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- UFOs Near Delhi Airport Puts Military On High Alert -
- Strange City Seen in Clouds Over China -
AND: Spontaneous Combustion and the FBI
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- TO INFINITY AND BEYOND DEPARTMENT -
NASA Confirms EM Drive Works
By Rick Stella
Engineer Roger Shawyer’s controversial EmDrive thruster jets back into relevancy this week, as a team of researchers at NASA’s Eagleworks Laboratories recently completed yet another round of testing on the seemingly impossible tech. Though no official peer-reviewed lab paper has been published yet, and NASA institutes strict press release restrictions on the Eagleworks lab these days, engineer Paul March took to the NASA Spaceflight forum to explain the group’s findings. In essence, by utilizing an improved experimental procedure, the team managed to mitigate some of the errors from prior tests — yet still found signals of unexplained thrust.
Isaac Newton should be sweating.
Flying in the face of traditional laws of physics, the EmDrive makes use of a magnetron and microwaves to create a propellant-less propulsion system. By pushing microwaves into a closed, truncated cone and back towards the small end of said cone, the drive creates the momentum and force necessary to propel a craft forward. Because the system is a reaction-less drive, it goes against humankind’s fundamental comprehension of physics, hence its controversial nature.
On the NASA spaceflight forums, March revealed as much as he could about the advancements that have been made with EmDrive and its relative technology. After apologizing for not having the ability to share pictures or the supporting data from a peer-reviewed lab paper, he starts by explaining (as straightforward as rocket science can get) that the Eagleworks lab successfully built and installed a 2nd generation magnetic damper which helps reduce stray magnetic fields in a vacuum chamber. The addition reduced magnetic fields by an order of magnitude inside the chamber, and also decreased Lorentz force interactions.
However, despite ruling out Lorentz forces almost entirely, March still reported a contamination caused by thermal expansion. Unfortunately, this reported contamination proves even worse in a vacuum (i.e. outer space) due in large part to its inherently high level of insulation. To combat this, March acknowledged the team is now developing an advanced analytics tool to assist in the separation of the contamination, as well as an integrated test which aims to alleviate thermally induced errors altogether.
While these advancements and additions are no doubt a boon for continued research of the EmDrive, the fact that the machine still produced what March calls “anomalous thrust signals” is by far the test’s single biggest discovery. The reason why this thrust exists still confounds even the brightest rocket scientists in the world, but the recurring phenomenon of direction-based momentum does make the EmDrive appear less a combination of errors and more like a legitimate answer to interstellar travel.
Eagleworks Laboratories’ recent successful testing is the latest in a long line of scientific research allowing EmDrive to slowly shed its “ridiculous” title. Though Shawyer unveiled the device in 2003, it wasn’t until 2009 that a group of Chinese scientists confirmed what he initially asserted to be true — that is, that filling a closed, conical container with resonating microwaves does, in fact, generate a modest amount of thrust towards the wide end of the container. Although extremely cautious about the test, the team in China found the theoretical basis to be correct and that net thrust is plausible.
The thing is, the initial reaction on this theory (especially from the west) was met with polite skepticism. Though the published work showed the calculations to be consistent with theoretical calculations, the test was conducted at such low power that the results were widely deemed to be useless. Luckily, this didn’t stop the good folks over at NASA from giving the EmDrive a spin, resulting in an official study that was conducted in August of 2013. After deliberating on the findings, the space agency officially published its judgment in June of the following year before presenting it at the 50th Joint Propulsion Conference in Cleveland, Ohio.
NASA concluded the RF resonant cavity thruster design does produce thrust “not attributable to any classical electromagnetic phenomenon.” In other words, NASA confirmed Shawyer’s initial prognosis (much like the team of Chinese scientists), but couldn’t come up with a reasonable explanation as to why the thing works outside of, “it just does.”
Moving forward, NASA’s short term objective is to conduct a diverse array of tests on a quantum vacuum plasma thruster (a similar propellantless engine flatter in shape than the EmDrive), in hopes of gaining independent verification and validation of the thruster. Initial IV&V testing will be supported by the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, making use of a stainless steel vacuum chamber which has the capacity to detect force at a single-digit micronewton level, called a low-thrust torsion pendulum.
After that, a similar round of low-thrust torsion pendulum tests will then be conducted at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory before comparing the findings. It’s also reported that the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory has contacted the lab about conducting Cavendish Balance-type testing of the IV&V shipset. Ideally, this test would allow Johns Hopkins to measure the amount of gravitational force exerted in propellantless engines.
At this time, it’s unknown when Eagleworks Laboratories intends to officially publish its peer-reviewed paper, but even so, just hearing of the EmDrive’s advancements from one of its top engineers bodes well for the future of this fascinating tech.
In the meantime there are quite a few makers building their own EmDrives at home. All one needs is a truncated cone of copper, a 2.45 Ghz magnetron from a typical microwave oven, wires and a source of electricity. Over on YouTube, iulian207 has been showing the world his adventures testing a homebrew EmDrive. By no means are his experiments happening under the same, strict conditions one could expect of NASA, but the results are provocative.
Source: Yahoo News
- GHOST IN THE MACHINE DEPARTMENT -
Can Human Consciousness Be Replicated?
By James D. Tabor
Robert Kuhn, an old friend, colleague, and producer of the amazing PBS program "Closer to Truth," has just published a most provocative piece at LiveScience titled: "The Singularity, Virtual Immortality and the Trouble with Consciousness." Will science replicate the human brain and thus produce the phenomenon we all experience our conscious "inner-self,"-what Plato and Freud called the "Ego"?
"According to techno-futurists, the exponential development of technology in general and artificial intelligence ("AI") in particular -- including the complete digital replication of human brains -- will radically transform humanity via two revolutions. The first is the "singularity," when artificial intelligence will redesign itself recursively and progressively, such that AI will become vastly more powerful than human intelligence ("superstrong AI"). The second revolution will be "virtual immortality," when the fullness of our mental selves can be uploaded perfectly to nonbiological media (such as silicon chips), and our mental selves will live on beyond the demise of our fleshy, physical bodies.
"AI singularity and virtual immortality would mark a startling, transhuman world that techno-futurists envision as inevitable and perhaps just over the horizon. They do not question whether their vision can be actualized; they only debate when will it occur, with estimates ranging from 10 to 100 years."
Kuhn, who has his Ph.D. in brain science has his doubts, but takes us through all the various views with clips and interviews from the best and the brightest in the field of the physiology and psychology of the human brain. A fascinating read.
I surely have no expertise in this field but I remain convinced that any such replication, however precise and infinitely complex, would remain as "dumb" as a more sophisticated version of Siri on my iPhone. More is more, but more is not consciousness.
On the other hand I think the idea of a "non-physical" component or aspect of the brain is perhaps a category mistake. Why denigrate the so-called "physical" to the four forces of physics as they are currently conceived--electromagnetic, magnetism, and strong and weak nuclear--when there might be "other" aspects of reality, whether one wants to use the term physical or not, being manifest through the 3 lb human brain. Many have argued that brain size (100 billion neurons for us humans) relative to body-rate is what seems to distinguish us from other creatures on the planet-but such is not the case, see "The Four Biggest Myths About the Human Brain."
I am not thinking so much here of the proverbial human "soul," conceived as a non-physical "entity" somehow inserted by the Divine into our physical world. This view is in fact based on a mistranslation-and thus a misunderstanding-of Genesis 2:7: "Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul" (KJV). The problem is twofold here. First, the term in Hebrew, "breath of life" (???? ????) is not some mysterious non-physical component-but simply a reference to air-breathing creatures-human or otherwise (see Genesis 7:15 where it is used for land animals in general). Second, the term translated "living soul" (??? ???) has absolutely nothing to do with any idea of an immortal soul-it simply means any air breathing creature (see Genesis 1:30).
I loved the film Ex Machina as much as anyone but I nonetheless think we still have a lot to learn about the proverbial "mind body problem," and philosophers from antiquity to the present have laid out most of the parameters of the arguments.
Source: Huffington Post
- IF UFOS AREN'T REAL THEN WHY...DEPARTMENT -
UFOs Near Delhi Airport Puts Military On High Alert
By Lee Speigel
Normally, only regular air traffic is allowed to fly in and out of and around major airports. But, lately, something else -- something irregular -- has shown up at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport (pictured above), putting several official security agencies on "high alert."
On Oct. 30, IGI air traffic control (ATC) viewed suspicious flying objects three times near and around the airport, reports hindustantimes.com.
According to the newspaper, "Sources said the Indian Air Force even pressed a chopper into action to check the flying object. But the helicopter could not find anything."
The following map shows the proximity of IGI Airport to the capital city region of Delhi, India.
Earlier last week, on Tuesday, the ATC reportedly saw a flying object -- possibly a drone -- above the runway, but they couldn't come up with any visual evidence to confirm it.
If that wasn't enough to cause official concern, the following day, Wednesday, Oct. 28, the pilot of a domestic airline reported being distracted by a laser beam while his aircraft was approaching IGI, according to airport-technology.com. It's against the law in India to use laser beam devices anywhere near the airport.
This is one of those cases where enough unidentified aerial things were seen by several witnesses that it created a high alert status around the airport. That, despite the fact nobody was able to get any photos or videos of the source of the disturbances.
It's not the first time this year a major Indian airport has gone on alert when unusual things were reported in the sky. Back on May 23, five unexpected, uninvited and unmanned objects put the Mumbai airport on alert.
The current rash of aerial objects over IGI Airport remains unresolved. But it's serious enough that India Times reports the Indian Air Force "has been authorized to shoot down any suspicious object, if need be."
According to Paul Seaburn at Mysterious Universe, India continues to be the hot spot for UFO activity these days. A red UFO reportedly landed recently in a village in southwestern India with terrified villagers saying that a “humanoid figure” briefly emerged from the object...quickly reentered, and the craft then took off in a shower of sparks and flashes.
"The women claim that the spacecraft descended close to 500 feet from them and they could spot humanoid figures. They have no clue about aliens and they have not even heard about such things. So we are assuming that they are not lying."
That’s the comment of an investigator who interviewed field workers in Kanagal, a village in the Mysuru district in the southwestern state of Karnataka. The seven villagers who witnessed it claim the incident occurred on October 1st at about 2 pm. After the red UFO landed, the humanoid, dressed in an orange uniform, came towards them, appeared to take some photographs, then went back to the craft and left. The report of sparks and flames is unusual since most UFO witnesses say the crafts are silent and have no exhaust.
What did these women see? Since it’s a small farming village, some say the witnesses may have seen a military aircraft that they were unfamiliar with. However, they did recognize that the “humanoid” was using a camera (although it seems none of them had one) and that it was definitely an “-oid” and not just a human.
Is this sighting connected to the recent one at the Indira Gandhi Airport? Kanagal is over 2,300 km (1,400 miles) from New Delhi. While we wait for more information, we should keep an eye on India, the new hotbed of UFO activity.
Source: Huffington Post
- GREAT BALLS OF FIRE DEPARTMENT -A woman is fighting for her life in a German hospital after appearing to spontaneously combust while sitting on a park bench.
Spontaneous Combustion and the FBI
By Nick Redfern
Flames sprouted from her as a horrified passerby rushed to her and used his jacket to beat out the fire. But she was severely burned over most of her body. Eye witnesses told local media that the woman didn't make a sound as the flames engulfed her.
The incident occurred in Flensburg, in the north of Germany, on Monday evening, November 2. The victim is in her 40's and comes from Mauritius.
After being rushed to the local hospital she was later flown by air ambulance to a specialist burns unit in Lubeck where she remains in a critical condition.
"The victim has lived in Flensburg for a long time and has family here," said the local prosecutor Ulrike Stahlmann-Liebelt who is probing the bizarre blaze.
This is the most recent case of a strange phenomena that has been reported for hundreds of years, yet no one has actually come up with a satisfying explanation for Spontaneous Human Combustion.
In 2005, in an article titled “Does spontaneous human combustion exist?” the BBC reported that: “A character in Charles Dickens’ Bleak House burns to death without any apparent reason. Human spontaneous combustion [sic] is a belief which has been around for centuries but does it really exist? Viewers following Andrew Davies’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Bleak House on BBC One have just seen the dreadful moment when alcoholic Krook – played sinisterly by Johnny Vegas – finds his gin warming his stomach more than usual, and suddenly bursts into flames.”
Dickens was sharply criticized for promoting in his 1853 book what many at the time assumed was nothing but supernatural nonsense. So, he hit back against those who doubted that Spontaneous Human Combustion (SHC) really existed. Dickens said: “There are about thirty cases on record, of which the most famous, that of the Countess Cornelia de Baudi Cesenate, was minutely investigated and described by Giuseppe Bianchini, a prebendary of Verona, otherwise distinguished in letters, who published an account of it at Verona in 1731, which he afterwards republished at Rome.”
Dickens continued: “The appearances, beyond all rational doubt, observed in that case are the appearances observed in Mr. Krook’s case. The next most famous instance happened at Rheims six years earlier, and the historian in that case is Le Cat, one of the most renowned surgeons produced by France. The subject was a woman, whose husband was ignorantly convicted of having murdered her; but on solemn appeal to a higher court, he was acquitted because it was shown upon the evidence that she had died the death of which this name of spontaneous combustion is given.”
Explanations for SHC include excessive amounts of fat in the body, alcoholism, a build-up of static electricity, a combination of chemicals in the stomach generated by a poor diet, and even divine intervention. The cases cited by Dickens are centuries-old. It’s a little-known fact, however, that midway through the 20th century the FBI got involved in the controversy of SHC. The unfortunate person whose fiery death caught the attention of the FBI was Mary Hardy Reeser, a then-sixty-seven-year-old woman from St. Petersburg, Florida.
It was some time on the night of July 1, 1951 when Reeser took her last breaths. Reeser’s son Richard (who was a physician), his daughter Nancy, and the landlady, Patsy Carpenter, were hanging out with Reeser in her room. Around 9:00 p.m. they all left. Their last image was of Reeser reclining in her chair and smoking a cigarette. It wasn’t until the next morning that it became clear something terrible had occurred overnight. As fate would have it, on the morning in question Carpenter received a telegram for Reeser and took it to her room. There was no response to Carpenter’s knock on the door. So, Carpenter turned the doorknob. She screamed and jumped back. The doorknob was red hot.
Carpenter quickly caught the attention of a couple of house-painters, who raced over and forced open the door. All three were hit by a blast of scalding hot air. The scene in front of them was like something out of a horror-movie. The chair in which Mary Hardy Reeser had been reclining was severely burned. Ashes were everywhere. Teeth and bones could be seen on what was left of the chair. And then there was the matter of Reeser’s head: it was shrunken significantly and burned almost raw. Undamaged was Reeser’s left ankle, as well as her left foot and left shoe. Those remains aside, she was pretty much gone.
Intriguingly, the wall nearest to Reeser was only very slightly scorched, and a pile of newspapers which sat on a nearby table had not ignited. And not a bit of flammable material could be seen anywhere. It was a seemingly baffling death – possibly one that was caused by Spontaneous Human Combustion, some speculated. It caught the attention of Dr. Wilton Marion Krogman, of the University of Pennsylvania. He followed the case deeply and extensively. He even penned a paper on the matter in 1953: “The improbable case of ‘the cinder woman.'” The local chief of police, J.R. Reichert, said, when the mystery remained a mystery, that: “The case is not closed and may never be to the satisfaction of all concerned.”
Mary Reeser's death – from what some suspected was Spontaneous Human Combustion – provoked a significant police investigation, media attention, and even the interest of the scientific and medical communities. It also caught the eyes and ears of J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI. The Bureau has declassified an extensive file on the Reeser affair, from which I have chosen some of the most relevant data. To appreciate the importance of the FBI’s words, it’s vital to note that when last seen Reeser was reclining in the chair in which her remains were found – and she was smoking a cigarette. As the FBI documentation states, chief of police J.R. Reichert wrote the following to J. Edgar Hoover:
“The body of Mrs. Reeser was partially cremated with the exception of the left foot which was burned completely in two, about 4? above the ankle. The chair in which she had been sitting was completely burned away, leaving just the springs. A small end table was completely burned away, with the exception of 2 legs. The carpet was burned in an area of approximately 3 ft. We also request any information or theories that could explain how a human body could be so destroyed and the fire confined to such a small area and so little damage done to the structure of the building and the furniture in the room not even scorched or damaged by smoke.”
Reichert’s request was coordinated by the FBI Laboratory. Its staff detailed the likely scenario that turned Mary Hardy Reeser into ashes. Lab personnel said: “As regards the destruction of the deceased’s body which occurred in this case it is entirely possible that the body was consumed to the extent shown in the photographs and as indicated by the bone fragments and other debris without the aid of any such material as gasoline.”
The lab continued: “It is not generally realized the extent to which the human body can burn once it becomes ignited. While such cases are not common, there are on record numerous instances of bodies burning with almost complete destruction. It was formerly believed that such cases arose from spontaneous combustion or the burning was sometimes attributed to preternatural causes. There is, however, absolutely no evidence from any of the cases on record to show that burning of this nature occurs other than when the body is ignited by some external means.”
In Mrs. Reeser’s case, that “external means” may well have been her cigarette. The FBI’s lab staff had more to add: “The unusual aspects of such cases of burning have been heightened by the fact that in many instances little damage from burning occurred in the room or area directly surrounding the victim. As in this case, the remains of the victim were found reclining in the wreckage of a chair, sofa, bed or in one instance sitting on a stairway. In the last-named case the victim was a woman who had been clad in rather voluminous garments. Not a vestige of clothing was found remaining in that case although no extensive damage was done to the stairs.”
The FBI was not finished. The lab expanded further on how such a death could occur: “These cases are explained by the fact that the body becomes ignited from some outside cause such as burning clothing, a burning mattress, chair or other means. Once the body starts to burn there is enough fat and other inflammable substances to permit varying amounts of destruction to take place. Sometimes this destruction by burning will proceed to a degree which results in almost complete combustion of the body.”
And, finally, we have this from the FBI, on Mary Hardy Reeser’s death: “In this case, the absence of any scorching or damage to furniture in the room can only be explained by the fact that heat liberated by the burning body had a tendency to rise and formed a layer of hot air which never came in contact with the furnishings on a lower level. This situation would have occurred particularly if the fire had smoldered rather than burned freely.”
There’s very little doubt that – as the FBI’s records show – Mary Hardy Reeser’s death was not due to Spontaneous Human Combustion. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that SHC – as a mysterious and poorly understood phenomenon – does not exist. But it does suggest this 1951 incident is one which we can close the book on, and without having to resort to answers that have their origins in the domains of the supernatural and the paranormal.
Source: Mysterious Universe
- SMILE FOR THE CAMERA DEPARTMENT -
Strange Sea Creature Photographed in Water Off of Greece
A Scottish tourist unwittingly captured an unidentifiable sea monster while vacationing in Greece.
Harvey Robertson, 52, was on a boat cruise off the coast of Parga, sailing through sea caves with his family. He was initially just trying to capture the unusual color of the surrounding water with his iPhone camera.
What he shot instead has baffled those across the Internet—and marine scientists. Looking back through his camera, Robertson saw that he had captured a grey creature that resembles an elongated manatee. The strange animal appears to pop out of the water in one photo, then disappears under the greenish water in the next.
"I caught the picture by accident. I was in a sea cave on a small boat about 20 miles south of Albania on the west coast of Greece. I was trying to capture the water color and was not looking at the water, the flash went off. I only saw the creature when looking back through my pics.
“You can only imagine my surprise when I was looking back through my photos.”
Some say it could be a Cuvier’s beaked whale, which have been known to frequent the Mediterranean, others have speculated that it could be the “love child of a hippo and crocodile”—but so far, even scientists are baffled.
Robertson says “I have no idea what it is, I've sent them to various marine biologists across the planet and no one has any idea.”
"If the photograph is not a hoax, it could be interesting, cryptozoologically speaking," Loren Coleman, director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine, said. "It might be photographic evidence of a new species or it could be a reconfiguration (a behavioral restructuring of the body form of a mundane known species, like a squid, for example) not usually seen."
Coleman, co-author of "The Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and Other Mystery Denizens of the Deep," said one of the biggest obstacles with sea sightings such as this one is judging the credibility of the witness and photos.
"Most new species from the seas are, therefore, only confirmed from beachings and when a random specimen is caught," Coleman said. "This Greek wonder, therefore, for now, must be firmly filed in the 'known unknowns' folder."
Source: The Daily Mail
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