Smart and Smarter Drugs

8354791187_a8970f08c5_bAre we asking the right questions about smart drugs? Marek Kohn looks at what they can do for us – and what they can’t.

“You know how they say that we can only access 20 per cent of our brain?” says the man who offers stressed-out, blank-screened ‘writer’ Eddie Morra a fateful pill in the 2011 film Limitless. “Well, what this does, it lets you access all of it.” Morra, played by Bradley Cooper, is instantly transformed into a superhuman by the fictitious drug NZT-48. Granted access to all cognitive areas, he learns to play the piano in three days, finishes writing his book in four, and swiftly makes himself a millionaire.

Limitless is what you get when you flatter yourself that your head houses the most complex known object in the universe, and run away with the notion that it must have powers to match. More down to earth is the idea that we always have untapped cognitive potential, but that life gets between us and the best we could possibly manage.… Read the rest

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Silicon Valley man unwittingly invites fugitive into home amid manhunt

By Christian Rondeau via Flickr.

By Christian Rondeau via Flickr.

via Reuters:

(Reuters) – A Silicon Valley homeowner unwittingly welcomed a fugitive into his home and shared a meal with the wanted man as California law enforcement officers canvassed the neighborhood in a manhunt, police said on Tuesday.

Police in Palo Alto launched the search after receiving an emergency call on Monday about a possible fraudulent bank transaction linked to a man wanted in Oklahoma for a sex crime with a minor, the city’s police department said.

Officers tried to nab 35-year-old Dominique Tabb of San Francisco at the bank, but he hopped a fence and ran into a residential neighborhood where officers began a yard-to-yard search, Palo Alto Detective Sergeant Brian Philip said.

A homeowner in his 60s saw Tabb in his yard with some minor scrapes, and Tabb told him that assailants had beaten him up and that he was trying to escape, police said.

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Daniele Bolelli Hosts Graham Hancock on The Drunken Taoist Podcast

Two of our favorite authors, Daniele Bolelli (50 Things You’re Not Supposed To Know: Religion) and Graham Hancock (Supernatural, Entangled), finally get together and talk on Daniele’s Drunken Taoist podcast:

Listen Here

The topics for discussion include:

  • Embracing fiction and saying goodbye to footnotes!
  • Ayahuasca approves of Graham’s fiction
  • At the crossroad of good and evil: choices
  • The demiurge from Graham’s lips: demons hiding in divine clothing
  • If your theology leads you to kill in the name of God, what you are worshipping is a demon
  • Please support Graham’s fiction novels
  • Moctezuma and Cortes: the battle of evil against evil
  • St. Peter and the Aztec war god: different masks for the same entity
  • Totalitarians are all the same
  • Graham offers a history lesson
  • Powerful female characters
  • Gonzalo Guerrero
  • The publishing cage… Graham and the memory of publishers with guts
  • The Stephen King experiment
  • Graham makes a great offer to Drunken Taoist listeners
  • Graham and replying to emails
  • Why Daniele doesn’t get shit done
  • Graham and TED
  • A Japanese editor carried a resignation letter for six weeks in case his choice to support “Fingerprints of the Gods” didn’t work out
  • A timeline of human history and the mystery of the last ice age
  • How Graham transitioned to becoming a writer
  • Martin Mystere
  • Graham about death and the nature of the universe

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The Undying Stars – Was Ancient Man Connected Through Star Myth, Shamanism and Megaliths?

IMG_6010Via Midwest Real

Join Author, David W. Mathisen and I as we hack our way through the gnarled nether-regions of history, philosophy and a litany of other woo-drenched topics. 

Imagine the level of genius and insanity it must have taken to pitch the idea of of constructing the Great Pyramid of Giza– “Let’s take 2.3 million stones weighing up to 80 tons each that fit together seamlessly to create the world’s tallest structure. Also, let’s make sure it aligns to true north, mimics Orion’s belt, measures equinoctial precession and encodes roughly a shit ton of other astral and mathematical phenomena.”Best pitch ever, right?

Despite the fact that my pitch sounds totally bat shit bonkers, the Egyptians were far from the only ones who undertook such a herculean labor. There are dozens of ancient megalithic structures with countless astral alignments and striking similarities all over the world. Yet, if we take that observation a step further, positing the idea that many ancient cultures had sacred traditions built upon a common, interconnected, esoteric system that communicated transcendent truth via celestial allegory, myth and megaliths, we’re starting to get pretty deep into the hairy nethers of history– a place where mainstream academia dares not dwell.… Read the rest

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The Origin of Witches

Johann Heinrich Füssli 019

The Three Witches (Johann Heinrich Füssli)

“Where do witches come from?” asks Alastair Sooke at BBC Culture:

Ask any Western child to draw a witch, and the chances are that he or she will come up with something familiar: most likely a hook-nosed hag wearing a pointy hat, riding a broomstick or stirring a cauldron. But where did this image come from? The answer is more arresting and complex than you might think, as I discovered last week when I visited Witches and Wicked Bodies, a new exhibition at the British Museum in London that explores the iconography of witchcraft.

Witches have a long and elaborate history. Their forerunners appear in the Bible, in the story of King Saul consulting the so-called Witch of Endor. They also crop up in the classical era in the form of winged harpies and screech-owl-like “strixes” – frightening flying creatures that fed on the flesh of babies.

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Failure Is Success: How American Intelligence Works in the Twenty-First Century

514zcaXr01LTom Engelhardt’s new book “Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World” is now out!

via Tom Dispatch:

What are the odds? You put about $68 billion annually into a maze of 17 major intelligence outfits. You build them glorious headquarters.  You create a global surveillance state for the ages. You listen in on your citizenry and gather their communications in staggering quantities.  Your employees even morph into avatars and enter video-game landscapes, lest any Americans betray a penchant for evil deeds while in entertainment mode. You collect information on visits to porn sites just in case, one day, blackmail might be useful. You pass around naked photos of them just for… well, the salacious hell of it.  Your employees even use aspects of the system you’ve created to stalk former lovers and, within your arcane world, that act of “spycraft” gains its own name: LOVEINT.

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Espionage Threatened the Manhattan Project, Declassified Report Says

Manhattan Project Site -- '109 East Palace Avenue Santa Fe (NM)' 2013 by Ron Cogswell via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

Manhattan Project Site — ’109 East Palace Avenue Santa Fe (NM)’ 2013 by Ron Cogswell via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

via NYTimes:

In December 1945, four months after atomic bombs brought an end to World War II, the United States Army published a secret report on security surrounding the Manhattan Project, the vast government effort that developed them.

Finally declassified last month by the Department of Energy, the report concludes that the project was “more drastically guarded than any other highly secret war development.”

But it also makes clear that the effort was dogged by leaks and espionage, and it reveals a huge blind spot on the government’s part: a lack of awareness that a wartime ally, the Soviet Union, was bent on stealing Manhattan Project secrets and developing its own nuclear bombs.

From 1943 through 1945, investigators cataloged 1,500 leaks, 200 acts of sabotage and 100 confirmed cases of espionage, but maintained that their diligence “prevented the passing of any substantial amount of project information.”

Some of the episodes were serious.

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