Don’t try this at home! Researchers have been conducting controlled experiments using volunteers and the fairy-tail red and white mushroom, the Fly Agaric.
Given in small quantities, many of those interviewed experienced memories they had forgotten about, usually associated with their early childhood. Playground incidents, seeing a steam train for the first time, a Christmas unwrapping… Many of those interviewed swore that these were genuine memories unlocked by the ‘shroom.
The next stage of the experiment was to increase the amount of the mushroom given to the volunteers. This had to be undertaken under strict medical supervision because too much Fly Agaric and the mouth and throat could become numb, and close due to anaphalactic shock. A proportion of those who had the higher dose of mushroom reported memories that were not of their childhood, and were not of their existing lives at all. They wrote down what they had “remembered” and were then interviewed by psycho-analysts to test the veracity of their memories. They all appeared to be genuine and not manufactured.
Researchers are preparing a report to publish but have already claimed that the mushroom has unlocked memories of previous existences that were locked and retained in some immortal part of the soul- it could not be the brain because the brain and body dies and rots. However the theory is that like a cloud-based IT application, upon being re-born, your characteristics from previous lives are re-loaded into your body as you develop in the womb. However the memories from previous lives are not normally accessible and are screened out. But the Fly Agaric mushroom stimulates a small part of the brain where these past-life memories are normally concealed.
Could this be evidence that we are immortal and have lived previous lives? The research is being peer-reviewed before publishing, and a number of volunteers are repeating the experiment to confirm the results.
But don’t try this yourselves. The Fly Agaric is a poisonous mushroom, and this experiment could only be conducted under strictly controlled medical conditions.
It sounds like something out of Star Wars or a 1950’s Ray Bradbury Sci-Fi story, but it’s true. The Japanese have invented, built and now successfully tested (on earth) a space cannon, with the intention of- wait for it- shooting an asteroid.
It’s called the Hayabusa 2 and will be launched into space next year. It’s first target is not just any old asteroid, it will be aiming at asteroid 1999 JU3. The intention is to create a crater for gathering mineral samples.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has reported that the mission “is progressing as planned”, and is still on track to arrive at the asteroid in 2018. The asteroid is in a stable orbit inbetween earth and Mars.
When it arrives the cannon which actually detach from the mothership, where it will travel to the other side of the asteroid before detonating itself. Once in position close to the asteroid, the space cannon will detach itself and remotely fire a 4lb metal projectile into the surface of the miniature planet. The mothercraft will then land on the asteroid and collect samples that have been disturbed from underneath the surface of the asteroid. The previous ship, Hayabusa 1 skimmed material from the surface of an asteroid and successfully returned to earth. This latest project will hopefully expose valuable minerals from inside the asteroid, ones that are usually not available.
“the potential to revolutionise our understanding of pristine materials essential to understanding the conditions for planet formation and the emergence of life,”
It’s natural to think of an extension of this project being able to blast open or throw off course any large asteroid that might be heading towards earth. The next potantially world-ending asteroid id expected about 2032.
Unfortunately, the cannon is nowhere near large enough to deflect an asteroid on a collision course with Earth. We’ve only got less than a couple of decades to sort something out for that. Ine idea being considered is a giant catapault in space to launch a large captured asteroid towards any incoming body. Being in space, the velocity of the launched asteroid will remain constant until it impacts aginst the invader. But one problem has been the corrosive effect of space on elastic and rubber. So perhaps we’re back to just building a much bigger space cannon. Hayabusa 3 anyone?
The brain. Famously said by Woody Allen to be his “second-favourite organ”. The brain. The key component used by Baron von Frankenstein to create his creature (too bad that he had to use the damaged brain of a criminal instead of a healthy brain- damn that clumsy Igor!).
Whereas organ transplants are common these days, there has been no known attempt to effect a human brain transplant. But advances in understanding that most complex part of our body are being made.
A 65 year old European woman donated her brain to science five years ago. Over the next half a decade, the brain was sliced into extremely thin strips and then studied and copied into a computer programme known as “BigBrain”. The brain can be viewed at virtually cellular level- zooming in to a resolution of just 20 microns across (a millimetre is 1000 microns). The information is being shared; reserachers worldwide are able to download digital slices of the computerised BigBrain to assist their own research projects.
Prof. Katrin Amunts at Dusseldorf’s Heinrich Heine University said:
“It is impossible to understand the function of the brain without knowing its anatomy, and its microstructure in particular. Brain structure and function go hand-in-hand.”
The donated brain was immersed in paraffin and transported to the University in Germany. A custom built bacon-slicer was used to cut the brain into nearly 7,500 separate slices, each the thickness of plastic food wrap. The slices were then stained, mounted on slides, and then scanned onto a computer. At McGill University in Canada, computer scientists then used this to create a 3D model, BigBrain, taking up a terabyte of computer memory. The project is ongoing; the next step is to use the BigBrain to simulate the entire workings of the brain.
At what point might BigBrain comes self-aware within the computer? We are told that that is not possible…
Most people will know of the experiments conducted by Dr. Duncan McDougall in the early 1900s which led to the theory that the human body weighed 21 grams less at the moment of death. McDougall weighed six patients, while they were in the process of dying from tuberculosis. When death was imminent, the entire bed of the patient was quickly placed on a highly sensitive industrial sized scale. In each case a small weight loss- about 21 grams- was recorded. A paper summarising his findings appeared in the journal American Medicine in 1907. He did the same experiment with dogs (which were easier to procure for his experiments than humans) and said that there was no weight loss at the point of the canines’ demise. This appeared to confirm the popular theory that, unlike humans, animals had no souls to fly heavenward at death.
The Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, who lived in the sixth century BC, thought that the soul was composed of an unusually fine or rare kind of matter, such as air or fire. However it is not known whether he conducted any experiments.
More recently, in 1988, East German researchers carried out experiments on 200 terminally ill patients. In each case the weight loss was exactly the same – 1/3,000th of an ounce or 0.01 gram. Considerably less than 21 grams.
No further valid experimentation and measurement has been undertaken in the last three decades, and while the minute weight loss has not been scientifically explained, various theories have been assembled to explain the change in weight from life to death. Some try to say that the margin for error in the calculations was larger than stated and therefore the results are questionable, while others have used the experiments to argue in support of the theory that “dark matter” being part of the make up of all living humans.
Whether it’s 21 grams, or 0.01 gram, the jury is still out on what it all means.
If you’re into hard analysis of the edge of sciences such as noetics, the paranormal and such-like, then you should have heard of professor Richard Wiseman. Born in 1966 he is the Professor of the Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire in England. Interestingly, before he became an author and leading light on such subjects as the nature of luck, he was a magician!
He is probably best known for his decade-long study into luck. In his study he found that 12 percent of people in the general population identify themselves as lucky, 9 percent as unlucky and most people consider themselves neither lucky nor unlucky. In his epic study he chose equal numbers of lucky and unlucky subjects.
In an early experiment, he had everyone enter the National UK Lottery. The “lucky” people did no better in the lottery than the “unlucky” people. However he found that the people who considered themselves lucky often had a more positive outlook on life and therefore interpreted events in a more upbeat way, then those who considered themselves unlucky. For example, a lucky person whose plane developed engine trouble and who made a successful but bumpy landing at an unscheduled airport would say that they were lucky to have escaped with their life. The person who considered themselves unlucky would say that they were unlucky to have been on a plane that got diverted to a different airport, causing delay and inconvenience.
In one experiment, the doctor asked his subjects to count the number of photographs in a newspaper. Unlucky people averaged about two minutes to finish the task, lucky people just a few seconds. How come? Well on the second page of the paper was a message, in letters two-inches high, which said “Stop counting — there are 43 photographs in this newspaper.” Lucky people usually noticed it. Unlucky people tended to miss it, as well as second message halfway through the paper: “Stop counting, tell the experimenter you have seen this and win £250.” Wiseman speculated that this was because unlucky people tended to be more tense and less likely to notice the unexpected. Those that considered themselves lucky came across as more relaxed and able to see what is there, rather than what they are looking for.
This ability to recognize and capitalize on chance opportunities is important if you are going to make the best out of what life throws at you. So is creating the opportunities for luck to occur. The study indicated that this was something that lucky people seemed to do without even thinking. Lucky people more often than not wanted to break from routine and have variety in their lives. These new or random experiences introduced new opportunities that, in turn, lucky people recognized and acted upon. And the more opportunities a person encounters, the more likely it is that one or more of these opportunities would turn out to be surprisingly good.
So you don’t need to have the luck of the Irish, a four-leaf clover, a lucky horseshoe, or some gypsy heather. What you need is a dose of inquisitiveness, inventiveness, the willing to experiment, and to make sure you don’t get stuck in a groove. Good luck with your endeavours!
The Brain in a Vat hypothesis is one of the better known “thought experiments” where someone (usually a philosopher, scientist or student of noetics) thinks up a situation, experiment or hypothesis, to illustrate a conundrum, moral dilemma or illustrate a theory. It is said that Einstein’s Theory of Relativity was based on a thought he had when he was 16 years old. He wondered that if he shone a beam of light into space, and then was able to fly and catch up with that beam and look sidewards at it, travelling at the same speed, what would he see? Would the light appear stationary?
With more than a nod to some Gothic horror story, the “brain in a vat” imagines that a demented scientist has successfully removed a human brain from its body. The brain is then placed in a vat of nourishing liquid that keeps it functioning and to all intents and purposes “alive”. Out spaced-out scientist then attached electrodes to key areas of the brain, and connects these to a sophisticated computer that generates images, sensations and emotions taken from the real world. The brain then receives these electrical impulses which simulate in every detail everyday experiences. In other words the brain receives all the information it would receive through sight, smell, touch etc as if it was back in its a body. The question is, would the brain be able to know that what it was experiencing was not reality, but a simulation? Would that simulation be, in effect reality?
At its heart, the exercise asks you to question the nature of experience, and to consider what it really means to be human. Do you need a body to be human? Even the famous philosopher Descartes questioned whether he could ever truly prove that all his sensations were really his own, and not just an illusion caused by as he put it an “evil daemon.” Descartes concluded “cogito ergo sum” (“I think therefore I am”). However, the brain in the vat thinks, and therefore exists.
Now you know where the idea for the film The Matrix originated!
Here is a scenario. You are at work on your official break. You have been told that you shouldn’t use your Office PC to access social media- you should go to the library to do that. You just want to check Facebook quickly and can’t be bothered top leave your desk. While you’re looking at your new messages, you get an uncomfortable feeling. You shut down the screen- just before your manager comes into the room. Phew! But how did you know she was on her way? A similar feeling can occur when you sense that someone is staring at you. You can’t see them, but something makes you turn round and clock them. What was that?
It’s called presentiment- it’ s not like Nostrodamus’ predictions, or crystal ball scrying. It’s more short-focused than that. Analysis was undertaken last year at Northwestern University, Illinois, in the United States. Julia Mossbridge a neuroscientist at NW University is the lead author of the review of data from 26 mainstream psychological studies and experiments dating back as far as 1978.
“Our analysis suggests that if you were tuned into your body, you might be able to detect these anticipatory changes between 2 and 10 seconds beforehand…”
The test subject volunteers in the studies exhibited significant changes in heart and brain waves as well as electrical measurements in their skin up to 10 seconds prior to experiencing randomly chosen stimuli. These were not just anticipating the random arrival at the boss at your work station, but a disturbing or arousing photo. It seems that many of the subjects somehow anticipated they were about to see something that would provoke a strong response such as fear, embarrassment or desire.
Ms Mossbridge said that researchers are not sure whether people are really seeing into the future or just reacting to their bodies somehow pre-anticipating something a few seconds before it occurs. Whatever the explanation, it’s an interesting step towards accepting that there is something akin to a sixth sense.
The search for what is now known as dark matter may have been going on for centuries. Early philisophers and alchemists quested for the thing that was present in everything. They cosnidered that if it could be discovered it could be manipulated to make base metals into gold, and even provide an elixir for immortality. The quest may be over- physicists may have finally found hard evidence for the existence of dark matter.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science in Boston will make an announcement in the next few weeks to co-incide with the publication of a report- if the final tests and analysis of data holds up.
Dark matter is thought to be the invisible bonding agent which makes up the bulk of the universe’s mass. Its existence was first theorised pre-World War 2, to explain the way that galaxies expand and move in clusters.
While dark matter seems plausible on paper, it hasn’t yet been possible to directly observe dark matter or know of what it’s made. However a machine called the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer may well pull the covers away and expose dark matter. These experiments, combined with information coming out from the Large Hadron Collider collisions mean that we are close to achieving a new understanding of why what we see is really so small a slice of what there really is out there in the cosmos.
That’s big stuff, although personally, I’d still like to change up some of my cheap Indian brass plates to gold….
As for where the expression “His Dark Materials” comes from- it’s from the infamous poem Paradise Losy by John Milton:
Into this wilde Abyss,
The Womb of nature and perhaps her Grave,
Of neither Sea, nor Shore, nor Air, nor Fire,
But all these in their pregnant causes mixt
Confus’dly, and which thus must ever fight,
Unless th’ Almighty Maker them ordain
His dark materials to create more Worlds,
Into this wilde Abyss the warie fiend
Stood on the brink of Hell and look’d a while,
Pondering his Voyage; for no narrow frith
He had to cross.
Very apt, I think!
“It’s just a question of mind over matter!” How many times have we heard that expression when we are being exhorted to put aside practical and physical obstacles and use the power of positive thought to achieve our aims? A woman called Jan in the United States is astonishing doctors with just such a skill. And, yes she does have a significant physical problem to overcome with her mind. A few years ago Jan lost the use of her limbs due to a degenerative disease that affected her spinal cord and caused her to be paralysed from the neck down.
Dpctors at the University of Pittsburgh created a robotic arm for Jan, which she can now operate by using her thoughts- directions given to the arm from her brain. In addition to the robotic arm itself, a computer program was developed that translates natural brain activity to move real limbs, into ones that control the robot arm. It is very sophisticated- instead of Jan having to think “Move an inch to the left and close fingers” she merely has to think “pick up the ball on the table”.
Andrew Schwartz, the Professor or neurobiology at Pittsburgh University said:
“We were blown away by how fast she was able to acquire her skill, that was completely unexpected. At the end of a good day, when she was making these beautiful movements, she was ecstatic.”
To make the connection between mind; Jan’s brain, and matter; the robotic arm, doctors performed a four-hour operation to implant two tiny grids of electrodes, measuring 4mm on each side, into Jan’s brain. The electrodes were pushed just under the surface of the brain, close to the neurons in the motor cortex that control hand and arm movement. Following this, the surgeons then replaced the part of the skull they had removed to expose and access the brain. Wires from the electrodes ran to connectors on the patient’s head. These were then connected to the computer system and tothe robotic arm. Doctors then had to record Jan’s brain activity for arm movements. This entailed getting her to watch the robotic arm and imagine her own arm was moving in that way. These thoughts were then recorded by the computer as individual neuron activity from her brain.
“Once we understand which direction each neuron likes to fire in, we can look at a larger group of neurons and figure out what direction the patient is trying to move the arm in,” Schwartz said.
While the progress made has been truly amazing, Jan’s progressed has slowed recently. That is because scar tissue that forms around the tips of the electrodes has reduced the quality of the brain signals to the computer and thus to the robotic arm. It is hoped that using much thinner electrodes will solve this problem. Once that has been achieved the next step will be to build senses into the robotic arm’s fingers, so as to transmit feelings of objects grasped back to the brain, such as heat, cold, and the nature of a surface touched- smooth, rough, whatever. Beyond that it is hoped that a wireless system can be developed so that there doesn’t have to be a physical connection between patient, computer and arm.
More power to Jan’s elbow, arm, hand and fingers. Mind over matter indeed!
Michael Mosley may seem like most of us: Hewants to live longer, stay younger and lose weight in the bargain. And probably like most of us, he wants to make as few changes to his life as possible along the way. Gain without pain? In a fascinating video on YouTube, Mosley talks about his re-discovery of the powerful new science behind the ancient idea of fasting. The video shows him testing out a theory that you can fast, and yet still enjoy food, on himself.
Check out his video here: Fasting can be Fun
And while we are on the subject of science helping us live longer, it’s worth just stopping to think what effect innovation medicine, technology and science has had on our longevity over the history of Homo Sapien. During the last few thousand years, we have tripled the number of years we can expect to live. Despite the Bible saying that the average life of a man before he met his maker was “three score years and ten”, very few people lived to 70 in ancient times, and across the globe, it was considered an achievement to pass 30 years of age. Scientists say that there is no reason why, with all the galloping medical advances we are making at the moment, we cannot triple again the average number of years we can expect to live. And then triple it again. Already, scientists say that the first person to live to be 150 years old is already alive today. And twenty years time after someone has reached 150, someone will have been born who will live to be an extremely ripe old age of 1000!
These are the predictions of a leading scientist,Dr Aubrey De Grey. He is the biomedical gerontologist and chief scientist of a foundation dedicated to longevity research. He claims that within his own lifetime doctors will have all the tools they need to ‘cure’ ageing, banishing all diseases, and extending life indefinitely.
Dr De Grey said: ‘I’d say we have a 50/50 chance of bringing ageing under what I’d call a decisive level of medical control within the next 25 years or so. ‘And what I mean by decisive is the same sort of medical control that we have over most infectious diseases today.’
The British scientist sees ageing as merely the life-long accumulation of various types of molecular and cellular damage throughout the body. He considers this is repairable:
‘The idea is to engage in what you might call preventative geriatrics, where you go in to periodically repair that molecular and cellular damage before it gets to the level of abundance that is pathogenic,’ he said.
But will we be all washed out mumbling drooling zombies in wheelchairs as we reach and pass 150? No. The expert says ‘This is absolutely not a matter of keeping people alive in a bad state of health. This is about preventing people from getting sick as a result of old age.
Dr De Grey is working with colleagues in the U.S. to identify enzymes in other species that can break down the garbage and clean out the cells – and the aim then is to devise genetic therapies to give this capability to humans. We wish him well!
Sounds like straight out of the Lost Symbol. The Collective Counscious measured by searches and crawles.
The Web Bot is claimed to have predicted several events prior to them occurring, most notably the September 11 attacks and the 2003 Northeastern United States blackout. However, many believe the predictions are vague and, at best, pseudoscientific.
Some of its predictions:
Major catastrophe in 2012 – The Web Bot has gained most of its notoriety for contributing to the 2012 phenomenon by predicting that a cataclysm will devastate the planet in the year 2012, possibly a reversing of Earth’s magnetic poles or a small series of nuclear attacks leading up to a major attack on this day. The prediction does not necessarily call for a complete end of the world.
This noetic science experiment is based on the intention-manifestation model of reality, where the goal is to generate $1 million of additional wealth for each person who chooses to participate.
The Million Dollar Experiment is open for everyone to join.(At the moment they don’t seem to accept any new participants)
The New Wealth Experience
The New Wealth Experience is an international virtual conference the month of October 2009 featuring the world top thought leaders. Their purpose is to awaken millions to connect with the direction of a higher purpose and conscious creation. Check out the Global Kindness Project .
The Intention Experiment is a series of scientifically controlled, web-based experiments testing the power of intention to change the physical world.Thousands of volunteers from 30 countries around the world have participated in Intention Experiments thus far.
The study: With support from the Templeton Foundation, cardiologist Herbert Benson and his colleagues randomly assigned 1802 cardiac bypass patients to one of three conditions:
those told they may or may not be prayed for (and who weren’t)
those told they may or may not be prayed for (and who were)
those told they would be prayed for (and who were)
Templeton Foundation synopsis:
“The Largest Study of Third-Party Remote Intercessory Prayer Suggests Prayer Not Effective in Reducing Complications Following Heart Surgery”
Why prayer experiments of that scale do not work:
Given that 95 percent of Americans express belief in God, all patients undergoing cardiac bypass surgery will already be receiving prayer—by spouses, children, siblings, friends, colleagues, and fellow believers and/or congregants, if not by themselves. Are these fervent prayers a mere “noise factor” above which the signal of additional prayers may rouse God? Does God follow a dose-response curve—more prayers, more response? Does God count votes? Are the pleading, earnest prayers of patients and those who love them not sufficiently persuasive (if God needs to be informed or persuaded of our needs)? Are the distant prayers of strangers participating in an experiment also needed?
Take part in The Global Consciousness Project
Are we all connected on a quantum level? Test the theory yourself using the instructions by Song Chengxiang!
Take part in the Affirmation Experiment
Dating back to the early years of WW2, the US Government is alleged to have experimented with Einsteins Unified Field Theory.
Check out what Michio Kaku has to say about invisibility! Not very far from what we learned about the Unified Field Theory!