## Sunday, February 28, 2010

### Previous Lives

Thomas Huxley, the famous English biologist, thought that reincarnation was a plausible idea and discussed it in his book Evolution and Ethics and other Essays. The most detailed collections of personal reports in favor of reincarnation have been published by Professor Ian Stevenson, from the University of Virginia, in books such as Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation and "Reincarnation and Biology: A Contribution to the Etiology of Birthmarks and Birth Defects Volume 1: Birthmarks" and "Reincarnation and Biology: A Contribution to the Etiology of Birthmarks and Birth Defects Volume 2: Birth Defects and Other Anomalies".

Stevenson spent over 40 years devoted to the study of children who have apparently spoken about a past life. In each case, Professor Stevenson methodically documented the child's statements. Then he identified the deceased person the child allegedly identified with, and verified the facts of the deceased person's life that matched the child's memory. He also matched birthmarks and birth defects to wounds and scars on the deceased, verified by medical records such as autopsy photographs.

A boy in Beirut spoke of being a 25-year-old mechanic, thrown to his death from a speeding car on a beach road. According to multiple witnesses, the boy provided the name of the driver, the exact location of the crash, the names of the mechanic's sisters and parents and cousins, and the people he went hunting with – all of which turned out to match the life of a man who had died several years before the boy was born, and who had no apparent connection to the boy's family.

Stevenson believed that his strict methods ruled out all possible "normal" explanations for the child’s memories. However, it should be noted that a significant majority of Professor Stevenson's reported cases of reincarnation originate in Eastern societies, where dominant religions often permit the concept of reincarnation. Following this type of criticism, Stevenson published a book on European cases suggestive of reincarnation.

There are many people who have investigated reincarnation and come to the conclusion that it is a legitimate phenomenon, such as Peter Ramster, Dr. Brian Weiss, Dr. Walter Semkiw, and others. Professor Stevenson, in contrast, published dozens of papers in peer-reviewed journals.

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## Lightcraft Will Use Laser Power for Space Travel

 The final frontier: Leik Myrabo's Lightcraft.
A "Lightcraft" designed in 1987 by Rensselaer students may one day revolutionize space travel, according to Leik Myrabo, associate professor of mechanical engineering.
In a Nov. 20 lecture, Myrabo, who is on extended sabbatical at Edwards Air Force Base in California, described his progress in testing the concept.
Since 1983, more than 1,000 Rensselaer students have worked on the Lightcraft project, Myrabo said. Now, he is funded by the Air Force and NASA to move the project toward reality. Lightcraft models built in a Rensselaer machine shop are being flight-tested at the White Sands Missile Range.
A carbon-dioxide-pulsed laser beams power to a Lightcraft, greatly reducing the need to carry heavy fuel. A mirror concentrates the laser pulses, heating the air until it explodes, providing propulsion.
Eliminating the need to carry heavy fuel cuts costs by several orders of magnitude. Instead of the $1 million it now costs to put a man in space, Myrabo is aiming for$10 a pound, the price of a first-class airplane ticket.
Using pulses from a 10-kilowatt laser, Myrabo already has sent 25-gram aluminum models up 99 feet, higher than Robert Goddard's first two successful rocket flights. NASA is funding a laser upgrade to 100 kilowatts, which Myrabo believes will send the models 10 kilometers into space. The goal, he says, is to put a one-kilogram model into orbit within five years.
This would make possible a new generation of low-cost microsatellites for high-resolution imaging and mapping, global positioning systems, astronomical telescopes, and communications and relay systems.
Myrabo is also exploring the use of microwaves rather than laser beams to power future Lightcraft vehicles. The beams would come from orbiting microwave stations.
Rensselaer students are now designing and testing components for more advanced Lightcraft vehicles that could be used for cheap manned space travel.

Below is a great clip that was filmed on campus last winter about professor Leik Myrabo’s exciting Lightcraft research.

The segment has some amazing visuals. But as it’s entirely in Japanese, here’s a quick primer: Lightcraft are small flying devices propelled by a beam of light that is sent from a ground-based, pulsed infrared laser – and they may be an early look at the aircraft and spacecraft of tomorrow.

### Magical Metamaterials

Magic lies in the beauty of a powerful illusion. This is what the latest achievements in optics seem to suggest; metamaterials are now able to optically turn one object into another.

Negative refraction. The picture on the left shows how a spoon in a glass of water appears to break at the air-water interface, and then continues inside the liquid slightly shifted to one side, but still keeping the same orientation as in air — left-to-right in this case. This optical illusion is due to the fact that the refractive index of water is different from the one of air — still positive though, as in any other natural material. On the right, there is a basic illustration of what would happen by filling the glass with a liquid with a negative index of refraction: the orientation of the spoon inside the liquid would appear to be diametrically opposite to the spoon in the air, namely right-to-left instead of left-to-right.
Concepts that have traditionally been associated with the realm of magic are now being turned into reality through science. It is no witchcraft, of course, just a very good illusion! At the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (Hong Kong, China), it has been proposed that the right metamaterial can make one object appear like another one – exactly as it happens in an illusion show.

What if a teaspoon could look like a cup or a huge elephant like a tiny mouse? Illusion optics: the optical transformation of an object into another object is the title of the publication, where Yun Lai, Zhao-Qing Zhang, C. T. Chan and collaborators report their new findings. By illusion optics, "we mean the capability of making one object look like another one," the three researchers explain. "In short, we have designed a device that can make an object appear like another object in a specific range of frequencies. Moreover, there is no way for an observer, who can perceive only in this range, to realize that this is an illusion."

The optical illusion takes place in a two-step process: first, the image of the real object is completely deleted by the device; then, the image of a different object is generated as a substitution for the cancelled one. The two steps are carried out by two different materials: the complementary medium and the restoring medium. After the complementary medium has optically cancelled the image of the original object, the restoring medium projects the image of the second object, generating the optical illusion. By choosing the illusion object as air, one could be able to, for example, open a virtual aperture in a wall and peep through it in a noninvasive way.

The right choice of the complementary and restoring media is of fundamental importance in order for the illusion to work. Unfortunately, it happens that the right properties do not exist in known materials; this is the reason why we have to resort to metamaterials, namely manmade materials that have been engineered in order to display exotic, but useful, electromagnetic properties. "Our theory is mathematically rigorous," Lai, Zhang, and Chan explain. "There are, however, some limitations before practical implementations. The main challenge in the realization is to make some manmade material that has a negative refractive index, which is a key component in our conceptual device. At this moment, making negative-refractive index material in the microwave regime is quite feasible. It would be a big challenge to make such materials in the optical frequency range, although there have been some amazing advances in some US and European laboratories that may help realize our design in — say — the next three to five years."

The illusion device at work. The picture shows clockwise from top-left: the scattering pattern of a fish-shaped object (with a dielectric constant of 2); the scattering pattern of a star-shaped object (with a dielectric constant of 4); the cloaking of the fish-shaped object by the illusion device; and the optical transformation of the fish-shaped object into the starfish-shaped object.
Metamaterials with a negative index of refraction [1] are needed to erase the image of the first object, before the image of the second object is created in substitution by the device. Such a metamaterial can bend light in completely new and unexplored ways, making magic become reality. An example? Imagine sneaking into a room full of people without anybody noticing your presence. Thrilling, indeed. A cloak made of metamaterials could actually turn this into reality by making you invisible; it could bend the light coming from your surroundings so that an observer would not see you, but only what is behind you. This stuff is not only good for a fantasy novel, but it is actually cutting-edge science: a material which can, at one frequency in the microwaves, deflect electromagnetic radiation, thus hiding an object inside, was first experimentally demonstrated in 2006 [2]. Soon the same effect was demonstrated at optical frequencies [3-4], before the illusion device was proposed by the researchers in Hong Kong. Here though, the principle behind the illusion device is not light bending as in cloaking devices but an exact cancellation and restoration of the optical images of the two objects involved in the illusion.

Doubts about when, how, and whether similar devices will be fully functional still need to be addressed. Steven A. Cummer at Duke University (North Carolina, USA), for example, points out that "one more issue that the authors acknowledge at the very end of their publication is that they have not accounted for loss or absorption by the materials that make up their objects. We know from previous work in the past few years that for this effect to work in practice, the materials have to be made of extremely low loss materials. This is by far the biggest challenge in making the effect work in practice, and it is a big one."

Despite these concerns, the high level of fascination that similar designs evoke is unavoidable and understandable. "It is pretty amazing to think that one could simply bolt a block of material onto a wall and suddenly be able to see through it," Cummer adds. "I cannot really say what a feasible practical application might be at this point, but I would not be surprised to see something physical come out of this work in a few years. This is just one example of the amazing things we can do with the concept of transformation optics, the same concept that produced the ideas behind electromagnetic cloaking. Only five or so years ago, we would have not even imagined that this could be done." And this is precisely the magic of science.

### Real Hologram tech

This shit is crazy, i can only imagine what they have in the "covert" realm.

The 'Cisco On-Stage TelePresence Experience' was an ambitious collaboration between Cisco and Musion Systems, which took place during the opening of Cisco's Globalization Centre East in Bangalore, India. Musion seamlessly integrated their 3D holographic display technology with Cisco's TelePresence's system to create the world's first real time virtual presentation.

Fashion show of SS'08 Preview Collection. Journey through time and liquid space to a futuristic world of bioluminescence, giant mechanic cephalopods, futuristic aquanauts and mysterious galactic polips. Witness the first catwalk show with real models showing with holographic models.

Called the Airborne Ultrasound Tactile Display, the hologram projector uses an ultrasound phenomenon called acoustic radiation pressure to create a pressure sensation on a user's hands, which are tracked with two Nintendo Wiimotes. As the researchers explain, the method doesn't use any direct contact and so doesn't dilute the quality of the hologram. The researchers, led by Hiroyuki Shinoda, currently have the technology on display at SIGGRAPH 2009 in New Orleans.

### Vanishing Cultures: Bushmen Of The Kalahari

Image via Wikipedia

The Bushmen on a hunt

The indigenous people of southern Africa, whose territory spans most areas of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, and Angola, are variously referred to as Bushmen, San, Sho, Basarwa, Kung, or Khwe. These people were traditionally hunter-gatherers, part of the Khoisan group and are related to the traditionally pastoral Khoikhoi. Starting in the 1950s, through the 1990s, they switched to farming as a result of government-mandated modernization programs as well as the increased risks of a hunting and gathering lifestyle in the face of technological development.
The Bushmen have provided a wealth of information for the fields of anthropology and genetics, even as their lifestyles change. The broad study of African genetic diversity headed by Sarah Tishkoff found the San people had the greatest genetic diversity among the 113 distinct populations sampled, making them one of 14 "ancestral population clusters".[1] and be considered the most basal branch of the phylogenetic tree comprised of all living humans, ie its divergence node with other humans is the deepest ancestral state that can ever be reconstructed using DNA from living humans.

Bushmen hunters examine animal tracks in the Kalahari game reserve. Photograph: Roger De La Harpe/Corbis

The San people, more commonly known as Bushmen, are believed to be the earliest inhabitants of southern Africa. They have lived for 80,000 years as hunter-gatherers in the Kalahari Desert, and are well-known for their expert survival skills in a harsh environment. Their unique clicking languages and their astonishing method of healing through trance dancing have made them a source of worldwide fascination. But these peaceful people are not immune from the problems of modern society, and have faced oppression and eviction from their homelands for years.
Vanishing Cultures: Bushmen of the Kalahari” visits the troubled San community whose once thriving culture is now facing extinction. This one-hour documentary takes a never-before-seen look at the fascinating history, the brutal struggles, and the seemingly impossible challenges of the Bushmen of the Kalahari.

heres the link, very good watch.
Vanishing Cultures: Bushmen Of The Kalahari

### Amit Goswami on Consciousness

Professor Emeritus of physics at the University of Oregon’s Institute of Theoretical Science, Dr. Goswami is a revolutionary in a growing body of renegade scientists who in recent years have ventured into the domain of the spiritual in an attempt both to interpret the seemingly inexplicable findings of their experiments... and to validate their intuitions about the existence of a spiritual dimension of life.
A prolific writer, teacher and visionary... Dr. Goswami has appeared in the movie "What the Bleep do We know?", The "Dalai Lama Renaissance", and the recently released award winning documentary "The Quantum Activist"

### Manufacturing Consent

Presenting an analysis its authors call the "propaganda model," the book argues that because mass media news outlets are now run by large corporations, they are under the same competitive pressures as other corporations. According to the book, the pressure to create a stable, profitable business invariably distorts the kinds of news items reported, as well as the manner and emphasis in which they are reported.
This occurs not as a result of conscious design but simply as a consequence of market selection: those businesses who happen to favor profits over news quality survive, while those that present a more accurate picture of the world tend to become marginalized.

Avram Noam Chomsky (; born December 7, 1928) is an Americanlinguistphilosopher,[9][10] cognitive scientistlogician,[11][12] and political commentator and activist. Working for most of his life at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT), where he is currently Professor Emeritus, he has authored over 100 books on various subjects.

Herman and Chomsky's "propaganda model" describes five editorially distorting filters applied to news reporting in mass media:
1. Size, Ownership, and Profit Orientation: The dominant mass-media outlets are large firms which are run for profit. Therefore they must cater to the financial interest of their owners - often corporations or particular controlling investors. The size of the firms is a necessary consequence of the capital requirements for the technology to reach a mass audience.
2. The Advertising License to Do Business: Since the majority of the revenue of major media outlets derives from advertising (not from sales or subscriptions), advertisers have acquired a "de-facto licensing authority".[4] Media outlets are not commercially viable without the support of advertisers. News media must therefore cater to the political prejudices and economic desires of their advertisers. This has weakened the working-class press, for example, and also helps explain the attrition in the number of newspapers.
(the myth of liberal media)
1. Sourcing Mass Media News: Herman and Chomsky argue that “the large bureaucracies of the powerful subsidize the mass media, and gain special access [to the news], by their contribution to reducing the media’s costs of acquiring [...] and producing, news. The large entities that provide this subsidy become 'routine' news sources and have privileged access to the gates. Non-routine sources must struggle for access, and may be ignored by the arbitrary decision of the gatekeepers.”[5]

1. Flak and the Enforcers: "Flak" refers to negative responses to a media statement or program (e.g. letters, complaints, lawsuits, or legislative actions). Flak can be expensive to the media, either due to loss of advertising revenue, or due to the costs of legal defense or defense of the media outlet's public image. Flak can be organized by powerful, private influence groups (e.g. think tanks). The prospect of eliciting flak can be a deterrent to the reporting of certain kinds of facts or opinions.[5]
2. Anti-Communism: This was included as a filter in the original 1988 edition of the book, but Chomsky argues that since the end of the Cold War (1945–91), anticommunism was replaced by the "War on Terror", as the major social control mechanism.[6]

### Created Quantum Creatures

Water bears, similar to the one pictured here, can survive in a vacuum and might be made to behave like quantum objects

Quantum weirdness could soon invade the living world, if a scheme to give a flu virus a strange double life comes off.
In quantum theory, a single object can be doing two different things at once. This so-called "superposition" is a delicate state, destroyed by any contact with the outside world. The largest objects that have been superposed so far are molecules. It is hard to put a much larger object such as a cat or human into a superposition because air molecules and photons are always bouncing off it.
But it might be possible with a small life form, according to Oriol Romero-Isart of the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching, Germany, and his colleagues. They hope to prove the concept with the flu virus, which exhibits some properties of life, because it can survive in a vacuum – solving the problem of pesky air molecules.

### Laser hold

Their scheme would use two laser beams, whose light exerts a gentle force on matter. Where the two beams cross they form an "optical cavity" holding the virus in place.
By adjusting the frequency of the beams, the laser photons can be made to absorb the vibration energy of the trapped virus about its centre of mass until it is slowed to its lowest possible energy state. In this "ground state" the virus is ready to go into a superposition.
Sending a laser photon towards the trap should do the trick. Since a photon is a quantum entity it has more than one option open to it. Thus it will be both reflected and transmitted at the trap, putting it into a superposition.
By impinging on the virus, it forces it into a superposition of both its ground state and next vibrational energy state. Now the virus should be doing two different things at once – the equivalent of you simultaneously mowing the lawn and doing the shopping. "They have come up with a really neat experiment – inventive and I think feasible," says Peter Knight of Imperial College London.
Romero-Isart and his colleagues speculate that they could pull off the same feat with a tardigrade, or water bear, an animal less than a millimetre in size that can survive extreme temperatures and a vacuum for several days.

### Big questions

Making a living thing do two things at once is more than a physicist's tour de force. It could answer fundamental questions about the nature of quantum theory.
Most physicists believe that the reason quantum behaviour manifests itself only in small things is that objects are difficult to isolate from their surroundings. But the prominent physicist Roger Penrose of the University of Oxford believes instead that there is a critical size, or mass, at which bodies cease to become quantum.
According to Knight, experiments of the kind proposed by Romero-Isart's team could finally offer a way to distinguish between the mainstream view and Penrose's.

### Morphogenetic Fields

The term [morphic fields] is more general in its meaning than morphogenetic fields, and includes other kinds of organizing fields in addition to those of morphogenesis; the organizing fields of animal and human behaviour, of social and cultural systems, and of mental activity can all be regarded as morphic fields which contain an inherent memory.
Rupert Sheldrake, The Presence of the Past (Chapter 6, page 112)

Morphogenetic fields contain the information necessary to shape the exact form of a living thing, as part of its epigenetics, and may also shape its behaviour and coordination with other beings.[citation needed] The term morphogenetic field has also been used in a different sense by mainstream developmental biologists, as regions within a developing embryo that will subsequently develop into particular structures or organs. Since the 1920s, mainstream biology has used the term morphogenetic field to mean "that collection of cells by whose interactions a particular organ formed". This usage is distinct from Sheldrake's in that nothing external to the cells themselves is implicated.

In 1981 Rupert Sheldrake outraged the scientific establishment with his hypothesis of morphic resonance. A morphogenetic field is a hypothetical biological field that contains the information necessary to shape the exact form of a living thing. A presentation at the Biology of Transformation Conference in 2007.

## Saturday, February 27, 2010

### Pale Blue Dot

carl sagan-
"Those worlds in space are as countless as all the grains of sand on all the beaches of the earth. Each of those worlds is as real as ours and every one of them is a succession of incidents, events, occurrences which influence its future. Countless worlds, numberless moments, an immensity of space and time. And our small planet at this moment, here we face a critical branch point in history, what we do with our world, right now, will propagate down through the centuries and powerfully affect the destiny of our descendants, it is well within our power to destroy our civilisation and perhaps our species as well."

### Data stored in Bacteria

Data stored in multiplying bacteria
by Natasha McDowell

A message encoded as artificial DNA can be stored within the genomes of multiplying bacteria and then accurately retrieved, US scientists have shown.

Their concern that all current ways of storing information, from paper to electronic memory, can easily be lost or destroyed prompted them to devise a new type of memory - within living organisms.

"A big concern is the protection of valuable information in the case of a nuclear catastrophe," says information technologist Pak Chung Wong, of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington State. The laboratory was set up as a nuclear energy research institute.

A similar catastrophe strikes the US in the cult television series Dark Angel, in which a colossal electromagnetic pulse wipes out the electronic infrastructure. "Bacteria may be an inexpensive and stable long-term means of data storage," Wong told New Scientist.
Small world

The scientists took the words of the song It's a Small World and translated it into a code based on the four "letters" of DNA. They then created artificial DNA strands recording different parts of the song. These DNA messages, each about 150 bases long, were inserted into bacteria such as E. coli and Deinococcus radiodurans.

The latter is especially good at surviving extreme conditions, says Wong. It can tolerate high temperatures, desiccation, ultraviolet light and ionising radiation doses 1000 times higher than would be fatal to humans.

The beginning and end of each inserted message have special DNA tags devised by the scientists. These "sentinels" stop the bacteria from identifying the message as an invading a virus and destroying it, says Wong.

"The magic of the sentinel is that it protects the information, so that even after a hundred bacterial generations we were able to retrieve the exact message," says Wong. "Once the DNA message is in bacteria, it is protected and can survive." And as a millilitre of liquid can contain up to billion bacteria, the potential capacity of such a memory system is enormous.
Spontaneous mutations

Deinococcus is adapted to survive in extreme conditions and is consequently very good at repairing any mutations that spontaneously arise in its DNA code. But Huw Williams, a bacteriologist at Imperial College, London, says that the small size of the inserted messages makes it no surprise that they survive 100 generations intact.

Williams thinks a greater danger than mutations changing the message is that they could make some bugs better adapted to their environment than others. So far, Wong and colleagues have kept the different message colonies separate, but in future they aim to retrieve messages from a mixed colony.

"If you grow the colonies indefinitely, less well-adapted bacteria may be lost over time," he says. "The question is whether you will be able to retain all your message populations. But this is intriguing work and very forward looking."

### Fractal Geometry / Electromagnetism / Golden Ratio

(image of an actual snowflake)

Relativity's replacement announced by Dan Winter - "The Word 'Relativity' is obsolete to describe the relationship of mass to energy because that relationship (which allows charge to compress and thus be called MASS) is more precisely FRACTAL.

Thus geometric self-similarity perfected (Golden Ratio) allows charge (energy) to compress (non destructively) and thus become MASS. Fractality (of charge) creates MASS , life force, and self-organization (because that is what permits implosion). That Fractal path permitting non-destructive charge compression simultaneously produces charge ACCLERATION -(recursion in velocity heterodynes) which is the only source of the phenomenon called GRAVITY. The rotation of energy which stores the inertia called mass - which is also our only definition of time - is always only held in place by the centripedal charge force (gravity) caused by fractal self-similarity - being the only way any wave system (time or space) emerges from chaos."

In mathematics and the arts, two quantities are in the golden ratio if the ratio of the sum of the quantities to the larger one equals the ratio of the larger one to the smaller. The golden ratio is an irrational mathematical constant, approximately 1.6180339887. Other names frequently used for the golden ratio are the golden section (Latin: sectio aurea) and golden mean. Other terms encountered include extreme and mean ratio, medial section, divine proportion, divine section (Latin: sectio divina), golden proportion, golden cut, golden number, and mean of Phidias. The golden ratio is often denoted by the Greek letter phi, usually lower case (φ).
The figure on the right illustrates the geometric relationship that defines this constant. Expressed algebraically:
$\frac{a+b}{a} = \frac{a}{b} = \varphi\,.$

### Robotization of Man

Homo Evolutis - Beyond the Crisis there is Evolution
Humans have been evolving over time. Now Juan Enriquez predicts the Homo Evolutis to come next. He is presenting this idea at TED, a conference made for people just like him.
Even as mega-banks topple, Juan Enriquez says the big reboot is yet to come. But don’t look for it on your ballot - or in the stock exchange. It’ll come from science labs, and it promises keener bodies and minds. Our kids are going to be, let’s say - different. Talking first about our current financial crisis he then continues to talk about what will come after the crisis, mainly from a scientific point of view, but with very nice jokes and funny images in between
Beyond the crisis, mindboggling science and the arrival of Homo evolutis

### The Future? Singularity?

Image via Wikipedia

Technological singularity is a term used with varying meanings related to self-improving artificial intelligence, superintelligence,[1] breakdowns in the predictability of the future, accelerating change of the exponential or superexponential/catastrophic sort, and more generic "big events" in history.

In 1965, I. J. Good first wrote of an "intelligence explosion", suggesting that if machines could even slightly surpass human intellect, they could improve their own designs in ways unforeseen by their designers, and thus recursively augment themselves into far greater intelligences. The first such improvements might be small, but as the machine became more intelligent it would become better at becoming more intelligent, which could lead to a cascade of self-improvements and a sudden surge upward to superintelligence.

singularity summit

Watch Ray Kurzweil - Singularity Summit 08 in Tech & Gaming  |  View More Free Videos Online at Veoh.com