Re-Blog: Are Zombies Real?


(Originally posted 10/3/2017 on Read With The Gringa)

Lovers of horror and science-fiction are most likely big fans of the Walking Dead series as well as any movie or book that is zombie-related. A visit to New Orleans will result in any number of Voodoo and zombie trinkets being purchased and brought back home. 


The first famous literary mention of zombies occurred in 1810. Robert Southey wrote of brain-eating monsters in his book History of Brazil. As the word morphed throughout the English reading world, zombies became known as once-dead humans that re-animate without intelligence or self-awareness. Their only purpose was to serve a master and survive upon human brains.


Are zombies real? Should a person have an after-death back-up plan? Should the dead be buried with emergency beacons to activate in case they inadvertently awaken? Should a trusted loved one be appointed to deliver a coup-de-grace if it turns out our brainless body recycles itself?  Before venturing into any such plans, let’s see what science has to say. Zombie believers might be surprised. The gringa certainly was.


Voodoo and santeria cultures believe that zombies are real. These religions, with origins in Africa, the Caribbean, and Central and South America, take zombies seriously. Although details vary among different sects, the basics are the same. A practitioner of experience and power can re-animate the dead and sometimes control them. The purpose of creating a zombie was sometimes considered a means of punishment for the person that died. Another purpose was enslavement. 


For the most part, the subject of zombies has not been taken seriously by outsiders of Voodoo or santeria. In the 1980s, this outsider perspective changed when western scientist, Wade Davis, discovered a substance that could turn a living human into a zombie. 


Tetrodotoxin is a neurotoxin found in pufferfish. The good scientist found this toxin in a powder form being used by influential religious leaders in Voodoo sects throughout Haiti. This was the inspiration behind his own book that became a film, The Serpent and the Rainbow.


More recently, however, is something even more titillating. Although Davis’ zombie explanation does not actually involve re-animated corpses, only doped-up folks who were still among the living, this new discovery does, indeed, support more traditional zombie theory. And it may challenge many of today’s most popular religious beliefs about what happens after death.


Canadian medical professionals have released the findings of a recent study of the brains of critically ill patients and what happened within the brain right after death. The gringa says, “Hold on to your hats, folks.” Ya know that straight line across the machine followed by a steady whine instead of a series of rhythmic beeps that you see in movies when a patient dies? Yeah, that’s the movies. Not exactly what really happens.


Once the heart stopped beating and any sign of a pulse ceased, the Canadian doctors continued to see activity in the brain. The cerebral organ continued to produce the same kind of brain waves that occur when you sleep. So, for as long as 10 minutes after being declared dead, the dead were, evidently, still dreaming.


Now, this didn’t happen in every single individual the doctors studied. It occurred in about 25% of those who died. And the good docs don’t have a clue how to explain this. While most of their patients, 75%, had zero brain activity before their hearts even stopped beating, this 25% defies explanation according to medicine as the doctors know it.


Even after auditing the equipment, in the hopes they could attribute it to a mechanical mistake, the doctors were still left scratching their heads. Their equipment was operating perfectly.


And the mystery is heightened when it was discovered that in the first minute after the cessation of a heart beat (official death), for the 25%, there was actually a SURGE of brain activity. The gringa supposes those individuals were experiencing something like this, “Holy cow! Check this out! I’m floating! No more pain! This is amazing! Hey! Doc! Get in here! I’m cured! I’m flying! Oh, wait! I’m dead! Am I dead? Then how am I talking to myself? Do dead people still think? Maybe I’m not dead. I could just be dreaming.”


And the gringa thinks that maybe a zombie is just the pre-cursor for a ghost. And a ghost would be the consciousness of that 25% who seem to be very confused about what they are supposed to do when their heart stops beating. So, maybe the 25% are those considered rebels, those folks who never follow the rules. Maybe they are those with unfinished business. They could just be mean people who refuse to relieve the world of the pain and grief they cause. Who knows.


And, these 25%’ers are not the only ones confused. The Canadian doctors were further confused by other activity that continued after “official” death. Not only were delta brain waves active (the dream wave), but the genes of the 25%’ers were also active, doing whatever it is that genes do. Which means, while the heart is telling the body, “It’s all over”, the genes were still going about their business making the proteins necessary to regulate bodily functions. Seems like stubbornness may not be a learned trait but “in the genes”.


And, so far, no one knows why any of this is happening. So, for at least 25% of the world’s population, zombies and ghosts might be the real deal!


Happy Halloween Season!

To view a video on this discover, click the Independent’s video link here.

Sources:

Image Credit: Top Form Fitness

Video Credit: Independent

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Re-Blog: Ancient Spaceports In Iraq? Ya Don’t Say?!


(Originally posted 9/28/2017 on Read With The Gringa)

Well, the gringa’s at it again… de-bunking UFO conspiracies. Sorry to spoil everyone’s fun. But, I assure you that there is no ancient alien connection inspiring countries like the US to embark on military strategies in order to gain control of Iraq. A review of the “evidence” will prove this to be so.


We’ve all heard of the stories of how Iraq’s antiquities have been looted because of the long, on-going conflict in that country. The nation is a wealth of history and artifacts. Iraq was once the famed Babylon of old. It was the heart of education, art, religion and science. 


A diverse, cosmopolitan population was comprised of the brightest minds invited to come and enrich the academic world of ancient Babylon. Artists, composers, and every other creative mind once longed for those dreamy deserts and never-ending horizons of the Middle East. But the knowledge and the scientific and cultural advancements that accompanied higher thinking is not to be credited to space alien influence.


Ancient alien theorists and UFOlogists are attributing ancient spaceship launches to a speech recently delivered by Iraq’s Transport Minister. What, exactly, did this man say? Was there something misunderstood in translation? Was he speaking in satire rather than literally? Let’s examine the words of Minister Kadhem Finjan Al-Hamami when he spoke at the opening ceremony of a new airport in Dhi Qar of southern Iraq:

“It’s a long story, maybe you don’t know about it. Maybe even people from Dhi Qar don’t know – the first airports that were built on planet Earth were built in the 5th Millenium BC in Dhi Qar. There were Sumerians who launched spaceships and headed to other worlds.”

Al-Hamami’s remarks were met with confusion by the panel behind him as well as the people in the audience. It also turns out that he has a reputation for making outrageous statements. He once claimed that he was so old that he had also ridden on Noah’s Ark. Needless to say, the gringa doubts he really believes this Sumerian spaceship nonsense. What he more likely believes is political strategy.


What would be politically strategic about making such an outrageous claim? Why risk your political integrity and credibility? Well, one reason would be to normalize a fringe belief on behalf of a benefactor that has a vested interest in normalizing something otherwise considered crazy.


The theory that Sumerians were more than scientists, architects and astronomers as well as space travelers is the work of Russian professor Samuel Kramer. Russia has a desire to gain influence in Iraq in order to protect its big oil interests more effectively. And what better way to stroke the national ego of a country than to provide historical information that proves that country had once been superior to every other country on the planet?


But why the space alien angle? Because it can neither be proven or disproven, for one thing. But Russia has been working to normalize space alien theories for decades. Why? For Russia, it would mean opportunity. In fact, many opportunities. 


Who are the nations that represent the largest threat to Russian dominance? The US and allied western European nations. The discovery of space alien life would throw such nations into an existential crisis. For countries structured around Judeo-Christianity, their societies would suddenly be in cultural upheaval. Everything they believed would become falsehood. And in such chaos is opportunity to then re-form an entire society’s thinking.


And if those society’s learned that their governments had been keeping such a secret, those governments would no longer be trusted. There would be political revolution. And before that revolution stabilized into a new national version based on new knowledge, there would be years and years of factional division and chaos.


If this past year’s political chaos has not made a believer out of a person that Russia thrives when other nations are in chaos, then you have been sleeping straight through history being made. And Russia is wholly committed to the space alien angle as just one more way to keep everyone else knocked off balance and distracted from what Russia is really doing.


Over and over Russian operatives seed explosive space alien related stories. In 2010 they claimed to have discovered alien micro-organisms in comet space dust. 2014 brought an announcement from Russia’s International Space Station mission chief, Vladimir Solovyev, that space sea plankton had been found. NASA denied the reports but no such denial ever was issued from Rocosmos, Russia’s space agency. And about one month later, Germany’s space agency, The German Aerospace Center (DLR), called the material “bacterial DNA” rather than sea plankton.


So, when it comes to what may seem very credible reports because they link with what seems to be a legitimate organization, the gringa says, “Beware!” Although, so far, Americans have been lucky enough to have our own NASA unblemished by political agendas and ambitions, the same is not true for Rocosmos. That being said, trace back to the source any UFO or space alien claims. If they originate from Russia, consider the political motive. Then consider the scientific credibility as dubious.


The gringa does not deny the possibility that space aliens exist. I also don’t deny the possibility of ancient Earth civilizations that were highly advanced. But, thus far, I have yet to find any confirmation through credible evidence. I simply keep an open mind and I keep reading! And I always  READ SMART!

Sources:

Albawaba

Newsweek

The Hill

Image Credit: BECUO

Video Credit: MEMRI TV

Re-Blog: Let’s Read “Do Plants Eat Meat?”


(Originally posted 9/25/2017 on Read With The Gringa)

A fun instructional book about plant science.

Plants do strange things!

Re-Blog: Do Space Aliens Use Aluminum?


(Originally posted 9/21/2017 on Read With The Gringa)

The famous 1947 Roswell incident of a supposed crashed alien spacecraft reported curious details. Rancher W.W. “Mack” Brazel described the debris he found as: large pieces of paper covered in what looked like tinfoil. The pieces were held together by small sticks. The salvaged piece of debris resembled a child’s homemade kite. Throughout a 200 yard area surrounding the silvery kite thing were pieces of gray rubber. More kite-like objects were found on the ranch, the largest about 3 feet across.

Another, more recent, discovery has researchers scratching their heads over a mysterious aluminum object. UFOlogists claim that it could be 250,000 years old. It was originally discovered in Romania during a 1973 excavation of the Mures River. 


Three strange objects were found buried about 33 feet. Archaeologists studied them and determined that two of the finds were fossils. They were bones belonging to a mammal that became extinct about 90,000 years ago.


The third, however, could only be man-made since it was a metallic object, not a raw metal ore. Testing revealed 12 different metals with aluminum making up about 90% of the manufactured object.


A Romanian laboratory claimed the object was about 250,000 years old. Other experts were in disbelief so another set of tests were performed in a laboratory in Lausanne, Switzerland. They confirmed that the object is, indeed, old, but not that old. Only 400-80,000 years old. But aluminum was first produced by modern man about 200 years ago.


This head scratcher centers on an object about 8 inches long, 5 inches wide and nearly 3 inches thick. It also has a circular depression and machined holes in the “arms”, suggesting hinging. This means the manufacturing process would have been very complex. So what the heck is it?

9.21.2a

UFOlogists say it is a fragment from a UFO. Of course. Historians claim that it is really a piece of WWII German aircraft. Considering the effective debunking that has cleared up the Roswell mystery, the gringa is inclined to agree with the historian.


The US Air Force eventually explained to the public what it was that Brazel found. It wasn’t the debris of a crashed UFO. It was the debris of weather radar targets. 


These targets were sent up to help target and tune ballistics of heavy gun and artillery. Regular weather balloons were acquisitioned from weather radar stations. The balloons were then customized to become targets, covered in aluminum so they would be easier to sight high in the sky.


In order for it to even be possible for aluminum debris from a crashed UFO to be found, aluminum would have to be a raw material on other planets. It would have to be mined. It would have to be processed. And it would have to be suitable for use on a spacecraft exposed to the extreme conditions of outer space: radiation, heat, cold, etc.


Aluminum is also found on Mercury, Venus and Mars. So it’s possible there are planets in the vastness of outer space that also have aluminum. We know that there are no aluminum mines and processing plants and spaceship manufacturing plants on Mercury, Venus and Mars. That would mean any UFO constructed of aluminum would have to originate outside our Solar System. Could aluminum handle such a rigorous test of its mettle (pardon the pun)?


Aluminum melts at 1,220.58 degrees Fahrenheit. It boils at 4,566 degrees Fahrenheit. Space shuttle re-entry has recorded surface temperatures of the craft as high as 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Needless to say, if these bits of aluminum had originated from a crashed UFO, they wouldn’t exist. They would have melted long before they ever reached the earth’s surface.


The final answer is then: No. Space aliens are not using aluminum in their space ships and crashing them on Earth and leaving behind an aluminum bread crumb trail. Case solved.



Sources: El Paso Times

The Vintage News

Live Science

Wikipedia

Image Credit: Pix Shark

Video Credit: Titus Rivas

Re-Blog: Futurism Is A Thing. Just Ask A Futurist.


(Originally posted 9/14/2017 on Read With The Gringa)

If my dear readers are anything like the gringa, they are always wondering what the future holds. What goes through your mind? War? Peace? Natural disasters? Space alien invasion? AI revolution and hostile take-over? To know the best theories about the future, all you have to do is ask a futurist. Yeah. Futurism. That’s a thing.

Who else would be a qualified futurist when it comes to tomorrow’s technology than the Director of Engineering for Google? Although the gringa loves how Google synchronizes so many things in life, I do have to admit that sometimes it’s downright creepy. I mean, when my phone starts asking me questions, like, “Do you want your friend’s to know that you’re at the donut store,” I mean, I’m like, “Just mind your own business, phone, okay?” But I digress, Google has a lot to say about what’s in store for the general public as artificial intelligence keeps getting smarter.


Ray Kurzweil, Director of Engineering for Google, wants everyone to mark the year 2029. What’s so important about the year the gringa will be a dowdy, old 61-year-old gal? He expects that to be the year when AI passes a valid Turing test. But what does that mean? What is a Turing test?


In 1950 Alan Turing developed a test that would measure a machine’s ability to exercise intelligence on a level that is indistinguishable from a human. In other words, to pass a credible Turing test means technology has been developed that is so sophisticated, when we engage with another person we will be left wondering if that person is truly human or just a cunningly convincing robot.


If that’s not provocative enough of a benchmark for you, mark the year 2045 on your calendar and hold on to your hats, folks. This is when Kurzweil expects a singularity to occur. But what does that mean? Why is that significant? 


Where basic semantics are concerned, a singularity is simply something that is unique, like a culture. Where space exploration and matter are concerned, it means something that has infinite value, like a black hole. But where humanity and AI are concerned, it means something hair-raising which is why the gringa advises the dear reader to hold on to your hat.


Achieving a singularity with regard to AI and humanity means technology and biology merge, becoming a singular creation, indistinguishable from one another. Now, images from those 1970s TV series about the bionic woman and her male counterpart come to mind. Is that what Kurzweil is talking about? Not exactly.


What he expects is that by 2049 AI will evolve to be smarter than human beings. They will become super-intelligent. When that happens, humans will begin transplanting technology directly into our brains. This means no more logging on or off, we will be perpetually linked with the cloud and constantly having our information updated, backed-up and optimized. Our lives will be digitally enhanced on a biological level 24/7.


In fact, Kurzweil claims that this evolution is already happening. It’s just that when the Turing event happens, things will begin to accelerate. But is there reason to be concerned? Afraid? Well, it seems pointless to fret too much. The genie is already out of the bottle. The best thing to do is to begin preparing humanity for this transition. 

Instead of using scare tactics, causing people to fear the possibility of being enslaved by robots, truth should be shared to put their minds at ease. After all, billions of AIs are already hard at work right now. So far, they haven’t banded together and waged war against humanity. 


Instead, AIs are helping humans improve the lives of all mankind. They are empowering humans to overcome serious medical disabilities. And when humans are able to hook-up their neocortex to the cloud, AIs will become our intellectual partners, sharing their super-intelligence with us.


What’s to fear about fellow humans who are smarter, funnier, and more creative? What’s to fear from humans that will finally be able to grasp complex science and histories that once baffled them? What’s not to love about a cybernetic cure for diseases like Parkinson’s? 


So, the gringa is looking forward to the day when I can make an appointment with my doctor to fix the epilepsy that challenges my life every single day. I look forward to less pain. I eagerly anticipate more emotional stability. Being able to scuba dive or climb the Alps without the experience resulting in my death is the gringa’s idea of real freedom. 


Even if I am an old lady by the time the 2030’s and 2040’s roll around and make this kind of technology available, to live epilepsy free if only for a single day is worth it. The gringa may find that adventure even more exciting than flying to Mars.


Source: Futurism


Image Credit: Artist


Video Credit: Cosmology Today

Re-Blog: Plasma Power Is Problematic


(Originally posted 9/7/2017 on Read With The Gringa)

If the gringa’s dear readers are anything like herself, you have spent plenty of time watching shows like Star Trek and reading fantastic science fiction. That means you’ve heard plenty of references to plasma: plasma storms, plasma discharges, plasma cannons, etc. But what the heck is plasma? Is it good for anything? Can we harness its power? Here’s the scoop on plasma.


Plasma is an ionized gas. What that means is that atoms, molecules and all kinds of stuff are constantly being converted into ions. This happens by removing electrons from the affected substance. An ion contains an electrical charge when conversion is complete. That means plasma packs a wallop of a punch. And there is lots of plasma throughout our Universe.


The Sun’s mass makes up nearly the entire mass of our Solar System, 99.85% of it. That mass creates gravity so powerful it squishes things together, like atoms, creating a fusion reaction which makes… wait for it… PLASMA.


99.999% of the Sun is plasma. Scientists estimate that more than 99% of all matter exists in a plasma state. If so much of it is lying about, why aren’t we humans using it for electricity and power and stuff? Why are we still in the Stone Ages with coal and petroleum? Because cosmic plasma is a bit trickier than the plasma we find here on Earth, like lightning. The Sun’s plasma is not just electrified. It also has its own magnetic field. And, boy is it hot!

Because of the magnetics that are part and parcel of the Sun’s plasma, harnessing our nearest star as an energy source would prove to be highly disruptive to communications. Basically, radio frequencies would fry. You see, the Sun is a fusion nuclear reactor way up in the sky. The gringa’s not sure, then, if direct solar power would really be “green” energy.


To harness the power of cosmic plasma for terrestrial use, scientists would have to, theoretically, confine the reactor. Yep, that means putting the Sun in a box, so to speak. Despite years of research, little progress has been made to figure out how to do that and humanity survive in the end. One reason is because scientists have no idea how cosmic plasma and the resulting fusion reaction would affect any barrier they might construct as a containment field. Yeah, those invisible forcefields on Star Trek? Mm hmm. Pure fantasy.


But despite this frustration, scientists remain committed to finding a solution. They are well aware that the current energy sources of Earthlings are finite. One day all the coal will be gone. There will be no more crude to suck from the ground. And even developing more solar and wind energy supplies will only take the entire globe so far. Large industrial areas and densely populated regions will need the power of plasma if they want a constant, reliable power supply.


But why can’t scientists seem to make any progress? In order to test a theory, a scientist must conduct a controlled experiment that re-creates the conditions. Since there is no way to reproduce the 15 million degree Fahrenheit temperature of the Sun, um, yeah, progress is pretty much going nowhere. 


Sure, science has come up with fun gadgets like plasma balls that are basically sold as lighting novelties. But that glass bottle is not anywhere close to being sufficient to bottle a chunk of the Sun. Scientists literally have to find a way to put a sizable piece of the Sun inside of something.


And finding a substance that can withstand temperatures in excess of the 100 million degrees produced by fusion reactions has to do more than not melt. When the plasma comes into contact with the barrier, it must remain pure and clean. 


The gringa can only wonder what the heck might happen should those walls fail. Will half the globe be scorched to infinity in a split second? Will the survivors on the other side of the globe become so radiated they die a slow, agonizing death over the course of the next few weeks or months? Or will a wave of plasma ride the ionosphere to the other side and the survivors know that death is on the way because their blue sky turns blood-red? Or will they basically be cooked alive from a sudden increase in temperature? In other words, will the entire globe become a microwave oven?


Scientists claim that plasma energy will be the cleanest energy ever. Yet, at the same time they are conducting research on the effects of radiation and plasma damage. So, the gringa remains skeptical about the “green” selling points.


Science communities around the world hope to have the first plasma reactor operational by 2018.

Nuclear science professors at MIT explain that the general public shouldn’t expect any real development of commercial plasma fusion reactors for about two more decades. The gringa will be at an age by that time where I might actually appreciate the prospect of a quick and relatively painless death. But, for the sake of my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, I suppose I should keep a watchful eye on the developments of this future energy source.


Sources:

Plasma Universe


Science Learn


University of California San Diego


Image Credit: Space.com

Video Credits:

Science Channel


Seeker

Re-Blog: An Irish Haunting Of Canadians


(Originally posted 8/31/2017 on Read With The Gringa)

Why would an Irish ghost haunt Canadians? Is it a race thing? Is it a case of mistaken identity? Perhaps the Irish ghost has become displaced throughout history? Is there even such a thing as ghosts?


Well, first of all, the question of whether or not ghosts exist. The gringa believes in the possibility of energy-based beings that most humans call ghosts. I believe that when a person’s physical body expires the energy which animates that body does not expire. The consciousness lives on, in a different dimension, the 5th dimension that the gringa believes to be found in what science calls the Dark Matter universe. Life in this other invisible universe where matter doesn’t matter can sometimes cross-over and interact with those of us still living an existence where matter does still matter.


Being sentient beings, these dark matter beings also retain their individuality, remembering their identity from their physical matter-based existence on Earth. That would mean that an Irish ghost would remember its Irish identity and be able to identify physical humans according to nationality as well. But, chances are, moving on to a higher plane of existence, such “matters” like national identities would no longer “matter” to such a being. So, an Irish ghost haunting Canadians wouldn’t be a race thing or case of mistaken identity.


But what about displacement? Would a 5th dimension, Dark Matter universe being find itself limited to where it could interact with physical matter in our universe? Would the consciousness of a disembodied person be restricted to only areas that are most familiar or emotionally significant? The gringa says, “Perhaps.” Such a question might be answered by understanding how a consciousness is able to manifest itself in a physical world. 


When residents and guests of Canada’s official ambassador residence in Dublin experience their Irish ghost, they describe events like banging noises, heavy breathing and loud footsteps in hallways. How old is this residence? Who has lived there in the past? Who might have developed such a strong connection with the place that they insist on sticking around and making their presence known?


The most powerful events connected with the building is the April 1916 Irish rebellion known as the 1916 Easter Rising. During this 6-day armed rebellion more than 450 people were killed and thousands injured. The Irish leader who crafted the master plan, Patrick Pearse, lived in Glanmire house that is now the residence of the Canadian Ambassador. 


Once British rulers squashed his rebellion, Pearse was executed. Sounds to the gringa like a good reason to hang around. Pearse probably feels like he has unfinished business. And he is also emotionally charged with loyalty, bitterness, anger and determination.

The residence’s current inhabitant, Canada’s ambassador, Kevin Vickers, is not some melodramatic child keening for attention. He has faithfully served his country for almost three decades. First with the Canadian Mounted Royal Police. Then as Sergeant-At-Arms in the House of Commons. He is a cool customer, hailed as a hero for killing a rampaging gunman in Canada’s parliament building in October of 2014. Appointed the Irish ambassadorship in January, 2015, however, may be his most interesting assignment, yet.


It didn’t take long for the Irish ghost to make his presence known. Vickers reports that he hears sounds like chains being thrown down onto hardwood floors. Activity is so prevalent that his dear little maid won’t even venture upstairs. 


The gringa wonders how good of a housekeeper Vickers is. Is his bureau dusty? His bed unmade on a daily basis? But, I digress. Back to how a disembodied consciousness might succeed at affecting a corporeal world. 


If corporeal humans can achieve supernatural feats through highly-disciplined, deep meditative practices, the gringa believes it is possible for the opposite to be also be true. If dear Pearse reflects with great passion on the events of the past, he may just be able to produce enough energy to spill over into our universe. 


Scientists have already reported tracking movements by dark matter. Wherever Pearse is in the unseen dark matter universe, his consciousness could direct itself back to the physical place where he suffered the most. His grief for lost comrades may be so great that he wishes to see how things developed after they lost their leader. His only solace and comfort may actually be found in returning and seeing the state of current events in his beloved country. It may be that he will only stop his hauntings (return trips) when Ireland is once whole again.


Source & Image Credit: 

BBC


Additional Image Credit: Deviant Art

Video Credit: worcesterjonny