Thursday, May 31, 2007

Trip proposed to centre of Earth via Arctic hole

More recently the myth has experienced a slight revival, thanks in part to a 2006 book, by American author David Standish, titled Hollow Earth: The long and curious history of imagining strange lands, fantastical creatures, advanced civilizations, and marvellous machines below the Earth's surface.

(Via The Anomalist.)

Although this particular idea fails to deserve a serious scientific revival (however slight), I enthusiastically recommend Rudy Rucker's "The Hollow Earth," a novel that manages to mock the concept of an inhabited hollow Earth at the same time it revels in the idea's potential.
Putin: U.S. has triggered new arms race

President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that tests of new Russian missiles were a response to the planned deployment of U.S. missile defense installations and other forces in Europe, suggesting Washington has triggered a new arms race.
A Roswell Chronology (Kevin Randle)

This then, provides a chronology of events that might help put it all into perspective. We all can see the problems. We have conflicting data from documents, from witnesses, and from various investigators, researchers and governmental officials. It seems that everyone who comments on this has some sort of agenda so all we can do is attempt to put together the best information we can.

The lesson? UFO pundits and debunkers aside, we still don't know a damned thing about what really happened.
NASA Researcher Finds Days of Snow Melting on the Rise in Greenland

Greenland's melting snow can have a major impact on the vast ice sheet and on sea level around the world. "The melting snow produces liquid water that will potentially influence sea levels," said Tedesco. "And some of the liquid water will drain into the glaciers through cracks and vertical passages, called moulins, reaching the bedrock below and lubricating the ice sheet."

[. . .]

To estimate the overall impact on Greenland's snow, Tedesco's study calculated a "melt index," which is the number of melting days multiplied by the melting area. The 2006 data followed the increasing trend from 1988 to 2005. Areas along Greenland's western, southeastern and northeastern coast witnessed the largest number of melt days in 2006.

(Via Universe Today.)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

28 New Exoplanets Announced

Hard, hot, high-pressure water isn't conducive to life and researchers have been quick to note that habitability is not an issue here. But it shouldn't be neglected that a rocky place with high water content, discovered through a transit of a 'hot Neptune,' is an exciting reminder that the essentials for life are likely widespread. Marcy thinks about one in ten planets in our galaxy are habitable, which by his reckoning makes for around 20 billion conceivably living worlds in the Milky Way.
Fungi Thrive on Dangerous Radiation

Fungi could eat dangerous radiation to survive, an unexpected finding that could one day help feed astronauts in space.

Terence McKenna proposed, ingeniously, that fungi could have been wafted to Earth by cosmic radiation -- not merely to take root, but to engage human consciousness in a true extraterrestrial dialogue. According to McKenna, hallucinogenic fungi could serve as a biochemical communications device; alternately, fungi itself could be a form of intelligence . . .

(Thanks, Elan!)

When Half a Brain Is Better than a Whole One

The operation known as hemispherectomy -- where half the brain is removed—sounds too radical to ever consider, much less perform. In the last century, however, surgeons have performed it hundreds of times for disorders uncontrollable in any other way. Unbelievably, the surgery has no apparent effect on personality or memory.

(Via Peter Watts' blog.)

Colin Bennett's "Politics of the Imagination" (a critical biography of Charles Fort) contains several intriguing accounts of functioning humans posthumously discovered to have effectively no brain.

If true, what's running the body? Can our "software" be incorporeal and, if so, why in some cases and not others?

You've seen the Face on Mars. But have you seen it in hi-rez 3-D? (Glasses required.)
NASA: Danger Point Closer Than Thought From Warming

Even "moderate additional" greenhouse emissions are likely to push Earth past "critical tipping points" with "dangerous consequences for the planet," according to research conducted by NASA and the Columbia University Earth Institute.

With just 10 more years of "business as usual" emissions from the burning of coal, oil and gas, says the NASA/Columbia paper, "it becomes impractical" to avoid "disastrous effects."

Don't the alarmist scientists at NASA realize the human race has bigger issues to deal with?

Like this, for instance:

Ga. judge: Keep Potter books in school

Laura Mallory, who argued the popular fiction series is an attempt to indoctrinate children in witchcraft, said she still wants the best-selling books removed and may take her case to federal court.

Let's keep some perspective, folks!

(Another hat tip to comrade Nick Redfern.)

Monday, May 28, 2007

New Creation Museum makes a Joke . . . of Logic

It's too sad to laugh at. Is racism a joke too? Racism, like Creationism, is based on pseudo-science: it tries to justify itself with fact-challenged notions of eugenics, mis-readings of genetics, garbled statistics. It uses its warped "logic" to justify genocide.

But how is Creationism like racism? They're both destructive -- and in both cases it is a destructiveness that thrives on ignorance.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Homework sucks: The case against homework

One thing the authors keep coming back to is the way that excessive homework eats into kids' playtime and family time, stressing them out, contributing to sedentary obesity, and depriving them of a childhood's measure of doing nothing, daydreaming and thinking. They quote ten-year-olds like Sophia from Brooklyn, saying things like "I have to rush, rush, rush, rush, rush, rush through my day, actually through my seven days, and that's seven days wasted in my life."

Rogue educator John Taylor Gatto has called homework "extended surveillance." In other words, it's yet another bid for control of children's attention, usually wielded by know-nothing teachers who have selected their profession because it's easier than the alternatives.

Of course, the goal is clear enough. As a nation of gutless consumers, we need to keep our numbers up, and the earlier the indoctrination the better. Someone has to stand in line at Starbucks so they can unquestioningly fork over $5 for high-calorie synthetic milkshakes.

The American Dream doesn't run itself; it needs to be vigilantly enforced every step of the way -- and we're perfectly willing to risk the health of the planet in doing so.
I just got back from "28 Weeks Later," which I highly recommend. (Peter Watts, damn him, has already nailed the salient points here.) "Weeks" is slightly more "Hollywood" than its prequel, but that's not entirely bad; there are some genuinely affecting apocalyptic scenes that had me standing on the seat cushion pumping my fist in the air in approval.
The collective unconscious can be hacked.
James Howard Kunstler: The tragedy of suburbia

This presentation made me want to cheer. Kunstler gets it.

A few money quotes:

"We can't overestimate the amount of despair we are generating with places like this."

"The salient problem about this is that these are places that are not worth caring about."

"The public realm has to inform us not only where we are geographically but where we are in our culture."

"We are entering an ethical period of change in the world and certainly in America, the period that will be characterized by the end of the cheap oil era."

"We are going to have to do everything very differently, and America's not prepared. We are sleepwalking into the future."

(Hat tip: Communist Robot.)
Here's the official blog of Canadian actress Kris Lee McBride, who's set to play the lead role in "Doing Time," my debut cyberpunk women-in-prison play for Semaphore Theatre. I'll consider my job a success if I can give Kris and her colleagues something authentically interesting to say and do -- not as easy to pull off in 2007 as in the mid-90s, when I wrote the short-story* upon which "Doing Time" is loosely based.

Modern audiences have seen "The Matrix." They're hip to cyberpunk's principal literary devices: virtual reality, Gibsonian mind-machine interfaces and, to a lesser degree, Kurzweilian mind-uploading. So I don't expect to wow theater-goers with extended discussions about the ethical ramifications of, say, hooking an inmate's brain up to a VR in order to render her amnesiac and make her think thousands of years have passed when, in truth, only seconds have elapsed . . . except, in a vaguely embarrassing way, I do. (After all, how many existential science fiction plays have you seen?)

(Actually, an idea just came to me. The audience will first meet Kris as she thumbs listlessly through a paperback copy of Philip K. Dick's "The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch." Somebody will get it.)

*To be found in the mercifully out-of-print collection "Illumined Black."
Dark Caverns Discovered on Mars

When I first saw this image, I thought it was some kind of joke, or Photoshop trick. But nope, this is real. NASA's Mars Reconnaissance orbiter has returned images of strange cavern entrances on Mars.

There are all sorts of possibilities, all of them startling. Perhaps the least exciting prospect is that these are perforations leading into deep caverns. But if they're caverns, how extensive are they? Could they have served (or still serve) as reservoirs for water and, possibly, havens for life . . . ?
They're coming! They're coming! I can hear the strident buzzing of their electrostatic engines!

An Atlas of the Universe

This web page is designed to give everyone an idea of what our universe actually looks like. There are nine main maps on this web page, each one approximately ten times the scale of the previous one. The first map shows the nearest stars and then the other maps slowly expand out until we have reached the scale of the entire visible universe.

(Via Beyond the Beyond.)
Mars As Art

The Red Planet offers future visitors a parade of alien landscapes, each more wondrous than the last.

(Thanks: Mondolithic Sketchbook.)

Friday, May 25, 2007

BULLETIN: 'Drone' Almost Certainly Real

Both Linda Howe and Unknowncountry have resources in various engineering disciplines. An Unknowncountry source at NASA has said that the object is far from any known technology. "If it is using electrostatic lift, then it would have to be extremely light, perhaps on the order of a few pounds, but then where would the energy come from? Electrostatic lift is a laboratory phenomenon, as far as I know."

We asked him to comment on this statement by an engineer queried by Linda Howe. The engineer said, "The design strategy of charged ion shaped plasma 'buoyancy' devices does bear some relevancy here. For instance, the circular array of curved 'antennae' coming out of the center of the device is very similar to a form of wave guide shaping mechanism for a charged plasma ion field."

That's some nice shop-talk, but it does nothing to change the fact that Linda Howe was told by a photography expert that the pictures are fakes, as Photoshop users have likely already figured out for themselves.

I don't blame Howe for perpetuating this fiasco, as her credulity is notorious. I blame Whitley Strieber, whose once skeptical stance on the UFO phenomenon (for example, he once astutely pointed out the tenuous link between UFOs and "abductions," a point largely overlooked by exponents of the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis) has degenerated into so much banal, contradictory pomposity.

The case of the hoaxed "drone" will, of course, evaporate one way or another, but not until a few more anonymous sources have had their say and the matter discussed to death on Internet radio. I'm getting queasy already.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Our oceans are turning into plastic . . . are we?

A vast swath of the Pacific, twice the size of Texas, is full of a plastic stew that is entering the food chain. Scientists say these toxins are causing obesity, infertility . . . and worse.

Morrissey was in town tonight. I missed it. Does that qualify as paranormal?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Selfish joystick

nOtbOt, by Walter Langelaar, is a self-playing videogame. Viewers who try to get hold of the controller can only be disappointed as the interface is controlled and deranged only by the reactions to its own virtual environment in a kind of loop where the bot is driven by the joystick and the joystick responds to the bot.
Scientists develop tiny implantable biocomputers

"Each human cell already has all of the tools required to build these biocomputers on its own," says Harvard's Yaakov (Kobi) Benenson, a Bauer Fellow in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences' Center for Systems Biology. "All that must be provided is a genetic blueprint of the machine and our own biology will do the rest. Your cells will literally build these biocomputers for you."
Cat grows wings

A Chinese woman claims her cat has grown wings.

(Via The Anomalist.)

Posthuman Blues -- keeping you in the know!
Remember this? Apparently it refuses to die quietly . . .

Weird Aerial Object Haunts California

At first, the super-clear pictures and the suggestion that one of the 'wings' on this odd craft had Klingon letters on it made seasoned UFO observers assume that it was a prank. But now additional photographs being received from independent sources by Dreamland science reporter Linda Moulton Howe suggest that it may not be a hoax. Or do they?
Fortean Times has put Nick Redfern's wrap-up of October's New Frontiers Symposium online. Includes a terrifying photo of me with hair.

Space Symposium

It was billed as an event devoted to 'extraterrestrial life' space exploration and the future'. But Halifax's local what's-on guide, The Coast, wasn't far wrong when it concisely described the New Frontiers Symposium as a place where "all kinds of crazy shit" would be placed under the microscope for scrutiny.

You may need to sign in to read it.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Peter Watts ("Blindsight") ponders the most efficient method of detecting potential "zombies" among us. I'm weirdly enamored of the idea that some of the human population is nonsentient but capable of pulling off a most convincing show. And I can't help but speculate what the social repercussions might be if we actually detected a scattered subpopulation of neurological zombies in our midst.

Would we deign to consider them "human" in the conventional sense of the word? Would we actively fear them or merely find them puzzling, as we might a person with a novel cognitive disorder?

But it gets weirder. Watts suggests that "zombies" might actually be smarter than baseline humans, in which it's possible that their ostensible humanity, aside from serving as a prudent social facade, might mask astounding capabilities.

Could "zombies," if they exist, play a role in the cryptoterrestrial mythos? Are they the "aliens" we encounter time and again, engaged in inscrutable activities in the vicinity of exotic craft?

(See this related post for more.)
The 3D air-mouse you wear as a ring

The computer mouse and flat "desktop" themed operating systems have hardly evolved since their inception. But the recent creation of a genuine, working 3D mouse system that you wear as a ring on one finger could open the door to a new model of GUI display that lets the user explore an interface in intuitive 3D. Could we be moving towards a revolution in interface interactivity?

The remote control helicopter, fitted with CCTV cameras, will be used by officers in Merseyside to track criminals and record anti-social behaviour.

The drone is only a metre wide, weighs less than a bag of sugar, and can record images from a height of 500m.

It was originally used for military reconnaissance but is now being trialled by a mainstream police force.

Police chief's 'Orwellian' fears

A senior police officer has said he fears the spread of CCTV cameras is leading to "an Orwellian situation".

Deputy chief constable of Hampshire Ian Readhead said Britain could become a surveillance society with cameras on every street corner.

(Thanks to Nick Redfern and UFOMystic.)

Here's a MySpace review of this blog that I actually found rather heartening, despite the bit about "making yourself a robot":

Id never want to become a post humanist bc we are what we are.why change on a scale like making your self a robot?you know fuck seek help, but over all pretty cool site, i dug some of ther info and laughed at some too.but ill go back you should too.
Plasma Laser: UFO Maker?

Military researchers are today working on a way to defend soldiers with ultra-quick laser pulses and mid-air plasma bursts. But similar technology may have been floating around the Defense Department for years -- and could even be the source of a few UFO scares.

Boy, you could really fuck with people's minds with this sort of thing.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Objectophiles who harbor passionate sexual love for buildings and steam-engines

Der Spiegel has an article on the theories of Volkmar Sigusch, a German researcher whose studies of "neo-sexuality" have led him to assemble case-studies of men and women who fall in deep, passionate, sexual love with objects, from the Berlin Wall and the Twin Towers to a toy steam engine.
Diamonds tell tale of comet that killed off the cavemen

Scientists will outline dramatic evidence this week that suggests a comet exploded over the Earth nearly 13,000 years ago, creating a hail of fireballs that set fire to most of the northern hemisphere.

[. . .]

'This comet set off a shock wave that changed Earth profoundly,' said Arizona geophysicist Allen West. 'It was about 2km-3km in diameter and broke up just before impact, setting off a series of explosions, each the equivalent of an atomic bomb blast. The result would have been hell on Earth. Most of the northern hemisphere would have been left on fire.'

I'm skeptical but sympathetic. It almost goes without saying that this scenario will receive a warm welcome by catastrophists. (I'm most immediately reminded of Herbie Brennan's "The Atlantis Enigma" and Joseph Christy-Vitale's "Waterwark". Incidentally, both books suggest that an advanced seafaring civilization was in place prior to the debacle, a view that contrasts sharply with mainstream archaeology.)
If this site's to be believed, the future of our world has a soundtrack that's suspiciously reminiscent of the end credits from "Total Recall."

(Thanks: Reality Carnival.)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Posthuman Blues is going on hiatus. Probably not a long one, nor a total blackout. But posting may become relatively infrequent, at least for a while.

Nothing's wrong, by the way; I'm just unusually busy. For starters, I need to finish writing "The Cryptoterrestrials" -- which, contrary to appearances, I haven't forgotten, although I confess to becoming somewhat derailed. (Fucking tinnitus.)

And I've got a play to write, and at least one fiction idea I'd like to pursue.


Ocean may be losing ability to soak CO2

Their four-year study concluded that an increase in winds over the Southern Ocean is preventing it from absorbing more carbon and is causing the sea to release some of the gas that it had stored.

"This is serious. All climate models predict that this kind of 'feedback' will continue and intensify during this century," lead author Corinne Le Quere of the University of East Anglia said in a statement.

Hey, I just post this stuff.
Uh-oh -- I missed a day. Can you forgive me?

Neptune-Sized Planet Covered in Superhot Ice

One of the most dramatic extrasolar planetary discoveries of the year was announced this week; unfortunately, with little fanfare. Planet hunters uncovered a Neptune-sized planet orbiting a nearby star. This planet is close enough to its parent star that it's extremely hot - above 250 degrees Celsius. And yet the intense pressure from gravity forces large quantities of liquid water into solid ice.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

John Shirley on the wanton "Blade Runner"-ification of San Fransisco:

How My Pebble Started an Avalanche

I can't be the only one dismayed by the big, brand new electronic (LCD?) billboard glaring at us as we leave the Bay Bridge from San Francisco, entering the East Bay. This is not just an eyesore, it's a traffic hazard. I wonder if it's in violation of environmental laws -- certainly it demonstrates an indifference to environmental concerns. It's really quite stridently bright, so bright the glare makes it difficult to drive past, at night, coming off the bridge. (The other side of the billboard is not so bright, for some reason -- still, it's an eyesore from the east and west both). It flickers from one vivid advertising image to the next, distractingly, like a gigantic television screen being channel surfed by an unknown controller. There is such a thing as light pollution, and this object is the very exemplar of it. It's probably deleterious to wild life. It has a Bladerunner-like affect, some glowering chunk of futuristic inner-city sleaze transplanted jarringly to an East Bay landscape.
This video, highlighting the capabilities of a roving massage robot, is inadvertently creepy. For one thing, the woman receiving the massage appears lifeless; the bot, with its ergonomic rubber treads, moves across her back like an indecisive scavenger.

Maybe it's just me.

(Thanks to Next Nature.)
Neo-Ruins: Lithographs of post-apocalyptic Tokyo

Hisaharu Motoda's "Neo-Ruins" series of lithographs depict the cityscape of a post-apocalyptic Tokyo, where familiar streets lie deserted, the buildings are crumbling and weeds grow from the broken pavement. The antique look of the lithographic medium effectively amps up the eeriness of the futuristic setting. "In Neo-Ruins I wanted to capture both a sense of the world's past and of the world's future," says Motoda on his website.

Motoda has apparently hacked my subconscious. These images are thrilling.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

West Nile virus decimates suburban birds

The birds act as an early warning system for humans, said Wesley Hochachka, assistant director of bird population studies at Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

"If you start seeing crows dying and dying in numbers, that means there could be a human outbreak," said Hochachka, who was not involved with the study.

Meanwhile, you-know-who has figured out why the bees are dying. (One word: "hyperdimensional.")
Woman has had it with Starbucks because of quote on cup

Michelle Incanno says she was offended by this quote on a Starbucks cup: "Why in moments of crisis do we ask God for strength and help? As cognitive beings, why would we ask something that may well be a figment of our imaginations for guidance? Why not search inside ourselves for the power to overcome? After all, we are strong enough to cause most of the catastrophes we need to endure." After reading that, she says, "I wouldn't feel right going back [to Starbucks]."

Didn't she ever wonder why coffee was hot? Everyone knows it's the beverage of Satan.

Stelarc, posthumanist and artist, implants "third ear" inside his arm

"He's also going to implant a mic inside the ear that will connect to a bluetooth transmitter, so the ear can broadcast audio from the internet wirelessly," explains former BB guestblogger and sometimes Stelarc collaborator Karen Marcelo. "That Stelarc, always got something up his sleeve! He likes to say that too."

If it's attention he's looking for, he's got mine.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Table of Malcontents: it's OK to like "Battlefield Earth."
Calif-Sized Ice Chunk Melts in Antarctica

A team of NASA and University of Colorado at Boulder scientists has found clear evidence that extensive areas of snow melted in west Antarctica in January 2005 in response to warm temperatures.

It was the first widespread Antarctic melting ever detected with NASA's QuikScat satellite and the most significant melt observed using satellites during the past three decades. Combined, the affected regions encompassed an area as big as California.

Monday, May 14, 2007

UFO Insiders: The Problem (Nick Redfern)

Since the UFO presence is by its nature elusive, and the government deems us only worthy of half-truths, lies and disinformation, perhaps we should stop looking for UFOs and instead launch a concerted effort to expose the people pulling the whistleblowers' strings and directing their actions. Only by doing that, I believe, do we stand a real chance of finding the answers that we seek.

Nick speaks wisely. Maybe he's one of "them."
I went to a MUFON meeting tonight -- my first. Local researcher Vince White (with whom I'd previously communicated with only via email and phone) presented a fascinating, articulate overview of the possibility that Mars hosts large forms of life. (While I've been highly skeptical of related claims, there is a case to be made. But until NASA/JPL engages the media in a forthcoming dialogue, we'll only see a perpetuation of the contemporary "conspiracy" mythos.)

Of course, one must concede that perhaps there really is a conspiracy to downplay evidence of life on Mars. As I've pointed out elsewhere, the admission of life probably wouldn't benefit JPL, who controls the US' robotic presence on Mars. And if the UFO phenomenon represents a form of nonhuman intelligence, suddenly revealing Mars as a world capable of harboring "forests" of tenacious plantlife would invite uncomfortable questions, many beyond the scope of established authority.

Fortunately, unlike the endless pontificating that surrounds the issue of extraterrestrial intelligence, the reality of Martian flora is readily testable. But will JPL's geologists -- conditioned to accept Mars as a dead planet -- be able to discern biological processes from geophysical phenomena?

The prospect of large-scale organic structures on Mars is decidedly fringe, especially for initiates. Armed only with black-and-white imagery, it may be surprisingly easy for analysts to misinterpret surface formations according to comfortable geological assumptions -- even if reconciling the "explanation" with the data means groping for credibility and straining "skepticism" into a particularly fragile caricature.
Watch and enjoy.

(Hat tip: Beyond the Beyond.)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Beginning of the End for Life as We Know it on Planet Earth?

The world ten million years after the Jurassic crash was radically different than the world of the dinosaurs. The world after the Holocene extinction event, the one we are in now, will be as radically altered and most likely one of the species that will not survive the event will be the present dominant species -- the human species.

In a way, the Holocenic extinction event could also be called the "Holocenic hominid collective suicide event."

After all, we Homo sapiens are the last survivors of the hominid line, a group that has been on its way out for some time. The beetle family, for example, has some 700,000 species by comparison. Odds are many of the beetle species will survive the event, whereas we will not.

(Via Reality Carnival.)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Peter Watts brings our attention to this biotech gem:

The Uplift Protein

A prefrontal-cortex protein involved in learning and memory. There's this one variant that's peculiar to us Humans, 45 amino acids longer than the standard model handed out to other primates, and a team of Chinese researchers have just nailed the gene that codes for it. And the really cool part? Utterly ignoring all those some-things-man-was-not-meant-to-know types, they spliced the causal mutation into chimpanzee DNA, which then started to synthesise the type-II variant. No word yet on how far they let that stretch of code iterate. No word on how many months away we are from building chimps with human-scale intelligence.

Hey, you know how DARPA's really into battle robots? What do you want to bet a hyperchimp could outperform even the smartest gun-toting autonomous vehicle?
Nothing is On Sale

Nothing is On Sale for $6.28. It had to happen. Someone is now selling Nothing. It's a piece of packaging with a with a clear plastic sphere sticking out of it that contains absolutely nothing.

Give it a mock-Italian name, sell it at Starbucks and I bet you could get at least $6.75 for it.

Now, in addition to merely drinking coffee, I can absorb it through my pores!
Are pesticide-free bee colonies exempt from collapse disorder?
This video allegedly shows a battered ET spacecraft on the lunar surface.

This could easily be an effects job and I fully expect it to be exposed as such. Nonetheless, I find it intriguing.

Update: Yeah, it's a hoax. But a rather cool one.

I'm not sure but I think that the magic number of 2012 comes from some Mayan calendar that doesn't have any dates past that year. Well, my Palm Pilot calendar doesn't go past 2031. Why 2031 and not some round number, like 2030? What do they know that they're not telling us? Who's really behind the Palm Corporation?


Friday, May 11, 2007

"Doing Time" by Mac Tonnies to be first Semaphore production

The gist of it: I'm writing a dystopian science fiction play for an actual theater company.

Many thanks to the irrepressible Paul Kimball, whose account of the making of "Best Evidence: Top Ten UFO Sightings" can be heard at Binnall of America.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

NASA's rousing new moon vision:

Astonishing photos of Griffith Park burning, via Boing Boing.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Missing Bees, Cell Phones and Fulfillment of Bible Prophecy

Bees have been disappearing at an alarming rate. Learn how these missing bees relate to the use of cell phones, and the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.

That's right -- fuckwits have finally discovered colony collapse disorder.
I've posted these photos of scenic Independence, Missouri before, but since I'm in a violently anti-Independence mood I'm posting them again. (And yes, it's really like this.)

Finally, here's me with some dead woodland creatures. Unbelievably, I'm smiling.

NASA study suggests extreme summer warming in the future

The research found that eastern U.S. summer daily high temperatures that currently average in the low-to-mid-80s (degrees Fahrenheit) will most likely soar into the low-to-mid-90s during typical summers by the 2080s. In extreme seasons -- when precipitation falls infrequently -- July and August daily high temperatures could average between 100 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit in cities such as Chicago, Washington, and Atlanta.
The Great Independence Boil Alert of 2007 continues unabated. I'm eagerly awaiting the first reports of rioting and mass suicide. (Isn't there something about bad water in Revelations? Gotta be.)
Militant 'Mickey Mouse' pulled off air

Hamas militants have suspended a TV program that featured a Mickey Mouse lookalike urging Palestinian children to fight Israel and work for global Islamic domination, the Palestinian information minister said Wednesday.

Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti said the character -- a giant black-and-white rodent with a high-pitched voice -- represented a "mistaken approach" to the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation.

Oh, the things you find on the Yahoo! newscrawl . . .

The inhumane treatment of robots

During a demonstration, where the robot was continually blown up until it was down to one leg, Tilden was ordered to stop by an Army Colonel who was distressed at seeing the crippled robot hobbling toward the next landmine. With his judgement clouded no doubt by seeing humans engaged in the real thing, the Colonel declared the demonstration was inhumane.

Maybe we'll start being humane when they start being humane. Hasn't this judgment-clouded colonel seen the "Terminator" movies?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Today (and probably tomorrow) Independence is on a "boil alert." Apparently a water main burst, potentially contaminating the water supply. (Curiously, none of the community's so-called "journalists" have even thought to ask what the contaminating substance might be.)

The alert advises ceasing to drink or otherwise consume tap water, so everyone's stocking up on bottled water or else boiling tap water in an attempt to eradicate the unspecified contaminants. As restaurants close, an almost apocalyptic atmosphere has descended over the suburbs. Lines of cars remain sitting at the Starbucks drive-thru, their drivers uncomprehending.

I have to admit that part of me is enjoying this.
'Up to half' of Mars may have ice

Scientists in the US say that initial data from a new way of scanning Mars has shown up to half of the Red Planet's surface may contain ice.

The new method of scanning for water offers vastly more accurate readings than before, they say.

The data could prove vital for the Phoenix Mars Mission which launches this August and which will put a lander on the surface to dig for ice.
"J.G. Ballard offered the really scary thought: that we didn't dread catastrophe, but longed for it."

Fifty years from now, as we examine the cancerous folly of the early 21st century from the perspective of wary temporal colonists, we'll see Ballard as the very embodiment of prescience.

(Excerpt from the BBC's "The Martians and Us.")

(Big thanks to Ballardian.)

Monday, May 07, 2007

Daft Punk, "Technologic":

An anthem for our time?

My new interview with Gene Steinberg and David Biedny of The Paracast is live. Click here and it will start playing automatically. Alternatively, download the MP3 here.
These dinosaur bots are so good they're scary.

Where can I buy tickets?

(Thanks: The Speculist.)

Russia Accuses US of Moon Plot

Adrian Blomfield reports that the Russian space agency has accused NASA of "rejecting a proposal for joint lunar exploration." Does this mean we hope to claim ownership of the moon, along with all its incredibly valuable Helium 3 fuel, by planting another American flag there before anyone else can get there?

That's exactly what it means.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Not only does this "UFO" look fake, it looks really fake, like the hoaxer wasn't even trying particularly hard. But I'll give him or her some credit for originality. (I especially like the alien script on the craft's extensions.)
Navy Heats Up Cold Fusion Hopes

Appearing in the respected journal Naturwissenschaften, which counts Albert Einstein among its distinguished authors, the article claims that Spawar scientists Stanislaw Szpak and Pamela Mosier-Boss have achieved a low energy nuclear reaction (LERN) that can be replicated and verified by the scientific community.

(Via The Anomalist.)
Good god -- another book (this one fiction!) by Cliff Pickover!
What do you know? I actually posted to Extracranial, my new sporadic fiction blog.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

The last year has been the unhappiest of my life; on Monday I turn in my notice to my apartment manager.

Independence, MO is a malignant sprawl of drive-throughs, dilapidated strip-malls, megachurches, pawn shops, gaudily painted payday-loan outfits, and ubiquitous police chases. The people -- listless, overfed and television-soaked -- frankly horrify me. I'm sick of the sullen teenagers allowed to loiter in the town's sole non-Christian bookstore, the rampant obesity and the endless construction as the few remaining trees are mowed down to make room for more forgettable fast-food restaurants.

Independence is the culmination of a psychosis that goes conveniently unmentioned in the real-estate literature. It's a prison camp of colorless tract houses and chain-link fences, arguably as deadly as the nuclear bombs dropped by Harry Truman, its iconic native.

I've inhaled the fallout. Now it's time to move on.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Canadian Mission Concept to Mysterious Mars moon Phobos to Feature Unique Rock-Dock Maneuver

The PRIME science team has tentatively selected a specific and compelling feature on the surface of Phobos as the target landing site. Popularly known as the "Phobos Monolith", it is a building-sized object that appears to be a boulder exposed relatively recently in an otherwise desolate area of the asteroid-like moon. Scientists on the PRIME team are interested in such boulders as they might represent unique opportunities to examine actual samples of Phobos's bedrock up close. PRIME Deputy Principal Investigator Dr. Alan Hildebrand believes that the Phobos Monolith could hold the answers to the moon's composition and history. "If we can get to that object, we likely don’t need to go anywhere else," he advised the science team.

For more on the "Phobos Monolith," click here.
Peter Watts, author of supposedly "bleak" science fiction novels, confesses: he's an optimist. And I for one believe him.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Honeybee die-off threatens food supply

Even cattle, which feed on alfalfa, depend on bees. So if the collapse worsens, we could end up being "stuck with grains and water," said Kevin Hackett, the national program leader for USDA's bee and pollination program.

"This is the biggest general threat to our food supply," Hackett said.

While not all scientists foresee a food crisis, noting that large-scale bee die-offs have happened before, this one seems particularly baffling and alarming.

The colony collapse epidemic has passed the "weird" threshold and entered the realm of the truly alarming.
Is this a real UFO over Brooklyn or a (presumably CGI) hoax?

"Doll Face" by Andrew Huang:

This may be one of the coolest things I've ever posted.

(Thanks, Nerdshit!)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

US Environment Satellites In Jeopardy - Scientists

Environmental satellites that monitor global warming are in jeopardy because of cost cuts, as military and human spaceflight programs get larger shares of the US budget, a science policy expert said on Wednesday.

Just because the world's turning to shit doesn't mean they can make us watch.
Bangkok Faces Flooded Future, Expert Says

Thailand's capital, Bangkok, will be under water in 20 years because of rising seas from global warming and subsidence, says a top Thai climate expert who warned of a tsunami years before the 2004 disaster.

That's potentially 10 million climate refugees -- from merely one city. The future is going to be crowded beyond belief.

"If nothing is done, Bangkok will be at least 50 centimetres to one metre under water," Smith Dharmasaroja, head of Thailand's National Disaster Warning Centre, said in an interview.

Ah, but just think of the burgeoning glass-bottomed boat tour industry!

1934 Predicts: "Gigantic Robots, Controlled By Wireless, To Fight Our Battles"

You know, I'm with Wired, and when it comes down to it, we're all extraordinarily techno-utopian. But I'm going to say this: there's no way the actual future can be as cool as the battling 1,000 foot robots of the twentieth century's retro-future.
Images of Earth from Planetary Spacecraft

The Apollo program produced the first widely publicized views of Earth as a colorful marble floating in black space, images that revolutionized public perception of our fragile planet. Later, Clementine reprised these views. As spacecraft began to launch on journeys to more distant planets, never to return, their mission controllers often commanded them to take departing views of Earth and the Moon.

(Via Beyond the Beyond.)
Freeze-framed letter from "Leave it to Beaver": shades of the famous Roswell Ramey memo.
William S. Burroughs, Whitley Strieber, and UFOs

William Burroughs' reference points were outside most of ours. Like any explorer, he searched for the highest peak for a better point of view. If he could establish some sort of connection with non-human intelligence, he may have thought he could finally crack the hard shell of what he called the "Nova Conspiracy": one of his models for the drive that makes some humans seek total control of others. Burroughs was apparently convinced that this meme was so dastardly that it had to be due to an outside influence, namely what we would sometimes call "aliens." It probably did not matter to him if the contact was with "good" or "bad" aliens. He could glean information from either source.

For more, click here.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Radiohead, "Creep" (acoustic):

Portishead, "Seven Months":

This devastating expose of the enigmatic events of 4/29 veritably screams for a high-level investigation.

(Yes, I'm kidding.)

(Thanks: Boing Boing.)
"A magic man done it."

(Big thanks to Reality Carnival.)
Ice Retreating Faster Than Computer Models Project

Arctic sea ice is melting at a significantly faster rate than projected by even the most advanced computer models, a new study concludes. The research, by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the University of Colorado's National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), shows that the Arctic's ice cover is retreating more rapidly than estimated by any of the 18 computer models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in preparing its 2007 assessments.
I swapped the most unsatisfying uber-minimal look for the upgraded version of the blue template I'd already been using. I'm a little angry at Blogger's dearth of cool templates, but at least now I can swap layouts painlessly if they happen to acquire a decent one.

Thanks for the comment feedback, everybody.