Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Deep Sea IMAX, astrology, and the cycles of the cosmos

Above is the trailer for a gorgeous film called Deep Sea IMAX, released in 2007. Filmed by the award-winning ocean filmmaker Howard Hall and narrated in turns by Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet, the stunning footage highlights many incredible denizens of the ocean, many of which are so unfamiliar to those who spend their lives on land that they might as well be from another planet.

Some of the more memorable creatures include the sunstar, pulling itself across the ocean floor with surprising speed in search of food and scaring up clouds of feather stars and scallops which flee from its blind hunger; the wolf eel crushing sea urchins to bits between its powerful jaws, apparently heedless of their long venomous spines; the aggressive Humboldt squid, which flash like strobe lights in the night as they attack everything in sight including one another and even the camera a few times; the Giant Pacific octopus, curling its tentacles into tight coils as it glides ominously over the sea bottom in search of crabs; the energetic Mantis shrimp, tenaciously fighting off a much larger octopus; the strange and graceful nudibranchs; and translucent jellyfish of all descriptions.  As memorable as the colorful images are the sounds the creatures make as they move about and engage in their activities (often violent).

After watching some of these exotic animals in their natural habitat, it is intriguing to think that even now giant sunstars are creeping across the ocean floor looking for prey, as are many of the other stars of the deep sea.

One of the most astonishing parts of the film comes towards the end, when the cameras capture a coral spawn in the Flower Garden Banks, located in the Gulf of Mexico.  We are told that this takes place every year, eight days after the full moon in August, beginning one hour after sunset.  The imagery is spectacular, as millions of coral polyps release tiny gametes into the water, like clouds of baby spiders floating into the sky -- and the otherworldly music of Danny Elfman enhances the effect.  The narration asks:
How is it that millions of tiny polyps from all these corals choose this single moment on this single night to spawn?  How do animals that have no eyes to see, or brains to think, coordinate this event with such precision?
Apparently, scientists only discovered this stunning aspect of coral's life cycle fairly recently, in the early 1980s, and they are still trying to learn more about it.  This article from the Smithsonian Magazine from 2009 describes the work marine biologists are doing to study the coral and their reproduction habits, as they try to determine ways to protect coral against the serious threats they face from unchecked seaweed and algae growth (running wild due to overfishing of the species that would normally keep them in balance), and from increased acid levels in the water due to pollution (acid acts to dissolve the calcium carbonate that the coral secrete to form reefs).

This article, from an Australian website entitled Deep Sea Divers Den gives even more insight into the mysterious ability of the coral to coordinate their spawning with the full moon.  Citing coral researcher Associate Professor Bette Willis from James Cook University, the article explains that scientists now think that the reason coral wait to spawn for a certain number of days after a full moon is that this period produces a neap tide, in which the swings between tidal levels are much more mild than during a spring tide, giving the coral spawn a better chance to succeed.  Some of the intricacies of the tidal mechanisms caused by the motion of the sun and the moon are discussed in this previous post.

We should certainly be in awe of the ability of these tiny creatures to coordinate their spawn without, as Johnny Depp says, "eyes to see, or brains to think."  It is yet another example of the influence of the moon and the other celestial bodies upon beings here on this planet.  

Is it too difficult to believe that the phases of the moon and the angles of the other planets in our solar system might have an impact on our own bodies and minds as well?   We have discussed this possibility in previous posts such as this one.  It is a concept which was accepted by most ancient cultures, but which is often dismissed as "superstition" or worse by many today.

Perhaps if we were more attuned to the cycles of the world around us and the greater cosmos, we would not have drifted so far out of harmony from the oceans and the rest of nature, and the coral reefs and other vital and incredibly beautiful aspects of our planet would not be in such peril.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Where do Saturn's rings come from?

In the previous post, we looked at evidence that the Maori of Aotearoa / New Zealand were aware of the rings of Saturn and had stories and traditions describing Saturn as a beautiful and wayward woman who wears a circlet in her hair -- truly amazing in light of the fact that the rings of Saturn are not visible to the human eye, or even with telescopes of the type that Galileo built in 1610.  This evidence is very difficult to explain.

Equally mysterious is the question of where Saturn's rings came from in the first place.  In this article from February, 2012 published on the NASA website entitled "The Real Lord of the Rings,"  planetary scientist Jeff Cuzzi of NASA's Ames Research Center explains:  "After all this time we're still not sure about the origin of Saturn's rings. But lately there's a growing awareness that Saturn's rings can't be so old."

The reasons given for concluding that the rings are not the ancient remnants left over from the formation of Saturn or the solar system -- billions of years ago according to conventionally-accepted theories -- include 
  • the fact that they are still shiny and bright, undarkened by accumulated dust,
  • the fact that small moons orbiting through the outermost regions of the ring system are gaining angular momentum at the expense of the rings, and thus . . .
  • the fact that the rings will probably collapse into the giant planet within a period of time measured in millions of years.
"This is a young dynamical system," Dr. Cuzzi says.  Dr. Cuzzi won the prestigious Kuiper Prize in 2010 for his lifetime contributions to planetary sciences. 

Another reason for believing that Saturn's rings must be young was given by Dr. Cuzzi in an article published in January, 1985 in Sky & Telescope entitled "Ringed Planets -- Still Mysterious II."  In that article, he explained that expectations of "erosion" of the rings would suggest that they might be completely destroyed only 10,000 years after forming -- and that even if that figure is too low, the rate of loss poses a huge problem for explaining the existence of these rings for long periods of time.  Dr. Cuzzi writes:
Yet nonstop erosion poses a difficult problem for the very existence of Saturn's opaque rings -- the expected bombardment rate would pulverize the entire system in only 10,000 years!  Most of this material is merely redeposited elsewhere in the rings, but even if only a tiny fraction is truly lost (as ionized vapor, for example), it becomes a real trick to maintain the rings since the formation of the solar system.
The above passage was cited in a footnote by Dr. Walt Brown, the creator of the hydroplate theory, in a footnote to his discussion of planetary rings and their possible relationship to his theory.  According to Dr. Brown, "Planetary rings form when material is expelled from a moon or asteroid passing near a giant planet."  

His theory proposes that most of the asteroids and asteroid-like bodies in our solar system (including many of the irregularly-shaped moons orbiting various planets, including Saturn, which are likely captured asteroids) originated as material violently expelled from earth during the events surrounding a cataclysmic flood, and that asteroids and comets generally contain quantities of ice, originating from earth as water that was jetted out of the earth at tremendous velocities during the same cataclysm.  His discussion of the origin of asteroids and meteoroids begins on this page in his book and continues on for an entire chapter.

This previous post discusses some of the aspects of asteroids according to Dr. Brown's theory, and explains that:
Because larger asteroids are held together with a "weak glue" of ice (which originated in the water blasted into space along with the rocks during the violent explosion that initiated the global flood event), impacts from other space rocks sometimes cause this water to melt and to begin to vent into the vacuum of space. When this happens, asteroids resemble comets: in fact, comets and asteroids are pretty much the same animal, except that asteroids have spent most of their existence in closer orbits to the sun and most of them have lost all of their ice -- with some of the larger ones retaining icy mantles below the surface which are still subject to being released later on by impacts. Most comets, on the other hand, have wider orbits and still retain ice, which is still venting. 
In fact, as Dr. Brown points out, material venting from Saturn's moon Enceladus has now been confirmed as contributing to the material in that ring.  Here is a link to an article discussing evidence which suggests that the material coming from Enceladus does not originate from an "underground ocean" on that moon, as was proposed by some theorists.  In that article, one scientist says of the material jetting out of Enceladus: "It could still be warm ice vaporizing away into space. It could even be places where the crust rubs against itself from tidal motions and the friction creates liquid water that would then evaporate into space."  Such an explanation would certainly appear to fit in with the predictions of Dr. Brown's theory.

There is another proposal for the existence of Saturn's rings which, like Dr. Brown's hydroplate theory, stands outside of the pale of presently-accepted scientific orthodoxy (and remember that, in the words of the distinguished Dr. Cuzzi, orthodox theorists still have no settled explanation for the origin of Saturn's rings), and that is the idea that intelligent beings are creating them!

The above video shows some strange images of streaking objects cutting across Saturn's rings (in fact, the F-ring), including some objects whose path appears to turn back and forth a few times, taken by NASA spacecraft including Cassini.  Here is an article on the internet by someone caustically "debunking" the UFO theory, calling it "BS," and "crap," and "transparent nonsense," and asking why alien spacecraft would want to fly around in Saturn's rings.  The writer asks sarcastically: "So, aliens traveled across light-years to … circle Saturn for eons playing in the ring system. No doubt that would be fun, but it’s hard to imagine any other incentive."

However, those who propose the theory that some intelligence is actively creating the rings do offer an incentive.  In the video below, David Icke discusses some of the same footage and argues that a reason that malevolent intelligences might want to construct such rings could be to transmit or amplify frequencies with inimical effects upon men and women on earth:

There are other reasons to be cautious before simply eliminating any theory which proposes the activity of extraterrestrials (see this previous post for a discussion, among others).  While such a theory may strike some as absurd, remember that orthodox science still has no clear explanation for the existence of Saturn's rings at all.  This fact alone argues that we should be open to alternative explanations, and carefully consider those that have been offered to explain the evidence that we find in the existence of Saturn's rings.

Monday, March 18, 2013

How did the Maori know Saturn has rings?

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image: Wikimedia commons.

Saturn is now rising each evening in the constellation Libra, a little before 10:30 pm and four minutes earlier each night.  This week's Sky & Telescope "planet roundup" advises observers to look for Saturn "rising well to the lower left of Spica and farther to the lower right of brighter Arcturus. Saturn shines highest in the south in the early morning hours — more or less between Spica to its right and Antares farther to its lower left."

Can you see the rings of Saturn with your naked eye, or even with binoculars?  It seems impossible (I certainly cannot, nor do I know of anyone who claims to be able to do so).  Modern awareness of Saturn's rings did not come about until well after Galileo (Galileo did observe Saturn and the rings in 1610 with his telescope, but not well enough to know what they were -- the world would have to wait another forty-five years before Christiaan Huygens described the rings as a disk around the planet in 1655).  

However, there is evidence that the Maori of Aotearoa (New Zealand) were aware of the rings around Saturn.  In The Astronomical Knowledge of the Maori, Genuine and Empirical, published by Elsdon Best in Wellington, NZ in 1922, there is preserved a host of accounts from the Maori themselves of their star-lore and planet-lore.  

The entire book is available online for your edification here through The Knowledge Basket, founded in 1994 by two former librarians to provide access to archival content from New Zealand, and although Mr. Best indulges in some unfortunate condescending and paternalistic sentiments (such as his reference to "uncultured races" and "puerile superstitions"), the book itself contains a wonderful treasury of Maori astronomical lore, including Maori names for many of the stars and planets, as well as discussions of celestial navigation.  

Among the many fascinating revelations contained in the book is the fact that the Maori name for the sun, found in many of the hakas which are reproduced in the book, is Ra.

Another amazing discussion concerns the celestial body known to the Maori as Parearau.  Mr. Best explains that this name was given to an important bright planet, either Jupiter or Saturn, said to be the leader or "puller" of the Milky Way, and described as having a ring!  

Mr. Best explains:
Parearau, say the Tuhoe people, is a wahine tiweka (wayward female), hence she is often termed Hine-i-tiweka. One version makes her the wife of Kopu (Venus), who said to her, "Remain here until daylight; we will then depart." But Parearau heeded not the word of her husband, and set forth in the evening. When midnight arrived she was clinging to another cheek, hence she was named Hine-i-tiweka. Parearau is often spoken of as a companion of Kopu. Of the origin of this name one says, "Her band quite surrounds her, hence she is called Parearau."
This planetary knowledge is certainly remarkable, in that even with a telescope, Galileo could not perceive that Saturn has a ring or rings! 

Of this amazing perception, Mr. Best writes that it "looks as if our Maori friends can see either the rings of Saturn or the bands of Jupiter with the naked eye."  Back in 1922, when he wrote his book, Mr. Best could not know that astronomers would later determine that Jupiter has rings as well, and so he speculated that if Parearau represented Jupiter, then the "ring" must refer to the bands of clouds across the face of that planet (which are also not visible to the naked eye, or even to the eye aided by binoculars).  While the bands of Jupiter can be seen with a telescope, only the most powerful modern earth-bound telescopes can detect the rings of Jupiter, which were not discovered until unmanned spacecraft passed by the planet in the 1970s.

Another quotation from the Maori about Parearau found in the discussion in Mr. Best's book is cited: "That green-eyed star is Parearau; that is the reason why she wears her circlet."  It certainly seems to have been part of Maori lore that Parearau wears a ring!

Could the Maori really see the rings of Saturn or the bands or rings of Jupiter with the naked eye?  Or, did they have some other way of knowing that Saturn or Jupiter are ringed planets?

If you go out tonight and have a look at Saturn rising in the starry sky, it is certainly something to think on and wonder at.

Friday, March 15, 2013

David Icke on Intuition

David Icke has a lot to say about consciousness.  

Much of what he has to say resonates strongly with themes discussed in previous posts regarding the implications of near-death experiences (see for example here and here).  

He also has a lot to say about the subject of intuition as it relates to consciousness, a subject discussed in the recent post "Schwaller de Lubicz, and Steve Jobs, on Intuition."  In an interview with Henrik Palmgren of Red Ice Radio from a year ago, March of 2012, David Icke had this to say about intuition (beginning at 53:25 into the second hour, which is only available to subscribers of Red Ice Creations):
So that's all I'm doing this year in terms of events, but, there's obviously a reason for that, because my intuition has not let me down in the past, because that's the way we connect with the much-higher level of self than mind-that-tries-to-work-things-out.  You know, your intuition says "Go for it" or "Don't go for it" -- "Yes" or "No" -- it doesn't go through thought-processes to work things out.  Thoughts are very, very low level of awareness, and intuition is far more powerful.  And of course, what happens in most people is that the mind rules, OK, and suppresses intuitive knowing, because it's saying, "Oh!" -- because this is the point: intuitive knowing does not play by the rules of  this fake reality -- mind does that!  And therefore, your intuition is urging you to do things and go places and just drop everything and go sometimes, and your mind is saying, "Don't do that!  What about that!  You can't do that -- you've got a dental appointment!"  And all this stuff goes on.  And if you follow your intuition, I've found sometimes, that even your mind starts to observe that if you follow your intuition, you might get into some scrapes, and you might get called lunatic and all that stuff, because it's gonna take you into some places that  people "in mind" think is crazy.  But eventually, even your mind sees that when you follow your intuition in the end it all works out, not despite what your intuition has made you experience but because of it.  And then your mind and your intuition start to move as one unit, and the war stops. 
Following this profound passage, Henrik offers an observation on the instantaneous nature of intuition, and David elaborates further:
Well there's two reasons for the instant nature of it: One, what you're connecting with is beyond time -- our perception of time -- and secondly, it's coming from a place of all-knowing -- or greater knowing.  And thus, it doesn't have to "work it out" -- it knows.  Mind has to work it out: "to and fro," "for and against," and all this stuff, because it doesn't know -- it has to work it out, or try to. Whereas intuition knows -- that's why it's instant: "Yes / No," "Go for it / Don't go for it."
We should all be grateful to David Icke for this superlative articulation of an essential subject.  It appears that this topic is very closely related to the concept of "Primordial Scission" which R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz believed to be of absolutely critical importance in understanding the human condition, discussed in this previous post entitled "The cobra and the vulture." And it was Schwaller de Lubicz, of course, who kicked off this entire examination of the subject of intuition with his 1961 observation that ancient Egypt left us overwhelming evidence that they were an intuitive "wisdom" culture as opposed to our modern "mental-intellectual" culture -- a distinction that now becomes much more clear in light of David Icke's outstanding discussion quoted above.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Guruji and Ashtanga, NY

Above is a link to a wonderful documentary entitled Ashtanga, NY.  It is also available to "watch instantly" on Netflix, or to purchase for your own video library through various sellers, such as here.  It is an incredible video and one well worth watching over and over and thinking about carefully.

The video documents a remarkable teaching visit to New York in September of 2001 from Ashtanga yoga guru Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, respectfully and affectionately known as Guruji by his followers and the world.  He was born on July 26, 1911 and taught yoga uninterruptedly for seventy years, until the age of 91.  More of his story can be found in the book Guruji by two of his longtime students, Eddie Stern and Guy Donahaye.

Watching the documentary gives a powerful lesson in some of the concepts articulated in previous posts, including the most recent previous post.  The force of Guruji's personality, and his benevolent but rigorous teaching style, is powerfully conveyed through the film.  The impact of the yoga on the lives of the practitioners is equally tangible.

Just as powerful as the impact of the yoga, however, is the impact of the chanting of Vedas in the documentary.  Previous posts have explored the vital importance of chanting, including:
If you have not yet watched the documentary, you may want to read those over first and then watch it for the first time.

In above-mentioned book on Guruji by his students, in the preface by Guy Donahaye, we learn that Guruji was a learned student of the Vedas throughout his life, and that "his father was an astrologer and a priest who educated him in traditional Smarta Brahmin ways, in the language of Sanskrit, and in the art of chanting the Vedas" (xvii).

One of the teachings conveyed during the documentary Ashtanga, NY is that one is never too old to begin to practice Ashtanga.  By extension, this can be taken to mean that it is also never too late to begin the study of the other aspects of ancient wisdom that Guruji passed along to his students, such as the practice of the language of Sanskrit, and the art of chanting the Vedas.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Schwaller de Lubicz, and Steve Jobs, on Intuition

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In a fascinating passage exploring the importance of intuition in his book Sacred Science, published in 1961, R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz argues that there are three main ways in which cultures can interact with the world around them -- or, in his more interesting and precise way of phrasing it, three ways of "intelligent contact of humanity with natural phenomena" (13).

These three ways, he says, are the "cerebral," the "emotional," and the "intuitive, by which I mean the consciously instinctive."  The author goes on to discuss this concept at greater length:
The three aspects necessarily interplay, but the predominance of one of these contacts determines the different characters: the mental-intellectual, the religio-mystical, or else the "wisdom" character.  The character is reflected in the mentality of a people, and particularly in the mentality of the leaders of that people.  

Which mentality is preferable?  Today, one would readily opt for the results from mental-intellectual contact as did the Greeks and, before them, the decadent Babylonians.  All things considered, the result, the end susceptible of attainment, acts as a determining factor.  These mentalities make for the only true separation between peoples and civilizations. [. . .]  The intuitive is much more rarely encountered than the emotive or the intellectual, but such were the Sumerians (as far as we can determine) and to the highest degree the Pharaonic caste of ancient Egypt, as their works and writings testify.

There is no more perfect divorce from the mentality of natural wisdom which prevailed in ancient Egypt than the one imposed in recent times by Western mentality.  The latter is purely cerebral.  They are two epochs, two humanities that cannot understand one another as long as they persist in judging each other by their respective frames of mind.  This "distance" has not always been so precisely marked, however, and it is only the recent outcome of the Western orientation that shows a strict opposition between the two mentalities.  13-14.
Schwaller's assertions here are extremely interesting on several levels, and provide plenty of food for thought.  What is also an extremely interesting exercise is to juxtapose these observations published in 1961 with the observations of Steve Jobs, reflecting on his formative sojourn in India at the age of nineteen, in 1974.  In the biography Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson, there is an extended quotation of Jobs reflecting many years later on the impact and lasting influence of that time in India:
Coming back to America was, for me, much more of a cultural shock than going to India.  The people in the Indian countryside don't use their intellect like we do, they use their intuition instead, and their intuition is far more developed than in the rest of the world.  Intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect, in my opinion.  That's had a big impact on my work.

Western rational thought is not an innate human characteristic; it is learned and is the great achievement of Western civilization.  In the villages of India, they never learned it.  They learned something else, which is in some ways just as valuable but in other ways is not.  That's the power of intuition and experiential wisdom.  

Coming back after seven months in Indian villages, I saw the craziness of the Western world as well as its capacity for rational thought.  If you just sit and observe, you will see how restless your mind is.  If you try to calm it, it only makes it worse, but over time it does calm, and when it does, there's room to hear more subtle things -- that's when your intuition starts to blossom and you start to see things more clearly and be in the present more.  Your mind just slows down, and you see a tremendous expanse in the moment.  You see so much more than you could see before.  It's a discipline; you have to practice it.  48-49.
The parallels to the discussion by Schwaller de Lubicz are quite strong, and worthy of reflection.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The submarine canyons of California's Central Coast

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One of the strongest pieces of evidence supporting the sequence of events proposed by Dr. Walt Brown's hydroplate theory, in my opinion, are the world's numerous and extensive submarine canyons.  

Submarine canyons are enormous undersea "river systems" which cascade down the sides of the continental shelf of many different continents, often at places where water even today empties into the sea, such as at the mouth of the Ganges River in India, the mouth of the Congo River in Africa, and along the continental shelf beyond the mouth of the Hudson River in North America.  

Submarine canyons are thus very different from the deep ocean trenches, in that they "run off" the continents, plow down the sides of the continental shelf of the various continents, and look a lot like river systems (some even have "tributaries" feeding into them in their upper reaches).  Previous posts have discussed the importance of these dramatic pieces of evidence and their implications for our view of what might have happened in the past to shape our planet's geological features: some of those include "The Ganges Fan, the Indus Fan, and the Great Flood" and "Back from the Great Central Valley." 

Those posts discuss the fact that these huge submarine canyons pose a major problem for the tectonic theory, in that the tectonic theory appears to be a poor fit for the evidence in this case.  They certainly do not seem to be the product of one plate subducting under another plate (the explanation given for the deep ocean trenches by advocates of the tectonic theory -- for some discussion of the problems the deep ocean trenches pose for the conventional tectonic theory, see previous posts such as this one, this one, and this one). 

Anyone looking at imagery of these submarine canyons would immediately suspect that they were carved by rushing water, or by river systems in the distant past, so similar are they to the rivers we see on land.  However the tectonic theory has difficulty with this explanation as well -- if they were carved by water at some time in the past when they were not below the ocean's level, then what mechanism of tectonics brought them down to their current submarine location?  Some of these canyons, Dr. Brown points out, rat stedepths of 15,000 feet below the surface -- did some tectonic mechanism bring them down that far?  And why are these canyons always running off the sides of the continental shelves?  Do tectonic proponents mean to tell us that all the steep continental shelves were once plains upon which rivers flowed, before some mysterious process of tectonics tilted them into their current position?

The hydroplate theory, however, explains these canyons quite well.  It proposes that the catastrophic global flood covered the earth and that the continents slid during that event (still covered with water) to their present location.  The forces which caused the continents to slide during that event are discussed in this post among others, as well as in Dr. Brown's online book in much greater detail.  At the end of that slide, there was tremendous buckling and thickening of the continents, thrusting up the mountain ranges we see today and causing water to run off into the ocean basins (which were created by powerful forces related to the flood event, also described in Dr. Brown's book in greater detail).  This runoff would explain the submarine canyons, as water pouring down the continental shelf of each continent would carve huge canyons before the ocean later rose to submerge them.  Dr. Brown's theory also explains why for some period of many years after this flood (and after the main runoff event), the ocean levels would have been much lower.

This proposed sequence of events explains the evidence that we find today much more reasonably than does the tectonic explanation.  If the geology of our earth were to be thought of as a "crime scene," then the hydroplate theory explains that evidence much better than the other theories that have been put forward to date.  

Above is an image from Google Maps of a distinctive submarine canyon which plunges down the continental shelf off the coast of California at Lompoc, west of Santa Barbara and "north" along California's Central Coast from Santa Barbara (the Central Coast of California is generally identified as the coast area between Santa Barbara in the south and Monterey in the north).  It looks like an enormous hydra, with six major "tributaries" flowing into it just off the coastline, resembling a river delta except for the fact that a river delta usually forms at the lowest area of a river where it flows into the sea, and this "delta" is found at the highest part of the Lompoc sumbarine canyon system.  Below is a closer view of the canyon:

Below is another image, zoomed-in still further, showing just how massive this canyon really is.  Look at the size of the "tributaries," each of which is narrower than the main canyon below the point where they all flow together, and compare it to the size of the town of Lompoc itself:

This dramatic submarine canyon is not alone on California's Central Coast -- further north are numerous others, including the massive and much more well-known Monterey Canyon, an image of which was shown at the bottom of this previous post.  Before reaching the Monterey Canyon, however, you will find other mighty submarine canyons coursing down the steep slope of the continental shelf.  Two of the most impressive snake down below the towering cliffs of the Big Sur coastline, also fed by a major "delta" of "tributaries" as seen in the following picture:

These geological features clearly appear to be the product of flowing water, and yet they are today covered by ocean.  What could have caused the dramatic "fans" seen in the above image, if not running water prior to the ocean filling up to its current levels?  The hydroplate theory of Dr. Brown explains the formation of these canyons quite satisfactorily, while this evidence poses serious difficulties for other geological theories.

Below is a more "zoomed-out" view of a much larger segment of the Central Coast, showing the Monterey Canyon, the two Big Sur submarine canyons, and at the south end of the image the Lompoc sumbarine canyon:

This website, from the US government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and  contains a conventional explanation for these canyons, attempting to fit the evidence into the tectonic theory:
Monterey Canyon cuts across the generally north-south trending offshore faults in Monterey Bay. It is a large submarine canyon that bisects the Bay and has eroded deeply into the Salinian block and the overlying Neogene sedimentary rocks of the Miocene Monterey Formation, Santa Cruz Mudstone, Santa Margarita Formation, and the Pliocene Purisima Formation (Shepard and Dill 1966; Martin 1969; Greene 1970, 1990; Greene et al. 1991). The canyon is the result of tectonic activity occurring ever since subduction of the Pacific Plate ceased and transform motion began, about 21 million years ago (Atwater 1970; Greene 1977, 1990; Greene et al. 1989, 1991). Landslides and turbidity currents created by mass wasting events (Greene et al. 1991, and see Mass Wasting) steepen the canyon's walls, expose basement and bedrock, and erode the canyon. 
So, the author of this explanation declares that the Monterey Canyon "is the result of tectonic activity" that was later augmented by "landslides and turbidity currents."   This explanation strains credulity.  Did tectonic motion create the Monterey Canyon, the two Big Sur submarine canyons with their "fans" feeding into them, and the hydra-shaped Lompoc submarine canyon?  What strange motion of tectonics can be proposed to explain such tectonic features?  Why would these products of tectonics mimic the shape of river channels to such an astonishing degree?  The reader can decide for himself or herself which proposed explanation seems more likely.

Further, as has already been discussed at great length in previous posts, the entire California Coast from the region of these canyons all the way to the north of the San Francisco Bay is marked by distinctive submarine "hogbacks," indicating uplift that was strong enough to split the sedimentary layers and tilt them upwards until they pointed skyward instead of lying horizontal.  This motion parallels the coastline, but the direction of the canyons cuts perpendicular to these hogbacks.  Proponents of tectonics have to posit tectonic motion in one direction, followed by tectonic motion in an almost perpendicular direction to the previous motion.  

It is convenient that they can dream up tectonic plates that move about in just such a way as to fit their desired storyline. However, I believe that the hydroplate theory makes much more sense.  According to the hydroplate theory, the strata were laid down during the "flood phase" of the catastrophic global event described by Dr. Brown, and then the continents began to slide.  The violent forces at the leading edge of the sliding North American continent created the buckling forces that created the Sierra Nevada mountains, and also thickened the continent at the leading edge to such a degree that the sediments split on either side of the "lip" that separates the Central Valley from the Pacific Ocean.  All along this uplifted terrain, on either side, California has long parallel hogbacks running north to south.  These are below the ocean just off the coast, as well as on the western edge of the Great Central Valley.  This previous post, entitled "Hogbacks of the California Coast" discusses the geological evidence and provides some images from Google Maps of the hogbacks of California.  

Incidentally, the hogbacks off the coast at Half Moon Bay appear to be partly responsible for the famous big-wave at Mavericks (see here). 

Below is an image from Google Maps of some of the submarine hogbacks just to the north of the canyon at Lompoc, from the seafloor off the coast of Cambria, California:

Here is another set of now-submerged hogbacks which are even closer to Lompoc, found off the coast of the Montana de Oro State Park just north of the San Luis Obispo Bay:

This previous post also shows hogbacks in the vicinity of Lompoc, including some that are on land along the coastline very close to Lompoc, south and east of the town itself.

All of these hogbacks demonstrate the tremendous and violent forces that accompanied the slide of the continental plates during the flood event, and indicate the direction of the forces that were then taking place.  Tectonic advocates would say that the slow centimeters-per-year drifting of tectonic plates gradually tipped the strata upwards to form the hogbacks found around the world, although this post discusses the laws of physics that argue against the very gradual motion of tectonics to be able to cause all the features that are attributed to this slow motion.  In any event, even if the tectonic advocates argue that all these hogbacks are the product of slowly-drifting plates, the motion is completely in the wrong direction to create the submarine canyons.  One would be tempted to ask them, "Which direction is it?  You can't have it both ways," except that they apparently do think they can have it both ways.  

The submarine canyons of California's Central Coast constitute yet another set of evidence for the examination of open-minded individuals who wish to weigh the various possible explanations for what causes our earth to look the way it does today.  In my opinion, the explanation of Dr. Walt Brown's hydroplate theory is overwhelmingly more rational in explaining the evidence that we do find than is the explanation proposed by the conventional tectonic theory.  Further, there are hundreds of other pieces of geological evidence around the globe which also appear to be better explained by the hydroplate theory than by the tectonic theory.  However, all thinking people should be free to examine the evidence and decide for themselves.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Northern hemisphere, get ready for Comet PanSTARRS!

(mobile readers please scroll down to read the actual post)

Comet C/2011 L4 "PanSTARRS" is making its debut to observers in the northern hemisphere, having been visible to those in the southern hemisphere for the past several days.  Above is a beautiful image of the comet, photographed over the Brisbane Ranges west of the city of Melbourne, Australia after sunset on the 3rd of March. 

The comet is very close to the sun now, and thus to observe it one must look towards the sun.  However, when the sun is above the horizon, its brilliance drowns out the comet, and so the best time to spot Comet PanSTARRS is just after the rising western horizon comes between the observer and the sun.  As the twilight deepens, the comet will become visible in the darkening sky for a time, until the turning earth causes the comet itself to disappear below the western horizon, following the sun.

Here is a link to a page from Sky & Telescope containing an excellent diagram showing the position of the comet in the western sky for viewers located in the northern hemisphere, starting with its location after sunset on the 7th of March and continuing to show its location each evening through the 20th of March.  Here is a link to another page from Sky & Telescope devoted exclusively to this comet, with a host of beautiful photographs and ongoing updates on the comet's progress.

Here is a link to the outstanding orbital diagram tool for Comet C/2011 L4 on the NASA JPL "small-body database browser" site.  You can use the "sliding bar" controls on the right and below the image to rotate your "view" of the comet, as well as another "sliding bar" control slightly lower down to zoom your view in and out.  You can also change the date on this tool to see where the comet will be on different days, relative to the rest of our solar system.  Here is a link to a previous post (from April of last year) discussing that excellent comet-imaging tool, as well as the connection between certain comets and annual meteor showers.

This recent Reuters article discussing the arrival of Comet PanSTARRS in the evening sky of the northern hemisphere declares that:
Comet Pan-STARRS is believed to be a first-time visitor to Earth after being gravitationally bumped out from the Oort Cloud, a repository of small icy bodies located beyond Pluto in the solar system's back yard.
That popular news stories so matter-of-factly declare that comets get "gravitationally bumped out from the Oort Cloud" in this day and age is remarkable, as there are tremendous problems with this theory of comet origins.  This previous post, entitled "Comet origins and the mysteries of mankind's ancient past" discusses some of the numerous problems with an Oort Cloud origin for comets such as PanSTARRS C/2011 L4.

For starters, as that post explains, the hypothetical Oort Cloud has never actually been observed -- it is a mental construct of scientists who made it up in order to try to model a comet-generation mechanism that would fit the evidence we can gather from the comets we have observed.  As that previous post also explains (following the work of astronomer Tom Van Flandern, 1940 - 2009), the great astronomer Oort himself didn't even believe in the Oort Cloud that was later given his name -- he believed as did Dr. Van Flandern that comets had their origin from within the solar system itself.

Dr. Van Flandern's work, cited in that post, make clear that the hypothetical Oort Cloud is not just "beyond Pluto in the solar system's back yard," either.  If we were to reduce the entire solar system out to Pluto to the size of a dime, Dr. Van Flandern explained, then the supposed Oort Cloud would be over 19 feet away!  Right away, this fact reveals some of the problems with the idea that occasional passing celestial bodies "gravitationally bump" comets out of the Oort Cloud with such precision that they pass through the tiny dime-sized space of the solar system (or the even tinier circle of the inner solar system, where we on earth can see them).  That would be a difficult shot for even the most accomplished pool-hall master, let alone for a random passing star that wasn't even aiming for anything.

In his online book on the hydroplate theory, Dr. Walt Brown devotes an entire chapter to the origin of comets.  There, Dr. Brown gives extensive evidence that conventional theories (such as the Oort Cloud model) purporting to explain the origin of comets are incorrect.  He then provides evidence that comets originated inside the solar system, just as Dr. Van Flandern and Dr. Jan Hendrik Oort believed as well.  However, unlike Dr. Van Flandern's theory that comets came from an exploding watery planet formerly located in the orbit now occupied by the asteroid belt, Dr. Brown believes they originated from a different watery planet: our earth!

Dr. Brown gives extensive evidence, including evidence recently discovered about the composition of a different comet, Tempel 1 in 2005, that strongly supports his theory that comets originated during the explosive event in earth's past that initiated a catastrophic global flood and ejected water and other materials right out of the earth's orbit.

If he is correct, then Comet PanSTARRS is not a "first-time visitor" to our planet at all, although this may well be the first time it has re-visited the inner solar system since it was first ejected into deep space.

In any event, there will be plenty to marvel at over the next several evenings as you gaze at the heavenly spectacle of the visiting comet, and ponder its long and lonely travels through space and into your field of view.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Beehive and its significance

The next several nights are excellent for viewing the night stars, with a host of bright constellations wheeling overhead in the hours after sunset.  

With the moon not rising until well after midnight (and getting later every night), the gorgeous constellations of Taurus (with the Hyades and Pleiades and the brilliant golden planet Jupiter spending time in the vicinity as he has for the past several months), Orion (the constellation with the most bright stars in the sky and one of the most important of all the constellations in terms of ancient myth) and the rest of the stars of the "Winter Circle" which includes Castor and Pollux of Gemini, and Leo now rising in the east ahead of Virgo and Saturn lower towards the eastern horizon, it is a spectacle not to be missed.

As this week's SkyWeek (above) makes clear, this is an excellent time of year to locate the breathtaking Beehive Cluster, also known as the Praesepe and as Messier 44.  The Beehive is a gorgeous cluster of stars in the zodiac constellation of Cancer.  Cancer is located along the ecliptic between Gemini (ahead of it in the march of the stars from the eastern horizon towards the western horizon) and Leo (behind it, closer to the eastern horizon and trailing Cancer in the march from the east to the west).

The Beehive can be located by following the line from the brilliant and colorful duo of Castor and Pollux (in  Gemini) towards the majestic outline of Leo with his red star Regulus.  It is almost exactly halfway to Regulus from Castor and Pollux, but not quite halfway.  With binoculars, the Beehive is very easy to spot along this line -- nearly straight up around 10pm.  Be sure to aim your binos towards the level of the sky occupied by Castor and Pollux (they are pretty high up) and then proceed towards Leo until you see the beautiful and unmistakeable cluster of the Beehive.

While the video above makes it sound as though the ancients did not think of the Beehive as a cluster of stars (because with the naked eye it appears only as a milky glow), there is strong evidence to suggest that they not only knew it as a "swarm" of stars but also as a Beehive!

In the ancient text of Judges (in the Old Testament), there is the well-known story of Samson, who slew a Lion on his way down to Timnath, and then found a Beehive (actually, a "swarm of bees") on his way back up from the same journey.  By the way, his trip down to Timnath (upon which he encountered the Lion) was to meet a beautiful "woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines" (Judges 14) -- in other words, a Virgin.

This account from Judges 14 is precisely the correct order for the zodiac constellations, as you can see by going outside in the evening after sunset on any of the next several nights.  A traveler on his way down to meet the Virgin (low in the east) would first encounter Leo, and on the way back up would pass again through Leo before crossing the Beehive Cluster (high in the night sky now, on the way to Gemini and Orion).

As Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend make very clear in their magnum opus Hamlet's Mill (1969) the entire story of Samson incorporates unmistakeable astronomical references.  They devote an entire chapter to the importance of Samson (Chapter 11, "Samson Under Many Skies").  However, they never really come out and state very plainly what they are talking about, and so they only hint at the  reference to the Beehive (this is typical of Hamlet's Mill, which can be somewhat difficult to read at first, but which opens itself up to the reader after several re-readings).

Elsewhere in that work, again without drawing out all the connections for the reader, de Santillana and von Dechend point out (in two different places) that the ancient Babylonians referred to the constellation Cancer as "the Carpenter."  For example, on page 314, they write:
And along with this consideration, the proper attention will have to be paid to the Babylonian name of Cancer, namely Nangar(u), "the Carpenter."  This is essential, because in the twelfth tablet of the Gilgamesh Epic, preserved only in Sumerian language, Gilgamesh complains bitterly of having lost his "pukku and mikku," instead of having left them "in the house of the carpenter," where they would have been safe, apparently.

This clue is intriguing, as the Beehive was known to the ancients by another name -- Praesepe.  Praesepe, as the video above points out, means "the Manger."  Now, it is extremely interesting that the cluster known to the ancients as "the Manger" is to be found in the house of "the Carpenter."

Clearly, the Beehive had tremendous ancient significance, encoded in ancient myth stretching back to very distant times.  Be sure to take a pair of binoculars outside on the next several dark nights, and marvel at this beautiful and important celestial grouping.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

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In the previous post, we looked at evidence which indicates that bottlenose dolphins give themselves distinctive individual names, and the implications of that startling revelation.  In particular, the recent studies indicating individual self-awareness in dolphins may cause us to consider in a new light the violence done to animals every day:
Thinking about the fact that dolphins appear to "give themselves names," it seems that doing violence against dolphins really highlights what Simone Weil wrote in her treatise against violence, that it "turns anybody who is subjected to it into a thing."  It turns, as she says, a "somebody" into "nobody" -- it robs its victims (and ultimately its perpetrators as well) of their personhood -- the very thing that an individual name represents!  
This subject appears to resonate strongly with the themes explored in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's famous poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (first published in 1798 and revised slightly by Coleridge throughout his life -- here is an online edition of the 1834 version).  The poem describes the aftermath of the mariner's unthinking and callous killing of an albatross, which has reverberations which reach into the supernatural world.

Readers who are unfamiliar with the poem should read it in its entirety -- it really deserves several close readings in order to perceive the layers of detail and meaning woven into the poem by the artist.

The first appearance of the Albatross is framed in the poem in a manner which hints at the theme at hand:
At length did cross an Albatross,

Thorough the fog it came;

As if it had been a Christian soul,

We hailed it in God's name.

In light of the fact that we now have scientific evidence of animals giving themselves personal names, this is a very interesting commentary by Coleridge.  He has the Mariner describe the Albatross "As if it had been a Christian soul," a phrase which hints at the truth and yet -- by the inclusion of the framing words "as if" -- shows that the Mariner and his fellows deny that level of "personhood" to the bird.

Note that in English culture, individual names are linked to the possession of an immortal soul, and in previous generations were often referred to as one's "Christian name." 

In an act of senseless violence, of which he repents later, the Mariner shoots and kills the Albatross.  The act itself is not described at all -- the Mariner only blurts out the confession that he did it, without giving any description of his motives or frame of mind.  Prior to his confession of guilt, the listener in the poem (the Wedding-Guest) elicits the confession by noting the visibly evident anguish that comes over the Mariner as he describes the daily visits of the cheerful bird, which visits the ship "for food or play," forming a close bond with the crew:
'God save thee, ancient Mariner!

From the fiends, that plague thee thus!—

Why look'st thou so?'—With my cross-bow

I shot the ALBATROSS.

Just prior to this, the Mariner was describing the role the bird seemed to play in guiding the ship through the ice at the South Pole (more on this in a moment), and in bringing "a good south wind" to propel the voyagers past the pole and into the Pacific Ocean on the other side.  By detailing these images, and giving no extended description of the shooting itself, the reader receives an even more powerful impression of the thoughtlessness of the killing of the friendly Albatross.

The deed, of course, has fateful consequences.  As Simone Weil wrote in her famous 1940 essay, "The Iliad, or the Poem of Force" (available in its entirety online here, translated into English from the original French by Mary McCarthy) the use of force reduces both its object and its perpetrator from a being possessed of a soul into "a thing":
Such is the nature of force.  Its power of converting a man into a thing is a double one, and in its application double-edged.  To the same degree, though in different fashions, those who use it and those who endure it are turned to stone.  22.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem extends this concept to the animals around us and, by extension, to the natural world and in fact the entire universe.  This idea is a hallmark theme of the Romantic movement, of which The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is often considered an opening work of art.

The extension of the pain inflicted by the Mariner's thoughtless shooting of the Albatross to the extended universe, by the way, is present in the poem.  In a "waking dream" state (described by the Mariner as a "fit" he has fallen into), the Mariner hears two spirits discussing his guilty deed:
'Is it he?' quoth one, 'Is this the man?

By him who died on cross,

With his cruel bow he laid full low

The harmless Albatross.

The spirit who bideth by himself

In the land of mist and snow,

He loved the bird that loved the man

Who shot him with his bow.'
The "spirit who bideth by himself" had been perceived by the crew earlier as the being who "nine fathom deep beneath the keel" was impelling the ship along the seas on its strange journey.  Thus, the Mariner eventually grows to understand the full import of his deed -- not only was he wrong in denying a "soul" to the bird, but his senseless destruction of the friendly creature brought pain not only to the bird but to the Spirit of the world of ice who also delighted in the Albatross.

Later, the Mariner receives an absolution of sorts when he, without even knowing why he does so, perceives the beauty in the sea creatures swimming in the wake of the vessel, and blesses them:
Within the shadow of the ship

I watched their rich attire:

Blue, glossy green, and velvet black,

They coiled and swam; and every track

Was a flash of golden fire.

O happy living things! no tongue

Their beauty might declare:

A spring of love gushed from my heart,

And I bless├Ęd them unaware:

Sure my kind saint took pity on me,

And I blessed them unaware.
This marks a major change from his initial description of the Albatross (marked by the words "as if") and shows us that he now believes the animals around him -- and the natural world that they inhabit -- are worthy of being blessed (a word, of course, which carries obvious spiritual implications).  To underscore the significance of this change in the Mariner, he tells us that at that moment he is able to pray again, and the body of the Albatross, which had been hung around his neck like "a cross" falls off of him:
The self-same moment I could pray;

And from my neck so free

The Albatross fell off, and sank

Like lead into the sea.
Above is an illustration of an 1870 edition of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Gustave Dore, who provided 43 fantastic illustrations for the poem.  It depicts the Albatross leading the ship through the towering ice as it crosses through the southern regions.  The voyage is described as going south (the ship sails with the rising sun to the left) and then through the ice into the Pacific, after which the ship goes to the north (with the rising sun to the right).  In other words, on this amazing journey, the vessel appears to sail right through Antarctica as if it were all ocean and no land!

The reason the ship is able to pass through the pole without any mention of land, only mighty bergs, is significant.   The Rime of the Ancient Mariner was first written in 1798.  As Graham Hancock demonstrates in Fingerprints of the Gods, the continent was only "discovered" again in 1818, although it had clearly been known in previous ages and appeared on some Renaissance maps.  Thus, it is not surprising that a poem first penned in 1798 would treat the ocean at the South Pole as if it were essentially like the ice-bound ocean we find at the North Pole.

Interestingly enough, Professor Charles H. Hapgood proves in his landmark work Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings: Evidence of Advanced Civilization in the Ice Age (first published in 1966) that ancient maps, following cartographic conventions of some lost civilization, depict extremely accurate renditions of Antarctica, some even appearing to demonstrate knowledge of the Antarctic coastline before it was bound in ice as it is today.  This information actually appears to support the hydroplate theory of Dr. Walt Brown (see discussion in this previous blog post on the topic).

Finally, it is also noteworthy that the evocative illustration by Gustave Dore depicted above appears to incorporate clear parallels to the images of the Orion Nebula which scientific instruments would not be capable of recording for another hundred years!  Readers of Danny Wilten's amazing work on the Orion Nebula and art (including the frescoes of Michelangelo) will immediately recognize in the Gustave Dore illustration above many of the elements that these works have in common with each other and with the Orion Nebula.  For a previous blog post on the subject, see "Danny Wilten and the Orion Nebula."  

In particular, in the Dore illustration from the poem, there is an arch, as well as a "glory."  In his e-book, Mr. Wilten demonstrates that a bird is sometimes present in the glory, such as in the Adoration of the Trinity from around 1647 - 1649, a work of art which Mr. Wilten discusses:

(mobile readers continue to scroll down to read the rest of the post)

We can also see parallels to the details of modern satellite telescope imagery of the Orion Nebula in other works by Gustave Dore.  Below is a comparison of Gustave Dore's Creation of Light (circa 1866) to the imagery of the Orion Nebula (taken in 2006 with the Hubble Telescope):

Readers of Mr. Wilten's e-book will notice the obvious presence of the "crescent moon" motif in the correct position of Dore's engraving (the "9-o'clock" position), found in all of the art discussed in Mr. Wilten's e-book (beginning on page 27; he does not discuss Gustave Dore specifically but gives so many other very clear examples that this phenomenon cannot be dismissed as coincidence).

This resonance between art and universe is really quite incredible.  In conjunction with the theme of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, it can perhaps only be interpreted as further confirmation of the message of the poem.  In other words, not only are the animals and birds around us, and even the icy waters of the Antarctic infused with "spirit," but the rest of the universe as well!