‘Two suns’ spotted in China defy explanation

Weeks after a story shot across the Web claiming that the imminent explosion of a nearby star would result in the appearance of a second sun in the sky — a story that was later debunked — two suns were caught on camera yesterday in China. The suns — one fuzzy and orange, the other a crisp yellow orb — appeared side-by-side, one slightly higher than the other.

What’s going on? Life’s Little Mysteries, a sister site to Space.com, asked Jim Kaler, the University of Illinois astronomer who squelched the excitement over the aforementioned exploding Betelgeuse and who has written books on the day and night sky. The double sun image is an effect of optical refraction, Kaler said, but it’s a “pretty darn rare” one, and one not fully explained by science.

“I doubt it’s been computer modeled,” he said. “There must have been some blob of atmosphere somewhere that caused this truly spectacular phenomenon, which in a sense is a mirage.”  [Amazing Sun Photos From Space]

He goes on to state that the double or multiple image phenomena are produced by abnormal refraction, but that “it remains extraordinary that the images of the sun and moon were sharp and of the same size as the real sun and moon.”

“This is not a common optical phenomenon that we’re seeing here,” said Grant Perry, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Institute for Satellite and Meteorological Studies. “I’m asking myself if this is an artifact of the lens, but if that were the case — if it’s reflections of the lens elements — then the images would move in relation to each other as the camera moves,” Perry said. “But that doesn’t happen.”

In terms of an optical explanation, he said, “You would have to assume it is particles of ice or something in the atmosphere aligned in such a way that they would refract the sunlight at that very small angle, but only in one direction. It would require some fairly peculiar characteristics.”

Several related atmospheric optical effects are fully explained by science. Sun dogs, sunset mirages, sun pillars and sun halos are all relatively common and well understood. But not this effect.

“It’s very intriguing,” said Kaler.

This article was provided by Life’s Little Mysteries, a sister site to SPACE.com. Follow Natalie Wolchover on Twitter @ nattyover.

Source: ‘Two suns’ spotted in China defy explanation – Technology & science – Space – Space.com | NBC News

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First ever footage of spontaneous human combustion?

A strange video has captured the moment a man lay peacefully in a doorway engulfed in roaring flames – in what could be genuine footage of human combustion.

The man was pictured lying “peacefully” in the doorway of a building with a bicycle parked nearby – and with fire emanating from his stomach and chest area.

The strange incident – which apparently ended without serious injury to the victim – happened on the streets of Serbia’s second largest city Novi Sad.

A man can be heard approaching him – perhaps the taker of the video – saying: “Hello, hello, what’s happening?”

But the human torch waves him away as if lying covered in flames is the most natural thing in the world.

The video was first posted on a Facebook page called ‘Live from the streets of Novi Sad’.

According to the information, they received this video at the end of November last year.

In one comment on the video, it says that the man is “known” on the streets of Novi Sad for “problematic behaviour”.

Source: Is this the first ever footage of spontaneous human combustion?

Read more: Man’s body burst into flames on the sofa – but he lived to tell the tale

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Jacques Vallée does Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything)

I am Dr. Jacques Vallée a computer scientist and former astronomer. I have dedicated my personal research to the scientific research of UFOs. I was the model for the French scientist in Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters”. AMA!

Hi Reddit!

I’m excited to be here with you all today and to answer any questions you may have. Here is my proof: http://imgur.com/WxbXLoJ

Recently my investigations have focused on UFO sightings from ancient antiquity up to the Industrial Revolution – prior to the innovation of manmade vehicles for flight that can cause confusion when witnessing a UFO. I have worked with my colleague Chris Aubeck on my recent work and we will soon be publishing what we consider the new benchmark in UFO research – called Wonders in the Sky. Our larger goal is to set the groundwork for future researchers (Maybe that’s YOU) by identifying and conserving primary source documents. We want future researchers to continue UFO investigations as part of mainstream science.

I worked at the Institute for the Future, helping to develop the precursor to the internet, known as the Arpanet. You also may know me as the basis for the French scientist character in Steven Spielberg’s film Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Possibly you have seen one of my lectures (just click here and here for two videos); a panel about outer space at a global financial conference in Saudi Arabia and a TED talk in Geneva on Futures Research, respectively.

Looking forward to fielding your questions! AMA!

EDIT: Thanks Everybody for joining. My time is up. I have very much enjoyed answering your questions. Lots of really good ones.

EDIT: Noticed the video links didn’t stick as hyperlinks. Copying links below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4S98WGp … e=youtu.be

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCeoNda … OwC-PcsGuq

EDIT: More can be learned about my current research on IndieGoGo: http://www.indiegogo.com/project/preview/7455b651

reddit.com

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Paul Laffoley, Painter Inspired by Time Travel and Aliens, Dies at 80 – The New York Times

Paul Laffoley, whose annotated diagrammatic paintings, with their kaleidoscopic representations of abstruse philosophic systems, made him one of the most distinctive and cerebral of the outsider artists, died on Nov. 16 at his home in Boston. He was 80.

The cause was congestive heart failure, said Douglas Walla, his dealer at Kent Fine Art in Manhattan.

Mr. Laffoley (pronounced LAH-fuh-lee), an architect by training, translated his ideas about time travel, other dimensions, astrology and alien life-forms onto square canvases that he illustrated, in brilliant colors, with precisely rendered spirals, pinwheels, eyes and architectural forms, annotated around the borders with text in vinyl press-on letters.

Many of the works incorporate mandalas. Others look like floor plans for the future, or cosmic board games. Their texts often pay homage to the thinkers behind the work, their names simply strung together in a row. The Jesuit philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin recurs frequently, along with Goethe, Blake and Jung.

Source: Paul Laffoley, Painter Inspired by Time Travel and Aliens, Dies at 80 – The New York Times

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Twin Peaks Director David Lynch’s Foundation to Fund Meditation Training for Rio’s Elite Police

Rio de Janeiro (AFP) – A group of 400 elite police officers in Rio de Janeiro, host of next year’s Olympic Games, will take meditation classes to help deal with the stress of the job.

If it proves helpful the program will be extended to all officers, chief of staff of the military police in Rio, Colonel Robson Rodrigues, was quoted saying in the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper Saturday.

“A policeman that is less stressed will fire less during an operation,” he said.

Less than a year away from the Olympics, security remains a major challenge in Rio.

Elite Brazilian police training with French instructors to protect the Olympics said this week they fear an attempted terrorist attack similar to the bloodshed in Paris and are working hard to be ready.

Folha de Sao Paulo said the courses will be funded by the David Lynch Foundation.

The organization’s founder Lynch directed films including “Mulholland Drive” and the hit television series “Twin Peaks”.

Source: Hum with guns: Rio’s elite police meditate for peace of mind

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DIA Declassified: Agency’s interest in “psychoenergetics,” ESP, telepathy, and remote viewing

Defense Intelligence Agency headquarters at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington, D.C.

DIA Declassified: A Sourcebook

Web Posting Spotlights 50+ Year History of Secretive Defense Intelligence Agency

New Documents Feature Iraqi Defector “CURVEBALL,” Convicted Cuba Spy Ana Belen Montes, Analysis of Iraqi and Chinese WMD programs, and Brief Experiments with “Psychoenergetics”

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book #534

Edited by Jeffrey T. Richelson

November 20, 2015

For more information, contact: 202-994-7000 or nsarchiv@gwu.edu

Washington, D.C., November 20, 2015 – The Defense Intelligence Agency, established in 1961, is one of the United States government’s largest intelligence organizations – employing 17,000 individuals, including thousands stationed overseas. Its 2013 fiscal year budget request was for $3.15 billion. Yet, the DIA is also one of the more secretive agencies in the U.S. intelligence community, regularly denying access to basic information about its structure, functions and activities. Today the National Security Archive posts a new sourcebook of over 50 documents, many appearing for the first time, that help to illuminate the DIA’s five-decades-long history.

Highlights of the posting include an internal memo about the infamous Iraqi defector known as CURVEBALL and the false intelligence he provided about Iraq’s supposed WMD programs; a 180-page review of the case of DIA analyst Ana Belen Montes, convicted of supplying secrets to the Cubans several analyses of Iraqi and Chinese weapons of mass destruction programs; and descriptions of DIA’s interest in “psychoenergetics” activities such as extrasensory perception, telepathy, and remote viewing.

Today’s posting also features dozens of issues of the DIA’s in-house publication, Communiqué (see sidebar), containing significant information about the agency that is routinely withheld from the public under the Freedom of Information Act.

The documents posted today concern:

  • The creation of DIA (Documents 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).
  • Early CIA-DIA relations (Documents 8, 9, 10).
  • DIA’s role in the Cuban Missile Crisis (Document 44) and the Vietnam War (Document 46).
  • DIA’s 1978 intelligence appraisal of the Shah’s future (Document 14).
  • DIA studies on Chinese nuclear weapons programs (Document 13, Document 17).
  • DIA studies on locating Iraq’s short-range missiles during the first Gulf War (Document 24), its acquisition of aluminum tubes (Document 31), and its “reemerging” nuclear weapons program (Document 33).
  • DIA director Lowell Jacoby’s summary of the CURVEBALL case (Document 36).
  • DIA’s “psychoenergetics” activities (Document 18, Document 21).
  • The DoD Inspector General report on the case of Ana Belen Montes, who served as long-time agent of the Cuban intelligence service (Document 37).

DIA DECLASSIFIED

by Jeffrey T. Richelson

Along with the national intelligence agencies (the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office, and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) is one of the largest United States government intelligence organizations. It employs approximately 17,000 individuals, with thousands deployed overseas. Its fiscal year 2013 budget request was for $3.15 billion dollars.[1]

Some of the intellectual work that led to its creation took place during the later years of the Dwight Eisenhower administration (although it appears Eisenhower was interested in moving toward creation of such an agency as early as 1953). In 1959, the United States Intelligence Board created a Joint Study Group (JSG), chaired by the CIA’s Lyman Kirkpatrick, to study the intelligence-producing agencies. The group concluded that there was considerable overlap and duplication in defense intelligence activities, resulting in an inefficient distribution of resources. It observed that “… the fragmentation of efforts creates ‘barriers’ to the free and complete interchange of intelligence information among the several components of the Department of Defense” and recommended that the Secretary of Defense “bring the military intelligence organization within the Department of Defense into full consonance with the concept of the Defense Reorganization Act of 1958.”[2]

However, as the end of Eisenhower’s tenure as president approached there was no concrete plan to establish a DoD-level intelligence agency. As a result, in an early January 1961 meeting of the National Security Council, Eisenhower was reported to have observed (Document 1, p. 4) that “each Military Service developed its own intelligence organization,” [that] “this situation made little sense in managerial terms” and that “he had suffered an eight year defeat on this question.” As a result, he “would leave a legacy of ashes for his successor.”

Read  more at …

Source: DIA Declassified

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Was Ripon school gripped by mass psychogenic illness?

A young woman faints during a Menudo concert at Madison Square Garden, New York City. Photograph: New York Daily News/Getty Images

What doctors used to call mass hysteria usually occurs among close-knit groups as anxiety weaves its way through, causing physical symptoms

On 15 February 1787, a young woman at a Lancashire cotton mill decided to scare one of her co-workers with a mouse. The prank made medical history. Terrified of the rodent, the woman on the receiving end had a fit that lasted hours. The next day, three more workers suffered violent fits. The day after, six more.

Alarmed and mystified at the epidemic, the owners closed the mill amid rumours of a disease brought in by contaminated cotton. When Dr William St Clare arrived from Preston to investigate, he found 24 people affected. Three worked at another factory five miles down the road. He ended the epidemic swiftly. It was “merely nervous, easily cured, and not introduced by the cotton,” he concluded. Suitably reassured, all recovered and no more workers fell ill.

On Wednesday, more than two centuries later, and 65 miles up the A59 from Lancashire, 40 pupils at the Outwood academy in Ripon had treatment for dizziness and nausea after four fainted in an Armistice Day service. Fire brigade specialists dispatched to the incident found no signs of hazardous materials,but the assembly hall was warm. David Winspear of the North Yorkshire fire service suspects that a handful of children fainted, with the rest developing symptoms driven by anxiety that rippled through the school. One student talked of a “domino effect”.

Source: Was Ripon school gripped by mass psychogenic illness? | Science | The Guardian

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