; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Just the Facts?: Singularity Only 20 Years Away -- Orb Above My Bed! -- Earth's Magnetic Field Reversal

Scientist Says Immortality Only 20 Years Away

Ray Kurzweil, a world-renowned scientist and author of The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology thinks the world as we know it will be unrecognizable in 20 years.

One of the changes he thinks are possible: Scientists may finally crack immortality.

"I and many other scientists now believe that in around 20 years we will have the means to reprogramme our bodies' stone-age software so we can halt, then reverse, aging," he writes in The Sun. "Then nanotechnology will let us live for ever. Ultimately, nanobots will replace blood cells and do their work thousands of times more effectively."

Kurzweil, whose fans include Bill Gates adn Bill Clinton, makes a number of other substantial claims, such as humans being able to replace all failing organs with artificial ones. He says we'll be able to scuba dive for hours without oxygen, and write entire books within minutes thanks to advanced nanotechnology.

Oh, virtual sex will also be commonplace in the not-so-distant future.

Kurzweil's absurd-sounding proclamations stem from the fact that technological progress is growing at an exponential rate.

"Computer technology and our understanding of genes — our body’s software programs — are accelerating at an incredible rate," he writes. His theory of the Law of Accelerating Returns, suggests there will be another "billion-fold" increase in technology over the next quarter century.

"In reality, the time needed for technology to double is constantly decreasing," Inc's Kevin Bailey explains. "The next thing to realize with an exponential curve, is that at a certain point progress relative to time skyrockets up. The increase in technology that once took 20 years now takes 10, and then 5, and then 2.5, and then 1.25, and then .75 years, and then on and on. Kurzweil claims that we are right at the beginning of the sharp upturn that's characteristic of exponential curves."

Kurzweil thinks we're just beginning to tap into the possibilities artificial intelligence can bring, and the advancements will only get more wild. We're already using it in small ways to help us land airplanes and conduct searches on Google.

"These technologies should not seem at all fanciful," says Kurzweil. "Our phones now perform tasks we wouldn’t have dreamed possible 20 years ago. When I was a student in 1965, my university’s only computer cost £7million and was huge."

Kurzweil concludes, "We can look forward to a world where humans become cyborgs, with artificial limbs and organs." - sfgate

The Age of Spiritual Machines: When Computers Exceed Human Intelligence

Radical Evolution: The Promise and Peril of Enhancing Our Minds, Our Bodies -- and What It Means to Be Human

The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology


Orb Above My Bed!

Temple Terrace, FL - 11/17/1991 - unedited: My husband and I were asleep in our second story condo in Temple Terrace. It was either in the fall or spring about 1991,as our north facing window was open.

I was asleep on my back,my husband on his left side facing the wall. He snores.

I awoke to see an orb, about the size of a basketball , hovering just above my shins. It was an oily swirrling of teal blue and salmon pink inside the orb.

I said to my husband," Do you see that?" He said, "Uhuh."

He had not moved.

I said "Good", and slowly raised my right arm to touch it. It slowly moved to my right...perhaps through the wall.

I went straight back to bed. This is odd since when I am awake I can not get back to sleep. Another odd thing is that I am really nearsighted, but saw the beautiful colors swirrling clearly.

The next morning, I asked my husband what he saw. He became angry and did not want to talk about it. I wanted to know, I was excited. Everytime I brought it up, he was angry. I never saw this side of him.

After abouty a week, he relented. This is what he saw: an orb, green like the old IBM computer screens, longitude and latitude lines.

Wow! I ask what numbers he saw,he could not tell me. He told me not to tell anyone about this.

At this time, I was taking a gifted course in which they taught us about right brained and left brained people. I am right brained, my husband left. Whatever this was, was speaking to our dominant brain side.

It took a little over a month for him to be comfortable with me telling anyone.

My husband and I are college graduates, pretty scientific. This was not explainable.

Since then, I have shared this with family and friends. He remains uncomfortable speaking about it to this day. - MUFON CMS


Oxford scientist suggests alien encounter will occur this century...sorry, you're several millennia too late!

A leading UK astrophysicist asserts that intelligent extraterrestrials might be discovered this century.

While speaking at the Euroscience Open Forum conference in Dublin, Ireland, Jocelyn Bell Burnell announced, “I do suspect we are going to get signs of life elsewhere, maybe even intelligent life, within the next century.” The Daily Mail jokes that this is “a scientific prediction that will get dollar signs pinging in Steven Spielberg’s eyes.” But Burnell, a professor and astrophysicist at the University of Oxford, proposes that governments, rather than Hollywood filmmakers, should prepare for contact. She poses questions for governments to consider, such as, “How well prepared are we? Have we thought of how we approach them? Should we put them in a zoo, eat them, send in GIs to bring them democracy?”

According to the Daily Mail, Burnell believes “we are most likely to find alien life where we find rocky planets with carbon dioxide and ozone in the atmospheres.” But as the Times of India points out, “Even if we do find signs of alien life, it is likely to take decades to talk to them from Earth through radio or lasers.” Burnell commented on this point, stating, “Nothing can travel faster than the speed of light. So you are probably talking of conversations that could take 50 or 100 years, just one way.”

In conjunction with this story, the Daily Mail referenced a poll conducted by the Royal Society that determined forty-four percent of Britons believe extraterrestrial life exists, and more than a third feel we should be actively searching and trying to make contact with extraterrestrials. - openminds

The Ancient Alien Question: A New Inquiry Into the Existence, Evidence, and Influence of Ancient Visitors

Abduction: Human Encounters with Aliens

Alien Contact


Earth's magnetic field just might be gearing up for a reversal

Our planet's magnetic field periodically flips its direction, with the magnetic North and South Poles switching places. Such a reversal could wreak havoc on human society — and there's now reason to think one could happen soon... in geological terms, at least.

If nothing else, it's been an unusually long period since the last reversal — the geological evidence suggests the field flips about once every 450,000 years, and it's been about 780,000 years since the last reversal. That in itself doesn't necessarily mean a reversal is imminent, as there have been past instances where a million years passed from one reversal to the next. Just over 200,000 years may not be much time as far as the planet is concerned, but it would mean the chances of humanity having to deal with a magnetic field reversal in even the long-term future remain extremely low.

To have any idea of when a reversal might occur, we first need to know more about the mechanism that causes it, and that's where new research by Peter Olson and Renaud Deguen of Johns Hopkins enters the picture. Their seismic imaging of Earth's core revealed lopsided growth — in other words, the core wasn't spherical or even all that close to it, with one hemisphere slowly melting into something noticeably smaller than the other half. Currently, the eastern hemisphere of the core is bigger than its western counterpart.

This lines up neatly with the current location of the axis of Earth's magnetic field. The line linking the two magnetic poles doesn't pass right through the center of the Earth, but is in fact offset about 300 miles eastward. Their data suggests this is a change from recent history, as until about 200 years ago the magnetic axis was solidly in the western hemisphere for at least 10,000 years. In what is likely not a coincidence, it was about two centuries ago that the inner core's eastern hemisphere started growing bigger.

All this indicates some fairly rapid movement from west to east, and Olson and Deguen's research indicates a link between these sorts of quick shifts and magnetic field reversals in the past. This might be enough to suggest that a magnetic reversal is already underway, although the researchers are quick to point out that the core is simply too chaotic to say anything with certainty at this stage. It's only a possibility, perhaps a very remote one, but this new model at least suggests that it is a possibility.

Besides, reversals take anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 years — even if you do want to grant that we're two centuries into one, that doesn't necessarily mean its more serious effects on human technology will be felt in the next few centuries, let alone in our lifetimes. This is the problem with being in the middle of a geological event — they're so damn slow it's hard to tell if anything is actually happening at all. - io9

Our Magnetic Earth: The Science of Geomagnetism

Electromagnetic Fields: A Consumer's Guide to the Issues and How to Protect Ourselves

Earth Magnetism: A Guided Tour through Magnetic Fields (Complementary Science)