The faeries mean different things to different people. There is a great range in their taxonomy; they can be the archetypal characters found in faerie tales, folkloric entities existing in a liminal reality, animistic nature spirits responsible for the propagation of flora, and a host of culturally-coded modern beings, including, but not limited to, extraterrestrials and certain creatures that can manifest during altered states of consciousness. Despite the 20th-century Disneyfication of the faeries, they have retained many of their traditional ontologies, which has allowed their incorporation into some new interpretations about their authenticity as a phenomenon – as both a fossilised folk belief system, and as a potential dynamic epistemological reality in contemporary culture.
The faeries are a global phenomenon, and while there are many and various geographic types, there is a consistency in the taxonomic nature of these otherworldly entities. The Aarne-Thompson index of folk literature lists nearly 500 motifs related to faeries from all over the world, which can be augmented by subsequent folktale indices from culture areas not covered by the Aarne-Thompson index (most specifically in the 2004 enlargement of the index by Hans-Jörg Uther to include more international tale-types), perhaps doubling the number of motifs. All of these motifs recognise the faeries as a distinct (though widely varied) class of metaphysical being – a class that appears to have been interacting (through folklore and via an apparent supernatural agency) with human societies for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.
Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is a naturally occurring psychedelic drug found in many plants and animals, and has been claimed to naturally occur in the human brain itself (Strassman, 2001). DMT, less well-known than other psychedelics such as psilocybin or LSD, is striking for the brevity and intensity of its effects. When smoked, for example, hallucinogenic effects begin almost immediately and resolve within 30 minutes. As a result, it is sometimes known facetiously as the “businessman’s lunch trip” (Cakic, Potkonyak, & Marshall, 2010). One of the most remarkable features of the DMT experience is the frequency with which users encounter non-human intelligences, often resembling aliens. Even more remarkably, some users come away from these encounters convinced that these entities are somehow real (Strassman, 2001). The psychological aspects of such experiences have not yet been adequately explored by scientific researchers.
We tend to think of solar panels as clean, but the truth is that there is no plan anywhere to deal with solar panels at the end of their 20 to 25 year lifespan.
Experts fear solar panels will be shipped, along with other forms of electronic waste, to be disassembled—or, more often, smashed with hammers—by poor communities in Africa and Asia, whose residents will be exposed the dust from toxic including lead, cadmium, and chromium.
Wherever I travel in the world I ask ordinary people what they think about nuclear and renewable energies. After saying they know next to nothing, they admit that nuclear is strong and renewables are weak. Their intuitions are correct. What most of us get wrong—understandably — is that weak energies are safer.
But aren’t renewables safer? The answer is no. Wind turbines, surprisingly, kill more people than nuclear plants.
In other words, the energy density of the fuel determines its environmental and health impacts. Spreading more mines and more equipment over larger areas of land is going to have larger environmental and human safety impacts.
It’s true that you can stand next to a solar panel without much harm while if you stand next to a nuclear reactor at full power you’ll die.
But when it comes to generating power for billions of people, it turns out that producing solar and wind collectors, and spreading them over large areas, has vastly worse impacts on humans and wildlife alike.
Trees feel, talk, fight and care, according to science. A former German forestry manager is now questioning the way we manage woodlands. Spoiler alert: badly.
Denisova Cave lies at the foot of the Altai Mountains, near Russia’s borders with Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan. Located in a verdant river valley that reminds some visitors of Switzerland, the site gets its name, according to legends, from a local herder or an eighteenth-century hermit who found seclusion in its high-ceilinged chambers. The cave remains remote, even for the researchers who flock there during the six-month excavation season that spans the spring and summer. “You are completely cut off from the world,” says Katerina Douka, an archaeological scientist and Brown’s supervisor at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany, who first visited the cave in 2013. “It was a paradise,” she says.
Soviet archaeologists began to excavate the cave in the 1970s and early 1980s, discovering tens of thousands of stone tools and fragments of animal bone, many gnawed and digested by hyenas or other carnivores that had lived in the cave. In 2009, Svante Pääbo, a geneticist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, received a bone from the finger of a hominin, small and broken in half, that Russian archaeologists had pulled from the cave the previous year. He wondered whether it belonged to a Neanderthal, because his team had found the group’s DNA in fragmentary remains from a cave nearby. But Pääbo’s expectations were low because the bone was so small and therefore unlikely to contain much DNA. “It was actually lying around for half a year,” he says, before his team analysed it.
The Annihilation of Freemasonry – February 1941
Some problems in science are so hard, we don’t really know what meaningful questions to ask about them — or whether they are even truly solvable by science. Consciousness is one of those: Some researchers think it is an illusion; others say it pervades everything. Some hope to see it reduced to the underlying biology of neurons firing; others say that it is an irreducibly holistic phenomenon.
The question of what kinds of physical systems are conscious “is one of the deepest, most fascinating problems in all of science,” wrote the computer scientist Scott Aaronson of the University of Texas at Austin. “I don’t know of any philosophical reason why [it] should be inherently unsolvable” — but “humans seem nowhere close to solving it.”
Now a new project currently under review hopes to close in on some answers. It proposes to draw up a suite of experiments that will expose theories of consciousness to a merciless spotlight, in the hope of ruling out at least some of them.
A new study from the U.S. is once again putting a spotlight on the human immune system’s anthroposophical rootedness. The research shows how, at the microcellular level, women begin developing stronger immune defenses as soon as they start falling in love. A team of New Orleans Toulane University scientists, in collaboration with colleagues from the department of Psychology, Medicine and Communication studies at UCLA, analyzed the molecular impact of falling in love on 47 young women.
Results show how levels of type 1 interferon and neutrophil —protein carriers which strengthen the immune system— rise exponentially when the subject is experiencing the feeling of love; when she is “turned on” by love.
As the researchers put it: “Falling in love is one of the most psychologically potent experiences in human life. New romantic love is accompanied not only by psychological changes, but physiological changes as well”.
This process has its roots in the profound relationship between human life and nature. Nature needs love, for it is because of love that life is able to sustain itself.
Nature is only interested in one thing: life
Modern humans, Homo Sapiens , are now the only surviving member of the homo genus. It is almost inconceivable to us that there was a time we walked with other human species, but as the science of archaeology has progressed and more findings have been made it has become clear that the homo genus was once rife with different species.
Since the publication of Darwin’s On Origin of the Species in 1859 there has been great interest in piecing together our family tree. Fossil hominids like Lucy the Australopithecus and Java Man have helped us to fill in some of the blanks, but as more and more remains of extinct human species have been discovered it has become clear that the history of our ancestors and how they evolved is not as simple as may once have been thought. Our family tree is now filled with not only direct ancestors like Homo Habilis and Homo Erectus but also cousins and distant relatives like Homo Neanderthalensis and Homo Denisova .
But despite so many extinct human species now being known, there are still gaps in the picture. And even though we have remains and evidence of some species, we know very little about them.
IN TIMES OF trouble, ancient Egypt often looked to its female rulers to restore and maintain power. From Hatshepsut to Cleopatra, women ruled, and ruled well, along the Nile. Some of the first wielded their power rebelling against a brutal occupation. These strong leaders came to power, helped drive out the invaders, and gave birth to a new, stronger dynasty.
These stone ringforts or cashels are known throughout Ireland but with a specific concentration in the west. The majority, including Dún Eoghanachta discussed below, were probably constructed as homesteads from 500-800AD, however some also produced evidence for prehistoric activity on these sites with extensive remodelling and rebuilding over extended periods of time. Similar to ringforts, the size of the stone forts and the number of enclosing elements varies. Common architectural features include terracing of the walls, passages/chambers within the walls, stone steps and at least four examples have a chevaux de frise for extra defence. Some stone forts, such as Dún Aonghasa, appear to have had their origins in the Late Bronze Age and Iron Age hillforts and appear to represent a period of social unrest and strengthening of tribal borders. Excavations at several hillforts have suggested that they may have been occupied by elite groups that had broader social and ritual functions. Many were reused in the Early Historic period as royal centres, probably deriving their wealth from controlling some sea trade.
Extensive archaeological research in southern Victoria has again raised the prospect that people have lived in Australia for 120,000 years – twice as long as the broadly accepted period of human continental habitation.
The research, with its contentious potential implications for Indigenous habitation of the continent that came to be Australia, has been presented to the Royal Society of Victoria by a group of academics including Jim Bowler, the eminent 88-year-old geologist who in 1969 and 1974 discovered the bones of Mungo Lady and Mungo Man, the oldest human remains found in Australia.
What goes on in the secret lives of foxes? A few years ago, one answer to this question was answered for us, albeit humorously, thanks to our modern meme-laden culture. However, a more pertinent question than “what does the fox say” might be, “what happens when foxes get married?”
Nothing to say today…