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An Experiment That Might Let Us Control Events Millions Of Years Ago

ESTHER INGLIS-ARKELL | Io9 | Feb 19th 2014

an-experiment-that-might-let-us-control-events-millionsMost of us have heard of the famous double-slit experiment. Usually it’s played out in a lab in seconds. But there’s one version, dreamt up by physicist John Archibald Wheeler, that can be played out over much of the galaxy, over millions of years. His thought experiment suggests that we could retroactively determine the fate of ancient photons.

The Double-Slit and the Delayed Choice

The Double-Slit experiment makes an appearance in every high school physics classroom, and for good reason. It gives students their first taste of the truly wild – although many people have explanations for it. Whatever the explanation, the results show us that the world is a stranger place than we have thus far assumed it to be.

An experiment that might let us control events millions of years ago

A light source, a barrier, and a back wall are all set up. In the barrier are two slits. When a photon comes from the light source, it can pass through the slits. From past experience we know what will happen when a succession of single photons hit the back wall. A pretty little wave pattern will emerge, as if the photons were going through both slits and interfering with themselves the way a wave would. But the photons can’t go through both slits. To check which one they go through, we put detectors in both slits. When we let a photon through, we note with smug pleasure that it goes through the left slit. The next goes through the left again, the next through the right, and so on, until we get around a fifty-fifty split between left and right. When we check the back wall, we are dismayed. Instead of the wave pattern, we find a pile of photons on the left and a pile on the right, just as if they were balls lobbed through one slit or the other. Interfering with the photons as they pass through the slits destroys the interference pattern and collapses the wave.

An experiment that might let us control events millions of years ago

That makes sense, but what if we don’t interfere with the photons on their way through the slits? This was the reasoning of John Archibald Wheeler, physicist, eccentric, and world’s best reason to call one’s child “Archibald.” In the mid-twentieth century, he thought of a variation on the Double-Slit experiment. What if along the back wall there were a screen, and behind the screen there were detectors. One detector was focused on the left slit, and one on the right. The screen would stay in place when the photon was released from the light source. It would stay in place as the photon passed through one slit, or the other, or both. Only when the photon had passed through the slits would the screen either be flipped up or not flipped up. The choice to flip the screen wouldn’t even be made until then. How could detectors of any kind interfere with something that had already happened?

But, of course, they did. When the screen was down, and no one could detect which slit the photons had come through, there was a wave pattern. When the screen was up, there was a little ping in either detector, and no wave pattern.

The Cosmic Delayed Choice

Wheeler hadn’t really expected anything else. The Delayed Choice experiment was meant to make people think about what the Double-Slit experiment meant. To some people, it meant that a choice made in the present could determine events in the past. Although it sounds ridiculous, there is a logic to it. Imagine you flip a switch up and one series of events happen, and flip it down, and a different series of events happen. Those series are absolutely consistent with which way you flip the switch, and they never fail. Doesn’t it follow that your flip of the switch was a cause that had an effect?

An experiment that might let us control events millions of years ago

To show that the Delayed Choice experiment wasn’t the result of faulty lab equipment, Wheeler proposed the entire thing on a much, much grander scale. Imagine a distant star emits light. Between that star and the Earth is a galaxy, but instead of blocking the light, it bends light towards the Earth. It bends light in of two different ways. A single photon, going from the star, can take one of two paths, to the left of the galaxy or the right of the galaxy. Suddenly, we have a Double-Slit experiment in space. The photons make their way to Earth, and we can observe them. We can observe either exactly where they come from, or we can neglect to see which side of the galaxy they came around. Again, we have a Double-Slit experiment, and we would get the same results – interference pattern if we don’t check the exact origin of the photons, and no interference pattern if we do check the exact origin of the photons.

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Spirit Into Matter — The Geometry of Life

Source: THRIVE Movement YouTube Channel and THRIVE Movement Website

By Foster Gamble

When I was a teenager, my deep concern about the global threat of nuclear annihilation set me on a life-long quest to understand the nature of energy and how we can relate to it harmoniously instead of violently.

The above video is a quick summary of decades of my research, influenced especially by people like Bucky Fuller, Arthur Young, Walter Russell, Nassim Haramein and Kenneth Snelson.

Many find it beautiful, and that is a tribute to nature and to the computer skills of Goa Lobaugh and the liquid buddha studios team as well as Robert W. Gray. But most important are the implications of what is represented.

This model indicates that the Universe is an infinite sea of living energy and that there are predictable patterns by which energy is concentrated into the whirlpools that we typically know as particles, atoms, molecules, planets, galaxies and clusters. These insights point to the possibility of accessing energy through harmonic resonance with the naturally occurring toroidal fields — and I have witnessed this manifested numerous times by successful inventors.

This perspective also can awaken us to realize there are no actual “solid things.” But instead there are aggregates of energy vortices — like the atoms and cells in our bodies organized by “meta-physical” consciousness, so that our own essential nature can be seen as existing beyond the body and being intimately connected with all other beings.

Following is a partial transcript of the video:

From decades of research, I have concluded that the torus is, in fact, the fundamental pattern that the universe uses to evolve. It is the energy flow, and the vector equilibrium is the fundamental structure of space.

My explorations with many scientists through the Sequoia Symposium, The University of Science and Philosophy, the Institute for the Study of Consciousness, and other venues has given me strong confirmation for these insights into primary patterning.

Not only did the two patterns appear as primary from tiny molecules all the way too vast galaxies, but over time we began to see how the two patterns fit together as one. A 10-year study by a team of Italian astronomers confirmed our understanding that even at the level of galactic clustering (about as big as one can think in physical terms),  the pattern of groupings match the vector equilibrium or isotropic vector matrix outlined by Buckminster Fuller.

I worked with physicist, geometer, and computer scientist Robert Gray to see if what we had learned would reveal a useful new understanding of the table with atomic elements: the ninety-two complex patterns by which spirit or consciousness manifests into what we call matter.

We work with the hypothesis that if the Taurus were fundamental, then it would probably be the shape of hydrogen – the fundamental atom.  The next element, helium, would be a double Taurus like the Sun itself.  And the rest would complexify from there as pressure was added to the tiny structure by the giant stars and supernova in which they are cooked.

Bucky Fuller’s Cosmic Octave Hierarchy laid out a potentially predictable series of shapes, with each electron as a Taurus on the outside and each proton as a Taurus in the nucleus – both connected by a tornado-like vortex of energy.

Confirmation of our identifying this atomic structure came along the way from the work of Patrick Flanigan:

“The doughnuts were spinning in such a way that energy was exiting at the equator and energy was coming in through poles. And the proton had the exact reverse. So now a neutron would be a combination of any electron and a proton coupled together.”

The Cosmic Octave Hierarchy is to 3D geometry what the music octave is to sound waves or the rainbow is too light…

MORE INFO HERE: THRIVE Movement Website




Monkey Uses Its Mind To Control Another Primate, In Tests Scientists Hope Could Help Paralyzed People

Kashmira Gander | The Independent | 19th Feb 2014

key step forward monkeyScientists have developed a way for monkeys to control “avatars” that could be used to help paralysed people move their bodies.

In the tests scientists found that brain signals from the master monkey’s mind could be used to stimulate an avatar’s spinal cord to control its movements.

The findings published in the Nature Communications journal have been called a “key step forward” and could help people who have damaged their spinal cord to the extent that its stops information flowing from the brain to the body.

People with such damage are often left unable to walk or feed themselves, and researchers say that even the smallest amount of movement could dramatically improve a person’s life, the BBC reported.

The scientists from Harvard Medical School in the US envisage their findings could go towards creating machinery to help patients.

As researchers said they could not justify paralysing a monkey for the study, they used a conscious monkey with an implanted brain chip, and an unconscious avatar to be controlled.

During the experiment, the conscious monkey’s movements were mapped according to patterns of electrical activity in its neurons.

The scientists then hooked the avatar’s spinal cord up to 36 electrodes to measure how it moved according to different combinations of stimulation.

In a different test, as the sedated monkey held a joystick, the master thought about moving a cursor up and down.

In 98 per cent of tests, the master could correctly control the avatar’s arm.

One of the researchers, Dr Ziv Williams, told the BBC: “The goal is to take people with brain stem or spinal cord paralysis and bypass the injury.

“The hope is ultimately to get completely natural movement, I think it’s theoretically possible, but it will require an exponential additional effort to get to that point.”

Dismissing claims that the technology could be used to control people’s bodies, Professor Christopher James of University of Warwick told the BBC: ”Some people may be concerned this might mean someone taking over control of someone else’s body, but the risk of this is a no-brainer.

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World’s Largest Solar Thermal Power Project Now Capable Of Providing Clean Energy To 140,000 Homes

Mae Chan | Wakingtimes | Feb 19th 2014

worlds largetst solar panelTake 300,000 computer-controlled mirrors, each 7 feet high and 10 feet wide. Control them with computers to focus the Sun’s light to the top of 459-foot towers and you have the world’s biggest solar power plant. The Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System is now operational and delivering solar electricity. At full capacity, the system produces a gross total of 392 megawatts (MW) of solar power, enough electricity to provide 140,000 homes with clean energy.

Scientists at Stanford University have recently improved the efficiency of a revolutionary solar cell by around 100 times.

Sprawling across a staggering 5 square miles of federal land near the California-Nevada border, it’s a beautiful scene as evident by the images below.

Long-mired by regulatory issues and legal tangles, the enormous solar plant “jointly owned by NRG Energy, BrightSource Energy and Google” opened for business last week.

Ivanpah, which accounts for nearly 30 percent of all solar thermal energy currently operational in the US, is the largest solar project of its kind in the world. The project is the first to use BrightSource’s innovative solar power tower technology to produce electricity, which includes 173,500 heliostats that follow the sun’s trajectory, solar field integration software and a solar receiver steam generator. Since breaking ground in October 2010, the project has created thousands of jobs and, at the peak of construction, employed nearly 3,000 site workers who completed more than 8.35 million man-hours. A total of approximately $650 million in salaries for construction and operations is expected to be paid over the next 30 years.

ivanpah2

“Cleantech innovations such as Ivanpah are critical to establishing America’s leadership in large-scale, clean-energy technology that will keep our economy globally competitive over the next several decades,” said Tom Doyle, president, NRG Solar. “We see Ivanpah changing the energy landscape by proving that utility-scale solar is not only possible, but incredibly beneficial to both the economy and in how we produce and consume energy. Whether it’s partnering, developing or investing, NRG will continue to provide a diverse set of solutions and technologies to get the U.S. to the ultimate goal of providing affordable, reliable clean energy for everyone.”

“Achieving commercial operation is a result of a well-coordinated effort between the Ivanpah project affiliates and Bechtel,” said Toby Seay, president of Bechtel’s power global business unit. “Consistent teamwork with a focus on safety and quality is key to executing a project of this size and complexity. It was a privilege to be a part of an iconic project that will bring clean, sustainable power to tens of thousands of households for years to come.”

ivanpah1

The solar energy harnessed from Ivanpah’s Units 1 and 3 are being sold to Pacific Gas & Electric under two long-term power purchase agreements, while the electricity from Unit 2 is being sold to Southern California Edison under a similar contract.

“Congratulations to the Ivanpah team for achieving commercial operation,” said Rick Needham, Google’s director of energy and sustainability. “At Google we invest in innovative renewable energy projects that have the potential to transform the energy landscape and help provide more clean power to businesses and homes around the world. Ivanpah is a shining example of such a project and we’re delighted to be a part of it.”

ivanpah4

“This is an exciting culmination of many years of hard work by all of our partners at Ivanpah. The completion of this world-class project is a watershed moment for solar thermal energy. With all three units now delivering power to our customers’ specifications, BrightSource has demonstrated its solar power technology at scale,” said David Ramm, chairman and CEO of BrightSource Energy. “This is a great kickoff to 2014, as BrightSource focuses increasingly on international markets and applications for our solar steam technology.”

About the Author
Mae Chan holds degrees in both physiology and nutritional sciences. She is also blogger and and technology enthusiast with a passion for disseminating information about health.

Sources:
brightsourceenergy.com
corporate-ir.net

More from Wakingtimes




How Evolution Shapes the Geometries Of Life: Scientists Solve A Longstanding Biological Puzzle

Phys | Feb 19th 2014

New research suggests that the shapes of both plants and animals evolved in response to the same mathematical and physical principles. By working through the logic underlying Kleiber’s Law (metabolism equals mass to the three-quarter power) and applying it separately to the geometry of plants and animals, researchers were able to show that plants and animals display equivalent energy efficiencies. Credit: Loretta Kuo Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2014-02-evolution-geometries-life-scientists-longstanding.html#jCp

New research suggests that the shapes of both plants and animals evolved in response to the same mathematical and physical principles. By working through the logic underlying Kleiber’s Law (metabolism equals mass to the three-quarter power) and applying it separately to the geometry of plants and animals, researchers were able to show that plants and animals display equivalent energy efficiencies. Credit: Loretta Kuo

Why does a mouse’s heart beat about the same number of times in its lifetime as an elephant’s, although the mouse lives about a year, while an elephant sees 70 winters come and go? Why do small plants and animals mature faster than large ones? Why has nature chosen such radically different forms as the loose-limbed beauty of a flowering tree and the fearful symmetry of a tiger?

These questions have puzzled life scientists since ancient times. Now an interdisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Maryland and the University of Padua in Italy propose a thought-provoking answer based on a famous mathematical formula that has been accepted as true for generations, but never fully understood. In a paper published the week of Feb. 17, 2014 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team offers a re-thinking of the formula known as Kleiber’s Law. Seeing this formula as a mathematical expression of an evolutionary fact, the team suggests that plants’ and‘ widely different forms evolved in parallel, as ideal ways to solve the problem of how to use energy efficiently.

If you studied biology in high school or college, odds are you memorized Kleiber’s Law: metabolism equals mass to the three-quarter power. This formula, one of the few widely held tenets in biology, shows that as living things get larger, their metabolisms and their life spans increase at predictable rates. Named after the Swiss biologist Max Kleiber who formulated it in the 1930s, the law fits observations on everything from animals’ energy intake to the number of young they bear. It’s used to calculate the correct human dosage of a medicine tested on mice, among many other things.

But why does Kleiber’s Law hold true? Generations of scientists have hunted unsuccessfully for a simple, convincing explanation. In this new paper, the researchers propose that the shapes of both plants and animals evolved in response to the same mathematical and physical principles. By working through the logic underlying Kleiber’s mathematical formula, and applying it separately to the geometry of plants and animals, the team was able to explain decades worth of real-world observations.

“Plant and animal geometries have evolved more or less in parallel,” said UMD botanist Todd Cooke. “The earliest plants and animals had simple and quite different bodies, but natural selection has acted on the two groups so the geometries of modern trees and animals are, remarkably, displaying equivalent energy efficiencies. They are both equally fit. And that is what Kleiber’s Law is showing us.”

Picture two organisms: a tree and a tiger. In evolutionary terms, the tree has the easier task: convert sunlight to energy and move it within a body that more or less stays put. To make that task as efficient as possible, the tree has evolved a branching shape with many surfaces – its leaves.

“The tree’s surface area and the volume of space it occupies are nearly the same,” said physicist Jayanth Banavar, dean of the UMD College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences. “The tree’s nutrients flow at a constant speed, regardless of its size.”

With these variables, the team calculated the relationship between the mass of different tree species and their metabolisms, and found that the relationship conformed to Kleiber’s Law.

To nourish its mass, an animal needs fuel. Burning that fuel generates heat. The animal has to find a way to get rid of excess body heat. The obvious way is surface cooling. But because the tiger’s surface area is proportionally smaller than its mass, the surface is not up to the task. The creature’s hide would get blazing hot, and its coat might burst into flames.

So as animals get larger in size, their metabolism must increase at a slower rate than their volume, or they would not be able to get rid of the excess heat. If the were the only thing that mattered, an animal’s metabolism would increase as its size increased, at the rate of its mass to the two-thirds power. But Kleiber’s Law, backed by many sets of observations, says the actual rate is mass to the three-quarters power.

Clearly there’s a missing factor, and scientists have pored over the data in an attempt to find out what it is. Some have proposed that the missing part of the equation has to do with the space occupied by internal organs. Others have focused on the fractal, or branching, form that is common to tree limbs and animals’ blood vessels, but added in new assumptions about the volume of fluids contained in those fractal networks.

The UMD and University of Padua researchers argue a crucial variable has been overlooked: the speed at which nutrients are carried throughout the animals’ bodies and heat is carried away. So the team members calculated the rate at which animals’ hearts pump blood and found that the velocity of blood flow was equal to the animals’ mass to the one-twelfth power.

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900-year-Old Viking Code Cracked to Reveal Secret Message: “Kiss Me”

Ria Misra | Io9 | Feb 13th 2014

A 13th-century Viking code that has eluded scholars was finally cracked by a runologist working at the University of Oslo. So, what was the secret message? “Kiss me.”

K. Jonas Nordby is the PhD student in Oslo who figured out the jötunvillur code inscribed on this plank:

Wooden plank inscribed in code via Medievalists.net

Wooden plank inscribed in code via Medievalists.net

The “Kiss me” message is just one of 80 Norse inscriptions also written in the code, many of them just as charming. Medievalists.net explains:

“It’s like solving a puzzle,” said Nordby to the Norwegian website forskning.no. “Gradually I began to see a pattern in what was apparently meaningless combinations of runes.” However, those thinking that the coded runes will reveal deep secrets of the Norse will be disappointed. The messages found so far seem to be either used in learning or have a playful tone. In one case the message was ‘Kiss me’. Nordby explains “We have little reason to believe that rune codes should hide sensitive messages, people often wrote short everyday messages.

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Giant Leap For Nuclear Fusion As Scientists Get More Energy Out Than Fuel Put In

 | Arstechnica | Feb 13th 2014

National_Ignition_Facility-640x426Researchers in the US have overcome a key barrier to making nuclear fusion reactors a reality. In results published in Nature, scientists have shown that they can now produce more energy than the fuel put into an experiment. The use of fusion as a source of energy remains a long way off, but the latest development is an important step toward that goal.

Nuclear fusion is the process that powers the Sun and billions of other stars in the universe. If mastered, it could provide an unlimited source of clean energy because the raw materials are plentiful and the operation produces no carbon emissions.

During the fusion process, smaller atoms fuse into larger ones releasing huge amounts of energy. To achieve this on Earth, scientists have to create conditions similar to those at the center of the Sun. This involves creating very high pressures and temperatures.

There are two ways to achieve this: one uses lasers and is called inertial confinement fusion (ICF), another deploys magnets and is called magnetic confinement fusion (MCF). Omar Hurricane and colleagues at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory opted for ICF, with the help of 192 high-energy lasers at the National Ignition Facility in the US, which was designed specifically to boost fusion research.

A typical fusion reaction at the facility takes weeks of preparation. But the fusion reaction is completed in an instant (150 picoseconds, to be precise, which is less than a billionth of a second). In that moment, at the core of the reaction, the pressure is 150 billion times atmospheric pressure. The density and temperature of the plasma created is nearly three times that at the center of the Sun.

The most critical part of the reaction, and one that had been a real concern for Hurricane’s team, is the shape of the fuel capsule. The capsule is made from a polymer and is about 2mm in diameter (about the size of a pinhead). On the inside it is coated with deuterium and tritium—isotopes of hydrogen—that are frozen to be in a solid state.

Dr. Eddie Dewald/LLNL

This capsule is placed inside a gold cylinder, where the 192 lasers are fired, hitting the capsule and causing a fusion reaction. The lasers hit the gold container, which emit X-rays, which heat the pellet and make it implode instantly, causing a fusion reaction. According to Debbie Callahan, a co-author of the study: “When the lasers are fired, the capsule is compressed 35 times. That is like compressing a basketball to the size of a pea.”

The compression produces immense pressure and temperature, leading to a fusion reaction. Problems with the process were overcome last September, when, for the first time, Hurricane was able to produce more energy output from a fusion reaction than the fuel put into it. Since then he has been able to repeat the experiment.

Hurricane hasn’t yet reached the stated goal to achieve “ignition,” where nuclear fusion generates as much energy as the lasers supply. At that point it would be possible to make a sustainable power plant based on the technology.

In plasma physics, the energy produced by a fusion reaction increases exponentially with the pressure applied to the system. According to Hurricane, they only need to double the pressure to achieve ignition.

Scientists have been trying to tame fusion power for more than 50 years with little success. Although the National Ignition Facility, a $3.5-billion operation, was built for classified government research, half of its laser time was devoted to fusion with an aim to accelerate research.

Zulfikar Najmudin, a plasma physicist at Imperial College, said: “These results will come as a huge relief to scientists at NIF, who were very sure they could have achieved this a few years ago.”

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The Science Delusion by Rupert Sheldrake

Source: iainews.iai.tv

By Rupert Sheldrake – Scientist and author, The Science Delusion

The biggest scientific delusion of all is that science already knows the answers.

The Science Delusion by Rupert Sheldrake

The “scientific worldview” is immensely influential because the sciences have been so successful. Their achievements touch all our lives through technologies and through modern medicine. Our intellectual world has been transformed through an immense expansion of our knowledge, down into the most microscopic particles of matter and out into the vastness of space, with hundreds of billions of galaxies in an ever-expanding universe.

But now that science and technology seem to be at the peak of the power, when their influence has spread all over the world and when their triumph seems indisputable, unexpected problems are disrupting the sciences from within. Most scientists take it for granted that these problems will eventually be solved by more research along established lines, but some, including myself, think that they are symptoms of a deeper malaise.

Contemporary science is based on the philosophy of materialism, which claims that all reality is material or physical. There is no reality but material reality. Consciousness is a by-product of the physical activity of the brain. Matter is unconscious. Evolution is purposeless. God exists only as an idea in human minds, and hence in human heads.

These beliefs are powerful not because most scientists think about them critically, but because they don’t. The facts of science are real enough, and so are the techniques that scientists use, and so are the technologies based on them. But the belief system that governs conventional scientific thinking is an act of faith. The biggest scientific delusion of all is that science already knows the answers.  The details still need working out, but the fundamental questions are settled, in principle.

The scientific creed

Here are the ten core beliefs that most scientists take for granted.

  1. Everything is essentially mechanical. Dogs, for example, are complex mechanisms, rather than living organisms with goals of their own. Even people are machines, “lumbering robots”, in Richard Dawkins’ vivid phrase, with brains that are like genetically programmed computers.
  2. All matter is unconscious. It has no inner life or subjectivity or point of view. Even human consciousness is an illusion produced by the material activities of brains.
  3. The total amount of matter and energy is always the same (with the exception of the Big Bang, when all the matter and energy of the universe suddenly appeared).
  4. The laws of nature are fixed.  They are the same today as they were at the beginning, and they will stay the same forever.
  5. Nature is purposeless, and evolution has no goal or direction.
  6. All biological inheritance is material, carried in the genetic material, DNA, and in other material structures.
  7. Minds are inside heads and are nothing but the activities of brains. When you look at a tree, the image of the tree you are seeing is not “out there”, where it seems to be, but inside your brain.
  8. Memories are stored as material traces in brains and are wiped out at death.
  9. Unexplained phenomena like telepathy are illusory.
  10. Mechanistic medicine is the only kind that really works.

Together, these beliefs make up the philosophy or ideology of materialism, whose central assumption is that everything is essentially material or physical, even minds. This belief-system became dominant within science in the late nineteenth century, and is now taken for granted. Many scientists are unaware that materialism is an assumption; they simply think of it as science, or the scientific view of reality, or the scientific worldview.  They are not actually taught about it, or given a chance to discuss it. They absorb it by a kind of intellectual osmosis.

The credibility crunch for the “scientific worldview”

For more than 200 years, materialists have promised that science will eventually explain everything in terms of physics and chemistry. Believers are sustained by the faith that scientific discoveries will justify their beliefs. The philosopher of science Karl Popper called this stance “promissory materialism” because it depends on issuing promissory notes for discoveries not yet made. Despite all the achievements of science and technology, materialism is now facing a credibility crunch that was unimaginable in the twentieth century.

In 1963, when I was studying biochemistry at Cambridge University, I was invited to a series of private meetings with Francis Crick and Sydney Brenner in Brenner’s rooms in King’s College, along with a few of my classmates. Crick and Brenner had recently helped to “crack” the genetic code. Both were ardent materialists and Crick was also a militant atheist. They explained there were two major unsolved problems in biology: development and consciousness. They had not been solved because the people who worked on them were not molecular biologists, nor very bright. Crick and Brenner were going to find the answers within 10 years, or maybe 20. Brenner would take developmental biology, and Crick consciousness. They invited us to join them.

Both tried their best. Brenner was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2002 for his work on the development of a tiny worm, Caenorhabdytis elegans. Crick corrected the manuscript of his final paper on the brain the day before he died in 2004. At his funeral, his son Michael said that what made him tick was not the desire to be famous, wealthy or popular, but “to knock the final nail into the coffin of vitalism.” (Vitalism is the theory that living organisms are truly alive, and not explicable in terms of physics and chemistry alone.)

Crick and Brenner failed. The problems of development and consciousness remain unsolved. Many details have been discovered, dozens of genomes have been sequenced, and brain scans are ever more precise. But there is still no proof that life and minds can be explained by physics and chemistry alone.

Materialism provided a seemingly simple, straightforward worldview in the late nineteenth century, but twenty-first century science has left it far behind. Its promises have not been fulfilled, and its promissory notes have been devalued by hyperinflation.

science-delusionIn my book The Science Delusion, in the spirit of radical skepticism, I turn each of the ten dogmas of materialism into a question. Entirely new vistas open up when a widely accepted assumption is taken as the beginning of an enquiry, rather than as an unquestionable truth. I am convinced that the sciences would be better off without these dogmas: freer, more interesting, and more fun.

Dr Rupert Sheldrake is a biologist and author of more than 80 technical papers and 10 books, including The Science Delusion. His web site is www.sheldrake.org.




NASA Is Working On Star Trek Healing Devices—’It’s Not Sci-Fi Anymore’

Jesus Diaz | Sploid | Feb 11th 2014

star trek healingNASA and Houston-based company GRoK Technologies will work on the development of new “breakthrough products,” noninvasive medical technologies designed to “regenerate bone and muscle tissues.” It really sounds like something out of Star Trek, but “it’s not just sci-fi anymore.”

That’s exactly what GRoK’s founder and CEO Moshe Kushman says:

It’s not just science fiction anymore. All indications are that 21st century life sciences will change dramatically during the next several decades, and GRoK is working to define the forefront of a new scientific wave.

According to the press release, NASA is “interested in the potential these technologies present for regenerating bone and muscle.” It wants this tissue regeneration technology to help astronauts during long interplanetary travel, when they “are susceptible to developing osteopenia, which is a condition arising from the loss of bone and muscle mass and bone density.”

The products that GRoK wants to build sound even crazier: The first is called BioReplicates—the name alone gives me shivers—a technology that will create “3-D human tissue models that can be used to test cosmetics, drugs and other products for safety, efficacy and toxicity.” Not only this will save animals’ lives, claims NASA, but it will serve to test substances on human tissue “with greater accuracy, reliability and cost-efficiency.”

The second one is called Scionic, a technology that GRoK claims could result in the “development of medical devices designed to target musculoskeletal pain and inflammation in humans and animals noninvasively and without the use of pharmaceuticals.” I really need one of these Scionics right now.

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Creation vs Evolution Debate Between Bill Nye and Ken Ham Summed Up In Two Very Telling Answers

Source: The Young Turks

“On Tuesday evening more than 3 million people tuned in to watch ‘Science Guy’ Bill Nye debate Ken Ham, founder of the biblically literalist Creation Museum on the topic ‘Is creation a viable model of origins?’  Mr. Ham believes that the world was created over a six 24-hour-day period about 6,000 years ago, and that all living land animals today are descended from those taken aboard Noah’s Ark some 4,500 years ago. Nye challenged Ham’s literal biblical view on several fronts, pointing out that radioisotopic and ice core data shows that the Earth has been around for far longer than the 6,000 years that Ham says it is, as does our ability to view stars that are more than 6,000 light years away. Nye also pointed out that Noah’s Ark, were it constructed the way the Bible says it was, wouldn’t actually stay afloat.”*  The Young Turks Ana Kasparian breaks it down.

Read more here from Sudeshma Chowdhury / Christian Science Monitor: Bill Nye versus Ken Ham: Who won?   Watch the complete debate below and draw your own conclusions:




Your Brain Edits Memories With New Experiences: Study

A new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests memory is faulty and can insert things from the present into memories from the past. In terms of accuracy, your memory is no video camera. Rather, memory rewrites the past with current information, updating your recollections with new experiences to aid survival. Love at first sight, for example, is more likely a trick of your memory than a Hollywood-worthy moment. READ MORE: Your memory is no video camera: It edits the past with present experiences




New Theory Suggests the Universe Emerged From a Long, Cold Deep Freeze

George Dvorsky | Io9 | Feb 6th 2014

spaceConventional thinking has it that the universe and all the matter within it exploded out from a single point, the so-called Big Bang Singularity. But a German theoretical physicists says this never happened. Instead, the universe started empty and cold, slowly emerging from a deep freeze.

This isn’t the first time a physicist has challenged the standard Big Bang model of cosmology by positing a Big Freeze sort of explanation. Back in 2012, scientists from the University of Melbourne and RMIT University argued that the early universe went through a dramatic transformation, or phase shift, in a manner similar to how a solid turns to a liquid.

But Heidelberg University’s Christof Wetterich’s theory is a bit different, and it’s one that dovetails nicely off an earlier theory of his — the suggestion that the Universe is not expanding, it’s just getting fat.

In his latest paper, Heidelberg says the universe sprung from a very cold and slowly evolving universe. Over the course of cosmic timescales, the masses of elementary particles slowly increased while the gravitational constant decreased. At the same time, Newtonian attraction remained unchanged. The result is what he’s dubbing a simple three-parameter “crossover model” without a Big Bang Singularity.

Writing in Science News, Gabriel Popkin explains more:

This logic leads to a cosmic history in which the universe still underwent inflation but did not necessarily continue expanding. And instead of starting with a Big Bang, time before inflation could stretch into the infinite past.

No measurement can prove whether particle masses have stayed constant because it is only possible to measure the ratio between different masses, not masses themselves. For instance, all masses on Earth are ultimately referenced to a standard kilogram sitting in a vault in France. So Wetterich’s picture is akin to saying that instead of the universe expanding, the ruler with which we measure it is shrinking, says Niayesh Afshordi, an astrophysicist at the Perimeter Institute of Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada.

[read full article here]




First Brain Map of Speech Units Could Aid Mind-Reading

Aviva Rutkin| Newscientist | Feb 4th 2014

“He moistened his lips uneasily.” It sounds like a cheap romance novel, but this line is actually lifted from quite a different type of prose: a neuroscience study.

Along with other sentences, including “Have you got enough blankets?” and “And what eyes they were”, it was used to build the first map of how the brain processes the building blocks of speech – distinct units of sound known as phonemes.

The map reveals that the brain devotes distinct areas to processing different types of phonemes. It might one day help efforts to read off what someone is hearing from a brain scan.

“If you could see the brain of someone who is listening to speech, there is a rapid activation of different areas, each responding specifically to a particular feature the speaker is producing,” says Nima Mesgarani, an electrical engineer at Columbia University in New York City.

Snakes on a brain

To build the map, Mesgarani’s team turned to a group of volunteers who already had electrodes implanted in their brains as part of an unrelatedtreatment for epilepsy. The invasive electrodes sit directly on the surface of the brain, providing a unique and detailed view of neural activity.

The researchers got the volunteers to listen to hundreds of snippets of speech taken from a database designed to provide an efficient way to cycle through a wide variety of phonemes, while monitoring the signals from the electrodes. As well as those already mentioned, sentences ran the gamut from “It had gone like clockwork” to “Junior, what on Earth’s the matter with you?” to “Nobody likes snakes”.

This showed that there are distinct areas in a brain region called the superior temporal gyrus that are dedicated to different types of sounds – the STG isalready known to be involved in filtering incoming sound.

One cluster of neurons responded only to consonants, while another responded only to vowels. These two areas then appeared to divide into even smaller groups. For example, some of the consonant neurons responded only to fricatives – sounds that force air through a narrow channel, like the s sound at the beginning of “scientist”. Others responded only to plosives – sounds that block airflow, like the b in “brain”.

Other scientists have used neural activity in attempts to recreate what people are looking at or capture people’s thoughts in the form of their inner voice.

Mystery of meaning

Mesgarani thinks that the phoneme map may make it easier to figure out what someone is hearing from nothing but brain signals. He has tried to do this before by analysing neural responses to sound in ferrets and in people. The map should make relating the brain activity to specific sounds much easier.

[read full article here]




Time Is an Illusion: Past, Present, and Future All Exist Now [MUST SEE VIDEO]

People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.” – Albert Einstein

Brian Greene, Professor of Physics and Mathematics at Columbia University, presents interesting information about the nature of space-time, including an explanation of how past, present, and future all exist in the now.

Brian Greene’s website – https://www.briangreene.org/

Complete show here: The Illusion of Time

Video Source: Willow Star YouTube Channel




NASA Sued Over Jelly Donut-Shaped Martian Rock

NewsyScience: An astrobiologist says the jelly donut-shaped Martian rock appears to be a kind of fungus that grew into the shot rather than being physically moved there.

Alien life on Mars? NASA lawsuit seeks more information on Red Planet rock

Source: rt.com

Images captured by Opportunity show the mysterious rock 'appeared' on an outcrop that had been empty just 12 Martian days ('Sols') earlier

Images captured by Opportunity show the mysterious rock ‘appeared’ on an outcrop that had been empty just 12 Martian days (‘Sols’) earlier

Is it proof of life on Mars, or just a simple rock? An astrobiologist has sued NASA in an effort to compel the space-exploration agency to offer more information on a mysterious stone that appeared on images taken by the Opportunity rover on Jan. 8.

Dr. Rhawn Joseph filed a lawsuit in California this week against NASA and its administrator, Charles Bolden, calling for the agency to “thoroughly scientifically examine and investigate a putative biological organism.”

NASA called the object a rock, saying that based on its supposed appearance in “after” photos of the spot but not in a “before” image, it was likely knocked into the rover’s purview by its wheels as it was maneuvering in the area.

White around the outside and red on the inside, NASA scientists have said the rock looks a little like a jelly doughnut. Yet the agency ultimately dubbed the rock “Pinnacle Island.”

“We have looked at it with our microscope. It is clearly a rock,” principal rover investigator Dr. Steve Squyres said last week during an event marking the 10th anniversary of Opportunity’s mission on Mars. “It appears that it may have flipped itself upside down.”

Yet Joseph says this may be a hasty assessment. He believes the object looks like a “mushroom-like fungus, a composite organism consisting of colonies of lichen and cyanobacteria, and which on Earth is known as Apothecium,” he wrote in the filed petition.

He also says the rock was present in the “before” photo NASA released. Joseph posted a magnified version of the earlier photo on Cosmology.com, showing, he maintains, that the object is partially visible. He explains in his petition:

“[S]pores were exposed to moisture due to changing weathering conditions on Mars. Over the next 12 days these spores grew and developed into the structure depicted… The evidence is consistent with biological activity and suggests that life on Mars may have been discovered.

However, in the absence of moisture, biological specimens such as Apothecium will dry out, turn brittle and break apart and this appears to be the condition of the structure as depicted.”

Joseph also criticizes NASA for not releasing more close-up photos. That is, assuming they exist.

“Any intelligent adult, adolescent, child, chimpanzee, monkey, dog, or rodent with even a modicum of curiosity, would approach, investigate and closely examine a bowl-shaped structure which appears just a few feet in front of them when 12 days earlier they hadn’t noticed it,” he wrote. “But not NASA and its rover team who have refused to take even a single close-up photo.”

Joseph added that it would be “inexplicable, recklessly negligent, and bizarre” if NASA did not take microscopic, high-resolution photos from a variety of angles.

NASA responded to the suit on Thursday saying it cannot discuss an ongoing legal matter, but that the agency has shared images with the public and is moving forward with research on Pinnacle Island’s composition.

“As we do with all our scientific research missions, NASA will continue to discuss any new data regarding the rock and other images and information as new data becomes available,” agency spokesman Bob Jacobs said in a statement to Popular Science.

Another NASA spokesman emphasized to The Huffington Post that the agency will proceed with caution before making any bold declarations.

“Finding evidence of life on worlds other than Earth is obviously an important goal for NASA,” NASA’s Allard Beutel said. “But it has to be definitive evidence.”

NASA’s caution, in this case, may not appease those eager for more information on any potential evidence of life on the Red Planet.