The Majorca Daily Bulletin Articles called "The Stars at Night" by Roberto Gourlay.
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Welcome to Amazing Stories. You are visitor number:
31st of OCTOBER 2006:
STORIES on Mallorca, Inventions, Ideas, The Future, Space, Airplanes, NASA, Health, Terrorists, Flying, and MORE:
In The Majorca Daily Bulletin: "The Stars at Night":
1999 - 2006:
The Stars At Night - September 11 - The BIG question:
I had ordinarily scheduled a very interesting and humorous spiel on how water boils in Space ...or better put, the most awkward way to make Tea in the Universe, but in light of the latest despicable, incomprehensible and absolutely indescribable events this past Tuesday, (SEPTEMBER 11th TWIN TOWER ATTACKS), I would like to point out some incredible facts that the press have overlooked:
The following is an E-Mail I sent to my colleague in NASA, Ron Koczor, mission specialist:
I read about NASA in Florida boarding up their installations on a massive scale with huge structures to protect key hardware storage and assembly sites from similar attacks - like the Space Shuttle hangars, the VAB Building, the Space Station Module Test Bay etc.
My question is this:
In the First and Second world wars, soldiers on both sides fought
Fiercely - but with the intent of living after the act...with, of course,
the exception of the few kamikaze Japanese Zero aircraft attacks against Pacific Fleet warships.
Now, with this suicide form of terrorism, how can we win? Soldiers are
paid to fight, and come home. These fanatics, brainwashed by their
Religion, believe they will live an even better life surrounded by
72 - yes, exactly 72 lovely virgins at their beck and call.
Boarding up buildings will not stop a local hijacked plane, bus, yacht, cruise ship, tanker, train, helicopter, motorcycle or martyr draped in plastic explosives from getting through and doing the damage. Sadly, we must admit that only by killing him can you stop him.
The ONLY solution to stop this madness at the roots is through their religion.
But how can you convince those millions of Muslims, Islamic fanatics and their like that their reasoning is in error? More difficult still is when those beliefs have been "hardwired" in their psyche since childhood.
Their fervent beliefs in the ability to become a "martyr" to enjoy a
Promiscuous paradise afterwards is easily taken up by eager fanatics but obviously educated men (Stupid, uneducated people can’t fly 767´s!) who happily take up the task, regardless of the horror they leave behind.
I am so sorry - for the free speaking, democratic world - that "Star
Wars Systems", NASA cutting edge technology, the CIA, the FBI, the
PENTAGON, NATO, the police, no one and nothing could have stopped the despicable,
Deplorable, culturally ignorant, heartless and godless terrorist intent
on killing and dying to achieve "martyrdom".
My family and I wish to express our most profound sense of helplessness to assist in your efforts to relieve the
indescribable pain suffered by your people and your country.
Allow me to twist a phrase pronounced by a man I still admire - the late
John F. Kennedy:
In the face of the horror of terrorism, in the face of the senseless,
cruel events that pummelled people and life in the free world this past
black Tuesday, we raise our hands, and as members of that
same free world, exclaim, "We also are AMERICANS!” We are with
you....all the way.
May your President find that way.
Please accept our deepest, heart felt sympathies for all of you - and
most especially for those of you who lost cherished loved ones - may
their loss not be in vain. Perhaps that loss may serve to inspire a new,
united world force that will root out and erase forever that
black plague called terrorism.
This was Ron’s reply from his desk at NASA headquarters:
Thank you for your message. It is truly a sad situation that while
some men are trying to take us to the stars, others are trying to throw us
back 1000 years with their hatred and envy.
I do not know how to solve this problem of terrorists who are not
afraid to kill and die themselves. Hatred is part of the human psyche!
Even if we eliminate all of the Palestinian refugee camps and give them all
a good and decent life, we still have the Catholics and Protestants in
Northern Ireland, the Albanians and Yugoslavs, the Chechens, the Turks and
the Kurds, and the Basques in your own country!
Maybe we cannot eliminate hatred...maybe we can only try to minimize
its effects. When hatred lashes out, we lash back and force it back into
its hole, understanding that at some time in the future it will strike out
again. Hatred is not irrational...it is just self-focused on a rationality
that we do not comprehend. But that does not mean we can condone it.
A united world will attempt to eliminate terrorism. To some extent
it will succeed, but not entirely. We can only buy a time of piece between
But we must continue to try.
During times of trouble, friendship is very important. Thank you
Ron Krozcar, Mission Specialist, NASA Kennedy Space Center Florida.
Questions? ¿Preguntas? Frage? CONTACT US NOW.
The Stars At Night - WIERD BUT POSSIBLY EFFECTIVE IDEAS TO PREVENT AIRCRAFT HIJACKINGS:
WIERD BUT POSSIBLY EFFECTIVE IDEAS TO PREVENT AIRCRAFT HIJACKINGS:
One of the most incredible news theories to come out of CNN was the idea that the plane that crashed in a small wood near Pittsburgh did so because the PASSENGERS rebelled against the hijackers!
All of the press have talked about a “before” and an “after” that Tuesday the 11th of September.
Before, if you were hijacked, you knew that most likely, you would be taken to some weird destination, parked on the runway until the terrorists either tire and surrender or their demands are met, or the SWAT team makes a rescue.
Your rôle in the situation was to keep quiet, calm, head down, and don’t look or even try to “bother” the terrorists.
Now, with this new twist, the people who were hijacked knew that they were going to perish anyway. There were 65 of them against about 5 or maximum 6 terrorists. I suppose they felt they had nothing to lose, so the passengers attacked the attackers.... and won, but not soon enough to avoid that fateful crash.
I know there are engineers far more qualified than I trying to come up with, at this very moment, new counter measures to incorporate on aircraft that would make a repetition of Tuesday’s events difficult if not impossible.
For what its worth, try this:
1) Automatic surveillance Cameras: Today, a good quality colour video camera is light, small and consumes little power. Several of these could be discretely placed in the cabin to offer a full view front and back of the activity inside, including the cockpit.
The cameras will only function when activated by a one-way remote control - a silent button pressed by any of the cabin staff or aircrew at the least sign of trouble. Once activated, it cannot be disconnected until the plane lands.
The difference is, the cameras signal would automatically and silently be sent via radio telephone lines in a digital, “internet” form to the nearest control tower/airport or police control centre (All airports have one.)
This would alert authorities immediately and action, whatever form that might be, could be taken.
2) Automatic Cockpit Locks: The same silent button that activates the cameras would spring into action light but bullet proof plates that block the doors.
3) SLEEPING GAS: Don Southall, English homeowner, suggested to me by phone today that a good idea would be to install a special circuit of sleeping gas that would permeate all passenger compartments. Once definite, serious trouble is detected, any cabin staff or flight crew could activate a second remote control button what would immediately flood the passenger compartments with a potent but medically harmless gas that would render all unconscious. The cockpit would be immediately sealed, the pilots unaffected and/or will be the only ones with gas masks available.
These and a million other counter measures; ideas or controls will never eliminate entirely the risk of someone trying to carry out similar acts that just a few days ago shocked the world.
The ONLY real solution to the problem will arrive when common sense, tolerance, understanding and dialogue replace the tragic, violent attitudes that flourish on both sides of the fence.
The Stars At Night - A Watched Pot Doesn’t Boil!
Before we get into the meat and potatoes of this week’s diatribe, I
would like to thank you, the readers, the Editor, Mr. Jason Moore, and
the staff of the Majorca Daily Bulletin for allowing me the privilege to
express in print last Sunday my frustration, anger, sadness, and
emotional impact that the latest events have had not only on myself and
family, but I am sure on all of you too.
Those of you who are not directly connected with the rapidly unfolding
events that are happening right now around the world as you read this,
must feel some sort of helplessness, where we have been converted to
mere spectators in a show that will most likely gravely affect all of us
in one way or another.
Sitting in your armchair, drink in one hand, zapping with the remote
control in the other, TV screen only 1 meter away from your eyeballs is
really no way to get a “grip” on current events. Unfortunately, this
“war” is no longer the exclusive domain of the kaki-dressed armed
soldier. That, matched with huge aircraft carriers and F-16 and F-18 hi
- tech jets will not totally defeat the “enemy”.
The enemy we face is not only a few terrorist training camps in far off
lands, some of those “training camps” are hotels in Marbella, apartments
in Mallorca, flats in Florida, farms near Chicago or townhouses in Soho
(London). Planes, guns, missiles, bombs and tanks have nothing to do in
The fight against the senseless, pointless, cruel acts of terrorism
needs, yes, in part, those soldiers, carriers and planes, but most
importantly, we will need a re-emergence of a highly skilled and trained
“James Bond” style of “warfare”. There is a desperate demand for sharp
intelligence agents to work in all countries of the world to ferret out
that terrorist wherever he or she may be hiding, training or operating.
Are you getting the idea yet?
Since the terrorist has no specific nationality, colour, dress style,
language or behaviour, he/she is easily esconded in almost any town,
city or county. I cannot think of any country that perhaps has not
unwittingly harboured terrorists at one time or another, with the
exception perhaps of Antarctica (The South Pole!)!
The fight against terrorism can never be successful if it is left
solely to the soldier, the policeman, the pilot or the captain. I am
very sure that at this very moment in time, thousands of terrorists are
fanning out AWAY from the traditional targets known to the world - such
as training bases in the deserts of Libya, Iraq, in the mountains of
Afghanistan, in other African countries and possibly in some areas of
the US, Canada and Europe.
If YOU were a terrorist, would you just sit there in your camp? After
seeing the latest flow of CNN images of aircraft carriers bristling with
planes and marines, AWACKS, F-18´s, B-1 bombers and much much more being
mobilized, would you pop you’re head out of your tent and look at the
sky exclaiming “OK, boys, come and get me!”?
In reality, chances are that even BEFORE the black Tuesday massacre,
groups close to those who perpetrated that shameless act already have
spread out into other countries in logical anticipation of what would
happen afterwards. They KNEW the world would not just fold its arms and
cry over that deadly deed, they foresaw a massive attack by the USA and
its allies almost immediately after the fact, so the group that
supported it, and those who had knowledge of it, have long ago fled
their “traditional” haunts.
Unfortunately, the same technologies that are making our lives
incredible - mobile phones, now with colour and video, internet
connections eliminating time and distance from loved ones - these same
cutting edge discoveries are helping those bent on destroying the
society that created it. The terrorist no longer needs to stay in
his/her training camp. He could be like you, at “home” surfing the net,
keeping in touch, getting orders, plans, money and information to
co-ordinate his demonic deeds.
So now we come back to you, Mr. Couch Potato with zapper in hand and
beer can in the other (Your name isn’t Bart Simpson, is it?) gawking at
the boob tube watching the events unfold and going “Wow, ohhh, scheeeez,
gosh...!” and a string of other sounds not found in the dictionary.
Leave it to the professionals, you say? Yes, you are absolutely right.
BUT the professionals have their limits, mainly in number and location.
I’m not saying that all of you should don some kaki pants, flack jackets
and run around the village like idiots looking for Omin bin Laden, heck
Civil participation can be a major key to help the real professionals in
this enormously difficult and complex task.
A Watched Pot Doesn’t Boil - sitting there being awed by the news won’t
help. If you DO wish to assist and contribute, here are some ideas:
1) Keep your eyes and ears open and alert when you’re out and about.
2) Observe what is going on around you, but don’t act silly and make it
obvious that you are “snooping”! Chances are what you interpret as
something “suspicious” may be nothing important at all in reality.
3) If you DO notice strange behaviour or something out of the ordinary,
be discrete, but make mental notes or, if it is feasible, jot down
details on some paper. Addresses, licence numbers, make and model of
vehicles, date and time and a description as detailed as you can recall
should be noted.
4) Do NOT, under any circumstances, intent to interfere or let it be
known that you want to take physical action against what you interpret
as “mysterious behaviour”!
5) VIDEO CAMERA: If by chance you do have a camera - video or still, use
common sense. If you see an action that looks “funny”, don’t gawk and
start filming as if you were a Paparazzi - point the camera 180 degrees
away from the scene - so your back is to it, then slowly pan around
pretending you are simply taking a panoramic shot of the area, focusing
your attention on nothing in particular so as to not arouse suspicion.
When you reach the site of suspect, slowly use the zoom to hone in on
more details, be brief, then slowly pan away, and calmly walk away as if
nothing attracted your attention.
6) STILL CAMERA: Using the same philosophy as with the video, turn your
back to the “incident”, pretend to print some pictures, then slowly turn
taking one or two shots without really exposing the film, then once
you have the scene in view, take a minimum of 3 pix with different zoom
spots if possible. If you are with someone, it’s easier - just position
the person to the left or right of the “action” and take off some takes.
7) If you own a business and you can afford the expense - a security
video camera and tape machine might come in very handy. It will offer
your premises more security for your own sake and safety, but in the
REMOTE case that some important suspect has been caught or detected as
being in your area or neighbourhood, there might be an off chance that
he or she was a client of yours! In Palma, a decent security camera and
video system could cost around 150,000 to 325,000 pesetas depending on
the quality you want or need. There is a shop that specialises in almost
JAMES BOND like hidden camera devices!
8) Do NOT take justice into your own hands - in the case where you or
your company are personally attacked, then of course, you have no choice
but to either escape or defend yourself. If this is not the case and you
see an act where immediate intervention is needed, shout “FIRE! FIRE!
FIRE!” - this will alert the parties that they are being watched, and it
will arouse the immediate attention of anyone nearby or neighbours.
Shouting FIRE! gets better response than “HELP!” Fire usually means
that the neighbours too could get hurt, burnt or affected!
9) Finally, if you are convinced that what you have been witness to
really merits attention from the local authorities, contact the local or
national police either directly by phone if you feel the need is urgent,
or if it was an observation that you made some moments or hours or even
days ago, put it down in writing with all the details you can recall,
and present it to the local authority concerned. Do NOT exaggerate your
claim or observations - this is counter productive and can also cause
some very embarrassing situations. Be honest, truthful and stick to the
bare facts - only then can the professionals involved in our security
work with efficiency!
10) Please do not misunderstand me here; I am not trying to make an
appeal to all of you to suddenly become a secret member of the CIA, the
FBI, Scotland Yard or Interpol! All I am saying is that this tremendous
labour to root out the plague of senseless hate that seems to permeate
almost all countries needs the co-operation and help of all....
I’m sure you’ll agree with me that most of you have the qualities to
complete a mission of “vigilance” - I mean, we all know of Mother - In -
Laws, nosey neighbours and other busybodies around us who constantly
stick their unwanted noses in our affairs, perhaps those now bothersome
traits will tomorrow be rewarded!
In fact, there may come the day when someone asks your name, and you put
down your cigarette, beer can, and remote control zapper to coolly
Questions? ¿Preguntas? Frage? CONTACT US NOW.
The Stars At Night - NOSTRODAMUS re-visited!
Lets get one thing straight from the beginning! I consider myself a scientist - you know the type - “extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof”!
I do NOT believe in fortunetellers, crystal balls, tarot cards, clairvoyance and the like without more substance behind! Pleaser don’t get me wrong, some future-seers fulfil a wonderful labour of psychology for some folks who need some re-assurance and perhaps some hopes or optimistic comments that will make them feel better.
Many “soothsayers” use logic, keen observation, practice and a bit of “behind the scenes spying” to come up with some “surprising” insights into your life - when in reality it is a mixture of observation, common sense thinking, and discrete questions that lead YOU to give the “seer” the information wanted.
One of my - and chances are YOUR traditional arguments are - “If you’re such a good clairvoyant, why can’t you simply give me the 6 numbers of this weeks lottery!?¿?!”
They ALWAYS reply: “The numbers of the lottery do not have life, heat or importance enough to be predicted.” Right! Hogwash!
Usually, these futurologists give you guff on your job, love life, prosperity, health and travels etc...Some come CLOSE to the truth, others are way off, or confuse you with generalities that can be interpreted a million different ways.... usually ending up that the “event” in question can be “justified” by this “general” prediction.
The client who wins 1.5 BILLION pesetas in the lottery will definitely “experience” a MAJOR change on his/her love life, job, prosperity, health and travel etc...So WHY do they NEVER predict such numbers that would change your life...perhaps drastically.... and REALLY give the clairvoyant something to talk about with you...OR come out with the truth, that there is no way come hell or high water you are going to win it!?
Another argument.... if they COULD predict such luck events like sports games outcomes, lottery numbers, winning horses, roulette numbers, card hands, and much more, they would not be practicing fortune telling at 5,000 pesetas a crack! They’d be in Jamaica some place on their helicopter laden yacht sipping Crown Royal and Coke!
Nostradamus is different - VERY different. If you want to get scientific, all we can do is go by FACTS and DEEDS to arrive at our conclusions.
The important thing I have to say is this:
IF most or some of the predictions of Nostradamus in the past were accurate, then his predictions for the future could affect the lives of all of us...especially you!
Lets take a close look at this French doctor born in 1503. His work during the horrible black plague that devastated Europe at the time, decimating the populations of towns and villages, was legendary. The difference was that his patients survived and got well...the cure he used was lost, but even if he never made one single prediction, he would endure as one of the most famous medics in the history of France.
Michelle de Nostradamus died in 1566. 225 years later, some common criminals unearthed his grave to drink from the skull - thinking they would then inherit his powers. The shock on the faces of the gravediggers was paralysing! Around the neck of the skeleton was a chain and plaque with the date May 1791. Nostradamous had predicted, 225 years earlier, the month and year that his body would be dug up! He also predicted that he who did the deed would die - and sure enough, the man was hit by a stray bullet from the riot of the surrounding French revolution!
As a young boy, he began to notice these strange powers of clairvoyance. One day he saw a Friar at a well, dressed in long robes. Michelle rushed over and kissed the cloth. The Friar amazed at this strange behaviour, said, just as you or I would...”WHAT are you doing?”. He replied, “I must kiss the robes of his holiness the Pope.” All walked away very perplexed and those around thought the young boy was “missing some dots on the dice”.
The Friars name...Feliche Peretti, who, 6 years after Nostradamus died, became Pope Sixtus the Fifth.
He wrote a lot of predictions about his native land, France, that almost got him burnt at the stake during an epoch where witches, warlocks, clairvoyants and ANYONE saying “strange things” were thought to be “instruments of the devil” and were...well....”liquidated”.
He wrote at total of 1,000 predictions, dividing them up into 10 “centuries”.
One of the most startling predictions deals with “cuatrain” 35 of the first “century”, the four line poem verse method he used to expound his predictions, mixing the texts with Latin, Greek and even anagrams to confuse the witch-hunt fanatics of his time.
It deals with, at that time, the reigning King of France, Henry II:
“The young lion overcomes the old one
On the battlefield in single combat.
In a cage of gold, his eyes will be put out,
2 wounds in one to die a horrible death.”
Here he suggests that the King will die in a jousting match. He was summoned immediately before the King to explain. Henry II exclaimed, “I would never participate in such a match!”. Nostradamus could only reply...”I wrote what I saw.”
2 years later, the King did participate in a “friendly” jousting match during a celebration. He wore a gold “cage” helmet. On the third pass, the javelin, by a freak accident, penetrated the tiny space between the visor and the nose, piercing his eyes. It took the poor man 6 days to die a “horrible death”.
Even more remarkable is the prediction where he mentions “Spanish FRANCO” by name in conjunction with the quarrel he had with De Roviera - also mentioned in the SAME cuatrain by name! Something remarkable - to predict and write down the actual name of a major figure, along with his adversary AND the country 400 years BEFORE the fact!
Nostradamus foresaw great advances in technology - the submarine he calls the “Iron Fish”, the airplane “everyone will go safely by air”, the hot air balloon mentioning its inventor, Montgolfier, he mentions the renowned doctor PASTUER by name as well, he talks about the “New World” - something non-existent in his day. He saw “man made mountains” alluding to the skyscrapers of the “great new city at 45 degrees”.... 45 degrees latitude and you’ll find that great new city...New York!
There are many cuatrains that suggest the Second World War, its horrors, terror and even mentions Hitler by name, missing by one letter (a forgivable error considering it was written in 1566!) mentioning the name “HISTER”!
The information I have here is partly based on a film by Orson Wells on the subject in 1983. In 1983 there was no Gulf war, no major threat from the Islamic world, no disaster in New York City. When I saw the movie, I took the predictions for our time - where they talk about a “war” commencing in 1994 (Afghanistan VS Russia - well underway), and that this war was in full swing in the year 1999 and 7 months - mentioned directly in numbers in the cuatrain, that, if you correct the year for the calendar change we had after 1566, that puts us in the year 2001!
Here he talks about an evil man, born in middle Arabia (Saudia Arabia?) who will foment terror, re-awaken the dormant aspirations of the 750 million Muslims world wide, and through an “alliance” of Russia from the SOUTH (Curiously just north of Afghanistan and just east of the Chechnya’s!) - again, curiously there you have the largest Muslim/Islamic population of Russia who are to this day attacking Russian forces - the Chechnya’s!
It is here where Nostradamus talks about a giant ball of fire to plague the man made mountains of the great new city at 45 degrees. He talks about this man who is the third “anti-Christ” after Napoleon and Hitler that he will unite with Southern Russia employ their weapons to wage war against the west, and that he will enter “Europe wearing a blue Turban”. He will “cause the world to come face to face with annihilation”, he will create a terror never before or since seen...it goes on and on.
He states emphatically that this war will last 27 years.
When I saw the movie 2 decades ago, I found it “interesting” but dismissed the latter predictions about New York, invasions and attacks by an Islamic tyrant and fanatic. I watched the movie again last night, and could not believe how REAL the suggestions now seem today. It is truly amazing.
Not all is “Gloom and Doom”. Nostradamus writes to his Son that these predictions are “warnings” and that if we heed his warnings, these tragedies can be averted.
At the end of this 27 year “war” - 1994 to 2021 - there will reign an époque of a PEACE OF A THOUSAND YEARS! He does not mention who the victors will be, although he does suggest that this “Evil” will be vanquished through an unusual alliance - Russia and the USA! In 1983, cold war big time; it was a remote possibility, not impossibility, but still, amazing for a documentary in 1983!
To finalise, he does predict the end of the world, citing the exact figure of the year 3,797.
No one needs Nostradamus or a Nobel Price to deduce that an invasion into southern Russia by fanatic Islamic suicidal terrorists plus an alliance with the “Islamic brothers” - the Chechnya’s, could represent a threat to the nuclear arsenal stationed there. I presume the powers that be are more than aware of this and steps will be taken to avoid such an eventuality.
Predictions or no, our fate depends not on Nostradamus or anyone similar, it depends on us.... ALL of us!
The Stars At Night - LIFE after LIFE!
What you are about to read has nothing to do with religion, with spiritual beliefs, voodoo or “New Age” astral travelling.
What I am about to present here is a remarkable, amazing, true story about the most incredible experience any human being can imagine.
I am quite sure that a LOT of you have had, in secret perhaps, experiences similar to this, but have never had the courage to put it on paper or reveal it to family and friends for fear of ridicule or “character damage”. There are jobs, responsibilities and family to maintain. Talk of THIS kind of “inner goings on” could be disastrous to an un-sympathetic public, peer group, boss and even family.
I account this incident in the hopes that it might inspire some of you to unabashedly to ALSO reveal experiences similar to this in hopes that perhaps a common “pattern” could be found that would allow us to investigate this phenomena and PERHAPS arrive at some startling conclusions!
This IS a true story. It is about a catastrophitic airplane crash.
I KNOW the story is true.
I was the pilot.
My love of flying and fascination with airplanes was such that as soon as I was accepted into the Royal Canadian Air Force, I dropped university like a hot brick and literally “flew off”!
To make a long story short, I “blew it” during an incredibly important “Nuclear War” training flight. I was over the Arctic Circle far north of Winnipeg Manitoba, flying in a C-47 Dakota twin engine training plane. No radar, no radio, no VOR or ILS instruments allowed. In a nuclear war, the EMF or Electromotive force of an atom bomb blast 10,000 feet up will knock out all your electrics and electronics.
So I had to navigate by the stars - a “Jurassic park” era sextant instrument peeking up through the roof of the aircraft was ALL I had to navigate with! Books, tables, charts, were needed. In the end, a simple math calculation error led me 90 knots off track!
There I was, 5,000 feet up over sheer ice and snow, flying in the pitch black of night at around 3am. No lights below, no cities or rivers to navigate by...it was plain and simple....I was lost! I had no choice but to break the rules and fly home by radio and radar.
Two months later, I was OUT of the air force! What a blow! The tough “no second chance” standards, though, I fully respect. In a REAL war, I, along with thirteen other officers who were on that flight with me would have perished.
A few years later I found myself doing a show called “The Crystal Sound Barrier” at a local radio station called CKOK/CKOO and CKGF in Penticton, Okanogan valley, southern British Columbia Canada.
Not willing to give up my affinity for flying, I used to rent Cessna’s from the local airport “Penticton Flying Club” once in awhile.
Tuesday the 12th of October 1971:
Here is a foto taken just before takeoff. The Cessna Cardinal with Registration WBZ, and my Jaguar XKE 2 + 2 parked right beside it. This is the LAST photo ever taken of this airplane, a Black and White POLAROID photo, faded with time.
At around 11am I took off from that airport in a new Cessna 177 “Cardinal” six seater single engine plane. The plane’s call sign was WBZ, emblazoned on the tail rudder. The sky was fully overcast with high altitude white/grey clouds. Winds were light.
I decided to visit a small town called Oliver, some 50 km south of Penticton, where there is a small, grass airfield that one can practice doing “touch and go´s” - a form of “fun” take offs and landings where you touch down, flaps at 20 degrees, then full throttle, take off, go around again and repeat!
The only thing “aeronautical” that this airfield had was a relatively smooth grass airstrip and one well-worn windsock! No tower, no radio, no lights!
One of the most passionate pleasures of flying is soaring slow and LOW, sitting up front in the cockpit of a small plane, skipping over the trees and hills as you bank and turn in for touch down, then rev up and go for it again.
When you fly in a 747, it’s just not the same....in fact, flying tourist in a 747 is not much different than riding a fat bus around Palma....except that the Palma bus is more comfortable!
Oliver “airport” was dead ahead. I banked low, turned into the wind to land, flaps were at 20 degrees, and gently “kissed” the grass runway. A few seconds later, I slowly pushed in the throttle...the engine thronged with power as the plane lurched forward...however, this time, things were different...she didn’t WANT to take off!
The plane arrived at the end of the “runway” only a few meters off the ground! For some reason, it was NOT gaining altitude. Further down the “path”, there was a hill.. a mound of grass and bush. On top was a large, single storey “ranch-style” home.
I was literally brushing the treetops, slowly “ climbing” up the hill, and the big glass living room window of that home was getting too close for comfort!
“IF I smash into that plate glass window, chances are that someone else will die with me....NO WAY!”...I thought to myself, almost out loud.
Quickly, I banked to the left, full throttle, full flaps. The plane barely GRAZED over the house, slid slightly sideways down the hill and began to straighten out....”YES!...yes yes YES!” I shouted with joy as I THOUGHT I had just cheated fate..I was safe! Most importantly, so were the inhabitants of that home.
The plane came down the hill, still very low....engine howling. It brushed the tops of tall, wild plant growth - the spread-eagle type landing gear with those fat tyres were clipping the plants. In front of me , a very “bushy” tree loomed up ahead. I KNEW the landing gear would give it a good “whack”...but nothing big would happen...so I thought.
What I DIDN’T see was the small BRICK storage shed a farmer had built just behind this tree! The sharply slanted rooftop made a pointed triangle form just behind the tops of this tree.
“PRAAAAAaaannnng”! All hell broke loose. The aircraft shuddered, the wing tip stall alarm screaming. The right wheel ploughed through the tree and smashed against this storage-shed rooftop. The plane flipped right over.
At the instant the wheel collided with the roof, the jolt was so great that even with the special pilots seat belt on, my forehead crashed into the Plexiglas windshield. The windshield did not shatter, it “tore” open, zigzag like and flapping with the jarring moment. The blood made a splatter pattern on the now broken windscreen like someone threw a ripe tomato at it.
At this very microsecond, something so strange happened to me that I hope you will forgive my difficulty in correctly describing it to you.
I felt NO pain, heard NO sound....everything was so..so CALM!
I felt NO fear...but there I was, just “floating” OUTSIDE the torn windscreen LOOKING INTO the cockpit and seeing MYSELF there, blood trickling down my forehead. The expression on my face that I was “looking at” was a look of “FIGHT!” - my teeth were clenched, both fists tightly pulling back on the yoke (The “half-steering wheel”) as if to make one last effort to control the crash.
This “out of myself” ...some people call it an OBE...Out of the Body Experience... must have lasted only a fraction of a second in REAL time, yet at that instant, my memory recalls it as if I were watching that moment in SUPER slow motion! I could see all the details, colour and motion...all at one step at a time!
The plane crashed TAIL - FIRST! The entire rudder and elevator wing section snapped in two like it was a toy. That is what saved my life. Had the impact been nose first, you would not be reading this!
The Cessna landed upside down! My body was in a crumpled position with my head on the ceiling.
I felt a bit “groggy” from that “out of myself” experience...I was totally disoriented. I looked up to where my legs were and FIRE was flowing out from under the rudder pedals. The wings were FULL of hi-octane fuel!
“GET THE HELL OUTTA HERE! “ I screamed to myself. The DOOR was jammed! I leaned back then thrust with all my shoulder and might...almost ripping the damn door OFF! I ran out along the wing, my socks and pant legs were aflame, (to this day I don’t know WHERE my SHOES went!)...smoke and flames were also shockingly visible from the corner of my eye.
At the same split second that I threw myself on the ground, there was the most god-awful explosion....it sounded like vvvvAAAAAAKRAPOOOm..PUM...PUM.
The entire cockpit section, seats, instruments, doors, supports, EVERYTHING there practically EVAPORATED.
The swampy marsh where I lay made it easy for me to put out the clothes that was on fire.
In a matter of minutes a huge military olive drab coloured twin rotor helicopter came over. There was some guy leaning out yelling and waving to someone on the ground. A farmer was picking fruit from a tree when he saw the crash.
In less than 20 minutes I was in the hospital. This “campesino” speeding through all the red lights (two in total!) in town to get me there...I pleaded with him...”PLEASE! I’ve had one accident today already! Thanks!”.
The burns to both legs and feet were not severe enough for me to be bedridden. The forehead got 5 stitches and a turban-style bandage. I was given 2 crutches and told to go to the “airport” there...a plane was waiting for me!
When I got back, I realised that I crashed just 400 meters from the airstrip itself. On that strip now was Mr. Laine Klootwyk, the president of the flying club and owner of the now demolished Cessna 177 Cardinal.
He ushered me into the cockpit of his “push-pull” twin engine Cessna (You know, the funny looking high wing job with a motor at the front and another at the back - it was featured a lot in “Apocalypse Now”).
He was a simple guy, a man of few words: “Robert...get this f´ing thing off the ground and lets go home!”
The photographs here taken by the local newspaper whose offices were just 300 meters away from the accident testify to the brutality of the crash itself...only the tail and the main wing remained. Today, you can see them hanging up on the wall of the hangar of the Penticton Flying Club.
To this very day, that moment “outside of myself” is a mystery and also a fascination. Was it real? Is it some sort of “adrenalin” reaction by the brain in life-death emergencies?
Or is it a CLUE as to what happens to us...”afterwards”...Life after Life?
I would be VERY interested in hearing of your similar (?) experiences. With enough cases, facts and data, coupled with rigorous, serious investigation, perhaps we might arrive at some very, very unusual conclusions...proof of Life after Life.
E-MAIL: [email protected]
The Stars At Night - UFO´s - what is the REAL story?
Before we begin, how many of you read the little article next to this one last Sunday? It was titled “United States Navy probe mystery find.” It was about a nuclear submarine off the Florida coast discovering pieces of what could have been parts from a crashed UFO! The problem is, I said “..the artefacts have been labelled AF-1” - APRIL FOOLS! Sorry, no hope for UFO buffs aching to find finally concrete proof of their existence!
Joking aside, there have been so many cases and reports on the subject that it cannot be ignored. There have been cases where the AIR FORCE of BELGIUM sent 2 F-1 jet fighters chasing some very real UFO´s seen on radar and even viewed by the chase pilots!
Unfortunately, the bottom line on the subject is this:
1) We have hundreds if not millions of witnesses who have reported to see “a flying thing that we don’t know what the heck it is”.
2) Fuzzy photographs - some are deliberately faked, some are accidents of light on film, and the rest are either phenomena we don’t fully understand or at least they are a mystery.
Beyond those two points, we do not have a “used UFO oil filter” or a “bald tyre from the landing gear of a UFO” to really demonstrate that those things are around.
The following testimony is totally out of the ordinary. We are talking about a man who, during 50 years, kept the incident a complete secret from his family and friends. When the doctors gave him TWO WEEKS TO LIVE, he summoned the local press in Roswell and a video photographer.
There was no money involved, no fame promised, no benefits whatsoever.
Here is the story of Jim Ragsdale:
The most famous UFO case is the ROSWELL 1947 fiasco. Today, witnesses declare that there are two “crash” sites where UFO´s fell. The most extraordinary declaration comes from a farmer named Jim Ragsdale. I have in my possession a “video affidavit” where FIVE DAYS before he died, he called in some witnesses and a video reporter to declare the following:
On 28th of July in 1947, at around 12 midnight, Jim Ragsdale was (quote)“buck-naked” (unquote) with his girlfriend in the back of his pick-up truck parked in a wood 52 miles NE of Roswell.
Suddenly a bright light flashed in the sky, streaming towards them. Keeerassssh! It smashed into some rocks only 100 meters away!
Startled and shocked, they hastily got dressed and rushed to the scene. Jim poked his head inside the UFO and saw a myriad of brilliant lights that looked like diamonds, sapphires and rubies. Three small seats surrounded a “jewel studded” captain’s chair. It was very clear that it was nothing Earthly; it bore absolutely no resemblance to anything he had ever seen before or since. Jim was no fool; he was very familiar with aircraft since he did military service at the Roswell airbase.
Both Jim and his girl grabbed pieces of the “thing” before the military came to cart everything away. Several months later, his girlfriend died in a car crash under mysterious circumstances. Her bag of “UFO” souvenirs was never found. Shortly after, Jim’s home was robbed - a gun was stolen along with HIS bag of UFO artefacts.
Fearing for his life, Jim never told ANYONE of this incident until FIFTY YEARS later, when doctors gave him only weeks to live.
I have a copy of this video - a really extraordinary work. He died 5 days after the filming. His daughter, who was present, declares that she does NOT believe in UFO´s, but at the same time, her father never lied to her or his friends.
Once again we have an extraordinary claim, but NO extraordinary proof!
I am sure ALL of you either have “seen” a UFO or know of someone who has. How do YOU think we should end this article?
Some of the most incredible claims come from FARMERS in the southwest in the USA. Apparently, cattle have been mysteriously dissected and almost every drop of blood removed from the animal. The “surgery” needed to remove organs and this blood is of a type unknown to local doctors and veterinaries.
The reason why an “extraterrestrial” would need to dissect a cow, remove organs and every ounce of blood is a total mystery.
Logic would dictate that if a PERSON wanted to do such a thing, it would be far cheaper and easier to BUY the cow and do with it what you want. Why take enormously elaborate steps to carry out some pretty sophisticated surgery on these animals under the cover of complete darkness. Not only did they do the operation at night, but also they took painstaking steps to cover their tracks if they used cars, tractors or recreation vehicles.
The evidence is there and relatively abundant. Cows and even some horses over a period of just over 4 years have been found in fields, under trees or in remote areas where no car could go, yet there are no vehicle tracks - but the animal has been very neatly and precisely operated on, organs removed, and not a drop of blood left in the carcass.
Helicopter? UFO´s? Doctors wanting some extra practice? Police and farm owners have no idea who did it and why those mutilations took place!
NEXT WEEK: Unidentified Flying Objects...WHY? and WHY NOT!
The Stars at Night.....Do YOU beleive in UFO´s?
A very close friend of mine for many years, NASA APOLLO scientist
Doctor Alan Hine - the inventor of the space helmet used by the moon
astronauts, just sent me a strictly confidential EMAIL:
A US nuclear submarine (name withheld) was on a training exercise
off the coast of FLORIDA when they detected something radioactive
outside the ship on the ocean floor. Specialist divers along with a
miniature submarine robot with lights and camera went down and they
retrieved 6 strange metallic artefacts that were radioactive but not
so dangerous as to pose a threat to divers or crew.
The jagged pieces appear to have come from some sort of flying craft
that suffered an accident. They were put in a sealed container and
sent to the Los Alamos laboratories in Nevada for analysis. It was
incredible. They have a strange honeycomb inner structure with
channels filled with LIQUID MERCURY of a purity almost impossible to
find on earth.
The metallic-polymer type surface has NOT been identified, and Alan
declares that neither the US nor the Russians could have made such a
structure. The scientists are ABSOLUTELY sure the pieces come from a
"craft not of this earth"!
Further investigations are underway...and Alan doubts that the news
will go public before some exhaustive testing is done. He is sure
that we finally have firm PROOF of the existence of a UFO!
Forget about surfing the web for this news scoop...you won't find it!
I will keep you informed!
The Stars At Night - Literally OUT of this WORLD!
Do YOU believe in Unidentified Flying Objects? No, I’m not asking if
you are bonkers, I’m asking a simple question – Do you believe in
Unfortunately, every time the subject is brought up, the majority of
us snicker, point to our heads and make circles – insinuating that
the interested party is missing a few screws, has escaped from the
local mental institution or has had too many “Happy Hours” at
All joking aside, there have been reams of ink splotched about the
subject especially since 1947. Although all of you will admit with
me that the bulk of UFO topics are tainted by dipwads who want fame,
fortune or attention, or all three!
Once you eliminate the garbage reports, you are truly left with some
cases, which can only be filed away as “unexplainable” or simply a
“mystery”, mainly due to lack of further concrete evidence.
Most sightings are quite brief in time, usually far away, and no
physical trail or evidence is left behind, leaving us with some very
fantastic stories but no concrete researchable proof.
Approximately 8% of the literally millions of sightings are really
genuine mysteries. Nuclear physicist and ex-president Jimmy Carter
declared he saw an UFO during 10 minutes while at a Lions Club
meeting in 1969! Air force pilots, police, military personnel as
well as honest normal citizens have seen “unexplainable events” in
the skies that have never been clarified.
To discuss the subject seriously, we have to apply some bottom line
1) The immense universe is so vast with literally trillions upon
trillions of planets and places for life to form, that I believe it
is utterly impossible that we are the ONLY ones with intellect and
consciousness. Therefore, I DO believe that somewhere,
extraterrestrial life does exist. The BIG question is.... have the
visited us here?
2) The universe is about 15 billion years old. “We”, that is, planet
Earth and family, are 4.6 billion years old. SOMEWHERE and at
SOMETIME life has had to begin FIRST. It could very well be, that
for now, we ARE the only “intelligent” life in the universe simply
because we “evolved” first.
3) It stands to reason that IF life exists in the cosmos, without a
doubt, it did not form exactly at the same time in various
places...there must have been one place where life formed
first...others followed, and we are one of the “bunch” that came
4) It could also be that we ARE the FIRST intelligent life form in
the universe today, and therefore all this talk about
extraterrestrials, at least for NOW, is a load of HOGWASH!
Having said that, without a doubt the seeds of life are evolving
probably in many places around the universe, and given a few more
billion years, other beings will join the ranks of wide-eyed readers
IF UFO´s EXIST:
If they WERE for real, they would definitely have to come from
planets outside of our solar system. ALL of our planets have been
well scrutinized and so far, no people have been spotted cruising
down freeways in their Ferraris on Jupiter, Venus or Mars!
That leaves the nearest star systems as prime candidates for UFO
sources. The nearest ones START at 5.4 light years away...now
believe me, that IS a LONG distance! The tremendous energy supply,
food supply, air and water supply needed to support ANY type of life
would be immense for such a long journey.
Their space ship would have to have such an advanced technology as
to travel at tremendous velocities while being able to avoid fatal
collisions with massive black objects, rocks, asteroids etc. zipping
through the vast space at breakneck speeds. At the same time, they
would have to have incredibly thick SHIELDS against the REAL space
killer – high-energy cosmic rays that permeate interstellar space.
Lastly, the question of WHY they would want to come here would also
have to be asked – although I know it is an error to try to
understand how an extraterrestrial might “think” and try to read
their “motives” – I doubt if we would really understand them any
more than they would understand us.
Several thousand or maybe million years into the future, WE will be
the ones who will have to build interstellar space ships so we could
migrate to other worlds for the simple reason that either our good
ol´home has given up the ghost, and/or we feel we are ready to send
an expedition to populate and begin life on new worlds.
Under THOSE circumstances, I can understand why an extraterrestrial
might want to come here, but up to now, I have not seen any attempt
by them to settle here and open a few new bars on Palma Nova Beach!
The most famous UFO case is the ROSWELL 1947 fiasco. Today,
witnesses declare that there are two “crash” sites where UFO´s fell.
The most extraordinary declaration comes from a farmer named Jim
Ragsdale. I have in my possession a “video affidavit” where FIVE
DAYS before he died, he called in some witnesses and a video
reporter to declare the following:
On 28th of July in 1947, at around 12 midnight, Jim Ragsdale was
(quote)“buck-naked” (unquote) with his girlfriend in the back of his
pick-up truck parked in a wood 52 miles NE of Roswell.
Suddenly a bright light flashed in the sky, streaming towards them.
Keeerassssh! It smashed into some rocks only 100 meters away!
Startled and shocked, they hastily got dressed and rushed to the
scene. Jim poked his head inside the UFO and saw a myriad of
brilliant lights that looked like diamonds, sapphires and rubies.
Three small seats surrounded a “jewel studded” captain’s chair. It
was very clear that it was nothing Earthly; it bore absolutely no
resemblance to anything he had ever seen before or since. Jim was no
fool; he was very familiar with aircraft since he did military
service at the Roswell airbase.
Both Jim and his girl grabbed pieces of the “thing” before the
military came to cart everything away. Several months later, his
girlfriend died in a car crash under mysterious circumstances. Her
bag of “UFO” souvenirs was never found. Shortly after, Jim’s home
was robbed – a gun was stolen along with HIS bag of UFO artefacts.
Fearing for his life, Jim never told ANYONE of this incident until
FIFTY YEARS later, when doctors gave him only weeks to live.
I have a copy of this video – a really extraordinary work. He died 5
days after the filming. His daughter, who was present, declares that
she does NOT believe in UFO´s, but at the same time, her father
never lied to her or his friends.
Once again we have an extraordinary claim, but NO extraordinary
NEXT WEEK: Unidentified Flying Objects...WHY? and WHY NOT! =================================================================
The Stars At Night...From WHERE did we REALLY come from?
Last week we began to address the subject of how life first began on our world.
The immense complexity of a living organism cannot be over exaggerated, yet NASA has revealed that new studies show life coming into existence here almost “immediately” after the formation and birth of planet Earth!
Initially, all of the scientific community THOUGHT that this first step of living organisms
coming into existence occurred about 3,500 million years ago.
Sorry, WRONG calculation!
NASA is drawing a portrait of how the Earth looked soon after it formed 4.56 billion
years ago. Tiny crystals of zirconium silicate, commonly known as zircons, (Editor..any
chance of a Pulitzer Prize for that line? FAT CHANCE! Ed.)...were found in ancient stream deposits tell us
that the Earth developed continents and water - maybe even oceans and environments
where microbial life could emerge 4.3 to 4.4 billion years ago!
How scientists deduce those facts from a few zircons is complicated to describe in detail
here, but basically, these form thanks to the existence of oceans and continents.
Radioactive dating gives us their age, and presto! We are shocked to know that
remarkably SOON after the planet Earth formed, it COOLED; liquid water came
streaming in via collisions with fat comets, continents formed, and an atmosphere too!
This means that life could have formed at 4.3 to 4.4 billion years - one BILLION years
SOONER that commonly thought! HOW could this be? Life could have arisen at many
different times and in many varied forms, only to be smashed by comet and meteor
impacts - extremely common in those times! Life gets a hold once the meteorite collisions with Earth taper off.
My contrasting theory is this:
1) Life could have formed elsewhere first. In fact, since the universe is around 15 billion
years old, and “we” are “only” 4.56 billion years old; life could have popped up elsewhere
in the universe, get smashed by impacts or a super-nova explosion, and get kicked out into
black space until it finally crashes on a newborn world - Earth! This might account for the
forming of life so FAST after our world was formed!
2) Life might have arisen on MARS first - given its lighter gravity being a lot “kinder” to
small organisms and delicate proto-life forms, as well as its thinner atmosphere that would
allow for more “active” solar radiation (especially ultra-violet light bombardment) to enter and interact with the primordial seas,
making it easier for the chances that chemical and molecular reactions eventually form a
combination culminating in a living organism, or at least the START of one! Then
WHAMO, a collision sends some of this pre-life form into space and it sears into our
atmosphere and lands in our warm waters - at a temperature just right for “cooking” up
new life forms! This too could account for fast forming life organisms here so soon after
Earth came to be. Points 1 and 2 could mean that our REAL origins make us either Extraterrestrials or
3) A third possibility is that, in reality, given the right chemical, molecular and mineral
ingredients, a bit of ultra violet light, some doses of radiation, a jolt of hi-octane lightning
(VERY common in the early earth’s skies!), that living organisms EASILY form, and life
is NOT difficult to come into existence.... hence indicating that our cosmos could be
literally teeming with life amongst the stars!
4) A fourth possibility is this: ALL living organisms, no matter how small or primitive, require a kaleidoscope of complicated chemicals and molecules in a very special unique combination that creates a “thing” that moves, eats, digests, grows and reproduces. Magalluf music pubs have LOTS of them in August!
It could very well be that the bare-bones primitive earth with its rocks, lava and water were not enough for life to “happen”. In the very early times, we were pummelled by rocks and blocks, comets and asteroids that could have come from anywhere, items that came from different corners of our galaxy smashed home here leaving us with a myriad of “new” chemicals and compounds that slopped together over time to form the very basis for life to come into existence.
Such a probable scenario would mean that we are actually “bits and pieces” that came from the far corners of our Galaxy...making “it” a part of us, and we a part of “it”.
A last possibility is that good ol´Earth, on her own, with the mass of material it had from the beginning, was sufficient to produce all what was needed to get life started.
WHEN AND HOW will we REALLY know our true origins? This is a question that all of you have asked at one time or another during the course of our lives...the theories presented above scratch the surface but don’t answer anything with a final, definite conclusion. THIS is the TRUE basis for space exploration....for some day, IF we come across even just a fossil of a living organism from another planet or meteorite, the DNA or whatever its makeup is will finally answer that deep, age-old question!
NEXT WEEK: A dying man reveals in a video documentary and signs an official affidavit
that a UFO really DID crash 52 miles NE of Roswell New Mexico. He and his girlfriend
not only saw it but also were only a few hundred meters from it! He died 5 days after
giving this testimony.
Questions? ¿Preguntas? Frage? CONTACT US NOW.
The Stars at Night - You COULD be a MARTIAN or an EXTRATERRESTRIAL!
If you know anything about biology, after reading this article, your mouth will drop not TO the floor but THROUGH it!
For the rest of you, have you ever really tried to comprehend the absolutely incredible complexity there is in the simplest of living things - such as a germ or a virus?
First of all, the thing has to be able to CREATE ENERGY for itself so it can move, grow, digest, expel waste products, and most important, MULTIPLY!
The physical and most importantly, the chemical processes needed to carry out the functions of “life” - no matter how small or crude, are immensely complex. In fact, to give you an accurate description of what makes a bacterium “tick”, this issue of the Majorca Daily Bulletin would have to be TWICE as thick and the entire edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica!
Please don’t get me wrong...you might think I’m trying to give you the impression that I KNOW all about the above mentioned subject. Chances are I couldn’t tell the difference between an amoeba and a hippopotamus! What I am trying to emphasize here is the following:
1) Life forms are extremely complex - there really is no such thing as a “simple” life form, although if you stroll through Magalluf at 3am any summer night you’ll probably find some prime “simple” examples!
2) Current scientific theory has it that life formed from the primordial “soup” that made up the proto-oceans of our planet some 3.500 million years ago. This “soup” has nothing to do with “Campbell’s” (Editor - no free plug for a certain soup company intended!), it is a mess of chemicals floating in these oceans made up of organic materials, certain minerals, salts and in some cases, complex compounds and even amino acids. (Amino acids IN SPACE have been discovered via spectra analysis of dust clouds between the stars!) In case you’re wondering what in the heck are amino acids, they are chemical “building blocks” that make up part of the inner workings of living cells - they are found, for example, in our long strands of DNA.
This primordial sea containing these chemicals swirling around in what was in some areas very violent water - crashing against shores, being hit by lightning, heated by volcanoes and lava, even impacted upon by meteorites and comets...over a time span of almost a BILLION years since the Earth and Solar system formed 4.5 billion years ago. In other words, up to now, we thought that life began here around 3.5 billion years ago...it took 1 billion years of “sloshing” around for the first combinations of chemicals, molecules and minerals to commence the first glimmers of LIFE!
I am sure there were many “false” starts and absolutely fascinating “one hit wonders” where proto-organisms formed - they were living things that could wriggle, move, grow, absorb nutrients, but IT COULD NOT REPRODUCE! The “thing” had MOST of the chemistry right, but the complex art of reproducing copies of itself were not in place. (Canon and Xerox didn’t come into existence until almost 4 billion years later!...hmm..I don’t know why I chucked THAT corny line in there!)
The road to life must have been fantastically difficult and complex. “Living” cells coming into being, but with only enough “equipment” to grow, move around perhaps, but NOT reproduce! This must have been an incredible time. If only biologists were able to scoop up a sample of those seas and examine the excruciating processes which “things” had to go through before finally “getting it right” - becoming really something we could call a “living organism”.
The importance of that primordial time cannot be underestimated. Those life forms eventually, through massive amounts of time spans, wound up, among other things, as you and I!
Initially, all of the scientific community THOUGHT that this first step of living organisms coming into existence occurred about 3,500 million years ago.
Sorry, WRONG calculation!
NASA is drawing a portrait of how the Earth looked soon after it formed 4.56 billion years ago. Tiny crystals of zirconium silicate, commonly known as zircons, (Editor..any chance of a Pulitzer Prize for that line?)...were found in ancient stream deposits tell us that the Earth developed continents and water - maybe even oceans and environments where microbial life could emerge 4.3 to 4.4 billion years ago!
How scientists deduce those facts from a few zircons is complicated to describe in detail here, but basically, these form thanks to the existence of oceans and continents. Radioactive dating gives us their age, and presto! We are shocked to know that remarkably SOON after the planet Earth formed, it COOLED; liquid water came streaming in via collisions with fat comets, continents formed, and an atmosphere too!
This means that life could have formed at 4.3 to 4.4 billion years - one BILLION years SOONER that commonly thought! HOW could this be? Life could have arisen at many different times and in many varied forms, only to be smashed by comet and meteor impacts - extremely common in those times! Life gets a hold once the meteorites taper off.
My contrasting theory is this:
1) Life could have formed elsewhere first. In fact, since the universe is around 15 billion years old, and “we” are “only” 4.56 billion years old, life could have popped up elsewhere in the universe, get smashed by impacts or a super-nova explosion, and get kicked out into black space until it finally crashes on a newborn world - Earth! This might account for the forming of life so FAST after our world was formed!
2) Life might have arisen on MARS first - given its lighter gravity being a lot “kinder” to small organisms and delicate proto-life forms, as well as its thinner atmosphere that would allow for more “active” solar radiation to enter and interact with the primordial seas, making it easier for the chances that chemical and molecular reactions eventually form a combination culminating in a living organism, or at least the START of one! Then WHAMO, a collision sends some of this pre-life form into space and it sears into our atmosphere and lands in our warm waters - at a temperature just right for “cooking” up new life forms! This too could account for fast forming life organisms here so soon after Earth came to be.
Points 1 and 2 could mean that our REAL origins make us either Extraterrestrials or Martians!
3) A third possibility is that, in reality, given the right chemical, molecular and mineral ingredients, a bit of ultra violet light, some doses of radiation, a jolt of hi-octane lightning (VERY common in the early earth’s skies!), that living organisms EASILY form, and life is NOT difficult to come into existence.... hence indicating that our cosmos could be literally teeming with life amongst the stars!
NEXT WEEK: A dying man reveals in a video documentary and signs an official affidavit that a UFO really DID crash 52 miles NE of Roswell New Mexico. He and his girlfriend not only saw it but also were only a few hundred meters from it! He died 5 days after giving this testimony.
The Stars At Night - Hello God? We have a PROBLEM: The Laws of Time Travel:
IF time travel were possible, there might be a chance that you WEREN’T even BORN!
Editor! Editor! Before I get “pink slip” and a free entrance to an English grammar school - please bear with me!
No! My opening sentence isn’t another ploy to lure unsuspecting readers into bewilderment to the point where they vent their anger using this issue of the Daily Bee to light the fireplace..or something even more entertaining..like the seat of my pants!
Lets think about that statement - if time travel were possible, there is a chance you might not exist now! How? (I’d LOVE to finish THAT phrase with “brown cow” to really lay on the rhyme here...but for the sake of my job and this newspaper’s circulation, I’d better NOT!)
To understand all that garble, we have to go back into your family’s history. It is very elementary that you came from a mother and father, (Editor: Please forward my Pulitzer prize for that statement to my post box in Palma!), and your father and your mother also came from their parents.
Let us imagine its 1910. Your GREAT grandfather is only 22 years old, free and still single(Ahhhh! How nice! But, as my Dad says, “You’ve gotta get married SOMETIME kid! You can’t go through ALL your life being HAPPY! Eh!?) .
So there he is, your great grandfather in 1910 driving a brand new experimental model T Ford just imported into London.... anecdote: Did you know that in 1910 - 32,053 Model T Fords were built in the USA - it was the model that had the “mother-in-law” seat at the back...I have a picture of one here!
Anyway, he’s tooling down Oxford Street, engine banging and chugging away. SUDDENLY a shiny, noiseless, totally unidentifiable flying object appears hovering over Harrods! Its a time machine from the year 3020, but your great grandfather sure doesn’t know it, he’s totally distracted, shocked and completely loses control of the Ford...POW! He hits one of those lovely, ornate street lamps of the period. It crashes down on top of the car and grandfather...end of story.
The time machine was indirectly responsible for the death of your great grandfather. He died before he could get married and have children...one of those kids would have been your father. No father, no YOU! NOW look at my opening sentence and it will become more understandable!
Such a scenario, although presented to you in tongue-in-cheek format, is very serious. No doubt, if ever time travel into the past is possible, the first law would HAVE to be this:
THE FIRST LAW OF TIME TRAVEL:
1) During time travel into the past, it is strictly forbidden that the device and its occupants - mechanical or organic - interacts with the visited environment in a physical, visual or auditory manner.
Put in another text - if we could visit the past, we would be allowed to look and listen, but not touch, be seen or heard. In the above example, the unfortunate accident that might have removed your great grandfather from the picture resulting in you not even being born, could have disastrous consequences IF instead of your great grandfather, it was an important figure in politics, religion, economics, military, dictator, genius, inventor etc....the entire history of the world would change.
The very fact that no one has hopped on a time machine and zoomed back to “remove” from history notorious villains such as “Jack the Ripper”, or prevent Hitler from getting elected, or saving the life of John F. Kennedy or John Lennon for that matter, tells me that either time travel is totally impossible, OR time travellers obey rigorously that first law of non-intervention.
Imagine the tremendous consequences if rival religious factions today had access to time travel machines. For example the Talibans of Afgahnistan..if they could get a hold of one, they could go back and “eliminate” not only Buddhist statues, but also Buddha himself, along with other major world religious figures.
The same holds for major world figures such as Napoleon, Cesar, Anthony, Cleopatra, King Tut, Hannibal right up to Ronald Regan or George Bush!
The counter argument to this may be reasoned out that no one particular person or figure is indispensable. That is the Wright Brothers were eliminated before they could “invent” the aeroplane, someone else sooner or later would have done it!
World history is full of dictators and tyrants. If, through our time machine, we eliminated those we know, chances are there will be someone sooner or later who will rise to the situation. In today’s world, such leaders or class of leaders are limited to countries whose culture, politics and religion maintain a tight fist control on the freedom of the mass population. In the not too distant past, almost ALL countries were ripe for Idi Amin type takeovers.
You might also say that if the WRONG person in the past was accidentally or purposely “excused from enjoying an existence on this planet”...that person might be the great great great grandfather of the actual inventor of the time machine! Hence through inadvertent or on purpose action, we might “kill” the invention while it is still “in the air” literally!
THE SECOND LAW OF TIME TRAVEL:
2) Audio-visual information obtained from visits to past events MUST NOT be used to form local, national or world decisions, policies, dictate new laws, re-write history books or change the status, condition or position of persons, ethnic groups, politics, religion, business, commerce, and any or all activities relevant to the immediate present and future.
This may sound as a decree to defeat the entire joy or purpose of time travel to the past. If we used the audio - visual material gained from the past to influence our future destiny, we would defeat the basic principles of the very universe from which we sprang...namely that time and its consequences ALWAYS travels FORWARD! Think about it! No further explanation is needed!
NEXT WEEK: Which came first - life on Earth or Mars? New NASA evidence leaves us with one giant mystery!
The Stars At Night - TIME TRAVEL INTO TOMORROW!
If you REALLY wanted to get “younger”, all you have to do is travel real fast!
Did you know that the Apollo astronauts - of the 12, nine are still alive? Well, they are about 1.2 seconds YOUNGER than their counterparts and family on earth!
The reason why you don’t age as fast as others (here on Earth) when you travel at very high speeds has to do with Einstein’s theory of relativity. WAIT! Wait a minute - before you put this article in between the sidewalk and your muddy shoe ready for stomping on, PLEASE give me a chance!
The big word for today is “Relativity” - meaning just that - it depends on your relationship with things around you. If you sit on the sofa, munching on cashew nuts while reading this, you will age exactly sixty seconds per EARTH minute. Now, pop that sofa in a space ship, and start the motors rolling, you will age sixty seconds of rocket ship time - you look in the mirror 10 rocket ship years from now and yes, your hair will get greyer, skin wrinkles will be on the increase, breasts will sag on women and hippo POT bellies on men will too!
While you are watching your hair grow grey in the spaceship, your family and friends on Earth are getting a LOT older faster than you are! In fact, if you could zoom out for 10 years at the speed of light towards any night star, turn around and sift back here just as fast, you will have aged 20 “spaceship” years.
The sad thing is that when you return, you will find yourself very alone.....all your friends and family will have passed away, your home has been replaced by an ultra modern titanium structure and people are “floating” around on anti-gravity cars. You may have aged 20 years, but the good ol´Earth has made 200 orbits around the sun...you hometown is all but unrecognisable!
If time travel into the future were that easy, all we’d have to do is design bigger, fatter, more powerful motors for your space ships and start sending people out there at near light speeds.
Sorry, it is NOT that easy!
The laws of the universe dictate that, once again according to the laws of relativity, the mass of an object INCREASES with speed! In other words, you might “age” in the spaceship a lot slower that your Earthbound friends, but during the trip, no one will recognize you! Unless you were already pleasantly plump to start off with, you will begin to look like a well-fed hippo as you approach the speed of light.
This has been proven many times in particle accelerators: If you were to travel at 50% of the speed of light - in other words dart along at 150,000 kilometres per SECOND, you will gain 5% in weight! If you weighed 100 kilos on Earth, you’ll weigh 105 kilos on the ship.
Put your over-fed mother in law in there, send her out at 90% of the speed of light and her total act will be just to TRY to stand up! At 270,000 kilometres per second, both of you will have more than DOUBLED in mass! Even is zero gravity, when your THAT FAT, brushing your teeth would be an Olympic exercise!
The reason THAT happens has to do with energy and mass. For some reason, when you get into relativistic speeds - that is, speeds that approach that of light, the energy needed to push you and your ship is “imparted” to both of you, and you begin to walk down the path where you are converting energy to mass.
The simple reason that last week’s quantum physics high school teacher was able to “shoot down” our faster than light imaginary space ship was this:
The mass of an object increases with its velocity! Take your two ton Ferrari for a spin at 320 kilometres per hour, and both you and it will weigh several micro-grams MORE than when it is sitting in the garage being polished by your wife!( FAT chance!)
According to theory, an object travelling at the speed of light would be so massive that the resistance to being moved would be INFINITE! It is for this reason that, at least as far as we know today, travelling faster than light is practically impossible!
SUMMARY: To travel into the future, we have to leave this planet, travel at speeds close to the velocity of light, and come back.
Last week we talked about GRAVITY WAVES that do exist and actually distort space, and therefore time. IF we could harness those waves, we could, in theory at least, distort space such that we could travel AHEAD of the light that leaves Earth in the FUTURE? Confused? Join the club! So am I!
IF mankind ever does devise a “Time Machine” at some point in the future, and he is able to travel BACK in time, we might have been seeing them already!
Imagine you are in the year 3,001. You climb aboard and set the clock for March 2001. ZAP! Here you come. Due to the characteristics of time travel, your machine is not PHYSICALLY here, but the IMAGE of your ship can be seen by people in the year 2001.
What happens? Pilots, Texas cowpokes, and the odd UFO nutbar phones the press and the police that they see an UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECT!
To this day there have been millions of reports by police, pilots and politicians - including one US President (Bill Carter) of strange objects in the sky...yet no one has produced any “alien carburettors”, “alien bald tyres” or “alien exhaust pipes” to prove their existence!
It MIGHT be that most of those sightings were actually time machines built by us that have come here to peek at the past. They cannot interact with us (a violation of the laws of time travel), but their “image” can be seen by us! Hence, the UFO flap!
If only those guys could drop a few leaflets to clarify everything!
NEXT WEEK: The Laws of Time Travel...why history cannot be changed!
The Stars At Night - THE TIME MACHINE - Possible or impossible?
If a time travel machine really existed, and you wanted to go for a spin, you would first have to be a midget - normal sized people could never fit into the contraption. Secondly, once you were off to break the time barrier, after a very short time into the journey, you would find your entire body very quickly being converted into a SOUP covering the walls of the spacecraft...a soup exactly one atom thick!
The reason for the above is two-fold:
In order for a machine to break the time barrier, it has to be small. Every micro-ounce of mass is critical, as massive amounts of energy is needed to propel the thing, therefore, the room inside would be ...well...er.... cramped to say the least!
Secondly, to travel through time you have to travel FASTER than time, and therefore the acceleration needed is so tremendous that any living thing inside the craft would be crushed against the walls to such an extent that the flesh and bones would be mashed into a gooey film one atom thick!
Before you get tuned up and trash this article in the fireplace, please allow me to take you on a time trip that will open your eyes in such a way that from this moment on, you will look at the world around you in a way you never did before!
Lets start by having you hold this newspaper out in front of you at arms length. Can you still read my writing? I can’t - even with a telescope! Anyway, that is not the point. The point is, that you are NOT seeing this article as it IS NOW, you are seeing it as it WAS 0.0000000003 seconds AGO in the PAST!
That’s right! In a way, everywhere you look, you are doing a little bit of time travel into the PAST.
Please read this carefully - a LOT of people get confused with Einstein’s Theory of Relativity!
We all know...at least we HOPE you all know, that light travels 300,000 kilometres per second. This means that if you are looking at the moon, which is ALMOST 300,000 kilometres away..lets use that distance for arguments sake...then the light that is entering your eyeball NOW left the moon 1 second AGO! In other words, it takes light one second to go from the moon to your eye. If the moon were to blow up while you were watching it, you would not know about it until 1 second later...hmmm..big deal, eh!?
Well, not really!
If you look at the SUN, you are seeing it as it was 8 minutes AGO in the past...if IT were to blow up, nothing will happen until 8 minutes has passed, then all hell will break loose!
If you apply that fact to this newspaper, the person in front of you, the car across the street and the boat on the horizon off Puerto Portals...ALL of those things and people are being seen by you NOT as they are NOW, but as they WERE in the past! In other words, technically speaking, everything you observe with your eyes is being watched as it WAS at some short...VERY short time in the past.
If you want to get ridiculous about this point, you really should greet people with “Good morning, how WERE you!?”...since you really are seeing them as they WERE a micro-nano second AGO!
Taken to greater lengths, if you shift your eyes to the night sky, some of those things that look like twinkling stars are actually whole GALAXIES that are so far, far, far away that the light that NOW reaches your eyes LEFT that Galaxy BEFORE this solar system and YOU were even formed!
In one word...to travel BACK in time, we merely have to look at something from a distance. The FARTHER the distance, the farther BACK in time you are looking! Wouldn’t it be NEAT to send your WIFE on a quick journey 40 light years away, then quickly look at her through the Hubble Space Telescope and you’d see her as she WAS when she was 16 years old!!! If you sent her 56 light years out she’d disappear!! Go a little farther and your MOTHER IN LAW will disappear too!
Sorry, no! It doesn’t work that way...I’m only kidding...although I presume there are a few WIVES out there who would LOVE to send their HUSBANDS 40 light years out.....and forget all this nonsense about some space telescope!!
Lets get serious now: To travel BACK in time, we would have to do one of two things:
1) Devise a spaceship that could travel FASTER than the speed of light. MUCH faster!
Example: If you are reading this on your swimming pool lounge chair enjoying the blue sky and warm sun, the light that shines upon this newspaper and your body is reflected out into outer space. Some CIA and KGB spy satellites could actually hone in on you and read the headlines on your Majorca Daily Bulletin! Chances are they’d forget about you and focus on your one-piece bikini clad daughter next to you! (This is NOT a joke..it HAS happened!)
So the light leaves your body at 300,000 kilometres per second...it goes into outer space and keeps on going. Lets say the time is precisely 10AM. If, at 6PM you wanted to see yourself in the PAST as you were at 10AM this morning, your space ship would have to take off and ACCELERATE so fast as to OVERTAKE 8 hours of LIGHT, turn around and point ultra-powerful cameras at Earth! There, lo and behold, you would see not only YOU as you were 8 hours ago, but the WHOLE PLANET!
If you had the right technology, you could take off and accelerate so fast as to overtake 90 years of LIGHT WAVES, turn around and watch the WRIGHT BROTHERS try to fly that crate called the “Kitty Hawk”..the birth of aviation in 1911!
All of the above sounds fantastic and really a brilliant idea until we knock on the door of some quantum physics high school teacher who coolly shoots down our spacecraft with the truth “nothing can travel faster than the speed of light”.
2) WARP OUTER SPACE:
Einstein’s theory predicts the existence of GRAVITY WAVES. Usually they are very weak and almost impossible to detect. They were created at the very beginning of the universe, and are also created by massive objects in space.
IF we could make a gravity wave generator, amplify and modulate them (here we go, REALLY fattening up this newspaper with some ultra-high cholesterol science fiction!) we would be able to DISTORT outer space - creating tremendous cosmic short cuts that clip our travel time and make it possible for us to zoom out, turn around and focus our cameras on the good ol´earth as it was centuries or even thousands of years ago! We would not have to violate the laws of physics by going faster than light.
To understand that outrageous statement, imagine a large inflated but “soft” balloon. Take a marker pen and draw two big dots and join them with one thin line - label one Palma and the other Inca. Now press your thumb into the balloon midway between the two dots...see how they come closer together? The “line” that represents the freeway is still the same length - 38 kilometres in real life - yet the two cities are much closer - you could grab a helicopter and hop between the two towns in a few minutes! With gravity waves, we could do the same thing.
We could zoom out to a point in space where the light waves that left the earth 89 years ago are, turn around, and presto! We could watch the TITANIC sink in REAL TIME!
Next week, something even more shocking - time travel FORWARD, in to the future and what it MIGHT have to do with UFO´s! Don’t miss it!
The Stars At Night - LIGHT PIPES!
So you thought WIRES were the way to go when it comes to sending signals! You thought that light was something reserved for sunshine, light bulbs and flashlights? Think again!
Fibre optic is changing all that into something “start-up” billionaires are calling the “Triumph of Light”. I said billionaires because that’s how much money those clowns are going to make when their new five month old companies start laying light pipes into everyone’s home!
Lets try to understand a few concepts here: Good old fashioned copper wire is great for sending a few signals down the line - like your home telephone, the 220 V electric current that runs your TV set, the cables that connect your video and play station to the boob-tube, plus the copper wire cables that connect all the fancy peripherals to your computer.
Unfortunately, copper wire can only cope with a certain amount of signals at once. The maximum capacity was reached years ago with cable TV. Then along came the Internet to ball things up! With every Tom, Dick, Jane and Harry glowering over their Hewlett Packard’s gawking at images being downloaded from Tahiti to Taiwan, the demand for bits per second pumped through wires just skyrocketed.
Enter, stage left, the NEW light pipe! Fibre optic cables are simply flexible plastic glass-like substances with special mirror reflective coatings inside that allow light to travel through it without getting lost or absorbed. What this means is that we can take a light wave - light waves have incredibly high frequencies - and many different types of light have different frequencies as well, so we can “modulate” those waves just as an old fashioned radio microphone modulates electrical signals down a wire so it can be transmitted to your radio.
Today, we have reached the point where we can “modulate” light waves to transmit 40 BILLION bits of information PER SECOND down ONE fibre optic cable. This represents a fantastic boon to cable TV systems, Internet communications, and telephone companies. ALL three of those services will and are slowly becoming ONE outfit! (Then watch the rates zoom!). In fact, the capacities of projected fibre optic networks will border on the infinite!
All the above jargon about internet, TV, light and frequencies boil down to this: There will come a time when your home or apartment will only need ONE cable poking into a wall there!
1) Through that cable you will have high quality videophone and tele-conferencing capacity. Tele-Conferencing = the possibility to see your Boss´ ugly face on your living room TV set telling you what a lousy job you did today!
2) Video-on-demand where you can throw out all those VHS and DVD videodisks in the garbage! You will be able to access a myriad of video-libraries around the world and watch THE GODFATHER in the SWAHILI language at any time day or night!
3) You will be able to watch a soccer match and have direct access to 10 or 12 different TV cameras filming the event - you could “custom view” any sporting event!
4) In addition to all that bother, you’ll be able to plug in your computer and have instant Internet downloading capacity! That annoying hourglass figure that pops up on your ´puter screen while waiting for those one-piece bikini photos of Drew Barrymore to download will become a thing of the past.
5) Children sick with the measles and missing school? Poor kids - no, not for the measles, but they’ll have their teacher and classroom on their bedroom TV in colour and in real time - no missing an instant of school or university classes!
6) The ULTIMATE TV show is on the horizon - TV sets that take up half your wall and a good-sized table in front where you will be entertained with THREE DIMENSIONAL HOLOGRAPHIC COLOUR TV COMMERCIALS! The odd movie or programme will interrupt the adverts now and again.... much the same as they do now!
7) Not feeling well? Don a special diagnostic undershirt connected to your TV set and it will automatically contact your local hospital computer where your pulse, heart rate and blood pressure, body temperature will be monitored. A “virtual” doctor will ask you a lot of dumb questions until it finally arrives at an “approximate” diagnosis. A “real” doctor will then come on the screen to follow through if the virtual doc could not come to a concrete conclusion and recommend a remedy.
8) Picture frames large and small around the house in all rooms - even the garage, will be connected and programmed by your taste, mood and even the weather to display photos, paintings or images that will enhance the moment, mood or situation!
Bachelors be careful! Don’t invite your NEW girlfriend over while forgetting to “re-program” your picture frames! She might not appreciate photos of your EX girlfriend displaying the latest in see-thru underwear on your living room wall!
9) Kitchen cupboards, the refrigerator, the washing machine, the micro-wave oven, the robot-vacuum cleaner, the dishwasher will all be connected via the internet to their respective service centres as well as, where applicable, the supermarket. On their own they will maintain your house stocked with the correct inventory of soap powder, milk, fresh bread, dust bags, soft drinks, meat, eggs, poultry, cereals, veggies, and more depending on your family habits and consumption. All appliances will notify the service centre in case of any impending breakdowns or parts that need servicing.
9) Home computers will automatically order the paper for the printer, the ink cartridges, and even call the service centre for automatic maintenance and servicing. In the case of programme problems, up to a point, that too could be solved by “itself”!
NOTE: The upstart companies who are REALLY going to “clean up” thanks to these new trouble saving ideas are the DELIVERY companies who have to bring all that junk to your door!
NEXT WEEK: THE TIME MACHINE - Is it possible? IF it was, I have come up with something called “The LAWS for TIME TRAVEL”! Don’t miss it!
The Stars At Night - MARS - Where has all the AIR gone?
Boy! You should be GLAD you weren’t born on MARS!
Right! Here we go again with another “dumb comment” to lure you into eyeballing this article!
Well, if you read on, you will soon realise that maybe it was not such a silly introduction after all! Besides, after seeing some of those TV news casts, or worse, some of those trite shows packed with hours of nauseating commercials, I’m sure SOME of you feel like me at times.... born on the WRONG planet!
20,000 years ago - roughly - a good-sized rock crashed into the Antarctic ice sheet. Scientists found it a few years ago and cut it up, putting it through the electron microscope and discovered what looked like fossilized worm-like bacteria. Shortly afterwards, top NASA officials decided to announce to the world that “life” on Mars did at one time exist...and here is the proof!
Sceptics retaliated saying that such forms could have been made by mineral deposits - dashing the life-theory and leaving two growing camps drawing swords - life or no life?
Score another point for NASA as they later discovered in the same rock pure crystals of magnetite - mentioned in this article some weeks ago. Magnetite of such atomic purity could ONLY have been made by a certain type of bacteria found also here on Earth, in the seas and coastal areas. That kind of purity does not form in nature unless you’re mining the heart of the SUN - there many elements of atomic purity abound because of the incredible temperatures and pressures. On a planet, things don’t happen that way.
So lets say we declare that YES, life DID evolve on Mars! The rock NASA has in their possession is about 3,500 million years old - that is, about 1,000 years younger than the planet Earth - and probably Mars too, as ALL the planets of our solar system formed roughly at the same time.
The curious fact is that life BEGAN on Earth at about exactly that time period - 3,500 million years ago! If you had a bullet-proof-meteor-proof-asteroid-proof time machine (Wow! Talk about “armour plating”!) and you could sift back to 3,500 million years ago; you would be in for a shock.
Between 4,500 and 3,000 million years ago, sour solar system was immersed in the “mother” of all billiard games. Planets were crashing into planets. Huge rocks were falling from the sky, collisions with innumerable comets were common, meteors pounded the ground, and the sky was filled with sparks on a very regular basis. What I am trying to say is that, unlike today where only once in a while we get a little “bip” from a small heavenly rock that made it to the ground before burning up, in those days, the young Earth was literally pummelled by objects from the sky.
When a planet gets hit hard, pieces fly off in all directions. (I wonder if I will earn the Nobel Prize for that brilliant deduction!) Some of those pieces will reach escape velocity and fly out beyond the planets orbit - float and coast for a while until it bangs into another planet - like Earth!
Now HERE is where we tread on dangerous ground!
IF because of the lower gravity on Mars, the air and oceans there made it easier for molecules, organic material, amino acids and the like to form 3,500 million years ago or maybe even earlier, perhaps at least PRIMITIVE life could have formed there.
We KNOW that primitive bacterial life began HERE on Earth around 3,300 to 3,500 million years ago. The BIG question is this: WHO came first? Earth or Mars?
If life formed FIRST on Mars while good ol´ beat up Earth at that time was still forming seas and mountains amidst gushing volcanoes and earthquakes, it could very well be that some FAT rock smashed into a Martian sea, blew bits of rock and bacteria-filled goo out into space, sailing along until it meets Tierra firma. Down it comes and hits the nice warm, primordial seas of Earth.
The seeds have arrived! From there the Martian bacteria evolve, mutate, adapt to our gravity and climate.... eons pass...until one day a life form sits down and taps this tripe out on a computer and E-Mails it to the Majorca Daily Bulletin ! If that WERE the case, technically speaking, WE would be the Martians!
The story, of course, could easily be played in reverse - having Earth win the life race first, IT gets hit with a large boulder that sends the germs off into space aboard a slime-covered rock and WHAM! It smacks into Mars, giving rise to tiny Martians over aeons of time!
Why then, don’t our satellites and Mars orbiters see Dinosaurs, frogs, Pine trees and unbearable TV commercials coming from Mars?
Mars has only roughly 10% of the mass our planet has. The Martian terrain shows that rivers and seas once existed - implying also a much thicker and dense atmosphere allowing life to thrive. Unfortunately, today, the air on Mars is only 16% of the density we have here - a level that will not support life forms like this writer!
The reason that there is so little air on Mars is the same reason we should be very thankful that OUR atmosphere is what it is! It is called the SOLAR WIND.
Over the billions of years since life probably formed on Mars, violent solar wind storms generated by angry sunspot cycles literally BLEW the air OFF the planet! To get more technical, the magnetic field on Earth helps to divert some of that hot, solar plasma away from our upper atmosphere, whereas the weaker magnetic lines of force surrounding Mars are not strong enough to divert the solar hurricane away from “stealing” its air! Hence, as the air slowly boiled off into outer space, air pressure decreased gradually on Mars, the water rapidly evaporated and it blew off, then anything crawling, creeping, growing or typing either suffocated or died of thirst!
Today the average temperature there is 16 degrees below zero, and windstorms approach speeds of over 300 kilometres per hour. Even a 16% density, a feeble atmosphere at 300 kilometres per hour will certainly clean the hair off your face!
If you take away the air, you take away the power of the atmosphere to absorb and keep HEAT. This was the “triple whammy” that most likely “did in” any fledgling life form on Mars. No air, no water, and no heat...no “Stars at Night” article!
Now...aren’t you GLAD you weren’t born on Mars?
NEXT WEEK: Light pipes - how fibre optics of the future will bring you holographic TV shows....and....ugh!...Commercials.
The Stars At Night - Expansion, Acceleration and Light Faster Than Light!
Last week we mentioned that the Universe is getting WEIRD...well, read this and you’ll be even more amazed!
Most people and scientists believe that our story began about 15 billion years ago when everything came into being through one humongous explosion better known as the BIG BANG.
From that point, when TIME came into existence (Right! Confused already?)..Lets pause here:
BEFORE the Big Bang, time did not exist - there was nothing - no motions, no orbits, no time. I know it is a very difficult concept to imagine, but a “timeless state” is a state of being where there is absolutely no motion of any sort. Close your eyes and try to think of a place where no time exists. This is impossible, simply because the ACT of thinking about it means that the thought in your mind “began” at one point and ended at another point!
It is important to understand this weird concept of place where there is no time. If you were in that place, you would NOT be able to read this article! Your eyes and mind scanning this paragraph has to “start” at the beginning and end at the last period in this sentence. That gesture alone implies “time”.
ALL the laws of physics that we know and understand up to now takes it for granted that time is a factor. Take away time, and you have no laws! No Universe! It is THAT point that theorists are trying to tackle to understand what “things” were like BEFORE the big bang. If there was no time, the speed of light would not exist, in fact, nothing could exist. Sub atomic particles and photons of light and radiation all have movement of one sort or another. Some question if there exists a place where these particles are FROZEN somewhere where there is no time!
Am I NOT making any sense!? Well, here is some weird news - such a place DOES exist in THIS universe! It’s called the “event horizon” which is situated at the edge of any massive black hole. For the un-initiated, black holes are globs of matter forming a mass so great that the gravitational force squeezes the physical matter to the point that it is converted into almost pure energy, namely gravity (It follows the cosmic law - matter cannot be created nor destroyed - it merely changes state or form.).
What happens here are that these black holes are so powerful that not even LIGHT can escape. Now, the event horizon is the area where photons of light travelling normally at 300,000 km per second are STOPPED! They are at a point where their escape velocity is matched exactly by the force of gravity from the black hole. The photons of light are in a TIMELESS ZONE. IF YOU were to fall into a black hole, your body definitely would crunch in, but the LIGHT coming off your face would freeze (light coming off MY face freezes no matter where I am!) at the event horizon trapped in a timeless zone. Now THAT is a really weird place! Images of you would stay there immortalised forever until something else fell in on top of your image erasing part or all of it depending on how big the object is!
The daunting part for researchers is to try to imagine what “laws” existed before time came into being, and therefore, have a good idea what CAUSED the big bang in the first place! Virtual particles with values of zero or one, popping in and out of an immensely powerful vacuum are believed to be the precursor of this explosion and hence the universe..but we need to know more...a task that today is almost impossible.
Another even more mysterious situation is that during the first 500,000 years after the big bang, light did not exist but masses of high-energy particles - plasma - did exist, and the laws of physics were completely different than they are today. It is believed now that the expansion of the primordial universe was going on at over 1 BILLION TIMES the speed of light! After the 500,000 years or so, things cooled down and actually “slowed” down to where the standard maximum speed limit was what it is today - 300,000 km per second. To comprehend how this can happen, imagine you are driving your car “at the speed of light” - lets say 60 km per hour, BUT the ROAD is “EXPANDING” at close to 1 billion times that speed...hence you are sifting along at 60km per hour PLUS 59.9 billion km per hour! (If the cops get ya, WOW what a speeding ticket THAT would be!)
Last Mystery for today: Is the Universe - you along with it (you have absolutely NO choice!) - expanding or accelerating?
To understand this, imagine you are suited up and floating in outer space just outside the space shuttle in Earth orbit. You very carefully place a soccer ball at your feet - you have to do this with immense precision so the ball will stay STILL floating in front of your foot. You lean back and give the ball a good KICK! The ball will go flying off OK, but Newton’s famous law of ...”for every ACTION there is an equal and opposite REACTION”..simply means that you will be spinning head over heels there in space...most likely you’ll THROW UP in your space helmet after about 5 minutes of this!( Gee, I hope you’re not having BREAKFAST while reading this newspaper!?)
The soccer ball will go sailing off until it is slowed down by micrometeorites, the solar wind or until it ploughs into an asteroid. In any case, from the moment of the kick, the ball will begin to slow down.
Well, the reason we all think the universe began with the big bang is because no matter where we look, ALL galaxies beyond our Milky way are sailing off just like the football. The problem is that those galaxies are not only floating away from us - something natural to assume after a huge explosion, but they are going FASTER and FASTER away from us as TIME goes on - accelerating!
Right now, they are zooming out at close to 10% the speed of light (30,000 kilometres per SECOND!). If this goes on for billions of years into the future, there could come a time when we will be zapping through space AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT! When and IF that happens, all matter, including you, will disintegrate into sub-atomic particles! What a fate!
It is obvious that some mysterious anti-gravity force (some astronomers have coined the name “quintessence”) that permeates the universe is pushing matter (Galaxies) away from each other. IF we could discover what, why and where this force comes from, maybe someday we could enjoy anti-gravity cars, planes and ships!
Next week: Mars...WHERE did all the AIR go?
Questions? ¿Preguntas? Frage? CONTACT US NOW.
The Stars At Night........IMAGINEERING: What keeps us out of the dark!
Have you ever found yourself in the living room, sitting on the sofa thinking that the world has passed you by?
Have you ever “felt left out” when fellow workers leap over you on their way up the ladder?
Don’t you feel frustrated at times when you see this new avalanche of Internet technology explode led by computer geeks half your age and making enough money in 6 months to buy Indonesia?
You housewives, sitting down having a coffee, reading this article after spending a morning of cleaning up after breakfast, washing the dishes and vacuuming the lounge, do you feel like your “job” is just one notch above the category of “taking out the garbage”?
Did you know that even top chief executive officers of the worlds largest and most important companies sometimes feel the same way? Why, even top scientists and doctors occasionally sense that they are in a “rut” with no way out.
All of the above “sensations” are felt by hundreds of millions of people around the world - in all countries and cultures. The problem boils down to three faults a lot of us seem to have:
1) CONFORMITY: A lot of us are happy to “slide” into a realm where we “put up” with the way things are - and stay there!
2) RESISTANCE TO CHANGE: For many of us, change is bad news. It shakes us out of our comfortable cocoon and forces us to make and - or find, a new one!
3) PASSIVE ATTITUDES: If we see something is wrong or could be improved, some of us prefer to ignore it. “Why bother? It won’t do ME any good!” is the excuse often heard.
The curious thing is that ALL of us have the solution. ALL of you ...yes YOU...now don’t pop your head up above this newspaper to scan around the room (like the radar on an aircraft carrier!), looking for someone to finger out...YOU have the solution!
The secret solution is buried within ALL minds.....its called “Imagination”. No matter how brilliant and fertile your imagination is, it is useless unless it is APPLIED!
I call it “Imagineering”! Please let me explain:
Take this newspaper. For a newspaper to survive and be successful, the “three sins” mentioned above have to go out the window! Take THIS newspaper for example...from the Editor Jason Moore, through Ray Flemming to Humphrey Carter, creativity, fresh ideas, different angles to stories and finally comments by the journalists all require “imagineering”..putting imagination to work and applying it to the newspaper.
Some of you may think that their jobs are a piece of cake, and the paragraph above is just plain hogwash!
Ok, do it YOURSELF then! Try it! Get out there and get the local stories, run after leads, take photos (and make damn sure your camera is focused, film inside and flash batteries are fresh....or else!), then swim through the reams of inputs pouring in from faxes, E-Mails, phone calls, Internet news, amateur writers, books and magazines...then sit down and put it all in newspaper format tailored to the Balearic Islands.
Now what was that comment about “hogwash”...?
Imagine you’re a Ray Flemming for example! I have no idea how many MILLIONS of words he must sift through in books, in local and international news, then “plasmar” the whole thing into a concise and condensed newspaper setting...whew! I get tired just thinking of it!
Ok! Agreed! Newspaper, radio and TV people have to be “imaginative” otherwise the rest of us will tune them OUT! But what about YOU!?
Just because you are a housewife and not a rocket scientist does not mean you can’t contribute! Just because you’re the new guy in the company doesn’t mean that you can’t promote change and improvement! Just because you’re retired and “put out to pasture” doesn’t mean you can’t create! Even if you’re a junior high school kid it does not imply that your imagination is useless to everyone else and should be ignored!
All of us have imagination. All of us have the ability to look at people, places, situations, and things in a thousand different ways. The ideas that slowly emerge as a result of scanning those “angles” could change your world or the worlds of others.... but unfortunately, most of us feel that our ideas are of not interest to anyone, useless, impossible or downright stupid!
I wonder where Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Steven King, Henry Ford, Laura Mattel (Inventor of the Barbie Doll), Agatha Cristie, Werner Von Braun, Dr. Carl Sagan, Gabriel Escarrer (Sol Hotel group), Steven Spielberg and millions of others like them..where would THEY be if they thought like that?
When you come down to it, the difference between you and millions like those mentioned above is simply this: Both of you have imagination, and from that, you have ideas. The difference is that they “imagineered” their ideas into reality. Maybe not ALL of the idea passed the threshold from imagination to engineered functioning fact, but certainly PART of it did, and hence, their success.
Your car, home, furniture, appliances, newspapers, magazines, clothes, books, fixtures and just about everything else that surrounds you began as someone’s imagination. That imagination spawned an idea, and it was engineered into reality.
The FUN is you don’t have to aspire to be a Bill Gates or Hillary Clinton...imagineering can be applied to you here and now! The little things...homework, housework, and your professional work all have areas where a little imagineering will add just that little extra “pizzazz” that can make life just that much more rewarding!
John F. Kennedy once said:
“Some men see things as they are, and ask “Why?”, I DREAM things that never were, and say “Why NOT!”
I’ve said it many a time on the radio...it probably sounded a little corny, but in private..read that sentence again, think about it, then act on it! You WILL be surprised!
NEXT WEEK: The STRANGE Universe...We thought we knew it all! Wrong! New observations are creating more questions than answers!
The Stars At Night: THE BOOMERANG EFFECT!
I bet you thought it was the Australians that have a monopoly on things that come back after being thrown away!?
It looks like the laws of nature and the perplexity that now affronts NASA has shown that “Boomerangs” can come from the most unsuspected places!
Astronomers David Tholen (Hawaii University - must be nice!) and Robert Whiteley - now with the Catalina Sky Survey - discovered something scary. Well, their work is actually “scary on purpose”. They’re self appointed task is to search for things out there that could hit us.
I call them the “Doomsday Men”! If they ever DO find something fat and scary that will hit us, they will be the guys you’ll see on CNN telling us about just how much time you’ve got to kiss our __ss goodbye! I bet they have a secret pre-contract with Hollywood, where they will quickly earn a fortune doing a re-make of “Armageddon” - only this time no “Special Effects department” will be needed!
A mysterious grey streak was observed on a negative taken by them on the Canada-France-Hawaii telescope, Sept. 29, almost two months ago. It was catalogued as “asteroid 2000 SG344”. Further observations revealed that it is quite bright, PLUS its orbit is 354 days long, very similar, in fact, TOO similar to ours - making astronomers realise that this is definitely NOT an asteroid or meteor.......it must be something from THIS planet!
During the famous APOLLO moon shots, not only astronauts and space capsules were hurled towards the moon, but a certain amount of space junk as well!
It was inevitable, if your going to go to the moon, you need a rocket engine - come booster to kick you out of Earth orbit and push you on to that destination. Once the engine burn was finished and the three astronauts were on their way, cooped up in that little triangular shiny metal hat-looking capsule, the booster rocket was jettisoned and sent adrift.
In space travel, every ounce of energy that can be saved is valuable. If they had to lug this now dead and useless booster rocket, they would need extra fuel for the return trip plus extra propellant for the vernier rockets that adjust the ship’s orientation. The common solution is to get rid of any “excess ballast” and go with the bare minimum needed for comfortable space flying...er ...floating! It is something like being able to “dump” some of that “excess baggage” on the highway during a trip to Las Vegas.... excess baggage like a mother in law, or the two brats in the back seat!
NASA scientists programmed the Apollo rocket motor separation in such a way that the spent booster would crash on the moon’s surface, giving astronomers a chance to observe the reaction, dust and even the “moon-quakes” after the Apollo 12 mission placed a seismometer on the moon.
Unfortunately, for reasons of new landing area objectives, the boosters of Apollo 8 to 12 MISSED the moon and flew off into an orbit around the sun!
Those five 15 meter long shiny black and white “S-IVB” 4th stages of the huge Saturn V moon rocket are very much intact. In interplanetary space, there is no weather, wind, or dust to deteriorate the ship - other than the odd micrometeorite and those intense ultra-violet rays of the sun that will bleach the paint colours of the craft!
So, there they are, floating out there whirling slowly and gracefully around our sun...UNTIL planet Earth gets in their way!
Yes, it looks like we might actually smack into our own “Space Boomerang”, as one has been detected 11 lunar distances from your swimming pool. If all goes “well”, there is a 1-in-1,000 chance of a collision on Sept. 16, 2071!
Don’t start building concrete shatterproof shelters yet! If the thing WERE to hit us, being only 15 meters long, it will burn up in our atmosphere giving some earthbound sky watchers a pyrotechnic thrill!
Taking this situation one step further, why not build TWO S-IVB boosters with a habitable compartment in each, put George Bush in one and Al Gore in the other, launch them from FLORIDA (as usual!), both at the same time, and the FIRST ONE TO COME BACK will be president!
IF observers have made a mistake, and this blob on the photograph is an asteroid (HOW it got into an Earth-like orbit would be a total mystery for astronomers!) - then the brightness observed would correspond to a nice, friendly rock of about 70 meters across. I say nice and friendly because when IT hits, the “kiss” (Impact velocity = 37 kilometres per second) will turn a city the size of Palma into being “absent”! Plaza España will be a hole about 500 meters deep. Getting an expresso coffee at the Bar Cristal there would be a “dusty” experience. Parking will be no problem - the cars will roll into the hole by themselves!
NEXT WEEK: Cruising like a Boeing 747 over the asteroid EROS - our closest-ever approach to an Asteroid!
The Stars At Night.........The Universe is getting WEIRD!
Astronomy is amazing...it really is! If you really think about it, we must take our hats off to the men and women who, over the centuries, have enabled us to shed so much light on a subject that is so out of reach!
Here we are trapped on a small orb, chained by the unforgiving force of gravity, orbiting a run-of-the-mill star stuck out here near the edge of one of three titanic spiral arms of a “normal” Galaxy.
It is incredible how much information we have been able to glean from the heavens considering the limits of time and distance the universe imposes upon anyone trying to unlock its secrets...but we ARE getting closer!
To add insult to injury, the more we look, the more sophisticated our satellites and instruments get, the new information coming in is giving scientists bald heads (from scratching so much!) and furrowed brows.... it seems that NOTHING is falling into the neat, orderly “designs” we thought our universe was patterned after! We are winding up with more mysteries than meat!
ALL of us thought, well, the cosmos began with one big be-jesus explosion, then all the matter that spewed out of this mother of all A-Bomb blasts condensed to form stars, then galaxies, then planets, then this author and you the reader! Right? WRONG!
New observations are shaking the very foundations of ALL our conventional “tidy” pre-conceived ideas of where we live...cosmically speaking of course!
Immediately after the big bang, the sub atomic particles formed were so HOT, moving so fast, that there was NO light for over 500,000 years! The plasma that was the proto-universe after the bang was opaque to electromagnetic radiation! Black...it was absolutely pitch black for half a million years!
Right...send this note to Hollywood and to ALL science documentary and science fiction shows that portray the Universe’s beginnings as a spectacular BIGHT fireworks display!
Now, anyone wanting to illustrate the “Big Bang” will have to start with a big BLACK blackboard!
With this information in hand, one would think that astronomers have NO hope of “viewing” events that happened BEFORE the 500,000 years threshold. Well, wrong again!
After the half million years passed, the sub atomic plasma cooled, forming protons and electrons which later formed atoms and profuse, massive amounts of radiation in ALL frequencies. This “prehistoric flash” can be actually seen today by sophisticated telescopes, radio telescopes and special satellites. You’ve heard of it...it’s called the CMB or Cosmic Microwave Background.
The profuse light that existed at that time slowly cooled and “shrunk” in frequency until now it can only be “seen” in the microwave frequency sector in the sky. To understand this “Doppler” effect, it is the same as if you are standing on the street corner, a police car comes towards you, sirens blazing away..Most likely chasing ME for “running a red light” backwards! The siren is shrill as it approaches you, sounds “normal” when in front of you, but starts to drop in tone as the car speeds away. If we had super-sensitive ears, and no ambient noise, you would be able to “hear” that siren right down to the very lowest of sound frequencies the farther away the car was.
Due to the apparently frenetic expansion of the universe, this background microwave radiation is a “window” on what the universe was like, what it was made of and what was happening 14.5 billion years ago! Ultra-sensitive instruments and satellites have detected variations in intensity in this “curtain” that shows us an early universe that was not uniform...it was “lumpy”!
More amazing still is the fact that this CMB forms a “screen” that was affected by GRAVITY WAVES that were created practically at the INSTANT of the big bang explosion!
Allow me to explain before this article winds up looking like a used chewing gum wrapper in the dustbin chucked there by some disgruntled readers!
At the moment of the big bang, at precisely 10 to the MINUS 38th of a second, gravity waves came into existence due to the incalculable energy of the explosion. 10 to the minus 38th of a second is 0.00000000000000000000000000000000000001th of a second! Its like when you drop a bowling ball on your toe and we count 1 second of time from when the ball actually physically hits your foot. 10 to the minus 38th of a second would be the moment when the shell (electron cloud) of the first atom of the bowling ball “graces” the shell of the first atom it hits on your now-very-flat-and-sore toe!
In other words, gravity waves formed almost at the exact instant the big boom began. Those gravity waves expanded and passed easily through the dense, hot, opaque plasma soup of sub-atomic particles. After the magic 500,000-year mark, light and radiation came into being, which today can be seen as the Cosmic Microwave Background.
Hold up a white bed sheet, splatter paint on it from a fat brush...and you will see some of the paint seep through the fibres and make a mark on the other side. Well, the CMB is something similar. The gravity waves distorted this uniform “sheet” polarizing some of the areas. In other words, these affected areas can tell us WHAT went on BEFORE the 500,000 years radiation époque, and even give clues to the big bang itself!
So far, all this investigation on the CMB has revealed that our Universe is not only LUMPY but it forms an UNEVEN sphere that looks something like a hanging Chinese lantern!
In 2003 and 2007, new satellites specialized for CMB analysis with super-state-of-the-art tech will tell us even more! Watch this space.... its going to get weirder yet!
The Stars At Night:
To write an article with the subject matter “The Stars At Night” on a day that is at the edge of a new Century and a new Millennium is difficult to find subject matter that will dovetail nicely with the theme.
Unfortunately, most of you, myself included, have great difficulty in fathoming the enormity and complexity of the universe that surrounds us. It seems so far away, and believe me, it is in may ways, yet at the same time it is HERE...the ground you stand on, the gravity that holds you down, the starlight (we call it “daylight”) that bathes Mallorca in golden sunshine is all part and parcel of that untouchable, mysterious cosmos.
Many of you criticize the billions spent on the space programme, simply because you have not realised any personal profit from it. Another untruth. The computer you are using, this newspaper you are reading, and the car you drive have all benefited from the space programme in many “concealed” ways. Smaller components in new devices, better weather forecasting, even better paint on your car that can stand 50-degree heat and 30 below zero cold. They are just a tiny few of the millions of benefits we enjoy directly or indirectly from the space programme.
I am willing to bet there is not ONE single reader of this article that hasn’t in his home or garage something that is there thanks to space research.
Moneywise, the amounts spent on space by all the nations on earth represent a teeny weenie fraction of what we spend on bullets, tanks, warships, bombers and fighter planes with the only objective of occasionally flattening Belgrade or removing Hiroshima from the map. I wonder how many of you have in your home or garage something that is there thanks to the military programme...other than the odd wheelchair or photograph of a loved one lost in a battle somewhere.
The title of this story is called “Hope”. I put it there because if you REALLY look at the space programme - ALL parts of it, you will find one fine thin thread of underlying reason. To answer the questions “Where did we come from? What are our true origins? The odd few also ask “Are we the ONLY ones here?”
There comes a time in every persons life when he or she asks those questions...usually in privacy, in silence, quietly wondering and trying to sift through the odd news report on advances “up there” if any answers or clues come filtering through.
When our solar system was formed 4.5 billion years ago, the “proto-planets” (orbs beginning to take on planetary form) were condensing out of a tremendous mass of gas, dust, rocks, boulders, ice, comets and plasma. The battered faces of Mercury and the ageless moon testify to those terrifying days when the planets had to literally smash their way through their orbits - running into everything that was in the way, dominated by the laws of Newton - orbits and gravity. After billions of years, the space between the planets and the area that makes up their orbital path got cleaned up.
Now, only occasionally, do we or other planets bump into something, like Jupiter did in 1994 when it was rammed by comet Shoemaker-Levvy. This also happened 13,000 years ago on Mars. Something HUGE hit Mars with so much force that pieces of the red planet went flying everywhere. One of them, a rock called the Allan Hills meteorite - a 4 billion year old fragment, crashed into Antarctica shortly afterwards.
If you remember, this was the famous rock that NASA presented to the world that has supposedly fossil remains of worm-like bacteria, proving that life also arose on another planet. Critics dismissed these claims saying such forms could also be made by natural means - crystal and mineral deposits etc.
The picture has now swung in favour again of those never-give-up guys at NASA. Apparently, scientists discovered magnetic crystals inside this meteorite - crystals that, here on Earth, are produced ONLY by microscopic life forms called the MV-1 bacteria strain.! These magnet-producing bacteria are common in many freshwater and marine environments on Earth....just the place where life began to form 3.6 billion years ago!
The magnetic compound, called “magnetite” or Fe3O4 is common enough here. It is present in household video and audio tapes. But only certain types of terrestrial bacteria, which can assemble the crystals atom by atom, produce magnetite structures that are chemically pure and free from defects. They are able to do this because they control the construction of the crystal at an atomic level! I could explain why they do this and how, but unlike outer space, space in the Majorca Daily Bulletin IS limited!
It is enough to say that this is evidence that is hard to explain by any other hypothesis. To make a long story short, this discovery seems to tilt the balance in favour that at least bacterial life could have originated on Mars. The BIG question is, did they form on Mars FIRST, then because of the collisions during the early solar system, did they arrive here, grow and prosper in the Earth’s marine environment, giving us the life we see here now?
Some years ago, a NASA scientist told me that within 25 years we would have conclusive evidence that life exists elsewhere. The HOPE is that perhaps even BEFORE that time, the big question of “are we alone?” will be answered.
The Stars At Night: MENTAL TELEPATHY COULD BECOME A REALITY!
“When do you think Mental Telepathy will become a reality?”
“In about 50 years, after everybody stops laughing!”
Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to JUNK those annoying, bothersome, pain in the you-know-where mobile phones? Wouldn’t it be nice NOT to need landline phones at home? How “far out” (and fun!) it would be to throw your video and TV set out the window?
How FANTASTIC it would be to only have to put on a stylish, comfortable CAP on your head and have telecommunication, video and Internet on demand by just closing your eyes!
This may appear to you as an article on science fiction at its limit, but if you have the patience to read on, (after you’ve stopped rolling on the floor doing a Jackie Gleason “har - dee - har - har!”) You will find the topic no so funny! In fact, it could really be possible!
FACT: The human brain contains an average of 2 to 4 mg of PURE COPPER, enough to make a small circuit board! Electric signals thrive in our brains!
FACT: We have known for decades that our brain emits very complex BRAIN WAVES - waves that ebb, flow, vary, turn off and on and give our scientific instruments a means to peer into the actual workings of what is considered to be the most complex device known in the UNIVERSE!
FACT: Magnetic CAT scans and ULTRASOUND devices can actually observe specific areas of the brain working in real time. In this manner we can roughly pinpoint where our speech centres are, visual, audio, thought, muscle and organ control and so on.
FACT: Brain waves are extremely complex, and no two persons have the same wave forms and intensity - it is somewhat similar to saying that we all have a different radio frequency - it is as if each human being is his/her own mini radio/TV station!
Just as different emerging technologies evolved to give us the Lamborghini Countach - the discovery of crude oil, the invention of the carburettor, the gasoline engine, rubber etc. etc.; developments in passive invasive body tissue analysis in real time, along with genetic engineering, and improvements in new, complex scientific instruments coupled to powerful computers MIGHT lead us to the path where development of MENTAL TELEPATHY could become the STAR technology of the next century!
WHAT IS MENTAL TELEPATHY:
The term has been around for centuries - myths and legends from distant civilizations and cultures speak of “special” people who had the power to communicate words and images to others without uttering a sound.
Some modern cases have been presented, investigated and later filed away as “inconclusive”. Claims by fortunetellers, mediums, and similar “artists” have never led to any concrete scientific conclusions. This is not to say that all such claims are false - it could be that we, at this moment in time, do not have the knowledge or the devices to investigate the phenomenon correctly!
Since the 50´s writers have usually portrayed aliens as communicating by mental telepathy.....saving the science fiction writers reams of ink trying to “invent” alien words and languages!
Today the term could be defined as the possibility for two brains (or more) to communicate with each other via electromagnetic signals (“brain waves”).
THE ONSET OF MENTAL TELEPATHY TECHNOLOGY:
Trying to decipher the “messages” contained in the brain waves of an adult would be totally impossible. (Trying to analyse the brain waves of young tourists on the Punta Ballena street of Magalluf at 3am after a “Pub Crawl” would leave scientists baffled! Brain wave activity there would be practically “ABSENT!”)
ALL brain functions, signals and nerve actions create electromagnetic signals - all together they form a pattern (“brain waves”) that doctors can use to gauge the health and activity of our “noggin”, but not much more!
In order to BEGIN this road of discovery, we will have to sort out the maze of signals streaming from our minds and separate them into specific areas and functions until we finally discover the magic frequency of audio-visual communication.
Amplitude, frequency, polarity and intensity of those waves are the key factors that will allow us to design a means to make mental telepathy possible.
Stem cells are the cells all of us “begin” with at the onset of birth. During the foetus stage, stem cells begin to diversify into specific tissues and later organs - eyes, heart, lungs and the brain. It is absolutely CRUCIAL that we somehow develop a way to monitor from the very first brain cell formation the corresponding electromagnetic radiation - if any - being emitted. This must be followed through in real time right up to “term” or physical birth. Without a doubt, for this to be possible, the term “test tube baby” will have to take on a whole new meaning!
These experiments and studies will have to be undertaken on a large scale - for example in several universities around the world. The “test tube babies” would have to be hooked up to non-invasive devices 24 hours a day for over 9 months. The machinery will be connected to powerful state of the art super-computers with a sub-system connected to all participating universities via the Internet also in real time.
To filter out the brain waves that have nothing to do with thought, audio and vision, and hone in on the electromagnetic patterns associated with both reception (sensing, hearing and seeing) and transmission (thought, imagination, and speech commands.) Dreams and memory are two complex areas that might interfere, create “noise” that would make the already difficult task almost impossible.
a) RECEPTION OF SIGNALS:
The light beams bouncing off the printed words on this page are right now entering your eyeball! Your optic nerve converts these photons into electric pulses that travel up a nerve “cable” into the “vision processing centre” of your brain. If you close your eyes, you partially “shut down” the system, leaving the optic nerve relatively free of signals. Then, if we could transmit electromagnetic signals at the right amplitude, polarity, intensity and frequency, we could DUPLICATE the work of the eye, and send down that “pipeline” images, photos and video! (Just imagine what this could do for the blind or those with poor eyesight!)
The transmission would have to be “focused” in 3 dimensions with precision so that the signal is channelled directly to the optic nerve. If this doesn’t work, this 3D transmission could be focused directly to the vision centre of the brain itself.
The same system would function for audio by focusing the right waves to the nerve leaving the middle ear, or directly to the audio centre in the brain. For the system to work well, it may be necessary to block out sounds entering the ear to prevent outside noise from mixing with the transmitted sounds leaving your “sound centre” buzzing with a cacophony of confusion!
a) The fine line between thought and the command to utter sounds to communicate would have to be studied and understood. There is probably more “energy” in thoughts converted to “orders” to activate our vocal chords in such a way as to create speech. Ordinary thought waves would be supremely complex, as most people are able to speak, think and watch visual images all at the same time. For transmission purposes, we would not want a device that enables people to “read” our most intimate thoughts. We want to concentrate on the brain signals that are designed to convey our musings to the outside world. Without a doubt, for this to work, a way would have to be found to “capture” only the “thoughts” destined for speech.
b) For the transmission of images we would probably have to concentrate on the visual centre of the brain where it is logical to suppose that visual images captured from the eye to the optic nerve and on to the brain, is also the same place where the REVERSE could happen.
Here the brain can CREATE an image on demand.
An example would be for you to create a mental image right now of your mother. Create another image of your happiest moment...the problem is that in all cases, the images are not “hard copy” and as “fixed” as images being sent to you via the eyes. What I am trying to say is, yes, of course we can create colour images in our mind, but in a general sense, they are “fleeting”, “semi-transparent” and in many cases mixed with other images that overlap due to things we may be thinking of at the same time we are trying to create a mental image of “mother”.
The extraordinarily STRANGE thing is that during DREAMS, our images or “ videos” are tremendously vivid, highly focused, and colourful and often make such an impact that we actually remember some of them. To understand what I mean, do this experiment with yourself. Try to remember a dream you have had that really “sticks in your mind”. The colours, action, people and things are so “real” you almost think that it WAS real! Now try to remember last nights supper. The images you recall probably are recognizable, but not sharp, vivid and “hard copy” so to speak. Most likely yesterday’s memories are at best vague and undefined.
Scans of the brain have shown that some thoughts, images and memories can come from DIFFERENT areas of the brain, making it complicated for a device to “capture” only the “photo/video thoughts” that we want to “transmit” via mental telepathy.
Since the sensory areas of the brain for audio and “video” INPUT are clearly defined and easily studied, they could even be relatively easily employed as receptors for outside sound and vision transmission.
Getting the brain to SEND audio and video would be a very complex and an almost supremely difficult task. I refuse to say “impossible” as even today I cannot predict what new discoveries lie ahead that might make possible tomorrow what today is unthinkable!
For now, I predict that we WILL be able to transmit from conventional audio-video devices - radio, TV, telephone, cameras - and “broadcast” them directly to the appropriate channels in our brain.
The signals from a phone call could travel through the air as it does today - cellular analog or digital. The signals arrive at your “cap” that you wear on your head. The electronics convert the telephone signals into “brain waves” that your mind will understand - send them up the audio nerve to the sound centre of your mind and presto! You can “hear” the phone call or “see” the photo or video.
At the very most, if we could harness the thought patterns that we assign to speech, then we might be able to pick them up with our “cap”, convert them into ordinary telephone digital signals and send them via satellite to someone in Kamchatka!
In this article I have tried to describe as simply as possible a theory that has some very real possibilities. The inner workings of this theory is so interwoven with complex factors that I would need SEVERAL WEEKS of the entire edition of the Mallorca Daily Bulletin to get it across more completely and accurately!
After reading the above exposé, if you still feel that I am “missing a few screws” between the ears, it is enough to say that since the 1960´s the Russians and since the 1970`s the Americans have invested tens of millions of dollars into secret, serious research into the very ideas I have presented here!
NEXT WEEK...............Why global warming could bring on a new ICE AGE!
The Stars At Night - SELECTIVE MENTAL TELEPATHY - HOW?
Last week we mentioned what it would be like - and how “dangerous” “Total Mental Telepathy” could be. If it WERE possible, an uncanny wave of “transparent openness and honesty” would permeate our society where ALL of our most intimate, private thoughts and mind images would suddenly become public domain!
Lies would be impossible, the truth would be crude, hard and un-coloured, opinions frank, desires blatant, and information un-biased.
Think for a moment how the Majorca Daily Bulletin would read like in such an atmosphere! Picture Jason Moore or Humphrey Carter interviewing and taking notes from the famous, the newsworthy, the notorious, or the powerful. Would press reporters be ALLOWED to print REALLY what their subject is “saying/thinking”? What would those editorials read like? My question is, would it be PRINTABLE!?
Any such FRANK press interviews conducted in a Magalluf Disco would mean the resulting article in the Daily Bulletin would have to carry a WARNING LABEL! “This column is restricted! ADULTS ONLY!”
Oddly enough, the idea of “transparent open honesty” also comes from a visionary - a chap from the British group called the Beatles. If total, open mental telepathy were possible, we would then be living in a JOHN LENNON WORLD! Imagine!
To get the gist of what I mean, try this very challenging and almost IMPOSSIBLE experiment:
One evening, when you are alone at home with your wife/girlfriend or husband/boyfriend or just a very close friend, (doing this with a total stranger who does not know you might be dangerous!), make a pact to say and express EVERYTHING that pops in your mind, regardless of the subject matter!
You MUST convey every sordid detail, description and “tone” - NO HOLES BARRED! The communication has to be two way - that both of you reveal totally openly what your most inner thoughts and mind images are!
Score maximum points if the conversation lasts over 5 minutes and you’re still CIVIL to each other! (This article and the newspaper that prints it - the Majorca Daily B - is not responsible for any hospital or psychic treatment needed by participants in the above-mentioned folly!)
SELECTIVE MENTAL TELEPATHY - taking telecommunications to giddy heights:
It appears that IF mental telepathy were at all possible, it would be based on the strongest signals entering the brain - sound and vision, and the most potent signals leaving - namely commands for speech and image projection.
Selective mental telepathy means that only the strongest mind signals would be detected and “released”. These are the signals that form a large part of our brain waves. They would be picked up by a special. highly sensitive receptor in the form of a hi-tech cap that we would wear on our heads. The first models would need to pick up these signals from inert metal microscopic thin wire “probes” implanted in or very near the brain centres where these signals originate.
These pick up probes would include ones for picking up STEREO audio signals travelling to the brain from the middle ear, and other sensors for capturing image/video signals from the eye travelling along the optic nerves. If technology permits, we could even pick up THREE DIMENSIONAL IMAGES by capturing the vision signals from BOTH eyes!
These detections are relatively strait forward and easy , since we KNOW where and what these signals are.
Far more difficult is the task of designing probes to detect speech commands and the strong image projection signals that all of us have.
Confused? So am I!
Please let me try to define some of the theories here! Brain speech commands are the hard-core thoughts we have that we want to convert to speech. The brain first THINKS the thought, and then sends a signal to the nerves that control the vocal chords to “SPEAK those thoughts”.
Example: What is your definition of the perfect woman? (Or man if you’re a “she”!?)
Reaction: Your brain first has to sift through a mess of memories and musings, collect the characteristics you find desirable, put them all together, THEN order the vocal chords to blurt out the words describing your answer! It is that “vocal chord order” signal we want to catch with our “cap”.
Once the cap captures (no pun intended!) these frequencies, it is an easy task to convert those signals into ANY type of electromagnetic wave we want - digital cellular phone type signals, radio, TV, microwave - they could be sent out to repeater towers and antennas just as mobile phones do and sent to another person’s cap where the waves are converted into frequencies the brain understands and “PRESTO” - your Mom in Kent can see and hear what YOU see and hear, in 3-D, and with stereo sound!
As this technology advances, the cap will be replaced by a bionic implant of tiny proportions powered by your own body heat. It would be harmless, inert and present no side effects. A small touch pad on your wristwatch would allow you to “dial up” the person you wish to contact. Persons wanting to contact you would first be filtered - your “watch” gets the signal, sends an image/sound to your brain revealing, “who is calling”, and you can either continue or “hang up”.
Common sense dictates that IF such a technology came about in the next century, we would definitely need some sort of “on-off” switch - otherwise we’d go nuts!
SOME OF THE USES:
Apart from the obviously fantastic way to communicate with friends, family and loved ones, it would be a boon to business - real estate agents could send you 3D stereo sound and vision of properties, you could visit stores, car show rooms and boutiques without leaving your electric easy chair!
A big plus would be the possibility to transmit to your children school classes WHILE THEY SLEEP! This also goes for you - want to learn a language or how to fly a 747? Program your watch or cap to send to your brain the corresponding courses gleaned from the INTERNET!
Few people have the time to read a newspaper cover to cover. Imagine being able to subscribe to the Majorca Daily Bulletin and have it transmitted to your mind while having a snooze? This also goes for magazines, TV shows, music and even radio shows - the question is, by the time this technology arrives; will we still have Newspapers, Magazines, TV and Radio?
“Junk Brain Mail” would obviously filter in somehow - people, politicians and even religious nut-bars would LOVE to have an opportunity to literally “brain-wash” you!
Especially dangerous would be if you left your “head-phone” on while sleeping! This would allow the above nerds to “get into your head” and you would not have the chance to “hang up”! ( Solution: “Firewalls” could be built into your wristwatch reception system that would automatically block any “unauthorised” mind calls!)
SLEEP - DREAM - FANTASIES:
A myriad of new entrepreneurs would pop on the scene offering clients like you “customised dream worlds”! You fill out a long questionnaire describing ALL of your desires, likes, dislikes, kinks, favourite people, places, times, toys, things etc. The company would then use their dream-design team along with virtual reality technology to conjure up “the perfect dream” for you! It would be sent to you in “instalments” at night while you sleep. This could go on over a period of days, weeks or months depending on your pocket book, visa-gold-card or until you’re “exhausted” mentally and in some cases, depending on the subject matter of your dream, “physically”!
DREAM DATING SERVICE:
Here we get a little wild, but people could fill out forms and a “Lonely Hearts Club” agency could send out packaged video introductions to subscribers while they sleep - or are awake - and the customer would be able to contact the “blind date” if interested in knowing more!
NEXT WEEK: Let’s change the subject! The BOOMERANG EFFECT - A NASA spacecraft relic will return to Earth in 20071!
The Stars At Night:
IF MENTAL TELEPATHY WERE POSSIBLE, WHAT WOULD OUR WORLD BE LIKE?
After you’ve put your coffee down and STOPPED laughing your head off, maybe THEN we could start this article!
Last week we made a serious attempt to show you that Mental Telepathy could be the star technology of the next century. Usually such predictions are easily dismissed as coming from people who are considered a “basket case” and are missing a few “dots on the dice”!
Yes, I know!
But didn’t we ridicule The Wright Brothers, Jules Verne, Galileo, Werner Von Braun and De Haviland? Even the NEW YORK TIMES printed an acid article saying, “Space flight is impossible ´cause there’s no air up there for a rocket motor to push against!”
Even the Majorca Daily Bulletin, after first hitting the streets of Palma some decades ago, was thumbed-down as being a “short lived capricious experiment!” Ha! Look at it now! Sure beats some of those mind-numbing trash tabloids found in the British Isles (and in Germany too!)!
What WOULD it be like IF we had mental telepathy technology?
First of all, we have to DEFINE what TYPE of mental telepathy we are talking about.
Last week I stressed that the only “PLAUSIBLE” mental telepathy would be that derived from the strongest signals entering into the brain (sound and images) and those “leaving” - namely commands for speech and image projection (such as you describing what Zeta-Jones looks like - you have a strong mind picture as you describe her to someone who has never laid eyes on her!).
This point is of extreme importance.
IF we arrived at the point where by merely dawning a hi-tech cap we could decipher and understand ALL mental thoughts, “speech” and mind-images of a person, there would come to pass the most incredible social/cultural change ever to happen in the history of humankind.
Your most coveted and secret thoughts would suddenly become “public domain”! Your fantasies - sexual and otherwise - your thoughts of your family, friends, strangers, other races, religions, cultures, works, things -all would become “readable” by others!
To start off with, used car salesmen and real estate agents would last about...oh.... two minutes! Politicians - regardless of what party they represent, would last a little longer.... 2.5 minutes! Divorce rates would skyrocket!
Imagine the scene - husband is sitting next to his wife in the living room. A news report comes on TV showing the latest Paris fashions with scantily -clad shapely 18 year olds wearing almost see-through clothes. All of a sudden, the kitchen ROLLING PIN will see some “extra-curricular” activity.... and hubby´s doctor will see some skull fractures!
Psychologists tell us that it is a GOOD thing that we HAVE private, unreadable thoughts that can act as an emotional VENT to help rid us of pent up hates that could result in us using undue violence:
Another scene - your boss busts into your office, leans..or I should say LOOMS over your desk and BARKS the orders “I want this assignment finished in TEN MINUTES!” You have some lovely 4-letter words that are nouns, verbs and adjectives to tell him exactly where and what he can do with that aforementioned assignment, but PAYDAY is this Friday, so you politely mumble, “Yes sir.” Meanwhile, your mind conjures up images of a certain steep, rocky cliff near Bahia Azul and your boss driving his car at full tilt right over it! With telepathy in place, you’ll get Friday’s paycheck all right, along with a PINK SLIP to match!
Or, in the case of “fantasies”, private thoughts allow us to briefly drift away into a “wish-world” where our dreams come true and nobody laughs at us!
Last scene - you’re on a bus home sitting across from the most tempting, pretty young thing ever to grace your retinas - she reads your thoughts, comes over, sits beside you and says “I’d LOVE to do that!” (Now THAT’S what I call a FANTASY!). Chances are in reality she’ll pull the emergency stop cord, bus stops suddenly, and you almost bust your nose on the seat in front of you!
Getting serious though, if “Total Mental Telepathy” were possible, an uncanny wave of “transparent openness and honesty” would permeate our society.
Lies would be impossible, the truth would be crude, hard and un-coloured, opinions frank, desires blatant, and information un-biased.
Think for a moment how the Majorca Daily Bulletin would read like in such an atmosphere! Picture Jason Moore or Humphrey Carter interviewing and taking notes from the famous, the newsworthy, the notorious, or the powerful - what would their editorials read like? My question is would it be PRINTABLE!?
At first, there would be a tremendous social upheaval - first on a small scale - your family and close friends, then the neighbourhood, then the community, the town, the city, the county, the province, the country and finally the planet!
Oddly enough, one other visionary had the same idea - a chap from the British group called the Beatles. If total, open mental telepathy were possible, we would then be living in a JOHN LENNON WORLD!
To get the gist of what I mean, try this very challenging and almost IMPOSSIBLE experiment. One evening, when you are alone at home with your wife/girlfriend or husband/boyfriend or just a very close friend, (doing this with a total stranger who does not know you might be dangerous!), make a pact to say and express EVERYTHING that pops in your mind, regardless of the subject matter! You MUST convey every sordid detail, description and “tone” - NO HOLES BARRED! The communication has to be two way - that both of you reveal totally openly what your most inner thoughts and mind images are!
Score maximum points if the conversation lasts over 5 minutes and you’re still CIVIL to each other! (This article and the newspaper that prints it - the Majorca Daily B - is not responsible for any hospital or psychic treatment needed by participants in the above-mentioned folly!)
NEXT WEEK - SELECTIVE MENTAL TELEPATHY - taking telecommunications to giddy heights!
The Stars at Night............So you want to live in outer space!?
Let us enjoy a free flowing thought experiment that will lift you up and away from where you are now!
Let us imagine that we could take your home or apartment up into Earth Orbit, equip it with the services needed - especially air and water, so that you would not lack anything!
I am sick and tired of watching low budget sci-fi space movies where they “push a button” and have instant gravity in a small spaceship no bigger than a bus! Or you watch them aboard craft like the Enterprise where no rotation takes place to create artificial gravity - and everything they do is done standing up, their hair falls down and coffee cups fall to the floor every time the ship is hit with lasers!
2001 was the first REAL space movie to confront openly and mostly accurately this problem. If you’re in outer space, gravity is almost non - existent! If its not tied down, everything will start floating in front of your nose.
In today’s world, the only way to create gravity in a space ship is to rotate it. Do that and everything - including you - sticks to the walls. If your spaceship is small, the rotation will make you literally sick and dizzy.
To be comfortable, a ship in the form of a wheel over 10 kilometres in diameter would be able to rotate slowly enough to create a comfortable and not so nauseating o.5 g effect. 1 g or Earth gravity is really not necessary - in fact, all you really need is just enough gravity to keep your feet, chairs, tables and the pet dog on the floor!
Sci fi movies that have “electronic means” of “making gravity” is just a smoothie means of covering up a bottom basement budget with no room for weightless special effects.
I must applaud Apollo 13 - the movie. They actually flew a mock-up capsule in the KC-130 doing loops 30,000 feet off the ground to create weightlessness - it also created a lot of throwing up on the part of the actors! To create the zero-g effect in a plane requires drastic white-knuckle flying. Anyone with a faint heart better stay grounded!
YOUR HOUSE - IN SPACE!
So let us imagine your home - as it is - is now orbiting Earth in the glorious realm of WEIGHTLESSNESS!
The FIRST thing you DON’T do is open the front door. Do that and WHOOOOOssssshhhhhhhh - all the air in the house, you and your furniture included - will go sailing through! If you do get sucked out while on the night side of Earth - wear a coat - it’s 220 degrees below zero outside - and no snow! If your blown out while on the day side of Earth, use a good suntan lotion - it’s 198 degrees outside - plus, with no atmosphere to filter the sunshine, you’ll get a lovely tan in seconds! The skin cancer comes a few minutes later!
So we keep the doors and windows nicely closed. Special glass and screens will be needed on all outside windows and surfaces - otherwise the sunlight streaming through your climalit double glazed windows will set the sofa on fire!
One thing is certain - ALL astronauts I’ve talked to agree that in outer space, you have the best sleep of your life! Imagine sleeping in such a way that your body touches NOTHING! No sheets, mattress or blankets! No pillows needed! No falling out of bed possible! If the room temperature and humidity is correctly controlled, you could sleep very comfortably totally naked!
In reality, there are always some irregular movements in the space ship, for example: air currents, course corrections, ever-so-slight accelerations and de-celebrations etc. This would mean that just after you’ve dozed off, floating 1 meter above your bed buck-naked, BANG! Your head bounces off the ceiling light! If you home is roomy, you might wake up floating over the kitchen stove with your toes sticking into the extractor fan (air currents brought you there all the way from the bedroom!)
Hint: To avoid unpleasant surprises, have Velcro bed-belts (similar to car seat belts) installed, along with some Velcro patches on your pyjamas, and presto! A good nights weightless sleep guaranteed!
SEX: Wait! Wait! Mr. Editor, please don’t censor this! Nothing porno intended here!
In the throes of total weightlessness, Newton’s laws are so very vivid! For example: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction! We don’t notice this much here on Earth, but in zero gravity, if you’re with the wife or mistress, one PUSH and you’ll have her bouncing off the far wall! If the bedroom door is open, she’ll probably go sailing through down the hall only to wind up floating over the kids bunk beds! Solution: Velcro bed belts again, but made out of an ELASTIC material to allow for movement! This will keep both of you pinned down for the time being. Installing non-elastic straps in the kitchen pantry would be very useful in case the Mother in Law pops in for a visit!
NEXT WEEK: Having breakfast in Zero Gravity!
The STARS at NIGHT - BREAKFAST IN SPACE!
The clogged toilet on the latest NASA shuttle space mission brings to mind some of the “down home”, ordinary things that could really become out-of-hand problems in the very special environment of zero gravity outer space! Imagine what a problem it is there to have to call in a PLUMBER! (Sorry, I don’t make house calls!)
Carrying on from last weeks article, we imagined that YOU had your home or apartment up there in Earth orbit. During our imaginary space cruise, we assume your home has been prepared - its airtight, electricity and water are supplied, and doors and windows have filters to prevent the hot sunlight streaming in from setting the kitchen table on fire!
IF you have your home for sale, up there in Earth orbit would be an estate agent’s dream! The term “panoramic sea views” would take on a whole new meaning........so would the PRICE!
So you’ve just woken up to find yourself floating over the kitchen stove with your toes sticking into the extractor fan - air currents brought you there from your initial snooze in the bedroom - next time, leave the door closed!
Right! Let’s have breakfast! You carefully set the table placing bowls, spoons, sugar, cups and saucers, juice glasses, napkins, Corn Flakes and Cheerio’s boxes on the table. Problem is, they don’t stay there for long! Even the most gentle wind currents in the kitchen will have the whole kit and caboodle floating around you like in the scene from the movie POLTERGEIST!
A bit of scotch tape, Velcro table cloth (with Velcro strips taped to the bottom of the bowls, saucers and glasses etc.!) and magnetized cutlery to the metal-rimmed kitchen table solves the problem!
Now we proceed to “pour” the Corn Flakes into the bowl. Turn the box upside down....nothing comes out! Shake it, and the results depend on how big a hole there is in the top of the box - if you’re like me, the kids have the entire top flaps ripped off! If that’s the case, the corn flakes will come out OK all right...but instead of going into the bowl as expected, you suddenly find yourself facing a BLIZZARD of floating corn flakes all over the kitchen! For a moment there, you feel like you’re in the middle of a Canadian snowstorm...only without the cold and the “snow” replaced by corn flakes!
You quickly solve the blizzard problem by deftly employing the portable vacuum cleaner or “Dust Buster” to suck up all the flakes clogging the kitchen air! You still have half a box left, so very carefully you hand-scoop out the corn flakes and PUSH them into the bowls. For a moment, this seems to work.
Fast as lightning you dash to the fridge, grab the milk and start to pour it into the bowl of flakes. Nothing comes out! Remembering you’re in zero gravity, you squeeze the tetra-brick milk carton and WHOOSH - the milk comes out wonderfully - hits the bowl - rebounds off the curved bottom and PRESTO! Another BLIZZARD in the kitchen! This time, not only do you have a mess of corn flakes floating around you, but also they are accompanied by wobbly white globs of milk!
Back to the trusty Dust Buster again - and this time in your efforts to literally clear the kitchen air, you’ve filled the vacuum cleaner not only with flakes, but you’ve ruined the bag inside, making it all soppy from the blobs of floating milk you’ve sucked in!
You make an intelligent decision by renouncing the idea of a bowl of flakes for breakfast, and resign yourself to enjoying a nice cold glass of fresh orange juice. From the fridge you grab the juice carton, squeeze it as you point towards the juice glass. Everything goes fine until the juice hits the bottom of the glass, rebounds and BINGO! You’re surrounded by fat fresh orange juice raindrops!
Since you don’t want to waste the floating juice, you grab a straw from the drawer, and manoeuvre around the kitchen trying to suck up as many globs of juice possible! This is a unique experience! Every time you lunge towards a drop, (you get the drop ok), but you keep on lunging until....BANG! Your head rebounds of the refrigerator!
Still hungry and not willing to give up on this challenge, you decide to make some instant coffee! If you tried to make some of that nice strong Spanish expresso coffee, you’d have a serious problem: Even if you managed to get the water into the coffee pot, the coffee grinds into the filter and screwing the whole thing together, you’ll have an interesting challenge to keep the darn pot on the ceramic hot plate on the stove or hob! You place the pot on it, but like magic, it just floats up and away - the heat from the stove heats the air, affecting local small air currents making it impossible that the pot stays put!
Although the above descriptions are completely out of serious context for discussions of space travel, I merely wanted to point out to some of the ordinary folks who have never experienced space flight, some of the incredible challenges engineers face when designing space ships! In space, a simple thing like a loose cup of coffee could spell disaster! Imagine what happens to your keyboard if you were to pour a cup of café con leche into it! In space, the coffee would get into everything - air filters, co2 filters, machines, gears, keyboards, controls, screens and even into your lungs!
Eating, drinking, sleeping, washing, brushing teeth and going to the bathroom in zero gravity confronts engineers and scientists with some incredible problems to overcome! I could go on and on with funny ( and also serious) examples of space living hardships, but I will leave the rest of this article up to YOU! Think of some normal, everyday, humdrum activity that you do at home or at work ...and apply the zero gravity effect to it! Even reading this newspaper in space would be difficult! Try keeping the pages FLAT! (No cheating...using a table is NOT allowed!) (A book is no problem - pages are small!)
NEXT WEEK - A Fascinating thought experiment that MIGHT enable MENTAL TELEPATHY to become a reality!
The Stars At Night:
This is going to be one of the most ridiculous articles you’ve ever read and maybe the silliest one I have ever written!
It seems that we will run out of gas (oops! Petrol!) in about 250 to 300 years! That’s right! There will come a time when you’ll be able to see fat jars of gasoline in Science and Technology museums as a relic of the past.
Our petroleum reserves are NOT unlimited. I know. Few of you are aware that in 1976 and 1977 I worked for CLEM corporation out of Houston Texas as an oilrig electrician. I was under contract with them, based out of the Hotel UTO in Palma, and working for SONATRACH - the Algerian equivalent of CAMPSA, or the English equivalent of BP.
My job was to install and maintain everything electric on those CABOT portable oilrigs. We were setting one up in the middle of the Sahara desert just outside of a deathly place called HASSI-MESSAOUD, near GHARDIA in Algeria. One of the many things I had to install and maintain were shell-shaker motors - things that make huge screens vibrate like the living hell was being beaten out of them! This device was important because it removed the dirt/rock pebbles/bone from a very expensive oily fluid. This “juice” was injected down the drilling hole while the diamond bit was chomping away. After all, you had to get the drilled dirt out SOMEHOW!
Once the drilling hole reached over 3,000 meters deep, this injected “cleaning fluid” became ever so more important. We were approaching “pay dirt” and the hole had to be clear in order to line it with pipe to allow smooth crude oil flow to the top. This pipe was then coated with a sheath of injected re-enforcement cement once the petroleum had been tapped, the gas bled and burned off, and the oil finally oozing out.
Some of the wells there are already dry. New drilling is meeting with a lot of environmental opposition around the world, so like it or not, chances are the worlds petroleum reserves will be depleted before your children’s children children have children!
What next then?
A lot of hullabaloo is raging about Hydrogen cars (dangerous and impractical right now), electric cars (no one has yet invented a proper battery that lasts long enough and doesn’t weigh 20 tonnes!), and cars that run on ethanol (low power or more correctly put: low octane fuel - bad for engines in the long run) or artificial “gasoline”(low octane-poor performance) produced by special plants genetically engineered to do so.
In fact, Scientists in both the USA and RUSSIA have found certain strains of bacteria that produce petroleum-like substances for waste! Vast, humongous vats will have to be built where this bacterium will be cultivated and nurtured so that we, in turn, may feed our hungry motors!
Here comes the ridiculous part of this article! Fusion Balls!
In the past...and I mean in the last several hundred years, thousands of people have penned some really nutty ideas that got nowhere.... however, there HAVE been a few dip wad gems that in later years or generations have proved to be absolutely brilliant!
Electricity, the telephone, the portable computer, and even the TV set was once considered a mere “novelty”, a “toy”, a “child’s plaything” and an “expensive extravagance”. Today, some people couldn’t live without them!
My nutty idea is this - and future inventors take note! I want 10% if it makes it big!
Petroleum is on the way out - it is limited - even if we drill for it in the Arctic and Antarctic, we will only have it for a few decades more. There will come a time when all wells will run dry.
Then what? We trash our love affair with that set of 4 wheels that made us so free, mobile and in some cases, happy?
No. Fusion balls are the answer! I really should say Fusion balls and steam power will replace the gasoline...oh, sorry GB, PETROL or diesel engines.
The idea is this:
Some years ago there was a flap about someone discovering “cold fusion”. At the end of the day it was a complete joke!
First of all, what is fusion? Easy answer - take an old X-Ray, cut a good swath of pitch-black film from it and look at the sun. Due to the tremendous pressures and temperatures, hydrogen atoms are being fused to make helium atoms. Fusion, once it starts, keeps on going releasing tremendous amounts of energy - it is extremely efficient and almost non-polluting. It is thousands of times better than nuclear power!
Every year we are creating devices that can produce fusion reactions at lower temperatures. We WILL, however, arrive at the point where fusion power will become a reality.
If we made a large cannon-ball sized sphere, lined it with ultra-strong permanent magnets augmented by super-conducting magnets, we could form a magnetic “bottle” inside this ball where a “small” fusion-like reaction could be hermetically sealed. Chances are the first prototypes would have to be made on the space station where zero gravity will make control and insertion of the fusion plasma into the ball easier.
The ball is then hermetically sealed - a precision-machined tapered screw on top is the answer, and presto! A black sphere that will remain hot for many, many days!
Pilot less, re-useable robot craft could parachute in with hundreds of these balls inside. Later, once the first trials are successful, the rest will be made on earth, reducing by powers of magnitude the costs!
If the fusion idea is impossible, inserting layers of solid fuel chemicals along the interior walls of the balls, then inject a reactant / oxidizer, then hermetically seal the ball and allow a slow but very hot, simmering chemical reaction to occur would accomplish almost the same objectives.
Drop one ball into your special car “engine” tank, and the ball would be made then to heat water to make steam. The technology and precision of the steam engine would mean little water loss and therefore fewer stops to refuel the water tank. You would be able to drive for several days non-stop if need be! When parked, the fusion balls remain hot, isolated from water so no excess steam is produced.
When in the garage, two special snap on pipes could connect to outlets at the rear of the car, inject water, and make steam to augment your central heating system at home, make electricity, or produce hot water for the home and the swimming pool!
Balls would be re-cycled at “gas stations” much the same way we buy and exchange butane bottles here for cooking and heating.
Such a far-fetched idea today would be classified as “nuts”. However, unforeseen new technologies in the not too distant future could render the idea of easily managed hot balls for running our cars AND homes actually feasible, cheap and practical!
NEXT WEEK: Stardust found gives clues to our Galactic history!
Questions? ¿Preguntas? Frage? CONTACT US NOW.
The Stars At Night:
What Its like living on a SPACE STATION!
Most ALL of you have had the “wonderful” experience of staying in a Hotel - some good, a few great, and the rest, forgettable!
Now, let me pop you up to the most UNIQUE hotel in the world - Space Station Freedom -it is a MULTI STAR hotel - and we mean that literally!
First of all - something ALL of you forget! Space is the most HOSTILE environment humans have ever tried to live in! Unlike most hotels, in space, absolutely EVERYTHING has to work...or else!
Some hotels offer fab gourmet dishes while others catering to the “low budget” crowd get offered stuff that tastes like raw sawdust.
In space, it’s even WORSE! Apart from the odd load of fresh apples and candy-coated peanuts, “spaceport hotel guests” have to fill dehydrated food bags with hot water, stir and suck! Yes, you read it right - SUCK!
Knives, forks and spoons turn out to be pretty useless when the food keeps floating off your plate! Solution: Stick it in a bag and squeeze it into your mouth - its something like trying to get the last drop of toothpaste out of the tube. If you squish the bag with too much force - and it HAS happened - you face will be graced with gooey mushy pasty creamed carrots! The REAL problem is not your face, but the millions of places floating food can go and stick to! THEN try to “clean it up!”
WATER - Eeeechh! It doesn’t rain in space. This means that every single drop of water is precious on a space station. Bringing it up there costs around $15,000 a kilo - so if you had to haul up a can of Coke, and you opened up a music pub there, your mixed drinks prices will be so steep that only Bill Gates and George Bush could afford to get drunk!
Water from body wastes, air humidity, sweat, and even H20 given off by your “sponge baths” is totally recycled to the point that the “closed” water system recycles 95% of all that’s available in the station! The psychological trick is NOT to remember from WHERE the water comes from!
You would think that floating up there in the vastness of black outer space, garbage disposal would be easy! Just chuck it out the window like some Magalluf tourists do!
ANYTHING you chuck out the window in Earth orbit is instantly converted into a super dangerous “missile” zapping along at over 18,000 miles an hour! Imagine you throw that Coke can (NO plug intended, Sr. Editor!) out the window. You go back to Earth, train and suit up for your next mission 6 months later. Soon, up you go again - only this time you’re in an orbit perpendicular to the orbit from the first mission. You’re out doing EVA - Extra-Vehicular-Activity, repairing the Hubble Space Telescope - then WHAM! An 18,000 mile per hour Coke can smashes right through your protective sun visor, zooms out through the back of your skull and finally crashes against the $435,000 solar panel attached to the Hubble ST!
Garbage is very serious business in a space hotel! When the Space Shuttle comes up to bring new supplies and clients to the station, it returns to earth loaded with hi-tech garbage bags - making the vehicle without a doubt the worlds most expensive Garbage Truck...and the astronaut pilots become known as “Sanitary Engineers” just like the men who collect the garbage in New York City are called!
NEXT WEEKS ARTICLE WILL BE COMING FROM VANCOUVER ISLAND, British Columbia Canada!
The Stars At Night:
The greatest wish of all............!
Here we are into Christmas already! It gives me great pleasure to have the honour to bestow upon all of you, on behalf of my family, our most sincere wishes for a truly MERRY and UNFORGETTABLE Christmas this year, and for the next - I wish you success, prosperity, health and happiness.....may it continue beyond the next century!
4 weeks ago my father of 78 suffered a severe heart attack. He was immediately sent to Victoria, British Columbia hospital where he was treated with an army of pills, and a remote heart monitor-transmitter was installed until the day of surgery....BIG TIME surgery.
Like most of you who live in prosperous lands enjoying the great, tasty, fatty and cholesterol rich foods our bounty has provided...we are unaware that further down the road your heart will have to pay the price. Millions die early because they had their blocked arteries starve the heart of fresh blood to the point that it could function no more. Those of you who have suffered such attacks and lived most likely did so because you had correct emergency treatment in time. The rest of you didn’t make it to the ambulance. My Dad was lucky.
In Victoria it was discovered that he not only had FOUR major arteries going to the heart blocked, but he had a totally defective valve - his heart was operating at less than 50%.
I won’t go into the gory details, but a quadruple by-pass and a new pig valve insertion into the heart is an operation that ranks among the highest in technical difficulties - somewhere just below heart transplants and major brain surgery.
The chest cavity is opened up and stays that way for over seven and a half HOURS, both legs have about 70 centimetres of veins removed (to provide replacements for the blocked arteries - hence the term “by-pass”), the patient is kept alive via a mechanical heart and drugs. To the layman, such an operation involves procedures so complex you could equate it to the construction of a Saturn 5 moon rocket.
While all this is going on, you can imagine the family at home sweating it out...drinking coffee, pacing the floor, nervously thumbing through newspapers and magazines without reading a word, numbly watching TV while all ears are perked waiting for that phone to ring. All of our minds were focused on one Christmas wish...to have Dad back home.
Finally it does ring. Victoria hospital has performed 10,000 similar operations, with only a 5% failure rate. We had to accept it. No choice. It was that or Dad probably had only days to live...there was nothing to lose.
This time, we were in the 95% bracket. Dad made it! The operation was a success.... but he was not out of the woods yet.
A pacemaker was attached to the heart and chest muscles, drain tubes were still inside the chest, a feeding tube in the neck, and several intravenous feeds were in the arms. No food for 2 days. Another mass of drugs was needed for a kaleidoscope of reasons. The pain was tremendous. Days later Dad described how he had two “out-of-the-body” experiences. Believe me, Dad has NEVER gone for the 60´s transcendental meditation - levitation - body floating “thing”...nope! He’s a very practical, down-to-earth matter-of-fact type who demands proof to any extraordinary claim! If Dad said he had an out-body-experience...it means he HAD one!
The first was when they removed the chest drainage tubes. The pain was so great he shut his eyes tight. When he opened them again, thinking there was no more pain, he was shocked to see that his viewpoint was just below the ceiling! He was up there looking down on this body that had so many tubes, cables, wires, and supports that it looked like ROBO-COP getting serviced! He blinked. When the eyes opened this time he was “back”.
The second experience happened during an especially painful cough spasm. You can’t imagine what its like to cough just after you’ve had your whole chest cavity opened for 8 hours then clamped back together.
The pain was so excruciating that once again he clamped his eyes shut, and when he opened them. There he was again, looking down at himself. It only took another “blink” to bring him back to “normal”.
The most incredible aspect of this story is this: After just SEVEN DAYS since the operation, I was called to bring Dad home! How can that be? Why, it takes me at least TWO WEEKS just to get over a common cold!!
So there he is...our greatest Christmas wish of all walking around the house moaning that he missed the GOLF tournament!
You can read about hi-tech stuff coming out all the time in magazines, papers, TV news reports, the internet and the like, but it NEVER really sinks in...It never hits you with that “gee whiz” awe until it really touches you directly.
A quadruple by-pass and major heart valve replacement and home walking up the stairs in less than 7 days....I can only sum it up in one word: AMAZING!
I would like to dedicate this article to all of the professional men and women in the hospitals around the world that every day help make someone’s greatest Christmas wish come true! Saying “Thank You” is not enough! It’s like my Dad said...he’d like to give each one of those incredible people a piece of his life, so that they too may feel the privilege and joy of being able to live just a little bit longer!
Merry Christmas and a HEALTHY happy New Year!
NEXT WEEK: NASA´s NEW PROOF THAT LIFE EXISTED ON MARS!
...Thanking ALL of you READERS for your kind interest in "The Stars at Night"...
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LIFE´s EXPERIENCES PAST AND PRESENT - HOBBIES, UNUSUAL MOMENTS and FAMILY - Roberto Jaime Gourlay:
LOCAL TV SHOWS since 1993 "Ciencia y Vida" with Roberto:
More fotos and history of shows on local and national TV with Roberto.
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See the show "Universos Paralelos nº 2" on You Tube.
See the show "Universos Paralelos nº 3" on You Tube.
RADIO SHOWS since 1969 - Canada, Germany and Mallorca "Canadian Bob":
The Crystal Sound Barrier is BACK on MALLORCA thanks to the INTERNET. Listen to some shows "live" anytime.
NASA - Visits and Interviews with TOP astronauts - a ONCE IN A LIFETIME HONOUR.
The ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FORCE - A PASSION FOR FLYING.
1977: Industrial Electrician in the OIL FIELDS of the SAHARA DESERT at HASSI MESSAOUD and later GHARDIA en ALGERIA.
Enter into the fascinating world of LASERS and THREE DIMENSIONAL HOLOGRAPHIC "PHOTOGRAPHY"
A CLASSIC CAR COLLECTION, Rolls Royce, Lamborghini, Porsche, AMG, Mercedes Benz, BMW:
This Lamborghini Espada GT 400, newly restored, is one of the world´s fastest street legal true FOUR seater cars. See more photos and information on the other cars.
Famous German Photographer Steffen Jagenburg has published a book of Car Photos called "You and Me", reflecting the thoughts and feelings of many a car owner. It is also published on the internet. See these photos taken in Mallorca.
A PASSION FOR MUSIC - DISCO DJ SHOWS from the 1970´s with Roberto:
See the passion for music history while starting a new life on Mallorca.
A CANADIAN STAMP COLLECTION - A hobby since childhood:
Enjoy some samples of an interesting hobby - collecting Canadian Stamps. This one is the oldest in my collection - 1859.
A FAN of THE "REAL CLUB DE FUTBOL MALLORCA" - FOOTBALL!
SUPPORT Mallorca´s first division FOOTBALL TEAM - "Real Club de Futbol Mallorca" - Fotos and Autographs.
DAUGHTER ANGIE´s FUN Webpage: A TALENT FOR ART, a PASSION for HORSES.
SON DANNY´s FUN Webpage: A passion for Drums, Electric Guitar, Internet Radio, Games & Star Wars.
Listen to Danny´s INTERNET RADIO SHOWS now.
SON ROBERTO´s Webpage: Master in Marketing, Tiempos de Lirica, Director Internet Radio and Television.
Enjoy Roberto "Robbie" Gourlay Jr. in CRONICA RADIO.COM and the show "LA MONDA" and MORE....
If YOU share similar hobbies and interests, it will be a pleasure to meet you. Contact us.
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This web site has been designed and produced by Roberto Gourlay and Roberto "Robbie" Gourlay Jr.
Roberto "Robbie" Gourlay Jr., Masters In Marketing Degree, Malaspina University, Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, British Columbia Canada. He is now based in Palma De Mallorca and is Director for Internet Radio: www.cronicaradio.com, and Internet Television: www.cronicatelevision.com, with Studios in Palma De Mallorca Spain.
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