Friday, December 08, 2017

A Mountain Of Many Legends Draws Spiritual Seekers From Around The Globe

[WNYC] Mount Shasta, in Northern California, is an outdoor adventure destination. Weekend warriors come in droves to climb the massive snow-capped stratovolcano, camp in miles of national forest and enjoy some of the purest water in the state.
Some visitors, however, come not for wide-open spaces, but for healing and transcendence — the mountain has a global reputation as a gathering place for spiritual seekers.
Many of Shasta's spiritual-minded visitors make their way to Shasta Vortex Adventures, a touring outfit in the town of Mount Shasta. It's in a quaint little house on Chestnut Street, just off the main boulevard, right next door to a metaphysical bookstore.
Ashalynn (just Ashalynn — she doesn't use a surname) is the founder of Shasta Vortex Adventures. Her company leads guided meditations, vision quests and hiking and driving tours of the mountain's sacred sites.
"I get people from all over the world," she says, pointing to a world map on the wall behind her desk. There's a little pushpin for every client's home country. The map is bursting with pins. "They come here for spiritual growth, healing, understanding more about themselves, figuring out what their life purpose is, and sometimes just to feel the energy."
The mountain pulls in approximately 26,000 visitors each year, according to the Mount Shasta Chamber of Commerce. And as a straw poll of the town indicates, many of those visitors never leave.
Judith Ordakowski, who came to the town years ago, is one of those visitors-turned-residents.
"What drew me here was the mountain," she says. Now she works at the visitors' center, pointing tourists to the best spots on Mount Shasta.
Lewis Elbinger, who retired from the Foreign Service and started a donation-based teashop in town, is another.
"I was called. The mountain called me," he says. "When I'm walking through the forest, I feel like I'm walking through a cathedral."
Then there's spiritual channel and author Dianne Robbins, who heard the mountain's call while living in upstate New York. "It does not matter where you go on the mountain, the mountain's energy is everywhere," she says. "It's bliss." Read More

What It's Like to Get Caught in a Wildfire

[The Atlantic] I never thought we were going to die. Even when the canyon air filled with smoke, when the flames came rushing up, when darkness fell and the sky glowed red both behind and ahead of us. So, okay, it was a little scary. But we were just a short drive from Portland, Oregon, on a well-traveled trail my family had hiked a dozen times in the last 10 years. No one dies in a forest fire when they’re that close to home. We weren’t outdoorsy enough to die in a forest anywhere. Or so it seemed to me.
On the West Coast, the 2017 onslaught of forest fires has been widespread and relentless—a char stretching from South Cariboo, British Columbia, last summer to the Caravaggio exhibit in the Getty Center just above west Los Angeles Thursday. Blazes are striking with growing regularity in the region, sparked in part by drought and record-breaking heat. Seven of California’s 10 largest modern wildfires have come in past 14 years.
The news coverage of these fires plays like a disaster movie. Forested hills wrapped in a devil’s fiery cloak. Well-tended homes reduced to scorched concrete and melted bikes. By this point, Americans are used to watching with a mix of horror and curiosity. But as the frequency of wildfires increases, it’s also more likely for people on the West Coast to find themselves in their paths—and not always because they’re away from home.
My experience began on a sunny Saturday afternoon in early September. Labor Day was the first time my wife and I had all three of our busy, nearly grown kids with us since Christmas. Figuring we’d spend the day together romping around Oregon’s natural playground, we drove 40 miles east to the Eagle Creek Trail, a path that follows a waterfall-clotted river on an uphill climb toward the richly forested Bull Run watershed.
When we arrived just after noon, the parking lot was so crowded that we had to double back and bootleg a spot on the side of the road. Setting out through a thicket of multigenerational tourist families, taut hikers, cooler-toting beer dudes, toddler-chasing couples, and dozens of other Oregon types, we continued for three breezy miles, had a shady lunch at the High Bridge, and after an hour or so headed to the Punch Bowl Falls swimming area for a cooling dip. We were back on the trail at 4 p.m. for the gentle two-mile stroll down to the car. A sweet end to a lovely afternoon, right until one of my sons, Teddy, came sprinting back from walking a few hundred feet ahead of us.
The trail was on fire, he shouted. In fact, the entire hillside was ablaze. Read More

Gift Guide 2017: Tech for Outdoorsmen, Survivalists, and Preppers

[Tech Co] In a world filled with seemingly endless technology that connects you to the digital world, now more than ever do people want to disconnect. However, whether or not they are the outdoorsy type or more into glamping, there is still plenty of tech to help prevent you from getting lost or maybe eaten by a bear. In some cases they may take it a step further and be more of a prepper, waiting for the inevitable zombie invasion to finally strike.
Whatever their reasoning, unplugging would do us all some good, and these are the gifts perfect for the occasion. That is unless you know how to build your own natural draft furnace with nothing but dirt, sticks, and elbow grease.
Out in the middle of the nowhere you’re likely going to run out of cell coverage, and that means your smartphone will essentially become a brick. By downloading a special app and using the goTenna Mesh devices, you can stay connected with each other by creating your own private network. While you may not be able to ping the outside world, at least you can stay in touch and continue using the tech you have. The goTenna Mesh comes in a pair and starts at $180.
On a trail or off the beaten path, the TomTom Adventurer is specifically designed to keep you going in the right direction. With their GPX upload feature you can easily create your own trail and path, and if you get lost it’ll help you get back to your campsite or base station. The Adventure starts at $290, comes with bluetooth earbuds, and got a big thumbs up from us.
Have you ever sat in a bunker eating nothing but MREs and canned beans? Do you really want to play who farted with the dog and random person you saved from the zombie apocalypse? Yeah, didn’t think so. Jokes aside, stale air is a real thing, and if something does end up going down it doesn’t hurt to have it efficiently use power rather than just constantly run. Airmega gives you both purification and built in sensors, plus if you want to get real fancy a Wi-Fi connected app. We’ll have a full review later on, but it’s certainly a good looking machine compared to the other monstrosities on the market. Read More

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

California will burn until it rains — and climate change may keep future rains away

[The Verge] Wildfires are spreading unchecked across Southern California, adding more infernos to the state’s worst fire season on record. A warm, dry fall in Southern California and strong offshore winds combined to create dangerous fire conditions that will probably get worse. As the winds continue to blow, a dome of warm, high-pressure air is forming over the West Coast that could keep California dry and flammable for weeks to come.
The largest fire burning in Southern California started in the foothills of Ventura County on Monday evening. Called the “Thomas fire,” it spread overnight to burn more than 65,000 acres, jumped the 101 freeway, and was stopped only by the Pacific Ocean, the LA Times reports. Four more fires are raging from San Bernardino to Santa Clarita.
Hot, dry winds blowing up to 70 miles per hour across Southern California are fanning the flames, but those aren’t unusual for December, says Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California Los Angeles and writer of the Weather West blog. Called the Santa Ana winds, these southern counterparts to Northern California’s Diablo winds tend to kick up during the fall and continue through the winter. 
Wildfires are spreading unchecked across Southern California, adding more infernos to the state’s worst fire season on record. A warm, dry fall in Southern California and strong offshore winds combined to create dangerous fire conditions that will probably get worse. As the winds continue to blow, a dome of warm, high-pressure air is forming over the West Coast that could keep California dry and flammable for weeks to come.
The largest fire burning in Southern California started in the foothills of Ventura County on Monday evening. Called the “Thomas fire,” it spread overnight to burn more than 65,000 acres, jumped the 101 freeway, and was stopped only by the Pacific Ocean, the LA Times reports. Four more fires are raging from San Bernardino to Santa Clarita.
Hot, dry winds blowing up to 70 miles per hour across Southern California are fanning the flames, but those aren’t unusual for December, says Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California Los Angeles and writer of the Weather West blog. Called the Santa Ana winds, these southern counterparts to Northern California’s Diablo winds tend to kick up during the fall and continue through the winter. Read More

The Perils of Meritocracy

[The Atlantic] American culture nurtures many myths about the moral value of hard work. The phrase “by the bootstraps,” still widely used to describe those Americans who have found success through a combination of dogged work and stubborn will, rose from a mis-remembering of The Surprising Adventures of Baron Munchausen: In it, the eponymous aristocrat pulls himself from a swamp—not by his bootstraps, but by his hair. And Horatio Alger’s stories, as well, while often remembered collectively as the prototypical tale of American rags to American riches, romanticized not just the social and economic power of hard work, but also the power of old-fashioned good luck. (Ragged Dick, in the Alger story named for him: “I’d like it if some rich man would adopt me, and give me plenty to eat and drink and wear, without my havin’ to look so sharp after it.”)
The myths live on, though, for the same reason myths often will: They ratify a deeply held value in American culture. They allow us denizens of the current moment to hold onto one of the most beloved ideas that has animated Americans’ conception of themselves—ourselves—as a culture, over the decades and centuries: that we live in a meritocracy. That our widely imitated and yet idiosyncratic take on democracy has been built, and continues to rest, on a system that ensures that talent and hard work will be rewarded. That the American dream is real, and enduring.
Current events, however—and Americans’ ability to share their experiences with each other, via new technological platforms—have helped to reveal the notion of meritocracy to be what it always was: yet another myth. And: a myth that is particularly pernicious, when it comes to Americans’ sense of what we owe to each other. During a discussion at the Aspen Ideas Festival, co-hosted by the Aspen Institute and The Atlantic, NPR’s Michele Norris talked with Darren Walker, the president of the Ford Foundation, and Jeff Raikes, the co-founder of the Raikes Foundation. The trio, in their discussion, emphasized the tensions between how we talk about the American dream and how people live it.
“As Americans, we want to believe that you can get on that mobility escalator and ride it as far as you want,” Walker said, “but that no one rides it faster than anyone else.” We want to believe that talent will triumph, and that hard work will be the tool of that success. Which is to say: We want to believe that opportunity is evenly distributed.
But, of course, that great escalator is far faster for some than it is for others. It is harder for some to get to in the first place than it is for others. And it’s been that way from the beginning: This country, as Walker put it, “was constructed on a racialized hierarchy.” It’s a hierarchy that remains today—one that is evident, in ways both obvious and insidious, across American culture, across the American education system, across the American housing system, across the American economy.
And yet our stories, and our myths, tend to belie that reality. The logic of meritocracy, as a concept—“a system in which the talented are chosen and moved ahead on the basis of their achievement,” per Merriam-Webster, but also, per Dictionary.com, “an elite group of people whose progress is based on ability and talent rather than on class privilege or wealth”—endorses a world in which economic success carries a moral valence, and in which, as a consequence, the lack of such success implies a kind of moral failing. Read More

A New Study Says That Rising Seas Could Destroy the East Coast

[Mother Jones] Large tracts of America’s east coast heritage are at risk from being wiped out by sea level rise, with the rising oceans set to threaten more than 13,000 archaeological and historic sites, according to new research.
Even a modest increase in sea level will imperil much of the south-eastern US’s heritage by the end of the century, researchers found, with 13,000 sites threatened by a 1m increase.
Thousands more areas will be threatened as the seas continue to climb in the years beyond this, forcing the potential relocation of the White House and Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC and inundation of historic touchstones such as the Kennedy Space Center and St Augustine, Florida, which lays claim to being the oldest city in the US.
“There are going to be a lot of cultural sites lost and the record of humanity’s history will be put at risk,” said David Anderson, a University of Tennessee anthropologist who led the published research.
“Some sites will be destroyed, some buried in marshes. We may be able to relocate some. In some places it will be devastating. We need to properly understand the magnitude of this.”
Threatened areas, including locations on the national register of historic places, include Native American sites that date back more than 10,000 years, as well as early colonial settlements such as Jamestown, Virginia and Charleston, South Carolina. Researchers pinpointed known sites using topographical data and analyzed how they would fare in various sea level rise scenarios.
Florida, which has a southern portion particularly vulnerable to sea level rise, has the most sites in danger from a 1m raising of the oceans, followed by Louisiana and Virginia.
A 1m sea level rise by 2100 could prove optimistic, with several studies showing the increase could be much greater. Scientists have warned that the break up of the Antarctic ice sheet could significantly fuel sea level rise, pushing the global increase to around 6ft by 2100.
The latest US government estimate predicts a worldwide increase of 1ft to 4ft by 2100, although an 8ft rise “cannot be ruled out”.
The eastern seaboard of the US is at particular risk, with water piling up along the coast in greater volumes than the global average. The problem is compounded by areas of the coast, such as in New Jersey and Virginia, gradually subsiding due to long-term geological hangover from a vast ice sheet that once covered much of North America. Read More

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Generous Spirit

[Lori Toye] In 2010 I received a phone call from an I AM America student who had recently started an Ascended Master study group in the Golden City of Malton. Elaine Cardall and I immediately clicked. We both shared a deep love of the Ascended Masters and their teachings, the sacred energies of a Golden City, the solitude and beauty of nature, and the same birthday—although we were born a decade apart. Our monthly calls continued and I revealed study tips and offered casual mentoring. In one of these calls in late 2011, I mentioned that I had at my fingertips a complete archive of information where I could research some of her questions. Elaine was intrigued, “You know . . .” her voice broke and I detected a hint of emotion, even shyness, “I can help you with this material, that is, if you need me.” And she immediately added, “I would like to be of service.”
I excitedly shared with her my vision for the material, that included an introductory series of books based on never before published transcripts that dated back to my beginning days and dozens of transcribed lessons that could be organized into four more books for the Golden City Series, plus a final book describing a form of Kriya Yoga—breathwork—that prepares the human energy system for Ascension. “Can you send all of it to me?” Elaine politely asked after my lengthy explanation. “Of course,” I responded and in the next hour I drove to our local Wal-Mart, purchased a thumb drive, copied all the files, and mailed it to her the next day.
I patiently waited for her call that came about a week later. “It’s absolutely amazing,” she exclaimed as we spoke. She confirmed what I had known for years: “This is a complete body of information from the Ascended Masters . . . but I’m a bit uncertain just where to start.” Undoubtedly these were teachings for a disciplined student—a true chela. And the Earth Changes Prophecies that originally played a central role with the Earth Changes Maps, in reality, only comprised a small amount of the teaching that contained detailed information on Ascension, the role of the Golden Cities, the Seven Rays of Light and Sound, energy fields and the human aura, health and healing, personal growth and transformation, decree and meditation, and literally hundreds of spiritual techniques. The I AM America Archive contained the complete teachings of a mystery school. Now, unquestionably, the task before us was how to properly organize and present this unique information. Read More

Sea Levels Are Already Rising. What's Next?


President Trump has dismissed climate change as a hoax. But scientists project that, within the next 100 years, rising sea levels caused by climate change will submerge much of southeast Florida—including Mar-a-Lago, his beachfront Florida “White House.” And a new category of exiles will be created, says Jeff Goodell in his new book The Water Will Come—climate change refugees. [Seven things to know about climate change.]
When National Geographic caught up with Goodell at his home in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., he explained how water contamination is one of the greatest threats from rising seas; why poor nations are demanding compensation; and how President Trump’s policies are causing people, and states, to push back.

What Governor Scott’s remarks say is how poorly we understand the risks of what we face now and in the future. The idea that areas flooded that we didn’t think could flood suggests we don’t have a very good sense of what the risk is along the coastline, especially in Florida where we’re continuing to build out at an incredible pace.
It also suggests we don’t understand the risks we face in a world where climate change is happening. We know that, as the Earth’s atmosphere heats up, climate change is likely to create bigger and more intense hurricanes, which will push more water up onto the land. Combine that with rising seas—and sea levels are rising faster in southern Florida than anywhere on the planet—you get more flooding. Read More

As Earth's rotation slows down, scientists predict more intense earthquakes

[IBI Times] Geologists have warned that deadly earthquakes could become more frequent in the coming year and that they are likely to be caused by the slowing down of the Earth's rotation.
Scientists, who presented their research to the Geological Society of America recently, have found that variations in the speed of the Earth's rotation could set off intense seismic activity, particularly in the tropical-equatorial regions where over a billion people live.
The slowdown in Earth's rotation is small, measuring in milliseconds, reports the Guardian, but enough to release vast amounts of underground energy. The link between seismic activity and the planet's rotation was brought out in a paper by Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado in Boulder and Rebecca Bendick of the University of Montana in Missoula.
"The correlation between the Earth's rotation and earthquake activity is strong and suggests there is going to be an increase in numbers of intense earthquakes next year," said Bilham.
It is unclear why decreases in the speed of the Earth's rotation should have this effect on the surface, but geological activity deep in the core could possibly be the cause of both slowing down as well as earthquakes. Most of the earthquakes are also likely to happen around the equatorial regions, said Bilham.
Bilham and Bendick, for their research, studied all the major earthquakes that registered a magnitude of 7 and above since 1900. All the major earthquakes that have happened over the last century have been well recorded, said Bilham. Using this data, they identified five periods that registered higher large earthquakes when compared with other periods. "In these periods, there were 25 to 30 intense earthquakes a year," he said. The other periods identified only averaged 15 quakes a year, he added.
Further investigation into these periods of high seismic activity resulted in the identification of a few correlations. They found that soon after periods when the Earth's rotation decreased in speed slightly, there were a large number of intense earthquakes. "The rotation of the Earth does change slightly – by a millisecond a day sometimes – and that can be measured very accurately by atomic clocks," noted Bilham. Read More

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Ominous NASA climate change app shows which cities will flood

[Slashgear] Coastal cities around the world are at risk of severe flooding and even eventual eradication as ocean levels rise. A new simulation from NASA highlights how big this potential problem is, showing what could happen to 293 coastal cities around the world over the next 100 years. Among the observed changes are severe flooding to big locations like New York City and London.

Coastal flooding is already a growing problem in some places, the result of melting ice that causes ocean levels to rise. Researchers have warned for years that rising ocean levels will cause increasingly catastrophic floods in many places around the world, and that decades from now some big regions could be left entirely underwater.
NASA’s new simulation is the most recent to visualize these changes, but it takes things a step further by breaking down which cities will be effected by various sources of melting ice. For example, ice melting from the northeastern half of Greenland will most heavily affect New York City despite some other coastal cities being closer. Another example of catastrophic flooding would be the eradication of Sydney, Australia, by melting Antarctic ice.
Users are able to change various conditions in the simulation, helping cities and planners determine what changes need to be made to help mitigate potential future disasters. The simulation shows potential outcomes as far as 100 years into the future, and may be a useful way for home buyers and others to decide where to purchase property from a long-term standpoint. Read More and Try the Simulation

Photos Show ‘Biblical’ Flooding In Greece Following Severe Storm

[Huffington Post] Flash flooding hit the outskirts of Greece’s capital on Wednesday after a night of severe rainfall. At least 14 people died, according to media reports, and the water left roadways clogged with mud and debris.
The floods largely affected the towns of Mandra, Nea Peramos and Megara, on the western outskirts of Athens. Schools in those suburbs were closed after local authorities declared a state of emergency and urged citizens not to travel to the affected areas.
“This is a biblical disaster,” Yianna Krikouki, the mayor of Mandra, told state broadcaster ERT. “Everything is gone.”
Greece’s prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, posted on Twitter, saying he was “deeply saddened” by the deaths and damage resulting from “the catastrophic storm,” according to a translation by Al Jazeera.
The flooding damaged homes and businesses and destroyed an entire section of the highway that connects Athens and Corinth. The local fire department responded to dozens of reports of people trapped in vehicles and homes, The Associated Press reported. Read More

Friday, November 17, 2017

What If a 9.0-Magnitude Earthquake Hit Seattle?

[Live Science] In preparation for the BIG ONE — the mighty 9.0-magnitude earthquake that's expected to lay waste to the Pacific Northwest — geophysicists have created 50 virtual simulations to see how such a quake could rattle the region.
The simulations don't paint a pretty picture for Seattle or the coastal areas of Washington, Oregon, British Columbia and Northern California, but the locations of some epicenters were a bit more forgiving than others.
"People have done simulations like this in the past, but they only did one or two," said study lead researcher Erin Wirth, who did the project while a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington. "In running 50 [simulations], we were trying to show the full range of possibilities by varying all these parameters." [The 10 Biggest Earthquakes in History]
The Pacific Northwest is in earthquake country largely because of the Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ), a 620-mile-long (1,000 kilometers) fault stretching from northern Vancouver Island, Canada, to Cape Mendocino, California, according to the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network. At the fault line, the offshore Juan de Fuca plate is moving toward, and eventually under, the plate holding the continent of North America. (There are other active faults in the Pacific Northwest, but the CSZ is capable of triggering the strongest earthquakes, according to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.)
"We know that Cascadia is capable of having large megathrust earthquakes up to about magnitude 9," said Wirth, who is now a research geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). "The last one occurred in the year 1700. Obviously, we didn't have any seismometers to record the shaking then, so we really don't know what it looked like in terms of the intensity of ground shaking." Read More

What female preppers care about the most

[Aleteia] One of the reasons we evacuated before Hurricane Irma was that we weren’t prepared — we didn’t have enough water and couldn’t find any in the store. But that could have been remedied. We could have had frozen bags of water and filled sinks and tubs and containers. We had a pretty decent stockpile of food and propane for the grill and cans of gas and a medical kit. We probably would have been fine.
What we were really lacking was mental preparation. Even though we’ve lived here for 5 years, southwest Florida is still unfamiliar terrain. If we lost power for weeks, I wouldn’t know where to find fresh water or how to keep mold from growing inside the house or even how to fend off mosquitoes without bathing in DEET. In the long list of potential scenarios following a Cat 4 hurricane, I wasn’t prepared for any of them.
Bustle recently interviewed women across the country who are increasingly turning to prepping as insurance against future disaster — natural, financial, or political. The common theme among the women is that prepping isn’t about the stuff, it’s about the knowledge, as Survival Mom Lisa Bedford explained:
“You could spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars getting prepared,” Bedford says, “but I think survival doesn’t require all of those kinds of expenditures as much as it requires some agility and nimbleness. We have several months of food on hand, but what if we came home one day and it had been flooded? The most important component of survival is yourself.”
This is something all women know on an instinctive level. We’re usually the ones who do the practical work of running a household, so we know the importance of rolling with the punches. Whether it’s simple changes like swapping ingredients when you run out of something or more complex shifts like adjusting the grocery budget for the month to cover an unexpected medical bill, we know that the health and well-being of our family depends largely on our ability to rise to the occasion — whatever that occasion might be.
So it doesn’t surprise me that when it comes to prepping, women seek the knowledge and skills to survive  an uncertain future more than the tangible supplies that would keep them alive. After all, prepping involves planning for disaster. There’s no way to know when and where that disaster will strike, or what lesser disasters will follow. Pouring limited resources into amassing a survival supply is less likely to help you survive than learning the skills to find, make, grow, cook, and create what you need would be. You can lose things far more easily than you can lose skills and knowledge.
So if you’ve been wanting to prepare for the future but find the task economically daunting, shift your focus. Think less about arming yourself with a year’s worth of supplies and more about arming yourself with knowledge and skills that can help you survive whatever the future holds for you. That kind of prepping will always be valuable, whether or not disaster strikes. Read More

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Time is Now: Consciousness Creates Climate

[Lori Toye] In 1992 we published the first version of New World Atlas, Volume One, that would later become Book One of the New World Wisdom Series. Since that time, we have seen many Earth Changes, and gratefully, nothing like what we originally thought could be possible. It is important, however, to remember that while the most extreme changes have yet to occur, that some of the events prophesied and explained by the Spiritual Teachers have transpired and many are occurring now, such as global warming, climate change, and extreme weather. Climate scientists point the finger at trapped heat radiating from our Earth en route to space, held by the long-lived gases of water vapor (clouds and precipitation), carbon dioxide (mostly caused by the burning of fossil fuels), nitrous oxide (caused by certain agricultural practices), and chlorofluorocarbons (gases from refrigerants and aerosols). Some politicians argue that the Earth is experiencing a natural warming trend that may be explained by our Sun’s irradiance—the energy emitted by the Sun. The holistic perspective of the Spiritual Teachers of the I AM America material does not point fingers of blame, but understands the esoteric law of how human consciousness plays a pivotal role in creation, both individually and globally. A distillation of this philosophy affirms that, “Group consciousness creates climate.” From this notion, we can understand that our individual consciousness is not a cause, but rather results in stagnation and destruction of the whole when we choose to do nothing to change our individual movements to affect the dance of group consciousness.
This Co-creative viewpoint, while seemingly simplistic, is not. There are some lightworkers that believe that the Earth Changes probabilities have been entirely transmuted through positive thinking and consciousness shift, and that the prophecies are no longer valid. I wholeheartedly agree that both of these qualities are tremendously helpful, both personally and collectively, however I find this viewpoint naive. First, the length of this period of tremendous change is not carved in stone. According to the Spiritual Teachers, it could be as short as seven years or as long as seven hundred. At times it may seem that this cycle is passive and other times strong and forceful. The mature understanding is that prophecy is likened to a constant, perpetual warning, and that we hone our spiritual development and insight so we are continuously open, awake, astute, and aware during this important Time of Change. In straightforward terms, Earth’s cautionary yellow light is continuously blinking. Read More

NEBULAE - a cosmic meditation

Where Does Consciousness Come From?

[Magzter] When I was small I often entertained the idea that the Moon was alive and observing me. On my way home from school, I enjoyed looking up into the sky, believing that the Moon kept following me to ensure that I arrived safely. This is an example of animism, which is the belief that inanimate objects, such as stones, trees and mountains, are all alive. Jean Piaget, the Swiss pioneer of developmental psychology, collected many examples of child animism, such as bringing home more than one flower at the same time so that they would not feel lonely, and moving stones from paths every now and then so that they would not have to constantly look at the same view. As Piaget observed, animism is commonly present in young children and tends to disappear as they grow up.
A closely related hypothesis to animism is panpsychism. Unlike animism, panpsychism does not necessarily attribute life and full mental activity to
In HG Wells’s short story The Country of the Blind, a mountaineer called Nuñez arrives at a hidden valley that is cut off from the rest of the world. The valley is occupied by a population consisting entirely of blind people. Nuñez tells them that he has the fifth sense called ‘sight’ but no one believes him. After living there for some time he falls in love with a local woman. The elders, however, object to their marriage because Nuñez is obsessed with the ‘non-existent’ fifth sense. His doctor suggests Nuñez’s eyes, which are causing his ‘delusions’, be removed. Is it really impossible, even in principle, for Nuñez to make the people in the country comprehend what it is like to see things?
Wells’s story is reminiscent of a philosophical thought experiment introduced in 1982 by the philosopher Frank Jackson at the Australian National University, which vividly illustrates the mystery of consciousness. Imagine Mary, a brilliant future scientist who has always lived in a black-and-white room. Although she has never been outside her room in her entire life, she has learned everything there is to know about reality by studying physics, chemistry and neuroscience from black-and white textbooks and lectures on a black-and-white television. She knows exactly how the brain works and what kind of neural process takes place in any given situation. Suppose now that Mary leaves her room for the first time in her life and looks at, say, a ripe tomato. It seems reasonable to think that she will say, ‘Wow, this is what it is like to see red!’ She will learn something new. This seems to suggest that some knowledge can only be captured by conscious experience.
The brain is a highly complex system with the capacity to process information, but it is a mere organ, a material substance. There seems nothing more spiritual or supernatural about it than there is about the stomach or the lung. So how could the brain yield conscious experiences that are so dissimilar to processes like digestion and respiration? How could processes in the brain give rise to vivid sensations and raw feelings, such as the shooting pain of a leg cramp or the sublime pleasure one takes from listening to musical masterpieces? It seems difficult, if not impossible, for science to explain it. Read More

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A Massive Heat Source Was Just Discovered Under Antarctica, Driving Ice Melt And Volcanism

[Forbes] Recent discoveries have revealed just how volcanic Antarctica really is, despite being hidden underneath massive ice sheets. However, up until now, there remained significant debate as to what is causing the unusual amount of volcanic activity under an area covered in ice.
Recent research found the source of magma that is fueling the volcanoes underneath Antarctica. The source, a massive upwelling of mantle magma, also known as a hotspot. This is a similar mechanism that produced the Hawaiian Islands and fuels volcanic and geothermal activity in Yellowstone.
There were two key reasons this discovery was difficult to come by, despite significant research.
  • The first is the difficulty of measuring anything underneath kilometers of ice. Typically geoscientists gain a better understanding of the Earth's inner workings by sending sound waves into the ground and measuring the time and angle at which they return to the surface. Using complex mathematical algorithms, geophysicists are able to reconstruct a three-dimensional picture of the subsurface. However, this was difficult to do when any acoustic signal has to travel through kilometers of chaotic ice, causing significant noise in the subsurface "picture" beneath Antarctica.
  • The second is the counterintuitive nature of having a massive heat source underneath an area that is covered with kilometers of ice. With an average ice sheet thickness of 2.16 km and a maximum thickness of around 4.7 km, it's hard to believe there is a massive heat source similar to the one in Yellowstone sitting beneath the ice. How has the heat source not prevented ice build up?

To tackle these questions the research team used a numerical model to help constrain the heat required to produce the melting we currently measure in Antarctica. While direct measurements underneath Antarctica are difficult and few, there are numerous measurements of meltwater outflow. This allowed the research team to constrain their model.
It is well known that there are rivers and lakes beneath Antarctica that drain meltwater to the ocean. Some lakes are as large as Lake Erie and can rapidly drain into the ocean, causing a sudden sinking of the overlying ice.
The numerical model, using constrained melt rates, were able to predict heat sources underneath Antarctica. The team found that the heat coming from beneath Antarctica is constrained to 150 milliwatts per square meter, with a higher heat rate causing too much melting as compared to what is measured. To compare that with other areas, the average heat flux from the Earth is 40-60 milliwatts per square meter and it reaches an average of 200 milliwatts beneath Yellowstone National Park. Read More

We know where the next big earthquakes will happen — but not when

[Vox] At least 400 people are dead and more than 6,000 injured after a massive earthquake struck near the Iran-Iraq border on Sunday.
The magnitude 7.3 earthquake hit the border region just before 10 pm local time with an epicenter 32 kilometers south of Halabja, Iraq. Tremors were felt in both Baghdad and Tehran. 
NPR’s Jane Arraf reported that many of these casualties occurred in remote mountain villages, as homes built of mud brick toppled and fires were started from kerosene heaters and lamps. Aftershocks triggered mudslides, complicating the relief effort. Iranian officials now say 70,000 people need temporary housing.
The recent earthquakes in Iran and Iraq follow a pair of massive earthquakes in September in Mexico, including the strongest tremor to hit the country in a century. The quakes led to at least 369 deaths.
In light of the recent tremors, and the looming possibility of a big one in the United States, here’s a refresher on earthquakes, along with some of the latest science on measuring and predicting them. 
An earthquake occurs when massive blocks of the earth’s crust suddenly move past each other. These blocks, called tectonic plates, lie on top of the earth’s mantle, a layer that behaves like a very slow-moving liquid over millions of years.
That means tectonic plates jostle each other over time. They can also slide on top of each other, a phenomenon called subduction.
The places on the planet where one plate meets another are the most prone to earthquakes. The specific surfaces where parcels of earth slip past each other are called faults.
As plates move, pressure builds up across their boundaries, while friction holds them in place. When the former overwhelms the latter, the earth shakes as the pent-up energy dissipates.
Scientists understand these kinds of earthquakes — which include those stemming from the San Andreas Fault in California — well.
However, earthquakes can also occur within tectonic plates, as pressure along their edges cause deformations in the middle. These risks are harder to detect and measure.
“Our understanding of these within-plate earthquakes is not as good,” said Stanford University geophysics professor Greg Beroza. “These two earthquakes that happened in Mexico are the latter,” he added, noting that an earthquake within a tectonic plate has fewer telltale signs than those that occur at fault lines. 
The Richter scale, developed by Charles Richter in 1935 to measure quakes in Southern California, is falling out of fashion.
It uses a logarithmic scale, rather than a linear scale, to account for the fact that there is such a huge difference between the tiniest tremors and tower-toppling temblors. On a logarithmic scale, a magnitude 7 earthquake is 10 times more intense than a magnitude 6 and 100 times more intense than a magnitude 5. Read More

Deadliest Earthquakes of Last Decade: More than 400 people were killed and at least 6,00 injured in Iran when a magnitude 7.3 earthquake hit the country. At least six have died in Iraq as well.
Local officials said the death toll of Iran's deadliest earthquake in more than a decade would rise as search and rescue teams reached remote areas to look for dozens of people trapped under rubble in the in the mountainous area. The earthquake, which struck on Sunday, was felt in several western provinces of Iran but the hardest hit was Kermanshah.
Here is a short timeline of some of the world's deadliest major earthquakes in the last 10 years:
September 19, 2017 - MEXICO - A 7.1 magnitude quake hits central Mexico, killing at least 369 people, causing more devastation in the capital than any since the 1985 earthquake that killed thousands.
August 24, 2016 - ITALY - A 6.2 magnitude quake strikes a cluster of mountain communities 140 km east of Rome in central Italy, killing about 300 people.
April 16, 2016 - ECUADOR - A devastating magnitude 7.8 earthquake smashes Ecuador, killing more than 650 people along the country's ravaged Pacific coast. Read More