Science: “A collection of prejudices which are fed to us with a porridge spoon before our 18th year”
Albert Einstein said that.
This is my first encounter with Rupert Sheldrake, but I have read a number of Graham Hancock’s books. I don’t agree with everything Graham Hancock writes and he is often inflammatory and controversial, but I find his work interesting and thought-provoking. TED seems to have forgotten the part about the talks being “designed to inspire conversation, exchange and immediate action around ideas worth spreading – all in a creative and casual setting.”
I think the attempt by TED to censor Mr. Sheldrake’s and Mr. Hancock’s presentations is reprehensible and completely against the spirit of their tagline (“Ideas Worth Sharing”) and their stated mission (“spreading ideas”). They conveniently left out some bits. Apparently, the tagline is actually “Ideas TED Thinks Are Worth Sharing” and the real mission is “Spreading only the ideas TED approves of.”
They have arrogated the right to judge the value of thoughts and ideas. They have arrogated the right to choose what we hear and learn. They have arrogated the right to think for us.
That’s not cool, at all. In fact, that really ticks me off. So I’m making the videos available to the public and they’re free to share.
These videos are released under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND license, so they can be freely shared and reposted (from http://www.ted.com/pages/about).
21st Century Wire says… The cult of Darwinian evolution continues to invent new theories about the origins of man, now focusing on our ‘rodent’ ancestors. Even in the face of the disintegration of the fatally flawed Darwin Orthodoxy, one wonders what the overall agenda is here – as establishment scientists continue to downgrade man within the greater animal kingdom…
‘Study traces humanity’s extended family tree’
Humans may have descended from apes, but long before that there was a small, four-legged insect-eating critter, according to new research out Thursday in the US journal “Science.”
The international six-year study used a massive trove of data, including genetic and physical traits from both modern and prehistoric species, to reconstruct the extended family tree of mammals.
The researchers focused on the “placental mammals” a branch of species that includes humans, horses, whales and many others.
The project has helped scientists better understand how and when modern placental mammals evolved, and, importantly, has traced the starting point to after dinosaurs went extinct 65 million years ago.
The researchers say the new information will help them study a vital question facing the world today: how mammals may have survived past instances of climate change and how that might help us face the warming now underway.
“Species like rodents and primates did not share the Earth with non-avian dinosaurs but arose from a common ancestor — a small, insect-eating, scampering animal — shortly after the dinosaurs’ demise,” said lead author Maureen O’Leary of New York’s Stony Brook University.
The new conclusion overturns an earlier, commonly-held hypothesis that there was a diverse crew of placental mammals before the event that led to the disappearance of dinosaurs and 70 percent of the planet’s species.
That theory had been based exclusively on genetic data. But scientists said combining the genetic evidence with anatomical and fossil evidence helped create a clearer picture of the history.
“Discovering the tree of life is like piecing together a crime scene — it is a story that happened in the past that you can’t repeat,” Leary said.
“Just like with a crime scene, the new tools of DNA add important information, but so do other physical clues like a body or, in the scientific realm, fossils and anatomy. Combining all the evidence produces the most informed reconstruction of a past event.”
According to the new theory, some 200,000 to 400,000 years after dinosaurs went extinct, the little placental mammal started evolving along a number of different paths, giving rise to the incredible diversity of species we’ve seen in the eons since — including more than 5,100 living today.
The study also helped illuminate the evolutionary history that led from this common ancestor through to modern-day animals, and showed, for instance, that one group of African animals, including elephants and aardvarks, first developed in the Americas.
“Determining how these animals first made it to Africa is now an important research question along with many others that can be addressed using MorphoBank and the phylophenomic tree produced in this study,” said author Fernando Perini, of Brazil’s Minas Gerais Federal University.
Mary Silcox, of the University of Toronto Scarborough, added “this project is not exhaustive, but exposes a way forward to collect data on other phenomic systems and other species.”
Solar Superstorm: UK Must Take Immediate Measures To Prepare For Sun’s Wrath, Says Royal Academy of Engineering
Huffington Post UK
The UK must make immediate plans to cope with a massive solar ‘superstorm’, the Royal Academy of Engineering has said.
The Sun is constantly sending bursts of radiation and other particles towards the Earth, and such ‘solar weather’ already affects satellites, radio waves and communications networks.
But roughly once a century massive eruptions on the Sun cause so-called ‘superstorms’ of charged plasma and radiation to hurtle towards us, and could cause large amounts of damage to modern technology.
The last recorded superstorm was in 1859, when the ‘Carrington event’ caused visible auroras around the world, of a type which are normally just seen at the poles.
The RAE said another storm of this scale was “inevitable”, and warned that aspects of the UK’s modern infrastructure were not all prepared to cope.
It said that a superstorm “will degrade the performance of the electricity grid, satellites, GPS systems, aviation and possibly mobile communications”.
The report added that there was a risk that air passengers and crew could be subject to a one-off dose of radiation which might raise the risk of cancer.
The Academy called for radiation alerts to be placed on the ground, in space and in aircraft to “minimise and quantify the risk”.
“Consideration should also be given to classifying solar superstorms as radiation emergencies for air passengers and crew, although the radiation levels concerned are borderline,” it said.
About 10% of satellites would be temporarily shut down by the storm.
Most could be brought back online quickly, the report said, but global navigational satellite systems like GPS could still be shut down for up to three days.
The Academy recommended that the UK upgrade communications networks to function without GPS for short periods, particularly those used by emergency services.
“Such a loss of navigational aids could potentially affect aircraft and shipping,” the report added. “Today’s aircraft navigation systems are not wholly dependent on GNSS and their use is generally backed up by other navigation aids; it is important that these alternative navigation options remain available in the future.”
But it added that in many areas, the UK is “well advanced” compared to other nations.
The National Grid has already taken measures to protect against disruption from space weather, it said. While some power cuts would occur, the grid’s “lattice network” structure meant it could withstand the storm better than, for instance, Canada, which is more fragile.
“The National Grid has already taken measures to harden the electricity grid against such disruption and has an active mitigation strategy in place. This should be continued, combining appropriate forecasting, engineering and operational procedures.”
The Academy called for the creation of a UK Space Weather Board to oversea plans to protect against the worst effects of solar storms.
In a government lab where scientists slice open dead animals to study the exotic diseases that killed them, Carol Meteyer peered through a microscope at hundreds of little bats and started to notice something very weird.
The bats had managed to survive the white-nose fungus that had killed millions of other bats hibernating in caves, mostly in the Northeast. But they had succumbed to something else that had left their tiny corpses in tatters, their wings scorched and pocked with holes.
Meteyer, a scientist for the U.S. Geological Survey, had stumbled upon a phenomenon never before seen in mammals in the wild. A similar finding had been observed only once before — in people with AIDS.
Now scientists hope studying the immunology of bats might help in the development of treatments for AIDS.
The devastating immune-system attack, called IRIS for immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome, plays out differently in humans and bats, according to an article by Meteyer and two colleagues that recently appeared in the journal Virulence.
When bats hibernate in winter, their heart rates slow and their immune systems all but shut down, making them vulnerable to the cave-dwelling fungus Geomyces destructansthat causes white-nose and eats away skin, connective tissue and muscle.
When bats wake up in late March, their immune systems react like startled homeowners who realize prowlers are inside the house. They launch a wild search-and-destroy mission that annihilates the disease, but also healthy cells and tissue.
“It’s not natural. It’s cellular suicide. It comes out in a huge wave, going out to those areas of infection and kills everything,” said Meteyer, who was a veterinary pathologist for the USGS in Madison, Wis., at the time of her discovery but now is the deputy coordinator for contaminant biology for the agency in Reston.
For AIDS patients, the immune-system syndrome plays out differently. After antiretroviral treatment improves patients’ health, their restored immune systems can launch an exaggerated attack against any previously acquired opportunistic infection the treatment didn’t catch, causing extensive damage.
Scientists now hope to study the immunology of bats to try to uncover findings that can assist the development of treatments for AIDS.
Meteyer said she envisions a day when “we can look closely at the mechanism driving this intense response in bats and potentially get insight into this phenomenon in humans.”
Her co-author, Judith Mandl, a research fellow for the National Institutes of Health involved in AIDS research, was also intrigued by the similarities between bat and human reactions. “When you release immune suppression, you get a response that’s a lot more damaging than helpful,” she said. The third co-author is Daniel Barber, who also works at NIH.
Eleftherios Mylonakis, Virulence’s editor-in-chief, said he included the research in the Nov. 15 edition because it represents the “out of the box” thinking the journal seeks to capture. “We want to support scientists thinking in novel ways,” he said. “Very often what we see in our patients is already seen in some form or another in nature and we want to understand these connections in order to facilitate new discoveries.”
The Return of the Mammoth? Russian and South Korean Scientists Sign Deal to Bring Extinct Beast Back To Life
21st Century Wire
September 15, 2011
The science known as “geo-engineering”, or “terra-forming” sits right over on the extreme end of climate change activist agendas. Many call it dangerous, as it unnecessarily interferes with our planet’s delicate ecosystems, but climate zealots are still of the belief that it’s these sort of quacky measures that could “save the planet” from the 21st century’s most hideous mythological enemy, man-made global warming.
Over the last 10 years, climatists have put forward some glorious, albeit shocking proposals to “fight global warming and climate change”. Among their ideas includes a giant blanket to cover Greenland’s glaciers in order to keep them from melting, giant umbrellas in space to shield us from the sun’s rays, and of course, the bizarre invention of “cap and trade” and the failed carbon market. Their latest idea is no less extraordinary, and is certainly up there with the wackiest of desperate Victorian inventions ever concocted.
Believe it or not, scientists and engineers plan to test their latest “geoengineering” idea in Norfolk, England next month by launching a helium-filled blimp, tethered by a 1 km long hosepipe which will spray mist into the air. By doing this, they are hoping to cool the climate with what they describe as a “simulated volcanic eruption”.
According to a recent report in The Independent, “The project is one of the first geoengineering field trials in the world and could result in the deployment of a fleet of up to 20 giant balloons, each the size of Wembley Stadium, injecting millions of tonnes of sulphate particles at a height of 20km into the stratosphere to reflect sunlight back into space.” Engineer Hugh Hunt goes on to describe the invention, “This hose would be just like a garden hose, 20km long and we pump stuff up the pipe. The nice thing about it is that we can really have a knob, if you like, which we can control to adjust the rate at which we inject these particles.” To develop this particular “big green idea”, the group from Bristol University have managed to con the government out of a cool $2.5 million in research grants from the public purse.
Their research is paid for by the government’s own Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. As public funds for housing, education, and community support are currently being cut across the board, it is perhaps even more shocking that the governments in Europe and North America continue to throw their finite budgets at what amount to no more than quack-green Victorian science projects. Stratospheric particle injection for climate engineering (Spice) project have also looked at using missiles, and giant “chimneys” in order to send thousands of tonnes of particles into the atmosphere. Amazing.
The year 2011 has without a doubt, been the worst year so far for the man-made global warming effort. Scandal after scandal, resignation after resignation, have successively shaken the climatist/warmist movements from the secure perch they enjoyed back in 2007. Still though, the movement is pushing forward in a last ditch, propaganda Tet Offensive, through Al Gore’s latest green media circus show entitled “24hrs of Reality”, desperately trying to push the old, fatally flawed, and misleading tenets like the planet is heating up, and‘the science is settled’. But above all, we are meant to believe that “every country is in agreement” that man-made CO2 is causing the earth’s temperature to rise, threatening life as we know it. Yes, he still wants you to believe that it’s a global consensus. Aside from the dodgy science and the crooked academic practices, one of its main handicaps is that it just never made any economic sense. The liberal utopian mantra of ‘green jobs for everyone’- which was also Obama’s famous campaign plank in 2008, aka the ‘green economy’, was nothing more than a political pipe dream designed to garner public support from those sympathetic to Al Gore’s sermon of global doom at the time, much in the same way that his predecessor, George W. Bush, successfully created a similar mythology- ‘the war on terror’, in order to own public support of any and all policies related to security and military largess.
Rather sadly, Al Gore’s fabled vision, the Green City on the Hill, is rightly buckling under the weight of its own blind, state subsidies and market realities. Only last week, after managing to claw a hefty half billion dollars out of the US Federal government in the form of guaranteed stimulus handouts, Obama and Biden’s number one green pet, solar energy firm Solyndra, was put down for good, via Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
A bigger slap in the face one could not get. Still, however, mainstream media gatekeepers continue their vain attempt to keep the popular modern mythology of anthropogenic global warming and its sister, climate change, as alive as possible. There is still an industry in the alarmist movement, and as long as states and institutions are still handing out billions of dollars per annum in research grants, then I’m afraid we will still have to see some of the wacky scenarios like Bristol University’s 1km hosepipe cum-volcano… for some time to come.
Regardless, the reality curve has finally caught up to climatists. As science gradually makes its way back into line with reality and real world observation, it follows that many of the expensive, government-run climate bureaucracies erected since 2000 will also fall by the wayside as a result.
Soon, very soon, politicians will no longer be able to use scientists as scapegoats, as in “it’s not our fault, they told us CO2 was heating up the planet”.
When that time arrives, then the climate alarmist political agenda will have died a certain death. That time is nigh.