Science & Technology


Robot passes the 'wise-men puzzle', revealing a startling degree of self-awareness

© Unknown
A trio of Nao robots has passed a modified version of the "wise man puzzle" and in so doing have taken another step towards demonstrating self-awareness in robotics. The feat was demonstrated at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York to the press prior to a presentation to be given at next month's RO-MAN conference in Kobe, Japan.

The wise-men puzzle is a classic test of self awareness, it goes like this: A king is looking for a new wise man for counsel so he calls three of the wisest men around to his quarters. There he places a hat on the head of each of the men from behind so they cannot see it. He then tells them that each hat is either blue or white and that the contest is being done fairly, and that the first man to deduce the color of the hat on his own head wins. The only way the contest could be conducted fairly would be for all three to have the same color hat, thus, the first man to note the color of the hats on the other two men and declare his to be the same color, would win.

Comment: Also see:


Science has disintegrated into a cartoon of reality

"At some point during the modern age of public relations, it occurred to governments and corporations that they could fabricate any sort of knowledge. For example, they could pretend to follow the scientific method, pretend to take all the right steps in proper sequence, and then attach the seals and certifications of approval, without ever doing actual science. It was quite an insight—much like the early discovery that a series of drawings could be filmed to create a moving cartoon. Much like the discovery that many people preferred cartoons over real actors..." (The Underground, Jon Rappoport)

People tend to equate science with logic. But a great deal of science isn't logic. It's simpler:

A researcher develops a hypothesis, an idea about what he thinks is going to happen if he runs an experiment. So he runs the experiment.

He observes whether his prediction came true.

If it doesn't, he goes back to the drawing board, or he tosses the hypothesis out with the coffee grinds, eggshells, and orange rinds.

If his prediction does come true, he publishes. He lays out exactly what he did and how the experiment turned out.

Then other independent researchers must repeat that experiment in exactly the same way, in order to find out whether they obtain the same outcome. If they do, the hypothesis gains credence. It becomes a theory. It graduates into a higher realm of certainty. This would constitute true consensus.

Consensus is not a gaggle of scientists or politicians or bureaucrats appearing on television and claiming there is a consensus.

Comment: Dr. Richard Horton, the current editor-in-chief of the Lancet - considered to be one of the most well respected peer-reviewed medical journals in the world recently published a statement declaring that much of the published research is in fact unreliable at best, if not completely false.
"The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness." (source)


Immortal Mind: Is consciousness limited to the brain?

The Immortal Mind, by Ervin Laszlo and Anthony Peake, is a briskly paced, logically structured exploration of the issue of postmortem survival that presents some of the best empirical evidence and then ties it in with information theory. Since I'm interested in the idea of an information field as the fundamental substrate of physical reality, I found the latter section of the book particularly interesting.

It's by no means a difficult read. The style is conversational, and even the more complex case studies (such as the cross correspondences) are boiled down to their essentials. For readers of this blog, many — perhaps most — of the specific cases will be familiar, though there were a few that were new to me. One is a case investigated by Erlendur Haraldsson involving the Icelandic medium Indridi Indridason. In a 1905 sitting, the entranced medium began speaking in Danish, though Indridason knew only a few words of that language. The communicator, a "Mr. Jersen," reported that a major fire was underway in a factory in Copenhagen. An hour later he returned to say that the fire was now under control. He described himself as having been a "fabricant" or manufacturer. In a subsequent sitting Jensen
informed the group that his Christian name was Emil, that he was a bachelor with no children, and that he was "not so young" when he died. He added that he had siblings but they were "not here in heaven."
Because communication between Iceland and Denmark was so slow, it took more than a month after the first séance for news from Copenhagen to reach Iceland. The Danish paper Politiken carried a report on a fire at a lamp factory that took place on November 24 and was contained by midnight. This was the same date as the first sitting, and Jensen's update on the fire's status had come in at midnight, Copenhagen time. Haraldsson looked through copies of the same newspaper for the period two weeks before and two weeks after the fire and found none that matched the timing or details of the one reported by Jensen. He then went through the records in the Royal Library in Copenhagen and found an entry for a manufacturer named Emil Jensen, who had lived only two doors down from the factory that caught fire. Jensen had died in 1898 at the age of 50, was indeed a childless bachelor, and his six siblings were in fact alive ("not ... in heaven") in 1905.

Comment: SOTT editor Pierre Lescaudron's book Earth Changes and the Human-Cosmic Connection looks at some of the ways this idea may manifest in our world. If we 'in-form' the information field/cosmic mind, what are we telling it? And what might the response to our signal be?


Incoming! Unexpected flying 'space junk' sees ISS crew take refuge in Soyuz craft

© NASA TV / Reuters
Astronauts had to seek shelter inside the Soyuz vehicle, docked to the ISS, as space debris unexpectedly approached the station. However, the crew of two Russians and an American, were soon given the all clear to return back to the station.

As the information on approaching debris appeared too late to carry out an orbit adjustment of the International Space Station (ISS), the current three members of its crew had to stay inside the Soyuz vehicle for about 10 minutes, according to Roscosmos.

"The data on the debris appeared unexpectedly, there was no time to sustain the operation of ISS orbit adjustment," a spokesman for the Russian Mission Control Center told TASS.

According to the safety instructions for such situations, the crew has to move to the most protected place on the station, that is, its manual spacecraft, and close the passageways, a space industry source told Interfax. The source added that the American party is responsible for the detection of possible collisions.

The source also added that the debris was a piece from an old Soviet weather satellite "Meteor-2," which was launched into space in 1979.

Comment: If this really was debris from an old Soviet weather satellite "Meteor-2" ,perhaps we ought to ask the following question. Why have more satellites been crashing to Earth since 2011?

Could it be because they're being knocked out of orbit by incoming meteors and comet fragments?

See: Satellite debris or UFO Unidentified metal sphere falls from the sky in Brazil and Space station dodges space junk again

Read Pierre Lescaudron and Laura Knight-Jadczyk's book, Earth Changes and the Human-Cosmic Connection, and also the following articles to learn more about the "space junk" cover story:


3,500m icy peaks of Pluto: NASA reveals striking images of dwarf planet

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has sent back to Earth the amazing and detailed photos of Pluto and its satellite Charon for the first time. They turned out to be far from dull balls of ice, with high mountains and deep canyons.

On July, 14 the spacecraft New Horizons made the closest flyby to Pluto, having passed only 12,500 kilometers (7,750 miles) above the dwarf planet on the outskirts of the solar system. The first transmitted photos have already led to some incredible discoveries.


Researchers identify orderly, harmonic plasma waves amid the 'equatorial noise' in space

© ESA/Yuri Shprits
European Space Agency Cluster II satellites observe equatorial noise waves inside the Earth's magnetosphere.
Since the early 1970s, orbiting satellites have picked up on noise-like plasma waves very close to the Earth's magnetic field equator. This "equatorial noise," as it was then named, seemed to be an unruly mess of electric and magnetic fields oscillating at different frequencies in the form of plasma waves.

Now a team from MIT, the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Sheffield, and elsewhere has detected a remarkably orderly pattern amid the noise.

In a region of space about 12,000 miles from Earth's surface, two spacecraft separated by a narrow patch of space—about as wide as Rhode Island—identified a region where the tangle of plasma waves gives way to a very regular structure. The scientists detected the invisible structure using a spectrogram—a visual representation of the spectrum of frequencies in space. Through this lens, they observed a stack of 13 equally spaced, zebra-like stripes.

The team also observed something more curious: Each stripe, or plasma wave, appeared to be a multiple, or harmonic, of a proton gyrofrequency—the frequency at which protons gyrate around the Earth's magnetic field line. The researchers performed some calculations to estimate the growth rate of each plasma wave, and discovered that the very orderly waves likely originated from the gyrating protons.

Yuri Shprits, a visiting associate professor in MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, says the striped structure could indicate a region in space in which new and different interactions may take place.

"This structure is pretty close to the Earth, which is important because people want to understand the environment where satellites operate," Shprits says. "Usually plasma undergoes a number of different instabilities, and waves tend to move from one region in space to another, so everything you see is noisy, very short-lived, and on smaller scales. But this structure seems to be very persistent, highly coherent in space, and was remarkably organized and structured, which we didn't know could exist to such high degree."

Shprits and his colleagues, including Benjamin Weiss, a professor of planetary sciences at MIT, have published their results today in the journal Nature Communications.


Peru's Nazca lines reveal mysterious new animal images

© University of Yamagata
Some of the newly found geoglyphs are believed to depict llamas.
The Nazca Plateau in Peru contains two dozen new geoglyphs that predate by two centuries the famous monkey, spider and hummingbird listed at the UNESCO World Heritage site.

Almost invisible on the surface, the images were captured by researchers from the University of Yamagata in Japan thanks to 3-D scans of the ground a mile north of the city of Nazca.

The team discovered 24 geoglyphs of animals, "some of which probably depict Andean native camelid, llamas," the researchers said in a press release.

The number of images adds to the 17 geoglyphs of similar style unearthed in the adjacent area by the same team last year, stretching the discovery to 41 ancient outlines.

"All these geoglyphs were drawn on the slopes of the hill, to make them clearly visible," team leader Masato Sakai said.


Scientists finally prove the existence of a new particle: The pentaquark

© PopularMechanics
Collected images and data have revealed the face of the pentaquark for the first time. They usually consist of two different types of quarks, namely, a down quark, a charm quark and an anti-charm quark
As the name would suggest, it's five quarks bound up together. For more than half a century, physicists have predicted the existence of the pentaquark, a subatomic particle that's made of four quarks and one antiquark all bound up together. Now, thanks to new experiments at the Large Hadron Collider's LHCb experiment, they've finally found it and confirmed that it's the real deal.

Quarks are the super-small elementary particles that make up the neutrons and protons that make up atoms. (Neutrons and protons are each made of three quarks.) Quarks can also combine to form an array of stranger composite particles, though, such as the pentaquark. Says The Verge:
Like the Higgs boson before it, the pentaquark's existence has been theorized for years, but experiments in the early-2000s claiming to have detected the exotic form of matter were later invalidated. Many scientists had since given up on the pentaquark for good, but this time, say CERN physicists, there's no doubt it's been found.

ScienceDaily, July 14, 2015

In 1964 American physicist, Murray Gell-Mann, proposed that a category of particles known as baryons, which includes protons and neutrons, are composed of three fractionally charged objects called quarks, and that another category, mesons, are formed of quark-antiquark pairs. Gell-Mann was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for this work in 1969. This quark model also allows the existence of other quark composite states, such as pentaquarks composed of four quarks and an antiquark. Until now, however, no conclusive evidence for pentaquarks had been seen.

Snowflake Cold

Winter is coming: Earth approaching 'mini ice age' in 15 years, solar cycle study suggests

© Reuters / Brian Snyder
Earth is facing the prospect of a 'mini ice age' this century, with our sun's activity projected to fall 60 percent in the 2030s, British astrophysicists say, based on the results of new research that they claim allows exact predictions of solar cycles.

Our planet is just 15 years from a new 'mini ice age' that could cause extremely cold winters characterized by the freezing of normally ice-free rivers as well as by year-round snow fields in areas that have never witnessed such climate conditions before, a group of astrophysicists claim.

The scientists could draw such a conclusion based on a new model of the sun's activity that reportedly enables the researchers to make "extremely accurate predictions" of changes in solar activity.

Although, the fact that the sun's activity varies within a 10-12 year long cycles was first discovered almost two centuries ago, in 1843, all the previously existing explanatory models failed to fully explain the fluctuations with each cycle as well as between the cycles.

Comment: May we actually be overdue for a mini ice age or was this scientist predicting one just a bit soon? OR, are we farther along in the process than the above article would seem to suggest?

See also:

Ice Ages start and end so suddenly, "it's like a button was pressed," say scientists
Reflections on the Coming Ice Age
'Forget global warming, prepare for Ice Age'


Infrasound: Humans can hear sounds an octave lower than previously assumed

© Max-Planck Institut für Bildungsforschung
Are wind farms harmful to humans? Some believe so, others refute this; this controversial topic makes emotions run high. To give the debate more objectivity, an international team of experts dealt with the fundamentals of hearing in the lower limit range of the audible frequency range (i.e. infrasound), but also in the upper limit range (i.e. ultrasound). The project, which is part of the European Metrology Research Programme (EMRP), was coordinated by the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB).

At PTB, not only acoustics experts, but also experts from the fields of biomagnetism (MEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) were involved in the research activities. They have found out that humans can hear sounds lower than had previously been assumed. And the mechanisms of sound perception are much more complex than previously thought. Another vast field of research opens up here in which psychology also has to be taken into account. And there is definitely a need for further research.

If there is a plan to erect a wind turbine in front of someone's property, many an eager supporter of the "energy transition" quickly turns into a wind energy opponent. Fear soon starts spreading: the infrasound generated by the rotor blades and by the wind flow might make someone ill. Many people living in the vicinity of such wind farms do indeed experience sleep disturbances, a decline in performance, and other negative effects. Infrasound designates very low sounds, below the limit of hearing, which is around 16 hertz. The wind energy sector and the authorities often try to appease the situation, declaring that the sounds generated are inaudible and much too weak to be the source of health problems.

Comment: Whether or not humans can actually hear infrasound, many have reported becoming ill and have experienced severe negative emotional and behavioral impacts from both natural and man-made infrasonic activity. Increasingly, populations are reporting the persistence of ultralow pitch sounds which render them weak and fatigued. As an example, in certain locations across the Mediterranean coast some individuals suffer from "seasonal nervous exhaustion" and other "neurophysical maladies" from the Mistral. It is known that whenever the Mistral blows, there will be increased emotional tension, depression, irritability and in numerous cases, it has produced fatalities.

Infrasound: "There is geometry in the humming of the strings, there is music in the spacing of the spheres"