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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

India's first spacecraft to Mars

ISRO to launch India's first spacecraft to Mars
The Indian Space Research Organisation will send the satellite into Earth's orbit to gain the momentum needed to reach Mars

The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle that will carry the orbiter awaits launch at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre. Photograph: Arun Sankar K/AP
By: Jason Burke in Delhi
The Guardian, Tuesday 5 November 2013

The cyclone season is almost over, the planets are in alignment, the countdown has started. On Tuesday at 2.46pm local time, a rocket will blast off from the Indian space port on a small island in the Bay of Bengal, heading for Mars.

Its course will be closely followed. The $70m (£45m) mission –India's first attempt to reach the red planet – aims not just to gather information that might indicate if life has ever existed or could exist there, nor simply to showcase Indian technology, but to steal an interplanetary march on its regional rival, China.

"In the last century the space race meant the US against the Soviets. In the 21st century it means India against China," said Pallava Bagla, one of India's best known science commentators. "There is a lot of national pride involved in this."

That the mission was about national pride was never in doubt. It was announced last year by prime minister Manmohan Singh in his annual address from the battlements of Delhi's famous Red Fort, the bastion of the Mughal emperors. Its success would mean the Indians would join the Russians, the US and the European space agency which have all also reached Mars.

A plunging currency, ailing economy and the state's seeming inability to deliver basic services have led many Indians to question whether their nation is quite as close to becoming a global superpower as it seemed in the heady years of the last decade when economic growth pushed the 10%. For a government beset by charges of corruption and mismanagement, the Mars mission is one way to repair its battered image. It was announced in the week more than 600 million people were hit by the world's worst power cut.

Such expenditure is, however, controversial, with some questioning whether India, where more than 40% of children are malnourished and half the population have no toilets, can afford the mission. One development economist called it a symptom of "the Indian elite's delusional quest for superpower status".

Critics of Britain's aid programme in the country have also been angered by the mission. The UK gives India around £300m each year.

But Pallava said such criticism befuddled him. "Really the money involved is tiny compared to other expenditures," he said.
Successive Indian governments have invested heavily in the country's space programme, making it one of the most capable in the developing world. The task of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) team is extraordinarily technical, involving huge numbers of complex calculations of the trajectory and speed of the rocket, the satellite and planets.

Indian scientists say they are optimistic that it will be successful.
"This is a very complicated mission but we have the capability to do it. We have developed new knowledge and we are very confident that we can achieve the navigation from earth to Mars accurately and properly," said ISRO chairman Dr K Radhakrishnan.

So far success in the race against the Chinese has proved elusive, with Beijing's scientists achieving a manned space mission in 2003 and beating India by placing a satellite in the moon's orbit in 2007. The mission to launch the Mangalyaan, or vehicle to Mars, has not been without its problems. The failure of India's most powerful rocket, the first choice to hoist the heavy satellite into space, has necessitated the full deployment of what is arguably India's greatest talent – improvisation, or jugaad, as it is known locally.

Instead of sending their mission directly to Mars, the ISRO plans to place its satellite in the earth's orbit first, and then use the momentum generated through a series of complex manoeuvres to send the device towards its final destination. If all goes well, it will reach the planet sometime next summer.

The scientists will also have to hit a five-minute window for the launch. If they miss it, they will have to wait another two years – or possibly five – for another chance.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Urashima Tarō Time Travel

Image source: Wikipedia

Urashima Tarō (浦島 太郎) is a Japanese legend about a fisherman who rescues a turtle and is rewarded for this with a visit to Ryūgū-jō, the palace of Ryūjin, the Dragon God, under the sea. He stays there for three days and, upon his return to his village, finds himself 300 years in the future.

The name Urashima Tarō first appears in the 15th century (the Muromachi period), in a genre of illustrated popular fiction known as otogizōshi; however, the story itself is much older, dating back to the 8th century (the Nara Period). Older sources such as Nihon Shoki, Man'yōshū and Tango no Kuni Fudoki (丹後国風土記) refer to Urashima Tarō as Urashimako. The change from Urashimako to Urashima Tarō reflects a shift in Japanese naming customs; while the suffix -ko ("child") was originally used in both male and female names, in medieval times it was largely restricted to female names, and replaced by -tarō ("great youth") in male names. The story bears a striking similarity to folktales from other cultures, including the Irish legend of Oisín and the earlier Chinese legend of Ranka.

Image Source:

One day a young fisherman named Urashima Tarō is fishing when he notices a group of children torturing a small turtle. Tarō saves it and lets it to go back to the sea. The next day, a huge turtle approaches him and tells him that the small turtle he had saved is the daughter of the Emperor of the Sea, Ryūjin, who wants to see him to thank him. The turtle magically gives Tarō gills and brings him to the bottom of the sea, to the Palace of the Dragon God (Ryūgū-jō). There he meets the Emperor and the small turtle, who was now a lovely princess, Otohime.

Tarō stays there with her for a few days, but soon wants to go back to his village and see his aging mother, so he requests Otohime's permission to leave. The princess says she is sorry to see him go, but wishes him well and gives him a mysterious box called tamatebako which will protect him from harm but which she tells him never to open. Tarō grabs the box, jumps on the back of the same turtle that had brought him there, and soon is at the seashore.

When he goes home, everything has changed. His home is gone, his mother has vanished, and the people he knew are nowhere to be seen. He asks if anybody knows a man called Urashima Tarō. They answer that they had heard someone of that name had vanished at sea long ago. He discovers that 300 years have passed since the day he left for the bottom of the sea. Struck by grief, he absent-mindedly opens the box the princess had given him, from which bursts forth a cloud of white smoke. He is suddenly aged, his beard long and white, and his back bent. From the sea comes the sad, sweet voice of the princess: "I told you not to open that box. In it was your old age ..."

As always with folklore, there are many different versions of this extremely famous story. In one, for example, there were three drawers in the box. After he turned into an old man he found a mirror, then took the body of a crane when touched by a crane feather from the last box, in another he ate a magic pill that gave him the ability to breathe underwater. In another version, he is swept away by a storm before he can rescue the turtle. Also, there is a version in which he dies in the process of aging (his body turns into dust), as no one can live 300 years.

Image Source: wikipedia

A shrine on the western coast of the Tango Peninsula in northern Kyoto Prefecture, named Urashima Jinja, contains an old document describing a man, Urashimako, who left his land in 478 A.D. and visited a land where people never die. He returned in 825 A.D. with a Tamatebako. Ten days later he opened the box, and a cloud of white smoke was released, turning Urashimako into an old man. Later that year, after hearing the story, Emperor Junna ordered Ono no Takamura to build a shrine to commemorate Urashimako's strange voyage, and to house the Tamatebako and the spirit of Urashimako.

In popular culture
The story influenced various works of fiction and a number of films. Among them are manga and anime such as Dr. Slump, Dragonball Z, Detective Conan, YuYu Hakusho, Urusei Yatsura, Love Hina (whose lead male character is called Urashima Keitaro, and with a girl named Otohime Mutsumi), Doraemon, Gintama, Kamen Rider Den-O (the namesake of the Imagin Urataros, given by Naomi), Cowboy Bebop, Gravitation, Ōkami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tachi, Ghost Sweeper Mikami, RahXephon and Space Pirate Captain Harlock. The oldest known animated adaptation Urashima Tarō of the tale premiered in 1918.

Image Source

It is retold in and used as the basis for the short story "Another Story" by Ursula K. Le Guin, published in her story collection A Fisherman of the Inland Sea, named for the character of this story. The story is also used to explain an aspect of Relativity in The Manga Guide to Relativity. The anime series Real Drive partly reflects the story of Urashima Tarō. In 1945, Japanese writer Osamu Dazai published Otogizōshi ("fairy tale book"), which includes a much expanded version of the story. Urashima's tale, as the other three included in the Otogizōshi, is used mostly as a starting point to espose Dazai's own thoughts and musings.

Urashima Tarō is often referenced in Hideo Kojima's adventure video game Policenauts, and much of the game's plot elements were also inspired by the tale. In Clover Studio's action-adventure video game Okami, the protagonist Amaterasu chases away a group of children bullying a fisherman named Urashima, setting up a major sub-plot in the game very similar to the tale of Urashima Tarō. In the video game Skies of Arcadia one of the games discoveries (called Ryuguu Turtle) is inspired by Urashima Tarō. In the video game Ape Escape 2 one of the unlockable monkey fables is called "Apeshima Taro" and is a parody of the tale, featuring monkeys. Also, in the game Disgaea 4, the Fishermen Pirate that appears in the Item World references the story as he enters upon a giant turtle shell stating "I'm sorry princess, I didn't mean to open the box". Urashima Tarō is the basis for Sweet Basil's visual novel Little My Maid.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Enormous 4 Mile Wide UFO Sighting In Simon's Town, South Africa

Enormous 4 Mile Wide UFO Sighting In Simon's Town, South Africa

A 4 mile wide UFO sighting in the small Naval village called Simon's Town has the Counter Intelligence Agency of South Africa's attention and are currently investigating the incident.
Worldnews Tomorrow reports that on April 6, 2013 an estimated 4 mile wide UFO hovered over the naval base for about 40 minutes, about 1 mile off shore. A local resident captured the event on infrared camera because it was not visible to the naked eye. 

Worldnews reports that the naval base welcomed the gigantic UFO with 100's of rounds of what seems to be flares. The video was shot about 40 miles away across False Bay. In the beginning of the video you can see what looks like the naval base firing at the UFO. 

Exactly what they are firing I cannot tell, whether they are flares or anti aircraft shells it seems to take no effect on the UFO. In this part of the video you cannot see the presence of a UFO until he switches to the infrared video. You cannot make out any conclusive shape of the UFO but you can definitely tell there is something above the naval base. You can certainly see there is a large dark mass with several rows of lights steadily hovering in the night sky. The naval base initially denied any activity going on in the bay area but soon gave another statement saying that they was performing some drills that particular evening between 8 and 9 pm. Just for the record this video was shot between 9 and 10 pm. Local residents say they have never seen the naval base partake in any such drills in the past. Some are claiming there are 2 UFOs in this video and the smaller one is firing upon the larger one, but from what I can see there is only one and the shots are being fired from the ground. Take a look at this enormous 4 mile wide UFO in the video below.

Can you see 2 UFOs in this video? What is the naval base shooting at the UFO? Are they flares, anti aircraft shells? Why would the naval base fire upon the UFO when it doesn't seem to be performing any aggressive maneuvers towards the base? Why would the naval base initially say there was no events that took place that evening and come back and say there were drills going on?

South Africa's Counter Intelligence Agency confirms that they are currently analysing the original video and claims that it is legit. The agency also states the person who shot the video is a credible law enforcement personnel.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Utsuro-bune (うつろ舟 'hollow ship'), also Utsuro-fune and Urobune, refers to an unknown object which allegedly washed ashore in 1803 in Hitachi province on the eastern coast of Japan. Accounts of the tale appear in three texts: Toen shōsetsu (1825), Hyōryū kishū (1835) and Ume-no-chiri (1844).
According to legend, an attractive young woman arrived on a local beach aboard the "hollow ship". Fishermen brought her inland to investigate further, but the woman was unable to communicate in Japanese. The fishermen then returned her and her vessel to the sea, where it drifted away.

Historians, ethnologists and physicists such as Kazuo Tanaka and Yanagita Kunio have evaluated the "legend of the hollow boat" as part of a long-standing tradition within Japanese folklore. Alternately, certain ufologists have claimed that the story represents evidence for a close encounter of the third kind.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Extraterrestrial Elements in Egyptian Equipment

Extraterrestrial Elements in Egyptian Equipment

Bible and archaeology news
Noah Wiener   •  05/31/2013

A CT scan of an iron bead from the Gerzeh cemetery reveals oxide and metal components. Image: Meteoritics & Planetary Science.
Where did Egyptians get the iron found in beads in a fourth-millennium-B.C.E. cache at the Gerzeh cemetery? Scholars have long been mystified by the discovery, which predates evidence of iron smelting in the region by thousands of years. Archaeologists have searched the dirt for evidence of early (and possibly accidental) smelting sites, but a new study in Meteoritics & Planetary Science suggests that they should have been looking up, rather than down, for answers.

A research team led by Open University meteorite scientist Diane Johnson examined the nickel content and crystalline structure of one of the beads to confirm that the iron came from a meteorite. The team was able to reconstruct the way the ancient Egyptians worked the material: “Successive virtual CT slices revealed bending points and a joining edge, suggesting production by beating flat a fragment of iron, followed by bending to produce the tube.”

While there is no confirmed evidence of iron smelting in the region before Greco-Roman times, the presence of iron objects in royal tombs reveals that they were a symbol of status in earlier periods of Egyptian history. The Egyptians themselves appear to have been aware of the otherworldly source of their iron. The authors of the study write that “from the late 18th Dynasty, approximately 1300 BCE, the term biA-n-ptstarts to be used, which literally reads iron from the sky and from this point onwards … the term becoming synonymous with metallic iron in general.”

Monday, October 21, 2013

Flying city sighting in Nigeria

Flying city sighting in Nigeria: UFO or sign from God
by Sharon Hill • April 25, 2012

This is an opinion piece, written by thoughtful researchers in Africa regarding an event that took place possibly a month ago. I found it totally fascinating for other reasons.

It tells the story of a Nigerian village that experienced a paranormal event – a claimed first UFO account in Nigeria. The entire town is affected. But, their perspective is so different than a western perspective. What they perceived the phenomena to be and its cause would seem very strange to us. Their description is bizarre as well. While officials are curious and wish to do an investigation of the repeated sighting, they have to put such things aside to deal with serious issues. It’s quite the thought-provoking piece about our concepts of UFOs, magical entities and paranormal experiences.

In what appeared to be a first time in recorded history, the nearest in semblance to the global paranormal phenomenon of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO), also known as flying saucer, was sighted in Nigeria.

The place was a border village called Dulali, in Lanzai South Ward, Darazo Local Government of Bauchi State. Saidu Meshai Dulali, a popular hot tea brewer in the village, just finished his morning prayer at the Mosque and was stoking up the local stove for his day’s work.

Suddenly, he became aware of a pervading bright light enveloping the atmosphere, followed by a sudden realisation that the heavens were falling on the village. As he looked up at the encroaching sky, he saw the most amazing view of his forty years existence. According to him, “There appeared a wide, large mass of something that looked like a cloud from nowhere and it was flying slowly over the village just at the height of an average tree.

“The cloud was transparent and I saw beautiful tall buildings inside it, with tarred roads and cars. It was like a flying city. And from it I could hear the sound of machines making noise just as you would hear at Ashaka cement factory.”

If Saidu were the only witness of this extraordinary experience, it would have been impossible to take his testimony as a fact. But we discovered that the ‘flying city’ was witnessed by almost all the villagers, hundreds of them, the Chief Imam of the sole village Mosque inclusive. Children and adults all saw and corroborated the story.

The researchers noted the influence of religion and socio-cultural factors that became apparent saying that fear of UFOs was a western view. Here, it was seen as positive:

The villagers were of the consensus that what they witnessed was actually an act of God, for He alone is capable of making anything happen. According to Yau Kaugama, a Lanzai Ward political leader, who accompanied us to the interior village, “We believe it is a sign that in time to come something great will come out of that small village. Something like a great invention, that will affect the life of mankind.”

They mention that the activity of Jinn correlate quite neatly to what we might attribute to alien interference on earth.
What do the local officials think? They sound pretty reasonable:

When contacted, the Chairman of Darazo Local Government Area at the time of the sighting, Hon. Sabo Bako Sade, said that he was aware of the paranormal visitation at Lanzai and would have carried out a thorough investigation but was at that time of the incident occupied by the marauding armed robbers who were raiding police stations and robbing banks in his local government area.

Priorities, of course.

I am doubtful that this was the first reported UFO in Nigeria. It does not sound like any common UFO report though. It could be something completely different. The authors, Greg Odogwu and Mukhtar Lawal Suleiman, are researchers and producers of Paranormal Nigeria. But, still, please visit the above link and read this story. It’s important for critical thinkers to be open to new information and new perspectives. I’m not saying it really happened or calling it paranormal. I’m saying that the people of the village feel they have experienced something extraordinary. No harm was done to them and they feel special in what appears to be some rough times. The ufologists are already on this. It’s no more than a mysterious observation and lovely story that Charles Fort would have loved. I saw it as a reminder of differing worldviews of which it helps to be aware.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

'Alien Skull' Discovered in Peru

'Alien Skull' Discovered in Peru: From Indiana Jones to Real-life Find

Peruvian anthropologist Renato Davila Riquelme has discovered what appear to be the mummified remains of an alien-like creature, including a triangle shaped skull nearly as big as its 20-inch-long body.
Riquelme himself posits that the remains are those of a child. Peruvian news site RPP however, has interviewed several (conveniently anonymous) Spanish and Russian scientists who claim the remains are actual those of an extraterrestrial, supported by the clearly alien skull.

Reasoning Behind Alien Skull
The reasoning behind the anonymous scientists' claims, which are not backed by either Riquelme or his anthropological team at the Privado Ritos Andino museum in Cusco, Peru, centers on the alien-like formation of the skull.

Specifically, the group points to the triangular shape of the head, the oversized eye sockets and the fact that the head by itself is nearly the same size as the rest of the mummy's body as proof.
It has a non-human appearance, a statement from the scientists read. The head is triangular and big, almost the same size as the boy... yes, it's an extraterrestrial being.

Several rational, Earth-based explanations could be given for these deformities, as blogging site Tecca points out.
Several ancient cultures practiced artificial cranial distortion, which could explain the triangular shape of the skull. Medical conditions like hydrocephalus (water in the brain) meanwhile, can cause rapid, abnormal skull growth in children if left untreated.
Indiana Jones: Crystal Skull Connections

UFO enthusiasts and anonymous scientists are not the only ones intrigued by the find however. Fans of Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull note several eerie similarities between this real-life find and the fictional case of extraterrestrials vs. archaeologists in the 2008 Lucas-Spielberg film.

The alien skull was found in an area in Peru where parts of the movie were shot, but is definitely not a leftover prop from the set.
The South American find also closely resembles the crystal skull (despite being made of bone) featured in the film, and was stumbled upon by a troop of unsuspecting archaeologists.

Other strange details about the skull also make its origins seem more out-of-this-world. Riquelme told The Mail that although the skull features a soft spot called the open fontanelle seen in children less than 2 years old, the mouth contained two adult molars.
Although the assessment was superficial, it is obvious that its features do not correspond to any ethnic group in the world, he said.

More Strange Finds

Luckily, a second set of remains has also been discovered, in placental form, and some shreds of eyeball have resisted complete mummification in the first skeleton's right socket.

DNA extracted from the remains should help determine its genetic background and put to rest, once and for all, the controversy of whether these mummies are human.

The 'alien skull' in Peru isn't the only recent find in South America to be making waves. In the Atacama Desert in Chile, in what is known as the driest spot on Earth, archeologists have uncovered the fossilized bones of over 75 prehistoric whales, all of whom seemed to die around the same time.

The excavation also uncovered a sperm whale, a forbearer of the modern dolphin sporting twin tusks, an aquatic sloth and a seabird with a wingspan of roughly 17 feet.

Argentina meanwhile, offered up yet another wonder from the ancient past, according to Yahoo News. Two mammal skulls discovered in early November are said to be dated from the Late Cretaceous period. This make the skulls that of the first known mammals in the last age of the dinosaurs.

Whether or not the mysterious triangular skull is that of an alien or of a human, the ancient remains are cause for excitement, and their unusual appearance not a little intriguing.
By Melanie Jones

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Water-Rich Asteroid Have Been Found Splattered Across The White Dwarf Star

Watery world heading for a white dwarf smack-down (Illustration: Mark A. Garlick/ of Warwick/University of Cambridge)

Zombie star caught feasting on a soggy asteroid

by Jacob Aron
The remains of a water-rich asteroid have been found splattered across the face of a white dwarf star about 150 light years away. The discovery marks the first time that we have seen chemical evidence for water on rocky worlds orbiting other stars, supporting the idea that the galaxy hosts many life-friendly exoplanets akin to Earth.

The find was made on a stellar corpse similar to what our sun will become when it dies. That hints that some watery rocks in our solar system could survive the sun's end and be a resource for space-faring humans of the future.

Water, one of the key ingredients for life as we know it, has previously been spotted in the atmospheres of gassy, Jupiter-like exoplanets. We expect it to exist on some of the rocky, Earth-like planets found in the habitable zone around other stars, the region warm enough for liquid water to exist. But for now alien oceans are purely theoretical.

"It's one thing to just hypothesise, it's another to actually find evidence," says Jay Farihi at the University of Cambridge.

His team used the Hubble Space Telescope to examine light from the white dwarf star GD 61. This object is the corpse of a star that ballooned into a red giant as it was dying, then shed its outer layers of gases to expose its dense core. Dwarf stars have high surface gravity, which causes heavier elements to sink to the centre, leaving an upper atmosphere of just hydrogen and helium.

Sopping wet
But like a handful of other white dwarfs, the atmosphere of GD 61 is polluted with heavier elements, which suggests that new material must be steadily falling onto the star. In addition to hydrogen and helium, the team detected oxides of magnesium, aluminium, silicon, calcium and iron.

They also found an excess of oxygen that could not be explained by these materials. "The only other chemically viable molecule at that point is water," says Farihi.

Infrared observations confirm the extra elements are coming from a disc of heated material orbiting the white dwarf, probably the leftover pieces of a rocky object like an asteroid that was destroyed as the star died. The team calculate that this body would have been 26 per cent water by mass, making it similar to Ceres, a dwarf planet and the largest asteroid in our solar system.

Move to Mars
Despite its vast oceans, Earth is just 0.02 per cent water by mass, suggesting that our planet formed dry and was then bombarded by water-laden asteroids. Finding the remains of a soggy space rock around GD 61 means the same thing could have happened in this star system, says Farihi. "It had the ingredients to deliver water to the surface of planets that were built in that system."

It is good to have confirmation that water and rock exist together around other stars, says Michiel Hogerheijde of Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands, who was not involved in the research. "It tells us water content must survive throughout the star's whole evolution."

We don't yet know if any full-sized planets survived the death of the star that resulted in GD 61. But the discovery of water is potential good news for any humans still hanging around our solar system in 5 billion years, when the sun will meet a similar fate. Chances are the red giant sun will consume Mercury, Venus and Earth, but our descendants could move elsewhere and mine asteroids for water, says Farihi. "We'd need to be at least living on Mars, if not further out."

Journal reference: Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.1239447

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Meteor over Midwest September 26, 2013

Meteor over Midwest
Published on Sep 26, 2013

The American Meteor Society reports that it has received over 400 reports of a large fireball (bright meteor) over the U.S. Midwest today (September 26, 2013). People in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Wisconsin spotted the meteor around 7:05 a.m. CDT; that was local time for the sighting. Witnesses from reported a bright light moving across the morning sky. The estimated trajectory for the fireball took it nearly over Indianapolis. Video from CBS Affiliate WSBT-TV in Mishawaka, Indiana

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Four major fireballs spotted in just three days over Eastern U.S.


Four major fireballs spotted in just three days over Eastern U.S.
By Scott Sutherland | Geekquinox 

Here's something that doesn't happen too often: Just in the span of three days, the American Meteor Society has received reports of three massive fireballs streaking across the sky in the eastern United States, and it's possible that a fourth one was spotted late Saturday night as well.

Only five days after an RCMP dashboard camera recorded an incredibly bright fireball over northern Alberta, reports came in on Thursday, September 26th, of a large fireball lighting up the morning sky over central Indiana, passing almost directly over Indianapolis. The American Meteor Society (AMS) says they received over 700 accounts, ranging from Ohio to Iowa and from Tennessee into Michigan and Wisconsin.

The very next day, just to the east, another fireball streaked through the sky over Columbus, Ohio, at around 11:30 p.m. ET, and was reported by over 1,000 people, quickly becoming one of the top reported events in AMS history. Currently, the record for reports is apparently held by the bright green fireball that was spotted by witnesses all along the US East Coast back in late March, but this meteor from Thursday night may take the #2 spot on the list.
This one was actually caught on video by two different cameras, showing how the fireball flared to incredible intensity while breaking up: 

Then, on Saturday around 7:30 pm, the trio was rounded out by another fireball that burned up in the sky over northern Alabama and Georgia, as witnesses all across the southeast US, and even as far east as Maryland, reported seeing it track west to east from Huntsville to Atlanta before winking out.

The AMS hasn't mentioned anything as of yet, but both their site and the Lunar Meteorite Hunters blog have reports that another bright meteor was spotted by witnesses across the Northeast US and southern Quebec, at around 9:45 p.m. Saturday night.

The AMS is saying that the past month has been a busy one for fireballs over the United States, with Saturday evening's fireball being the 15th 'significant event' they've recorded so far. A significant event is one with 25 or more reports, so if the 9:45 p.m. fireball receives more, it may be come #16 for the month.

Does this mean that we're being bombarded? Should we worry? No, probably not.

It's true that's a fair number of fireballs, but the reason that we're seeing more of them probably has more to do with luck and more people looking up. According to the AMS, several thousand fireballs burn up in our atmosphere every day. Also, the number of bits of rock that slam into our atmosphere is just a tiny amount compared to what's floating around in our local space, so the real surprise is that we don't see more of these fireballs than we already do. The actual size of space is on our side for that, though, as there's a lot of distance between all those objects to slip through.
If you spotted any of these fireballs, or any others for that matter, feel free to comment below or message me on Twitter. You can also report a meteor or fireball sighting to the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada by clicking this link, or the American Meteor Society takes reports from both Canada and the United States .

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Zimbabwe School UFO Sighting

Credit Image:

Exploring African and Other Alien Abductions
By: Dominique Callimanopulos

Summary: The Ariel School sighting is one of the most significant in recent UFO history. ...The event lasted about fifteen minutes, the children said, before the spaceships faded from view. But even in their state of fear, many of the children reported also being curious and fascinated by the strange beings they saw, whose eyes in particular commanded an intense attention.

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"I got the feeling he was interested in all of us. ... He looked sad and without love. ...In space there is no love and down here there is." 
John Mack and I were at the Ariel School, a small elementary school outside Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, listening to Elsa (not her real name) describe her encounter last September 16 [1994] with an "alien" being. In all, sixty children, ages six through twelve, reported seeing one large and several smaller spaceships land - hover, really - over the scrubby bushland adjoining their playground. 

The twelve children we interviewed over the course of two days all described the same event with a steady consistency of detail. In addition to the spaceships, the children had seen two "strange beings," one sitting on one of the spaceships and the other running back and forth in the grass, "bouncing as if he were on the moon, but not quite so much." 

The beings were described as black with long heads, "eyes as big as rugby balls," with thin arms and legs. The event took place during the children's morning recess while teachers were in a staff meeting. Many of the younger children were very scared and cried. "At first I thought it was a gardener," one fourth-grader told us. "Then I realized it was an alien." The event lasted about fifteen minutes, the children said, before the spaceships faded from view. But even in their state of fear, many of the children reported also being curious and fascinated by the strange beings they saw, whose eyes in particular commanded an intense attention. Elsa told us that she thought the beings wanted to tell us something about our future, about how "the world is going to end, maybe because we don't look after our planet or the air." She said she felt horrible inside when she got home that day. "Like all the trees will go down and there will be no air. People will be dying. Those thoughts came from the man - the man's eyes." 

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Isabelle, a composed and articulate ten-year-old, echoed Elsa's feelings. "He was just staring. He was scary. We were trying not to look at him 'cause he was scary. My eyes and feelings went with him." What came through her "conscience" as she looked at the being was, "We are doing harm to the Earth." 

The Ariel School sighting is one of the most significant in recent UFO history. It is the first time such a large group of people have reported witnessing the simultaneous appearance of spaceships and alien beings. After receiving a call in September from a BBC reporter telling us that a flight of strange objects and ships had glided across Zimbabwean skies for two nights prior to September 16 culminating in the dramatic sighting at the Ariel School, we decided to investigate firsthand. 

International Abduction Project 

For the past two years [1993/1994] the International Abduction Project, a component of the Program for Extraordinary Experience Research (PEER), has been researching cross-cultural and international reports of UFO sightings and alien abduction experiences. One of the central research questions related to the abduction investigation is whether the phenomenon is occurring abroad in a similar fashion; if so, what aspects of the experience remain uniform and unchanged from culture to culture, and what part of the experience, or interpretation of it, is affected by cultural factors. 

Copies of some of the pictures drawn by the children
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In addition to project members traveling to Brazil and Africa and speaking with Native Americans in the United States and Canada, the project has sponsored research in Japan, Scandinavia, and Chile, and is in communication with "experiencers" in Europe, Iran, China, Australia, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. We have compared the abduction experience of shamanic journeying and possession. We have explored myths related to sky beings, and to other worlds and dimensions. What has emerged has often surprised us. 

People in countries around the world are experiencing alien abductions that seem, in many cases, very similar to the accounts reported in the United States; yet the abductions remain distinct in the way people's cultural background frame their experience. In Brazil, for instance, which is rife with traditions of spirit and ancestor communication and mediumship, "ET visitations" are more valued than ancestor spirit visits because of the ETs' association with high-tech space travel, reflecting the cultural preoccupation of Brazil's development-minded psyche. This often results in colorful variations. In one Brazilian home we visited, a mother who had traditionally ruled the roost through her communications with the family's ancestor spirits felt her power threatened when her son began to communicate with [reported] aliens. 

Native Americans we have spoken with say the current activities of the "star-people" point out an imbalance between Earth, humanity, and the cosmos. One Hopi elder in Arizona prophesied, like so many abductees, the end of the world as we know it. "There will be a great purge," he said. Abduction Experiences Challenge the Nature of Reality 

Many aspects of abduction experiences are becoming familiar: dizzying lights appearing through a windshield or a bedroom window, and small gray beings with massive, pupil-less eyes that terrify and compel; quelling paralysis as the experiencer's body is floated through air, walls, and doors of spaceships; operations which are sometimes healing, often experimental. Some abductees report participation in the creation of a new species of crossbred alien/humans, percolating in rows of artificial wombs lining the walls of the crafts like aquariums. Others describe new worlds of knowledge teeming with apocalyptic visions and cryptic symbology and silent telepathic warnings. 

Abduction stories have raised a rash of issues as to how literally they should be interpreted, and how abductees should be helped therapeutically. The controversy roused by this phenomenon is reminiscent of other scientific struggles that have surrounded anomalous experiences historically. Evans Wentz, an anthropologist who studied fairies in the Celtic tradition, wrestled with defining his inquiries in a scientific context. "These mysteries have long fascinated scientists who, while wanting to remain true to their essentially Newtonian tradition, cannot, in the spirit of curiosity, ignore the mysteries." 

William James, the Harvard social psychologist, also pondered these issues. In his essay, "What Psychical Research Has Accomplished," published in the 1890's, he wrote, "The ideal of every science is that of a closed and completed system of truth. … Phenomena unclassifiable within a system are therefore paradoxical absurdities and must be held untrue." 

Undetaking what is essentially cross-cultural consciousness research raises special difficulties, including the defining of subjectivity and objectivity, of "real" versus mythic at amplified levels. Our Western difficulty in integrating the fruits of our dreams and visions - our experiences while in altered states - into a shared, communal reality severely influences and limits the way we frame our questions of inquiry and our assumptions as we conduct this research.

To open ourselves to the significance of abduction experiences for individuals, we must become tolerant of the overwhelming variety of communications and visitations the human beings experience with entities and beings that are, as they have been described, "not of this world." It is only in opening to this richer context that we can begin to interpret the meaning of abduction experiences here and abroad. 

The "White Bushman," Laurens Van der Post, said, "People always laughed at the Bushman stories and said they had no meaning. And I suddenly realized they only had no meaning because we had lost the key and the code. We had lost the meaning of the stories." 

How do we decipher the strange and unfamiliar tales of experiencers? Abduction stories from around the world contain paradoxes: some abductees are raped and sometimes tortured with painful procedures; some are healed, educated, cared for; others experience all of the above. Abduction taunts us with possibilities - some terrifying, some tatalizing. How do we decipher the information and stories we hear? How does one live in closer proximity to that "world beyond the veil"? A glimpse of the alien "other" invites one to betray earthly assumptions, a suspension of belief that is part of the pleasure of anthropological fieldwork. It is by finding and occupying what anthropologists call "limbic" space that one can free oneself to perceive anew, investing in a reinvented vision of life and reality. 


Dr. John Mack and Dominique Callimanopulos research on African and other cross-cultural abduction experiences appears in Passport to the Cosmos. Dominique studied anthropology at Wesleyan University and has worked as a researcher, writer, translator, and editor in the areas of human rights, cross-cultural studies, and psychology. 

Originally published in CenterPiece magazine, Spring/Summer 1995, p. 10-11. Copyright © PEER | Program for Extraordinary Experience Research 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Poor Richard's Almanac

YOU should know about "Poor Richard's Almanac," children, for the same reason you should know about "George Washington's Hatchet."

A hundred years ago, this was perhaps the foremost book in American literature. It was the work of our lightning hero, Benjamin Franklin. It was an almanac, not unlike the "Old Farmer's Almanac" of to-day. In among the matter that is always to be found in almanacs, Franklin scattered all sorts of "wise sayings" or proverbs. To these, he gave the name "Poor Richard's Sayings," many of them you have heard over and over until very likely you are tired of them. Some of them, I know from the experience of long ago, are very aggravating to children. For example, isn't it enough to mnke any boy wish Franklin had stuck by his printing press, and his kite, and let literature alone, to have mamma say, just as he is in  the midst of the most exciting chapter, "Come, Johnnie, it's time to go to bed.
Early to bed and early to rise Makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise?' "

"Poor Richard's Almanac" for 1734 says, in speaking of the eclipse for the year: "There will be but two; the  first, April 22, the second, October 15 — both of the sun, and both, like old neighbor Scrape-all's generosity, invisible."
Franklin often put into his calendar "weather predictions;" but they were quite as likely to come out wrongly as do "Old Prob's" predictions now.

When he was criticised for the inaccuracy of his predictions, he said good-naturedly:
"However, no one but will allow that we always hit the day of the month. As for weather, I consider it will be of no service to anybody to know what weather is to be one thousand miles off; therefore, I always set down exactly the weather my reader will have wheresoever he may be at the time. We only ask an allowance of a few days and if there still be a mistake, set it down to the printer."

The almanac of 1738 has a scolding preface, which appears to be the work of Mistress Saunders. She says her husband had set out to visit an old star-gazer of his acquaintance on the Potomac, and left her the almanac, sealed, to send to the printer. She suspects some jests directed against her, bursts the seal, and plays havoc generally with the almanac. She says:
"Looking over the months, I find he has put in abundance of foul weather this year; and therefore I have scattered here and there where I could find room, 'fair,' 'pleasant,' etc., for the poor women to dry their clothes in."

Franklin grew to be a highly educated man, and a very gentlemanly man, too, for all he was so awkward and ungainly on his first morning in Philadelphia. Years later, when he went to England and to France in behalf of his country, his wit and his knowledge and his fine manners were the delight of the Court. And this was a very fortunate thing for America you may be sure and for this reason, these old European countries with all their elegance, and wealth, and "blue blood," and Court society, had formed an idea that Americans were all awkward clod-hoppers; "horny-handed tillers of the soil," they were used to calling them, and they had the idea, I suppose, that the country had not a single cultured, educated person upon its face. And so it was, that when Franklin appeared before them, he carried everybody by surprise; and many an Englishman and many a Frenchman, who had supposed we knew nothing in America except to dig in the earth, turned about and began to think that perhaps we were "somebodies" over here after all.

Franklin was never dizzied by the flattering attention he received in these countries. He never forgot that he was there to plead for America; and plead he did, wisely and well, many a time rendering her a service that she could never repay. 

In every position of honor, in every trying time when wisdom and caution were needed, Franklin was sure to be called upon by his countrymen. And never did he fail them. 

When at last he died, at the age of eighty-two, not only [130] did twenty thousand of his own countrymen meet to do him honor in America, but in the English and French courts as well, was every possible tribute paid to the memory of this great man.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

The 112th Pope

The Prophecy of St. Malachy

Francis the Doomsday Pope, the last pope before the end of days

The Prophecy of the Popes (Latin: Prophetia Sancti Malachiae Archiepiscopi, de Summis Pontificibus) is a series of 112 short, cryptic phrases in Latin which purport to predict the Roman Catholic popes (along with a few antipopes), beginning with Pope Celestine II. The alleged prophecies were first published by Benedictine monk Arnold Wion in 1595. Wion attributes the prophecies to Saint Malachy, a 12th‑centuryArchbishop of Armagh, Ireland.

There will be only 112 popes before the doomsday. By sitting on the seat number 111, the resigned Pope Benedict XVI was making his successor Francis I the last pope on earth.

Doomsday fanatics claim that a 12th century prophecy states the successor to Benedict XVI will be the last pope before the end of the world. These are believers who interpret two medieval-era prophecies to mean that the next pope elected after Benedict XVI will be the last before doomsday. Mayan 2012 prophecies had failed to materialise, now they turned their attention to Saint Malachy and the great Nostradamus.  Next Page>>

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Valentich disappearance

Valentich disappearance

The Valentich disappearance refers to the unexplained disappearance at around 7:12 pm on 21 October 1978 of 20-year-old Frederick Valentich a young Australian, while piloting a Cessna 182 L light aircraft over Bass Strait in Australia. He intended to land at King Island and return to Moorabbin Airport.

During the 127-mile (235 km) flight, Valentich advised Melbourne air traffic control that he was being accompanied by an aircraft about 1,000 feet (300 m) above him. He described some unusual actions and features of the aircraft, saying that his engine had begun running roughly, and finally reported that the "strange aircraft is hovering on top of me again. It is hovering and it's not an aircraft."