Peter Spinks hosting the ‘Are we alone?’ discussion.
The first video in a six-part series was released today, Monday, May 20, that explores the question, “Are we alone?”
The video series is produced by The Age, a daily newspaper in Melbourne, Australia, and hosted by science columnist Peter Spinks. He explains that this alien video series features “a panel of four scientists who consider the possibility of habitable worlds in the universe, the chances of them harbouring life, what aliens, if they exist, might be like, and how we might one day communicate with them across space and time.”
The series was filmed before a live audience at The Deakin Edge theater at Melbourne’s Federation Square.
A new video in the series will be added to The Age‘s website every day this week.
Archive for the ‘Aliens’ Category
Posted by Xeno on May 20, 2013
Posted by Xeno on May 8, 2013
Alien? Subhuman primate? Deformed child? Mummified fetus? The Internet is buzzing over the nature of “Ata,” a bizarre 6-inch-long skeleton featured in a new documentary on UFOs. A Stanford University scientist who boldly entered the fray has now put to rest doubts about what species Ata belongs to. But the mystery is not over.
The story began 10 years ago, when the diminutive remains were reportedly found in a pouch in a ghost town in the Atacama Desert of Chile. Ata ended up in a private collection in Barcelona; producers of the film Sirius latched onto the bizarre mummy as evidence of alien life.
Last fall, immunologist Garry Nolan, director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Proteomics Center for Systems Immunology at Stanford in California, heard about Ata from a friend and contacted the filmmakers, offering to give them a scientific readout on the specimen. They asked him to give it a shot.
Among the apparent abnormalities, Ata sports 10 ribs instead of the usual 12 and a severely misshapen skull. “I asked our neonatal care unit how you would go about analyzing it. Had they seen this kind of syndrome before?” Nolan says. He was directed to pediatric radiologist Ralph Lachman, co-director of the International Skeletal Dysplasia Registry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. “He literally wrote the book on pediatric bone disorders,” Nolan says. Lachman was blown away, Nolan recalls: “He said, ‘Wow, this is like nothing I’ve ever seen before.’ “
To study the specimen, Nolan sought clues in Ata’s genome. He initially presumed the specimen was tens or hundreds of thousands of years old—the Atacama Desert may be the driest spot on the planet, so Ata could have been preserved for eons. He consulted experts who had extracted DNA from bones of the Denisovans, an Asian relative of European Stone Age Neandertals. It turned out that their protocols weren’t necessary. “The DNA was modern, abundant, and high quality,” he says, indicating that the specimen is probably a few decades old.
To the chagrin of UFO hunters, Ata is decidedly of this world. After mapping more than 500 million reads to a reference human genome, equating to 17.7-fold coverage of the genome, Nolan concluded that Ata “is human, there’s no doubt about it.” Moreover, the specimen’s B2 haplotype—a category of mitochondrial DNA—reveals that its mother was from the west coast of South America: Chile, that is.
Meanwhile, after examining x-rays, Lachman concluded that Aka’s skeletal development, based on the density of the epiphyseal plates of the knees (growth plates at the end of long bones found only in children), surprisingly appears to be equivalent to that of a 6- to 8-year-old child. If that holds up, there are two possibilities, Nolan says. One, a long shot, is that Ata had a severe form of dwarfism, was actually born as a tiny human, and lived until that calendar age. To test that hypothesis, he will try to extract hemoglobin from the specimen’s bone marrow and compare the relative amounts of fetal versus adult hemoglobin proteins. The second possibility is that Ata, the size of a 22-week-old fetus, suffered from a severe form of a rare rapid aging disease, progeria, and died in the womb or after premature birth.
Nolan hasn’t yet turned up hits for genes known to be associated with progeria or dwarfism. He’s stepping up the search for mutations through additional sequencing and casting a wider net. Another possibility is a teratogen: a birth defect-inducing toxicant along the lines of thalidomide. Nolan plans to analyze tissue using mass spectrometry to look for toxicants or metabolites. But reports of a handful of other Tom Thumb-sized skeletons from Russia and elsewhere have Nolan leaning toward a genetic explanation.
At least one expert has a more prosaic take—but agrees that the specimen is human. “This looks to me like a badly desiccated and mummified human fetus or premature stillbirth,” says William Jungers, a paleoanthropologist and anatomist at Stony Brook University Medical Center in New York. He notes that “barely ossified and immature elements” of the hands and feet, and the wide open metopic suture, where the two frontal bones of the skull come together down the middle of the forehead. “Genetic anomalies are not evident, probably because there aren’t any,” he says. Nolan responds that the rib number and epiphyseal plate densities remain a riddle; while he is open to the fetus hypothesis, he thinks that the jury is still out.
Nolan’s analysis went viral this week; besieged as he has been by the media circus, he doesn’t regret having gotten involved in debunking a claim of alien life. “I’m thrilled with the outcome,” he says. Once the analyses are complete, he says, he’ll submit his findings for peer review. The other claim Nolan debunks is that Ata is an elaborate hoax. The x-rays clearly show these are real bones, complete with arterial shadows, he says. “You just couldn’t fake it,” he says, adding, with a laugh, “unless you were an alien.”
Why only 10 ribs? A human has 12. I’d like to see closeups of the teeth.
Posted by Xeno on April 25, 2013
The Sirius documentary was finally released and the question as to whether the Atacama humanoid is an extraterrestrial has been resolved, at least according to the scientist who analyzed the DNA, and the results are that he is human. However, the mystery doesn’t end there. Although, it is not an extraterrestrial, their findings show it may have been a 6-inch Chilean human that survived for 6 to 8 years.
These findings may not be the “potentially profound and historical announcement” that many were hoping for. However, no one can argue that a promise the film did make good on was the high level of credibility of the scientists involved with the study.
Dr. Garry Nolan (Credit: Stanford School of Medicine)
The lead scientist is Dr. Garry Nolan, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford University’s School of Medicine and the director of Stanford’s Proteomics Center. In the film, Nolan says of the DNS results, “The sequence that we got from the mitochondria [energy factories of cells] tells us with extremely high confidence that the mother was an indigenous Indian from the Chilean area.”
The film ended asking the question whether there still could be a chance the Atacama humanoid, nicknamed “Ata,” was extraterrestrial. In an email response to my question if there are any doubts in his mind, Nolan responded, “The DNA says human. If someone wants to suggest a way for a non-terrestrial to have the same DNA sequence (nucleotide for nucleotide) as a human, then I think everyone would be interested in their ideas.”
Given its size, the next question would be if Ata is a human fetus. In an earlier study, Dr. Francisco Etxeberria Gabilondo, a professor of Legal and Forensic Medicine in the Basque Country University, had concluded that Ata was “without any shadow of doubt, a completely normal mummified fetus.”
Dr. Nolan says, “As to it being a fetus, I would trust the examination done by my colleague, a known expert in pediatric bone disorders, who came to the surprising conclusion that it was 6-8 years old.” …
Although, this claim is astounding, the colleague Nolan is referring to is someone whose opinion should not be taken lightly. He is Dr. Ralph Lachman, Co-Founder and Co-Director of the International Skeletal Dysplasia Registry at Cedars-Sinai. He is also the author of the textbook, Radiology Of Syndromes, Metabolic Disorders And Skeletal Dysplasias, a book referenced by students and practitioners. Skeletal dysplasia is a condition that can cause abnormal bone development, including variations in size and shape.
In his response to the examination of Ata’s radiographic images, Lachman wrote to Nolan:
I have examined in the course of my career many skeletal and other pediatric bone anomalies and dysmorphias. This specimen does not fall under any known, to me, class of disorders or syndromes… there is no known form of dwarfism that accounts for the anomalies seen in this specimen. Most interestingly, based on knee epiphyseal standards, the specimen appears to be 6-8 years old. While there remains a possibility this latter result is due to some form of unknown progeria (rapid aging syndrome), in my opinion this is a low probability.
… Nolan stresses that Lachman’s examination was no cursory examination, and they went over the radiographs for hours. “But while it might be better evidence than size alone,” Nolan continued, “additional evidence would be supportive. In scientific parlance, the evidence is contradictory, so additional “tie breaking” or “trumping” evidence is needed.”
Nolan plans to continue research on Ata’s anomalous features. He says, “Right now I am looking into independent techniques that might be able to cross-verify the age. I have some ideas, but I would have to develop some new techniques to test it.”
Nolan’s last statement in the documentary was that he wanted to say more, but couldn’t. I asked him about this statement, and he clarified, “I simply wanted to avoid speculation. It was not that I had some secret data I wanted to share but could not.”
Although Ata has not turned out to be extraterrestrial, the process of working on the documentary has made Nolan more open to the UFO mystery. He says, “The people I’ve come to meet through this process have convinced me thoroughly the observed phenomena around the planet should not be ignored. That has been an awakening for me.”
Posted by Xeno on April 25, 2013
Geneticists Richard Gordon of the Gulf Specimen Marine Laboratory in Florida and Alexei Sharov of the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore have proposed, in a paper uploaded to the preprint server arXiv, that if the evolution of life follows Moore’s Law, then it predates the existence of planet Earth.
Moore’s Law, of course, famously suggests that the complexity of computers grows at a rate of double the transistors per circuit every two years, resulting in exponential growth. Looking at the complexity of computers today and working Moore’s Law backwards shows that the first microchips came about during the 1960s, which is when they were actually invented. In their paper, Gordon and Sharov take the same approach, only they apply it to biological complexity.
The two researchers acknowledge their ideas are more of a “thought exercise” than a theory proposal, but at the same time suggest their calculations ought to be taken seriously. They start with the idea of genetic complexity doubling every 376 million years—working backwards, they say, means that life first came about almost 10 billion years ago, which of course predates the creation of Earth itself. Most scientists agree the Earth formed just 4.5 billion years ago. Assuming that Moore’s Law does apply to biological complexity, this would suggest that life began somewhere other than on Earth and migrated here.
Of course there are other possibilities to explain what happened, as the two acknowledge—life could have evolved following Moore’s Law during certain periods but not at others—a deep freeze could have temporarily halted changes in complexity, for example, or cataclysmic events could have periodically killed off the more advanced biotic life forms. There is also the possibility that the development of life had to reach a certain stage of development before it began to conform to Moore’s Law. Then of course, there is the very real possibility that the beginnings and evolution of life don’t conform to Moore’s Law at all.
Gordon and Sharov’s paper is likely to set off multiple rounds of discussion regarding not just the origin of life on Earth, but in the galaxy as well. If life truly predates our planet, and it can be proved, what impact might that have on religious thought and what might it mean to those looking for meaning in its very existence?
An extrapolation of the genetic complexity of organisms to earlier times suggests that life began before the Earth was formed. Life may have started from systems with single heritable elements that are functionally equivalent to a nucleotide. The genetic complexity, roughly measured by the number of non-redundant functional nucleotides, is expected to have grown exponentially due to several positive feedback factors: gene cooperation, duplication of genes with their subsequent specialization, and emergence of novel functional niches associated with existing genes. Linear regression of genetic complexity on a log scale extrapolated back to just one base pair suggests the time of the origin of life 9.7 billion years ago. This cosmic time scale for the evolution of life has important consequences: life took ca. 5 billion years to reach the complexity of bacteria; the environments in which life originated and evolved to the prokaryote stage may have been quite different from those envisaged on Earth; there was no intelligent life in our universe prior to the origin of Earth, thus Earth could not have been deliberately seeded with life by intelligent aliens; Earth was seeded by panspermia; experimental replication of the origin of life from scratch may have to emulate many cumulative rare events; and the Drake equation for guesstimating the number of civilizations in the universe is likely wrong, as intelligent life has just begun appearing in our universe. Evolution of advanced organisms has accelerated via development of additional information-processing systems: epigenetic memory, primitive mind, multicellular brain, language, books, computers, and Internet. As a result the doubling time of complexity has reached ca. 20 years. Finally, we discuss the issue of the predicted technological singularity and give a biosemiotics perspective on the increase of complexity. …
Wow. We may not be alone, but we may be the smartest aliens on the block
Posted by Xeno on April 18, 2013
As the days count down to the premiere of the UFO documentary, Sirius, the filmmakers have announced they will release their findings on the Atacama humanoid, bit by bit. Today they have released the creature’s name, sex, age, and more pictures.
The Sirius team is calling the creature “Ata,” and claim that their analysis has revealed that the mysterious humanoid is male and survived 6 to 8 years, post-birth. Their findings are the result of bone density and epiphyseal plate studies. They had previously disclosed that their DNA sequencing studies have determined the creature to be a “humanoid of unknown origin.”
The analysis has been conducted by a “top research scientist at a prestigious American university.” However, they are not releasing the name of the university or the researcher for “security purposes.” They do say they will announce this information, along with the DNA analysis, on or before the premiere of the film on April 22.
The team does not give any explanation as to what security concerns they are afraid of, or why these concerns will be resolved within the next few days. However, this isn’t the first time the filmmakers have noted their concerns with safety. In the movie’s summary, they write that UFO researcher, Dr. Steven Greer, “feels the pressure of an imminent assassination attempt.”
The creature has had several owners since its discovery in Chile in 2003, including a bar owner and a wealthy entrepreneur from Barcelona, Spain. Neither has voiced concerns over their safety for having been in contact with the curious carcass. Either way, the slow release of information, and the curiosity over who may want to assassinate Dr. Greer and why, will surely pique the interest of potential moviegoers and help the Sirius team’s promotional efforts….
As Open Minds reported in an earlier story, a previous analysis by a forensic anthropologist in Spain came to a more mundane conclusion. Several years ago the humanoid was examined by Dr. Francisco Etxeberria Gabilondo, a professor of Legal and Forensic Medicine in the Basque Country University, and a specialist in Forensic Anthropology at Complutense University. Dr. Gabilondo concluded:
Taken as a whole, the proportions of the anatomical structures (skeleton and softer parts), the level of development of each one of its bones and its macroscopic configuration, allow us to interpret it without any shadow of doubt as a completely normal mummified fetus…
The Sirius filmmakers have said they believe the findings in their analysis of Ata will “completely change the reality of human existence.” So far they have only mentioned the findings of one researcher, and for any significant scientific discovery, it is necessary that several reputable researchers and laboratories confirm the findings of the first. The research of one lab may get the ball rolling, but it is usually a long road to scientific confirmation…
The prospect of the Sirius film inspiring the scientific community to take a harder look at the humanoid is an exciting one. No doubt we will be reading about more juicy tidbits in the next few days to come….
If it survived 6 to 8 years after birth–how was that determined?– it would not be a human fetus mummy.
Posted by Xeno on April 16, 2013
The petition is described as a “worldwide petition to show the ET’s we really want disclosure,” and has been posted on change.org, a petitioning website that allows the public to gather signatures to send to the organization they are petitioning to demonstrate public support. In this case, the petition says it will be sent to “Extraterrestrials.”
… The petition was created by Maarten Horst of Aagtekerke, Netherlands. It states that, “If we all stand tall and tell the ET’s we want them to disclose themselves and we mean business then it will happen.”
The magic number of signatures needed for the petition to be successful is listed as 111,111, of which 1,823 have been obtained as of the writing of this story.
Apparently, Mr. Horst also has some insight into the inner-workings of a galactic federation of extraterrestrials. He says, “The Galactic Federation is very sensitive in certain things. They want to be careful and not create a shock for the majority when disclosure happens.”
Horst notes that we live in a “military world,” and believes that many have been brainwashed by the meddling mainstream media. In order to alleviate this problem, Horst has a suggestion for the ETs:
We urge all intelligent and loving life from outside the earth to Intervene and use whatever force necessary to arrest anyone who opposes the new era of peace and first contact. We know of your law of non-interference, but now, we, the earth-humans demand that you take action and free us from the daily lies and show you are here. From now on we want to walk beside you in love. We are longing to meet you and live in peace. (sic)
If you want to sign the petition to help let the ETs know humans are serious about disclosure, you can find it by clicking here:
I’d like to see the aliens create 3.14 minutes of complete darkness everywhere at once on the planet, during which time the land, air and waters are restored and cleaned of all the damage our species has ever done. Adjustments to our biology and thoughts are made which allow us to use and not abuse the gift of an endless encyclopedia of knowledge which includes clean energy devices. More likely, however, no one saves us from ourselves. We must take responsibility for all human actions, wake up and fix the world with tiny tools, one cell of cancer at a time.
Posted by Xeno on April 5, 2013
The Atacama Humanoid as seen in the film, ‘Sirius’
A new documentary on UFOs, extraterrestrials, and advanced clean energy, hopes to provide evidence that the government has figured out how UFOs operate and are hiding advanced technology that can provide clean energy. The film also features the discovery of an alleged humanoid body whose DNA has been sequenced and found to be of an “unknown classification.” Photos of the being were released today with the announcement of the Hollywood premiere of the film scheduled for later this month. It was also announced that the film is narrated by actor Thomas Jane, who is known to have in interest in UFOs.
The new film is titled Sirius, and features the work of Dr. Steven Greer. With a similar goal as the film, Greer brought together a panel of highly credible witnesses who testified in front of representatives from all of the major media outlets at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. in May of 2001. At that time he filmed hours of testimony from hundreds of credible witnesses. His work has been very influential in convincing people that the government knows more than it is sharing, and as he puts it, “Once people understand that classified projects have figured out how UFO’s operate, they will realize we no longer need oil, coal and nuclear power. This is the truth that has driven the secrecy.”
One of the most shocking claims put forth in the film is that they have obtained, “paradigm shifting physical evidence of a medically and scientifically analyzed DNA sequenced humanoid creature of unknown classification found in the Atacama desert, Chile.” According to the filmmakers the credentials of the group of scientists and the medical team behind this claim are “eye-opening.” They believe that the announcement of their discovery could be “potentially profound and historical.”
The Atacama Humanoid X-Ray
The film is directed by Emmy Award winning Amardeep Kaleka. He won his Emmy in 2011 for his short film Jacob’s Turn, on a child with Down Syndrome. He explained why he would chose to work on such a controversial topic:
“Given the possibility that there was something profound to explore here – something that could potentially open minds to new realms and new possibilities – we seized the opportunity to take on this project. For every story we told, we found hundreds of others. Our goal is to initiate our audience on the same journey – to open their minds and inspire them to search – and freely consider that there is more in this world than we may ever know.”
Actor Thomas Jane, most recently known for his leading role in the HBO’s Hung, also shared why he chose to participate:
“The Sirius documentary is a powerful and important film that I encourage everyone to watch with an open mind, as it truly speaks to the heart of the people who like me, are probably okay with the government keeping secrets from its people in the name of national security, but are not okay with a secret government.”
The film is set to premiere in Hollywood on April 22, and will then be followed by a limited theatrical release. It will also be launched video on demand on the Yekra video platform and Yekra’s Affiliate Connect customized social media networks. The film’s funding was mostly obtained through crowd sourcing on the Kickstarter website, and according to the filmmakers press release it has been the “highest documentary crowd-funding raise in history.”
As I wrote about this alien years ago, according to paranormalnews, Arturo Mann, a veterinarian and professor of the University of Santo Tomas said it is the creole marsupial known as “monito de monte“. That explanation doesn’t really hold water if you compare the two skeletons, however. It’s either a gaff (fake creation by an artist with taxidermi skills) or some unknown earth creatures … or an alien.
Posted by Xeno on March 25, 2013
While it is amusing to take at face value, the actor‘s face isn’t really doing this, of course. The unintentional morphing alien effect is the result of compression errors with the data stream. This is one of the most interesting distortions I’ve seen, and it is happening to an actor who plays the part of a supernatural being (vampire) in the movie he is discussing.
The compression software used in this video reduces the amount if data transmitted by guessing what, in the next frame, a certain pixel will be based on what it was in the previous frame. This introduces successive errors and the image degrades from the original, until a key frame is transmitted and the real image is again restored.
When motion prediction is used, as in MPEG-1, MPEG-2 or MPEG-4, compression artifacts tend to remain on several generations of decompressed frames, and move with the optic flow of the image, leading to a peculiar effect, part way between a painting effect and “grime” that moves with objects in the scene.
Data errors in the compressed bit-stream can lead to errors similar to large quantization errors, or can disrupt the parsing of the data stream entirely for a short time, leading to “break-up” of the picture. Where gross errors have occurred in the bit-stream, decoders continue to apply updates to the damaged picture for a short interval, creating a “ghost image” effect, until receiving the next independently compressed frame. In MPEG picture coding, these are known as “I-frames”, with the ‘I’ standing for “intra”.
Posted by Xeno on March 18, 2013
… A panel discussion on this topic took place on June 24, 2012 at the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute’s SETIcon II conference in Santa Clara, California. This panel, titled “Would Discovering ET Destroy Earth’s Religions?,” concluded that the resulting impact on religion from such an alien discovery is “probably not going to be as severe as we might initially think.”
In addition to this panel discussion on the topic of the extraterrestrial impact on religion, an “ETI Crisis Survey” was conducted in 2008 by Dr. Ted Peters, professor of systematic theology at both Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary and the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley California, to test the belief that, “upon confirmation of contact between Earth and an extraterrestrial civilization of intelligent beings, the long established religious traditions of Earth would confront a crisis of belief and perhaps even collapse.” AsLiveScience explains, this survey polled more than 1,300 religious individuals and found that “believers were extremely confident that the discovery of intelligent aliens wouldn’t shake their faith.”..
If ET could show us exactly how we evolved, life on Earth from zero to now, no Adam, no Eve, would a billion people suddenly die of embarrassment? Would entire nations crumble to dust? No, people would adapt, the ego protection would kick in and today’s most ardent believers would say things like, “I, for one, always knew the Bible wasn’t *literally* true. I just liked the creation story .”
What were people’s reactions when the Earth was admitted as NOT being the center of the Universe? Heads exploded?
Posted by Xeno on March 15, 2013
Microbes have been found living deep inside this crust at the bottom of the sea. The
crust is several kilometers thick and covers 60 percent of the planet’s surface, making it the largest habitat on Earth
For the first time, scientists have discovered microbes living deep inside Earth’s oceanic crust — the dark volcanic rock at the bottom of the sea. This crust is several kilometers thick and covers 60% of the planet’s surface, making it the largest habitat on Earth.
The microbes inside it seem to survive largely by using hydrogen, formed when water flows through the iron-rich rock, to convert carbon dioxide into organic matter. This process, known as chemosynthesis, is distinct from photosynthesis, which uses sunlight for the same purpose.
Chemosynthesis also fuels life at other deep-sea locations such as hydrothermal vents, but those are restricted to the edges of continental plates. The oceanic crust is much bigger. If similar microbes are found throughout it, the crust “would be the first major ecosystem on Earth to run on chemical energy rather than sunlight”, says Mark Lever, an ecologist at Aarhus University in Denmark, who led the study. The results are published in Science.
“This study is highly significant in that it confirms the existence of a deep-subsurface biosphere that is populated by anaerobic microorganisms,” says Kurt Konhauser, a geomicrobiologist at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. …
“Given the large volume of sub-sea-floor crust, one can’t help but wonder how the amount of living biomass there compares to that at the Earth’s surface,” says Konhauser. …
Flash back to Dec 2006 and this stunning discovery:
Radioactivity Feeds Microorganisms in Deep Biosphere
It’s like in “Journey to the Center of the Earth” by Jules Vernes.
Earth does not cease to reserve us surprises, in an era when we plan colonies on the Moon….
The researchers found living microorganisms in drilled cores from up to 400 meters below the sea floor; contamination was ruled out….
In the upper layers of sediment, up to 100 million microorganisms/ml were counted; deeper, in the 35 million year old sediments on the Earth’s crust, there were still 1 million microorganisms/ml.
Only the upper layers are in contact with the ocean water, so scientists were puzzled by where the energy to provide life in the depths of the sediment came from.
Taking as a basis the energy sources in the deposits that are available to the cells in the form of organic carbon compounds, it is possible to calculate that the cells could only divide every thousand years, which is not plausible with current understanding of living cells.
They found a model which explains microorganisms’ survival due to the natural radioactivity deep under the sea floor. This provides energy that breaks water apart in hydrogen and oxygen.
Radioactivity is produced by the decomposition of naturally occurring potassium, thorium and uranium isotopes.
This process can deliver sufficient energy for the microorganisms, making these communities independent from the Earth’s surface. …
In my mind this fantastically supports the idea of microbes from outer space surviving a journey of millions of years inside comets where radioactivity (Aluminum, and/or longer lived Potassium, Thorium, Uranium) would provide energy.