Tuesday, January 26, 2016

"X-Files" Online

UFO sighting in Cave Junction, Oregon,1927

"The Central Intelligence Agency says it has finally come clean about UFOs. To absolutely no one's surprise, it knew more than it ever let on."

While I'm still in a "newsy" sort of mood, this just came in: apparently the CIA just released some old UFO files on it's website

Huh? I didn't even  know the CIA had a website... but, there you have it. For more articles relating to this event see the following:


So, cats and kitties, is this a major event? Probably not. But, what do I know?

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Ninth Planet

"The solar system appears to have a new ninth planet. Today, two scientists announced evidence that a body nearly the size of Neptune—but as yet unseen—orbits the sun every 15,000 years. During the solar system’s infancy 4.5 billion years ago, they say, the giant planet was knocked out of the planet-forming region near the sun. Slowed down by gas, the planet settled into a distant elliptical orbit, where it still lurks today."

- from the January 20, 2016 Science Magazine's news article.


What's this? Two posts in one day?

Yes, the news is coming in fast and furiously in 2016!  (Am I up to it?  No, but maybe you are.)

Dana Tonnies, star reporter, has just notified me of this latest scoop: the possible discovery of a ninth planet. Which is very cool. If you remember, I did note in my new year's article, that 2016 is, in a numerological sense, a number 9 year. (Thanks, Dana!)

As it was, I never did buy into the downgrading of Pluto's status... because it destroyed the wonderful symmetry a ninth planet creates. So, maybe the symmetry will be restored. Then again, we must reign in our enthusiasm until nuts and bolts evidence is found:

"That something didn’t have to be a planet. Sedna’s gravitational nudge could have come from a passing star, or from one of the many other stellar nurseries that surrounded the nascent sun at the time of the solar system’s formation.

Since then, a handful of other icy objects have turned up in similar orbits. By combining Sedna with five other weirdos, Brown says he has ruled out stars as the unseen influence: Only a planet could explain such strange orbits. Of his three major discoveries—Eris, Sedna, and now, potentially, Planet X—Brown says the last is the most sensational. 'Killing Pluto was fun. Finding Sedna was scientifically interesting,' he says. 'But this one, this is head and shoulders above everything else.'"

"Killing Pluto was fun" ?!

Scientists are so weird.

Meanwhile, Planet X isn't a wholly new discovery. Before Pluto's downfall, Mac mentioned similar anomalies on Posthuman Blues here, and here.

Triangulation of the third kind...

The End of Physics As We Know It...?

Perhaps, things are looking up!

"The stakes now could not be higher. This summer, the LHC began its second phase of operation with an energy almost double what we achieved in the first run. What particle physicists are all desperately hoping for are signs of new particles, micro black holes, or maybe something totally unexpected emerging from the violent collisions at the Large Hadron Collider. If so, then we can continue this long journey that began 100 years ago with Albert Einstein towards an ever deeper understanding of the laws of nature.

But if, in two or three years' time, when the LHC switches off again for a second long shutdown, we've found nothing but the Higgs boson, then we may be entering a new era in physics: an era where there are weird features of the universe that we cannot explain; an era where we have hints that we live in a multiverse that lies frustratingly forever beyond our reach; an era where we will never be able to answer the question, "Why is there something rather than nothing?"

- Harry Cliff, from the TED Talk interactive transcript.


Okay, call me optimistic (or stupidly hopeful), but for a transdimensionalist, this is actually good news.

I came upon the above article earlier in the week, but, for obvious reasons (see previous 2 posts), wasn't up to posting any notice about it. Meanwhile, Paul Kimball beat me to it, and posted the TED video here.

While there isn't anything new about a physicist's inability to answer The Big Question, what is new is the admission that there might be a vastly unknowable X-Factor involved.

Might there be a ghost in the machine, after all?

We do so love a good ghost story! ;-)

The mandala of the Hadron Collider

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

David Bowie: A Constellation of 7 Stars

It's official:
A new constellation - as of January, 2016 - found at Stardust for Bowie.
(click to enlarge)

Scientists have registered a constellation shaped like a lightning bolt in honour of David Bowie and his out-of-this-world talent...

Referring to his various albums, we chose seven stars — Sigma Librae, Spica, Alpha Virginis, Zeta Centauri, SAA 204 132, and the Beta Sigma Octantis Trianguli Australis — in the vicinity of Mars.

The constellation is a copy of the iconic Bowie lightning bolt and was recorded at the exact time of his death.”

(Hat-tip to Chis Savia at the Daily Grail.)


Note about that lightening bolt: Hmmm... but where have we seen that symbol on this blog recently?

Remember that wonderful "benign" robot in this post? I don't know that Johnny Rodriguez (aka KMNDZ) had Bowie in mind when he created this soulful robot, but he may have.

Then again, I'm wondering what was reverberating in J. K. Rowling's mind, when she first envisioned Harry Potter's mystical scar?

"Yes, Yes, but you see...it is necessary to start with your scar. For it became apparent, shortly after you rejoined the magical world, that I was correct, and that your scar was giving you warnings when Voldemort was close to you, or else feeling powerful emotion. And this ability of yours...to detect Voldemort's presence, even when he is disguised, and to know what he is feeling when his emotions are roused...has become more and more pronounced since Voldemort returned to his own body and his full powers..."
- Albus Dumbledore to Harry Potter

Interestingly, for those of us intrigued by the use of symbols, the lightening bolt represents the "loss of ignorance".

Monday, January 11, 2016

From Stardust to Stardust... (Video repaired 3/12/17)

"There are still so many people on an immortality kick... what are we after exactly? There's just too much ego involved. And who wants to drag their old, decaying frame around until they're 90. Just to assert their ego? I don't certainly." 

- David Bowie from a 1977 Melody Maker interview, found here.

The original Martian has died. Frankly, I never thought I'd see this day... and Mac would've been devastated. What do you say about one of the greatest performers who ever lived?

Synchronistically, he just released his last album this month: Blackstar.

Vale, David...

"The philosophy of six thousand years has not searched the chambers and magazines of the soul. In its experiments there has always remained, in the last analysis, a residuum it could not resolve. Man is a stream whose source is hidden. Our being is descending into us from we know not whence. The most exact calculator has no prescience that somewhat incalculable may not balk the very next moment. I am constrained every moment to acknowledge a higher origin for events than the will I call mine.

As with events, so is it with thoughts. When I watch that flowing river, which, out of regions I see not, pours for a season its streams into me, I see that I am a pensioner; not a cause, but a surprised spectator of this ethereal water; that I desire and look up, and put myself in the attitude of reception, but from some alien energy the visions come."

- from Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay, The Over-soul, 1841.


I'm still reeling from yesterdays news, as I imagine countless others are as well, and, as we slowly process this information, it's likely that the internet will be one immense galaxy of Bowie memes in the coming days. I'm listing a few things here I've recently found for those interested. The best one is this: the main-belt asteroid that is Davidbowie! Betcha didn't know that. I didn't... till I read this article from Gizmodo.

Other noteworthy articles: This from boingboing's Xeni Jardin, Red Pill Junkie's tribute at the Daily Grail, the Telegraph article, the NPR article, and the Daily Mail's article: David Bowie died from liver cancer and was told it was terminal a year ago.

Is it too late to express to David the deep gratitude that many of us feel? I hope not.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Universe in an Eyeball

An "Observable universe logarithmic illustration"  - 2012, Pablo Carlos Budassi
(Click to enlarge.)

Recently found: a tiny map of the universe to conjure with, discovered in this article... just in case your next trip takes you to where "no man has gone before"...