Worms Frozen For 40,000 Years Brought Back to Life, Fueling Hope For Human Cryogenics

Scientists sure are good at making us constantly feel like we’re in the opening scenes of a horror movie. The latest case of science toeing the line between being really cool and going too far comes out of Siberia, because of course it does. According to the Siberian Times, Russian scientists have successfully resurrected two roundworms—nematodes— that were frozen in the Siberian permafrost since the Pleistocene era. For context, when these worms were frozen, woolly mammoths were stomping around Siberia. The two nematodes are 32,000 and 40,000 years old, approximately, and now that they’ve woken from their slumber are the two oldest living animals on earth.

Scientists say that this is a major breakthrough and could pave the way for human cryonics—the ability to freeze a person for long periods of time and bring them back, for applications like long term space travel or the arrogant quest for immortality. According to the scientists:

“Our data demonstrate the ability of multicellular organisms to survive long-term (tens of thousands of years) cryobiosis under the conditions of natural cryoconservation.

 

It is obvious that this ability suggests that the Pleistocene nematodes have some adaptive mechanisms that may be of scientific and practical importance for the related fields of science, such as cryomedicine, cryobiology, and astrobiology.”

Frozen nematode

This is a frozen nematode.

Russian scientists at the Institute of Physico-Chemical and Biological Problems of Soil Science, working in collaboration with scientists at Princeton University in the U.S., collected samples of frozen nematodes from the Yakutia region of Siberia, the coldest part of Russia. This is close to the proposed “Pleistocene Park” which would recreate the habitat of woolly mammoths. All in all 300 samples of frozen nematodes were taken. Only two were actually brought back to life, so don’t go taking a nap in the walk-in freezer just yet.

According to the research once the worms were defrosted in petri dishes, they began showing signs of life, moving and eating food, as if they hadn’t just slept for all of recorded history.

If you’ve spent at least a decade or two on this planet you’ve heard of cryonics or cryogenic freezing. The plot of the show Futurama is based on a 21st century man accidentally freezing himself and getting defrosted in the far future. Then there’s the persistent—and likely false—rumor of Walt Disney having his body frozen so he might get resurrected when they found a cure for cancer.

Not Walt Disney.

This is not Walt Disney.

Cryonics holds a lot of promise to a lot of people. Apart from the medical applications, the other use is in space travel. Assuming we don’t develop faster than light travel, the only way to get a space exploration team farther into deep space than the human lifespan will allow is to freeze them. The basic premise is this: it should be possible to lower a persons body temperature enough so that there is no deterioration, even after centuries (or millennia) spent frozen. The second part is harder: bringing them back. Thawing out two worms is definitely a far cry from freezing the crew of a space ship and bringing them back a century a century or more later in the middle of deep space, but at least it’s a start.

Unless these worms keep eating and growing until they’re the size of school buses and then we have that problem to deal with. Be careful when you jump into sci-fi territory, people, you never know which version of the future you’re going to get.

Looking Back at a Quest to Find a Chupacabra

In September 2010, there was an interesting development in my quest for the truth of the chupacabra in the United States – although, this time, not in Texas, where I live. Matters kicked off with a phone call to me from one of Oklahoma’s local TV channels. It transpired that sightings had been made of what sounded very much like a Texas chupacabra, but over the border into Oklahoma. For those who don’t know, the U.S. chupacabra is actually a hairless coyote, albeit one with a few, genuinely odd mutations. This account, alone, was of great interest to me, as it suggested the beasts – or the condition that was provoking certain, significant, physical changes in wild coyotes – were on the move. There was more, too.

Apparently, a photograph had been taken of the creature, one which showed it up fairly close and personal. Not only that, at the time the photo was fortuitously snapped, the animal was in the process of bounding across a stretch of field in a very strange fashion: it alternated between running on all-fours and almost bouncing along on its hind limbs. I had heard of accounts of the chupacabra (both in Puerto Rico and Texas) having the ability to move on both four limbs and two. This, however, was the first time I had come across a story where there was actual photographic evidence demonstrating this curious gait. With the story outlined to me, a question was then put to me by the local news crew: “Would you like to come up and investigate the story with us?” Of course!

A couple of days later I was on the road. It was a blisteringly hot day in Texas when I set off. By the time I reached the town of Norman, Oklahoma – which was close to where all of the sightings had been made – it was roasting. The point of rendezvous was Rudy’s Store and BBQ, on Chautauqua Avenue. I was met by a reporter and a cameraman. As we ate our early dinner, and as the mouthwatering odor of barbecued meat filled the air, I was given the details of the story. For several months, sightings had been made of a strange creature – all at nearby Tecumseh, a small town of less than 7,000 people. What made this story particularly interesting is that the encounters were not strewn all across the town. Instead, each and every one was focused on the woods and the fields that surrounded the Tecumseh High School.

I was told it was the very fact that the beast spent so much time in the area which allowed one of the school’s students – Ryan Craighhead – to get a picture of it on his cell-phone. The local news channel had a copy of the image with them and passed it to me for scrutiny. It did, indeed, show something very weird. Sure enough, the creature – as I had been told just a few days previously – appeared to be running on its hind legs. Not only that: the front limbs of the animal were ridiculously short. It was a very, very strange picture of a very, very strange animal.

It was definitely not a coyote – hairless or otherwise

By about 5:30 p.m. we were on-site, deep in the heart of the fields and woods that dominate the school. We did some background filming that outlined my investigations of the chupacabra controversy, and which also gave me time to express my opinions on what the animals might be. After the first round of filming, a call was made to Ryan Craighead, who was on the scene within the hour, along with a couple of friends. With the camera on him, the news team recorded the details of his encounter and explained how he and some of his school-buddies had seen the animal on a number of occasions, all prior to him having caught the creature on camera. He also explained that in terms of the gait of the creature, it reminded him most of all of that of a kangaroo. Having seen the photo, it was almost impossible to argue with that.

As night fell on Tecumseh, the team and I roamed the woods and fields, in search of the creature. We actually did find fairly fresh coyote tracks, and heard the distinct calling card of the coyote, too, but probably from a distance of a couple of hundred yards, I would say. We finished filming around 11.00 p.m. and, with the job completed, went our separate ways.

How scientists actually could bring dinosaurs back to life

On Jan. 6, 2000, a wild mountain goat named Celia was crushed to death by a falling tree on the cliffs of the Spanish Pyrenees — thus beginning her march into history.

Celia was a bucardo — a specific species of wild goat — and, as it happens, the final one.

But a group of Spanish scientists had other ideas. Ten months earlier they had taken a sample of Celia’s tissue, in the hopes of bringing her species back from extinction.

Continue reading How scientists actually could bring dinosaurs back to life at Alien UFO Sightings.

Discoveries at Texas Archaeology Site Push Back Early Human Arrivals in North America

The Gault site, located just outside of Austin, Texas, has been known to archaeologists for the better part of the last century. Discovered by Henry Gault, a landowner who worked as an archaeological informant in the early 1900s, the site was officially excavated for a period beginning in 1929, under the supervision of J.E. Pearce with the University of Texas. It was reportedly looted a number of times over the ensuing years, prior to new ownership of the property that led official test excavations that began in 1991. By the end of the decade, formal excavations that would continue well into the new millennium were underway.

Over the course of several dig seasons in recent years, Gault has become recognized by archaeologists as a site of particular significance, due to the number of complete lithic assemblages recovered there.

However, the number of artifacts found at the site is just one of the reasons it has American archaeologists so excited. Among the most recent discoveries at the site, new evidence of early occupation is pushing back the timescale on human arrivals in North America, lending further evidence toward the idea of earlier migrations into the western hemisphere than once believed.

Specifically, the Gault site has yielded intricate projectile points from its deepest strata that are well in advance of the Clovis culture. These artifacts not only count among several existing pre-Clovis discoveries in the Americas, but are accompanied by dates obtained via optically stimulated luminescence that suggest an age of 20,000 years or more, effectively placing them among the oldest of their kind found in North America to date.

Excavations at Gault over the years turned up numerous unique discoveries even before the discovery of its pre-Clovis assemblages. The site’s Clovis horizon, for instance, produced a number of fluted projectile points similar to those seen in the image at the top of this page (note that the points featured in the top image are associated with the Rummells-Maske Site in Cedar County, Iowa, rather than Gault, and are used here only for illustrative purposes).

Alongside these points was a fragmentary basal portion of a Clovis-like projectile, similar to what are identified as “Redstone” points in the Southeast (these are similar enough to a preexisting type of projectile point, called Gainey, that many experts consider the two types one and the same). Prior to its discovery amidst the Clovis assemblage at Gault, little data had been obtained for in situ discoveries of Redstone points; additionally, few–if any–had ever been documented in association with a site as far west as Gault. In total, more than 600,000 artifacts identified with the Clovis culture were recovered from the site.

Area 15 at the Gault site, as it appeared between 2007–2014 excavations (Credit: Jillabus, Wikimedia Commons).

Subsequent dig seasons at Gault continued to produce surprises, and the latest paper published in Science Advances gives full details of the pre-Clovis discoveries, in addition to the dating methods used to determine their provenance.

Luminescence dating, a technique which relies on stimulation of minerals in various ways in order to discern when they were last exposed to sunlight or significant amounts of heat, was among the methods employed to date the pre-Clovis strata at Gault. Among the earliest dates recorded in association with artifacts was 21,700 years, with a standard deviation of ± 1.4 ka. “Significantly, this assemblage exhibits a previously unknown, early projectile point technology unrelated to Clovis,” the study’s authors wrote. “Within a wider context, this evidence suggests that Clovis technology spread across an already regionalized, indigenous population.”

As I noted recently in an article about the Gault discoveries, this is by no means the first time that evidence of a pre-Clovis presence, possibly dating as far back as 20,000 years, has been found in the Americas:

The Topper site in Allendale County, South Carolina, produced similar lithic evidence which dates back at least 20,000 years, though some artifacts recovered from deeper stratigraphic layers there are estimated to be as much as 50,000 years old. Similarly, radiocarbon dates in association with human artifacts at Meadowcroft Rockshelter in Washington County, Pennsylvania, are reliably dated to earlier than 16,000 BC, with one instance of carbonized bark-like material (possible basketry) with evidence of cutting marks dating to 21,070 BP ± 2400. Charcoal recovered elsewhere from Meadowcroft shows 14C dates in excess of 30,000 years (similar to dates retrieved from Monte Verde, Chile, during excavations by Tom Dillehay).  According to J.M. Adovasio, who led excavations at Meadowcroft for a number of decades, the earlier dates are intriguing, but he and others generally work with the more likely nearer dates of around 16,000 years, which are still well in advance of Clovis.

The Science Advances paper can be read online here, which features a wealth of technical data and illustrations depicting the earliest artifacts recovered at the site. For more on the technical significance of these Gault pre-Clovis discoveries, along with an analysis of its impact in the context of advances in American archaeology, see my article “Gault Site in Texas Offers New Evidence of Human Habitation 16 to 20 Thousand Years Ago.

As an addendum, I’ll note that many these days, in light of ongoing archaeological discoveries like those discussed here, have commented on how “things keep getting older.” That is to say, of course, that archaeologists continue to find more and more evidence for earlier occupations in the New World, as well as advanced behaviors and engineering among early cultures, and refinement of processes that include such things as crafting pottery, agriculture, fermentation, and a wealth of other innovations.

In equal measure to the idea that we’re constantly finding broad evidence for things that, at one time, might have seemed historically out of place, it is also important to make the observation that part of what has led to these new discoveries in the first place has been a fundamental change in thinking.

On a number of occasions at American dig sites I’ve visited where pre-Clovis artifacts ended up being recovered, archaeologists have expressed to me that while such discoveries had been there all along, they were essentially kept hidden for as long as they were by one simple fact: that there had been an expectation nothing would be found below the Clovis horizon. Once archaeologists began pressing on and exploring deeper strata, many were shocked to find evidence of much earlier occupations than previously expected; and inevitably, many were also criticized for presenting these discoveries, even when reliable scientific evidence to account for their provenance was offered.

People are often slow to accept new ideas, although that’s certainly not always a bad thing. Science relies on having waterproof arguments, and skepticism is the best defense against unintended leaks. However, with evidence forthcoming that is strongly in support of an idea that might have once seemed impossible, the necessity for acceptance of new data becomes paramount. Rather than to say that things “keep getting older,” I think it is important to recognize that we are learning–through science–things like how much earlier humans were traversing areas of the globe, utilizing certain technological innovations, and accomplishing things we simply hadn’t conceived they were capable of as recently as a few years ago.

Science is the ultimate tool of discovery, and as it has continued to show us new things about the ancient past, it underscores the same timeless ingenuity of the human spirit at work, both then and now.

Looking Back at the Texas Ghost Lights

In early 2005, the late Rob Riggs – the author of the book In the Big Thicket, and who I had first met in the summer of 2003 – telephoned me and asked if I would be interested in speaking at a conference he was planning on soon holding in the city of Austin, Texas. The subject was “ghost lights,” and the links between that same phenomenon and sacred sites, stone circles, and Bigfoot-like entities. I replied that, yes, I would definitely be interested. And thus was born the Texas Ghost Lights Conference. It was held at Austin’s First Unitarian Universalist Church on Saturday, June 11. Precisely what the God-fearing folk of the Church thought about a group of Bigfoot-hunting, ghost-light-seeking adventurers descending upon their property, I never learned. But, they  didn’t seem to mind at all.

In addition to Rob and me, the other lecturers were James Bunnell and Paul Devereux. James has an interesting background: the author of two books on the famous “Marfa Lights,” namely Night Orbs and Seeing Marfa Lights. he was an aeronautical and mechanical engineer by profession, and retired in 2000 from BAE Systems as Director of Mission Solutions for various U.S. Air Force programs. Like me, Paul is a Brit. He’s a longstanding, prestigious figure in the field of ghost-light style phenomena.

Big Thicket National Preserve

In addition to organizing the conference, Rob had also put into place something that he termed the Bragg Road Project. Essentially, it was a road-trip to the Texas-based Big Thicket (a hotbed for “ghost lights”)that he had planned for the day after the Austin gig. The idea was to travel down to the woods of east Texas and hang out in the area for two nights, in the event that something – be it a ghost light or a Bigfoot, or both if we were that lucky – decided to make an appearance.

Early on what turned out to be a bright and sunny Sunday morning, me, Rob, James, Paul, S. Miles Lewis of the Austin-based Scientific Anomaly Institute, and two conference attendees, Renee and Nancy, met at a prearranged location for our journey into the unknown. I can hardly say that the trip was one of proportions that would have made Jack Kerouac proud. But nevertheless, we were on a mission and everyone was fired up about what we might uncover, and so our convoy set off in earnest. It was late afternoon when we finally arrived in the town of Kountze, where all of us had reservations at the local Super 8. And, after a shower and a Mexican dinner, we were forest-bound. And this was where, as was so often the case, things got very strange.

Bragg Road can be an eerie location during daylight – as I had found to be so when I ventured deep into the Big Thicket with Rob in the summer of 2003. At night and under the spotlight of a full moon, however, it was truly spooky. Not in a scary sense, as I always relish the opportunity to check out such places, but just from the perspective of believing that quite possibly anything could happen here. Of course, it’s important to note that more than a few people have mistaken distant car headlights for the legendary lights (as Andy Collins notes at this link). But, given that some sightings have occurred within just a feet of eyewitnesses demonstrates that not all cases can be written off so easily.

With flashlights in hand, we began a walk through the darkened woods, with Rob pointing out to us various locations where wild men, Bigfoot, and, of course, ghost lights had been seen and reported for decades. For twenty minutes or so, we walked around, seemingly forever trying to avoid the overwhelming mass of mosquitoes that surrounded us, while at the same time negotiating the thick blanket of ancient and mighty trees that dominated the area. And then, suddenly, it happened. We were on our way back to the vehicles to grab a bite to eat and some drinks when, as we entered a clearing in the trees, a basketball-sized bright light floated over us at a height of about thirty-five feet. It was moving from right to left, and sailed slowly yet purposefully on its journey. The ghost light was present for barely a handful of seconds, but it was definitely there.

Due to work, I was unable to stay for the second night, but when I  got back to Dallas and turned on the computer, I read an email from Rob that was of true jaw-dropping quality. The odd experiences of the first night in the Big Thicket were apparently not isolated. As Rob said: “Renee had a frightening experience Monday night. We split up into teams of two and spread out about a mile apart. Renee was paired with Nancy. Nancy walked down the road briefly away from Renee. Renee said she then heard something walking in the woods off the road directly behind her that sounded large. She said whatever it was, was large enough to snap twigs, and she said that it seemed to be moving stealthily, as if it were trying to sneak up on her. She panicked, locked herself into her van and drove off, leaving Nancy to fend for herself.”

Rob continued: “Several hours later she was still shaken and still had goose bumps. Such irrational panic is not characteristic of Renee. She is a ghost hunter and has many times been in creepier situations than being on Bragg Road. She has even gone to cemeteries alone just to test her mettle. There are theories that the creatures deliberately provoke such panic reactions through chemicals in their scent or by mental projection of energy.”

He concluded: “Renee, Nancy and I also saw a peculiar light. It looked somewhat like a firefly but actually left a solid streak 10 – 15 feet in length that was brilliant bluish-white in color.  It happened near a power line, and it was suggested that it might have been some kind of surge on the power line itself. But what could cause such a surge? That, in itself would be suggestive of a electromagnetic anomaly.”

Rob’s research into the matter of Texas’ ghost lights continued until his death in 2015.

Looking Back at ‘Paul’

The onscreen teaming of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost has produced some real gems over the years, from Spaced, to Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz—all co-written and dynamically directed by Edgar Wright. Their 2013 sci-fi, The World’s End, put a slightly disappointing cap on their “Cornetto Trilogy” (so-called for each of the instalments—Shaun, Fuzz, and End—featuring a different flavoured Cornetto ice cream). But before The World’s End, Pegg and Frost gave us another sci-fi outing, this time without their favored director, Edgar Wright.

Pegg and Frost.

2011 saw the release of Paul, a foul-mouthed, sweet-hearted story of geekdom and friendship set against the rich tapestry of American UFO lore. In the movie, directed by Greg Mottola, writers Pegg and Frost play Graeme and Clive, two British sci-fi enthusiasts who embark upon a UFO road trip across the United States with the goal of hitting all the key pilgrimage sites, including Roswell and Area 51. While in the Nevada desert en route to the famous Area 51 perimeter, Graeme and Clive stumble across a Gray alien named Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) who has just escaped from the base, where he had been a “guest” (i.e. prisoner) since 1947. Graeme and Clive agree to help the benevolent but potty-mouthed Paul flee his Men in Black pursuers and eventually return to his home planet.

The idea for Paul traces back to the filming of Shaun of the Dead in 2003 when the crew had lost so many days to the torrential English rain that they started wondering how great it would be to shoot a movie where it never, ever rained. “We just spit-balled from there,” Frost told MTV. “No rain became the desert, the desert became Area 51 and then it was a short step to thinking about these two guys encountering an alien.” They proceeded to watch more than 50 movies about aliens and road trips. “Then we just sat opposite one another and banged it out, line by line,” recalled Frost.

Paul is a witty movie that utilizes almost every ingredient of modern UFO conspiracy lore to enrich its plot, from the Roswell Incident and Men in Black, to aliens in the custody of the US government inspiring human technological developments. It even draws our attention to the interplay between UFOs and Hollywood and makes light of the idea that pop-culture has been deliberately seeded with alien imagery in an effort to prepare the masses for open contact. At one point in the movie, Clive remarks of Paul’s archetypal appearance, “He looks too obvious!” Paul responds: “There’s a reason for that, Clive! Over the last 60 years, the human race has been drip-fed images of my face, on lunchboxes and T-shirts and shit. It’s in case our species do meet, you don’t have a fucking spaz attack!”

Rain-free shoot: Greg Mottola directs Nick Frost and Simon Pegg on location for ‘Paul’ (2011).

Later in the movie it is revealed that, while at Area 51, Paul worked closely with Hollywood filmmakers, inspiring iconic movie and TV characters, including Fox Mulder and Steven Spielberg’s E.T. In a flashback scene set in 1980, we see Paul at Area 51 on the phone to Spielberg (appearing as himself in vocal form only), who is seeking Paul’s advice on a future movie about a friendly little alien. The conversation plays out as follows:

Paul: Okay Steven, how about cellular revivification?
Spielberg: I don’t know what that is.
Paul: Oh. Restoration of damaged tissue through telepathic manipulation of intrinsic field memory.
Spielberg: What’s that mean?
Paul: It means healing, Mr. Spielberg.
Spielberg: Yeah right, healing. Like by touch or something like that. Like maybe his finger lights up on the end when he reaches out and touches?
Paul: Maybe… You know, sometimes I find less is more.
Spielberg: Hey, trust me.

Today, seven years after its original release, Paul stands up well. Change comes so slowly in the UFO subculture that none of its UFOlogical references have dated even a day. The special effects still look strong too. This is thanks to Mottola and his team spending a huge portion of their production budget on bringing the CGI Paul to life. The director recognized that, for the movie to work, Paul had to look absolutely real—no expense could be spared.

“To do the CGI of Paul was one-third of our budget,” Mottola told recalled. “The actual production budget was kind of small… so we gave up 10 days of shooting and a second unit for the action scenes, just to pour more money into getting Paul right.”

It may not be as sharp as some of Frost and Pegg’s earlier outings (the absence of Edgar Wright can be felt in both script and direction), but Paul is still bags more brains and fun than most Hollywood comedies today. If you’re a fan of toilet humor, there’s a shit load. If you’re a sci-fi or UFO enthusiast, you might just feel you’ve died and gone to geek heaven.

Looking Back at ‘Paul’

The onscreen teaming of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost has produced some real gems over the years, from Spaced, to Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz—all co-written and dynamically directed by Edgar Wright. Their 2013 sci-fi, The World’s End, put a slightly disappointing cap on their “Cornetto Trilogy” (so-called for each of the instalments—Shaun, Fuzz, and End—featuring a different flavoured Cornetto ice cream). But before The World’s End, Pegg and Frost gave us another sci-fi outing, this time without their favored director, Edgar Wright.

Pegg and Frost.

2011 saw the release of Paul, a foul-mouthed, sweet-hearted story of geekdom and friendship set against the rich tapestry of American UFO lore. In the movie, directed by Greg Mottola, writers Pegg and Frost play Graeme and Clive, two British sci-fi enthusiasts who embark upon a UFO road trip across the United States with the goal of hitting all the key pilgrimage sites, including Roswell and Area 51. While in the Nevada desert en route to the famous Area 51 perimeter, Graeme and Clive stumble across a Gray alien named Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen) who has just escaped from the base, where he had been a “guest” (i.e. prisoner) since 1947. Graeme and Clive agree to help the benevolent but potty-mouthed Paul flee his Men in Black pursuers and eventually return to his home planet.

The idea for Paul traces back to the filming of Shaun of the Dead in 2003 when the crew had lost so many days to the torrential English rain that they started wondering how great it would be to shoot a movie where it never, ever rained. “We just spit-balled from there,” Frost told MTV. “No rain became the desert, the desert became Area 51 and then it was a short step to thinking about these two guys encountering an alien.” They proceeded to watch more than 50 movies about aliens and road trips. “Then we just sat opposite one another and banged it out, line by line,” recalled Frost.

Paul is a witty movie that utilizes almost every ingredient of modern UFO conspiracy lore to enrich its plot, from the Roswell Incident and Men in Black, to aliens in the custody of the US government inspiring human technological developments. It even draws our attention to the interplay between UFOs and Hollywood and makes light of the idea that pop-culture has been deliberately seeded with alien imagery in an effort to prepare the masses for open contact. At one point in the movie, Clive remarks of Paul’s archetypal appearance, “He looks too obvious!” Paul responds: “There’s a reason for that, Clive! Over the last 60 years, the human race has been drip-fed images of my face, on lunchboxes and T-shirts and shit. It’s in case our species do meet, you don’t have a fucking spaz attack!”

Rain-free shoot: Greg Mottola directs Nick Frost and Simon Pegg on location for ‘Paul’ (2011).

Later in the movie it is revealed that, while at Area 51, Paul worked closely with Hollywood filmmakers, inspiring iconic movie and TV characters, including Fox Mulder and Steven Spielberg’s E.T. In a flashback scene set in 1980, we see Paul at Area 51 on the phone to Spielberg (appearing as himself in vocal form only), who is seeking Paul’s advice on a future movie about a friendly little alien. The conversation plays out as follows:

Paul: Okay Steven, how about cellular revivification?
Spielberg: I don’t know what that is.
Paul: Oh. Restoration of damaged tissue through telepathic manipulation of intrinsic field memory.
Spielberg: What’s that mean?
Paul: It means healing, Mr. Spielberg.
Spielberg: Yeah right, healing. Like by touch or something like that. Like maybe his finger lights up on the end when he reaches out and touches?
Paul: Maybe… You know, sometimes I find less is more.
Spielberg: Hey, trust me.

Today, seven years after its original release, Paul stands up well. Change comes so slowly in the UFO subculture that none of its UFOlogical references have dated even a day. The special effects still look strong too. This is thanks to Mottola and his team spending a huge portion of their production budget on bringing the CGI Paul to life. The director recognized that, for the movie to work, Paul had to look absolutely real—no expense could be spared.

“To do the CGI of Paul was one-third of our budget,” Mottola told recalled. “The actual production budget was kind of small… so we gave up 10 days of shooting and a second unit for the action scenes, just to pour more money into getting Paul right.”

It may not be as sharp as some of Frost and Pegg’s earlier outings (the absence of Edgar Wright can be felt in both script and direction), but Paul is still bags more brains and fun than most Hollywood comedies today. If you’re a fan of toilet humor, there’s a shit load. If you’re a sci-fi or UFO enthusiast, you might just feel you’ve died and gone to geek heaven.

Secret Aircraft: Looking Back At “Aurora”

In the late-1980s/early 1990s, rumors began to circulate among the aviation world that a highly secret, futuristic aircraft was being flown out of Area 51 – and under distinctly covert circumstances. The reportedly large, black-colored, triangular-shaped aircraft which could fly at incredible speeds, could outmaneuver just about anything else on the planet. It was rumored to be known as the Aurora. Officially, at least, and according to the U.S. Government, the Aurora does not exist and has never existed. But, that was once said about Area 51, too. So, with that in mind, we need to tread cautiously when it comes to official proclamations of the controversial type.

The story began – publicly, at least – in March 1990. That was when the well-respected magazine Aviation Week & Space Technology covered the story. They revealed that the term “Aurora” had appeared in the 1985 U.S. budget – and had possibly appeared by mistake, which makes sense if the program was so highly sensitive that its existence had to be denied at all costs. And talking of costs, it was rumored that around $455 million had been provided to those working out at Area 51 on secret, futuristic aircraft. AW&ST suspected that Aurora was a code-name for multiple kinds of aircraft that were both radical in design and technology. Other investigators, though, concluded that Aurora referred to just one type of aircraft. AW&ST learned that by 1987 the budget had soared to in excess of two billion dollars.

Bill Sweetman is one of the leading figures in the field of aviation and someone who took a deep interest in the Aurora saga. His books include F-22 Raptor, Inside the Stealth Bomber, and Soviet Air Power. And, then there is his 1993 book, Aurora: The Pentagon’s Secret Hypersonic Spyplane. Of the Aurora, Sweetman says: “Does Aurora exist? Years of pursuit have led me to believe that, yes, Aurora is most likely in active development, spurred on by recent advances that have allowed technology to catch up with the ambition that launched the program a generation ago.”

This was all very interesting for those who follow the world of exotic aircraft, such as Bill Sweetman and the staff of Aviation Wek and Space Technology – and it still is of interest to them. But, where was the evidence for the existence of Aurora? Was there any evidence? Yes, there was. And it came from a highly credible man with an impeccable background. His name is Chris Gibson.

It was in the summer of 1989 that Chris Gibson had what can accurately be termed the encounter of a lifetime. An engineer with an Honors degree in geology and someone who’s worked focused on oil-exploration, Gibson was also attached to the U.K.’s Royal Observer Corps. The work of the ROC – which closed down in December 1995, after seventy years of work to help protect the United Kingdom from attack – required its volunteers to keep a careful watch on the skies above and what was flying in those same skies, too.

As luck – or fate – would have it, and at the time when the Aurora program may very well have been compromised, Gibson was working on an oil rig in the North Sea. The name of the rig was the Galveston Key. It was August 1989, specifically, when one of Gibson’s colleagues, a friend named Graeme Winton, who went to university with Gibson, excitedly told Gibson to come with him to the deck. There was something Winton needed to show him.

A startled and amazed Gibson caught sight of something incredible in the skies above. A pair of General Dynamics’ F1-11 aircraft were shepherding a very strange-looking, completely black aircraft. And, a Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker seemed to be fueling it. It was in the form of a triangle. For a moment or two, Gibson pondered on the possibility that what he and Winton were seeing was the F-117 stealth fighter. But, the design was clearly wrong. Aurora, maybe?

Since the 1980s, sightings of large, triangular-shaped UFOs, usually described as being black in color, making a low humming noise, and very often with rounded rather than angled corners, have been reported throughout the world. The sheer proliferation of such reports has led some ufological commentators to strongly suspect that the Flying Triangles (as they have come to be known) are prime examples of still-classified aircraft. Maybe the Aurora. Or, perhaps, something even more advanced.

Earliest Known Pipe Found in Alabama Dates Smoking Back 3000 Years

Some people believe that Native Americans got their revenge on European invaders when they introduced the white man to tobacco. While that slow burn may be working, it hides the centuries of use by these indigenous people as a present from their Creator that was used for medicine, religious ceremonies, negotiations and as a special gift with no intention of doing harm. Those native tribes would be shocked to see how vaping has changed the way tobacco is used today. For them, a carved pipe was the smoking tool of choice and a new study of pipes reveals that they date back to about 1685 BCE – nearly 1000 years earlier than previously thought.

In a study published in the Journal of Archeological Science and reviewed in Science, researchers from the University of Alabama, the University of Mississippi and Rhodes College blew the dust off of some artifacts that had uncovered in late 1930s during excavations in northern Alabama after the new Guntersville Dam began flooding Native American sites. The artifacts were sent to the Alabama State Repository and forgotten until recently when members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians pushed for a study of the early use of pipes by Native Americans … and what they were smoking.

While there’s some evidence that ancient Greeks inhaled natural gases for medicine and inspiration (that explains a lot), smoking of the non-marijuana, non-opium kind was pretty much confined to the Americas prior to the European invasions. Signs of shamanistic smoking have been found in Peru and Ecuador dating back to 5000 BCE, usually in rituals involving inhaling the smoke of dried plants as an incense. Pipes carved from stone, gourds or wood appear first appear thousands of years later in North America and most archeologists dated them and their use with tobacco to around 500 BCE.

That changed with the Alabama pipes. Using mass spectrometry, the researchers identified traces of nicotine in inside a limestone pipe that was found with animal bones dating to between 1685 and 1530 BCE, making it the earliest evidence of tobacco smoking in North America and a strong indication that the smokers had probably domesticated the tobacco plant.

This also predates (in the Americas) the practice of smoking marijuana in a pipe rather than inhaling the smoke of burning plants or eating it. While the Native American shamans also imbibed in psychedelic substances, pipe smoking seemed to be primarily for tobacco. Smokers in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central and South America preferred inserting the tobacco in reeds (an early for of cigarettes) or rolling it in leaves to make cigars.

Then came the Europeans.

A drawing of Sir Walter Raleigh’s first pipe.

Christopher Columbus received dried tobacco leaves as a gift from Native Americans on October 15, 1492. Doctors were soon promoting tobacco as a medicinal cure for everything, including cancer. By the 1600s, Russia banned smoking (that didn’t last long) and Pope Urban VIII pushed to get smoking out of church services (thank goodness for incense). In 1847, Phillip Morris began selling hand rolled Turkish cigarettes. While pipes remained popular with people who had the time to fill, clean and refill them, their use has waned. Although vaping is a somewhat similar process, it’s called an e-cigarette – most likely for marketing to younger users.

Smoking of all types continues to grow in developing countries and still addicts a stubborn minority in the U.S. and Europe. Do Native Americans have the patience to wait for triumph by tobacco?

NEIL ARMSTRONG GIFTED A GIRL MOON DUST, NOW NASA WANTS IT BACK

If Neil Armstrong gifted you a vial of moon dust when you were a child, you would probably cherish it your entire life, at least that’s what Laura Ann Cicco did. But when NASA became aware she was in possession of “lunar material,” it sought to confiscate the gift from her, more than 40 years later.

Now Cicco, née Murray, is suing the space agency to hold on to her prized gift from the famed astronaut. 

Continue reading NEIL ARMSTRONG GIFTED A GIRL MOON DUST, NOW NASA WANTS IT BACK at Alien UFO Sightings.