to be be afraid. Having dotingly constructed a theoretical house of straw, many ufological proponents secretly prefer the tenuous camaraderie of their peers to the much more exciting prospect of being taken seriously by science. (This isn't to condemn UFO research as anti-scientific; perhaps the only reason the field remains afloat at all is the pioneering effort of scientists such as James McDonald, J. Allen Hynek and Jacques Vallee.)

But the era of genuine hypotheses seems to be nearing an end. The "old guard," inexplicably enamored of the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis, is now engaged in little more than ideological turf-wars. The boons of speculation have been quietly set aside in favor of models that make just enough sense to allow their defenders to issue brittle proclamations with semi-straight faces.

Meanwhile, the enigma persists -- as always, seemingly just beyond our comprehension. And we have the nerve to wonder why.
Cyber-concrete lets walls speak

While the potential applications of cyber-concrete are endless, the companies are initially promoting it as a new tool for managing structural safety data. Cyber-concrete can store information about itself, such as when, where and how it was manufactured and data about strength and quality, making for more efficient and reliable safety inspection systems. This traceability data can be used by construction companies, inspectors, or tenants concerned about building safety.

Yes, but can you program it to kill obnoxious neighbors?
Is Religion Inherently Homicidal?

A group calling themselves Real Men For Jesus argue that Jesus wasn't really the Bleeding Heart liberal he pretended to be, because after all he went around overturning tables, and was belligerent and destructive and made messes for other people to clean up, just like a macho man is supposed to do--just like George Bush, for example.

[. . .]

Generally speaking, there are two factors that tend to make a religious tradition violent. The first is proselytizing--the more actively the religion seeks to gain adherents the more violent they tend to be. The second factor is related to the first: the more the religious tradition demands that its adherents believe in extremely implausible stories the more violent it will tend to be.

(Via Chapel Perilous.)

Aside from being a "disease of infancy," religion can be viewed as a kind of evolutionary test. Because a species that breaks free of the conceptual boundaries erected by superstition and metaphysical dogma is likely to be formidable, with a significantly higher chance of surviving than a species that chooses willful stupidity over reason.
This Christmas, show her that you love her.

(Hat tip: Reality Carnival.)
Nick Redfern makes an intriguing proposition:

Why Do Ufologists Wear Ties?

For that reason, perhaps me, Mac Tonnies, Paul Kimball, and Greg Bishop should start a band. Both me and Paul play electric guitar, so it may be a fight to see who plays rhythm, lead (or both), and bass. Maybe Greg can pound the drums, and Mac (surely the Morrissey of Ufology) can be our angst-driven vocalist.

Perhaps we should begin 2007 with a rousing cover of "Suedehead": "I am so very sickened. I am so sickened now."
OK, I think this is why I can't make the switch (yet):

The New Version of Blogger

Update, 12/20: If you don't see the "Switch Now" button on the homepage, it's because a ton of people are already switching to the new Blogger, and we only let so many run simultaneously in order to give everyone a good experience. Just log in to old Blogger for now, and we'll give you a heads up on your Dashboard when we're ready for you.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Is anyone besides me having difficulty switching their blog from "old" Blogger to "new" Blogger? I'm able to sign into the new version with my Google ID but my "dashboard" is conspicuously vacant. I think this is because the large size of my blog is causing the transfer process to lag. But if not -- and Posthuman Blues suddenly vaporizes because of a glitch -- I'll be mad indeed.

If so inclined, please post grievances/insights as comments. Thanks!
Jerry Clark and the CTH

In what is surely one of the most ironic posts at UFO Updates in some time, as well as one of the most pretentious (which is saying something), Jerry Clark pounds away on Mac Tonnies' "cryptoterrestrial hypothesis". In doing so, he says very little about Mac's theories, but an awful lot about himself - none of it good.

Could Clark be protesting too much? Your call.
Here's what I think of the Rendlesham case.

(Hat tip: The Other Side of Truth)
Printing Muscle and Bone

For years, tissue engineers have used souped-up printers, and in some cases off-the-shelf models, to print "bio-inks." These inks consist of anything from proteins to individual cells printed in microscopic patterns. By printing layer upon layer of cell patterns, scientists may one day be able to "print" whole tissues or organs for replacement therapies.

(Via Beyond the Beyond.)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

UFOs Coming In 2007 (Nick Redfern)

This year is now almost over; so, I thought it would be an ideal time to tell you about a few notable things that will be of definite interest to the UFO community in 2007.

First and foremost from my perspective, at least, will be Mac Tonnies' book on Crypto-terrestrials.

Uh-oh -- the pressure's on!

William S. Burroughs: 20th Century Gnostic Visionary

Even the so-called science fictional elements of his books were not intended as satire or metaphor. Burroughs could very well have been introduced to the Nova Express model of invading extraterrestrials (and/or intrusions from alternate dimensions) at a very young age. In various interviews, for example, Burroughs has recounted one of his earliest childhood memories.

When he was four, he woke up early in the morning and saw little gray men playing in a block house he had made. "I felt no fear," he said, "only stillness and wonder." When asked about this incident in 1987, interviewer Larry McCaffery offhandedly referred to such experiences as "hallucinatory." Burroughs replied, "I wouldn’t call them hallucinatory at all. If you see something, it's a shift of vision, not a hallucination. You shift your vision. What you see is there, but you have to be in a certain place to see it."

This image of "little gray men" evokes more recent, popular conceptions of extraterrestrials as seen on the mass market covers of any number of books by Whitley Strieber, the author of Communion (1987), Transformation (1988) and several others in which his ostensible contacts with alien beings are delineated.
Three really good videos:

R.E.M. ("Losing My Religion")

Depeche Mode ("Enjoy the Silence")

The Cure ("Friday I'm In Love")

Researchers Demonstrate Direct Brain Control Of Humanoid Robot

Rajesh Rao, associate professor of computer science and engineering, and his students have demonstrated that an individual can "order" a robot to move to specific locations and pick up specific objects merely by generating the proper brain waves that reflect the individual's instructions.