Did Paul Die and Come Back?

nmpauxI have been reading the book of Acts. When I came to chapter 14 suddenly for the first time something occurred to me. On checking my thoughts on the Net, it seems I wasn’t the only one!

In Lystra, where Paul and the others has gone to escape the persecution in Antioch, Paul was stoned by some of the Jewish elders of Antioch who had travelled there on purpose to harass him.

My thought was this: when Paul was stoned by the Jews and left for dead, did he actually die? And was THIS the time he later referred to as his visit to heaven: Continue reading

What Is The Mandela Effect?

You may or may not be aware that there’s a new major conspiracy on the block, based on a genuine psychological phenomenon called the Mandela Effect.

However, this one has reached worrying levels of absurdity, and is hotly defended by its followers.
Continue reading

Man Finds ‘God’ on his Independence Day

The discovery of the Higgs boson is finally here.

Early in the morning on July 4, America’s Independence Day, physicists with the Large Hadron Collider at CERN announced they have found a new particle that some have called the ‘God Particle’ at the heart of the universe.

CERN director-general Rolf-Dieter Heuer said, “It’s a historic milestone today. I think we can all be proud, all be happy.”  Peter Clarke, Professor of Physics at the University of Edinburgh, saysThis is like discovering the heart; without it the entire model of the human body does not work. That is the significance of this particle.”

Fabiola Gianotti of the Atlas experiment at CERN echoed the conclusions of her colleagues: “We all have to be proud of these results. They open a door to a very bright future,” she concluded at the end of her presentation.
Continue reading

Worried About Comet Elenin?

I read and see so much about PlanetX, Elenin, a dwarf star and great catastrophe in 2011/2012 that I felt the time was right to post a blog entry offering an alternative to the hype.

Now, in doing so, it looks like I’ve taken a position on this issue, whereas I like to be a fairly neutral observer, neither slavishly following the offical government viewpoint on any event, nor throwing my hat into the ring of conspiracy theories. I happen to believe there’s truth on BOTH sides (not just of this issue but other hot topics like 9/11, biological warfare and so on).

For instance, the following piece, written by a sceptic, was – like some others denouncing the Elenin scare – removed from the blog after a legal dispute. I ask myself, why? Of all the blog entries on the Net, why would this cause so much trouble that it needed to be removed? I would have thought the much more alarmist pro-Elenin posts were more likely to be removed? However, be that as it may – I present this just as it stands and let you follow the links and make your own mind up.

FAQs from Ian Musgrave

Orbit of Comet C/2010 X1 Elenin (red) visualised with Celestia,
showing Elenin at closest approach to Earth.  (Image courtesy of Ian Musgrave)

Astronomer and blogger Ian Musgrave from South Australia has been active in debunking the misinformation and nonsense that is being disseminated about Comet Elenin. He has written several wonderful posts featuring the actual realities of this long-period lump of dirty ice that has, for some reason, attracted the attention of doomsdayers, 2012ers, and end-of-the-world scaremongers.

Earlier this week, Ian’s Elenin posts on his Astroblog were taken down by the web host, as someone filed a claim for alleged violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). “Given that there is no copyrighted material on these pages, with either material generated entirely by me or links to and citation of publicly available material, I believe this was just a frivolous attack on people countering Elenin nonsense” Ian said.

Astroblog was not the only site that was targeted, and thankfully, Ian’s web host agreed that the claim was without merit, and the posts are back online. In the interim, however, Universe Today offered to publish Ian’s excellent “Comet Elenin, a FAQ for the Worried” post, and even though the original is now available again, Ian and I decided to still post this on UT so that more people with questions about Comet Elenin would have the chance to have their worries allayed. Have your questions answered below.

Will Comet Elenin Hit Earth?

No, its closest approach is 0.23 AU on Oct 16, 2011, where 1 AU is the distance from the Earth to the Sun. To put this in perspective, this is only a little closer than the closest approach of Venus to Earth, and roughly 100 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon. This distance is from the latest MPEC ephemeris which is based on over 100 observations from multiple observatories that have been continuously tracking the comet, so it won’t change appreciably.

Surely if Elenin Was Going to Hit the Earth NASA/the Government Would Hush it Up?

Which government? The Australian Government, the UK Government? The Italian Government? The South African Government? Amateur astronomers world wide are following this comet and continually talking to each other. The have the programs to work out where the comet is going. If the comet was coming anywhere near us, the amateur community would be first to know, and there is no keeping them quite. Consider how wide spread the information is about Apophis, which is a real, if extremely marginal, hazard.

Will it Cause Earthquakes, Abnormally High Tides or Other Disasters

No, Elenin is a mere 3-5 kilometres across and has less than a billionth of the tidal force of the Moon at closest approach (as well as a negligible magnetic field). If the Moon can’t cause the poles to tip, cause massive tidal floods or earthquakes, Comet 2010 X1 Elenin won’t. We’ve been closer to other comets before with no ill effect.

But What About Mensur Omerbashich’s Paper that Says Elenin is Causing Earthquakes?

It shows nothing of the sort, earthquakes are no more common during comet alignments than at any other time.

But it’s bigger than Jupiter!

No, that’s the coma , the thin haze of gas and dust that surrounds the comet nucleus. The nucleus of C/2010 X1 Elenin is roughly 3-4 Km in diameter and Elenin has a coma around 50,000 km wide at the time of writing (which is a third of the diameter of Jupiter). The average density of the coma is about the same as the density of the atmosphere on the Moon. A coma is a feature of all comets that approach the Sun closely, for example comet 81P Wild (nucleus 4 Km diameter) had a coma of 50,000 Km and 103P Hartley had a coma of 150,000 Km. The Great Comet of 1811 had a nucleus of around 30km in diameter and had a coma nearly as big as the Sun. Comet Halley is 6×15 km and had a coma 100,000 km wide when it last approached Earth. We survived them all (and 103P Hartley came nearly twice as close as Elenin will), and we will survive Elenin without incident.

But I Can See a Picture of it in WikiSky, it’s HUGE!

That is the carbon star CW Leonis.

Is Elenin a Moon of a Brown Dwarf Star? No.

But Brown Dwarf Stars are so Cold, you Can’t See Them.

No, coldest detected so far is ~370K (about the temperature of a hot cup of tea), the the warmest are around 2200 K, and most range between 500-1000 K. They may not produce much visible light, but they reflect light. Jupiter has a composition similar to those of Brown Dwarf stars. Jupiter’s cloud tops are a chilly 128 K and it reflects light just fine. Any Brown Dwarf in the inner solar system would be painfully obvious.

Will Going Through the Comets Tail Affect Us?

No, should the rather small tail of Elenin actually pass over us, it’s doing a pretty good imitation of a vacuum (about 100 atoms per cm3). We have been through bigger and denser comet tails before with no effect whatsoever (especially the Great Comet of 1861).

Why isn’t Comet Elenin in the News?

For the same reason that the other 16 comets discovered in 2010 didn’t get in the news, or the 5 comets discovered in 2011. They are all dim. The News is only interested in comets that are spectacular, readily visible to the unaided eye or are being visited by spacecraft. Comet 2009 P1 will be as bright, if not brighter than C/2010 X1 Elenin, but that’s not in the news either. Amateur and professional astronomers are watching comet Elenin and others avidly, but the news channels don’t care about our obsessions with faint fuzzies.

Why Can’t I Find Information of Elenin at the NASA Website?

Because NASA is not the arbiter of all things astronomical. You won’t find information on C/2009 P1, C/2011 C1 or any of the faint comets discovered during 2010 and 2011. NASA does have information of comets that its spacecraft have visited, or are interesting in some other way, but it’s not an exhaustive comet site like Cometography or Aerith.

(editor’s note, NASA and JPL’s Near Earth Object Office did publish an article about Comet Elenin in May, 2011, which can be found at this link, confirming it will safely fly past Earth.)

I Saw Comet Elenin Near the Sun in August 2010/Now

In August 2010 only really powerful telescopes could see Elenin. You saw Venus. If you are seeing something bright near the Sun in the morning sky now, it’s Venus.

How Can I Tell What IS in the Sky and Avoid The Venus Confusion?

For freeware standalone programs there is Cartes du Ciel and Stellarium (my favourite).  For Web based solutions Skyview Cafe, Sky-Map and GoogleEarth (KMZ file here) all work.

Where Can I Find Orbital Elements for Celestia or Stellarium? Here.

Where Can I Find Images of Elenin? Here, and here and a nice image of C/2010 X1 near to NGC 3376 is here.

I have Photographed/ Seen a Photograph of a Double Sun, is this Elenin? It’s lens flare.

Other Good Links:

Why are TV presenters suddenly talking gibberish on air?

A very strange phenomenon has begun to affect TV presenters. Nobody knows what is influencing them. They appear fit and normal but are then unable to speak properly.

It started with Serene Branson and a stream of ‘gibberish’ as she appeared live at the Grammys ceremony in February. Since then, and almost inexplicably, more and more presenters are succumbing to ‘gibberish’ before their live audiences. What is going on?

In Branson’s case, armchair medics were quick to assert that she was possibly suffering a stroke on Live TV – something later ruled out by hospital medics. A rare form of migraine was cited as the most likely cause and at that point, the news hungry internet archived the incident as ‘one of those rare events’. Only now is it clear that it’s not so rare at all.

Alarmingly five differing presenters have now launched into ‘gibberish’ mode whilst presenting live.

It’s clearly not that they are forgetting their lines, it’s clearly not that they are simply ‘flunking things’- something is going on which makes them continue with poise and composure, yet the words coming from their mouths make no sense whatsoever.

Judge Judy became the latest victim just 48 hours ago. Recording of her popular TV show had to be ceased while she sought medical attention after speaking ‘gibberish’. Mark McAllister of Global Toronto News suffered the same fate before a third and fourth presenter found themselves making no sense whatsoever when trying to speak live on air.

See the videos for yourself HERE and determine whether this is indeed a ‘medical’ issue which is afflicting these poor reporters – or is there something more sinister going on?

The earliest Christian books ever found

Possibly the earliest Christian writing in existence has been found in a Jordanian cave. A group of 70 or so “books”, each with between five and 15 lead leaves bound by lead rings, has been discovered in Jordan.

Margaret Barker, an authority on New Testament history, points to the location of the reported discovery as evidence of Christian, rather than purely Jewish, origin. “We do know that on two occasions groups of refugees from the troubles in Jerusalem fled east, they crossed the Jordan near Jericho and then they fled east to very approximately where these books were said to have been found,” she says.

My own first reaction was excitement, followed by anxiety that the books might be lost due to cash incentives or religious fervour to cover up the truth these books might reveal.

I was also glad to see at last the kind of sealed book that the writer of Revelation was familiar with.  (Notice how it is sealed with sevel seals?). And is this the kind of “little book” that the angel read from in Revelation Chapter 10?

The director of Jordan’s Department of Antiquities says the books might have been made by followers of Jesus in the few decades immediately following his crucifixion. “They will really match, and perhaps be more significant than, the Dead Sea Scrolls”.

The books, or “codices”, were apparently cast in lead, before being bound by lead rings. Their leaves – which are mostly about the size of a credit card – contain text in Ancient Hebrew, most of which is in code.

One of the few people to see the collection is David Elkington, a scholar of ancient religious archaeology who is heading a British team trying to get the lead books safely into a Jordanian museum.

He says they could be “the major discovery of Christian history”. He believes the most telling evidence for an early Christian origin lies in the images decorating the covers of the books and some of the pages of those which have so far been opened.

“It’s talking about the coming of the messiah,” he says.

Philip Davies, Emeritus Professor of Old Testament Studies at Sheffield University, says the most powerful evidence for a Christian origin lies in plates cast into a picture map of the holy city of Jerusalem.

“As soon as I saw that, I was dumbstruck. That struck me as so obviously a Christian image,” he says. “There is a cross in the foreground, and behind it is what has to be the tomb [of Jesus], a small building with an opening, and behind that the walls of the city. There are walls depicted on other pages of these books too and they almost certainly refer to Jerusalem.”

Never has there been a discovery of relics on this scale from the early Christian movement, in its homeland and so early in its history.

Read the BBC News account here

More photos and another account here

Another account with photos here

There are a couple of early videos on YouTube, and this one has an annoying text-reader voiceover, BUT, it’s still worth watching:

Parents Be Warned: Digital “drug” Craze

I-Dosing: How teenagers are getting ‘digitally high’ from music they download from internet (By Daniel Bates on 21st July 2010)

They put on their headphones, drape a hood over their head and drift off into the world of ‘digital highs’. Videos posted on YouTube show a young girl freaking out and leaping up in fear, a teenager shaking violently and a young boy in extreme distress.

This is the world of ‘i-Dosing’, the new craze sweeping the internet in which teenagers used so-called ‘digital drugs’ to change their brains in the same way as real-life narcotics.

They believe the repetitive drone-like music will give them a ‘high’ that takes them out of reality, only legally available and downloadable on the Internet. The craze has so far been popular among teenagers in the U.S. but given how easily available the videos are, it is just a matter of time before it catches on in Britain. Those who come up with the ‘doses’ claim different tracks mimic different sensations you can feel by taking drugs such as Ecstasy or smoking cannabis. The reactions have been partially sceptical but some songs have become wildly popular, receiving nearly half a million hits on YouTube.

But there has been such alarm in the U.S. that the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs has issued a warning to children not to do it. ‘If you want to reach these kids, save these kids and keep these kids safe, parents have to be aware. They’ve got to take action.’ He added that another concern is that many of these I-dosing sites lure visitors to actual drug and drug paraphernalia sites.

I-Dosing tracks have imposing names such as ‘Gates of Hades’ or ‘Hand of God’ which are ten minutes long – some sound like a ship’s horn being repeated again and again whilst others are more abrasive and resemble cheap synthesizers being played very fast.

Music as a Tool of Manipulation

“There is nothing new under the sun” said Solomon around 920 years before Christ was born. He was right then and he’s right now. There is supposedly a “new” sound, a harmonic vibration of certain tones that are supposed to alter human perception and even our DNA. Some are linking it to an ancient chant used in the Catholic church which supposedly the monks used to bring down the presence of God and transform behaviour and mood.

One ancient chant to St John the Baptist was arranged in an early form of what we know as the musical scale of Do-Ray-Me (etc).  I imagine this was done to teach choristers the scales, since there was no written notation in those days. (Go to this page to find out about it).

Initially written by Paolo Diacono as a hymn to Saint John the Baptist (circa 720 – 799), the Latin words “Ut queant laxis, Resonare fibris, Mira gestorum, Famuli tuorum, Solve polluti, Labii reatum,” translate to:

UT — Ut queant laxis = So that your servants may

RE —    resonare fibris, = with loosened voices

MI —  Mira gestorum = resound the wonders

FA —    famuli tuorum = of your deeds

SO —  Solve polluti = clean the guilt from

LA —    labii reatum = our stained lips Sancte Iohannes. = O Saint John.

However, now the New Age has “rediscovered” the hymn and is claiming that each ascending note is a resonance that has meaning, in particular the “miracle” note of MI which has a harmonic frequency of 528. You can buy CDs of each frequency that are supposed to heal your body and release spiritual energy as you listen and chant them. I have no doubt this will also be linked to the rainbow colour spectrum and other pseudo-scientific claptrap so as to give it special spiritual meaning.

But will modern-day deluded Christians buy into the same nonsense? I think so.

Here are 22 quotes [in an article written in the mid 1990’s] taken directly from Christian and other literature, where in their own words they discuss the power and use of music to influence people. They are not only AWARE of the power of music but intend to employ its spiritual power to enslave listeners to their agenda.

(Ecclesiastes 1:9-11) What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time.