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11/21/08  #496
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Draw your blinds...hide the children...bring in the cat and dog... because once again your e-mail box has been invaded by your weekly visit of the strange and unknown.  Yes, that's right, Conspiracy Journal, home of conspiracies, UFOs, the paranormal and other interesting bits of news and information is here to confound your senses and infuriate those who wish to keep the truth secret. 

This week, Conspiracy Journal takes a look at such eye scorching tales as:

- People the World Over Claim Mind Control Harassment -
-Argentina: Further Details on the Chicoana Agriglyphs -
- UK Recruits Experts To Investigate UFO Flap -
- Are Parallel Universes More than a Figment of Our Imagination?-
AND: Nessie Is Much More Than A Monster To Us?

All these exciting stories and MORE in this week's issue of

~ And Now, On With The Show! ~




 What do Satanism, human trafficking, mind control experiments and child sex abuse have to do with the U.S. government? According to the testimony of experts and survivors, the CIA utilized all of these elements and more for their Top Secret Project Monarch, part of the MK-ULTRA mind control program. For reasons of National Security, dozens if not hundreds of people, many of them children, were allegedly subjected to unimaginable rape, torture, and bloody satanic rituals, with the aim of fracturing the human mind through trauma. This created multiple personalities that could then be programmed to perform specific tasks . . . Many of the purported victims say they were used to satisfy the sexual urges of the rich and powerful, even U.S. presidents. . . For these purposes, the CIA is said to have sought help from intergenerational cults, as well as child pornography and snuff film networks. As thousands of people were bought and sold on the underground sex market, our government supposedly looked the other way, seeing it not as an atrocity, but as an opportunity.

"I nearly jumped out of my seat when I first read this book. I was never convinced of the stories surrounding the sex slave allegations that people like Cathy O'Brien have been making. But now we hear from Mark Phillips, Cathy O'Brien, Ted Gunderson, Noreen Gosch and Palela Freyd who tend to support these claims. Plus there is additional added material on the Mind Control programs like MK Ultra by Commander X and Nick Redfern to really make this volume a must read for ALL conspiracy buffs." --Tim Beckley , Publisher, Conspiracy Journal.

This ground-breaking book can be yours for the SPECIAL PRICE OF ONLY $20.00
(Plus $5.00 for shipping.) You can't find this book for this special price anywhere else, so order right now and find out how your government has been using innocent civilians as sex slaves for the elite ruling class. HURRY, before YOU are their next VICTIM!

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In This Incredible Issue:


America’s Oldest Mystery: Rhode island’s Newport Tower - Newport, RI, has long been famous as the summer playground for the fabulously wealthy. But nestled amongst the luxurious mansions and the private yachts is a mysterious stone tower whose history has baffled historians for centuries. It is believed to be the oldest stone structure in America, though no  one can say precisely when it was built.
Was there a Golden Age? Historical Proof for the Garden of Eden
Almost all of the ancient cultures of Europe, the Middle East, and Asia have myths which speak of an earlier time when life was easier and humans lived in harmony with nature and each other.  Most historians believe that these myths are little more than fairy tales, perhaps the result of our need to idealize the past. However, there is now evidence that suggests that these myths may contain a kernel of historical truth, a kind of distant folk memory of an actual historical era.
The Higgs Boson and the Large Hadron Collider: Seeking the God Particle - Tucked away in a sleepy Swiss  village lies the Center for Nuclear Experimentation and Research, the site of the recently completed Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest particle collider and perhaps the most complex machine ever built. The principle goal of the LHC is to reveal the so-called god particle: the Higgs Boson, which is about 120 times more massive than a proton, and gives mass to all other particles as they emerge from the primordial quantum field.

The Parapsychology Revolution: An Interview with Dr. Robert
Schoch - A geologist and paleontologist by profession, Dr. Schoch has studied some of the greatest ancient monuments around the world including the Great Pyramids, the Sphinx,and the underwater structures near Yonaguni Island, Japan. He has also written several bestselling books, including his most recent, The Parapsychology Revolution.

Coming soon to your favorite bookstore or magazine stand.


Yes, you read correctly. After all of these years, Tim Swartz, your beloved editor of Conspiracy Journal and author of a number of your favorite books, will be on the first hour of Coast to Coast on Friday Nov. 21 with host Ian Punnett.  Tim will be discussing his popular book The Lost Journals of Nikola Tesla, so this is a show that you don't want to miss. Check the Coast to Coast website for a station affiliate near you.

Coast to Coast with George Noory

Coast to Coast with host George Noory


People the World Over Claim Mind Control Harassment

For years they lived in solitary terror of the light beams that caused searing headaches, the technology that took control of their minds and bodies. They feared the stalkers, people whose voices shouted from the walls or screamed in their heads, “We found you” and “We want you dead.”

When people who believe such things reported them to the police, doctors or family, they said they were often told they were crazy. Sometimes they were medicated or locked in hospital wards, or fired from jobs and isolated from the outside world.

But when they found one another on the Internet, everything changed. So many others were having the same experiences.

Type “mind control” or “gang stalking” into Google, and Web sites appear that describe cases of persecution, both psychological and physical, related with the same minute details — red and white cars following victims, vandalism of their homes, snickering by those around them.

Identified by some psychologists and psychiatrists as part of an “extreme community” on the Internet that appears to encourage delusional thinking, a growing number of such Web sites are filled with stories from people who say they are victims of mind control and stalking by gangs of government agents. The sites are drawing the concern of mental health professionals and the interest of researchers in psychology and psychiatry.

Although many Internet groups that offer peer support are considered helpful to the mentally ill, some experts say Web sites that amplify reports of mind control and group stalking represent a dark side of social networking. They may reinforce the troubled thinking of the mentally ill and impede treatment.

Dr. Ralph Hoffman, a psychiatry professor at Yale who studies delusions, said a growing number of his research subjects have told him of visiting mind-control sites, and finding in them confirmation of their own experiences.

“The views of these belief systems are like a shark that has to be constantly fed,” Dr. Hoffman said. “If you don’t feed the delusion, sooner or later it will die out or diminish on its own accord. The key thing is that it needs to be repetitively reinforced.”

That is what the Web sites do, he said. Similar concerns have arisen about a proliferation of sites that describe how to commit suicide, or others that promote anorexia and bulimia, providing detailed instructions on restricting food and photographs of skeletal women meant to be “thinspiration.”

For people who regularly visit and write on message boards on the mind-control sites, the idea that others would describe the sites as promoting delusional and psychotic thinking is simply evidence of a cover-up of the truth.

“It was a big relief to find the community,” said Derrick Robinson, 55, a janitor in Cincinnati and president of Freedom from Covert Harassment and Surveillance, a group that claims several hundred regular users of its Web site. “I felt that maybe there were others, but I wasn’t real sure until I did find this community,” Mr. Robinson said.

There is no concise survey of mind-control sites or others describing gang stalking — whose users believe that groups of people are following and controlling them, as part of a test of neurological or other kinds of weapons likely conducted by the government — on the Net. But they are easy to find. Some have hundreds of postings, along with links to dozers of similar sties. One,, welcomes visitors with this description: “Gang Stalking is a systemic form of control, which seeks to destroy every aspect of a Targeted Individual’s life. The target is followed around and placed under surveillance by Civilian Spies/Snitches 24/7.”

The site lists more than 71,000 visitors, and it has links to several other sites, including, which has 965 posts.

One poster to Gang Stalking World wrote in August: “It’s insane that I daily have to come home and try to figure out if my Web sites will still be up or shut down. This week they have really been playing with me, and so it was my time to play back.” The post directs readers to other gang-stalking sites should their favorite sites be shut down.

Mr. Robinson said in an interview that that he has been tortured and abused by gang stalkers and by “neurological weaponry” since leaving the Navy in 1982. “To read the stories and the similarity of the harassment techniques that were going on, to hear about the vandalism, appliance tampering and all the other things were designed to drive a person crazy, who do you go to with this?” he said. “People will say you are delusional.”

For Mr. Robinson and several other Web site users interviewed for this article — all of whom insisted they were not delusional, including one man who said he had been hospitalized in psychiatric wards — the sites provide the powerful, unfamiliar experience of being understood by others.

“By and large, most people are sane and coherent and can relate exactly what’s happening to them,” Mr. Robinson said. “They can say the things that would otherwise get them labeled as delusional.”

His group of self-described “targeted individuals” met offline in Los Angeles last month for their inaugural conference, he said, where they attended a meeting to share stories, including the humiliating experiences of being told they are insane.

Mental health experts who have closely looked at the Web sites are careful to say that there is no way to prove if someone posting on, say, Mr. Robinson’s site,, which says its mission is to seek justice for those singled out by “organized stalking and electromagnetic torture,” is suffering from mental illness.

Vaughan Bell, a British psychologist who has researched the effect of the Internet on mental illness, first began tracking sites with reports of mind control in 2004. In 2006 he published a study concluding that there was an extensive Internet community around such beliefs, and he called 10 sites he studied “likely psychotic sites.”

The extent of the community, Dr. Bell said, poses a paradox to the traditional way delusion is defined under the diagnostic guidelines of the American Psychiatric Association, which says that if a belief is held by a person’s “culture or subculture,” it is not a delusion. The exception accounts for rituals of religious faith, for example.

Dr. Bell, whose study was published in the journal Psychopathology, said that it does not suggest all people participating in mind-control sites are delusional, and that a firm diagnosis of psychosis could only be done in person.

For people who say they are the target of mind control or gang stalking, there may be enough evidence in the scientific literature to fan their beliefs. Many sites point to MK-ULTRA, the code name for a covert C.I.A. mind-control and chemical interrogation program begun in the 1950s.

Recently the sites have linked to an article published in September in Time magazine, “The Army’s Totally Serious Mind-Control Project,” which described a $4 million contract given to the Army to develop “thought helmets” that would allow troops to communicate through brain waves on the battlefield.

And the users of some sites have found the support of Jim Guest, a Republican state representative in Missouri, who wrote last year to his fellow legislators calling for an investigation into the claims of those who say they are being tortured by mind control.

“I’ve had enough calls, some from credible people — professors — being targeted by nonlethal weapons,” Mr. Guest said in a telephone interview, adding that nothing came of his request for a legislative investigation. “They become psychologically affected by it. They have trouble sleeping at night.”

He added: “I believe there are people who have been targeted by this. With this equipment, you have to test it on somebody to see if it works.”

Dr. Bell and some other mental health professionals say that even if the users of such sites are psychotic, forging an online connection to others and being told — perhaps for the first time — “you are not crazy” could actually have a positive effect on their illnesses.

“We know, for example, that things like social support, all of these positive social aspects are very good for people’s mental illness,” Dr. Bell said. “I wouldn’t say it’s entirely and completely positive, but it can be positive.”

Some research has shown that when people with delusions undergo group cognitive therapy, the group process can be helpful in their treatment.

But the Web sites are not moderated by professionals, and many postings discuss the failure of medication and say that mental health professionals are part of the conspiracy against them.

“These people lead quietly desperate lives,” said Dr. Jeffrey A. Lieberman, chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University. “And if they are reinforcing each other and pulling people toward something, if they are using the Internet and getting reinforcement, that’s good.”

The mind-control sites remind some experts of the accounts of those claiming to have been abducted by aliens in the 1970s and ’80s. One person’s story begat another until many insisted they had had virtually identical experiences of being taken onto space ships by silvery sloe-eyed creatures.

Some of those now posting on mind-control sites say they are being remotely “sexually stimulated” by their torturers. Some alien abductees had said similar things. Subsequent research generally showed that those who believed they had been abducted were not psychotic, but suffering from severe memory and sleep problems, or personal traumas, Dr. Bell said.

Psychiatrists and researchers say it is too soon to say whether communication on the Internet among people who may be psychotic will negatively effect their illnesses.” This is a very complex little corner,” said Dr. Ken Duckworth, the medical director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, an advocacy group. “Some people may find it’s healing, but these are really hard questions. The Internet isn’t a cause of mental illness, it’s a complicating new variable.”

Source: NY Times


Gulf War Illness is Real, Report Finds

A report released on Monday concluded that Gulf War syndrome is a legitimate illness suffered by more than 175,000 U.S. war veterans who were exposed to chemical toxins in the 1991 Gulf War.

The congressionally mandated report could help veterans who have battled the government for treatment of a wide range of unexplained neurological illnesses, from brain cancer to multiple sclerosis.

The Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses concluded that Gulf War illness is a physical condition distinct from the mental "shell shock" suffered by veterans in other wars. Some earlier studies had concluded it was not a distinct illness.

"Scientific evidence leaves no question that Gulf War illness is a real condition with real causes and serious consequences for affected veterans," said the committee, which has been looking into the problem since 2002.

The committee, composed of independent scientists and veterans, said Congress should boost funding for research on Gulf War veterans' health to at least $60 million per year.

"This is a national obligation, made especially urgent by the many years that Gulf War veterans have waited for answers and assistance," the committee said.

Gulf War illness affects at least one-fourth of the 700,000 U.S. troops who served in the 1991 effort to drive Iraq out of Kuwait, or between 175,000 and 210,000 veterans in all, the report found. Few have seen their symptoms improve over the past 17 years, the report said.

Symptoms include persistent headaches, widespread pain, cognitive difficulties, unexplained fatigue, skin rashes, chronic diarrhea and digestive and respiratory problems.

Many Gulf War veterans suffering these symptoms say they were met with skepticism when seeking treatment.

"Today's report brings to a close one of the darkest chapters of the 1991 Gulf War, and that is the legacy of Gulf War illness. For those who ever doubted that Gulf War veterans are ill, this report is definitive and exhaustive," said Anthony Hardie, a Gulf War veteran from Madison, Wisconsin.

Hardie was a 23-year-old sergeant at the time of the conflict. Today he works in Wisconsin's Veterans Affairs Department and suffers a host of ailments, including respiratory problems, fatigue and chronic widespread pain.

"The truth will prevail," said Adrian Atizado, assistant legislative director of the Disabled American Veterans, an advocacy group that represents 1.4 million veterans from the various conflicts in which the United States has fought.

"One can argue with merit that the federal government did hold back progress in allowing Gulf War veterans to seek health care and financial benefits," he said. "We hope now there will be a greater emphasis on finding effective treatments."

The panel found two possible causes: a drug given to troops to protect against nerve gas, known as pyridostigmine bromide, and pesticides that were used heavily during the war.

The panel said other possible causes could not be ruled out, including extensive exposure to smoke from oil-well fires and low-level exposure to sarin gas when captured Iraqi stocks were destroyed.

The U.S. government has spent roughly $440 million on Gulf War health research since 1994, but spending has declined in recent years and often is not focused on improving veterans' health, the committee said.

Source: Reuters


Argentina: Further Details on the Chicoana Agriglyphs

Residents of the town of Metán also witnessed strange lights with zigzagging movements at low altitude late into the night. These lights disappear into the fields, and occurred at the same time as the Chicoana events. What is remarkable is that the predominant direction of movement is toward the NW, which dovetails with the statements made by the people of Chicoana, who see the movements predominantly toward the SE. In both cases, the trajectory suggests the Cabra Corral Reservoir, an immense body of water.

The reason that I’m highlighting this fact is because the disappearance of large quantities of water is often associated with this phenomenon.

With regard to the wheat fields: the first one, nearest the town, was visited by hundreds of curiosity-seekers that trampled down the wheat, so the possibility of seeing the marks no longer exists. The field was plowed, but the flattened wheat stalks that formed the mark were allowed to remain. The soil’s depth is no different from that of the rest of the field. The depth of the marks was due to the field’s height prior to plowing. The wheat stalks were no different from the remainder of the mature wheat stalks: neither burns nor color-changes are noticeable.

I visited a tobacco plantation to the north of Chicoana, where three workers witnessed flying object manifestations. They are probably the best-qualified witnesses to the phenomenon, as they had to work nights in the field the week that the marks occurred and the following week as well. This is a summary of my conversation with them: They are well aware of the stars and planets at various times of year by virtue of having to work at night. The lights they saw could not be mistaken for stars, planets, shooting stars, airplanes or satellites, which are also visible at night.

The lights they saw at night were several. They lit up the fields in the darkness with such intensity that it was possible to see the crops; a powerful beam of light [issued from them], casting light in the same way as fishermen’s’ flashlights. They compared the size of the object to that of the Sun at that time of day (4 p.m.) and they also gyrated.

The employees tried to record the lights on their cellphones and were unable to do so. All three have cellphones and not one of these devices worked at the time. The symbols appeared on the wheat fields after the first evening that these sightings took place. The place where the first object was seen is over a mountain located to the west of the plantation. They saw two small lights breaking away from the larger one, progressing along the sky in a parallel formation.

At a given moment, when the larger object remained motionless over the mountain, they saw something like “lightning rays”, blue in color, and emerge from the mountain toward the object.

When the lights moved toward them, they estimated that they were some 100 meters overhead. They did not notice any reactions in the local animals, as there were none nearby.

Another object was also seen toward the southeast, in the distance, over the mountains of Sierra Metán, behind which the city of the same name is located. They had the impression that these objects were in communication, as the lights would rise and descend in unison (the Cabra Corral Reservoir is located between Chicoana and Metán, separated from Metán by the Sierra Metán).

The three workers assured me that they didn’t believe in “flying saucers” and had never warmed to the subject. But ever since their sighting, the think that what they saw was neither a natural phenomenon nor anything known to them up to that point.

On the third night of the sightings, given that the plantation’s owner did not believe them, one of the workers ran over to wake him up and bring him to the fields. The owner remained incredulous, arguing that the lights could be stars, but moments later the light began to move and headed toward them, causing a commotion. Speaking to the plantation’s owner, he echoed the words of his employees. He had never believed in such “tales” but what he saw was new to him.

Finally, I was in the field of the Arroyo Tillán mountain stream, facing the Villa Fanny shelter school. No wheat had been harvested there and the marks were present. This is the field that was photographed from a height, as displayed in the press. I wasn’t lucky enough to see the photos from above, but here are the images I took. This photo was taken with a view toward the East-Southeast, from the Villa Fanny School, with the Sierra Metán Mountains in the background.

The wheat stands approximately 1.30 meters tall. Soil is normal, the stalks that form the agriglyph are flattened, some are bent and others broken; this could be due to the fact that the wheat stems are very fragile this time of year, when they are ready to be harvested. Furthermore, there has been no rain, which has contributed to very dry conditions these days, and a 30º C heat.  The flattened wheat stalks are not aimed toward any particular point, rather in a spiral, as though following the direction of the object that caused them.

This, then, is a summary of what I saw in Chicoana. I have more photographs, with higher definition, and I have a panoramic shot of the wheat field, which is far too large to include [in this report]. Regards – Mercedes Casas

Source and Translation (c) 2008, Scott Corrales, IHU.
Special Thanks to Mercedes Casas and Guillermo Gimenez, Planeta UFO)


UK Recruits Experts To Investigate UFO Flap

A crack new ‘X-Files’ squad of special FBI agents has been recruited by the UK Government – because the number of UFO sightings this year has been out of this world.

Leading boffins in Whitehall have admitted to being flummoxed by a spate of ‘extra-terrestrial activity’ and have turned to a top US agency to hire in “Mulder and Scully” style investigators.

The undercover unit will begin work in a high-tech London lab analysing unexplained photography and debris, before moving into the field to obtain explanations of bizarre crop circles.

There has been a huge upsurge in the interest for alien life forms since late last year when the The Ministry of Defence opened its ‘X-Files’ to the public for the first time since records began in 1967.

The unveiling has thrust it to the forefront of the public agenda and, amazingly, it has been afforded more debating hours in the House of Lords than foxhunting.

But cynics suggest opening the Pandora’s Box has only engaged the public’s over-active imagination.

Georgina Grounded of an unnamed local council said: “For a lot of people it’s just a sci-fi fix.

“There are those who think that this Fox Mulder fella cuts a bit if a dash and are just desperate to believe.

“But these are credit crunched times. We need people with down-to-Earth attitudes.”

Numbers of UFO sightings have really taken off this year, dwarfing the total of 135 reported to the Ministry of Defence for the whole of 2007.

The Sun recently reported how a flying saucer hovering over Dudley in the West Midlands was photographed by a Wakefield nanny visiting the local castle.

And pop oddball Robbie Williams is reported to be penning new tracks after staying at Trout Lake – the number one spot in the US for UFO sightings.

Malcolm Robinson, founder of research group Strange Phenomena Investigations, told The Sun last month: “Something really bizarre is happening in the skies over the UK."

Source: The Sun


Rev. Frank Stranges Dies

The Reverend Frank Stranges, author of such contactee classics as Stranger At The Pentagon and Flying Saucerama, has returned to his permanent home with the space brothers, according to an email from Tim “Mr. UFO” Beckley. Stranges, who was 81, had recently suffered from a broken neck, but was recovering at home when he caught an infection and passed away.

Stranges founded the National Investigations Committee on Unidentified Flying Objects (NICUFO) in 1967, apparently in homage to NICAP, the original civilian UFO group founded in 1956. He may have been piggybacking on NICAP’s strong public image, but we can of course forgive him for that.

Stranges most lasting legacy may be his narrative in Stranger At The Pentagon, the story of Venusian Captain “Valiant Thor.”

According to Stranges, After Val had met with the president and members of the Joint Chiefs, he had a meeting with Stranges at the Pentagon. Val Thor sounded (and looked) like Michael Rennie’s portrayal of the ufonaut Klaatu in The Day The Earth Stood Still:

Being a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as well as a student of the Bible for many years, coupled with my experience as an special investigator, I felt as though my senses were functioning properly and that I knew exactly what I was about to do. I was on my guard for fakes and frauds. In walked a man, about six feet tall, perhaps 185 pounds, brown wavy hair, brown eyes.

His complexion appeared normal and slightly tanned. As I approached him and he looked at me IT WAS AS THOUGH HE LOOKED STRAIGHT THROUGH ME. With a warm smile and extending his hand, he greeted me by name.

His genuineness astonished me, but quickly I understood. As I gripped his hand, I was somewhat surprised to feel the soft texture of his skin… like that of a baby but with the strength of a man that silently testified to his power and intensity.

Other contactees met their space brothers in deserts, along deserted highways, and in coffee shops. Frank Stranges met Val Thor in the hallowed halls of military power, making him the only contactee to be able to claim the imprimatur of officialdom.

On December 12th of last year, WFMU’s 365 Days Project posted mp3s of Stranges’ only known record album–part of the soundtrack from his 1966 film Phenomena 7.7. I provided some commentary and supplied the recordings and images of the cover. I was privileged to meet Dr. Stranges at the Retro UFO conference last year, where he signed a couple of his books and a copy of the Phenomena 7.7 soundtrack. “I haven’t seen one of these in years” he said wistfully. Since I had two copies, I gave him the other. For me, it was like meeting a rock star, albeit a 70-odd year-old one.

Source: UFO Mystic

Rev. Frank Stranges RARE DVD - Val Thor: Stranger At the Pentagon,  videotaped at the UFO, New Age and Conspiracy Conference in San Diego. Watch Rev. Stranges tell the intriguing story of his contact with the extraterrestrial Val Thor at the Pentagon.

This DVD is Available from Conspiracy Journal for $12 plus 5.00 shipping.


Climate Change 'To Halt Next Ice Age'

A new model of the Earth's climate suggests that human-made carbon dioxide emissions may prevent the onset of the next ice age.

Based on geological history, the Earth would be expected to enter a new ice age in 10,000 to 100,000 years.

Researchers say even small changes in carbon dioxide levels right now could prevent this from happening.

They tell the journal Nature this may not be good news as the planet could change in ways that are unprecedented.

The scientists say that over the past 400,000 years, sea temperature and ice coverage have been more variable than before.

This variation is a sign of the climate changing from one state to another, and signals the coming of an ice age.

Professor Thomas Crowley who developed the new model at Edinburgh University, UK, says this natural event might be postponed or even prevented by human-induced changes - especially the CO2 emissions from industrial processes.

"In the last 100,000 years, global CO2 levels increased by around 1.5 parts per million - but now we put out this much every year. The natural process is 100,000 times slower than the way humankind is changing CO2 levels," he says.

The researchers looked at variations in oxygen levels in the shells of tiny sea creatures found in samples taken from the world's ocean beds. When combined with data on past sea levels, these give an estimate of global temperatures and sea-ice cover for the past three million years.

Professor Crowley warns against seeing increases in carbon dioxide levels as a good thing and adds that we might end up with a planet completely different from anything we've ever known.

"It doesn't mean we've averted catastrophe. A rise of just three to five degrees will give us temperatures unheard of for 50 million years - but at that time the world was a different place, with no ice caps.

"This time round, we are raising the temperature at such a rate that we may create a different world, a non-glacial atmosphere with polar ice sheets."

Rapid increases in global temperatures may not initiate immediate rapid polar ice melting, say the scientists; and there is no past geological evidence to indicate how a polar ice cap might behave if sitting on a warmer world.

Source: BBC


Are Parallel Universes More than a Figment of Our Imagination?

The Hollywood blockbuster, The Golden Compass, adapted from the first volume of Pullman's classic sci-fi trilogy, "His Dark Materials" portrays various universes as only one reality among many, but how realistic is this kind of classic sci-fi plot? While it hasn’t been proven yet, many highly respected and credible scientists are now saying there’s reason to believe that parallel dimensions could very well be more than figments of our imaginations.

"The idea of multiple universes is more than a fantastic invention—it appears naturally within several scientific theories, and deserves to be taken seriously," stated Aurelien Barrau, a French particle physicist at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).

There are a variety of competing theories based on the idea of parallel universes, but the most basic idea is that if the universe is infinite, then everything that could possibly occur has happened, is happening, or will happen.

According to quantum mechanics, nothing at the subatomic scale can really be said to exist until it is observed. Until then, particles occupy uncertain "superposition" states, in which they can have simultaneous "up" and "down" spins, or appear to be in different places at the same time. The mere act of observing somehow appears to "nail down" a particular state of reality. Scientists don’t yet have a perfect explanation for how it occurs, but that hasn’t changed the fact that the phenomenon does occur.

Unobserved particles are described by "wave functions" representing a set of multiple "probable" states. When an observer makes a measurement, the particle then settles down into one of these multiple options, which is somewhat how the multiple universe theory can be explained.

The existence of such a parallel universe "does not even assume speculative modern physics, merely that space is infinite and rather uniformly filled with matter as indicated by recent astronomical observations," Max Tegmark, a cosmologist at MIT in Boston, Massachusetts concluded in a study of parallel universes published by Cambridge University.

Mathematician Hugh Everett published landmark paper in 1957 while still a graduate student at Princeton University. In this paper he showed how quantum theory predicts that a single classical reality will gradually split into separate, but simultaneously existing realms.

"This is simply a way of trusting strictly the fundamental equations of quantum mechanics," says Barrau. "The worlds are not spatially separated, but exist as kinds of 'parallel' universes."

Partly because the idea is so uncomfortably strange, it’s dismissed as sci-fi by many critics. But there are also many credible, respected proponents of the theory—a group that is continuously gaining new adherents as new research unveils new evidence. Some Oxford research—for the first time—recently found  a mathematical answer that sweeps away one of the key objections to the controversial idea. Their research shows that Everett was indeed on the right track when he came up with his multiverse theory. The Oxford team, led by Dr David Deutsch, showed mathematically that the bush-like branching structure created by the universe splitting into parallel versions of itself can explain the probabilistic nature of quantum outcomes.

The work has another strange implication. The idea of parallel universes would apparently side-step one of the key complaints with time travel. Every since it was given serious credibility in 1949 by the great logician Kurt Godel, many eminent physicists have argued against time travel because it undermines ideas of cause and effect. An example would be the famous “grandfather paradox” where a time traveler goes back to kill his grandfather so that he is never born in the first place.

But if parallel worlds do exist, there is a way around these troublesome paradoxes. Deutsch argues that time travel shifts happen between different branches of reality. The mathematical breakthrough bolsters his claim that quantum theory does not forbid time travel. "It does sidestep it. You go into another universe," he said. But he admits that there will be a lot of work to do before we can manipulate space-time in a way that makes “hops” possible. While it may sound fanciful, Deutsch says that scientific research is continually making the theory more believable.

"Many sci-fi authors suggested time travel paradoxes would be solved by parallel universes but in my work, that conclusion is deduced from quantum theory itself."

The borderline between physics and metaphysics is not defined by whether an entity can be observed, but whether it is testable, insists Tegmark.

He points to phenomena such as black holes, curved space, the slowing of time at high speeds, even a round Earth, which were all once rejected as scientific heresy before being proven through experimentation, even though some remain beyond the grasp of observation. It is likely, Tegmark concludes that multiverse models grounded in modern physics will eventually be empirically testable, predictive and disprovable.

Source: The Daily Galaxy


Nessie Is Much More Than A Monster To Us

We cling to the myth because it goes right to the heart of our culture and who we think we are.

The tourism people want us to stop thinking about Loch Ness solely in terms of the monster, and instead as part of one of the world's great geological formations, one link in the chain of the Great Glen. More Grand Canyon and less Jurassic Pond, you might say.

It's a persuasive idea, but the truth is that Nessie is a vital and complex icon. We need her, or him, or them, as a guarantor of national identity and distinctiveness.

It's 75 years since the first 'photograph' of the Loch Ness Monster appeared in the public prints. They came thick and fast after that, though for some reason they thinned out rather suddenly when colour photography came along. Loch Ness became a place of pilgrimage for a broad spectrum of researchers and obsessives, naturalists, New Agers, palaeontologists, cryptozoologists, hoaxers and film-makers; for Britons it's cheaper to get to than Dallas and there's a grassy knoll for everyone.

The place has a strange effect on people. It turned poor Tim Dinsdale, the best known Nessie researcher, into a brooding obsessive. It tempted the saintly Peter Scott into a gross manipulation of scientific evidence: turn a blurry photograph upside down, highlight and touch up a vague rhombus in the middle and, presto, you have a fin! It's a plesiosaur! And does anyone rib BBC royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell - 'Still watching dinosaurs, Nick?' - about his youthful obsession with the monster.

The 'Surgeon's Photograph' - and what a clever designation that was for what turned out to be an April Fool joke; who'd suspect a medical man? - has survived its own debunking and is still considered, even by disbelievers, to be an image 'of' the monster. In reality, it is the monster, an ambiguous surfacing of something many of us guiltily want to believe in.

The curious thing about Loch Ness studies is that all the debunking in the world doesn't seem to make a dent on the phenomenon. One by one, the classic photographs and iconic sightings are ticked off as natural phenomena or pranks: swimming deer, mergansers, a family of otters, fertiliser bags filled with straw, fishing-boat fenders and a broken hatstand (that was us; we were young and needed the money, though nobody wanted the snaps), 'vegetable mats' bubbling up from the goo, boat wakes and standing waves, logs and even dogs - one famous picture is alleged to be a double-exposed Labrador with a stick in its mouth, which seems to me an even greater jump of imagination than thinking it represents a living fossil alive and breeding in a Scottish loch.

We need Nessie because she tells us so much about ourselves. If she exists at all, she must be impossibly ancient which reminds us of our own long past.

She's not altogether comely by all accounts, which is our way of telling the world that even if we lack superficial glamour, there's something impressive underneath.

Her very elusiveness is useful in a country which doesn't boast elephants or vast herds of grazing wildebeest. A Loch Ness safari is a triumph of hope over probability.

Deeper than all this, though, is that almost metaphysical question about whether the Loch Ness Monster actually exists and what she represents.

There's a touch of spuriously elegant coincidence in the recognition that Nessie was first photographed in the year King Kong was released and Hitler assumed power in Germany, forming the Gestapo shortly thereafter.

I once spent a very uncomfortable hour in an Inverness pub with an American woman who was trying to convince me that Nessie was the actualisation of evil. Perhaps more interesting is its closeness to the modern take-off of Scottish nationalism.

Though Sir Alexander McEwan was roundly trounced in the 1933 Kilmarnock byelection, beaten into fourth by three rival Labour candidates, he stood as the candidate for both the National Party of Scotland and the Scottish party, who managed to overcome their Lilliputian differences the very next year to become the SNP.

You're not going to tell me there's no connection between its rise and the sudden appearance of 'the creature'. After a slumber of centuries, Nessie suddenly started making more winning appearances than Michael Phelps, just as the Nats started to come on the scene. Coincidence? I don't think so.

I used 'actually' in its proper sense because even more deeply buried in the Loch Ness phenomenon is an anxiety that goes to the heart of Scottish culture.

Perhaps the creature was there once - during our human history, that is - but no more.

One school of Nessie watchers believes that our presence pushed her to extinction. Others will tell you that you won't see her if you're actively looking for her. Others still insist that you can only see her if you already believe.

Here's the rub: which specialism is more appropriate to Scottish identity, palaeontology or cryptozoology? Did it exist in the past, but is now little more than a fossil record? Or is it a hippogriff, put together out of elements lifted straight from the unconscious, but with no real-world existence?

Do we cling to Nessie because we don't really know who we are any more?

Source: The Guardian (UK)

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