Monday, July 31, 2006

An interesting tetrahedral formation on Mars . . .
And now, just to start the week on a cheerful note . . .

I come to you with a shocking announcement: The UFO abduction mystery may be on the verge of being solved. None other than the Hardy Boys are on the case!
I suppose global warming isn't all bad . . .

Sunday, July 30, 2006

A most intriguing account by alert reader (and Discordian Research Technology frontman) JohnFen:

An Apparition of Eris

Two years ago, Eris manifested in the air before my camera and allowed me to take a single snapshot. If you've ever wondered what She really looks like, have a gander. Of course, due to the poor psycho-temporal-spatial resolution of my imaging device, you'll have to stare unblinking at it for at least an hour -- preferably stoned -- to see Her true image.

There's a book meme going around; I became infected via Velcro City Tourist Board.

Here we go . . .

1. One book that changed your life?

"Neuromancer" -- cliche, but true.

2. One book you have read more than once?

"Majestic" by Whitley Strieber

3. One book you would want on a desert island?

Something weird and lavish -- maybe China Mieville's "Perdido Street Station."

4. One book that made you laugh?

"Breakfast of Champions" by Kurt Vonnegut

5. One book that made you cry?

"The Man Who Fell To Earth" by Walter Tevis

6. One book you wish had been written?

"The Cryptoterrestrials: Indigenous Humanoids and the Aliens Among Us." It would save me some work!

7. One book you wish had never had been written?

"State of Fear" by Michael Crichton. Or anything by Tim LaHaye.

8. One book you are currently reading?

"The Hollow Earth" by Rudy Rucker

9. One book you have been meaning to read?

"Newton's Wake" by Ken Macleod

10. Now tag five people.

1.) Sauceruney

2.) eWarrior

3.) Jason

4.) Paul Kimball

5.) John Shirley
I hadn't seen the video for Bjork's "All Is Full of Love" until a couple minutes ago. Wonderful! And easily the most romantic video I've ever seen.

Even the robots depicted don't look too unlikely; I especially like the lifelike expressions, which I think will prove to be essential selling points when and if androids become commercially viable.
I'm at the desk in my living room trying to write. Meanwhile, my next-door neighbors -- who I've never actually seen -- are having boisterous sex. Lots of shrieking and moaning. I should be podcasting this.
One question that hasn't escaped me is how, if we're sharing the planet with indigenous "aliens," the worsening of the biosphere will impact any potential relationship with our secretive neighbors. If they're physical, as I think they are, they stand to suffer greatly if (for example) a human-induced climate disaster sets the Amazon rainforest ablaze . . . or do they?

Perhaps "cryptoterrestrials" have taken precautionary measures. Persistent reports of underground bases raise the admittedly alarming possibility that the CTs are subterranean. Even descriptions of the beings themselves almost invariably include reference to large eyes -- which proponents of the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis interpret as an evolutionary advantage for life on planets with diminished sunlight. But large eyes would be equally useful for beings acclimated to tunnels and caverns. Maybe the CTs, having constructed effective "bunkers," are content to let humans continue in their heedless destruction of the planet.

But then there are the scenes of global cataclysm shown to abductees. Some researchers are understandably wary of viewing these as literal forecasts of the future and see them instead as educational demonstrations. If so, it's plausible that the CTs are attempting to hasten ecological awareness -- and in the process giving away a grave secret: that they aren't the sagely, omniscient beings whose role they so often adopt. Their technological wizardry might not be akin to magic. They might actually need us to keep Earth's environment sustainable just as they need us for our genes -- and likely for the same ultimate reason: the cultivation of an ever-adaptive race whose abilities are beyond our own yet perfectly fallible.
Hey, "debunkers"! Here's a home-grown chance to trash the Face on Mars!
American astronomers claim that black holes may not exist

Because black holes do not have magnetic fields, Dr Schild's team suggest in The Astronomical Journal, the quasar must be powered by a dense ball of plasma called a MECO (magnetospheric eternally collapsing object). But according to the astronomers' theories the MECOs' existence precludes the possibility of black holes.

(Via The Anomalist.)

If verified, does this preclude wormholes? And if so -- damn!
Leaked Memo Reveals Coal Industry Propoganda Plan

The latest global warming disinformation campaign is set to be launched by the coal industry, this time by throwing new money behind a an old propaganda campaign that had been discredited in the early 1990s. A leaked memo reveals that the coal industry, valued at $1 trillion annually, is paying climate change skeptic Pat Michaels $100,000 to help spearhead their campaign, which includes distribution of misleading information on global warming and a proposed film to counteract the enormous positive impact of An Inconvenient Truth.

While they're at it they should have Michael Crichton hammer out another "page-turner."
The sinuous, worm-like motion of these primitive self-replicating robots is fascinating.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

It's come to this . . .

Patients are too fat for X-rays

An increasing number of Americans are unable to get full medical care because they are too obese to fit into scanners or their fat is too dense for X-rays or sound waves to penetrate, research by radiologists suggests.

With 64 per cent of the population overweight, the problem is worsening, Raul Uppot, a radiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, said.

(Via Aberrant News.)
Killer heat waves here to stay, global warming researchers say

"You can't tie global warming into one single event," he said.

But global warming has made the nights warmer in general and the days drier, which help turn merely uncomfortably hot days into killer heat waves, said Kevin Trenberth, climate-analysis branch chief at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.

Much of global warming science concentrates on average monthly and yearly temperatures, but studies in the past five years show that climate change is at its most dangerous during extreme events, such as high temperatures, droughts and flooding, he said.

"These (heat) events always occur. What global warming does is push it up another notch," Trenberth said.

And the computer models show that soon, we'll get many more -- and hotter -- heat waves that will leave the old Dust Bowl records of the 1930s in the dust, said Ken Kunkel, director of the Center for Atmospheric Sciences at the Illinois State Water Survey.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Quantum leap

She steps into the shower. The tiles inside detect her presence and start displaying the day's top headlines. The manned mission to Mars is going to launch ahead of schedule. U.S. military drones have destroyed another terrorist training camp using smart dust. A top Manhattan banker has been found guilty of fraud and sentenced to 10 years of low tech.

Nine Theories of Extraterrestrial Contact

This one's new to me:

The Gnostic codices found in Egypt in 1945 warn explicitly that these predatory alien entities infiltrate our minds through spiritual belief systems. These systems, especially the Judeo-Christian-Islamic program of salvation, are not entirely of human origin, but arise in our minds due to non-human deviance. Salvationism is an ideological virus of extraterrestrial origin. Jehovah is a demented pseudo-diety who pretends to be our creator. Gnostics detected the presence of ETs in the same forms reported today. The Nag Hammadi texts contain firsthand accounts of alien abduction. But at a more profound level, the ancient seers who guarded the Mysteries also discerned the operations of the inhumane Archontic mind in the religious ideologies that are today tearing humanity apart at the seams.

I do think that belief systems are virulent. But do we really need to invoke scheming alien intelligences?

I set foot in a mall yesterday for the first time in ages. I was amazed at the proliferation of cellphone venders; an alien tourist might surmise that chatting on cellphones is one of the defining aspects of the human experience. And he/she might very well be right.

I like the architecture of malls, the profusion of logos, the immaculate surfaces. I have recurring dreams of shopping malls gutted and transformed into refuges -- miniature indoor cities so steeped in human entropy they've become virtually organic: horrific amalgams of commerce, habitation and debris.

"David is here." Must be quite a guy. But look out for Jesus!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

A new Strieber journal entry, this time describing his forthcoming novel:

The Grays Part 1

My initial contacts were with the Grays. These people were not androids or robots. They were complex, richly alive beings who were obviously incredibly and totally different from us. As you will see in the book, I learned from observation that they function in groups of three, which I call triads. In fact, I think they come in a number of different forms, one of which is the single individual such as the gray you will meet in the story, Adam, and another is in triads. The triad portrayed in the book, who I call the Three Thieves, is a portrait of a group of three grays that I came to know well in the early years of my experience. But it took many more years of thought and memory to understand that they were a triad--in effect, three bodies that, taken together, make one whole creature.

I'm buying this one in hardback.

Cool -- I have a wiki!
Have I been too pessimistic lately? You decide. Ray (Ray's X-Blog) counters some of the recent gloom -- and I hope he's right.

That said, perhaps humanity needs to be alarmed. Not to the point of impotent despair, but enough to be roused from its stupor.

Appearances aside, I'm not a defeatist. But I fear that too many of us are. After all, conceding that the "end is nigh" immediately absolves one from responsibility -- and that can be an enormously attractive, if lethal, prospect.
Design Solutions for Post-Crash Civilization

Ark Inc., by Jon Ardern, looks at our small and ineffectual attempts to live a truly sustainable life. Despite repeated warnings that we are fast approaching a point of no return, the world's governments (and ourselves) pay these issues little more then lip service. The Ark Inc. project suggests that we adapt our life style to life "after the crash", to the time when our actions have exhausted the resources of the Earth upon which we depend. Jon has imagined products and services for a cult-like investment company, called The Ark, that keeps you up-to-date on how badly the world is doing while reassuring you that your investment in post-crash life is doing well.
"Soy sauce is people!"

Hair Soy Sauce: A Revolting Alternative to the Conventional

The journalists then found the amino acid syrup manufacturer (a bioengineering company) in Hubei province. When asking how the amino acid syrup (or powder) was generated, the manufacturer replied that the powder was generated from human hair. Because the human hair was gathered from salon, barbershop and hospitals around the country, it was unhygienic and mixed with condom, used hospital cottons, used menstrual cycle pad, used syringe, etc. After filtered by the workers, the hair would then cut small for being processed into amino acid syrup.

(Via Boing Boing.)
Marine 'dead zone' off Oregon is spreading

A fundamental new trend in atmospheric and ocean circulation patterns in the Pacific Northwest appears to have begun, scientists say, and apparently is expanding its scope beyond Oregon waters.

This year for the first time, the effect of the low-oxygen zone is also being seen in coastal waters off Washington, researchers at OSU and the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary indicate.

There have been reports of dead crabs stretching from the central Oregon coast to the central Washington coast. Some dissolved oxygen levels at 180 feet have recently been measured as low as 0.55 milliliters per liter, and areas as shallow as 45 feet have been measured at 1 milliliter per liter.
Here's some grainy black-and-white footage of an alleged alien on a stretcher. Ever seen it before?

And now an unusual animation for your entertainment . . .

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Yet another stab at a practical flying car.

Somehow, I like the ones in "Blade Runner" a hell of a lot more.

This is better:

Amazon chief sets out to make space affordable

A draft environmental assessment filed with the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) reveals that the spacecraft being developed for the project will launch and land vertically. It also reveals that 10 test launches could be carried out this year with a further 25 annual tests over the next three years. The project hopes that commercial flights could begin as soon as 2010.

With the planet teetering on the brink of massive ecological collapse, I wish ventures like this had come a lot sooner -- but I'll take them anyway.

(Both stories found at Unknown Country.)
Photos of dire cloudscapes . . .

I'm one of the world's worst chess players. Here I am attempting an illegal move on a nonexistent opponent.

Hey, here's a fun game. Throw knives at the woman in leather pants. Try not to hit her. Unless you're feeling misanthropic.
My birthday is August 20. I want this.

Amazon rainforest 'could become a desert'

The vast Amazon rainforest is on the brink of being turned into desert, with catastrophic consequences for the world's climate, alarming research suggests. And the process, which would be irreversible, could begin as early as next year.

Two words spring to mind: "Oh, fuck."

The End of Man? (Whitley Strieber)

As the summer of 2006 rages on, with heatwaves stretching from the American Pacific coast all the way across the North Atlantic to Europe and virtually around the world, we now discover that the great Amazonian rain forest has perhaps a year to live.

If there is no rain in the Amazon basin soon, and that forest is destroyed, mankind is likely to die with it. This is because the Amazonian forest is, in effect, the heart of the world's ecosystem. It is a vast, unimaginably important carbon dioxide sink and oxygen producer. Without it, the planet's climate will quickly become untenable for human life.

We are well on our way to another large-animal extinction, and we will be among the large animals who go.

I don't think Whitley is the sage he seems to think he is. Nonetheless, he's written some compelling and prescient material on the subject of climate change (perhaps most importantly, the phenomenally apocalyptic "Nature's End," published in 1985).

Could the Amazon -- our world's lungs -- go up in flames within the next several years? I see no reason why not.

Unlike Strieber, I don't think we'd all die as a result.

Just most of us.
Kyle King sticks it to SETI frontman Seth Shostak.
Apparently "A Scanner Darkly" isn't showing anywhere close. Typical. I suppose I'll wait for the DVD.

"Scanner" was the first Philip K. Dick book I read. I digested it at a very strange time in my life, while suffering from an undiagnosed anxiety disorder that took the form of what I only much later discovered was termed "derealization" -- a horrific sense of my cognizance somehow detaching, leaving me viscerally frightened and, after several episodes, more or less convinced I was suffering from a tumor or else losing my mind.

(One doctor matter-of-factly told me I had temporal lobe epilepsy, a charge often leveled at people claiming alien abduction and ecstatic religious states. Some critics wonder if temporal lobe epilepsy was at least partly responsible for PKD's own "divine invasion.")

In "Scanner," the addictive "Substance D" results in a schism between brain hemispheres. At the time of my attacks, this seemed as likely an explanation for my problem as any, regardless of the fact that I'd never done any drugs -- let alone anything as exotically cyberpunk as Substance D.

But maybe having dealt with anxiety hasn't been an entirely bad thing. For one, I enjoy an enhanced appreciation for PKD's reality-bending fiction. I find I can relate to characters experiencing unpleasant altered states and can sense, if superficially, the dark, elusively fractal vein mined by authors ranging from Kafka to Pynchon.

But if I could undue my own brush with "D," I would.

Oh, my -- is that an "orb" hovering next to her head?
The world on heat: a web guide

Chilling -- in a manner of speaking, of course.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I spent the day fighting fatigue and a persistent headache. I visited a thrift store on the off-chance they might have some good books (for the most part they didn't, although I did see a copy of Alvin Toffler's "The Third Wave") and came across this macabre tangle of dolls.

And this Robosapien, seemingly imploring "Look at me! Hey! Look! Over here!"

I got the hell out and took this picture of a vacated (?) fruit-stand.

Sad dead-carnival atmosphere. Like perusing the refuse after some mass suburban exodus, leaving its dead to decay in the summer heat.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Spanish firm claims it can make oil from plankton

A Spanish company claimed on Thursday to have developed a method of breeding plankton and turning the marine plants into oil, providing a potentially inexhaustible source of clean fuel.

Vehicle tests are some time away because the company, Bio Fuel Systems, has not yet tried refining the dark green coloured crude oil phytoplankton turn into, a spokesman said.

(Via Unknown Country.)
"Is it possible that we should prepare for other threats besides terrorists?"

Here's the original video for Gary Jules' version of Tears for Fears' "Mad World" (later used in "Donnie Darko"). Quietly brilliant.

US Heat Wave Sears California as St. Louis Copes

As of Sunday afternoon, 100,000 homes and businesses were without power in California, a survey of the state's big utilities showed.

Even in usual havens from the heat like San Francisco, temperatures soared to records on the weekend with the Bay City hitting 87 degrees (30 Celsius) on Saturday. In places used to the heat, like Palm Springs and the San Fernando Valley near Los Angeles, the heat wave is making history.
Remember when laser-pointers were, like, $99 (for a low-end model)? I just bought one at a drug store for $2.99. It's even got a built-in LED flashlight and ball-point.

Of course, the first thing I do with it is tease my cats and fire it across the street into the empty windows of a neighboring apartment building -- which immediately made me feel oddly guilty, like I'd been messing around with an actual weapon . . .
I strolled Independence, Missouri's "historic" old town square today.

Lots of this going on:

And some of this, too:

But hey -- where else can you buy one-of-a-kind socks for a meager $5.00?

Let me end this on a more positive note.


"There was something out there, close enough to be observed, and what could it be?

"Now, obviously the three of us weren't going to blurt out, 'Hey, Houston, we've got something moving alongside of us and we don't know what it is, you know?'"
Ladies and gentlemen . . . Bob Lazar!

Chinese black helicopters circle Google Earth

Obviously a nature reserve for elves . . .

(Found at Aberrant News.)
Remember the "alien interview" supposedly smuggled out of Area 51?

Rudy Rucker, taking shelter from punishing heat, ponders the motives behind Michael Crichton's climate change "revisionist" novel:

On the theme of global warming, in the past year I've enountered two friends who are Global Warning Deniers. In both cases, they'd taken their ammunition from the recent novel "State of Fear" by sci-thriller author Michael Crichton. In both cases my friends were bright people with little formal education; they read a lot, and as they enjoy Chrichton's work, they assume it's true.

And that is precisely why "State of Fear" is dangerous. I'm not saying no one should read it. Merely that the book's premise is laughable -- and its author more so. By insinuating himself into the role of pop-science maven, Crichton commands a large fan-base, most of which, in my experience, perceives Crichton as a superior, somehow more "acceptable" alternative to genre science fiction. (As Roger Ebert has noted, they're missing out.)

I don't especially enjoy criticizing commercially successful but clueless novelists; I'd much rather discuss the good ones. But Crichton is an exception; in the case of "State of Fear," one's genuinely left wondering, like Rucker, why the book is so stridently anti-science . . . and how far-reaching the scope of his misrepresentation.*

*It bears mention that Gregory Benford, a scientist/author Crichton cites in the notes to "State of Fear," has publicly accused Crichton of selective, misleading use of his research. I fear Benford's complaint is merely the tip of the swiftly melting iceberg.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Bush Changes NASA's Mission Statement

Nope, not a joke. Sorry.

The New York Times:

In early February, the statement was quietly altered, with the phrase "to understand and protect our home planet" deleted. In this year's budget and planning documents, the agency's mission is "to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics research."

David E. Steitz, a spokesman for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, said the aim was to square the statement with President Bush's goal of pursuing human spaceflight to the Moon and Mars.

But the change comes as an unwelcome surprise to many NASA scientists, who say the "understand and protect" phrase was not merely window dressing but actively influenced the shaping and execution of research priorities. Without it, these scientists say, there will be far less incentive to pursue projects to improve understanding of terrestrial problems like climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions.
R.E.M.'s television debut:

Radiohead's "Karma Police":

Not without some bearing on "cryptoterrestrials" . . .

Unsolved: Flying Humanoids

Monsters and unusual creatures of almost every description have been reported over the centuries. From dinosaur-like animals to fairies to bizarre hodgepodges like the Jersey Devil, there seems to no limit to the variety of unexplained creatures people claim to have seen with their own eyes. One of the most curious types of sightings - and quite rare - are those of human-like beings that fly.

(Via The Anomalist.)
Tesla Roadster

The Tesla is proof that you can get your cake and eat it too, design plus sustainability that doesn't look sustainable. This is how the rest of the world will adopt sustainable products and practices, by buying products that look great, work great and leave a small footprint. Sustainability is a feature, not a product.
List of Human Problems

What follows is an abridged list of human maladies. May they all be destroyed before the century is out.
Here's a fascinating clip depicting some basic applications for augmented reality.

I anticipate a future in which AR constructs co-exist with "real" objects to such a degree that we spend little time considering the distinction. Imagine growing up in a world teeming with AR-derived applications, only to discover that beneath the ocean of embedded computation is something online commentators once half-jokingly referred to as "meatspace."

(Thanks to Nerdshit.)

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Norman Spinrad: Why Most Science Fiction Sucks

"Providing hope is something science fiction should be doing. It sounds arrogant to say it, but if we don't do it, who the hell will? One of the social functions of science fiction is to be visionary, and when science fiction isn't being visionary, it hurts the culture's visionary sense. And when the culture isn't receptive, neither is science fiction. It's a downward spiral."


You can't go wrong with Spinrad, by the way. "Bug Jack Barron" is easily one of the best SF novels of all time. "Songs from the Stars" is equally unforgettable.

(He really needs a better website, though. Ouch.)
Plane made of printed parts flies

A plane made almost entirely out of "printed" parts flew last weekend at an airshow in Britain. It was made by Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works in Palmdale, CA, and is a 28m unmanned vehicle made of radar-absorbing composites.

Pig circle that's top of the crops

For years they have been heralded as evidence of alien life on Earth.

But when it comes to patterns etched into farmers' fields, it looks like it's humans this time who have gone the whole hog.

(Via The Anomalist.)

No, no, no! The geometrical alignment clearly expresses the plasmic Gaia-Mind's intent to usher in a new era of human-alien relations! The "pig" resemblance is strictly fortuitous!
Whitley Strieber's back with a fresh deluge of weirdness. Even if you don't buy what he's saying -- and I certainly have reservations -- he plays with ideas so rich in speculative potential that they're never less than enjoyable.

Missing Time and the Future

All the years I had with the visitors have fairly well convinced me that they actually LIVE across time and outside of time. I think that they arrived here, in a synchronous present, about sixty years ago. My guess is that they found a very different earth from the one we know.

The instant they arrived, they spread across our entire timeline, probably creating the entire array of life on earth, even going back into the past to actually set up this solar system as a life-sustaining machine. If Jupiter wasn't out there absorbing blows like the recent Shoemaker-Levy comet, the inner solar system would be a ravaged mess, and if the moon wasn't rotating at just the right point, and the earth just the right distance from the sun, there would be no life here. Statistically, it's really all but impossible that this particular set of circumstances would occur by accident. So, lets assume that it didn't.

What I suspect that the visitors found here was a planet something like Mars, without a moon. They saw what Jupiter was doing and realized that with the fairly minimal effort -- for them -- of moving back a few billion years and setting up the moon, they could re-create the earth moon system as a life-making machine.

So our entire half a billion year history of evolutionary change is, in their objective time, only a few decades old! But for us, it's all taken the millions of years that we see in the fossil record!

But if the "visitors" arrived sixty years ago, what do we make of reports of "little people" engaged in suspiciously "alien"-like activity for the last several thousand years?

The modern era of UFO sightings began approximately sixty years ago, which makes the idea that they arrived here in the late 40s superficially attractive. But a recent arrival fails to account for the phenomenon's duration -- unless, as Strieber muses, they colonized the entirety of our timeline . . .

We generally think of aliens in terms of vast gulfs of space. The idea of a nonhuman intelligence that can casually transcend time is even more unsettling. Perhaps, in addition to searching for megascale artifacts in space, we should be on the lookout for temporal anomalies that signal the activity of entities determined to explore (or modify) cosmic history.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Nena's "99 Red Balloons" in English . . .

. . . and in the original German.

Read it and weep . . .

(Thanks to Mondolithic Sketchbook.)
Meet the Remote-Control Self

Geminoid can be operated remotely so the robot reproduces the voice, posture and lip movements of Ishiguro, who wears a motion-capture system. A mouseclick raises a hand or finger.

Ishiguro, whose job is teaching at Osaka University, an hour's drive away, designed Geminoid so he could "robot in" to his classes and skip the commute. As he steps out from behind a curtain like the Wizard of Oz, standing beside his robot self, the shift is disconcerting.


Cassini Reveals Titan's Xanadu Region to Be an Earth-Like Land

"We could only speculate about the nature of this mysterious bright country, too far from us for details to be revealed by Earth-based and space-based telescopes. Now, under Cassini's powerful radar eyes, facts are replacing speculation," said Dr. Jonathan Lunine, Cassini interdisciplinary scientist at the University of Arizona, Tucson. "Surprisingly, this cold, faraway region has geological features remarkably like Earth."

(Via Universe Today.)
"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe . . ."

"I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine."

Cantomoko, a well-traveled sex doll

Cantomoko is a well-traveled sex doll. She travels mostly by car in Japan, though she is known to ride a bicycle at times. She enjoys the cherry blossoms in spring, lounges on the beach in summer, frolics in fields of cosmos in autumn, and goes snowboarding in winter. She sometimes attends parties with friends. She has been to the top of Mt. Fuji.

When I first saw this I didn't know if I was amused or disturbed. I quickly settled on "amused."
I've been asked to read to a group of eight-year-old children. I initially dismissed the invitation with a sneer of lofty disdain.

Then I thought again and decided a choice excerpt from Kafka's "The Metamorphosis" would be just the thing.

Now I'm thinking I need to take a look through Bradbury's "The Martian Chronicles," which, aside from not being significantly beyond the kids' "reading level" (I'm convinced adults -- particularly teachers -- underestimate the intelligence of children, probably as a way of masking their own cerebral impotence), has the potential to actually entertain.

Any suggestions? I've always liked "There Will Come Soft Rains."
NASA Marks 30th Anniversary Of Mars Viking Mission

"The Viking team didn't know the Martian atmosphere very well, we had almost no idea about the terrain or the rocks, and yet we had the temerity to try to soft land on the surface," recalled Gentry Lee, Solar System Exploration chief engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Lee was the science analysis and mission planning director for the Viking mission.

The original plan, surprisingly enough, was to land in Cydonia, site of the "Face," "pyramids" and other intriguing features. Although the decision to land in Chryse and Utopia was ostensibly for safety reasons, the failure of further probes (such as the MERs) to land in Cydonia is somewhat difficult to fathom, given our increased understanding of the Martian surface.

Was the Viking team somehow directed away from the Cydonia region (then, as now, a candidate site for extraterrestrial artifacts)?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Team envisions exploring Mars with mini probes

Thousands of probes, powered by fuel cells, could cover a vast area now beyond the reach of today's rovers, including exploring remote and rocky terrain that large rovers cannot navigate.

"They would start to hop, bounce and roll and distribute themselves across the surface of the planet, exploring as they go, taking scientific data samples," said Steven Dubowsky, the MIT professor of mechanical engineering who is leading the research team.

(Via Universe Today.)

Very cool . . . but why don't we just go there already?
Ladies and gentlemen . . . Morrissey!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I'm happy to announce that my new book, "The Cryptoterrestrials: Indigenous Humanoids and the Aliens Among Us," has at last found a publisher. No more shopping it around; I think it's in incredibly capable hands. More details later.
Quantum Bee Dance

Mathematician Barbara Shipman has discovered that the movements of the dancing bees can be predicted by a mathematical formula called a "flag manifold," which expresses movement in the world of the tiny particles known as quarks. In mathematical terms, a manifold is a basic shape. She made this discovery when she projected the six dimensions of a flag manifold onto a two dimensional piece of paper. She was amazed to see that she was recreating the form of the bees' dance.

It may be that the bee's brain, while it seems simple compared to ours, actually works in a completely different, and more sophisticated, way: it may be quark-sensitive.

I find this notion infinitely compelling. Could intelligent beings have quantum manifold brains, able to process vast amounts of information without relying on cumbersome machinery?

Do we share the planet with "cryptoterrestrials" whose information infrastructure is unrecognizably alien? (It's worth noting that many descriptions of "aliens" suggest a "hive mind" not unlike that of bees.)
Own Rudy Rucker's old car!
Europe Sweltering in Record Heat Wave

Lions licked blood-flavored ice blocks in the zoo, judges went wigless in court and guards at Buckingham Palace ducked into the shade.

Britain faced the hottest day ever recorded in July on Wednesday as a heat wave swept much of Europe. Temperatures hit 96.6 degrees south of London - so hot some road surfaces melted.

Two people died in Spain as temperatures climbed above 104 degrees, while officials in France said as many as nine people who died recently were believed to be victims of the heat.

Boy, nobody saw this coming.

At least this UK article manages to include a half-dressed woman.
The Net is a very strange place.

(Thanks to Cosmic Variance.)
This week's Posthuman Pin-up . . .

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

"In heaven everything is fine."

Image of the day: children send messages on missiles

I don't know the whole story behind these images, but they say a lot on their own. Here, some Israeli girls have apparently been told to "sign" bombs directed at Lebanon, writing messages like "from Israel with love."

This is, simply, child abuse.
Senate approves embryo stem cell bill

"The simple answer is he thinks murder's wrong," said White House spokesman Tony Snow. "The president is not going to get on the slippery slope of taking something living and making it dead for the purposes of scientific research."

Yeah, The Chimp's quite the moralist.
Little People Confirmed As New Species

While people can debate the reality of giant hairy Johor Hominids, huge hirsute Canadian Sasquatch, or little furry Hawaiian Menehunes, there's no denying the continuing and expanding picture of the reality of the tiny, three-feet tall human-like beings of Indonesia.

We have their bones.

(Via The Anomalist.)

I've written about this before, but let me reiterate: The similarities between the short-statured humanoids of UFO infamy and the Indonesian "hobbits" are not to be readily dismissed.
It's 2025. Where Do Most People Live?

The map indicates that the greatest increases in population density through 2025 are likely to occur in areas of developing countries that are already quite densely populated. In addition, the number of people living within 60 miles of a coastline is expected to increase by 35 percent over 1995 population levels, exposing 2.75 billion people worldwide to the effects of sea level rise and other coastal threats posed by global warming.

(Via Science Blog.)

Plasma bubble could protect astronauts on Mars trip

A bubble of plasma could shield astronauts from radiation during long journeys through space, researchers are suggesting. If the idea proves viable, it means heavy metal protective panels could be replaced by a plasma shield of just a few grams.

(Via Mondolithic Sketchbook.)

Monday, July 17, 2006

This sentence concocted by the Random Logline Generator:

"A timid zoo keeper, a paraplegic voice-over artist, and an overbearing cashier hide from their oppressors."

Supposedly random sentences like this are good therapy for creatively bereft fiction writers.

I'll assume the zoo keeper has been unwittingly "employed" by a hostile dystopian government to supervise the care and feeding of mutated humans while the voice-over artist is on the run from a "Ministry of Truth"-like job making politicians appear articulate before their images are transmitted.

That leaves the overbearing cashier. Hmmm . . .

(Thanks to The Huge Entity.)
"The World": Hedonistic geoengineering or inspired pipe-dream?

An enclave of posh artificial islands strikes me as the sort of place the world's uber-rich might retreat to after an environmental disaster. Perhaps it's not entirely accidental that "The World" resembles a map of the planet after a generous deluge of polar ice.

I ducked out of my apartment for a "Tropical Sno" and ended up stalking the grounds of the Vaile Mansion . . .

The heat is sweltering, even at night.

In 2003, a heat wave killed hundreds of people in Europe. The elderly and those without air conditioning were, of course, the primary victims. I've been waiting for a comparable event here in the US; chances are it will be in the Midwest. I can easily imagine high temperatures making overnight ghost towns out of low-income suburbs.
"Sour Times" by Portishead:

"Nothing you've seen or heard about David Bowie will prepare you . . ."

And, finally, a word from our sponsor:

Intriguing photos of architectural dilapidation.

(Found at Boing Boing.)
To be sure, "Eraserhead" is a disturbing movie. But it's also a deeply funny one.

This scene, in which the main character meets his soon-to-be wife's parents for dinner, epitomizes both qualities and reveals director David Lynch working as a Celluloid shaman.
Here's a poor-quality recording of Morrissey and Johnny Marr taking children to a park to hear Sandie Shaw sing about doomed love. Surreal.

R.E.M. perform "I've Been High," one of my favorites from "Reveal."

By the way, this is my first attempt to embed YouTube on this blog. If your browser experiences any layout problems please let me know.
Jason (Busy, Busy, Busy) has been assembling inadvertently hilarious YouTube videos. The latest batch is deliciously loathsome!
The Official Reality Dot Appreciation Page

What does this tell us about the nature of reality? There really is no green dot, and the pink ones really don't disappear. If our brains are so easily fooled, what aspects of reality are we missing?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

I'm reading a reasonably entertaining -- if annoyingly credulous -- book called "The Chinese Roswell." Fortunately, the author relates some interesting accounts of mysterious dwarfish people living in virtual seclusion in Asia: exactly the sort of stories that might shed light on the Indigenous Hypothesis for "alien" visitation.

Even better, a previous reader (I found the book in a library) has underlined passages directly related to terrestrial humanoids.
One of the things I enjoy about my ongoing contacts with nudist spacewomen is perusing strange celestial scenery. My one regret is that the temporal flux aboard the spacewomen's craft renders electronic photography impractical (the spacewomen have no use for electronics, relying on what they term the "sensual plane" for communication).

However, on a recent voyage beyond our galaxy, I requested that the temporal flux be temporarily shut down so I could photograph a passing nebula. Excited by this obvious opportunity to further demonstrate the reality of my experiences, I took the accompanying shot.
Scorching U.S.: First Half of 2006 Sets Heat Record

The average temperatures of the first half of 2006 were the highest ever recorded for the continental United States, scientists announced today.

Temperatures for January through June were 3.4 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th-century average.

Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri experienced record warmth for the period, while no state experienced cooler-than-average temperatures, reported scientists from NOAA's National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.

Somewhere in the greater Kansas City area there's a cyberpunk-enamored blogger who isn't the least bit surprised.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Blog of the day: Tuche and Automaton

Update (and disclaimer): I'm now, technically, a contributor, although I find that I tend to neglect collaborative blogs . . .
Wow . . . check out the line-up for October's UFO seminar in Nova Scotia (more TBA). I'm especially eager to meet Stan Friedman, a researcher I've long admired and first communicated with via email my freshman year of college (when I was busy dodging classes so I could read UFO books).

Incidentally, my presentation won't be directly UFO-related; I'm going to speak on transhumanist technology and the future of human evolution, hopefully raising some useful inferences about the nature of nonhuman intelligence and the prospect of alien visitation. As such, this will be my first non-"paranormal" gig.
ET in a Grain of Sand?

The problem with artifacts, of course, is time. If we're in a hurry, then we want to get the word out (or receive it) the fastest way possible, and with our current technology, that means working via radio or optics at the speed of light. But if we can extend our thinking to messages not so much for conversation as for archival purposes, recording the great works of a civilization (think of the Voyager golden discs), then imagine sending a highly compressed matter packet on a journey of millions of years. And imagine looking for such messages here.
Random things that bug me:

1.) People who think "Blade Runner" is spelled "Bladerunner." It's two words! How hard is that?

2.) "Bling" hubcaps. Infantile.

3.) Ubiquitous weight-loss clinics. The suburbs are infested with them. So why all the fat slobs?

4.) The never-ending "its"/it's" confusion.

5.) People who think coffeeshops are ideal locations for Bible study.

6.) Forget SUVs for a moment -- what about pick-ups? Every time I see one it's inches from my rear bumper. And they're never hauling anything. One would naturally assume that pick-up trucks would be used to pick things up, but they're always empty. Not even a trace of abraded paint or dried mud that would suggest they'd ever been used for anything but hauling their obese drivers down the street.

To be continued . . .

Kyle King (of UFO Reflections) poses a question:

"How has the current way of doing things improved the lives of the inhabitants of this small globe?"

Friday, July 14, 2006

I'm a fan of NuSapiens. (Its motto is "Human Evolution Remixed" -- how could I not be?)

But I disagree with a recent critique of the climate change controversy, focusing on Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" and the rightful role of humans when faced with the specter of widespread desertification, plunging coastlines and derailed ecosystems.

In An Inconvenient Truth for Environmentalists NuSapiens concedes, a little reluctantly, that global warming is indeed happening:

It's pretty clear that Global Warming is happening. It's not clear to me that it's only caused by human activity (but it could very well be precipitated by human activity).

Well, of course it's not caused "only" by human activity. It's caused, ultimately, by the Sun. The problem is that our fossil-fueled economy has severely compromised the planet's ability to shed excess solar radiation; this has resulted in a dramatic rise in global temperatures in a remarkably brief period of time. The notion that human activity is merely peripheral to a far larger climatic problem over which we have no control, while perhaps comforting, is resoundingly false.

NuSapiens continues:

And I'm lukewarm on whether we should all become "Green" to "stop" it.

Well, what do you suggest? Personally, I think embracing non-polluting technologies and fastidiously phasing out archaic -- if financially profitable -- carbon-based technology (the very essence of "going Green") is a rational step toward minimizing damage precipitated by anthropogenic climate change. With a name like "NuSapiens," I expected a little transhumanist moxy; instead, we're left with what amounts to apathy toward a problem left conveniently undefined.

But here's where things get really bad:

The irony of the Environmentalist movement is that Nature is not a static prop for humans to enjoy or even admire. Forces like Darwinian evolution and its elder sister, Plate Tectonics, require all life to stay perpetually on its toes. Organisms that get lazy and don't change, perish. Al Gore is wrong simply because you can't stop Nature.

So, because we're wreaking unthinkable damage on the biosphere, it's up to Nature to set things right. Let's abandon reason and leave our fate in the hands of Mother Gaia; after all, what's going to happen? Mass extinction?

NuSapiens is, of course, right when it characterizes Nature as indifferent and ever-resourceful. But it neglects to tell us that one of the principle ways this resourcefulness is enforced, as evidenced again and again in the fossil record's grim pageant of evolutionary failures, is by a process known as dieback.

When things get bad, species die. NuSapiens accepts, presumably on faith, that humans are exempt from known phenomena with the power to do us in -- ironically enough, indefinitely postponing the transhuman future the blog purports to celebrate. Without humans now, there won't be any posthumans later. "Evolution remixed"? Not likely when the mixing boards are left unmanned.

NuSapiens continues:

These processes pre-date civilization as we know it. Al Gore shows some great photos of Lake Chad, which has shrunk dramatically in the past 40 years. However, what he doesn't mention is that 6,000 years ago, Lake Chad was an inland sea called "Mega Chad." These things happen, with or without the approval or intervention of us naked apes. The best we can do is adapt ourselves to change.

A lake changing dramatically in 6,000 years is something a civilization could readily accommodate. But 40 years? Is it even necessary to point out that the discrepancy in time frames is absurd? Or that Lake Chad's demise over a 40-year span only underscores the relevance of industrial emissions to temperature increase?

I'm against Environmentalists trying to freeze-frame Nature for the same reason I'm against isolation of the nation state and/or labor pools (as seen on the latest Immigration His-Panic). People who try to freeze frame the world guarantee their own degeneration and/or destruction.

Environmentalists aren't seeking to "freeze-frame Nature." They're seeking to save our species from extinction. The debate is not -- and has never been -- a quaint matter of preserving pretty scenery for the aesthetic benefit of our great-grandchildren; it's about the application of caution lest we unleash events with the power to undue everything we've accomplished.

Yes, evolution is inherently transitional; if we perish, something or someone will eventually take our place. So why does that strike me as exceedingly cold comfort?

And the two issues (Global Warming and Immigration) do coincide: one thing Al Gore mentions is the possibility of a massive Greenland melting, disrupting flow of warm air in the Atlantic and plunging Europe into an Ice Age. If that happens, all those Europeans might have to make friends with their neighbors. Sealed borders ain't gonna work, because the climate won't stay put. Deal with it.

"Deal with it." (Read: Do nothing.) Sure, it sounds bad-ass. But it amounts to a whimper, a concession of abject defeat, a wholesale negation of our collective and individual potential for the sake of ideology.

Our planet is dying as we watch and do nothing. Deal with that.
A quick feasibility study . . .

I think I'm going to go ahead with self-publishing a print-on-demand collection of short-stories. Since there's no overhead on my part, I've got nothing to lose and, at least potentially, some readers (and conventional publishers?) to gain.

My question to readers of this blog: Given the opportunity, would you purchase a science fiction trade paperback from Lulu? I haven't looked at the site in great detail yet, but I don't think the cost of the book should exceed $15 or so.

As far as the content of the stories goes, expect many of the themes that occupy me here at Posthuman Blues: environmental disaster, artificial intelligence and alien visitation. Some stories will be previously published; others will be salvaged from "exclusive" never-before-seen content. (And before you ask, no, I haven't decided on a title.)
I want this car.

Humanity in decay and the natural world in splendor

Kendall Anderson has spent the last 3 years opening a lens to abandonment, decay and industrial mayhem in Canada (with the occational visit to the US). The photographs are stunning and make me think of the great work of Ed Burtynsky. Both photographers paint a visual reminder of the effects we have on this earth.
Stuck Pig

Long the domain of transhumanist nut-jobs, cryogenic suspension may be just two years away from clinical trials on humans (presuming someone can solve the sticky ethical problems). Trauma surgeons can't wait -- saving people with serious wounds, like gunshots, is always a race against the effects of blood loss. When blood flow drops, toxins accumulate; just five minutes of low oxygen levels causes brain death.

The Huge Entity offers this ever-timely reminder of Earth's role in the cosmic drama, courtesy of Carl Sagan.
Lady Liberty Trades In Some Trappings

A Memphis church has built a giant replica of the Statue of Liberty, replacing the torch with a large gold cross.

(Via Blues Tea-Cha.)

You need a New York times password to read the whole thing . . . but do you really need to?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Inflatable Spacecraft Beams Back Images

Genesis I sent back several photos Thursday taken by its dozen cameras showing sections of the craft, according to its builder Bigelow Aerospace. The company declined to publicly release the images.

The experimental spacecraft rocketed into space Wednesday from Russia on a mission to test technology that could be used to build an inflatable commercial space station.

[. . .]

Bigelow, owner of the Budget Suites of America hotel chain, has lofty dreams of building an expandable orbital outpost by 2015 to be made up of several Genesis-like satellites tied together.

He has promised to invest $500 million to build a space habitat that could be used as a space hotel, science lab or sports arena.

I've been following Bigelow's exploits for a long time and this, to my mind, is his most substantial accomplishment. (Anyone remember his interest in alien abductions? Be sure to take a look at Bigelow Aerospace's official emblem, which depicts a Gray.)
Global warming and the end of human freedom

Sure, there's no seemingly obvious reason for alarm or desperatism today -- but it's not implausible to suggest that quai-totalitarian frameworks will arise as a result of the calamitous effects of global warming. Once the environment truly goes to hell and it becomes overtly obvious that a catastrophe is actually happening, our respective governments will find ways to a) control its fearful populace, and b) compell its citizens to live and work a certain way. It would be George Orwell on hydraulic despotism.
Not bad. But I'm not about to surrender!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

It's that time . . .

Site of the day: The Canary Project

"Same as it ever was . . ."
File under: "Yet Another Development Undoubtedly Inspired by Reverse-Engineered Roswell Crash Debris" . . .

Nanotech Girds Army Vehicles

A new bonding process could reinforce armor vehicles and limit injuries in conflict. RNT is developing nanofoil, which can bond dissimilar materials and create a bond that is twice as strong current epoxy technology, according to the company.
The cats of Chez Posthuman



That is all.
Hey -- The Anomalist is hiring!

After many years of dedicated service, Richard Hendricks, the daily news editor of The Anomalist, is stepping down. Would you like to become the next Matt Drudge of this weird world? Want to contribute to what people are calling "the best strange news site on the internet"? Are you willing to search all corners of the web for stories on the unknown, the unexplained, and the unexpected? Does being the first one to know about a frog fall in India make your day? Do you have a passion for such strangeness? Are you internet savvy and not put off by the terms html and ftp? Would you like your work to be read by thousands of people every day? Then step up and volunteer! (There are benefits, of course.)

I'd go for it, but my Internet time is already spoken for.
From a good-spirited profile at Ray's X-Blog:

Mac Tonnies lives (or did live) in the suburbs of Kansas City, Missouri. He hates the suburbs there.

An understatement, of course.

And it appears Ray has read my first book, a skimpy (and best forgotten) short-story collection called "Illumined Black":

One story that intrigues me is punishment by virtual reality: a criminal serves his sentence within his mind, five seconds passing as 500 years.

Actually, I kind of like that one too.

About that UFO conference: Looks like the cat's out of the bag.
Which cryptoterrestrial hybrid is your favorite?
Art brings steam power to the digital revolution

For this is the Steam Powered Internet Machine: the latest deeply eccentric project from Turner-prizewinning artist Jeremy Deller and his collaborator Alan Kane. "We were thinking about something that connects the industrial revolution and the digital revolution," said Deller. Kane added: "They are worlds apart but there's also a proximity. The steam age and the digital age are not so far apart."

(Via Beyond the Beyond.)
Detailed Look at Europe's ExoMars Rover

In one typical example of the rover's autonomous operation, ground controllers might radio up a high-level command telling it to drive to a scientifically interesting spot anywhere from 500 to 2000 metres away and conduct science operations, such as drilling beneath the surface to sample soil for life signs. But the vehicle would handle the details of the move on its own.

Plus it just looks cool!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I'm considering publishing a collection of science fiction short-stories, most of which are either already written or else in need of retooling. (Although I generally loathe self-publishing, you can't beat free).

Meanwhile, I'm making progress on "The Cryptoterrestrials." And it looks like I'll be speaking at a UFO conference in a few months. More on that later.
Dishes in the sink
The TV's in repair
Don't look at the floor
Don't go up the stairs
I'm achin'
I'm shakin'
I'm breakin'
Like humans do

--David Byrne, "Like Humans Do"
World's first 3-D crop circle found in English field

"The move from a two-dimensional square into a three-dimensional cube might indicate that these patterns emanate from a dimension of reality we cannot access.

"Of late the crop circles seem concerned with the moving of one dimension into another. This is perhaps one of the most striking and overt expressions of that idea to date."

Yeah, whatever. Personally, I think crop glyphs (it seems silly to call them "circles" anymore) are gorgeous examples of participatory art. I see little reason to ascribe them to unknown forces; holding alien intelligences accountable is like refusing to accept that ancient Egyptians could have built the Pyramids.

After the "Shock and Awe" campaign in Iraq in 2003, very fine particles of depleted uranium were captured along with larger sand and dust particles in filters in Britain. These particles traveled in seven to nine days from Iraqi battlefields as far away as 2,400 miles.

The radiation measured in the atmosphere quadrupled within a few weeks after the beginning of the 2003 campaign, and at one of the five monitoring locations, the levels twice required an official alert to the British Environment Agency.

In addition, according to Busby, the Aldermaston air monitoring data provided a continuous record of depleted uranium levels in Britain from other recent wars.

(Via Unknown Country.)

What goes around . . .
Another meteorite hits Norway

A meteorite weighing around two kilos landed right in the yard outside Bjørn Herigstad's home in coastal Jæren, western Norway, over the weekend. It's the second meteorite-landing in Norway in a month, and experts are calling the incident sensational.

(Via The Anomalist.)
Here's my cat Spook engaged in some indecipherable feline activity.

She looks on the verge of dissolving into an inky mist, to drift wraith-like through her new home in search of treats.
An Alien Abductee Shares Proof That We are Not Alone

Craig Jacocks' Aware of Their Presence is set to be the first major book about alien abduction since Whitley Streiber's [sic] best seller Communion. But, Jacocks has something even Streiber did not: proof.

Uh-oh! Watch out -- the guy's got proof! "Implants," no less. And we all know how rigorously alleged implants have been pursued by ufologists . . .
A Riot of Rockets

Last week saw the successful launch of the Space Shuttle, but this week may see something far more relevant to the future of space travel: the launch of a prototype piece of a future orbiting hotel. It comes amid an expected flurry of private launches of small, innovative, and reusable rockets that will make 2006 a watershed year for privately financed rockets.

Taken together, these expected launches could usher in an era of relatively inexpensive space travel. "Even as the shuttle sweeps overhead, we have new items on the real road to practical spaceflight -- private market development -- popping up," says Boston-based aerospace engineer and consultant Charles Lurio.

I hate the Space Shuttle. I really do. And I'm the quintessential "space enthusiast," the kind of person NASA tries -- futilely -- to rope in with its tired orbital antics.

However, I've noticed an unfortunate schism develop between proponents of manned space exploration and pure science ventures. The pure science gang wants to forego crewed spaceflight altogether, viewing it as wasteful, dangerous and of little scientific merit. And if they were referring specifically to the Shuttle, they'd be absolutely correct. Fortunately, the Shuttle doesn't epitomize the exploratory spirit; of NASA's own admission, the current manned spaceflight program is essentially a mistake in dire need of revision.

Pure science pundits casually lambaste the Moon-Mars initiative (such as it is) as yet another excessively expensive endeavor -- and with the Shuttle program's history of excess and failure as a timely straw man, their arguments can even sound convincing.

But they fail to realize that the act of getting off the planet -- and staying off the planet in meaningful numbers -- is nothing less than imperative to the survival of our species.

Yes, we could choose to spend less and learn more about the universe through volleys of probes and orbiting telescopes . . . but how much longer will we be around to do so unless we take up the long-overdue task of establishing beach-heads on the Moon, Mars and beyond? Do we dare assume Earth is a permanent haven, magically immune to cataclysm, when the available evidence strongly indicates otherwise?

If we're ever to deduce the Cosmos' origins, we must first rise to the challenge of becoming a multi-planet species.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Supernova Leaves Behind Mysterious Object

A deep, continuous 24.5-hour observation has revealed something far more complex and intriguing, however. The team, from the Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica (IASF) of the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF) in Milan, Italy, has found that the emission from the central source varies with a cycle that repeats itself every 6.7 hours. This is an astonishingly long period, tens of thousands of times longer than expected for a young neutron star. Also, the object's spectral and temporal properties differ from an earlier XMM-Newton observation of this very source in 2001.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Choices, choices . . .