The interview includes an absolute gem of a comment from John:
"If people can't control their own emotions, then they have to start trying to control other people's behaviour."
During the talk, Dr Valone touches on a physics matter that has intrigued me for many years. He explains that the perceived ability of some unidentified flying craft to execute high-speed, right-angle turns indicates that their designers have developed technology that reduces or negates inertial mass. Dr Valone points out in his talk that it may be possible to reduce inertial mass by creating a very-high-voltage electromagnetic environment. Traditionally, inertial mass and gravitational mass for an object are assumed to always stay the same - this is known as the Equivalence Principle - but this assumption may be flawed. In certain exotic systems, involving high voltages, the inertial mass, possibly created by the object's interaction with the vacuum energy field, could be reduced.
Interestingly, I explored this possibility in an article a few years ago but not with regard to UFOs. Instead, I postulated that stars, being high-voltage, high-pressure, high-temperature plasma balls, may have a much lower inertial mass than their gravitational mass. This would explain why stars orbit the centres of their galaxies much faster than they should, a phenomenon that has caused mainstream physics to conclude that the universe is full of dark matter. I'll try and mention this interesting idea to Dr Valone; he may find it fascinating! :-)
Isn't it fascinating? What is that device? I have no idea but it does seem to possess an ability to hover and move through the air without any need for wings or rockets or a jet engine or propellers even a gas bag. In a sense, it's the best UFO I've ever seen footage evidence for because it is completely alien. No one would come up with such a flying device. This sort of encounter I think shows why it's so hard to be a responsible science-fiction writer, because there seems to be advanced stuff out there that makes no sense at all, so how can one write believably about it? I think I'll stick to writing stories about people in metal boxes; it's so much easier.
The progress of the researchers has a familiar ring. As has often been the case when enthusiasts have tried to discover the secrets of the Giza site, one person has almost always obstructed their efforts. Zahi Hawass, the head of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo at that time, first stated categorically that there were no underground chambers at the Giza site, even though the researchers had found and photographed underground chambers. He then barred the entrance to the temple concerned. He followed that up by taking a film crew down those same passages but made no effort to explore further. This tactic of Hawass's, of rubbishing theories and then blocking access to the site so that no one can explore further, has occurred multiple times. For example, after Jean-Pierre Houdin developed a sound theory of an inner ramp within the Great Pyramid, he went to Giza and discovered a collapsed corner of the pyramid wall, high up, exactly where an inner ramp could have weakened the pyramid's outer shell. Houdin had a quick look and then rapidly found the site barred to any access. Since that time, no one has been allowed to explore that collapsed corner. Similar events may happen again. Hawass is currently not the head of Egyptian Antiquities, possibly having been sacked (again), but it is possible he may be reinstated, which has also happened before.
It's available from all good bookshops and is a delight. Buy it, read it from cover to cover, laugh and be fascinated. After that, give it to someone you love, while downplaying the fact that you've actually read it first, all the way through, and pretend instead that you always had them in mind when you bought the book [Note: To do this effectively, do not read it in the bath].
In this youtube video, which I found on the interesting website www.topdocumentaryfilms.com, VICE host Shane Smith interviews Snowden and talks about what can be done to stop someone hacking your smartphone and recording everything you do, including what you say and where you go. Snowden gives some very interesting advice on the matter, along with comments on the broader matter of civil liberties.
I thought I'd add a few thoughts on the 'how not to be monitored by secret groups' topic. As I've got a computer science degree, plus professional experience, I do have some useful knowledge on the matter. Firstly, Snowden is absolutely right that if your smartphone is hacked, you'll have a very hard time discovering the fact. To be honest, if you are concerned about being snooped on, the only safe smartphone is no smartphone. Use random pay-phones if possible. Use old phones that are barely sufficient for calls and messages, as it'll be harder for snoopers to install useful eavesdropping software. These are the only safe-ish options. I've blogged before about the potential power of smartphones to hypnotise people while they sleep (which sounds outlandish but is perfectly feasible) and so I'm a big fan of minimum or no smartphone usage for anyone worried that they are being 'got at'.
When it comes to laptops, it is still very difficult to spot hacking and eavesdropping but there are ways to check if it's occurring. If you're connected to the internet via a router or switch, watch the packet activity light on the router. If it's chattering away when you've turned everything off to do with the internet, something funny is going on. Unplug the power to the laptop and work off its battery. If the battery is going down surprisingly quickly when all you're doing is typing an article, it's possible the laptop is sending information about you wirelessly while hiding that fact from your desktop status icons. (Clandestine groups may have hacked your laptop but they still need power to run their apps). Shut your laptop down when you're not using it; this shortens the time available to secret groups to hack your computer. You can also check your system logs to see if your computer was booted up when you weren't around. Turn on your firewall and turn off bluetooth, if possible. These acts don't guarantee that you won't be hacked (far from it!) but they do make it harder for anyone who's trying. Ultimately, assume that everything you put on your laptop or smartphone will be monitored. If you end up in a situation where you do need to hide information, store it in your head and pass it on verbally by whispering into someone's ear in a nightclub; that should be relatively safe. :-)
One final note. A lot of people respond to Snowden's revelations with 'I don't care if they're watching us, I've got nothing to hide!' For those people, I would say; 'you have nothing to hide from moral people but what if those people turned into Nazis or get taken over by Nazis?' The French Underground was rightly admired for their work in the Second World War. They'd have had a terrible time doing anything if France had introduced comprehensive surveillance before the War, for any reason. Snowden calls this problem 'turnkey tyranny' and he's right. For anyone not concerned about this threat, I'd check out the latest news from the U.S. Presidential elections…
The more important the topic, the more erroneous the official explanation.
Unfortunately, the presenter's call for revolution at the end of the documentary is, I think, naive. Revolutions are very risky endeavours, can involve huge bloodshed and often don't bring improvements to a country as they can be hijacked by very shadowy characters. A far better plan is to systematically improve a country's institutions, such as was done in post-war Britain. The demise of that wonderful programme is another story but I'll blog about that later; one (or four) grand conspiracies is probably enough for one day! :-)
If I find more interesting documentaries, I'll post them up here. It can be very tedious, trawling through youtube, looking for decent documentaries, and so I'll try and act as a filter, posting those programmes I find that I think are worth watching.
Other people focus on the Christian story; a baby in a manger, along with a big, bright moving star and three kings or Magi who visit the infant, bringing gifts. This whole scene, oddly enough, is strongly connected to Ancient Egyptian beliefs. In Ancient Egypt, the star Sirius, associated with the god Osiris, the brightest star in the Northern Hemisphere, was 'born' at the beginning of the Egyptian Summer when it rose above the horizon. Its arrival was always accompanied by the Three Kings stars, a.k.a. Orion's Belt. Also, the word 'Magi' is the root word of 'Magician' and originates with the Zoroastrian religion popular in Persia in the centuries before Christ, a religion from which the cult of Mithra was born.Read More...
The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage
It's by Sydney Padua and it's based on her web comic that ran for several years. Padua worked in Hollywood as animator for years before writing the webcomic and it shows; her illustrations are effortless, consistent, accurate and full of expression and life, which (take it from me) takes absolutely donkeys years and a bazillion hours to master. I must note that the book isn't a graphic novel; instead, it is a series of short stories about Ada Lovelace (seen by many as the first computer programmer) and Charles Babbage (seen by many as the inventor of the first computer) in an alternative universe created by Padua in which Lovelace doesn't die young and they both get to make the Difference Engine and the Analytical Engine. Along with each page of these stories are a big pile of footnotes, showing how much research Padua has done on the subject.
I found the documentary both engrossing and bizarre. Throughout the program, the people involved in the project were convinced that it was a viable and brilliant way to send humans into space and the other planets in our solar system. They pointed out, sensibly, that rocket motors did not produce enough power to effectively fling humans to the edges of our solar system, or our nearby astral neighbours. Chemical rockets were good enough to go to the moon, but that's about it.
This all made sense, but at no point in the documentary did anyone say 'wait a second, how on Earth are you going to accurately steer this craft as you explode nuclear weapons under its 'spring plate'? Also, how are you going to safely detonate a whole series of nuclear bombs under this 'spring plate' without them frying the crew with radiation or running the risk of one of them blowing up while it's still inside the bomb bay? The practical problems seem endless, and yet they carried on with idealistic zeal. Fascinating stuff.
When I was young, I thought people were much nicer to each other. This, I think, was down to the sci-fi books I read. When things went wrong in them, people pulled together, showed their mettle, overcame the odds like stars in a matinee war movie. It was a glowing, warm idea that was seriously dented when I saw ‘When worlds collide’Read More...