Weird Science 5-15-12
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Editor, The Konformist
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Why are we not already widely aware of non-Earth civilizations and beings?
Seven theories behind the lack of present-day "contact"
Theory #1 - Earth has been declared a "non-intervention" zone and all non-Earth civilizations have agreed to stay "hands off" while simply observing our planet and our species. This would, of course, imply some sort of galactic governing body, which is a fascinating subject all by itself.
Theory #2 - There are no advanced aliens in the galaxy. We are the only intelligent life in the universe. God help us if this turns out to be true, as there will be nothing to stop human-led corporations from pillaging and destroying entire worlds if inexpensive space travel technology can be developed. Imagine Jupiter renamed "Planet Microsoft, Inc." Technology without ethics is extremely dangerous.
Theory #3 - There are aliens, but they just haven't noticed us yet. Maybe they only get around to checking each life-supporting planet every 50,000 years or so, and since our entire civilization is only about 10,000 years old (or so), we haven't yet showed up on their radar. Our use of nuclear weapons -- a series of events easily visible from space -- has only taken place in the last 75 years or so. The light from such events has only begun to reach many advanced civilizations that might be gearing up to take action against Earth as a result.
Theory #4 - Our own present-day human species was created by non-Earth beings genetically seeding or altering native primates in order to create a more intelligent race for some purpose that we don't yet know about. (A slave race of obedient workers, perhaps? That trait seems to have been made quite prominent among present-day humans...)
Theory # 5 - Extraterrestrials know all about us, but they're waiting to see if we will destroy ourselves first. If we somehow get through the next couple of hundred years without decimating our own planet, then perhaps they will make contact. This is a question of species maturity -- are human beings mature enough to even bother being contacted? Or are we still just fair-skinned apes who beat each other over the heads with sticks and rocks while poisoning our own planet and destroying life? Earth's "advanced weapons" are a joke in a galactic sense, and our focus on weapons and war only proves how stupid we are when it comes to wisdom and maturity.
Theory #6 - Extraterrestrials are already here, and they're already taking over with some sort of nefarious infiltration agenda. Remember the "V" television series? Yeah, lizard people and all that... The "David Icke theory."
Theory #7 - Earth has already been claimed as "property" by one of the non-Earth races, and they will soon come to the planet to claim its resources. If you think about it, if earthlings had the technology of faster-than-light space travel, wouldn't we run around the Milky Way staking claim to all the valuable planets we could find? And the most valuable planets of all, it seems, would be water planets, as water is really the "gold" of life (as we know it) in the galaxy. A big blue planet like Earth would look like a valuable gem floating in a sea of mostly inhabitable rocks. Every advanced civilization in the universe would want to "own" Earth if, indeed, ownership was still one of their functioning tendencies.
Mark Ruffalo: Fracking is a public health concern
Eric W. Dolan
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Actor Mark Ruffalo appeared Wednesday on MSNBC to discuss his campaign against hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, a controversial method of natural gas extraction.
"Everywhere we've done it there has been contamination," he said. "You have to ask yourself: `If we could do it safely, why aren't we doing it? Why is this industry asking to be exempted from the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Hazardous Waste Act, the Superfund Act.' They're saying that because they can't make money, they can't make it economically profitable to do it safely."
Fracking involves injecting a mixture of water and chemicals deep underground, triggering small explosions that drive gas pockets upwards.
The energy industry defends fracking as a safe method of natural gas extraction, but the U.S. Geological Survey and others in the energy industry believe that fracking, or deep underground liquid injection similar to fracking, can cause earthquakes. Others near fracking wells have detected high levels of methane in their water supplies, including several cases where water was so volatile it could be set on fire.
"This is a public health issue," Ruffalo said. "There have been no credible public health studies done on this."
He explained that his anti-fracking campaign, called Water Defense, was meant to fight the millions of dollars being spent by the energy industry to promote the method.
Holy Shroud! Was resurrection story inspired by the cloth?
The Shroud of Turin has been seen as many things over the past 620 years, ranging from true burial cloth of the risen Jesus to clever medieval fake, but Cambridge art historian Thomas de Wesselow puts together a 448-page-long case for one of the lesser-known theories in his new book, "The Sign": that the shroud's negative image of a naked, bloodied man was really produced by Jesus' decomposition, and that the stories of his resurrection were inspired by the display of that cloth to his earliest disciples.
"The message really is that the Shroud of Turin is authentic," de Wesselow told me. "This is the only rational way of understanding this image. It can be understood entirely naturalistically. There's no reason to invoke a miracle to explain the image."
De Wesselow acknowledged this could be a hard sell for believers as well as for skeptics. "There are two big things I am arguing against," he admitted.
He's already taking flak from both sides.
"It's breathtakingly astonishing," said Joe Nickell, a senior research fellow at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry who has written extensively about the shroud. "He's clearly not a doubting Thomas. He's come up with some rather silly ideas, and then as people often do, he's fallen in love with them."
Meanwhile, in a column about the shroud, the Catholic Herald's Francis Phillips basically brushed off de Wesselow's views, saying they were "too eccentric to reproduce here."
Legends and lore for Easter
"The Sign" is the latest example of shroud lore that comes out during the Easter season, just around the time when millions of Christians are dwelling on the story of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. (I'm linking to other examples at the end of this item.) The Shroud of Turin has a clear line of provenance going back to around 1390, but when you try to go further back, you can easily get swept up in tales of the Knights Templar and legendary relics like the Veil of Veronica and the Holy Mandylion.
De Wesselow comes at the story from his background in art history. He's been researching the story of the shroud full-time for the past five years, and has woven together an explanation from scientific findings that seem to support the shroud's authenticity, plus perspectives on the animist beliefs of ancient peoples.
"I've studied images, what they mean and how they affect people," de Wesselow said. "In the old days, people saw images as potentially alive. They had potentially a consciousness. ... That type of thinking was absolutely standard before the modern age. It has nothing to do with an optical illusion, and it has nothing to do with people being stupid."
De Wesselow picks up on the idea that the shroud is actually a "vaporograph," colored by a chemical reaction between the gases exuded by a dead body and the carbohydrate deposits on the surface of Jesus' burial cloth. Blood stains were left on the cloth as well. When the shroud was taken from the body, the ghostly image remained behind and de Wesselow said Jesus' disciples could have interpreted that image as the spiritual manifestation of their leader.
"The appearances of the risen Jesus were simply viewings of the shroud image," he said.
Here's what de Wesselow thinks happened next: After a series of viewings in the Holy Land, the shroud was and taken to the city of Edessa in modern-day Turkey, where it came to be folded up, framed and venerated by the Byzantine Christians as the Mandylion. The cloth was transferred to Constantinople in the 10th century, and disappeared in the year 1204, only to turn up again in France in the 1300s. The shroud was transferred to Turin in 1578, and it's been there ever since.
Holes in the theory?
What about the biblical references to the risen Jesus conversing with the apostles, or eating fish to prove he was really real, or letting St. Thomas touch his wounds? De Wesselow noted that the first accounts of the crucifixion and resurrection were written down decades after they supposedly occurred. "In that time, there's plenty of room for all the legends to be added to the story... These are stories written by sophisticated individuals later on to prove the point that there was a physical resurrection," he said.
Is there any evidence that dead bodies could actually produce the sort of vaporograph that de Wesselow is talking about? "We haven't got anything precisely similar," he acknowledged, "but I don't think that's surprising."
He pointed to a phenomenon known as the Jospice Imprint: In 1981, a cancer patient died at an English hospice and left a partial imprint of his body and face on a mattress cover. "It seems to have been formed from urine pooling around his body," de Wesselow said. That's not what he thinks happened in Jesus' case, but he nevertheless cited the imprint as "another example of a strange image."
De Wesselow totally buys into the evidence provided by the Shroud of Turin Research Project, to the effect that the image is not an artistic forgery but the real imprint of a battered man from centuries ago. That's a huge leap of faith right there. If you accept that, there are only so many types of explanations for the shroud you can come up with. De Wesselow said his explanation addresses the shroud mystery as well as the roots of belief in Jesus' resurrection.
"There are explanations involving a miracle, or that Jesus was spiritually resurrected and appeared in visions to his disciples," de Wesselow told me. "Since the 18th century, scientists have tried to explain the resurrection, and they've basically given up. They've basically forgotten about the whole problem. What I think I can do is provide a fairly coherent explanation which is completely naturalistic. It's a better alternative to the traditional Christian view."
A skeptic speaks
Nickell, however, prefers to stick with his own skeptical view. "I think the resurrection appearances can be seen as pretty much the same kind of thing we have today with apparitional experiences ghosts, if you will," Nickell said. "We could see ourselves in such a situation with, say, Elvis sightings. You can understand them as experiences that people had but were illusory."
The way Nickell sees it, the biggest argument against de Wesselow's "cloth-as-Jesus" hypothesis comes from the scriptures themselves: There are only vague references to burial cloths in Matthew, Mark and Luke. The gospel of John, meanwhile, refers to Jesus being covered by separate cloths for the face and the body, which is "fatal to the Shroud of Turin," Nickell said.
"The bottom line for me is, if this author were correct, and Jesus' shroud had survived, surely one of the holy evangelists would have made note of it," Nickell said. "If it had been kept and had a remarkable picture of Jesus on it, we would have known about it. And we don't."
Farm-fresh infringement: Can you violate a patent by planting some seeds?
Timothy B. Lee
Can a farmer commit patent infringement just by planting soybeans he bought on the open market? This week, the Supreme Court asked the Obama administration to weigh in on the question. The Court is pondering an appeals court decision saying that such planting can, in fact, infringe patents.
In 1994, the agricultural giant Monsanto obtained a patent covering a line of "Roundup Ready" crops that had been genetically modified to resist Monsanto's Roundup herbicide. This genetic modification is hereditary, so future generations of seeds are also "Roundup Ready." Farmers had only to save a portion of their crop for re-planting the next season, and they wouldn't need to purchase new seed from Monsanto every year. The company didn't want to be in the business of making a one-time sale, so when Monsanto sold "Roundup Ready" soybeans to farmers, it required them to sign a licensing agreement promising not to re-plant future generations of seeds.
However, farmers remain free to sell the soybeans they grow in the commodity market, where most are used to feed people or livestock. Roundup Ready soybeans have become extremely popular; they now account for 94 percent of all acres planted in Indiana, for instance. Vernon Bowman, an Indiana farmer, was a customer of Monsanto who realized that Roundup Ready soybeans had become so common in his area that if he simply purchased commodity soybeans from a local grain elevator, the overwhelming majority of those soybeans would be Roundup Ready. Commodity soybeans are significantly cheaper than Monsanto's soybeans, and they came without the contractual restriction on re-planting.
So Bowman planted (and re-planted) commodity soybeans instead of using Monsanto's seeds. When Monsanto discovered what Bowman was doing, it sued him for patent infringement.
Patent protection or freedom to farm?
Bowman argued his use of the seeds is covered by patent law's "exhaustion doctrine." This doctrine, like copyright law's first sale doctrine, holds that a patent holder's rights in a particular product are "exhausted" when the product is sold to an end user. The Supreme Court beefed up the exhaustion doctrine in 2008 when it held that LG could not "double dip" on patent licensing feescharging both chipmaker Intel and OEM Quanta royalties for the same chip.
Bowman argued that when Monsanto sold seed to a farmer, it exhausted its rights not only to that specific seed but to all of the seed's descendants. Since Bowman wasn't required to sign a licensing agreement before buying commodity seeds, he argued that he was free to plant the seeds and even to save and re-plant each season's crop for future seasons.
But Monsanto countered that each new generation of seeds is a separate product and thus requires a separate patent license. In effect, Monsanto contends that Bowman is illegally "manufacturing" infringing soybeans...
Last year, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled, as it had on several previous occasions, that patent exhaustion did not cover second-generation seeds. The Supreme Court has now asked the Solicitor General, the official in charge of representing the Obama administration before the Court, to weigh in on the case...
AT&T will allow out-of-contract customers to unlock their iPhone
Starting this Sunday, AT&T will begin offering out-of-contract customers the ability to unlock their iPhone and use it on another carrier.
AT&T announced the change in policy in a statement issued on Friday. It takes effect in just two days, on April 8...
Previously, customers who finished the terms of their two-year contract with AT&T had an iPhone that could not be unlocked through official avenues. That meant even though they were free to leave for another carrier, they could not bring their iPhone with them...
World's Most Heinous Conspiracy
Millions Suffering Needlessly and Dying Prematurely
Steven A. Swan
Imagine there being a scientist who had earned a doctorate degree in cellular biology and physiology (the study of how living things function) way back in 1959. Imagine that this scientist also participated in developing electrocardiographythe interpretation of the electrical activity of the heart.
Imagine that this scientist's curiosity led her to experiment further with using electricity, as well as radio waves, to analyze substances. Imagine that this scientist discovered that everything in existence, living or dead, animate or inanimate, produces and emits its own radio frequency or range of radio frequencies. (Tiny entities produce a single radio frequency; larger entities produce a range of radio frequencies. The larger the entity, the wider the range.)
Imagine that this scientist invented a device with which she could determine the composition of any substance based upon the radio frequencies emitted by its components. Imagine that this scientist used this invention to analyze individuals with diseases to determine that combinations of toxins and foreign invaders (viruses, bacteria, parasites, etc.) were causing most of them and that by removing these toxins and foreign invaders, virtually all diseases could be cured.
Imagine that this scientist decided against submitting her discoveries for conventional (and somewhat political) scientific review and verification because the process would take much too long and in the interim many people would suffer needlessly and die prematurely. Rather, she opted to disseminate her discoveries directly those who most urgently needed them. She did so by publishing books documenting her discoveries, through media interviews, through word-of-mouth, through whatever she could think of. Fortunately, she was able to reach and help hundreds of thousands of individuals using these methods.
Imagine that when the mainstream medical establishment (including the giant pharmaceutical companies) learned of this scientist's discoveries, it naturally feared losing its highly profitable health care monopoly. Imagine the mainstream medical establishment, in conjunction with the mainstream scientific community and the corporate-controlled mainstream media, conspiring to savagely and repeatedly vilify this scientist and her discoveries in as many ways as they could imagine.
Imagine this scientist taking all of this unwarranted vilification in stride and continuing her research. This included sharing her new discoveries with others. Being precluded from practicing medicine within the United States because she was not a medical doctor, she also established a clinic in Mexico to help individuals cure their life-threatening diseases. This included closely monitoring their conditions with her invention to ensure that her protocols were being effective. Because they needed her the most, she only admitted the most terminally ill of patients.
Imagine that this scientist was so engrossed in her research and in helping to save the lives of others that she neglected her own health. Inexplicably, she refused to postpone her important work to concentrate on her own ailments. Tragically, in 2009 at the age of eighty, this remarkable scientist's extraordinary life came to an end.
Imagine this scientist's detractors using her death as an opportunity to vilify her and her discoveries even further. They cited her death as proof that she was a charlatan, that her discoveries were fabricated, and that her cures did not work. Unfortunately, they have convinced millions of others that their lies are true.
Fortunately, many thousands of us know the real truth. We have used this scientist's discoveries, inventions, and cures to keep ourselves, our families, our friends, and others healthy and to cure our own ailments and diseases. We only wish that it were easier to overcome the lies of the mainstream medical establishment, et. al., and bring these truths to the millions of other individuals in the world who are suffering needlessly and dying prematurely.
The above account is true. It is the remarkable story of scientist extraordinaire, Dr. Hulda Regehr Clark, Ph.D., N.D. Unfortunately, Dr. Clark is no longer with us. However, there are many thousands of us attempting to disseminate Dr. Clark's remarkable discoveries to as many others as possible. However, it is a daunting task given the power and influence of those who have conspired against her and her discoveries.
Steven A. Swan has been studying and using Dr. Clark's discoveries and inventions for many years to keep himself healthy. He was also able to adapt information in Dr. Clark's final book about curing cancer to cure his own asthma and his own psoriasis.
Swan offers consultations to anyone wishing to use Dr. Clark's discoveries to cure their own ailments or diseases or who simply wish to understand them better. (Because of the vast amount of scientific information contained in Dr. Clark's books, they can be somewhat confusing to individuals who have not studied them.)
Swan's website is entitled Dr. Hulda Clark Consultant and it is located at drclarkconsultant.com. Swan can be reached by email at contact@....
It's already been a very record-breaking hot year
It's been so warm in the United States this year, especially in March, that national records weren't just broken, they were deep-fried.
Temperatures in the lower 48 states were 8.6 degrees above normal for March and 6 degrees higher than average for the first three months of the year, according to calculations by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That far exceeds the old records.
The magnitude of how unusual the year has been in the U.S. has alarmed some meteorologists who have warned about global warming. One climate scientist said it's the weather equivalent of a baseball player on steroids, with old records obliterated.
"Everybody has this uneasy feeling. This is weird. This is not good," said Jerry Meehl, a climate scientist who specializes in extreme weather at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. "It's a guilty pleasure. You're out enjoying this nice March weather, but you know it's not a good thing."
Was Stonehenge designed for sound?
Full Article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2131519/Was-Stonehenge-designed-sound-Researchers-recreate-ancient-site-sounded-like-Neolithic-man.html
Stonehenge could have been designed with acoustics in mind like a Greek or Roman theatre, a study has revealed.
A team of researchers from the University of Salford spent four years studying the historic site's acoustic properties in a bid to crack the mystery of why it was built.
While they could not confirm the exact purpose of the stones, the researchers did find the space reacted to acoustic activity in a way that would have been noticeable to the Neolithic man...