The New Space Race (and the Strange New Certainty about Aliens)

Maybe "Half-Billion miles from Earth" wasn't an error after all...

A lot of you probably saw this story, coming on the heels of a story circulating in April that scientists were "certain" of finding evidence of extraterrestrial civilizations by 2025. Now no less a luminary than Stephen Hawking (hawks again...) has been recruited for a new Super-SETI, one that promises results with all the gusto of a Silicon Valley startup:
LONDON: Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking and Russian-born billionaire Yuri Milner* on Monday announced an ambitious bid to combine vast computing capacity with the world's most powerful telescopes to intensify the so far fruitless search for extraterrestrial life. 
Hawking, who speaks using a computer-generated voice due to the effects of motor neuron disease, explained the reason for the $100 million project: "We are alive. We are intelligent. We must know." 
"The scope of our search will be unprecedented: a million nearby stars, the galactic center, the entire plane of the Milky Way and 100 nearby galaxies," Milner told a packed press conference at the Royal Society in London. 
Milner plans to back the program for at least 10 years although scientists agree it may take longer to find proof that alien life exists. 
Hawking said the new program should succeed because it has ample resources: access to time on major telescopes, a huge data capacity, and a long-term financial commitment that will not be withdrawn.
Those of us whose attention was piqued by the New Horizons mission's takeoff for Nibiru's neighborhood probably remembered this very strange story, yet another example of the many certain pronouncements made by scientists about aliens (do a search- scientists seem to be talking about them all the time these days), always with evidence they don't seem to want to share:

Alien beings just might be quite a bit larger than humans, or at least that is the conclusion drawn by one cosmologist working out of the University of Barcelona. According to his calculations, the average alien would not only be larger but, if given dimensions like a humanoid, would stand taller than the tallest man who ever lived. 
Huffington Post reported April 9 that Dr. Fergus Simpson noted in a new paper -- published at arXiv.org -- that most intelligent extraterrestrials would tip the scales at an average of 300 kilograms (661 pounds), or roughly the size of polar bears. But, Simpson postulated, if given human proportions, the same polar bear-sized aliens would stand taller than Robert Wadlow, the tallest man in recorded history, who stood just one inch shy of nine feet. 
And that would be most intelligent aliens. That would make human beings the runts of the Milky Way and perhaps the universe, if one adheres to the theory that there is abundant life in the cosmos and that, given the amount of possible habitable planets (by human standards), there is the occasional species that might rise to sentience.
Here's another bold, assertive statement about aliens, just up today:
A scientist responsible for finding signs of life on other planets has warned that human beings should probably think twice before making contact with aliens. 
Professor Matthew Bailes is based at Swinburne University in Melbourne - and is leading Australia's efforts to find signs of extra-terrestrial life. 
But he warned that making contact with aliens capable of transmitting powerful signals to Earth over tens of thousands of light years could lead humanity into disaster, because they're likely to be so much more advanced.
Surely aliens tens of thousands of light years away can't possibly harm us. I don't care what kind of warpdrive they have. Or are these aliens closer to home he's concerned about?

Either way, there are bold new plans to return to the Moon and put permanent bases there. A new working group has laid a strategy to return to space, this time for good:
Humans could return to the Moon in the next decade and live there a decade after, a new study claims. The announcement was made on the 46th anniversary of the Apollo 11 crew's first steps on the lunar surface. 
The study, performed by NexGen Space LLC and partly funded by NASA, concludes that the space agency could land humans on the Moon in the next five to seven years, build a permanent base 10 to 12 years after that, and do it all within the existing budget for human spaceflight. The way for NASA to do this is to adopt the same practice that it's using for resupplying the International Space Station (and will eventually use for crew transport) — public-private partnerships with companies like SpaceX, Orbital ATK, or the United Launch Alliance.
But hold on- read the fine print:
A number of obvious risks are addressed in the study. For one, the cost and risk of developing a lunar base is far beyond that what is considered acceptable for businesses looking for a return on their investment. The study also lays out strategies for how to respond to things like the loss of a launch vehicle, loss of lander vehicles, and even loss of crew.
And talk about buzzkill- the walking space buzzkill, Buzz Aldrin, shows up to splash some cold water in the face of serious space watchers. If ol' Buzz is involved, I'd advise you don't bet the farm on this particular venture:
Building a base on the moon would both prepare humans for the technical challenges of long-term space travel and teach them "how we would assemble a base on Mars," former astronaut Buzz Aldrin, one of the pioneers who made that historic journey for America in 1969, said during a press call on Monday. A return to the moon can be funded within NASA's existing budget, he said.
But maybe the new Cold War is at the center of this new Space Race, in much the same way the old Cold War was before. And this time there's a tangible motive- growing shortages of rare earth minerals, resources that China is flush with and not big on sharing. Scientists believe there are plenty to be found on the moon.

But how do we get there? We've seen a series of disasters in rocketry recently and America has no working rocket program to speak of. Well, here comes Captain Tomorrow with his wonder science!
A big part of the reason that it’s so expensive to send objects into space is that in order to get them there, we currently use messy, chemically-powered rockets that shed pieces all over the place on their way into orbit, and then smash themselves to bits on their way back down. A much more cost-effective (and elegant) solution would be a reusable single stage vehicle that goes up and comes right back down intact and ready to be refueled and reused. 
To accomplish that, a more efficient source of power is needed. Rockets that have to haul their own fuel and oxidizer just aren’t going to cut it. Escape Dynamics thinks it has a solution in the form of a spaceplane that can launch vertically and make it to orbit in one shot, and is powered entirely by microwaves beamed from the ground.
Oh, but wait- as with every scientific miracle headline, there's a huge caveat waiting in the fine print:
From the sound of things, this launch system isn’t intended for heavy lifting. The maximum payload that it’ll be taking into orbit is just 200 kg. And the development won’t be cheap, either. It’s estimated that it will require about a billion dollars to take the project from its current state to a prototype spaceplane in orbit.
Just remember, it's a big ol' Solar System. Estimates range between a light year and two light years. Unfathomably enormous. So while one hand has SuperSETI looking out for aliens dialing us up on the ol' Marconi wireless doodad, the hidden hand has an impressive probe out there scouring the dim outer regions of our own neighborhood for...what?

Maybe there's a very, very good reason these scientists are so confident about finding extraterrestrial intelligence- giants, yet!- within the next ten years. Maybe they'll be found right down the ol' cosmic block....

UPDATE: The new Space gold rush:


Silicon Valley venture capitalists are betting big, pouring $1.7 billion into space-related companies this year, according to CB Insights. Even if you exclude the $1 billion of that raised just by SpaceX, the market has still attracted almost twice as much money in 2015 as in the past three years combined. Planet Labs closed a $118 million round in April. 
Google, of course, is firmly in the mix. The Web giant shelled out $500 million last year for satellite maker Skybox Imaging, a venture-backed start-up whose technology can bolster products like search, maps and Google Earth. 
"There are going to be a number of companies built upon the back of all this fundamental technology," said Peter Hebert, co-founder of Lux Capital, a Silicon Valley venture firm that's investing heavily against that thesis. "This is a huge wave that's going to play out over decades."




*Hawking and Milner- hawk, falcon (Horus) and Milner=miller=green, grain (Osiris). What a coincidence!

46 comments:

  1. Yeah, I'm getting an idea of what New Horizons is looking for now.

    The microwave-powered spaceplane sounds like an excellent vehicle - to soak up investor monies & taxpayer subsidies. Maybe they can run it with Lockheed's Fusion Reactor, now only 10 years away!

    It's getting difficult to tell reality from fiction, and especially from Bullshit propaganda handed out by the media whores. I guess it's like the old saying: Believe nothing that you hear, and only half of what you see. XD

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    1. I'm still waiting for them to start work on project Daedalus. They designed that in the 70s, so it's a bit overdue:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Daedalus

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    2. I remember reading about Daedalus when I was little. It seems workable to me.

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    3. With enough effort it definitely would be. One of the guys involved Alan Bond has a long history of creating amazing spacecraft designs like HOTOL, but never got the sort of funding he needed. Which is kind of tragic as Britain could have been a force to be reckoned with in spaceflight by now.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Bond_%28engineer%29

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    4. Hi, I read the link. Alan Bond seems like a very cool guy. HOTOL looks workable, as well.

      Interesting about that impact event in Tyrol that Bond researched. There seem to be whole chapters of missing history that we aren't told about.

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    5. One of the things they have to contend with, which they didn't quite anticipate when these space age dreams were concocted, is the effect of space on the human body. We've got a lot of data now from the ISiS and surely from more secret projects. How they intended to crack that nut will be something to look out for.

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  2. Interesting subject for sure, but I still think it(man getting off this rock) is wishful thinking on the part of those who are becoming concerned with Their Future. Is there Life out there?(I have no doubt) and I seriously doubt they are going to let our would be overlords off this planet any time soon. Because whatever all this talk is about, we both know that this has nothing to do with the 99% and everything to do with the 1%.I do agree Chris though the noise level on this is definitely been amped up. I think we need to get past the middle of September to see where the meme is then.Then again too this could all be a distraction to keep people from looking around them.To me this is easy to see why this great adventure has to be privately funded.Love your work sir

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    1. I think they'd make a lot more noise if this were just a distraction. And think about it- do they need any more distractions? I've never seen people more distracted in my entire life.

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  3. "According to his calculations, the average alien would not only be larger but, if given dimensions like a humanoid, would stand taller than the tallest man who ever lived. "

    This immediately brings to mind reports compiled by Brad Steiger in his book _Worlds Before Our Own_, as well as by Keel et al. of giant skeletons found across America (and especially in the Southwest and Great Lakes regions) during the 19th Century in caves, graves and deep down new mines. Some had Native American trappings, while others had metallic implements that suggested a European origin. Yet, Native accounts which remain say they moved from west to east in Antiquity, discounting a Euro origin.

    I know that some of these accounts might be tall tales copied or even made up by bored newspapermen to fill pages, but all of them? Doubtful. I also have read similar accounts from Europe and Asia, but cannot cite sources at this time. Can anyone add to this?

    These accounts do little to prove visitations in themselves, but they are food for thought.

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    1. The whole giant thing has really taken off. It's amazing, really. A lot of it is the Nephilim angle but there's also the pre-Columbian stuff that skeptics sneer at but seems to be piling up...

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  4. The well appointed title says it all Chris. My feeling is the mainstream respected researchers, scientists, astronauts, media etc. including The Roman Catholic Church are leaking ideas, situations, tech, etc. to prep the world knowingly and not knowingly (some are just following the the snow ball kicked down the mountain) because this is the next "one giant leap for mankind". My experiences, research, and high strangeness in my life have given me the opinion there is a secret space program/programs and contact with intelligence has already been made. A paradigm shift in the making, and "Every little thing is gonna be alright" to quote Bob Marley. Peace.

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    1. You could very well be right. The Church thing is just totally off the wall. I've read Exo-Vaticana and it's much stranger than the press releases would have you believe. Those authors may have a bias but the facts are there to back them up.

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  5. EMERGENCY! Would Lazycat and the other recent poster please repost their comments? They were accidentally deleted! Thank you!

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  7. Today, 7/23/15, we also have this:

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/nasas-kepler-telescope-locates-closest-copy-earth/

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  8. Ah, I said that if the global oligarchs have a cosmic ace hidden up their sleeve, now would be the time to play it. The financial system is cracking up again. Global manufacturing is crashing out. The energy and environmental crises are becoming too obvious to ignore.

    I sure don't find myself feeling trusting towards any "aliens" who'd be willing to do their dealings with Earth's thieving, murderous oligarchs. Maybe less Klaatu barata nicto and more Half-Life's Combine.

    Hopefully it gets through this time the site has been acting up

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    1. Re: Microwave spacecraft

      Here's an article from the NYT in 1987 on the topic:

      http://www.nytimes.com/1987/07/21/science/new-kind-of-aircraft-is-on-horizon-as-designers-try-microwave-power.html

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    2. Maybe the aliens have no interest in dealing with the oligarchs. Maybe that's what all those giant underground panic rooms and Bond villain hideouts are all about....

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  9. An asteroid made of Platinum, H3 in moon scape, future terraforming of Mars, me thinks the future holds many adventures that can benefit our species. Smile. 87

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    1. Platinum is nice but there are a lot of things we need more. Like helium...

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  10. 'According to his calculations, the average alien would not only be larger but, if given dimensions like a humanoid, would stand taller than the tallest man who ever lived'.

    I certainly hope the movie Prometheus was not an example of remote viewing in the same sense that the early paintings of Pluto may have been.

    To say the Engineers were indifferent to humankind's attempt to contact them would be putting it mildly ...

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  11. The optimist in me would like to believe that advanced beings would get wind of our demented behaviour towards our fellow creatures—Google ‘The Grindadráp in the Faroe Islands' at your peril—and simply refuse to return our phone calls.

    Hopefully the Milky Way has produced alternative modes of intelligence that inhabit forms more beneficent than the violent primates of the cunning hand.

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    1. Prometheus is one of those movies that is saying a lot more than it's actually saying, if you get my drift. Starting with that half billion mile "error." Let's wait for the sequel...

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  12. I don't know - I've always been fascinated by UFOs, contactees, abductee reports, etc., but I've never believed that Space Brothers would save us.

    It certainly seems that the so-called Elites believe in something of that kind, though. Are they wanting to bring "Childhood's End"? Is New Horizons looking for "Rama"? Or do they think the Gods are returning to re-create the Zep Tepi?

    What better explanation for all this crazyness, the secrets, lies, ritual and symbolism, than that they really do think the Gods are returning?

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    1. There's no one elite. There are a lot of elites, many of which are at war with each other on a constant basis. Who believes what and who is trying to do what is where the fun begins...

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    2. Now *that* makes sense. Factions, different "gods", power struggles, that is a good explanation. :)

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  13. NASA is extremely excitable about things lately on all fronts with their press releases, imagery of planets and generally trying to control the world/space/higher -beings narrative. I suppose things should start to become more interesting right about now as the flat earth movement is blowing wide open and the drip feed of controlled imagery stimulates and drives forward a new breed of people to investigate the constant lies being perpetuated. As if it's being done as a joke.

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    1. The FEM seems quite calculated, to brush away all the skeptics and busybodies. I've already seen the shills say "Why, some of these people believe the earth is flat!" Good way to end the conversation right there.

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  14. An asteroid containing up to $5.4 trillion in platinum passed by the Earth on Sunday night. http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/Trillion-dollar-platinum-asteroid-buzzes-the-Earth-6395191.php

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    1. The recent push for private space mining is puzzling. The concept has been studied for decades and it's certainly feasible to grab elemental resources from other parts of the solar system.

      The problem is that to make it economically viable you'd need to mine large amounts of material (like the platinum-laden rock mentioned), but once you started bringing said large amounts back the resource price would collapse. Trying to control mining via some sort of DeBeers-like cartel wouldn't work as other countries desperate for cheap resources would send up their own mining missions to compete. There may be long-term profitability in harvesting fuel materials we can't easily get on Earth such as Helium 3 though even then you'd have a problem once the new fuels became cheap enough to power a generation of nuclear mining ships who all want their share of the almost unlimited cosmic bounty.

      It would be great if money didn't matter and we all worked together for the good of humanity to produce a viable post-scarcity economy; but I have my doubts that voracious corporations are going to want that future to come to pass.

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    2. You hit on something there. I very much believe the platinum cartel doesn't want any asteroid mining busting up their monopoly.

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  15. New X-Files teaser. Please be good.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKFxAJ8yH-8

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  16. NASA doesn't spend vast sums of money for a bunch of rocks, in my opinion. Since its inception the agency has clearly had other motives. Makes ya wonder.

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    1. No, they're looking for something besides a bunch of space dust. There's no two ways about it.

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  17. Our duty, as men and women, is to proceed as if limits to our ability did not exist. We are collaborators in creation.

    Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

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  18. As far as this search for ET by power-mad, so-called Elites goes, I have a feeling that the culmination of all this will be akin to that of Raiders Of The Lost Ark, where agents of a would-be ruling system brimming with superiority complexes and occult symbols will attempt to contact and (laughably) control entities of which they have no true understanding, grudgingly using archaic ritual and devices they disdain, the result being a catastrophe. Let us hope that in the aftermath there are enough survivors with a clue to restart negotiations with our new neighbors on a more civil level, and that they are willing to listen.

    Come to think of it, that well describes several of Lovecraft's scenarios as well. Yeah, we're screwed.

    Someone should remind these Seekers that things awakening after a long slumber are usually very hungry. Who knows, they may have left these Keys/Calls/Rituals in place as a kind of cosmic dinner bell, letting them know when we were ripe. Didn't Fort say something about this planet being a farm? Hungry for energy, I think, and negative energy, which is both flavorful and easy to generate. Eat the eggs, don't kill the chickens. War, misery, ruin - hell, they might be here already, gorging themselves, and we haven't even noticed.

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    1. I don't know how many Enochian calls you'll see coming out of the Super-SETI crowd. That bunch is mechanistic unto death. I've long said that what we call "alien" is no such thing. We deny the companions' existence because they are so good at concealing themselves but also because they either create or benefit from myths like they drop in now and then from Zeta Reticuli. People see strange things all the time. Then they are told they didn't. I think whatever dealing with has been awake all this time. We're the one's who are asleep.

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  19. Maybe they will find a way of teleporting objects or energy back to earth.

    https://www.sciencenews.org/article/physicists-double-their-teleportation-power

    http://www.technologyreview.com/view/417362/physicist-discovers-how-to-teleport-energy/

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  20. On the subject of contact with alien entities--all this reminds me of C.S. Lewis's sci-fi novel "That Hideous Strength." Basically, secular materialists make contact with spiritual beings, who they think are higher intelligence aliens. They don't have a category for spirits, so they call them macrobes. What's really strange is that some major plot points of the novel (written right after WWII) are very similar to the supposedly real experiments going on 20 years later as described in Nick Redfern's "Final Events." Perhaps Lewis just saw this as inevitable.

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  21. Hey Chris,

    Hopefully you don’t see this comment as too off-topic, but I just wanted to note here an insight about the nature of conspiracy that speaks to this particular post. Delete once you’ve read it if you feel the need.

    But you ever notice how when political or military-intelligence corruption is portrayed in intellectually ‘credible’ movies the corruption is the work of a few, and ultimately orchestrated by a single sinister figure who is ultimately responsible? It’s a relatively isolated rather than systemic corruption. It’s usually a key insider with some private fundamentalism, perverting the goal of the party or agency he is supposed to serve. Whenever conspiracy is explored as something greater than this, with more individuals involved - something systemic rather than isolated - it usually veers into the realm of the fantastical; science-fiction or action-thrillers such as Winter Soldier, MI: Rogue Nation and the soon to be released James Bond movie Spectre. This in-vogue idea for the Snowden NSA age, of a phantom network of well-trained intelligence operatives working in concert for some sinister agenda.

    And while I believe this notion has a lot of practical truth to it, it just highlights how perhaps we don’t have the necessary vocabulary anymore for dealing with such weighty concepts without utilising the mercurial language (cinematic or otherwise) of the fantastical. I always say that sci-fi is intended to be intellectually sobering as much as it is awe-inspiring, and I think conspiracy thrillers qualify as social sci-fi. But here’s the thing – there are multiple conspiracies. What is a conspiracy, really? It’s an information war. It’s the control of narrative. Not what’s true, but what’s believed to be true. It’s spin. And there are many elites, all fighting for power, and for control of that spin. Some are far more dangerous than others. But we want to simplify things and merge them into one monolithic enemy, an occult ‘illuminati’ or a Rogue Nation, or a Hydra, or a Spectre.

    A true story – a story where political and corporate power-brokers, banking dynasties, ex-military mercenaries, intelligence operatives, occultists, atheists, and sexual predators, all constantly in a state of covert ‘open-secret’ war for power, for resources and information, in a baffling web of ever-changing dynamics – that story is far too disturbing and stygian and fathomless to really process, or even look at for too long.

    Factor in genuine high weirdness into that awful mess of realpolitik? Yeah, the language of the fantastic seems to be the only way we can allow ourselves to even go there. It’s a very strange connection, between the real and the imaginal, between the human and the ‘alien’, or the personal and archetypal. Deep mysteries there. There are things beyond the edge.

    Peace



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    1. Raj, you've knocked it out-of-the-park again. :) Lots of food for thought here.

      I'd say, notice which conspiracies we aren't "allowed" to discuss without being subject to abusive rhetoric. I think those are a good clue as to what's really going on.

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    2. Raj, you, Chris and Gordon are like the Blog Triumvirate of the moment. All. Over. It! :)
      And I am loving it.

      Why we imagine that the conflict over division of power at a country level is any less complex than the conflict of division of power within an HR department is beyond me. People are people, wether it's a farmers market, or an international trade treaty.
      Factor in you "high weirdness" though, and people start running like their hair is on fire.( and with good reason!) It just adds a shimmer to the whole thing that makes it hard to deal with rationally.
      And the more time you spend with your mind in "crazy logic" land getting a grasp on it, the harder it is to keep a grasp on "real" stuff, like paying the bills!!

      Balance is every thing;
      If you are needing to be a bit insane, make sure your life is in order.
      If your life needs to be broken wide open,( a prerequisite to true growth, but a bit of a bastard! :) ) don't let your mind off the leash.

      True Shamans and Gurus have the reputation of being completely bonkers for a reason. There is no other way to deal with all of reality at once.....

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    3. Raj,

      I think you hit the nail on the head when you mention the overlapping nature of multiple conspiracies. Perhaps the tern "Byzantine" is appropriate, these uncountable, overlapping Venn diagrams in 4D. We think two (or more) elements are part of the same action, and they are - for a time, then they are not.

      The average Guy sees these shifts and gets confused. Weren't they all more or less heading in the same direction down the motorway, only shifting lanes or driving at match speed to block competitors? Now they are clanging against one another like Ben Hur chariots. Multiply by a thousand and no wonder most observers (observing from a bus in the middle lanes) become dismissive almost as a defensive measure. Perhaps the issue is the linear thinking of lanes and highways - is the "road" more open than that? Sorry if this all sounds a bit Mad Max, context shifts in attempts to grasp it all.

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  22. Thank you Anna and HameandSare. :)

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