Nature of Reality News ArticlesExcerpts of key news articles on the nature of reality
The Brain: A Secret History [is] a television series which reveals how much we have learnt about ourselves through the work of some of the 20th century's most influential, and deeply flawed, psychologists. In the course of making the series we found rare archive and first-hand accounts of the many inventive and sometimes sinister ways in which experimental psychology has been used to probe, tease, control and manipulate human behaviour. High on the list of psychologists ... was Stanley Milgram. Some claim that what Milgram did was ethically and scientifically dubious. I have always thought it was justified and hugely important, but I had never had the chance to interview any of the "volunteers" who had unwittingly taken part in his notorious experiment, to get their perspective. What Bill and the other volunteers who took part weren't told was that the electric shocks were fake – and that both the Experimenter and the Learner were actors. The real purpose of the experiment was to see how far the volunteers would go. Stanley Milgram had asked colleagues how many people they thought would go all the way and administer a lethal 450-volt shock. Most said less than 1 per cent – and those would probably be psychopaths. Yet Bill, like 65 per cent of the volunteers, gave an apparently lethal electric shock when told to do so.
Note: For an amazing, six-minute ABC News clip on a modern day version of the Milgram experiment, click here.
The Deepwater Horizon disaster is not just an industrial accident – it is a violent wound inflicted on the Earth itself. It lays bare the hubris at the heart of capitalism. This Gulf coast crisis is about many things – corruption, deregulation, the addiction to fossil fuels. But underneath it all, it's about this: our culture's excruciatingly dangerous claim to have such complete understanding and command over nature that we can radically manipulate and re-engineer it with minimal risk to the natural systems that sustain us. But as the BP disaster has revealed, nature is always more unpredictable than the most sophisticated mathematical and geological models imagine. In the arc of human history, the notion that nature is a machine for us to re-engineer at will is a relatively recent conceit. In her ground-breaking 1980 book The Death of Nature, the environmental historian Carolyn Merchant reminded readers that up until the 1600s, the Earth was alive. Europeans – like indigenous people the world over – believed the planet to be a living organism, full of life-giving powers but also wrathful tempers. There were, for this reason, strong taboos against actions that would deform and desecrate "the mother", including mining. [But] with nature now cast as a machine, devoid of mystery or divinity, its component parts [can] be dammed, extracted and remade with impunity.
Note: For illuminating insights into the nature of reality and the reality of nature, click here.
The Casimir effect governs interactions of matter with the energy that is present in a vacuum. Success in harnessing this force could someday help researchers develop low-friction ballistics and even levitating objects that defy gravity. For now, the U.S. Defense Department's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched a two-year, $10-million project encouraging scientists to work on ways to manipulate this quirk of quantum electrodynamics. Vacuums generally are thought to be voids, but Hendrik Casimir believed these pockets of nothing do indeed contain fluctuations of electromagnetic waves. He suggested [that] as the boundaries of a region of vacuum move, the variation in vacuum energy (also called zero-point energy) leads to the Casimir effect. Recent research done at Harvard University, Vrije University Amsterdam and elsewhere has proved Casimir correct — and given some experimental underpinning to DARPA's request for research proposals.
Note: Debunkers of the new energy movement have long claimed that zero point energy is a theoretical construct which cannot have practical applications. This article shows that attitudes are now shifting. For lots more reliable information on what's still hidden from the public on the new energy front, click here.
Most of us take for granted that those rectangular green slips of paper we keep in our wallets are inviolable: the physical embodiment of value. But alternative forms of money have a long history and appear to be growing in popularity. It's not merely barter or primitive means of exchange like seashells or beads. Beneath the financial radar, in hip U.S. towns or South African townships, in shops, markets and even banks, people throughout the world are exchanging goods and services via thousands of currency types that look nothing like official tender. Alternative means of trade often surface during tough economic times. "When money gets dried up and there are still needs to be met in society, people come up with creative ways to meet those needs," says Peter North, a senior lecturer in geography at the University of Liverpool and the author of [a book] on the subject. He refers to the "scrips" issued in the U.S. and Europe during the Great Depression that kept money flowing and the massive barter exchanges involving millions of people that emerged amid runaway inflation in Argentina in 2000. "People were kept from starving [this way]," he says. Closer to home, "Ithaca Hours," with a livable hourly wage as the standard, were launched during the 1991 recession to sustain the economy in Ithaca, N.Y., and stem the loss of jobs. Hours, which are legal and taxable, circulate within the community, moving from local shop to local artisan and back, rather than leaking out into the larger monetary system. The logo on the Hour reads "In Ithaca We Trust." Alternative (or "complementary") currencies range from quaint to robust, simple to high tech.
Note: Read the entire article at the link above to learn about the great range of uses and benefits provided by alternative currencies.
There is hunger in the forest at night. It is the witching hour of stealth and surprise, when wolf packs hunt their prey. Using a natural calculus of speed and distance, wolves drive their quarry deep into the snow. The chases end with an assault of teeth and snarls. Learning what's beyond the menace is not for the faint of heart. But Shaun Ellis and his girlfriend Helen Jeffs are willing to risk their lives and leave behind the last remnants of a human existence to survive in the world of the wolf. "It's almost like the wolf brings out a subconscious in you, a way of dealing with the world," Ellis said. But to do so, Ellis and Jeffs have to become wolves themselves. "Lose your human, think wolf," Ellis said to Jeffs. It is a skill he has honed in the last few decades. He has done what many scientists thought impossible and has become an accepted member of a captive wolf pack. "This is the way that you need to study these animals. Get close to their world. And then they will share their secrets," he said. As a man living among wolves, Ellis bade farewell to the comforts of human society and took his place on the ground to learn the ways of a canine hierarchy. He created his own sanctuary to study captive wolf behavior at the Coombe Martin Wildlife Park, on England's southwest coast. His goal is to find ways for wolves to peacefully co-exist with ranchers whose cattle are susceptible to attack. At a nearby pub one night, he met a woman who discovered she was fascinated both by the wolves and the man living among them. Jeffs became Ellis' assistant. And later on, something more.
Note: Don't miss the amazing and touching five-minute video of this love affair at the link above.
There could be alien life forms and believing they exist isn't contradictory to having faith in God, the top astronomer at the Vatican said in an interview published Tuesday. In the Vatican newspaper piece, titled "The Extraterrestrial Is My Brother," the Rev. Jose Gabriel Funes said the expansiveness of the universe means there could be life on planets other than Earth. "In my opinion this possibility exists," Funes, the director of the Vatican Observatory, told L'Osservatore Romano. "Astronomers believe the universe is made up of 100 billion galaxies, each of which consists of 100 billion stars. Life forms could exist in theory even without oxygen or hydrogen." Funes said that there might even be other intelligent life out there, but believing in its existence doesn't pose a problem for those of the Catholic faith. "It is possible. So far we have no proof. But certainly in a universe so big we can not exclude this hypothesis," he told the paper. "As there is a multiplicity of creatures on earth, so there may be other beings, intelligent, created by God. This does not conflict with our faith, because we cannot put limits on the creative freedom of God." He said human beings could even consider another life form an "extraterrestrial brother" because it, too, would be one of God's creatures. "How can we rule out that life may have developed elsewhere?" Funes said. "Just as we consider earthly creatures as 'a brother,' and 'sister,' why should we not talk about an 'extraterrestrial brother'? It would still be part of creation."
Note: For a fascinating summary of evidence presented by government and military professionals for the possible presence of extraterrestrials here on Earth, click here.
A man who received a heart transplant 12 years ago and later married the donor's widow died the same way the donor did, authorities said: of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. No foul play was suspected in 69-year-old Sonny Graham's death at his Vidalia, Ga., home, investigators said. He was found Tuesday in a utility building in his backyard with a single shotgun wound to the throat. Graham, who was director of the Heritage golf tournament at Sea Pines from 1979 to 1983, was on the verge of congestive heart failure in 1995 when he got a call that a heart was available in Charleston. That heart was from Terry Cottle, 33, who had shot himself. Grateful for his new heart, Graham began writing letters to the donor's family to thank them. In January 1997, Graham met his donor's widow, Cheryl Cottle, then 28, in Charleston. "I felt like I had known her for years," Graham told The (Hilton Head) Island Packet for a story in 2006. "I couldn't keep my eyes off her. I just stared." In 2001, Graham bought a home for Cottle and her four children in Vidalia. Three years later, they were married. From their previous marriages, the couple had six children and six grandchildren scattered across South Carolina and Georgia. Sonny Graham's friends said he would be remembered for his willingness to help people. "Any time someone had a problem, the first reaction was, 'Call Sonny Graham,' " said Bill Carson, Graham's friend for more than 40 years. "It didn't matter whether you had a flat tire on the side of the road or your washing machine didn't work. He didn't even have to know you to help you."
Note: For further intriguing reports from reliable sources which illuminate the nature of reality, click here.
Professor Ian Stevenson, who died on February 8 aged 88, was the world's foremost scientific authority on the study of reincarnation. The founder and director of the Division of Personality Studies at the University of Virginia, Stevenson spent more than 40 years travelling the world, accumulating more than 3,000 cases of children who appeared to have memories of previous lives. Stevenson's studies were informed by an encyclopaedic knowledge of history, philosophy and the natural sciences but characterised above all by an empirical rigour. He would travel vast distances to interview the children and their current and "previous" families, meticulously noting corroborative and conflicting statements in their accounts, and cross-checking official records, and police and autopsy reports. In 1960 he published his first paper on the subject ... which caught the attention of Chester Carlson, the inventor of the Xerox machine. In 1963 Carlson collapsed in a cinema and died. When his will was read, Stevenson was astonished to learn that Carlson had left $1 million to endow a chair at the University of Virginia, and a further $1 million for Stevenson himself to continue his researches into reincarnation. Carlson's bequest enabled Stevenson to set up the Division of Personality Studies, the only academic department in the world dedicated to the study of previous life memories, near-death experiences and other paranormal phenomena.
Note: For great video clips by Fox and ABC News of the amazing case of a young boy who remembered not only his past life as a WWII pilot, but also the name of his aircraft carrier and shipmates, all clearly verfied later, click here. For more inspiring information on life after death, click here.
Yale University researchers say their study that used lasers to create remote-controlled fruit flies could lead to a better understanding of overeating and violence in humans. Using the lasers to stimulate specific brain cells, researchers say they were able to make the flies jump, walk, flap their wings and fly. Even headless flies took flight when researchers stimulated the correct neurons. Gero Miesenbock, associate professor of cell biology at Yale, said if the process could be duplicated on mice, researchers might be able to better understand the cellular activity that leads to certain behavior.
Ronald McRae, a former investigative reporter [tells of] the military's forays into parapsychology, the quasi-science that studies the interaction of mind and matter. According to McRae, who is skeptical of psychic claims, the Department of Defense has spent $6 million annually in recent years to research such phenomena as extrasensory perception (E.S.P.) and mental telepathy. The Pentagon denies any interest in parapsychology. But in an interview with the New York Times, retired Lieut. General Daniel O. Graham, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, indicated that the military had unquestionably been involved in psychic research. While he considered McRae's $6 million budget figure an exaggeration, he said, "I wouldn't be surprised if the intelligence community were following this. They would be remiss if they didn't." Back in December 1980, Military Review, a journal of the U.S. Army, carried a cover story titled "The New Mental Battlefield" [in which] Lieut. Colonel John B. Alexander wrote that "there are weapons systems that operate on the power of the mind and whose lethal capacity has already been demonstrated." He ... urged the U.S. to step up its research in the field. "I know the Government's involved," says Physicist Russell Targ. "I did the work," he contends. He maintains that there was a "multimillion-dollar" project, part of which focused on "remote viewing" experiments. On a visit to the U.S.S.R. in October, Targ found that the Soviets had replicated some of the experiments he and his colleagues had reported in scientific journals. Says Targ: "In the Soviet Union, psychic research is taken seriously at the highest levels."
Note: For those interested in the military's use of "psyops" (psychological operations), you can view all 170 pages of the official U.S. Army psyops manual from April 2005, available here. Remote viewing has been used extensively in the military, intelligence, and police communities. For an excellent 50-minute video covering this most fascinating topic, click here.
Marilu Henner had her last bite of cheese 39 years and one day ago. “I celebrated my health birthday yesterday,” said Ms. Henner ... as - inevitably - the details began flooding back. “August 15, 1979, I gave up dairy products. It was a Wednesday. The weather that day was beautiful. And I went to see a doctor who told me, ‘You have to give up dairy products. You’re not going to be healthy unless you give up dairy.’” Ms. Henner is famous for playing the cabby Elaine Nardo in the 1970s sitcom “Taxi.” She has also written 10 books (mostly about health and well-being); starred in another TV series, “Evening Shade”; and appeared in several movies and Broadway shows. But thanks to a “60 Minutes” segment in 2010, Ms. Henner has become famous for what neuroscientists call highly superior autobiographical memory — the ability to recall past life experiences, including day of the week and date, with remarkably vivid detail. “You don’t know for how many years people have been talking about my memory,” Ms. Henner said. “And then they’ll ask me about something from two weeks ago and I tell them, ‘You can go a little further back than that.’” Back, say, to when she learned about being cast in “Taxi.” It was June 4, 1978, a Sunday.
Note: Explore more on this unusual woman in this ABC News article. Watch an excellent 14-minute segment from Australia's 60 Minutes on numerous individuals with the gift of perfect memory. How is this possible?
One of the very pillars of physics and Einstein's theory of relativity — that nothing can go faster than the speed of light — was [challenged] by new findings from one of the world's foremost laboratories. European researchers said they clocked [a] subatomic particle called a neutrino going faster than the [speed of light]. The researchers themselves are not ready to proclaim a discovery and are asking other physicists to independently try to verify their findings. "The feeling that most people have is this can't be right, this can't be real," said James Gillies, a spokesman for the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, which provided the particle accelerator that sent neutrinos on their breakneck 454-mile trip underground from Geneva to Italy. CERN reported that a neutrino beam fired from a particle accelerator near Geneva to a lab 454 miles (730 kilometers) away in Italy traveled 60 nanoseconds faster than the speed of light. Scientists calculated the margin of error at just 10 nanoseconds, making the difference statistically significant. Given the enormous implications of the find, the researchers spent months checking and rechecking their results to make sure there were no flaws in the experiment.
Note: This article fails to mention that the speed of light barrier was broken and seriously questioned several decades ago. To read more on this fascinating development, click here.
Clusters of up to 100 mysterious objects, bright white lights and strange, triangular shaped objects are just some of a huge surge in UFO sightings reported to the Ministry of Defence last year. The ministry has opened up its own "X-Files" for 2007, revealing 135 UFO sightings from across the UK. The number of sightings has shot up since 97 were reported in 2006. In Duxford, Cambridgeshire on April 12, a witness reported seeing fifty objects, each with an orange light, assembling in the sky before ascending. Two pilots in different planes above Alderney in the Channel Islands reported the same UFOs on April 23. They saw one bright orange craft, then a gap, followed by an identical object. In the West Midlands in December, one witness got a shock when a UFO shone a light into her window. Hilary Porter, from the British Earth and Aerial Mysteries Society (BEAMS) said sightings were becoming increasingly common. She said: "There has been a huge influx of UFOs. Absolutely enormous. There [have] been these huge formations that have been coming. We have had call after call after call, from business people right down to ordinary folk in their cars. There have been some very close encounters that have been quite unnerving for the people involved. We have had other people reporting orb sightings." A spokeswoman said the ministry does not investigate each and every report. "We only investigate if there have been any objects in British air space that may be military," she said. "Unless there's evidence of a potential threat we don't investigate to try to identify it."
Note: For a succinct summary of first-hand reports of UFO sightings by highly credible former government and military officials, click here.
When Nigeria's education minister faced an audience of 1,000 schoolchildren, she expected to hear complaints of crowded classrooms and lack of equipment. Instead, girl after girl spoke up about being pressured for sex by teachers in exchange for better grades. One girl was just 11 years old. "I was shocked," said the minister, Obiageli Ezekwesili. "I asked, was it that prevalent? And they all chorused 'yes.'" For years, sexual harassment has been rampant in Nigeria's universities, but until recently very little was done about it. From Associated Press interviews with officials and 12 female college students, a pattern emerges of women being held back and denied passing grades for rebuffing teachers' advances, and of being advised by other teachers to give in quietly. Most victims are college students such as Chioma, a slim, quiet 22-year-old with a B average, who repeatedly failed political science after refusing her teacher's explicit demands for sex. She said he was a pastor and old enough to be her grandfather. In a recent survey ... 80 percent of over 300 women questioned at four universities said sexual harassment was their no. 1 concern. But with a strong African tradition of respecting one's elders, families or teachers, harassed students can rarely expect support, even when repeated complaints are made against one individual. Yet attitudes are slowly changing. Ezekwesili, the education minister, says she wants to set up complaints programs and join forces with women's organizations. "We are going to take punitive measures against these teachers and give a voice to students," she promised.
Vows of celibacy weren't always required [for Catholic] priests. The church's absolute celibacy dogma is relatively recent, a mere half-millennium old in the grand span of Catholic history. So why has the church maintained this curious anachronism that disallows priests from marriage and a family? Ask St. Paul. "The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife, and his interests are divided," he wrote. On the other hand, St. Peter, the first pope, that revered rock upon which the church was built, was a husband. Close Bible readers know this because St. Mark's gospel makes elliptical reference to the apostle's mother-in-law. For 1,700 years, priests often married. The 43rd decree of the Council of Elvira in the fourth century, for instance, stated that any priest who slept with his wife the night before celebrating mass would lose his job. By the sixth century, the vow of celibacy had actually loosened further. Pope Pelagius II instituted a policy in 580 of allowing priests to marry as long as they did not transfer property to wives or children. Not until the Council of Trent in 1563 ... did the Vatican gavel fall resoundingly in favor of absolute celibacy.
No longer a gleam in the Pentagon's eye, ray guns — or radiofrequency (RF) weapons, to be exact — officially have arrived. As troops are increasingly forced to serve as an ad hoc police force, nonlethal weapons have become a priority for the military. The Department of Defense is currently testing the Active Denial System (ADS), which fires pain-inducing beams of 95-GHz radio waves, for deployment on ground vehicles. This surface heating doesn't actually burn the target, but is painful enough to force a retreat. While the military continues to investigate the safety of RF-based weapons, defense contractor Raytheon has released Silent Guardian, a stripped-down version of the ADS, marketed to law enforcement and security providers as well as to the military. Using a joystick and a targeting screen, operators can induce pain from over 250 yards away, as opposed to more than 500 yards with the ADS. Unlike its longer-ranged counterpart, Silent Guardian is available now. As futuristic — and frightening — as the ADS "pain ray" sounds, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research is funding an even more ambitious use of RF energy. Researchers at the University of Nevada are investigating the feasibility of a method that would immobilize targets without causing pain. Rather than heating the subject's skin, this approach would use microwaves at 0.75 to 6 GHz to affect skeletal muscle contractions. This project is still in the beginning stages. The ADS, on the other hand, is already a painful reality.
Note: For lots more concerning information on non-lethal weapons, click here.
As many as one in 300 HIV patients never get sick and never suffer damage to their immune systems and AIDS experts said on Wednesday they want to know why. Most have gone unnoticed by the top researchers, because they are well, do not need treatment and do not want attention, said Dr. Bruce Walker of Harvard Medical School. But Walker and colleagues want to study these so-called "elite" patients in the hope that their cases can help in the search for a vaccine or treatments. So far Walker and colleagues have not been able to find out why certain people can live for 15 years and longer with the virus and never get ill. The AIDS virus usually kills patients within two years if they are not treated. Walker has tracked down 200 elite patients and has now joined up with other prominent AIDS researchers to find at least 1,000 "elites" in North America and as many as possible globally.
First Star Wars. Now Star Gate. That is the real code name ... of a secret program that spent $20 million in the past 10 years to employ psychics in pursuit of the unknown. What the Pentagon's ultra-secret Defense Intelligence Agency [DIA] hoped it might get from the paranormal was a real advantage in the world of military intelligence. Last week ... the CIA (which spent $750,000 on psychic research from 1972 to 1977) determined that the program was a waste of money and moved to shut it down. Congress had ordered the agency to take over Star Gate last year and conduct a study of its effectiveness. "There's no documented evidence it had any value to the intelligence community," says David Goslin, of the American Institute for Research, which the CIA hired to do the study. So the three full-time psychics still operating on a $500,000-a-year budget out of Fort Meade, Maryland, will soon close up shop. At least a few powerful Senators on the Appropriations Committee will miss them. Senators Daniel Inouye and Robert Byrd, intrigued by stories of psychic successes, pushed hard during many years to keep Star Gate going. Tales of the effectiveness of psychics as spies have long been circulated. DIA credited psychics with creating accurate pictures of Soviet submarine construction hidden from U.S. spy satellites, and a 1993 Pentagon report said psychics had correctly drawn 20 tunnels being built in North Korea near the demilitarized zone.
Note: Though this article largely debunks remote viewing, it does reveal some key facts. Before 1995 the government consistently denied such a program ever existed. Former participants in remote viewing programs, many of them respected scientists, have spoken openly about their involvement. Many of these scientists believe that the program was not shut down, but rather all civilians were terminated from the program in order to take it to a higher level of secrecy. For an excellent 50-minute video on this program, click here.
After studying the classics at Princeton, I trained in psychiatry at Yale and in psychoanalysis at Columbia. That background is why a Catholic priest had asked my professional opinion ... about whether [a self-styled Satanic high priestess] was suffering from a mental disorder. My subject’s behavior exceeded what I could explain with my training. She knew how individuals she’d never known had died, including my mother and her fatal case of ovarian cancer. Six people later vouched to me that, during her exorcisms, they heard her speaking multiple languages, including Latin, completely unfamiliar to her outside of her trances. This was not psychosis; it was what I can only describe as paranormal ability. I concluded that she was possessed. Much later, she permitted me to tell her story. For the past two-and-a-half decades and over several hundred consultations, I’ve helped clergy from multiple denominations and faiths to filter episodes of mental illness - which represent the overwhelming majority of cases - from, literally, the devil’s work. Questions about how a scientifically trained physician can believe “such outdated and unscientific nonsense,” as I’ve been asked, have a simple answer. I honestly weigh the evidence. Those who dismiss these cases unwittingly prevent patients from receiving the help they desperately require, either by failing to recommend them for psychiatric treatment (which most clearly need) or by not informing their ... ministers that something beyond a mental or other illness seems to be the issue.
Note: The above was written by board-certified psychiatrist Dr. Richard Gallagher. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the mysterious nature of reality.
Initial DNA analysis of one of the 3,000-year-old elongated skulls found in Paracas, Peru, has revealed that they may not have been come from humans but from a completely new species, according to Paracas Museum assistant director Brien Foerster. A geneticist who tested skull samples has found that they contain mutated DNA that does not match any known genetic DNA information in GenBank, an open-access sequence database of all the known genetic data in the world. The unidentified geneticist told Foerster: "It had mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) with mutations unknown in any human, primate, or animal known so far. But a few fragments I was able to sequence from this sample indicate that if these mutations will hold we are dealing with a new human-like creature, very distant from Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and Denisovans. I am not sure it will even fit into the known evolutionary tree." According to Foerster, the geneticist in question, who apparently does contract work for the US government, is willing to go public, but does not want to come forward until the tests prove the theory conclusively. Peruvian archaeologist Julio Tello discovered the skulls in 1928 ... on the south coast of Peru. There are still many more tests that need to be carried out to verify what the DNA is. With the help of interested individuals over the last two years, Foerster has so far raised $7,000 (Ł4,260, €5,120) to do the initial DNA testing, but a full genome study to completely verify the theory would cost at least $100,000,
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