Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Google Balloons May Be Behind String of Idaho UFO Sightings

Via mysteriousuniverse.org by Brett Tingley

For various reasons, UFO sightings often occur in sprees or clusters. Whether that reason is an actual increase of anomalous aerial activity, the work of copycat hoaxers, or psychological suggestion is often up for debate. Over the last several weeks in Idaho, a string of similar-sounding UFO sightings were reported to NUFORC, the National UFO Reporting Center. All of the eyewitnesses in each case reported seeing odd lights in the sky, sometimes moving strangely. After receiving numerous calls about unexplained lights, southern Idaho news station KMVT now reports that these lights are likely the work of Google. Well, sort of Google.

According to a recent news statement, the lights are balloons being tested as part of Project Loon, the initiative which aspires to offer “balloon powered internet for everyone” by flying wi-fi-beaming balloons into rural or undeveloped areas. Loon is currently led by X, a branch of Google’s secretive R&D wing formerly known as Google X.

10 Creepily Inappropriate Day Jobs of Infamous Serial Killers

Image via Shutterstock
Via listverse.com by S.L. Duncan

Day jobs can be particularly handy for a serial killer. Believe it or not, living on the dark side of the human condition doesn’t exactly pay well. Besides, it’s always helpful to have a virtuous occupation that throws the public off your scent before roaming around on your next night prowl. That being said, here’s a list of killers who took their masquerade to the very edge of absurdity with the most outrageously inappropriate (and in some cases borderline-ironic) day jobs.
 
10. Ted Bundy
Suicide Hotline Worker
 

Ted Bundy took lives, he also saved lives,” wrote novelist Ann Rule in one of the world’s most startling true crime books. Here, she described her encounters with infamous killer Ted Bundy, whose modus operandi (MO) involved luring victims (young, white, middle-class females) to his vehicle under the guise of some form of disability.

As if it weren’t shocking enough that the crime writer was later hired to write a book on the unsolved murders perpetrated by her longtime friend, it just so happens that she met Ted while volunteering at a suicide hotline center. At the time, he was a 24-year-old college student. It is unknown whether he had begun killing.

He later confessed to taking as many as 30 lives, after which he often committed acts of necrophilia. Creepy, right? Especially when you start wondering how many he actually saved.[1]

9. Fred West
Ice Cream Truck Driver


One-half of one of England’s most gruesome killer couples, family man Fred West committed at least 12 murders with the help of his wife, Rosemary, between 1967 and 1987. These murders were sexually motivated, and their victims were most often between the ages of 15 and 21.

In fact, one of the first sexual assaults committed by Fred and his wife was suffered by their daughter, Anne Marie, when she was only eight years old. The couple continued to molest and prostitute the girl to other men throughout her childhood.[2]

It seems, however, that Fred was somehow able to subvert these perverted and pedophilic urges during daylight hours when he operated an ice cream truck.


Monday, June 26, 2017

Mysterious Vanishings With Bizarre Phone Calls

Via mysteriousuniverse.org by Brent Swancer

Unsolved vanishings are quite frequently orbited by strange clues, enigmatic leads, and baffling evidence, and some of the most intriguing of these are mysterious phone calls made either by the vanished themselves or other unknown parties. These calls often give us fleeting glimpses into the circumstances of the vanishings, providing potential clues that more often than not remain frustratingly cryptic and further propel the cases into bizarreness. Whether the calls are made by the victim just before, or even as they are vanishing, or are placed by other unidentified individuals, these sinister calls are compelling stabs of light into the darkness cloaking these unsolved disappearances, and continue to incite deep speculation.

One of the earlier mysterious disappearances linked to a strange phone call was that of Andrew Carnegie Whitfield, the nephew of none other than the famous Scottish industrialist, steel magnate, and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, after whom New York’s famous Carnegie Hall is named. An amateur pilot, the Princeton educated Whitfield departed aboard his small monoplane from Roosevelt Field on Long Island bound for an airfield located in nearby Brentwood on April 17, 1938. Since Whitfield was said to be a fairly skilled pilot, the day was calm and clear, and Brentwood was only 22 miles away, it was considered to be a routine flight that would only take around 15 minutes, yet he would never arrive at his destination and considering his prominence a search was launched immediately. Considering that Whitfield had had enough fuel on his plane to carry him 150 miles, it was thought that he had probably just come down somewhere else and couldn’t be too far, but this would prove not to be the case, and no sign of either he or his plane could be found despite meticulous, intensive searches. Andrew Carnegie Whitfield and his plane had simply vanished without a trace.

This is all odd enough, but things would get stranger still when the information on the series of events leading to the disappearance were uncovered. It turned out that on the day he had vanished Whitfield had checked into a hotel in Garden City on Long Island and paid $4 in advance, but rather than use his own name he had inexplicably signed in with the alias “Albert C. White.” When the hotel room was searched it was found to contain all of his belongings, including his clothing, passport, valuables, and, oddly, two life insurance policies worth $6,000 dollars each with Whitfield’s wife, Elizabeth Halsey Whitfield, listed as the beneficiary, as well as some stocks and bonds. A check of the phone records also showed that a phone call had been placed from the room that day to Whitfield’s home, which would further the mystery.

Government’s psychic research may have resulted from a misunderstanding of Middle School math

Via muckrock.com by Emma Best

A common question, especially as MuckRock continues to explore CIA and DIA’s involvement in psychic research, is how so many resources wound up being wasted on frivolous efforts that produced laughable results, absurd guides and even more absurd worries. The FBI’s file on Extrasensory Perception (ESP), which predates the CIA’s declassified psychic research program by more than a decade, may hold the answer: a basic failure to understand how math works.

The FBI’s interest in ESP goes back to at least 1957 (although scattered references to the Duke University ESP studies hint that the interest may have gone back another five years before that) when the Bureau was contacted by a man called Foos who claimed that he could teach the blind to see. Significantly, CIA took note of the case and had not only reviewed the information as part of the Agency’s liaison with the FBI. While CIA was not impressed by the tricks of the charlatan Foos, it wouldn’t be the end of the Agency’s or the FBI’s interest in psychic and paranormal phenomena.

To the FBI’s credit, the Bureau attempted to look at the phenomena from a rational and logical viewpoint, using cold hard science and math much like CIA and DIA later would. In their attempt to construct a laboratory test to objectively measure psychic phenomena, however, the FBI’s description comes across more like the opening scene of Ghostbusters than an actual scientific analysis.

The Human Brain Can Create Structures in Up to 11 Dimensions

Via sciencealert.com by Signe Dean

Neuroscientists have used a classic branch of maths in a totally new way to peer into the structure of our brains. What they've discovered is that the brain is full of multi-dimensional geometrical structures operating in as many as 11 dimensions.

We're used to thinking of the world from a 3-D perspective, so this may sound a bit tricky, but the results of this new study could be the next major step in understanding the fabric of the human brain - the most complex structure we know of.

This latest brain model was produced by a team of researchers from the Blue Brain Project, a Swiss research initiative devoted to building a supercomputer-powered reconstruction of the human brain.

The team used algebraic topology, a branch of mathematics used to describe the properties of objects and spaces regardless of how they change shape. They found that groups of neurons connect into 'cliques', and that the number of neurons in a clique would lead to its size as a high-dimensional geometric object.

"We found a world that we had never imagined," says lead researcher, neuroscientist Henry Markram from the EPFL institute in Switzerland.

"There are tens of millions of these objects even in a small speck of the brain, up through seven dimensions. In some networks, we even found structures with up to 11 dimensions."

Mysterious Car Crashes and Baffling Vanishings

Via mysteriousuniverse.org by Brent Swancer

Mysterious vanishings have always had a certain macabre allure. That a person could just go out and, well, keep on going out into the unknown, remains a riveting facet of such cases. Within the long list of those who have vanished into thin air are those who seem to have been involved in car wrecks, yet rather than appear amongst the victims of these disasters they have instead gone on to vault into the considerable lore of missing person mysteries. Here, when one would expect to find bodies they have found only the bizarre clues, evidence, and mysteries of those who have seemingly emerged unscathed, to scamper off into the dark world of the vanished.

One such missing person case that was well-known in Europe is that of 10-year-old Juan Pedro Martínez, who vanished in 1986. The truly weird story begins with a crash on June 25, 1986, in which a truck carrying a payload of 20,000 liters of industrial sulfuric acid and a married couple smashed recklessly into another truck headed the opposite direction on the Somosierra mountain pass, north of Madrid province, Spain, after demonstrating what witnesses described as being erratic driving indicative of faulty or broken brakes. The potentially lethal sulphuric acid was unleashed from its ruptured tanks, sowing a scene of panic and chaos as toxic fumes filled the air. Two victims were immediately found in one of the trucks, the tanker truck to be exact, who were already being gruesomely eaten away and melted by the acid, but they could not be soon retrieved in the quickly growing poisonous cloud spreading over the area, all of which was made all the more urgent considering the potential ecological disaster’s close proximity to the nearby Duratón River.

Eventually, after a good amount of frantic action, the scene was brought under some semblance of control, and the partially dissolved victims of the truck were identified as truck driver Andrés Martínez and his wife Carmen Gómez. When Carmen’s mother was notified of the death of her daughter, in addition to her sadness she had a chilling response when she demanded to know if “the boy” was alright. Thus led to the unfolding of one of the oddest missing person cases in Spanish history.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Elon Musk Reveals Vision for a SpaceX City on Mars

Artist impression of a Mars colonist. SpaceX
Via newsweek.com by Hannah Osborne

Elon Musk has revealed his vision for what a SpaceX city on Mars would look like, saying he wants people to believe setting up a colony on the Red Planet will be possible within our lifetimes.

The founder of SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corporation) has discussed the possibility of creating a human settlement on Mars for several years. The company is currently planning to send a robotic mission to Mars by 2024, and says that manned missions could begin as early as 2024—long before NASA’s projected timescale of the early 2030s.

In a commentary piece published in the journal New Space, Musk outlines how he plans to build a city on the planet and what the next steps in space exploration could be.

“By talking about the SpaceX Mars architecture, I want to make Mars seem possible—make it seem as though it is something that we can do in our lifetime,” he writes. “There really is a way that anyone could go if they wanted to.”

He said there are two fundamental paths for mankind—that we stay on Earth forever, eventually succumbing to an extinction event, or to become a “space bearing-civilization and a multi-planetary species.”

Human “Consciousness” Collapses The Quantum Wave Function In A Groundbreaking Study

Via collective-evolution.com by Arjun Walia

When it comes comes to quantum physics, it’s very common for researchers to come across information and results that leave them baffled, or simply don’t comply with the known laws of physics. The result is often more questions than answers — and that’s okay.

“We chose to examine a phenomenon which is impossible, absolutely impossible, to explain in any classical way, and which has in it the heart of quantum mechanics. In reality, it contains the only mystery.”

– Richard Feynman, a Nobel laureate of the twentieth century (from Dean Radin’s Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences In A Quantum Reality)

In many instances, some results can go against the long-held and ingrained belief systems of many who hold prominent positions within modern day academia. The idea that that we live in a “spiritual” universe, for example, has been criticized heavily by mainstream academics.

Thirteen Cows Mysteriously Jump Off a Cliff in Switzerland

Via mysteriousuniverse.org by Paul Seaburn

Farmers in the village of Levron in Switzerland are trying to determine why 13 young cows mysteriously jumped off of a cliff to their deaths — except for one late-jumper that survived by landing on the others. Was it animal suicide? If something scared or attacked them, why did yaks in the same pasture stay put? Will it happen again?

According to local newspaper Le Matin, the mass jumping occurred on the night of May 24th. The calves, 13 Hérens aged 6-8 months, were found at the bottom of a 50 meter (165 foot) drop and all were dead except for the one on top, which was taken to an animal hospital in nearby Cern where it was treated for a broken jaw. The rest were cremated at a meat waste facility, to the dismay of a local animal warden who wanted to inspect them to help determine why they leaped to their deaths.

Hérens are named for the Val d’Hérens alpine valley in the Valais canton of Switzerland. They’re one of the smallest cattle breeds in Europe and are bred primarily for beef and for cow fighting. That’s right … the females are highly aggressive and are trained to fight each other in weight-classed bouts that are a major tourist attraction for the area. Could the animals have gotten into a battle royale and accidentally fallen out of the bull ring (I guess the proper term in this case would be cow ring)? Is their aggressive breeding causing some sort of mental illness? Are they just tired of fighting and trying to send farmers a message that they want to live in peace, harmony and milk?

Cows are not sheep that follow each other, when they are scared they tend to disperse. The behavior of the calves was provoked. The fact that they broke the wires in several places makes me think that they were prosecuted.

Top 10 Ancient Practices Supported By Science

Via listverse.com by Kathryn Amberley

Chinese medicine, holistic therapies, and ritualistic shamanism are often viewed as pseudoscience. But they are actually very ancient practices that have been around for thousands of years. However, due to raised interest worldwide, our scientists are now running huge numbers of research trials to try and discover if there is any truth in these strange areas of knowledge. Because of the advancement in technology, such as brain imaging, we are now able to study the brain patterns of people actively practicing meditation or receiving acupuncture, shedding light on what is happening in the brain and body. Here is a Top 10 rundown of the best scientific research to date.
 
10. Acupuncture

The ancient technique of sticking needles into the skin at strategic points has origins dating back thousands of years, the first documented record being around 100 B.C. It is still widely used in China today to treat the root cause of conditions as opposed to the symptomatic approach of Western medicine. However, acupuncture is gaining recognition fast in the West with the British National Health Service stating that acupuncture encourages the body to produce pain-relieving endorphins. Acupuncture is now available for free on the NHS in some areas of the United Kingdom.

So, the question is, if the UK NHS are providing acupuncture to patients, surely there must be some clinical evidence to prove its efficacy? There is! There are over 3000 clinical trials studying the benefits of acupuncture in a vast array of illnesses and conditions. For example, the British Acupuncture Council says obesity has been studied in numerous acupuncture trials with positive results.

A pain management review of acupuncture was published by Manyanga et al. in 2014.[1] The review looked at 12 trials comparing acupuncture to standard care in osteoarthritis (plus placebo and no treatment at all). The results showed significant pain reduction, improved mobility, and better quality of life. And the longer the treatment period, the greater the benefits. The review team from Canada concluded that there is evidence to support the use of acupuncture as an alternative to traditional painkillers in people suffering from osteoarthritis.

So, it’s a big tick for acupuncture, as long as you can overcome the horror of hundreds of needles sticking into your skin at one time.
 
9. Meditation

The National Center for Biotechnology Information currently has over 4000 published papers listed for the search phrase “meditation efficacy,” 400 alone over the last year. Although meditation has been practiced for centuries, particularly in Eastern cultures, it is only recently that the effects of meditation are being studied more widely within the scientific community. Specifically within the field of neuroscience. Some studies have shown that meditation produces positive benefits such as more patience, self-confidence, happiness, less judgmental attitude, calmness, release of anxiety and depression, and a general increased comfort with life’s uncertainties. These benefits, in turn, bring more physical vigor and energy for life. Sounds great, but where is the science?

Here is some carried out by a professor of Physiology, a professor of Anesthesiology, and a professor Pharmacology. The aim of the study was to find out the effect of “Osho dynamic meditation” on the stress hormone levels and whether it has any anti-stress effect. Osho was an Indian guru who introduced dynamic meditation to the world in 1970. Dynamic meditation includes several stages—deep, fast chaotic breathing, EXPLODING! (letting it all out), repeating the mantra “Hoo, Hoo, hoo” whilst jumping up and down, ten minutes of silence, and then dancing. Really, it’s true. It is said to decrease aggressive behavior, anxiety, and depression.

The study measured the plasma cortisol levels (stress level indicators) before and after 21 days of meditation. The results showed a significant reduction at trial end. Thus, it was concluded by the team that Osho dynamic meditation did indeed produce an anti-stress effect, which could be attributed to the release of repressed emotions, psychological inhibitions, and traumas. The study team says that dynamic meditation could be used for the improvement of stress, plus stress related physical and mental disorders.

Incredible and almost unbelievable? How about this one: Dr. Zoran Josipovic of NYU has been using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study the meditating brains of Buddhist monks.[2] Neuroscientists believe the brain is split into two networks—the extrinsic and the intrinsic. They do not function at the same time. They switch. The extrinsic network is where everyday tasks originate, like putting the kettle on or taking part in exercise. The intrinsic network or the “default network” as scientists are now dubbing it, is linked with emotions and inner thoughts. It is also the area of the brain where the most activity is seen during fMRI in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s, depression, or autism, indicating that this is the area being attacked by these conditions. So far, study results have shown a clear disconnect between the two brain networks in experienced and proficient meditators such as Buddhist Monks. The hope for the future is that as it is now proven that the intrinsic brain can be purposely isolated from the extrinsic during meditation, it opens up a new pathway of research for various brain disorders.

Happy, meditating monks and a possible future solution for Alzheimer’s? Neuroscientists say yes. So, it appears that meditation might be mind blowing in many positive ways.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Researchers Have Reorganised an Animal's Brain to Act Like Another Species' Brain

Via sciencealert.com by Mike McRae

Species that share similar kinds of brain anatomy have been caught using different neural circuits to perform identical behaviours, and it challenges a basic assumption on the relationship between behaviour and neurology.

The team is yet to figure out why this strange overlap exists among species, but the discovery points to how important behaviours can be retained as certain animals evolve.

Scientists at Georgia State University based their conclusions on their studies involving two different species of marine animal called a nudibranch.

If you're yet to have the pleasure of seeing these amazing molluscs, nudibranches are an incredibly diverse group of gastropod that resemble a cross between a Pokémon and sea slugs.

The Women on the Wall

The Women on the Wall, Ramparts of the Chitradurga Fort, 1868
Via Wikipedia
Via hauntedohiobooks.com by Chris Woodyard

I don’t know about you, but I’ve reached critical mass with demonic infestations, haunted dolls, and scratched fannies. You can only study the cliches of crockery-hurling polts, ladies in white, and pubs haunted by former owners dubbed “George” for so long before you are ready to hurl the laptop across the room. And don’t get me started on little girl ghosts named “Emily.” I want exotic locations, new faceless faces, rare species of spooks!

It was in this discontented spirit that I discovered this story from India, replete with atmosphere and a trio of malign ghosts.

HAUNTED INDIA

By “BADMASH”

The whole history of India teems with tragedies….Is it to be wondered at that such tragedies have filled the country with ghosts, or, at any rate, a fixed belief in them? For superstition is rife everywhere, but more particularly among the hill-men, from whom I have heard the most extraordinary ghost stories. True, the majority of them are legends, but the present hill-man seldom ventures out at night for fear of meeting these evil spirits, and nothing would induce him to visit a place with an evil reputation after dark; so legends they remain….