Tag Archives | Unexplained Phenomena

Evolution puts checks on virgin births

IMAGE: A LITTLE FIRE ANT WORKER FORAGES FOR FOOD. ALL WORKER ANTS IN THIS SPECIES ARE STERILE FEMALES.

IMAGE: A little fire ant worker forages for food. All worker ants in this species are sterile females.

Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University via Eureka Alert:

This news release is available in Japanese.

It seems unnatural that a species could survive without having sex. Yet over the ages, evolution has endowed females of certain species of amphibians, reptiles and fish with the ability to clone themselves, and perpetuate offspring without males. Researchers at the at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) found that in species where females have evolved the ability to reproduce without males relatively recently, fertilization is still ensuring the survival of the maximum number of healthy offspring and thus males are still needed. The research was published online in The Science of Nature.

A species can increase its numbers faster in harsh environments when its females do not have to find worthy males.

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The Benign Weirdness of Seattle’s Mystery Machine

No, this isn’t some peculiar homage to Scooby Doo. This is something much weirder than some deranged fanboy or candy wielding creepazoid in a cartoon themed van.

Weirder, certainly, but in a curiously benign way. An Operation Mindfuck kind of way.

This tale is all about a slightly sinister soda machine on the streets of Seattle with a ‘Mystery’ button that dispenses random cans of soda pop.

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Who is behind it and why remain a mystery, but I’d like to think that some acid addled benevolent prankster or hilariously warped social scientist is behind the conspiracy.

Atlas Obscura has the details:

On the corner of John Street and 10th Avenue East, in the heart of Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood lies the world’s most mysterious soda vending machine. Nobody knows the true history of the rusting machine, which looks like it was spat straight out of the Seventies, but locals continue to plunk down their change and the machine never seems to run out of stock.

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Because there’s a convention for everything: Ouijacon 2015

You’ve been to the Renaissance Fair(e), Comic Con, assorted and sundry Fandom Conventions, the Psychic Festival (hey, nice Aura!), Bill Goodman’s Gun n’ Knife/Huntin’ n’ Killin’ Show, seen Hot Rods and Lowriders… even Bronies vs. Furries.

There’s nothing new under the sun, you say. You’ve seen it all. Been there, done that.

Not so fast, Smuggy Buggy!

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Yes Yes Yo and You Don’t Stop.

Welcome to the first spiritualist convention based around that Mysterious Occult Device which has a unique place in modern culture…and the games aisle at Toys R Us: The Ouija Board.

Fundamentalist Christians hate and fear it, skeptics sneer at it, horror movie producers have done it to death and Occultists, well, depends on who you talk to.

Love it or hate it, it’s here to stay it would seem and the much maligned Talking Board is about to celebrate a major milestone: the 125th anniversary of its creation, in the city where it all started, Baltimore, Maryland.… Read the rest

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New study hints at spontaneous appearance of primordial DNA

The image shows a droplet of condensed nano-DNA and within it smaller drops of its liquid crystal phase which show up in polarized light on the left. The liquid crystal droplets act as “micro-reactors" where short DNA can join together into long polymer chains without the aid of biological mechanisms. Credit: Noel Clark, University of Colorado

The image shows a droplet of condensed nano-DNA and within it smaller drops of its liquid crystal phase which show up in polarized light on the left. The liquid crystal droplets act as “micro-reactors” where short DNA can join together into long polymer chains without the aid of biological mechanisms.
Credit: Noel Clark, University of Colorado

Noel Clark Via Phys.org:

The self-organization properties of DNA-like molecular fragments four billion years ago may have guided their own growth into repeating chemical chains long enough to act as a basis for primitive life, says a new study by the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Milan.

While studies of ancient mineral formations contain evidence for the evolution of bacteria from 3.5 to 3.8 billion years ago—just half a billion years after the stabilization of Earth’s crust—what might have preceded the formation of such unicellular organisms is still a mystery. The new findings suggest a novel scenario for the non-biological origins of nucleic acids, which are the building blocks of living organisms, said CU-Boulder physics Professor Noel Clark, a study co-author.

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Evade the Tentacles of the Illuminati and Manifest Your Victory with The Higherside Chat’s Greg Carlwood|midwest real

Via Midwest Real

On his popular show, The Higherside Chats, Greg Carlwood has sat down for podcasts with dozens of researchers, authors, and experts on a whole host of conspiracy, paranormal, and fringe-soaked topics.

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Selected subjects from our ramblings: why magic is real, transhumanism, meditation, manifesting success, celebrating the fact that humans don’t know shit, psychedelics, how to focus your passion properly and more  

One of the things that always sticks out in my mind when I speak with Greg (aside from just how weird, wonderful and, in some ways, severely fucked the world is) is just how much we trick ourselves into believing we don’t have the power to save ourselves from a mediocre existence. I do declare that no matter where you find yourself, it’s fully possible to take a 90 degree turn off of the the well-worn path. You, my friend, have the capacity to sharpen the stick on your freak flag, plunge it deep into the soil and craft something that is uniquely yours around it.… Read the rest

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064. Daniele Bolelli | Taoism and Gravity-Defying Glorious D-Cups

Via Midwest Real

“Where can I find a man who has forgotten words so I can have a word with him?” -Zhuangzi

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TScreen Shot 2015-02-15 at 7.29.32 PMaoism is, in a way, the anti-religion. Its very existence is a philosophical counter-punch to the jaw of the saintly pomp revered by most religions. Zhuangzi (widely regarded as one of the greatest Taoist minds) once told a curious man that if he wanted to understand the Tao, he should go take a close look at the nearest pile feces.

This is why Taoism is awesome.

As for the point of Zhuangzi’s poop story– if the questions you’re asking aren’t about making your way through every day life with full reverence and appreciation for each bite of food, puff of air and pile of dog shit you encounter, you’re missing the point.

Of course, there’s more to Taoism than cartoonish stories about excrement. One look at the patriarchal text of Taoism, the Tao Te Ching will make that clear.Read the rest

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Astronomers spot clouds on Mars: Is the U.S. Government terraforming the red planet?

Via Shepard Ambellas at Intellihub:

Cloud-like formations were originally spotted within the atmosphere of Mars by astronomers in 2012, leading some to believe the planet may be habitable or is being transformed in some way to make it so.

In fact images show the vapor formation to be over 621 miles across, which is larger than any other formation previously spotted within the red planet’s atmosphere to date.

A planetary scientist with the European Space Agency says this “raises more questions than answers”.

Damien Peach, an astronomer said, “I noticed this projection sticking out of the side of the planet. To begin with, I thought there was a problem with the telescope or camera. But as I checked more of the images, I realized it was a real feature – and it was quite a surprise.”

According to reports the haze lasted about 10-days before reemerging about 30-days later as it appears these new clouds are beginning to form in a more consistent manner than ever before, bringing only one thing to mind — the 1990 science fiction film Total Recall starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.

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Frank Drake thinks it’s silly to send messages to ET

Raphael Perrino (CC BY 2.0)

Raphael Perrino (CC BY 2.0)

Via Kiki Sanford at BoingBoing:

Making contact with aliens: the subject of many a sci-fi story, and a variety of imagined outcomes. Though no one knows what will happen if we encounter intelligent extra-terrestrial life, scientists are dividd on how we should proceed.

SETI, the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence, has been searching for signals from said ETs for many years with no positive results. Of course, there have been interesting signals, but nothing specifically indicative of intelligence.

Scientists from SETI are turning up the volume on a debate that has been raging for several years over whether we should start actively transmitting messages into outer space rather than continuing to passively scan the skies while only leaking weak radiation from our surface activities on the planet. In a press conference at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Jose this week, Douglas Vakoch presented the question, and stated that beginning to transmit in an active, directed fashion would be part of humanity “growing up”.

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Dualism vs. Monism in a Nihilist Context

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Via Spinoza Ray Prozak at American Nihilist Underground Society (Anus.com):

This world may be a simulation. We may be figments of the imagination of a daydreaming god. We may be pure mathematics, or data in some cosmic computer. Or we could be physical beings, or some combination of the above. However, if this world has one characteristic to rely on, it’s this: it creates the same response to the same causal impetus.

That means if you pick up a ball and hold your arm up away from your body and drop the ball, it will fall — every time. Even if a friend sneaks a hand in there to catch it, it will begin falling first. If you put a support table under your hand so the ball doesn’t drop, the effect can be observed that the instant the table is removed the ball drops.

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Functioning brain tissue grown in 3-D structure

Examples of mature Purkinje cells grown from human embryonic stem cells CALB and L7 are Purkinje-cell specific late markers. GRID2 is a marker for a Purkinje-specific glutamate receptor. LHX5 is a marker for the early Purkinje cells.via RIKEN

Examples of mature Purkinje cells grown from human embryonic stem cells
CALB and L7 are Purkinje-cell specific late markers. GRID2 is a marker for a Purkinje-specific glutamate receptor. LHX5 is a marker for the early Purkinje cells.
via RIKEN

Via RIKEN:

Researchers at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Japan have succeeded in inducing human embryonic stem cells to self-organize into a three-dimensional structure similar to the cerebellum, providing tantalizing clues in the quest to recreate neural structures in the laboratory. One of the primary goals of stem-cell research is to be able to replace damaged body parts with tissues grown from undifferentiated stem cells. For the nervous system, this is a particular challenge because not only do specific neurons need to be generated, but they must also be coaxed into connecting to each other in very specific ways.

RIKEN researchers have taken up this challenge, and the work published in Cell Reports details how sequentially applying several signaling molecules to three-dimensional cultures of human embryotic stem cells prompts the cells to differentiate into functioning cerebellar neurons that self-organize to form the proper dorsal/ventral patterning and multi-layer structure found in the natural developing cerebellum.

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