Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Prequel to Today's Conference

CNN News - At the National Press Club in Washington DC - UFOs


The Disclosure Project -- In a historical press conference at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. on May 9th 2001 several respectable high ranking government, military and intelligence community witnesses testified to their direct, personal, first hand experience with UFOs, ETs, ET technology, and a cover-up that keeps that information secret. These witnesses have stated that extraterrestrials are real, that highly advanced craft called UFOs indeed exist and that covert and clandestine programs are in the possession of revolutionary and fully operational energy generation and antigravity propulsion technologies. About 450 more witnesses are willing to testify under oath if they are given protection through official Congressional hearings. The event was broadcasted in the Internet and has been watched by several hundred thousands of people at that time a record in terms of streaming media. Most of the major media outlets such as CNN, The Voice of America, Larry King, ABC News, MSNBC, Washington Post, FOX News, BBC and several others have reported on the conference. Even though the credentials of the witnesses are virtually indisputable, the event has not been covered by a single German media outlet until this day.

Friday, November 9, 2007

UFOs:PILOTS SPEAK OUT!




Wednesday, November 7, 2007

National Press Club UFOs & Pilots

UFO ANONCEMENT


UFO CLOSE ENCOUNTERS
PRESENTED BY LESLIE KEAN


The reality as Seen by Former High Level Government Military Officials Pilots.

Pilots To Tell Their Stories For the First Time!

Group to Call on US Government to RE-Open It’s Investigation
(Seven Countries)

Monday 11AM November 12 National Press Club Ballroom
Moderated by Former Arizona Governor Fife Symington

We should try and support this by paying attention.

I will quote from the readout I was given.

“I believe our government should take an active role in investigating this very real phenomenon. This panel consists of some of the most qualified people in the world with direct experience in dealing with this issue, and they will bring incredible evidence, some never presented before, that we simply cannot dismiss or ignore.
Former Gov. Symington ( Phoenix light Fame)
WHO's Who:
Fify Symington, Former Gov.
Ridrego Bravo, Captain Pilot Aviation Army Chile
John Callahan, Chief Of Accidents and Investigations FAA (Ret.)
Dr, Anthony Choy, Founder 2001 OIFAA, Peruvian Air Force
Jean Claude Deboc, Capitan Air France (Ret)
Charles Halt. Col USAF (Ret.) Former Dir. Inspection Directorat DOD I.G
General Parviz Jafari, Iranien Airlines (Ret)
Trig Johnston Northwest Airlines Captain (Ret.)
Jim Penniston TSgt USAF (Ret.)
Dr. Claude Poher, Centre National d’Etudes Spartiales, founder French GEPAN
Nick Pope Ministry of Defense, UK, 1985 -2006
Dr. Jean-Claude Rabes, Central National de la Recherche Scientifique, France, 1963-08
Commandante Oscar Santa Maria, PĂ©ruvien Air Force (Ret)
Contacts : Jamie Fox :415 519-9631 Leslie Kean 415 259 9791

“While on active duty , the panelist have either witnessed a UFO incident or have conducted an official investigation into UFO cases….”

Video:
Daniel Sheehan, is a famous civil rights attorney provided legal counsel for the Karen Silkwood case, Iran-Contra and the Pentagon Papers. He is the former chief legal counsel to the United States Jesuit Headquarters. The story speaks for itself. DVD X-Conference Panel Discussion. Carter, Clinton Administration and UFOs.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Vampires - La Danse Macabre Du Vampire.wmv

vampire hunter d, hellsing, blood: the last vampire --

anime can be most real!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Theatres des Vampires - Lilith Mater Inferorum

Shadows Walking

kosovo 2007

BBC NEWS
Crucial talks on Kosovo's future
By Kim Ghattas
BBC News, New York

The leaders of Serbia and its breakaway province of Kosovo are preparing to hold their first face-to-face talks at the United Nations in New York.

Foreign ministers of the six major powers involved in negotiating the ongoing dispute between the two sides have urged them to seek common ground.

Serbia has rejected a UN plan to grant Kosovo supervised independence.

The UN has administered Kosovo since a Nato bombing campaign forced out Serbian troops in 1999.

Ahead of Friday's historic talks, Serbian President Boris Tadic warned the UN General Assembly in New York of unforeseeable consequences if Kosovo declared independence unilaterally.

'Unacceptable'

He clearly reaffirmed his country's position that an independent Kosovo would be unacceptable.

And he warned that if there was a one-sided recognition of that independence, it would set a precedent, with separatist movements everywhere seizing on it.

After a meeting of the so-called Contact Group - made up of the US, Britain, Russia, France, Germany and Italy - UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband urged Belgrade and Pristina to show a "constructive spirit".

Kosovo's quest for independence has the backing of the US and most of the EU, although countries like Spain fear the impact it would have on separatists like Spain's Basque movement.

Serbia's ally at the UN Security Council, Russia, also opposes independence for the province.

The Serbs say they plan to propose a comprehensive blueprint for autonomy and hinted they might give up control over Kosovo's borders.

But Kosovo has made clear it will accept nothing short of independence under UN supervision at the end of the negotiating process on 10 December.

With both sides sticking to their positions, it is unlikely the negotiations in New York will lead to any breakthrough at this stage.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/7017438.stm

Published: 2007/09/28 03:52:39 GMT

© BBC MMVII

Kosovo 2007

BBC NEWS
Crucial talks on Kosovo's future
By Kim Ghattas
BBC News, New York

The leaders of Serbia and its breakaway province of Kosovo are preparing to hold their first face-to-face talks at the United Nations in New York.

Foreign ministers of the six major powers involved in negotiating the ongoing dispute between the two sides have urged them to seek common ground.

Serbia has rejected a UN plan to grant Kosovo supervised independence.

The UN has administered Kosovo since a Nato bombing campaign forced out Serbian troops in 1999.

Ahead of Friday's historic talks, Serbian President Boris Tadic warned the UN General Assembly in New York of unforeseeable consequences if Kosovo declared independence unilaterally.

'Unacceptable'

He clearly reaffirmed his country's position that an independent Kosovo would be unacceptable.

And he warned that if there was a one-sided recognition of that independence, it would set a precedent, with separatist movements everywhere seizing on it.

After a meeting of the so-called Contact Group - made up of the US, Britain, Russia, France, Germany and Italy - UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband urged Belgrade and Pristina to show a "constructive spirit".

Kosovo's quest for independence has the backing of the US and most of the EU, although countries like Spain fear the impact it would have on separatists like Spain's Basque movement.

Serbia's ally at the UN Security Council, Russia, also opposes independence for the province.

The Serbs say they plan to propose a comprehensive blueprint for autonomy and hinted they might give up control over Kosovo's borders.

But Kosovo has made clear it will accept nothing short of independence under UN supervision at the end of the negotiating process on 10 December.

With both sides sticking to their positions, it is unlikely the negotiations in New York will lead to any breakthrough at this stage.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/7017438.stm

Published: 2007/09/28 03:52:39 GMT

© BBC MMVII

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Jena Six

The Jena 6 need your help. Please sign the petition at http://colorofchange.org/jena/
and at http://www.petitiononline.com/aZ51Cqm... (more) (less)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Mothman Again?

Sightings of mysterious giant bird continue in San Antonio

Web Posted: 07/28/2007 01:30 AM CDT

Joe Conger
KENS 5 Eyewitness News

Loch Ness has its monster. Does San Antonio have one, too?

Strange sightings of a huge flying creature have been reported as recently as six months ago. Is it a monster or myth?

Guadalupe Cantu III was busy working his newspaper route, but he says the big news of that day 10 years ago flew right over his car. He says he's seen what most have not — an unidentified flying object, one that still scares him.

"We were afraid that it would come at us. So we stayed in the car till it passed this way," witness Guadalupe Cantu III said. "This thing's all feathers, all black. Much bigger than me. It looked at us. It had very stooped-up shoulders." The beast has been spotted from the Rio Grande Valley to the mountains of New Mexico.

"(It) looked like what was possibly two people standing on top of a mountain up there," said David Zander, who saw the monster in New Mexico. "Something that big ... I guess it kinda makes you feel like it could come over and carry you off if it wanted to."

More coverage
KENS video: Watch the broadcast
• Web link: Cryptozoology.com

San Antonio's Ken Gerhard has written a book on these dark birds as big as planes, with wingspans from 15 to 20 feet.

Native Americans called them thunderbirds: depicted in their art, their flapping wings were said to cause explosive noises.

"What's interesting is that the reports of these giant, raptor-like birds do continue into modern times," said Gerhard, a cryptozoologist. Cryptozoology is the study of and search for legendary animals to prove their existence.

He says there's solid evidence something is overhead.

"I believe there's a good chance that a lot of large, prehistoric animals, if you will, remain undiscovered by modern science," he said.

So what could the giant birds be? Some witness sketches eerily resemble prehistoric creatures, like the pteronadon of 160 million years ago.

However, Gerhard theorizes it could be a creature that's a little less extinct — if that's possible — a pteratorn.

"These are the surviving ancestors of modern condors and vultures. They lived up until 6,000 years ago, we know for sure, in parts of North America," Gerhard said. "In fact, over 100 specimens have been recovered from the La Brea tar pits in California."

But critics have another take: human error.

"Was it really as big as he thought it was?" asks Ben Radford, editor of "Skeptical Inquirer" magazine. "When there's enough information to come to a determination, I've always found an explanation for it."

Radford says the eye can be deceived.

"Eyewitness testimony is very unreliable. And so it's hard for a person to tell — even experts to tell — 'Is that thing I'm seeing out there, is it small and nearby? Or is it huge and farther away?' " Radford said.

But in one sighting in San Antonio, three people gave similar accounts, witnessing the same fly-by of a huge, winged creature. A trio of South Side teachers traveling a deserted road had their cars "buzzed" by the monsters, and it made the papers in February 1976.

In fact, for decades papers throughout South Texas have chronicled the flying creatures. In the age of the Internet, the reports continue, like this one from a recent sighting near Huebner and Babcock roads.

"The creature was large, at least 6 feet," the report reads. "I don't know if I ever want to see another one."

"If I were outside there walking, it would've gone after me," witness Cantu said.

Cantu believes most sightings go unreported because people are afraid of the ridicule they could face.

However, he says a face-to-face encounter with the creature would be much worse.

"I think if you do see it, then you might wind up missing," Cantu said.
Online at: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/metro/stories/MYSA072707.mysterybird.KENS.ba5c450e.html

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Islamism Spreads to Turkey

July 22, 2007
Turkey’s Ruling Party Leading National Elections
By SABRINA TAVERNISE

ISTANBUL, July 22 — The ruling party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan took a strong lead in the national elections today, according to preliminary results, setting the stage for a final confrontation over who should run Turkey.

With 57 percent of the national vote counted, Mr. Erdogan’s Justice and Development party had taken more than 48 percent of the vote, far higher than the 18 percent garnered by the secular opposition Republican People’s Party and the 14 percent taken by the Nationalist Action Party.

The results, broadcast on Turkish television at 8 p.m. local time, represent a slap to the state establishment, whose secular and nationalist parties were predicting that voters would punish Mr. Erdogan’s party for trying to push what they said was an Islamic agenda.

But while Mr. Erdogan’s party is expected to garner the largest portion of the vote in this young, predominantly Muslim democracy of 73 million, it will have to share the Parliament with the two opposition parties and with a broad new array of independents. Though Mr. Erdogan’s party will be able to rule alone, it does not appear to have won enough of the vote to approve constitutional amendments on its own, and will need to seek coalitions.

“I believe our democracy will emerge much stronger with this election,” Mr. Erdogan said, voting with his wife Emine in Istanbul, the Anatolian News Agency of Turkey reported. “This isn’t just a message to our country, but a message to the world.”

Turkey is a NATO member and a strong American ally in a troubled region and its stability is crucial. The election comes after three months of political uncertainty, after a showdown over the presidency led to today’s elections ahead of schedule.

Turkey’s secular state elite, backed by its military, used a legal maneuver in May to block Mr. Erdogan’s candidate from becoming president. Their objection was that the wife of the candidate, Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, wears a Muslim headscarf.

The episode brought out strong emotions in Turks and deeply divided the nation. In its essence, the disagreement is a power struggle between Mr. Erdogan and his religious colleagues, and the secular state elite — judges, military officers and bureaucrats — who have steered the state since Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s secular revolution in 1923.

There is also a fear among secular, urban Turks that politicians from Mr. Erdogan’s party, who come from a religious, merchant class in Turkey’s countryside, will change Turkey’s secular system and limit freedoms for their own secular way of life.

“They are trying to tear apart the basic values of our republican life,” said Ekrem Tekbalta, 57, a well-dressed lawyer, who voted in an affluent neighborhood in central Istanbul.

But supporters of Mr. Erdogan’s party, known by its initials in Turkish, A.K., say that the party has done little to arouse secular fears and that the objection to it has more to do with class than with creeping Islamism.

“For me, we have to be democratic — I don’t care what his wife wears,” said Latif Ererli, a 38-year old textile worker who said he had cast his vote for the A.K. party out of protest to the struggle over the presidency in the spring. “Gul was liked and favored in Europe, but because of his religious identity, they rejected him.”

Others voted for the ruling party because the economy has been growing since it came to power and undertook a series of political changes aimed at achieving membership in the European Union.

“I’m not that conservative, but I voted for them because of the economy,” said Refik Akin, a 27-year-old catering company worker. “We’re happy with the situation.”

A.K. party officials welcomed the early results.

“We’re moving towards a very good result,” said Salih Kapusuz, a senior A.K. Party official, speaking on NTV, a Turkish television station. “ Our nation has approved A.K. party’s five years in government and granted the authority for another five years. Republic, democracy and Turkish nation are winning.”

Sebnem Arsu contributed reporting.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

TRICKSTERS AMONGST US

Brad Steiger, our ole buddy, called my attention to this. Henry_Allen

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Tim Binnall, Brad Steiger, and Trickster



Tim Binnall’s season two finale interview with Brad Steiger was inspiring, reminding me of what I consider to be the crucial points of esoteric research and phenomena. (Including UFOs.)

Steiger stressed that at the core of all these anomalous events (always keeping in mind this includes UFOs) is the Trickster element. (Steiger isn’t the only researcher that believes this; see George P. Hansen’s The Trickster and the Paranormal.)

Another point Steiger made was that no one has the answer, (which should seem obvious) and yet so many come out and insist that that is exactly what they have.

There was also the point made that younger researchers sometimes are ignorant of the older, previous researchers that have gone before and set the way for others; Steiger himself, Keel, Sanderson, Fodor, etc. Young ghost busters tromping through haunted houses with high tech equipment, or UFO “researchers” who read one or two books and think they know it all. I’d add to this that it isn’t just young people, nor all young people, but that this attitude is found among all age groups. There are calls to ignore the history and focus on the now, which is a disservice to all research. (At the same time, you don’t want to get stuck in the past.)

The chronic skeptics, in all their varieties, point to the fact that after so many years -- whether it’s sixty years or a thousand -- we haven't found any answers. That’s true, if one means, by “answer,” the final one size fits all solution to the UFO question. We haven't found “the answer.” The point is, we very likely won’t. That’s unacceptable for some. For others, it’s a non-issue, since we heavily suspect we’ll never find the “answer” and anyway, that’s beside the point.

(Painting: section of Boticelli's Adoration of the Magi 1475)


The persistently skeptical also tell us us that much of UFO and anomalous phenomena seems silly and downright pointless. Conflicting information given by “aliens,” their general behavior, the elusive nature; it’s too uselessly complex and nonsensical.

But that’s what makes it fun; and it’s what the Trickster does; confuse and play cruel jokes. Maybe it makes sense to itself; tough if we can’t get it. Or maybe it knows we can’t get it, and that’s why it delights in doing what it does. Maybe it’s nothing personal at all and we’re personifying; it just is what it is, and we are what we are. No matter, for the Trickster is still at it, regardless of what we think about it.

None of this means there really aren’t Martians living beneath the surface of Mars, or that there are bases on the back side of the Moon. (Maybe.) If any of that is so, that’s only a fraction of the Big Paranormal Picture. A lot more is still to come.

And actually, I suspect that it is really very “simple” in a way: as Steiger called it, we live parallel to a “shadow” world/reality. They do their thing, we do ours. Sometimes, more often than some of us would acknowledge, we meet each other, We find ourselves plunked into their world, or we meet up with “visitors” from theirs. The boundaries between the two aren’t all that firm, as much as some of us like to pretend it is. Indeed, one of the main functions of the Trickster is crossing boundaries.

So thanks to Tim Binnall for all his great work in bringing us (and for free) solid interviews with all kinds of UFO and esoteric researchers, including Brad Steiger.


Resources:
Binnall of America
Brad and Sherry Steiger
The Trickster and the Paranormal

Sunday, July 8, 2007

WATCH WHAT YOU SAY THERE

Rise of Islam rankles Malaysia's minority faiths
Sun Jul 8, 2007 9:55PM EDT

By Liau Y-Sing

KAMPUNG JIAS, Malaysia (Reuters) - Deep in the heart of a Malaysian jungle, a preacher holds a meeting under the scorching midday sun, urging followers not to lose faith after their church was demolished by the government.

The razing of their simple brick church, among a spate of demolitions of non-Muslim places of worship in Malaysia, has heightened fears that the rights of minority faiths are being eroded despite provisions in Malaysian law guaranteeing every person the freedom to profess his own religion.

"Why did the government tear down our church when they say we are free to choose our religion?" asked preacher Sazali Pengsang.

"This incident will not stop me from practicing my faith," Sazali said, as he watched children in ragged clothes playing catch in a poor village populated by indigenous tribespeople who recently converted to Christianity from their tribal faith.

The church in northeastern Kelantan state bordering Thailand is one of several non-Muslim places of worship recently pulled down by the authorities, a trend that's fuelling concern about a rise in hardline Islam in this moderate Muslim country.

State governments have charge over matters relating to Islam in Malaysia and in Kampung Jias, the authorities contend that the building was erected without their approval.

But the natives say the land on which the church was erected is theirs and no approval is required under Malaysian law to build a church on their own property.

In a country where race and religion are inextricably linked, rising religious tension also throws the spotlight on the privileges of the majority ethnic Malays, who are Muslims by birth.

Mosques are found in every nook and cranny in Malaysia but religious minorities say it is difficult to obtain approval to build their own places of worship.

Non-Muslims have also complained, mainly in Internet chatrooms, about city hall officials permitting construction of huge mosques in areas with small Muslim populations.

State television routinely broadcasts Islamic programs but forbids other religions to be preached.

Muslims make up about 60 percent of Malaysia's population of 26 million, Buddhists about 20 percent, Christians 10 percent and Hindus about 6 percent.

RACIAL HARMONY

The smoldering discontent is a worry for this multi-ethnic country which has tried hard to maintain racial harmony after bloody racial riots in 1969 in which 200 people were killed.

"If the authorities do not intervene it would indirectly encourage extreme Islamists to show their muscle and their aggression towards other religious practices," said Wong Kim Kong, of the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship Malaysia.

"That would threaten the religious harmony, national unity and national integration of the nation."

Simmering religious tensions could undermine support for the government of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, an Islamic scholar who champions a moderate brand of the religion.

"Many people of other faiths in Malaysia view the gradual erosion of their rights," said Reverend Hermen Shastri, an official at Malaysia's Council of Churches.

"The government, which asserts to be a coalition that looks to the interests of all Malaysians, is not firm enough with authorities who ... take actions arbitrarily," he added.

Racial and religious relations have long been a thorny point in this melting pot of Malays, Chinese and Indians.

In the early 1980's, the government proposed laws that placed curbs on the establishment of non-Muslim places of worship, prompting minority faiths to set up the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism.

This year, Chong Kah Kiat, a Chinese state minister apparently quit in protest over the state government's refusal to approve his plan to build a Buddhist statue next to a mosque.

In 2004, federal authorities intervened after state officers in the central state of Pahang flattened a church, according to Moses Soo who pioneered the church in Kampung Jias.

Appeals to the prime minister resulted in compensation of about $12,000 and permission to rebuild the church, Soo said.

A similar plea was made to the authorities for Kampung Jias

but unlike Pahang, Kelantan is controlled by the opposition Parti Islam se-Malaysia (PAS), which wants to turn Malaysia into an Islamic state that punishes rapists, adulterers and thieves with stoning and amputation.

APOSTATES

The issue of religion has also been controversial for Muslims. They are not allowed to formally renounce Islam, and apostates are sent for counseling and, ultimately, fined or jailed if they do not desist.

Lina Joy, a Muslim by birth who converted to Christianity, recently lost a six-year battle to have the word "Islam" removed from her identity card.

Since taking power in October 2003, Prime Minister Abdullah has espoused "Islam Hadhari", or "civilisational Islam", whose focus includes faith and piety in Allah and mastery of knowledge, with the aim of promoting tolerance and understanding.

"Malaysia is one of the Muslim countries that practices moderation in all spheres," said Abdullah Md Zin, a minister for religious affairs.

Some blame a small group of Muslim extremists for attempting to hijack the debate.

"There are enough fair-minded Malaysians in the country who are standing together to hinder the hardliners from dominating the discourse about Islam and the relationship between state and religion," said Shastri, from the Malaysian Council of Churches.

But that is little consolation for the villagers of Kampung, who will have to pray under a flimsy tent next time it rains.

(Additional reporting by Jalil Hamid)

© Reuters 2006. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.
Reuters journalists are subject to the Reuters Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

1947 - YEAR OF THE SAUCER

BBC NEWS
Saucers in the sky

By Finlo Rohrer
BBC News Magazine

It's 60 years since the term flying saucer was coined and the most celebrated "extraterrestrial" episode - Roswell. Alien believers are dismissed as cranks, but even the earthly explanations of objects in the sky are fascinating.

Sixty years ago Kenneth Arnold saw something which changed his own life and the lives of millions of others, and impacted on popular culture like a shockwave.

Flying his plane near Mount Rainier in the US state of Washington, he observed a line of strange objects either crescent-shaped or disc-like, flying with the motion of a saucer skimming on water.

Arnold's sighting, quickly picked up by the press, was followed a fortnight later by the revelation of perhaps the most notorious episode in the history of UFOs, at Roswell in New Mexico.


FAMOUS SIGHTINGS
1980, Rendlesham Forest: US airbase staff see strange lights in woods
1957, RB-47 encounter: US jet followed by UFO for 700 miles
1979, Livingston: Forestry worker sees dome-shaped object
1950, McMinnville: Farm couple photograph saucer
1961, Betty and Barney Hill incident: Couple see UFO and under hypnosis describe abduction

Having announced it had recovered a "flying disk", the Army airfield backtracked and referred only to a weather balloon.

What followed was perhaps one of the greatest conspiracy theories of all time, involving post-mortem examinations of swollen-bellied grey aliens, the cloning of sophisticated extraterrestrial technology and an epic cover-up. Or not, as the case may be.

In the 60 years since 1947's first major wave of sightings, thousands of ordinary people have claimed to have seen inexplicable objects in the sky.

When the Ministry of Defence released papers on its own investigations into the phenomenon in 2006, it was revealed more than 10,000 eyewitness accounts had been collected.

And for every sceptic who prefers explanations of weather balloons and freak atmospheric conditions there is someone who genuinely believes intelligent life is visiting the planet.

Alien belief

A national newspaper survey in 1998 suggested 33% of men and 24% of women thought aliens had already visited the earth.

Such polls are testament to the powerful impact of six decades of media coverage, disputed science, heated mythology and Hollywood films. We have now completed six decades of projecting our hopes and fears onto the UFO phenomenon.

David Clarke, a lecturer in journalism, has spent 30 years studying UFOs and the sociology of the flying saucer sighting.

He is no believer in little extraterrestrial men, but believes mainstream scientists should recognise the rational explanations for sightings are themselves worthy of study.

"They wouldn't touch it," he says. "It's got such a bad press. Anything that people don't have an immediate explanation for - it must be little green men."

The "ufologists" who study the phenomenon comprise both sceptics and believers. They seek to "resolve" each incident, explaining away each aspect. And there is a wealth of explanations for most sightings that is as fascinating for sceptical enthusiasts as the notion of space visitors.

Cold War projection

Sundogs, or strange refractions of the sun in another part of the sky, burning space debris, weather balloons, ball lightning, meteors, disc-shaped or lenticular clouds, mirages, even the planet Venus low in the sky, are all classic methods of resolving UFO sightings.

But underlying them is a need also to explain people's desire to believe that a UFO sighting can be explained by alien activity. The timing of the start of the golden age of the UFO, in a Western world recovering from World War II and gearing up for the start of the Cold War, is significant.

"We were projecting things to reflect our fears and concerns about the Cold War," Mr Clarke says.


EXPLANATIONS
Sundogs: Refracted image of the sun
Space debris: Burning satellites or rocket fragments
Meteors: Such as bolides or fireballs
Clouds: Lenticular or disc-like
Mirages: Hot or cold-air induced images
Stars/planets: Such as Venus
Planes: Such as experimental aircraft
Ball lightning: Unpredictable brilliant spheres
Weather balloons: Classic explanation
Hallucination: Viewer under stress
Mass hysteria: Early explanation
Earthlights: Caused by electromagnetic fields in seismic activity areas

"Organised religion was in decline but when worried or concerned it is comforting to feel there is a greater power looking after us. It is quite nice to think there is another civilisation that has been able to overcome the things destroying our civilisation."

The UFO phenomenon is also linked with the modern reliance on conspiracy theories, a mixture of a need to believe in something more than the mundane in an increasingly rational world and an all-pervading distrust of authority.

As the Fortean Times, which this month dedicates an entire issue to the UFO anniversary, puts it: "UFOs fill a niche in the human spirit that thrives on wondrous ideas."

Earlier generations had also seen UFOs but without the term flying saucer in existence, they were labelled as other things.

UFO students say there are peaks and troughs in sightings that are probably based on cultural, social and political trends.

Golden age

Expert Paul Devereux says a new golden age during the 1990s, particularly after the broadcast of the cult television series the X-Files, has given way to a current wave of indifference.

Mr Clarke concurs, suggesting: "It could be the case that post-9/11 people are more concerned about the threat from terrorism or the environment."

Mr Devereux has drawn on the work of controversial Canadian academic Michael Persinger and believes many unresolved UFO sightings can be explained by "earthlights", clouds of plasma being charged by strong electromagnetic fields occurring in areas of seismic activity.

Having witnessed a UFO that could not initially be explained, Mr Devereux has dedicated his life to research.

"It bugged the hell out of me, almost gave me a mental breakdown. I couldn't make it fit into the everyday mundane world view."

Pilot Ray Bowyer was the principal witness to the most recent publicised UFO sighting in the UK.

Flying a commercial plane from Southampton to Alderney in the Channel Islands in April this year, Mr Bowyer saw two objects up to a mile across in the sky over Guernsey.

"I saw a bright yellow object, a light in the sky some miles ahead. I could see this specific shape of a flattened disc, like a CD on its edge, slightly tilted."

He says some of his passengers, as well as another pilot, saw the objects and he has been told they were picked up on radar.

Mr Bowyer's sighting may be a prime candidate for the "earthlights" theory, coming just days before the Dover earthquake. He accepts this as a possible explanation.

"I'm open-minded about everything. It would be a fairly perverse universe if we were the only inhabitants."

Despite the drop-off in interest in UFOs, the ufologists and their acolytes carry on their work, and the UFO-loving public continues to believe in conspiracies.

"No matter how much material the authorities produce and release the people who want to believe a conspiracy to hide aliens will never be satisfied," Mr Clarke says.

"It is such an emotional thing. They are convinced they are here, that they are walking among us."

Below is a selection of your comments.

Mobile phones are near-useless for snapping UFOs on account of their wide angle lens, tiny CCD sensors and poor resolution. The point about satellites warding off UFOs is a good one, though...
Michal, Warsaw, Poland

Two mile-wide UFOs are seen by pilots near Guernsey. Not clouds, balloons, geese, etc. I really do think it's time for the authorities to own up about what they know or don't know. The objects were on radar for nearly an hour. I hope the story does not get the usual treatment.
Johann, Salford

About 10 years ago, I was woken by my father (I was at home during university vacation) telling me to look out of my bedroom window. He was already at the window, filming with hs video camera. What we saw can only be described as large, white, the shape of a teardrop on its side, and flying very fast. At that time, we lived in southwest Cornwall, and watched as it flew behind St Michael's Mount, and reappeared the other side after a second or so. My father got all of this on video, and had it analysed by several experts shortly after. The results were inconclusive, but we were advised categorically that it was not a cloud, and that it was, indeed, very large, some way in the distance, and travelling at great speed. As it happens, we weren't the only witnesses to this, and a large feature appeared a week later in the local paper. Certainly changed me from a die-hard disbeliever into your common or garden sceptic!
Kay, Plymouth, UK

I note the Roswell 'Cover Up' quoted that the debris contained indestructable, light as a feather material. If it was so light and indestuctable how come it crashed into the ground leaving debris?? It should still have been perfectly formed if it was indestructable!!
Mark, London

I have actually seen the electromagnetic discharge about 5 minutes before the earthquake that was centred around Clun in Shropshire struck in the early nineties and it didn't look like no UFO. It just looked like all the air surrounding me just lit up. I walked for one building to the other , heard a rumble, looked out of the window and the ground just looked like a series of waves running towards me then the building shook.
Pablo, UK

I saw a huge black triangle over a Roman town called Vienne in France. Using crude estimations with a tv aerial as point of reference, I guess it was perhaps 3-400 metres across. It was silent, moved very slowly and blocked the stars out as it passed over. It was very chilling indeed
Rene Pasini, Hammersmith

I find it strange that the UFO over Singapore in the 1970s never gets a mention in lists of sightings. It was around for days and thousands of people must have seen it, so why are the reports supressed?
John, Chesterfield, England

I personally doubt that we've been visited, because even if there is a possibility of other life in the universe, you have to reduce that possibility to life existing within a reasonable distance of earth, say 500 light years. On the other hand, a recend drying up of sightings could be due to an increase in the number of satellites that look down, ie. observe the skies and ground beneath them. This might cause an investigating visitor keep to a distance higher than satellite orbits, which would have a knock-on effect of reducing accidental naked-eye observations.
Luke, London

Pretty much all sightings are explainable, which leaves some which are "unidentified flying objects". Just because they're unidentified it doesn't mean they're alien spaceships - by definition they're unexplained. They could be spaceships but there's no way of knowing. If you want a real conspiracy theory try this one: the furore around government cover-ups of UFOs to make us think they're from another world is to divert us away from what they're really up to - and heaven alone knows what thet might be!.
Mark Grady, Southampton, UK

Yesterday evening at exactly 18.06:06 hrs I was walking on the Great Orme in Llandudno when to my amazement I saw a very strange object in the skies over the Irish sea. The object was shaped similar in configuration to a crucifix, as if you were looking at it side on but with a slight tilt, it also appeared to have a green symbol/shape on the side of it. The symbol/shape looked something like this: Ryanair.
paul richardson, Deganwy North Wales

My wife and her parents were scared by a low flying very fast UFO one night in South Yorkshire over 20 years ago. Last year I had my wife carefully draw what she saw then I loaded up google... what she saw was an F-117 stealth fighter years before the US admitted they existed. I suspect most of the 'credible' UFO sightings are new, top secret military aircraft.
Peter, Nottingham

I don't know if UFOs are real but it seems pretty obvious that intelligent life must exist elsewhere in the universe. I remember reading that scientits had calculated that with the number of stars in our galaxy, the milky way alone must contain at least 100,000 advanced civilisations. People who say extra terrestrial life doesn't exist seem to be the crank to me. It's like claiming the earth is flat, because it looks that way from our perspective on the ground. On the other hand, there is no guarantee that they will be friendly.
Andrew, Edinburgh

I've always found it fascinating that UFO images are so rubbish, when people are regularly taking pictures of aircraft etc that look just fine. The western world now seems to have a camera in every pocket (camera phones?) and yet there have been no new photos for years. Military video allows us to see missiles slamming into bunkers in great detail but no UFOs with the same detail. Perhaps.... because they simply don't exist? Now open the lines to the conspiracy theorists... "Of course that's what THEY want you to think!"
Dan Thurgood, Liverpool UK

Another attempt at debunking.One of the leading officers who organised the Roswell 'Cover Up' recently died, but wrote an afadavit to say that he saw the craft debris, handled the material which was silver, indestructable and as light as a feather. He also organised the local undertaker to supply four child sized coffins for the UFO occupants and oversaw the entire weather balloon story. This was in a recent Daily Mail spread about the Roswell Truth.
Stuart Chambers, Mill Hill London

I served with the UK forces in the Falklands in the 90s and from our hill top perch one night, the 3 of us saw a bright blue light moving fast over the water in the distance (map showed about 50 miles away) You could see the blue reflecting off the sea. We reported it and had to fill out a classified report.. 2 Phantom jets were scrambled and we confirmed the light had also been picked up on a radar station. They followed the light for a while as we watched... It travelled up Falkland sound then just switched off leaving the jets flying in circles looking for it.
Witheld, UK

If there are aliens amongst us they can't be very intelligent, otherwise they would have started an immediate cull of the most destructive life form in the universe - humans!
Mike Preston, Blackpool

The idea that aliens would bother to travel across vast reaches of time and space to buzz grannies in cars, experiment with farmers in the mid-west of the USA and emit some kind of ray that only produces ambiguous grainy images on cameras is just - rediculous.
David Case, Westgate on Sea

Strange with the advent of digital phones with cameras and videos that UFO sightings have dried up....isn't it?
Puggy, Glasgow

With everyone these days carrying a camera in their mobile phones surely we should have a half decent photograph of a UFO by now. Or have the aliens stopped coming becouse the weather is so bad?
TeeGee, Belfast

If you type Area 51 itno Google Earth you will see an amazing area which does get the imagination going. Whether or not the Government knows about it, the chances of 'others' are very high. If we have evolved and survived this long, there are bound to be others. We may never see or hear from them but to think we are the sole beings in the universe is a bit naive.
Lewis, Portsmouth

I read about all these sceptics saying 80% or 90% or 99% of sightings are earthlights, or moonlight on geese or the planet Venus - and they quietly don't mention that fact that still leaves more than a few sightings that aren't explained. Doesn't it worry anyone that there are things in the sky and we don't know what they are? I'm not saying they're aliens, just that these sightings should be studied properly, not swept under the carpet and dismissed as cranks or drunks or idiots not be able to recognise a plane when they see it.
Nona, London

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/magazine/6268708.stm

Published: 2007/07/04 13:49:16 GMT

© BBC MMVII

Sunday, July 1, 2007

OUR FRIENDS THE ARABS

British prime minister links incidents to al-Qaeda associates

With five suspects in custody following a series of apparent terrorist incidents in London and Glasgow, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said during an interview today with BBC One that it is "clear that we are dealing in general terms, with people who are associated with al-Qaeda."

"It's obvious that we have a group of people - not just in this country, but round the world - who're prepared at any time to inflict what they want to be maximum damage on civilians, irrespective of the religion of these people who are killed or maimed are to be," he said.

Yesterday, the British government raised the terrorist alert to critical, meaning that "an attack is expected imminently."

Sky News says police are searching a house in Glasgow thought to be connected to the airport incident.

Earlier: A Glasgow eyewitness says "I managed to knock the Asian fellow to the ground"

(Photo taken today at Glasgow airport by Andy Buchanan, AFP/Getty Images.)
Posted by Mike Carney at 10:21 AM/ET, July 01, 2007 in

Monday, June 25, 2007

Ghost Hunting

Ghosts in GA- My old haunt_ Henry_Allen

Meta-Film Mini Documentary about Ghost Hunting. This is an early short version of what will eventually be an hour long film about ghost hunting.

The final version will feature more attention to detail within the scientific aspects of the field.

Chapter Two, and Three will feature more paranormal subjects such as EVP, ITC (instrumental transcommunication), and UFOs.


Directed By Colin Michael Quinn
Georgia State University Film School Project
Spring 2007

Hometown Tales - The Horror of Andersonville

Published: June 22, 2007 03:06 am print this story email this story comment on this story

Andersonville filled with numerous ghostly encounters
From Staff Reports
AMERICUS TIMES-RECORDER (AMERICUS, Ga.)

ANDERSONVILLE, Ga. — Haunted stories have an affect that send a tingling sensation up the spine. But sometimes these tales of ghosts, haunted houses and spooky cemeteries are recorded as actual accounts experienced by ordinary people and by those who investigate these tales of horror.

The City of Andersonville has been marked as one of the many cities that is filled with numerous encounters of the supernatural. One of the sites that has been recently investigated is the St. James Pennington Church.

On June 16, a team of paranormal investigators from the group Southern Paranormal Researchers (SPR) of Prattville, Ala., visited the church to experience any form of anomalous phenomena. St. James Pennington Church was founded by Brother Jimmy Lawrence in 1927. The church is a log cabin that has been relocated and restored by the Andersonville Guild. The SPR learned of the church from the website of the Shadowlands Haunted Places where numerous stories have been recorded of different encounters with the supernatural in Andersonville.

SPR uses a wide variety of investigative methods to help determine what type of haunting is present, if any, and how the particular haunting will be dealt with after it has been identified. The group does extensive research of the particular location that is being investigated before hand and compiles a complete report outlining the investigation and the results obtained. The group has experience in investigating historical sites, hotels, inns, private residences and demonic and dark energy.

The findings at the St. James Pennington Church were described by the SPR director, Shawn Sellers, as slim. Equipped with cameras and the basic equipment used in these types of investigations, Sellers said the group spent a total of eight hours at the church.

“This is a site that we will like to further investigate. During our time at the church, we picked up an EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) but we have not figured out quite what was being said,” said Sellers.

Sellers along with another member of the team took pictures within the church and did pick up an image of the late pastor of the church. According to Sellers, he took several shots from different angles but did not pick up anything. However, the other member took shots focusing on the same angle and the image of the pastor appeared in one of the photos. The photo showed the silhouette of what seemed like the pastor’s nose bleeding.

“When we do these investigations, we use a variety of equipment — from cameras to personal interviews. We did a thorough investigation for eight hours and seemed to be a little skeptic when nothing appeared on audio or video. But the photograph proved that there was a presence in the church. We also picked up orbs or ghosts that are seen in the form of balls of light. It gives hope and proof for what we do and we will be back in the future to further investigate the area.”

For more information, visit www.southernparanormalresearchers.com or theshadowlands.net.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

White People For Peace

Thought I'd share this. Thanks to imagine for calling it to my attention. Henry_allen

Friday, June 8, 2007

GETTING A LIFT FROM AZERBAIJAN

Giving them anti-missile radar is a great idea - look at what they've done with Viagra. Henry_Allen
Azerbaijan amenable to anti-missile radar
MOSCOW (AP) — Officials in Azerbaijan, a nation with a huge oil reserves and a record that has been criticized by human rights advocates, on Friday welcomed Moscow's call to use a Russian-leased radar installation in their country as the cornerstone of a proposed U.S. anti-missile system.

Elmar Mammadyarov, Azerbaijan's foreign minister, said in the capital of Baku that the proposal "can only bring more stability into the region because it can lead to more predictable actions in the region."

Novruz Mamedov, head of the Azerbaijani presidential administration's international relations department, told Russia's Rossiya TV that "such cooperation can have a very strong and positive impact on the situation in the world as a whole.

"If such countries as Russia and the U.S. cooperate, they will have common interests and it will prevent tensions," he said.

For weeks, Russian President Vladimir Putin denounced the U.S. plan to build a missile interceptor base in Poland and a radar site in the Czech Republic, saying the system was aimed at Russia's strategic arsenal.

Then on Thursday, Putin caught President Bush off guard by urging that the Soviet-era radar installation at Gabala, in northeast Azerbaijan, be used instead as part of a joint U.S.-Russian missile shield. On Friday, he suggested the missile intercepter base could be in Turkey or at sea.

A Russian military expert said the Gabala installation was built to track U.S. bombers and submarine-launched missiles from the Indian Ocean.

The Bush administration has said it seeks to counter future missile threats to Europe from Iran, which Washington fears is developing nuclear weapons.

Azerbaijan, a former Soviet nation of 8.5 million about the size of Maine, is on the western shore of the Caspian Sea, flanked by Russia to the north and Iran to the south. It is one of the countries in Central and South Asia that the U.S. has turned to since the Sept. 11 attacks, despite their mixed records on human rights and democracy.

The government in Baku has contributed 150 soldiers to the war in Iraq and 20 to coalition military forces in Afghanistan.

According to a Council of Europe report last year, Baku has served as a refueling stop for CIA aircraft shuttling terror suspects to secret prisons.

The country has rich oil and natural gas deposits — Baku was one of the first oil boomtowns in the 19th century. But according to government statistics, nearly one-fifth of the population lives in poverty.

Azerbaijani authorities have been criticized by rights groups and the U.S. government for their hostility to independent and opposition journalists.

Human Rights Watch says that over the past year or so, authorities have prosecuted and imprisoned seven journalists, mostly on charges of criminal libel and "insult." Journalists are also attacked and threatened with violence, the group said.

The State Department's human rights report for 2006 said the Azerbaijani government engages in the arbitrary arrest and detention of political opponents.

The country is also the site of one of the "frozen conflicts" left over from the post-Soviet era. Azerbaijan and Armenia are at odds over Nagorno-Karabakh, a region that is inside Azerbaijan but has been controlled by ethnic Armenian forces since a 1994 cease-fire ended a six-year war.
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Maury Island UFOs, 1947

The book (Thomas, Kenn: "Maury Island UFO: The Crisman Conspiracy" GA: IllumiNet, 1999)was from my former publisher at IllumiNet Press, who died under mysterious circumstances. The first major editor to have a field investigator on hand was my late coworker Ray Palmer. While Roswell is the case of this period most discuss, Maury Island contains everything from crashed saucers, men in black, silencings, dead investigators -- all the UFO mythos of subsequent years san abduction. That it took place at the Summer Solstice, the "dog star" days is worth of comment as well. Henry_Allen

The Maury Island incident is said to be an early modern UFO encounter incident, which allegedly took place shortly after the sighting of the original flying saucers by Kenneth Arnold. It is also one of the earliest reported instances of an alleged encounter with so-called "Men in black". Opinions remain divided as to the case on whether it was genuine or a hoax.


The incident took place shortly after June 21, 1947. On that date, seaman Harold Dahl, out scavenging for drifting logs, claimed to have seen six UFOs near Maury Island (which is now a peninsula of Vashon Island, in Puget Sound, near Tacoma, Washington, United States). Dahl, his son, and their dog were on the boat. Dahl claimed to have taken a number of photographs of the UFOs, and reported that one UFO shed some type of hot slag on to his boat. The slag, he said, struck and killed his dog and injured his son.

The next morning, Dahl reported, a man arrived at his home and invited him to breakfast at a nearby diner. Dahl accepted the invitation. He described the man as imposing at over six feet tall and muscular, and wearing a black suit. The man drove a new 1947 Buick, and Dahl assumed he was a military or government representative.

While the two men ate, Dahl claimed the man told him details of the UFO sighting, though Dahl had not related his account publicly. The man also gave Dahl a nonspecific warning which Dahl took as a threat that his family might be harmed if he related details of the sighting.

Some confusion and debate over Dahl's statements have occurred. Dahl would later claim the UFO sighting was a hoax, but has also claimed the sighting was accurate, but he had claimed it was a hoax to avoid bringing harm to his family.

Investigation

In spite of the threat Dahl had reported the incident to his immediate superior, Fred Crisman, who had long claimed to have experience with unusual phenomena (and who was later linked to the John F. Kennedy assassination)[1]. Crisman gathered more of the slag, then called in the press, who in turn called in Kenneth Arnold to investigate the incident.

Albert K. Bender seized on Dahl's story, and printed it in his newsletter. In 1953, Bender claimed three men in black visited him, and warned him to stop his UFO research.

Arnold, realizing the story was beyond his capacity to investigate, called in the United States Army Air Corps, which dispatched two investigators. The investigators were largely unimpressed with Crisman and with his evidence, but agreed to take some of the slag with them for further inquiry.[1] The plane carrying the two investigators and the UFO evidence crashed shortly after leaving Tacoma, killing both men.[2] In April 2007 it was reported that the crash site had been found and some material recovered. [3] [4]

Capt. Edward Ruppelt, chief of Project Blue Book in the early 1950s, wrote that he was convinced that the entire sighting story was a hoax.

Hoax Claims

To some in the UFO community, the Maury Island Incident is still highly controversial, dismissed by many as a complete fabrication by the wildly imaginative and conspiracy-obsessed Crisman, while others think it may be among the most important encounters in modern times.[citation needed] Others speculate that the incident, although clearly a hoax, was employed by the US government to draw public attention away from claims hazardous waste from a breeder reactor located in Hanford was being secretly and unlawfully dumped on Maury Island.

References

1. ^ Randles, J: "MIB: Investigating the Truth Behind the Men In Black Phenomenon", page 33. Piatkus, 1997
2. ^ Randles, J: "MIB: Investigating the Truth Behind the Men In Black Phenomenon", page 33. Piatkus, 1997
3. ^ B-25 wreckage found after 60 years, listed as carrying a UFO
4. ^ Wreckage from secret 1947 mission found

* Ruppelt, Edward J: "The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects" Doubleday, 1956.
* Thomas, Kenn: "Maury Island UFO: The Crisman Conspiracy" GA: IllumiNet, 1999
* Mcnerthney, Casey (April 23, 2007). Is strange rock from UFO or just a piece of poppycock?.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved on 2007-05-05.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

LOYAL OPPOSITION?

nsurgents destroy major bridge in northern Iraq

Sat Jun 2, 2007 2:11AM EDT

KIRKUK, Iraq (Reuters) - Insurgents destroyed a major bridge that connects the Iraqi capital Baghdad with the northern cities of Kirkuk and Arbil early on Saturday, police said.

They said the insurgents used explosives to destroy the Sarha Bridge, near the town of Tuz Khurmato on the Chinchal river, some 150 km (100 miles) north of Baghdad. The blast severely damaged the bridge, forcing motorists into detours and traffic jams.

Several bridges have been targeted in Iraq, most notably the popular Sarafiya bridge which was destroyed in April in a truck bombing that sent large sections of the steel structure crashing into the Tigris in central Baghdad.

Many Iraqis believe insurgents target bridges to physically separate Shi'ite and Sunni Muslim areas in central Iraq, but some say the attacks are meant to frustrate people who have to endure time consuming detours into dangerous areas.

The Iraqi government recently imposed restrictions that ban trucks from traveling on all but two of the capital's 13 bridges in fear of another major attack.


consortiumnews.com

Dem Consultants: Calculations of War

By Brent Budowsky
May 30, 2007

Editor's Note: Since 2002, Democratic consultants have been whispering in the ears of party leaders to give George W. Bush what he wants on the Iraq War as a way to avoid accusations that they are "soft" or "unpatriotic" or "against the troops." The results of those calculations can now be measured in the growing lists of dead and wounded as well as in the Democrats' plummeting poll numbers.

In this guest essay, political analyst Brent Budowsky traces this thinking and its consequences:
Now we read in the Boston Globe how John Kerry, preparing to campaign to be Commander in Chief, voted in 2002 for the Iraq War after his political consultants informed the would-be leader of the free world that he would not be “politically viable” unless he voted yes.

This followed the disclosure that Bob Shrum advised John Edwards to send young men and women to die as a way of improving his weak national-security resume in 2002.

Why Democratic officials listen to this is beyond me.

Here are the presidential campaigns that Bob Shrum lost: 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004. Here are the presidential campaigns Mr. Shrum won: none.

Nice work, if you can get it.

By the way, Republican consultants are no better. They loved the Iraq War when they could use it to run television ads, accusing Democrats of being unpatriotic. Now they are reduced to gibberish about “surrender dates” while their members run to the White House and whine to the President, waving their polls, then vote for it again.

From the moment of the Democratic victory in the congressional elections of 2006, many of these Democratic consultants told party leaders that it would be wrong to make a powerful and principled stand against the Iraq War policy.

The majority consultant view was summed up early in the Democratic Congress by Celinda Lake, quoted in the Washington Post as believing that Democrats were not elected to solve the Iraq War, and that waging a politically heroic fight for change would be a distraction.

Think about it, folks: The Democratic 2000 nominee for vice president (Joe Lieberman) is one of America’s leading neoconservative theoreticians in favor of the war. The Democratic leaders in 2002 joined Messrs. Cheney and Perle in advocacy of the war.

The Democratic nominees for president and vice president in 2004 (John Kerry and John Edwards) both supported the Iraq War in 2002 after hearing the voice of the consultant class. They then lost an election they should have won through vacillation on the war, made famous by the quote about what one voted for before one voted against.

From the beginning, at every stage, Democrats did better in elections, to the exact degree that they spoke out strongly. In 2002, they voted for the war and lost. In 2004, they moved daintily in opposition and did better, but lost again. In 2006, they took their strongest position yet, and won, and Democrats in Congress surged ahead of the Republican Congress and Republican President in early 2007 opinion polls.

Enter the Democratic consultants.

Here, again, is their handiwork. We entered 2007 with one of the most unpopular presidents in history and one of the most unpopular Republican Congresses in history. Now, after a few short months of not fighting courageously for change, the Democratic Congress shows up in polls as equally unpopular as George W. Bush.

Great work.

Here are some truths that you haven’t read yet in the Washington Post or The Hill or seen on the cable talkies, though you will.

The Democratic consultant class likes the Iraq War because it gives Democrats the chance to play pretend with non-binding actions, issue talking points about how they fought to change the policy, then lose everything in the end, at which point they can blame the Republicans for the war.

The majority view of Democratic consultants is they don’t want to win a change in policy, because then they have ownership. They want to look like they tried, then lose, and then blame Republicans for the war.

Morally speaking, this is dead wrong; in politics, this is half-right. Here is something else you have not seen from the pundit class, but it’s true, and you will. There is a gigantic difference in the objective political interest between Senate Democrats and House Democrats.

With 21 Senate Republicans running for reelection, the Democrats will pick up seats. There is a chance the Democrats pick up many seats, based purely on the math.

The Bob Shrum award for lack of courage and principle on war votes, coupled with an uncanny ability to lose elections, goes to the Senate Republicans. They support a war that few privately believe in, and commit political hari-kari by doing so. Anyone who believes “we can work this out in September” is dreaming.

On the House side, with an overwhelming majority of Americans loathing this war, the vulnerability is in the freshman class of new Democrats and those Democrats who won narrow victories. Their objective interest politically is doing far more than the current Congress for troops and vets and offering principled opposition to the hated status quo.

Projecting current trends, it is very possible that Democrats increase their margin in the Senate while losing control of the House. Remember where you heard it first.

Here’s my view, as an unyielding opponent of the war policy and unyielding supporter of troops and vets: Who cares about the politics? War is a moral and patriotic matter that should be decided on the grounds of high principle and high honor.

We have just ended one election, which neither party now honors with regard to Iraq, and the next election is about a year and a half away.

Here is the state of play, rounding off the numbers. Seventy percent of the American people disapprove of the current policy; disapprove of President Bush; disapprove of Republicans in Congress; and now disapprove of the Democratic Congress.

It is America versus Washington.

On matters of patriotism, honor, war and peace, reasonable people can disagree about the policy. What is extraordinary and unique in my experience is that on this matter the truth is that 98 percent of Democrats in Congress, 70 percent of Republicans in Congress, perhaps 100 percent of the Joint Chiefs of Staff strongly oppose the current policy in private but then act to continue it in public.

On the most authoritative poll, in Military Times, the president’s popularity among active-duty troops in the military is under 40 percent. Think about it.

Meanwhile, the Marine Corps makes an urgent appeal for life-saving equipment in 2005, which is 90 percent held in contempt, i.e. ignored, by the very politicians who vote for a war they don’t believe in, then give Memorial Day speeches proclaiming their love for the troops.

Who do they think they’re kidding?

It is America versus Washington, and what Washington insiders don’t get is this: When 70 percent disapprove of them all, and they issue talking points proclaiming their own greatness, all this does is make Americans disapprove of them even more strongly.

On all issues involving the war and the troops, we have the most educated Americans in history. They cannot be fooled; politicians who insult them, with obviously untrue talking points, do so at their peril.

Here’s my advice: First, tell the truth. Second, support the troops and vets in ways that are far more comprehensive and honorable than what either party is doing today. Third, fight like hell to change the policy.

When Washington begins to respect America, Americans will no longer feel 70 percent disrespect for both parties in Washington.

The way to win the election in 2008 is to respect the election of 2006.

Brent Budowsky was an aide to U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen on intelligence issues, and served as Legislative Director to Rep. Bill Alexander when he was Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Leadership. Budowsky can be reached at brentbbi@webtv.net. (A version of this story originally appeared at The Hill.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

UPDATE ON DISCARNATES

Modern ghost stories vary. This one is of more than

passing interest. Henry_Allen

Dave Juliano's Story from

http://theshadowlands.net/ghost/story.html

It started when I was three years old. One night I

awoke to find a small child-like figure in my bed

with me. He was about 2 feet tall and had the

features of a small child, but its head was swollen

well beyond a normal size. It was wearing a blue gown

with the hands not visible at the end of the sleeves.

It was moving its mouth and talking in gibberish. The

figure was as real as I was, and it was surrounded by

a kind of glowing haze. I ran to my parents' bedroom

and woke up my dad, but, of course, he told me to go

back to sleep. So I returned to my room and now the

figure was standing on my bed. I grabbed a pillow and

covered my face and jumped on the bed. It was gone.

That started something that would last the next 26

years.

I'll condense the years up until 1990. Those

appearances, while still frightening, never really

made me feel threatened. During this period, which

included teenage years, I saw the figure with the

same frequency. My bedroom is located at the end of a

hallway with 2 other bedrooms before mine. At the

other end of the hallway is a landing that blocks the

view to the steps. From my bed I could look out my

door and down the hall to the landing and the top of

the steps. I always knew right before the figure

would appear, because the hair on the back of my neck

would stand up and I would get uncontrollable chills.

The figure would then appear either on top of the

landing or come around the base of the landing and

start down the hall toward my room. It never seemed

to pay any attention to the other rooms at all. I

would normally panic and either shut my door or run

into my parents' room and sleep on the floor. Imagine

finding your 18 year old son curled up on your

bedroom floor when you wake up in the morning. My

parents and sister didn't really fully believe that I

was seeing this apparition. I also would stay up

late, being the night person that I am, and watch TV.

In my living room, we have the stairs that lead up to

the 2nd floor. It has a wooden railing on it that

goes the length of the last 4 steps. I would often

see the figure on the steps watching me from the 3rd

or 4th step and then disappear. The only real changes

during this time period were that the figure was

losing its color and becoming more transparent.

Now things will change drastically. A neighbor, with

some knowledge of this sort of activity, told me to

confront the figure and tell it to leave and never

come back. I was to tell it that I was its power

source and I was shutting off the power. I did this

and enjoyed about a year of no sightings. Around this

time, I told the story to my girlfriend of the time.

She thought that its description sounded like a baby

with water on the brain and still wearing its gown

from the hospital. She thought that it was a lost

soul trying to contact me to help it with some task,

so that it could finally rest in peace. I started to

look into the house's history and my family's. The

house sits on land that was farmland and a dirt road

only 150 years ago. The land was owned by one man and

he had his farm and homestead around the area of my

house (the main house of his estate is one block from

my house and is still standing) My house is 40 years

old and we are the 2nd family to live in it. The

couple before us had no children that we know about.

I have a sister 3 years younger than me and no other

siblings. I have asked my parents if they had a child

that died that I was unaware of, but they didn't. So

after all my checking, I found nothing that could

explain the apparition.

After a week of thinking about the interpretation my

girlfriend had given, guilt of banishing the figure

overcame me. I asked it to come back one night and

told it I would help it. The very next night the

sightings started again , but with much greater

intensity. I can say now, NEVER do what I did, once

it's gone, let it stay gone. The sightings would

happen more frequently and sometimes they would

terrify me. The figure looked the same but something

was very different. I was sure what it was, but now

there was another force in addition to the familiar

figure. I began to see small black colored creatures

which I can only describe as imps. They were solid

black, 1-2 feet tall and ran around on all fours.

They appeared mostly in the living room and coming

from the hall closet.

Now to explain the rest of the house set up that

pertains to the story. The man that lived here before

us started to dig out a basement, but he never

completed it. All that remains is a 3-4 foot crawl

space accessible from outside the house. The hall

closet was to be the stairs down to the basement. He

had started making the stairs going down but he

boarded it all up when he stopped digging the

basement. The stairs going up to the 2nd floor are

directly over the would-be basement step and the hall

closet. So there are 2 ways from inside the house to

access the crawl space, if you really wanted to, rip

up the 3rd or 4th step of the stairs or knock out the

back of the closet. I began to make the connection

between where the figures appeared and where the

access ways were.

The sightings got more intense and sometimes they

even drove me from my house. Normally, my dog would

sense the small figure and act funny when it was

around, but now when the imps appeared my dog would

be in a very deep sleep and I could never wake him

up. I would either leave the house and stay over at a

friends. Sometimes I would be knocking on her door at

2 a.m. terrified. Other times, if I was able to get

between them and the steps, I would make a run for it

to my room or my parents' room, because, even these

creatures would not venture in the bedrooms. My

mother was noticing my moods and I had told her about

the new happenings so she told me to get her the next

time I saw the figure or imps. The next time I saw

the figure upstairs coming down the hall, I ran into

her room and woke her up. I led her out into the hall

where the figure still was. I pointed to it and it

began to back away and go down the steps. I chased it

down to the 3rd step where it vanished. While she

could not see it, she could tell by my eye movements

that I was watching something moving across the hall

and steps. I think that's when my family started to

believe a little.

I became used to these new additions because they

never did any harm but they did make me feel very

uneasy. The figure was becoming even more

transparent. Certain lamps in the house would go on

and off by themselves often with other witnesses

around. I would hear the TV go on in the middle of

the night when I knew no one was downstairs. I had

theorized that the figure needed help to appear

because it was slowly fading away. I assumed the imps

were helping him, but the figure was still fading. I

was waiting for a new addition to the cast, so the

figure could still appear, since I still hadn't

figured out what it wanted me to do.

The sightings stopped again for a few months. I spoke

with a parapsychologist , but then decided to leave

well enough alone. I didn't want things getting

worse. I decided to go into the crawl space and check

out the area under the stairs. I took my dog down

there with me and I crawled to the area. There had

not been anyone under there for years before this. I

found an Old Maid playing card with not a bit of dust

on it right under the 3rd step. We have wall to wall

carpeting so this did not fall through the joints. I

hadn't seen that deck of cards for over 20 years, but

here was one. It had one corner that looked like it

had been dipped in acid, but the rest was in good

shape. I took it and put in a pocket bible and put it

in my car.

The sightings started again, only very small. I would

call my girlfriend on the cordless phone and tell her

it's happening again and then walk upstairs while

still on the phone with her. The next time was the

worst of all. The figure appeared very bright, like

it did years ago, but it didn't look very happy. The

imps appeared again but they were more bold this

time. Then a 7 foot tall man- shaped black figure

appeared. It looked like it was either made of smoke

or some liquid. It looked semi-solid and you couldn't

see through it. At the same time, the room was filled

with imps and a bearded old mans face took shape on

the wall and started mumbling. The face was about 6

foot high and 4 foot wide. The familiar figure looked

like it was sorry for doing this to me. I left the

house and sat in my car until dawn.

I knew I had to confront this new entity and try to

drive it away. I also figured that if it wanted me,

it was going to get me either way, so I had nothing

to lose. My sanity, life and maybe my soul were on

the line and I honestly believed this was the only

way to stop it before it branched out. I was the

original power source, so I was going to shut off the

power. The next night I prayed for protection and the

strength to drive this evil away. I had a bible handy

as I sat up as usual listening to my CD's. About 2

a.m., I noticed my dog was in one of those deep, deep

sleeps and I began to look around. The figure and the

Tall black figure appeared along with the rest of the

apparitions. I informed them in the calmest voice I

could get at this time, that I was taking away their

power and they had no hold on me or power over me. I

told them I, my family and house was protected by God

and they could not harm us. I walked right past the

tall figure and the imps moved out of my way. I

walked right up the steps and never looked back.

That was about 2 years ago and I have not seen them

since. We placed a bible on the stairs and a cross in

the closet to block off their entrances. I still feel

there is a presence there that tries to get me to let

in it. I still hear bumping and walking around, but

the apparitions are gone, banished to the crawl space

I assume. They will not get another portal in here so

they will remain there. We did have the house blessed

years ago, every where except the crawl space. I

think that might be the answer to end it all for

good.

Footnotes 1998:
I have learned alot since I first put my story to

paper. I now realize that many of my reactions to

the majority of the encounters were, while natural,

not necessary. The house was haunted by an

earthbound spirit and when I had asked it to leave,

it stopped contacting me, but was still there. It

never harmed me and was only trying to get my

attention. Because I didn't understand what was

happening, I reacted the way everyone else would,

with fear. I did tell it it could come back and the

way I did it caught the attention of other earthbound

spirits in the area and one non human one. The

majority of the experiences after I opened the door

back up were with human spirits, some not as friendly

as the original one who also came back. While there

was one encounter with something I believe was a non

human entity, the majority of the other spirits were

earthbound human spirits. In regards to the black

imps, let me just say that these may have been either

type of spirit, I'm still not sure at this point. I

have researched them further but I am unable to say

with out a doubt that they were evil. I believe

the tall black figure was evil though.

Updated Happenings in the Dave Juliano's House: Jan.

1997

Alot of people ask me what's been happening recently

so here is a brief account.

I moved out of my parents house last January, not

because of the hauntings, but I moved in with my

fiancé. This is the last "event" that occurred about

2 weeks before I left.

I had been doing my normal work on the web pages and

decided to go to bed about 2 am. I walked up the

stairs and down the hall. As I passed my parents

bedroom door I dropped a paper that I was carrying

and I bent over to pick it up. As I was getting back

up, the door knob of my parents room starting turning

and the door opened up about 4 inches. A female

called my name and I said "what?". I was startled at

first because it had surprised me, then I said

"what?" again and opened the door myself. Both my

parents were sounds asleep and my mother who was

laying closes to the door, was facing away from the

door. This was not the first time I had heard a

woman's voice talking to me, but this time it was

very close, like she was talking right next to me. I

got a little spooked by this simply because the

hauntings had been relatively quiet for almost a

year, with the exception of the "knocking" I had

heard in the attic on and off. I went back downstairs

to get my dog and bring him upstairs with me. He

noticed nothing and we went to bed. As I lay there I

started to notice some collectibles I had hanging

from the ceiling on fishing line began to move. The

windows were closed and no air movement in the room

enough to move these items at all. As I watched, and

my dog noticed this too, the items began to swing

wildly around the room. I was still shaken up a bit

by what happened earlier with the voice. I began to

go through my ritual of banning the spirits from

being there and sending them away. After about 10

minutes of this, it all stopped. I got the

impression that the spirits knew I was leaving

shortly and wanted to give me one last parting shot.

I hadn't been through an episode this active and

confrontational in a while , so me and the dog paid a

late night visit to my fiance and spent the rest of

the night there to insure uninterrupted sleep.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The, Uhhh, "Real" Kazakhstan

You'll have fun, fun, fun till Big Daddy takes your freedom away..Henry_Allen

Kazakh president scraps term limits -- for himself

Reukazakhstanpresident_ Kazakhstan's president signed a constitutional amendment today that would allow him to remain president for the rest of his life.

Buried at the end of a Kazakhstan Today story that lists all the changes that Nursultan Nazarbayev approved is this paragraph: "Besides, Kazakhstani parliament voted for Constitution amendment that says that the first president Nursultan Nazarbayev is able to be elected without number of terms limit."

The amendment suspends term limits for the country's first president -- Nazarbayev -- and allows him to run for re-election for as long he lives.

The head of the parliamentary commission on constitutional amendments explains his thinking to Russia's RIA Novosti news agency.

"Given the first Kazakh president's historical role, we have decided to approve lawmakers' proposals to lift restrictions on the number of [consecutive] presidential terms for him," Yermek Zhumbayev says.

Earlier postings:
• The burdens of a Kazakh journalist named 'Bolat' in the wake of 'Borat'
• Borat, defender of a free press!
• State Department: Borat's been victimized
• Only in Kazakhstan ... they didn't spell check their currency

Posted by Mike Carney at 01:42 PM/ET, May 22, 2007 in Asia

Friday, May 18, 2007

The Other "Immortality"

....But the blood is still the life. Chart the DNA, or Draw the Knife. The blade is made of glass and steel, the Monitor reveals the Code that
Explodes the mythology or mere mortality. Helpless is not Knowing, Know the stain that strains fiction from truth. Henry_Allen

Give Me Immortality Or Give Me Death!
By RU Sirius
May 18th, 2007

Give Me Immortality or Give Me Death!

According to transhumanist Michael Anissimov, there’s an even chance that we’re

looking at immortality or existential destruction in the next 20-40 years.

Anissimov is only 23-years-old but he’s already become an important figure in

the transhumanist movement. While still in high school, he became founder and

director of the Immortality Institute. He’s been active with the World

Transhumanist Association (WTA), and he is currently Fundraising Director, North

America for the Lifeboat Foundation.

Lifeboat Foundation describe themselves as “a nonprofit organization dedicated

to encouraging scientific advancements while helping humanity survive

existential risks and possible misuse of increasingly powerful technologies,

including genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and robotics/AI as we move toward

a technological singularity.”

Anissimov also blogs regularly at Accelerated Future.

I interviewed him for my NeoFiles Show. Jeff Diehl joined me.


RU SIRIUS: Let’s start off talking about immortality. And let’s talk about it

personally. Do you want to live forever?

MICHAEL ANISSIMOV: Oh, absolutely! For sure!

RU: Why?

MA: Because I have at least a thousand years of plans already. And in those

thousand years, I’ll probably make another thousand years of plans, and I don’t

see any end to that cycle.

RU: Do you see the quality of life improving for yourself and for most human

beings?

MA: Yes, I do.

RU: Because I don’t know if I want to live forever under Darwinian conditions.

It gets tiring.

MA: I agree. It does. We need to take control of our own evolution before this

would be a planet really worth living on. I don’t think that thousands of years

of war would be good for anyone. So things do need to improve.

RU: Yeah. Even having to pay… who can afford a thousand years?

MA: (Laughs) Well, you’ll work for a thousand years…

RU: It’s very expensive!

MA: Yeah, people are dying to retire. So it would help out if we had the robots

doing a little bit more of the work.

JEFF DIEHL: So what’s your itinerary for the next thousand years?

MA: I want to go spelunking in every major cave. I want to climb the highest

peak on every continent. I want to write, like maybe at least ten nonfiction

books and ten fiction books. Mmmm…

RU: Some people have done that in a lifetime.

MA: I know!

JD: Yeah, you’re not very ambitious, man — come on!
See also…
» Create an Alien, Win A-Prize
» Why Chicks Don’t Dig The Singularity
» Death? No, Thank You
» Prescription Ecstasy and Other Pipe Dreams

MA: (Laughs) Think of ten possible lives you could live, and then think that you

don’t necessarily need to choose between them. You could live them back to back.

RU: On the other hand, you could pop your consciousness into several bodies and

have them all living simultaneously for only a hundred years. Would that be the

equivalent of living a thousand years?

MA: I don’t think so. I think that would just be like having kids. Copying

yourself would give rise to multiple independent strains of consciousness.

RU: Maybe there could be some kind of central person who could be taking in all

of the experiences.

MA: There could be some information exchange, but…

RU: Aubrey de Grey, of course, is the hacker-biologist who has become very well

known for saying that this is quite plausible in the near future. Is there any

progress that he’s pointed to, or that you can point to, since he really

proclaimed the plausibility of immortality some time around the beginning of

this century?

MA: Yeah. Recently Peter Thiel, former CEO of Paypal, offered three million

dollars in matching funds for projects related to this. And they’ve started

coming up with ways to actually use over a million dollars, I believe. They have

the MitoSENS project and the LysoSENS projects.

RU: What are these projects about?

MA: Well, with LysoSENS — lysomal junk is this stuff that builds up between

cells. And our natural metabolism doesn’t currently have any way of breaking it

down. So researchers are trying to exploit the law of microbial infallibility —

the notion that no matter what organic material you’re talking about, you’re

going to be able to find a microbe that can eat it. So they’re searching for

microbes that are capable of breaking down this junk. And they’ve been looking

in places like… next to a Burger King, because people throw burgers on the

ground and stuff like that. So there are special bacteria there that learn how

to break down these organic compounds. And some of these researchers have even

gotten permission to get soil samples from the people that run graveyards

because that’s where you’d expect to find the bugs. Basically, they’re looking

for specialized microbes that can dissolve that lysomal junk.

RU: IBM recently announced a naotechnology breakthrough. They said that “the

breakthrough marks the first time chips have been made with a self-assembling

nano-technology using the same process that forms seashells or snowflakes.” This

sounds like a really big deal.

MA: Yeah, it is! It’s not the same thing though as molecular manufacturing,

where you basically have a molecular assembly line that places each atom, one by

one. It’s not quite as intelligently controlled or productive, but it is a large

breakthrough.

RU: Yeah, the word jumps out at me — “self-assembling.” That sounds… you’re not

too excited?

MA: (skeptically) Ehhh. I mean, it’s pretty exciting but people have been

playing around with this stuff for a while

RU: OK. Let’s move on to your current work — The Lifeboat Foundation This

foundation is focused on existential risk, which is a board game, I think: Camus

v. Sartre.

MA: (laughs) Not exactly!

RU: I don’t know how you win. It’s probably like Waiting for Godot: A

Tragicomedy in Two Acts — the board game never arrives.

Anyway, in the discourse currently going around among people who are part of the

transhumanist schemata and transhumanist world — there seems to be a turn from

optimism towards a dialogue that’s sort of apocalyptic. And the Lifeboat website

seems to reflect that. Do you think that’s true?

MA: I think it is true to a small extent. I think it’s actually reflective of

the maturing of the transhumanist movement. Because it’s easy to say…

RU: “It’s gonna be great!”

MA: Particularly when the dotcom boom was happening, everyone was, like, “Oh,

the future’s gonna be great. No problems.” You know… “We’re making shitloads of

cash. Everything’s going to go well.”

Now, we’ve had seven years of George Bush. We’ve been involved in two wars. We

understand that reality isn’t always peachy keen and we’re going to have to deal

with the consequences.

RU: So are people in the transhumanist world as worried as they sound, or is it

partly political – trying to be responsible and ease concerns among people who

are perhaps more paranoid than technophiles like yourself?

MA: No, it’s very genuine. The more you understand about powerful technologies,

the more you understand that they really do have the potential to hose us all,

in a way that nuclear war can’t.

RU: Give me your top two existential risks.

MA: Well, as Dr. Alan Goldstein pointed out on your show a couple of weeks ago,

Synthetic Life is a huge risk because life is inherently designed to replicate

in the wild. So life based on different chemical reactions could replicate much

more rapidly than what we’re accustomed to, like some sort of super-fungus. I

think that’s one of the primary risks. And the second risk would be artificial

intelligence — human-surpassing artificial intelligence.

RU: So you’re concerned about the “robot wars” scenario — artificial

intelligence that won’t care that much for us? Do you have any particular

scenarios that you’re following?

MA: Well, I’d like to caution people to be careful what they see in the movies.

Because this is one of those areas where people have been speculating about it

for quite a few decades, and so much fictional material has been built around

it…

RU: Actually, I believe everything in Terminator I.

MA: (Laughs) If you really look through those shows in a critical way, you see

that they’re full of blatant holes all over the place. Like, they can send a guy

through time, but they can’t send his clothes with him through time? (Laughs) In

reality, I think that artificial intelligence is potentially most dangerous

because it might not necessarily need to have a robotic body before it becomes a

threat. An artificial intelligence that’s made purely out of information could

manipulate a wide variety of things on the internet. So it would have more power

than we might guess.

RU: You’ve written a bit about the idea of Friendly AI. (We had Eliezer

Yudkowsky on the show quite a while back, talking about this.) Do you see steps

that can be taken to ensure that A.I. is friendly?

MA: Yeah! I’m totally in support of Eliezer and the Singularity Institute. I

think that they’re one of the few organizations that has a clue. And they’re

growing. I think that you’ve got to put a lot of mathematical eggheads working

together on the problem. You can’t just look at it from an intuitive point of

view. You can actually understand intelligence on a mathematical level. It’s a

lot to ask. I think that friendly A.I. will be a tremendous challenge because

there’s just a lot of complexity in what constitutes a good person. And there’s

a lot of complexity in what constitutes what we consider common sense.

RU: Do you think the breakthrough might come through reverse engineering the

human brain?

MA: It’s possible but probably not.

RU: Good, because I don’t think human beings are that friendly. I think the

friendly A.I. has to be friendlier than human beings.

MA: It definitely does. And one way we could do that is by creating an A.I. that

doesn’t have a self-centered goal system. All creatures built by Darwinian

evolution inherently have a self-centered goal system. I mean, before we became

altruistic, we were extremely selfish. A reptile has eggs, and then the eggs

hatch and he just walks off. He doesn’t care about his kids. So this altruism

thing is relatively recent in the history of evolution, and our psychology is

still fundamentally self-centered.

JD: Isn’t trying to plan for the nature of these future AI’s kind of absurd

because of the exponential superiority of their reasoning… if they even have

what we would call reasoning? Can we really plan for this? It seems like once

you hit a certain threshold, the Singularity, by definition is incomprehensible

to us.

MA: I initially had the same issue. It seems impossible. But ask yourself, if

you could choose, would you rather have an A.I. modeled after Hitler or would

you rather have an A.I. modeled after Mother Teresa?

Regardless of how intelligent the A.I. becomes, it starts off from a distinct

initial state. It starts off from a seed. So whatever it becomes will be the

consequence of that seed making iterative changes on itself.

JD: But maybe in the first nano-second, it completely expunges anything that

resembles human reasoning and logic because that’s just a problem to them that

doesn’t need to be solved any more. And then beyond that — we have no fucking

clue what they’re going to move onto.

MA: It’s true, but whatever it does will be based on the motivations it has.

JD: Maybe. But not if it re-wires itself completely…

MA: But if it rewired itself, then it would do so based on the motivations it

originally had. I mean, I’m not saying it’s going to stay the same, but I’m

saying there is some informational similarity — there’s some continuity. Even

though it could be a low-level continuity, there’s some continuity for an A.I.

Also, you could ask the same question of yourself. What happens if a human being

gains control over its own mind state.

RU: How we understand our motivations might be distinct from how we would

understand our motivations if we had a more advanced intelligence.

MA: That’s true.

RU: I’m going to move on to something that was on the Lifeboat web site that

confounded me. It’s labeled a News Flash. It says, “Robert A. Freitas Jr. has

found preliminary evidence that diamond mechanosynthesis may not be reliable

enough in ambient temperatures to sustain an existential risk from microscopic

ecophagic replicators.”

JD: (Joking) I had a feeling that was the case. (laughter)

RU: What the hell does that mean?!

MA: Robert’s a bit of a wordy guy, but maybe I can explain it. You have an STM

(Scanning Tunneling Microscope.) It’s like a little needle that’s able to scan a

surface by measuring the quantum difference between the two surfaces. Diamond

mechanosynthesis would just be the the ability to have a tiny needle-like

robotic arm that places a single or perhaps two carbon atoms onto a pre-

programmed place. So, in life, we are all based on proteins. Carbon isn’t

slotted in like in a covalent sense, which is the way that people that are

working on nanotechnology are thinking of working. They’re thinking of putting

together pieces of carbon, atom by atom, to make a covalently bonding carbon.

Robert’s saying that it might be that the ambient temperature of the environment

is too hot for that needle to work. So you’d need to have it in a vacuum or

super-cooled environment for it to work.

RU: You did a good job of explaining that. Moving on, there’s some talk on your

site of the idea of relinquishment, which is deciding not to develop

technologies. Is that even possible?

MA: Instead of relinquishment, I like to talk about selective development. You

can’t really relinquish technology too easily. But you can develop safeguards

before technologies reach their maturity. And you can develop regulations that

anticipate future consequences instead of always taking a knee-jerk reaction and

saying: “Oh, this disaster happened; therefore we will now regulate.”

RU: Of course, it’s not really possible to regulate what everybody everywhere on

the planet is doing.

MA: No, it’s not.

RU: Are you familiar with Max More’s Proactionary Principle?

MA: (skeptically) Mmmm I’m…

RU: Too obvious?

MA: No, I don’t fully agree with it. I do think that the Precautionary Principle

has a point.

RU: Maybe I should say what it is. Basically, the Precautionary Principle says

that with any technology we’re developing, we should look ahead and see what the

consequences are. And if the consequences look at all dire, then we should

relinquish the technology. And Max More argues that we should also look at the

possible consequences of not developing the technology. For instance, if we

don’t develop nanotechnology, everybody dies.

MA: Well, I don’t think that would happen.

RU: I mean, eventually… just as they have for millennia.

MA: Oh — everyone will age to death!

RU: Right

MA: No, I agree that the balanced view looks at both sides of the equation. The

Precautionary Principle’s kind of been tarnished because there are people that

are super-paranoid; and people who use it as an excuse to rule out things that

they find ethically objectionable like therapeutic cloning.

RU: Well, you could take anything as an example. Look at automobiles. If we had

looked ahead at automobiles — we could debate for hours whether they were a good

idea. There would probably be less humans on the planet and there would probably

be less distribution of medicine and food and all those things. On the other

hand, we might not be facing global warming. It might be nice that there are

less humans on the planet.

MA: Yeah, but in practice, if some invention is appealing and has large economic

returns, then people are going to develop it no matter what.

RU: On the Lifeboat site, you have a list of existential risks. And people can

sort of mark which existential risk they want to participate in or work on. I’d

like to get your comments on a few of the risks that are listed. But before I go

down a few of these things on the list, what do you think is up with the bees?

MA: The bees?

RU: The honeybees are dying off. Einstein said we wouldn’t survive if…

JD: … there’s some contention about whether he actually said that. I heard that

somebody tried to find that quote, and they weren’t able to find it.

MA: What does this have to do with the bees?

RU: Einstein said that if all the honeybees died off, we’d all be dead in four

years, or something like that.

JD: Yeah, because of the natural cycles that they support. Somebody else

debunked that.

RU: Well, he was no Einstein. You better look into the bees because that could

be an existential risk.

So here’s one of the risks – or the risk aversion possibilities — listed on the

site: Asteroid Shield.

MA: Well, someone once said that we’re in a cosmic shooting gallery and it’s

only a matter of time before we get nailed. I wouldn’t consider this to be a

high priority, but in the interest of comprehensiveness, it would be a good idea

if we had a way to deflect asteroids. Serious scientists have been looking at

this issue and they decided that knocking it out with a nuclear bomb wasn’t

really going to work so well. It’s too expensive and too unpredictable. So

they’re talking about attaching small rockets to slowly pull an asteroid off

course.

JD: I recently read one idea — collect a lot of space junk and create one big

object to alter the gravitational…

MA: Or you can put a little electro-magnetic rail gun on the surface and

progressively fire off chunks of the asteroid, which will also alter its course.

Even if you altered the trajectory of an incoming asteroid by a tiny amount, it

would probably miss because earth is just kind of like a tiny dot in space. But

right now, we don’t have the capability. So if an asteroid were coming next

year, we would be screwed.

RU: Right. And people have started talking about it. I mean, there has been sort

of an advance in the level of paranoia about asteroids that come anywhere near

us in recent years.

MA: One asteroid came about half of the way between us and the moon a while ago.

JD: Was it big enough to kill us?

MA: No. It was a hundred feet across, though — not bad.

RU: So how much chaos would that cause? I guess that would depend on where it

landed.

MA: Measured in megatons, I think it would be about one Hiroshima.

JD: Oh, okay. We can handle that… as long as it doesn’t land in San Francisco.

MA: (laughs) Exactly! So I don’t think the asteroids are an immediate concern.

But it helps people comprehend the notion of extinction risks.

RU: The former NASA astronaut Rusty Schweickart has become involved in fighting

off the asteroids. He used to be part of the L5 Society. I think Ronald Reagan

would say it’s a way of uniting all the people of earth to fight against an

enemy.

MA: Yeah!

RU: I think he talked about that in terms of aliens, not in terms of asteroids.

MA: Well, I think all existential risks, including the more plausible ones, do

serve a function in uniting humanity, and I think that’s a nice side effect.

RU: The particle accelerator shield — what’s that about?

MA: Some people think — as we engage in increasingly high-powered particle

accelerator experiments — something bad could happen. One standard idea is a

strangelet, which is similar to an atom but much more compact. If a strangelet

could absorb conventional matter into itself, and do so continuously, it could

absorb the entire planet.

RU: Sort of like a black hole.

MA: Yes, very much like a black hole. It’s another one of those situations where

we want to instill a sense of caution in the minds of scientists. We don’t want

them to just dismiss these possibilities out of hand because it potentially

threatens their funding. We want them to actually give it a little bit of

thought.

RU: OK, what about “seed preserver.”

MA: Oh, yeah! Well that’s actually being done right now! The Norwegian

government built a seed bank on some far north Arctic island. They’re shoving

some seeds in there, so I guess when the nanobots come, or the nuclear war comes

and 99% of humanity is all gone, then we’ll be able to go there, withdraw the

seeds, and create life anew.

RU: You seem to be a believer in the Singularity. For me – maybe yes, maybe no.

But I find it amusing that Vernor Vinge could give a talk titled “What if the

Singularity Doesn NOT Happen”, the implication being that the idea that it might

not happen is a real stretch. Do you ever feel like you’re in a cult — that

people who believe in this share a peculiar reality?

MA: The word Singularity has become a briefcase word. People kind of want to put

their pet ideas into it, so the actual idea has become kind of unclear in the

minds of many people. To me, the Singularity is just the notion of an

intelligence that’s smarter than us. So if you say that you don’t believe in the

Singularity, it means that you believe that human beings are the smartest

possible intelligence that this universe can hold.

RU: I guess what I don’t believe is that it necessarily becomes a complete

disjunction in history.

MA: But don’t you think that homo sapiens are a quite complete disjunction from,

say, homo erectus or chimps? We share 98% of the same DNA. So what if you

actually used technology to surpass the human mind? I think you’d have something

substantially more different from homo sapiens than homo sapiens was from their

predecessors.

RU: Do you think it’s more likely that we’ll develop machines that are more

intelligent than us and keep them exterior to us; or will we find some way of

incorporating them into us? It seems to me, if you look at the passion that

people have for being on the net, and being able to call up and get and link to

all the information and all the intelligence on the planet, people are going to

want this inside themselves. They’re going to want to be able to have as much

information and as much intelligence as everybody else. They’ll want to unite

with it.

MA: I think that would be a great thing, as long as people don’t go using their

intelligence for negative ends.

JD: Do you think this would happen gradually. Or do you think there would be

this point in time where lots of people make choices like whether or not to

merge? And then, maybe, the people who are afraid of that will want to stop

people from doing it, and conflict…

MA: I think it could actually be somewhat abrupt, because once you have a

superior intelligence, it can create better intelligence enhancement techniques

for itself. So it could be somewhat abrupt. But I think that these smart

entities could also find a way of keeping humanity on the same page and not

making it like: “Oh, you have to choose… If your brother or your sister is not

going into the great computer, then…”

RU: I think if it happens soon enough, it will be viewed as just another way of

going online. You know, to young people, it will be just… “Yeah, this is how

everybody’s going online now.”

MA: But if you had implants in your brain, it would be permanent.

RU: Do you think chaos is built into life? As the Artificial Life people have

been saying, life happens on the boundary between order and chaos. If chaos is

an element of life, can machines include chaos?

MA: Well, uh — hmm. I think that people overestimate the power of chaos.

RU: As a Patti Smith fan, I have to disagree.

MA: (Laughs) Well, it’s such an appealing idea — chaos. But if you take a look

at human blood and compare it to some random bit of muck you find in the ground,

you’ll see that it’s highly regulated, and there are huge complements of

homeostatic mechanisms in bodies that are constantly ordering things. Relative

to the entropy in the air array outside; inside my body is a very orderly place,

Life forms are very well organized pieces of matter.

RU: Right, but if you achieve complete homeostasis, then nothing happens.

MA: That’s true. Life does have to be on that boundary so it is challenging

RU: Here’s a quote from an interview with you: “The idea of the Singularity is

to transcend limitations by reengineering brains or creating new brains from

scratch, brains that think faster with more precision, greater capabilities,

better insights, ability to communicate and so on.” OK. That sounds good, but

what about pleasure, play, creativity, eroticism… and whatever it is you get

from magic mushrooms? Where does all that go?

MA (Laughs) I think all that’s very important. I think about all those things.

RU: So you think that can be built that into the singularity?

MA: Yeah. Oh, for sure…

RU: David Pierce is the one person who really sort of deals with those ideas.

MA: Well, it’s not really too PC to talk about it. But when you take a

psychedelic, you’ve changed your brain chemistry. With mushrooms, you flood your

brain with this one psilocybin chemical. With technologies that let you actively

change your own mind, it would be less of a shot in the dark. More precision

modifications would be possible. And you could turn it on and off like a light

switch, too. You could have much more control over it.

RU: Looking forward to it!