Author Archive | Juan Escobar

The Closing of the Scientific Mind

Pic: Repdan (CC)

Pic: Repdan (CC)

Yale Professor of Computer Science David Gelernter thinks that science as become an “international bully”. You may recall that Gelernter was severely injured after receiving a mail bomb from Ted Kaczynski. Wonder what an open dialogue between these two would have been like had Kaczynski chosen a more peaceable tactic for his activism?*

Via Commentary:

The huge cultural authority science has acquired over the past century imposes large duties on every scientist. Scientists have acquired the power to impress and intimidate every time they open their mouths, and it is their responsibility to keep this power in mind no matter what they say or do. Too many have forgotten their obligation to approach with due respect the scholarly, artistic, religious, humanistic work that has always been mankind’s main spiritual support. Scientists are (on average) no more likely to understand this work than the man in the street is to understand quantum physics.

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Psychology Professor Issues Call for Informed Discussion Regarding ESP

Pic: Magnus Manske (CC)

Pic: Magnus Manske (CC)

Etzel Cardeña of Lund University, Sweden, issues a call for a more open discussion regarding psi phenomena.

Via Frontiers in Human Neuroscience:

Science thrives when there is an open, informed discussion of all evidence, and recognition that scientific knowledge is provisional and subject to revision. This attitude is in stark contrast with reaching conclusions based solely on a previous set of beliefs or on the assertions of authority figures. Indeed, the search for knowledge wherever it may lead inspired a group of notable scientists and philosophers to found in 1882 the Society for Psychical Research in London. Its purpose was “to investigate that large body of debatable phenomena… without prejudice or prepossession of any kind, and in the same spirit of exact and unimpassioned inquiry which has enabled Science to solve so many problems.” Some of the areas in consciousness they investigated such as psychological dissociation, hypnosis, and preconscious cognition are now well integrated into mainstream science.

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DEA Case Threatens to Expose US Government-Sanctioned Drug-Running

DEAThe Narcosphere reports on a story that could blow the lid open on a US government program responsible for flying tons of cocaine between nations.

Federal agents this past November raided the offices of an aircraft brokerage and leasing company called World Jet Inc., based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The raid, spearheaded by the US Drug Enforcement Administration, was launched on the heels of a DEA affidavit for a search warrant, which was filed in late October last year in federal court in Colorado as part of a case that is now sealed. The search-warrant affidavit was made available on the Internet after being obtained by a reporter for the Durango Herald newspaper.

The affidavit outlines allegations against several individuals accused by the DEA of participating in a narco-trafficking conspiracy. But that is not the big story here.

Instead, the real news is buried deep in the DEA court pleadings and confirms the existence of a US undercover operation that Narco News reported previously had allowed tons of cocaine to be flown from Latin America into the states absent proper controls or the knowledge of the affected Latin American nations.

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Scientists Claim Quantum Theory Proves Consciousness Moves to Another Universe After Death

biocentrism_bookCoverWebsite Spirit Science and Metaphysics reports on a recent book that suggests that life goes on after death.

A book titled “Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness Are the Keys to Understanding the Nature of the Universe“ has stirred up the Internet, because it contained a notion that life does not end when the body dies, and it can last forever. The author of this publication, scientist Dr. Robert Lanza who was voted the 3rd most important scientist alive by the NY Times, has no doubts that this is possible.

Lanza is an expert in regenerative medicine and scientific director of Advanced Cell Technology Company. Before he has been known for his extensive research which dealt with stem cells, he was also famous for several successful experiments on cloning endangered animal species.

But not so long ago, the scientist became involved with physics, quantum mechanics and astrophysics. This explosive mixture has given birth to the new theory of biocentrism, which the professor has been preaching ever since.

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Problems with the Conspiratist World View

Via ZapOracle.com

The conspiratist world view—the belief that a unified cabal of elitists is manipulating world events, mind controlling the population,that the main stream media is nothing but lies and that we already live in a police state and a New World Order, etc. has become ubiquitous in global culture. It is the premise of so many Facebook posts, viral memes, websites, radio shows and movies. It transcends red and blue and is as likely to be heard amongst the far right and the far left. It is a perspective widely held in Europe, Central and South America, the Arab world, Australia, New Zealand and almost any place you can think of. Typically, the purveyors of this point of view think they are daring revolutionaries waking up the sheeple, etc. and don’t seem to notice that they are actually just one more of a vast and growing multitude who hold this perspective.

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R.U. Sirius on Joaquin Phoenix And Stealing the Singularity

im_still_here_xlgTech philosopher, thinker and cultural provocateur Ken “R.U. Sirous” Goffman considers the necessity of the Trickster in the march toward the Singularity.

StealThisSingularity:

Once home, I decided to finally watch I’m Still Here — the Casey Affleck film documenting Joaquin Phoenix’ supposed attempt to leave behind his acting career to become a rap star. Fat; with long uncombed hair and scraggly beard, dressed like a particularly disheveled street person — throughout the film, Phoenix, along with some of his “handlers,” displays a full repertoire of coarse, vulgar, moronic human behaviors as he tries to pursue his new career. He also appears in onstage performances, rapping… badly. Various media commentators suspect that it’s a hoax, but Phoenix remains in character. He puts Ben Stiller — trying to get Phoenix to consider a script — through the ringer. He acts pathetic and nuts in a famous Letterman appearance. He’s trying to get Sean Combs to produce a rap album for him.

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Snapped in the Seventies: Angel Dust, LSD and High School

Screen Shot 2013-12-04 at 11.05.03 AMSnapped
Juan G. Escobar

“In the time of chimpanzees I was a monkey.”
-Beck
We are at Dave’s house, somewhere in the middle of late 70s southern California suburbia, when the drugs begin to take hold.  I hear zzzzzshshsh, echoing waves of an almost indiscernible, vaguely insectoid buzzing sound, getting louder, crescendoing, fading out, then coming back a few seconds, minutes, hours, days, eons later.  My mouth tastes like I’ve been sucking on a handful of loose change. “What the fuck is going on?”  “Where are all the pretty colors and dancing elves?”  “Oh shit.”  “Fuck, I gotta get outta here, man!”

I had scored a hit of acid at lunch from Benny; a tab of “White Lightning”, five bucks.  Cool. I eat it and proceed to walk of campus.

I blame disco.  I used to love to go to school dances when I was in junior high.  They would play rock music, like T.… Read the rest

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There’s a £60m Bitcoin Heist Going Down Right Now – Watch It In Real Time

6538145_stdA high-tech heist worth £60m (about $98m US) went down over the weekend, and the internet is looking for the guy who did it.

Via The New Statesman:

One of the largest heists in bitcoin history is happening right now. 96,000 bitcoins – that’s roughly £60m as of the time of writing – was taken from the accounts of customers, vendors and administrators of the Sheep Marketplace over the weekend.

Sheep was one of the main sites that came to replace the Silk Road when it closed in October, but it too has now closed as a result of this theft. It’s a little hard to work out exactly what’s happened, but Sheep customers have been piecing it together on reddit’s r/sheepmarketplace.

Here’s what happened: someone (or some group) managed to fake the balances in peoples’ accounts on the site, showing that they had their bitcoins in their wallets when they’d actually been transferred out.

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The Last Flight of the Crispy Priest

800px-Cessna172-CatalinaTakeOffThe Crispy Priest
Juan G. Escobar

I remember marveling at an old black and white photo of my father, taken in a little airport in Medellin, when he was probably in his late teens or early twenties.  That would mean, if my math is correct, that the image had been captured around 1949.  In the picture, he is shirtless, and had just been doused with old motor oil.  This was apparently a kind of local rite of passage among pilots and would-be pilots in that region. Novice pilots were baptized in old motor oil to commemorate their first solo flight.

My father had always been an aviation enthusiast.  Sometime around the mid-seventies he finally decided that he would resume flying small planes like he had when he was a much younger man in Colombia.

I have no idea how it was that he met him, perhaps through some other Colombian expat living in southern California at the time, or maybe purely by chance.… Read the rest

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