Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Retired Police Captain Destroys "The War On Drugs"

Retired police Capt. Peter Christ is about to make more sense about the War on Drugs than anyone you've ever heard in the past. His basic premise is that we need to legalize drugs, but if you're skeptical, just give him a few minutes to convince you. 
Highlights include a very honest answer to a commonly asked drug question at 0:54, the easiest question to answer about the War on Drugs at 4:48, the complete destruction of the biggest argument anti-drug advocates use at 7:23, using the Bible to prove the ineffectiveness of prohibition at 13:55, and a rapid-fire debunking of several myths all in one breath at 14:20. 
If you have to leave right now, just skip to 5:58 for the thesis statement in a single sentence.

Originally posted on: Upworthy

Is It Natural for Humans to Make War? New Research Suggests Not

Is it natural for humans to make war? Is organised violence between rival political groups an inevitable outcome of the human condition? Some scholars believe the answer is yes, but new research suggests not.

A study of tribal societies that live by hunting and foraging has found that war is an alien concept and not, as some academics have suggested, an innate feature of so-called “primitive people”.

The findings have re-opened a bitter academic dispute over whether war is a relatively recent phenomenon invented by “civilized” societies over the past few thousand years, or a much older part of human nature. In other words, is war an ancient and chronic condition that helped to shape humanity over many hundreds of thousands of years?

The idea is that war is the result of an evolutionary ancient predisposition that humans may have inherited in their genetic makeup as long ago as about 7 million years, when we last shared a common ancestor with chimpanzees – who also wage a kind of war between themselves.

However, two anthropologists believe this is a myth and have now produced evidence to show it. Douglas Fry and Patrik Soderberg [umlaut over o] of Abo Akademi University in Vasa, Finland, studied 148 violently lethal incidents documented by anthropologists working among 21 mobile bands of hunter-gatherer societies, which some scholars have suggested as a template for studying how humans lived for more than 99.9 per cent of human history, before the invention of agriculture about 10,000 years ago.

They found that only a tiny minority of violent deaths come close to being defined as acts of war. Most the violence was perpetrated by one individual against another and usually involved personal grudges involving women or stealing.

About 85 per cent of the deaths involved killers and victims who belonged to the same social group, and about two thirds of all the violent deaths could be attributed to family feuds, disputes over wives, accidents or “legal” executions, the researchers found.

“When we looked at all the violent events about 55 per cent of them involved one person killing another. That’s not war. When we looked at group conflicts, the typical pattern was feuds between families and revenge killings, which is not war either,” said Dr Fry.

“It has been tempting to use these mobile foraging societies as rough analogies of the past and to ask how old warfare is and whether it is part of human nature. Our study shows that war is obviously not very common,” he said.

Only a tiny minority of cases involved more organised killing between rival bands of people, which could fall into the definition of war-like behavior  Most of these involved only one of the 21 groups included in the study – the Tiwi people of Australia who seemed to be particularly prone to violent incidents, Dr Fry said.

Rather than finding war ubiquitous, the two researchers found little evidence that hunter-gatherer societies were in a constant state of violent conflict with rival groups. In short they found that some of the most “primitive” peoples on Earth were actually quite peaceful compared to modern, developed nations.

“These findings imply that warfare was probably not very common before the advent of agriculture, when most if not all humans lived as nomadic foragers,” Kirk Endicott, an anthropologist at Dartmouth College told the journal Science, where the study is published.

The findings also question the conclusions of well-respected academics such as Harvard’s Stephen Pinker and University of California’s Jared Diamond, both of whom have recently published best-selling books on the subject of war-like aggression and tribal societies.

In Diamond’s “The World Until Yesterday”, for instance, war is defined as recurrent violence between groups belonging to rival political units that is sanctioned by those units. Under this definition, many tribal societies, left to their own devices, would be in a state of chronic war, Diamond says.

He cites the case of the Dani people living in the Baliem Valley of the New Guinea Highlands who in 1961 engaged in a series of violent conflicts that led to many deaths. Although the Dani are agriculturalists, Diamond uses them as examples of how early humans societies may have interacted with one another.

Meanwhile, Pinker in his book “The Better Angels of Our Nature” argues that humans are innately violent and have only become less so in recent years because of cultural influences that have kept this aggressive nature in check.

Both Pinker and Diamond have been criticized by some anthropologists for simplifying and exaggerating the research they use to support their conclusions. Even worse, some argue that they used discredited work of anthropologists such as Napoleon Chagnon who has claimed that the Yanomami people of the Amazon are in a state of chronic warfare with one another.

“Chagnon’s work is frequently used by writers such as Jared Diamond and Stephen Pinker who want to portray tribal peoples as ‘brutal savages’, far more violent than ‘us’. But none of them acknowledge that his central findings about Yanomami violence have long been discredited,” said Stephen Corry, director of Survival International.

“This latest research is the latest nail in the coffin for Pinker's 'Brutal Savage' thesis. Pinker selects highly questionable data, and leaves out anything which contradicts his argument,” Mr Corry said.

“Although he and his supporters, such as Jared Diamond, present those of us who question them as 'anti-science', in fact their own work is simply a social and political argument with a pseudo-scientific wrapper,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Diamond said that many scholars agree with his conclusions that tribal societies are on average more violent than state societies.
“This conclusion might at first seem surprising, but tribal warfare tends to be chronic, while even nations with the highest war-related death tolls in the 20th Century – Russia, Germany and Poland – were mostly at peace and only intermittently at war,” Dr Diamond said.

“Corry’s passionate and error-laden condemnation of my book is clearly driven by something other than the facts. It’s Corry’s romanticized view of traditional societies that is really dangerous,” he said.

Originally posted on: Independent

The Only Way to Improve Your Situation is to Improve Yourself

Self-improvement is multifaceted. To improve yourself, you must consider every aspect of the word self. This means improving your mind, your body, and your soul. This article will discuss ways to improve each.
Improve your mind
         Read books: Books are amazing and inspiring pieces of work that will help you improve your vocabulary and reading skills. Books also help you stay up on what is happening in popular culture. You can join a book club or read at a coffee shop where you can interact with others who have read the same text, bouncing ideas off one another and stimulating your intellect.
         Learn a language: Research has shown that learning a new language stimulates your brain in way that nothing else can. In most cultures, knowing multiple languages fluently is commonplace and with the ever-growing migrant populations in the United States, learning a new language will only be helpful in the future. Learning a new language can also boost your marketability on the job market.
         Take a course: Learning is not always easy to do alone. Taking an online course, like a massive online open course, is a great way to learn something new for free. You can have access to thousands of pages of materials and hundreds of classmates, which will enable you to feel like you are part of a class culture instead of sitting home, alone studying by yourself.
         Ask for feedback: Feedback is one of the best ways to improve. Having peers, mentors, and others offer you feedback on your work is one very easy way to improve your capabilities.
         Seek out a mentor: A mentor is someone who teaches you the nuances of a profession, trade, or skill. This person can guide you on a path towards success and help you actualize goals that you maybe thought were not possible.
         Stop watching TV: Television, while entertaining, can be a drain on your brain as you do not often have to think or analyze situations. Television also forces you to sit or lie down, which leads to unhealthy eating and exercising habits. Reading a book or going for a run is always a better alternative to watching tv, and they can also stimulate your brain and release endorphins in a similar way.
Improve your body
         Start an exercise routine: Exercising is known to improve your cardiovascular and muscular health as well as improving your overall quality of life. Exercising your body helps you sleep and eat better, which enables you to improve your mind and body simultaneously. Getting into a routine can be difficult, but exercising is rewarding enough that it is worth it.
         Learn to cook: Cooking can lead to a world of physical and mental improvements. Not only can you use your mind to learn how to cook, you can also become creative with ingredients and improve your overall mental and physical health by choosing what you goes into the food you eat. Cooking can also be a bonding activity that leads to familial and social growth.
         Pick up a new hobby: Hobbies are things that you can do that are your own. Gardening, for example, can be a great hobby for your physical health as you will be working outside and learning about plants. A hobby can stimulate your brain and body in ways many activities can not.
         Go to sleep and wake up earlier: Sleep is important for functioning throughout the day. Depending on your body, you may need more or less sleep. Regardless of how much sleep you need, waking up earlier can benefit everyone, as studies have shown people who wake up between 5a and 6a are more productive throughout the day than their counterparts.
         Cut out fast food and junk food: Junk food and fast food contain high amounts of sugar and low amounts of nutrients. They give you an immediate high followed by a crash and can negatively affect your waistline. Cutting out both of these products can increase your mental and physical health as well as your social health as you likely will lose weight and be more desirable to others.
Improve your soul
         Start yoga and meditation: Meditating through yoga has been shown to be an extremely intimate self-help mechanism. Yoga stretches out your body and mind and improves your overall mental and physical health.
         Commit to growing: When you set a goal, you must stick to it. Committing to grow is important as you are more likely to actually succeed at growing if you are committed to the practice.
         Read self-help articles: Self-help is difficult to do on one’s own, and you would be wise to hear other people’s stories and ideas. Reading self-help articles can spark interests, connect you to peers, and help you maintain a level of commitment to growing.
         Spend more time with your family: Family is the one thing that never goes away. Having a healthy relationship with your family can do wonders for your mental and physical health. Maintaining strong ties with family only leads to positivity.
         Reconnect with old friends: The people who know you the best are sometimes people from the past. Reconnecting with old friends can be rewarding and open up doors you thought might have closed.
         Start keeping a journal: Recording your progress is important as it helps you set goals and maintain on your journey. A journal is a great way to organize your mental, physical, and spiritual progress and will allow you to continue to self-improve.
         Quit a bad habit: Bad habits die hard and committing to quitting one bad habit can make a world of difference in your life. Not only can it potentially improve your mental and physical health, but also it can help you recognize that you are in control of your own life and have the power to do anything.
Overall, improving your mind, body, and soul is a long, slow journey. You would be wise to organize your self-improvement efforts and keep track of your progress. Making your life better can only be done by you, and if you follow these simple steps, you will be well on your way to a more positive, happy, and healthy life.
Ava Reed is an avid education and technology blogger who specializes in distance learning. I love reading, cooking, and I also enjoy helping others on their career explorations. Let’s say “no” to stress; we need to identify a specific career that will allow us to make good use our talents and skills.
Originally posted on: Pick The Brain

Life, the Universe, and Everything: What are the Odds?

Have you ever wondered how likely – or unlikely – it is that you exist?  Although it may sound pie-in-the-sky, it’s really a scientific problem, though you don’t have to be a scientist to be captivated by it.
Take, for example, the wonderfully-named Cosmicomics of 20th-century Italian writer Italo Calvino – a collection of whimsical, science-fiction-flavoured short stories.  One of the stories, called “How Much Shall We Bet,” involves two characters, the narrator (with the unpronounceable name “Qfwfq”) and someone named “Dean (k)yK.”  The two men seem to have existed since the before the beginning of the universe – somehow separate from the universe, whatever that could mean – and they seem to be immortal.  All they do is make an endless series of bets regarding what sorts of things will happen in their cosmos.
As you might imagine, the series of events that they bet on, and the series of events that actually unfold, are rather familiar:  They seem to resemble the actual events that have unfolded in the history of our own universe.  Their first bet is on the formation of atoms; the narrator bets for it, while Dean bets against it.  They go on betting on the formation of various chemical elements, and, looking billions of years ahead, they bet as to whether the Assyrians will invade Mesopotamia. We’re told that Dean always bets no, “not because he believed the Assyrians wouldn’t do it, but because he refused to think there would ever be Assyrians and Mesopotamia and the Earth and a human race.”
Let’s begin with the big philosophical questions:  First there’s the issue of determinism – roughly, whether the “stuff that happens” in the universe is largely, or perhaps completely, determined by what came before.  This is something that thinkers have wrestled with for 2,500 years, and I won’t attempt to add to that discussion here; but it is worth mentioning that most versions of determinism seem to place free will in jeopardy, making them rather unappetizing (though not necessarily wrong).  (But I would say that, wouldn’t, if I were destined to say it?)
Secondly, assuming that the future is not fully determined by the present, there’s the string of probabilities associated with each development along the way to “us.” Thinking again of Calvino’s story:  Before you can have Assyrians, you have to have human beings, and before you can have human beings you have to have life, and before you can have life you have to have a habitable planet orbiting a star at just the right distance… it does sound like a leaning tower of improbabilities, doesn’t it?
Certainly, the more specific the outcome, more improbable it seems.  If you consider someparticular state of affairs, and then ask what the odds are, starting from today and going back even a short time (let alone the 3.8 billion years to when life first appeared on this planet), that particular state will seem extraordinarily unlikely.  For example, imagine turning the clock back five years.  From that perspective, what were the odds that, on this particular day, you would be sitting in this particular room, in this city, reading this particular sentence?
And what something even more basic – say, your own existence?  A couple of months ago, a“probability chart” produced by Harvard Law School blogger Ali Binazir went somewhat viral, encouraging people to contemplate this very question.  In the chart, Binazir calculates just how improbable it was that the right sperm from your father hooked up with the right egg produced by your mother – by his estimate, it’s about one chance in 400 quadrillion (that number seems only slightly more tame in scientific notation: 4 x 10^17).  And that’s hardly the whole battle:  To even get to that stage, all of your ancestors, going all the way back to the beginning of life on Earth, had to survive to reproductive age.  Multiplying the string of probabilities together, he concludes that the odds of your existence are an astronomical one in 10^2,685.000.  (As you can imagine, not everyone in the blogosphere was kind to Binazir; one asked if it was painful to pull those numbers out of you-know-where.)
To be sure, we can quibble about the precise figures.  But I’m sure we can agree that the chances of anything specific happening, viewed from a remote enough point in the past, seem absurdly low.  And yet, for some reason, we often weave stories in which historical events have a flavour of inevitability to them.  Think how many science fiction stories you’ve read on the theme of time travel, in which the time traveller attempts to “change history,” only to find that what was going to happen, happens anyway.  Push history, and it pushes back.
If you’re a Stephen King fan, you’ll know that his latest book, 11-22-63, involves a time traveller who attempts to prevent the Kennedy assassination (which of course took place on the date that gives the book its title).  As you might guess, even with several years lead-time, preventing the fatal shot from being fired from the Dallas book depository is no simple task.  As filmmaker Errol Morris puts it in his review of King’s book:  “What if history is too forceful to redirect?  What if jiggering the engine produces no favourable outcome – merely a postponement of the inevitable?  If he had lived, Kennedy might not have escalated the war in Vietnam, and might have kept America out of a bloody mire.  But we don’t know.  What if we were headed there anyway?  Then our tampering might only make things worse.  It is not historical inevitability, but something close.”
These kinds of questions, about the inevitability (or otherwise) of history, have made their way into our popular culture, so I’m happy to give the last word to Lisa Simpson.  I’m thinking of a Halloween episode in which Lisa had lost a tooth; as part of an experiment for a science fair project, she leaves the tooth in a glass of cola overnight.  Sure enough, the next morning she sees a peculiar mould growing on it; and looking through her microscope, she sees that she’s crated little cave men.  Some hours later she looks again, and the little people are undergoing what appears to be the Renaissance; soon, one of the little people is seen nailing something to the cathedral door. She gasps:  “I’ve created Lutherans!”
Originally posted on: PLOS Blog

Monday, July 29, 2013

How To: The Art Of Astral Projection

The strange origins of astral projection.

What do the ancient Hindus, medieval civilizations, countless modern-day scientists and spiritual leaders have in common? They’ve all extensively documented the theory of astral projection, or out-of-body experiences (OBE)—the theory that it’s possible for a person to leave the physical body, and experience something beyond the physical realm.
The idea that humans can leave their bodies during dream states is an ancient one. Countless people — from New Agers to shamen around the world to 19th-century occult philosopher Madame Blavatsky — believe that it is possible to commune with cosmic intelligence through visions and vivid dreams experienced during astral projection, also known as out-of-body experiences.
This theory extends across the history of human civilization, touching virtually every corner of the globe—from the above-mentioned civilizations to InuitAmazonian and Japanese cultures. Various chapters in the Bible directly reference astral projection. The Yoga Vasistha, an ancient Hindu text, repeatedly speaks of leaving the confines of the physical body. In ancient Chinese scripture, the great Daoist sage Han Xiang Zi was said to have projected his consciousness into a room of people, as he lay fast asleep next door.
Fast forward to today, and you’ll realize similar experiences continue to be reported. The Dalai Lama has said that “consciousness can be trained to leave the physical body”. Studies have suggested that up to 5% of Americans have experienced some form of astral projection. And scientific journals have documented experiments where participants can be induced into an out of body experience.

Can you really induce an out of body experience?

Science Magazine, 24 August 2007
In August 2007, Science Magazine published a study by neuroscientist Dr. Henrik Ehrsson, who had devised an experimental method to induce an OBE in healthy participants. The experiment, involving a total of 42 people, was conducted at the UCL Institute of Neurology.

Dr. Ehrsson conducting an out-of-body experiment.
Participants were requested to sit in a chair and wear a pair of virtual reality goggles. The goggles had two small screens which showed live film recorded by two video cameras, placed side by side, two meters behind the participant’s head.
The image from the left video camera was presented on the left-eye display and images from the right camera fed to the right eye, allowing the person to see a stereoscopic (3D) image of their own image from behind.
In full view of the participant, Dr. Ehrsson stood beside them and used two plastic rods to simultaneously touch the participant’s actual chest out-of-view and the chest of the illusory body, moving the second rod towards where the illusory chest would be located, just below the camera’s view.
“It was quite a vivid experience for most people,” said Dr. Ehrsson. “Many of them giggled and said ‘Wow, this is so weird!’”.

“It’s like having your arm fall asleep.”

“There are several theories as to why people have OBEs,” says David Wilde, a scientist leading a study on OBEs at the University of Manchester. “A common link between them is the idea that in certain circumstances the brain somehow loses touch with sensory information coming in from the body. This triggers a series of psychological mechanisms which can lead to someone having an OBE.”
“It’s a little bit like if you sleep on your arm and lose sensation in it. Only with an OBE, the sensation loss is in the whole body and the brain’s response seems to be to create a feeling of separation from the self.
How to induce conscious astral projection

In essence, astral projection is a conscious out of body experience – and it can be triggered through both meditation and hypnosis. Once you learn to master these modalities, you can start astral projecting whenever you want. And your astral projections aren’t a result of an external situation or circumstance which you have no control over, like surgery or with drugs.

Step one:
Relax the body. According to Monroe, "the ability to relax is the first prerequisite, perhaps even the first step itself" to having an OBE. (out of body experience) This includes both physical and mental relaxation. Monroe does not suggest a method of attaining this relaxation, although Progressive Muscle relaxation, coupled with deep breathing exercises (inhale 1, exhale 2, inhale 3.... until 50 or 100) are known to work well.

Step two:

Enter the state bordering sleep. This is known as the hypnagogic state. Once again, Monroe doesn't recommend any method of doing this. One way is to hold your forearm up, while keeping your upper arm on the bed, or ground. As you start to fall asleep, your arm will fall, and you will awaken again. With practice, you can learn to control the Hypnagogic state without using your arm. Another method is to concentrate on an object. When other images start to enter your thoughts, you have entered the Hypnagogic state. Passively watch these images. This will also help you maintain this state of near-sleep. Monroe calls this Condition A.

Step three:

Deepen this state. Begin to clear your mind. observe your field of vision through your closed eyes. Do nothing more for a while. Simply look through your closed eyelids at the blackness in front of you. After a while, you may notice light patterns. These are simply neural discharges. They have no specific effect. Ignore them. When they cease, one has entered what Monroe calls Condition B. From here, one must enter an even deeper state of relaxation which Monroe calls Condition C-- a state of such relaxation that you lose all awareness of the body and sensory stimulation. You are almost in a void in which your only source of stimulation will be your own thoughts. The ideal state for leaving your body is Condition D. This is Condition C when it is voluntarily induced from a rested and refreshed condition and is not the effect of normal fatigue. To achieve Condition D, Monroe suggests that you practice entering it in the morning or after a short nap.

Step Four:

Enter a state of Vibration. This is the most important part of the technique, and also the most vague. Many projectors have noted these vibrations at the onset of projection. They can be experienced as a mild tingling, or as is electricity is being shot through the body. /their cause is a mystery. It may actually be the astral body trying to leave the physical one.

For entering into the vibrational state, he offers the following directions:

  1. Remove all jewelry or other items that might be touching your skin.
  2. Darken the room so that no light can be seen through your eyelids, but do not shut out all light.
  3. Lie down with your body along a north-south axis, with your head pointed toward magnetic north.
  4. Loosen all clothing, but keep covered so that you are slightly warmer than might normally be comfortable.
  5. Be sure you are in a location where, and at a time when, there will be absolutely no noise to disturb you.
  6. Enter a state of relaxation
  7. Give yourself the mental suggestion that you will remember all that occurs during the upcoming session that will be beneficial to your well-being. Repeat this five times.
  8. Proceed to breath through your half-open mouth.
  9. As you breath, concentrate on the void in front of you.
  10. Select a point a foot away from your forehead, then change your point of mental reference to six feet.
  11. Turn the point 90 degrees upward by drawing an imaginary line parallel to your body axis up and above your head. Focus there and reach out for the vibrations at that point and bring them back into your body. Even if you don't know what these vibrations are, you will know when you have achieved contact with them.
Step five:

Learn to control the vibrational state. Practice controlling them by mentally pushing them into your head, down to your toes, making them surge throughout your entire body, and producing vibrational waves from head to foot. To produce this wave effect, concentrate of the vibrations and mentally push a wave out of your head and guide it down your body. Practice this until you can induce these waves on command. Once you have control of the vibrational state, you are ready to leave the body.

Step six:

Begin with a partial separation. The key here is thought control. Keep your mind firmly focused on the idea of leaving the body. Do not let it wander. Stray thought might cause you to lose control of the state. Now, having entered the vibrational state, begin exploring the OBE by releasing a hand or a foot of the "second body". Monroe suggests that you extend a limb until it comes in contact with a familiar object, such as a wall near your bed. Then push it through the object. Return the limb by placing it back into coincidence with the physical one, decrease the vibrational rate, and then terminate the experiment. Lie quietly until you have fully returned to normal. This exercise will prepare you for full separation.

Step seven:

Dissociate yourself from the body. Monroe suggests two methods for this. One method is to lift out of the body. To do this, think about getting lighter and lighter after entering this vibrational state. Think about how nice it would be to float upward. Keep this thought in mind at all costs and let no extraneous thoughts interrupt it. An OBE will occur naturally at this point.

Another method is the "Rotation method" or "roll-out" technique. When you have achieved the vibrational state, try to roll over as if you were turning over in bed. /do not attempt to roll over physically. Try to twist your body from the top and virtually roll over into your second body right out of your physical self. At this point, you will be out of the body but next to it. Think of floating upward, and you should find yourself floating above the body. Monroe suggests you begin with the lift-out method, but argues that both are equally efficacious.


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Extensive System Of Caves Discovered Under The Pyramids

Egypt's Cave Underworld Under Investigation

As an "all Egyptian" archaeological team moves in to find answers we hope they will reveal what's really there.

Something extremely strange is happening in Giza, both under the pyramids and in the office of Dr. Hawass. Even skeptics of the "Hall of Records" from Atlantis are now forced to admit that something big is being hidden. It's the perfect set of circumstances for conspiracy theorists.

In August of 2008 a system of caves was discovered under the pyramids. Certainly this is very big news. But look at the reaction of Dr. Hawass on his website:

Surely Hawass is intimately aware of such a discovery. So Why deny it? What is he trying to hide? Dies this have anything to do with the wall that is being built to surround the Giza complex? What secrets don't they want us to know?

Inside Giza's cave underworld

In December 2009, after denying that they existed, Egypt's leading Egyptologist, Dr Zahi Hawass, has had to admit that an excavation team under his charge is investigating an ancient tomb at the centre of claims regarding the alleged discovery of a cave underworld beneath the Pyramids of Giza.

This is a surprising announcement for several reasons, not the least being that the "alleged" cave system has already been explored and photographed by British writer and explorer Andrew Collins. In August 2008, Collins announced that he had rediscovered the entrance to a previously unexplored cave system, entered via a mysterious tomb several hundred meters west of the Great Pyramid. Perhaps it was how Collins discovered the cave entrance that has caused the controversy.

The alignment of the three pyramids with the stars of Orion's belt [above] is not perfect.

Much has been made observation that the three pyramids on the Giza plateau appear slightly mis-aligned. They are not on a straight line. Since we marvel at the mathematical perfection of the early Egyptians, this has bothered investigators. Thus when in 1993 Robert Bauval and Adrian Gilbert in their bestselling book The Orion Mystery saw the three 'belt' stars of Orion as defining the ground-plan of the Giza Pyramids the theory was met with cautious enthusiasm. However, not all were convinced by the "Orion Correlation Theory" (OCT), as it became known.

The alignment wasn't "perfect" but it was close enough for many Egyptologists. But not for Andrew Collins.

The alignment with the "wings" of Cygnus [above] is perfect.

Collins discovered another group of stars in the constellation Cygnus that matched with the same perfection that was the trademark of the Egyptians. By superimposing the stars of Cygnus over the three pyramids he could see that one star, Deneb, was not aligned. Looking where something should be -- a pyramid or temple -- there was nothing. Perhaps time had destroyed it? Perhaps it was buried? Or perhaps it was a sign that something else was under the plateau, waiting to be discovered.

Collins later found clues left in the 200-year-old memoirs of British diplomat and explorer Henry Salt. Salt wrote how, in 1817, he and Italian explorer Giovanni Caviglia had investigated cave "catacombs" at Giza for a distance of "several hundred yards" before coming across a "spacious" chamber.

This chamber linked to three others of equal size, from which went various labyrinthine passages, one of which the Italian later explored for a distance of "300 feet further".

Collins decided to look for these caves in the area where the unmarked star of Cygnus would align in relation to the three pyramids. He discovered a series of catacombs, as Henry Salt had described, but no sign of any caves. Then, as he was about to leave the site he noticed a break in the catacomb wall which eventually revealed the entrance to this huge complex network of caves.

Excited by this monumental discovery, Collins immediately went to inform the Egyptian authorities and expected them to be as excited as he was. Wrong!

Why Cygnus x-1 is unusual
Several thousand light-years away, near the "heart" of Cygnus, the swan, two stars are locked in a gravitational embrace. One star is a blue supergiant, known as HDE 226868. It is about 30 times as massive as the Sun and 400,000 times brighter. The other star is 5 to 10 times the mass of the Sun, but it's extremely small. The object must be the collapsed core of a star. Its mass is too great to be a white dwarf or a neutron star, though, so it must be a black hole -- the corpse of a star that once resembled the supergiant.

The system is called Cygnus X-1, indicating it was the first source of X-rays discovered in the constellation Cygnus. Discovered by the Uhuru X-ray satellite in the early 1970s, it was also one of the first suspected black holes.

The X-rays come from a disk of gas that's spiraling into the black hole. As the two stars orbit each other once every 5.6 days, the black hole's gravitational pull causes the blue supergiant to "bulge" toward it. In profile, the supergiant would resemble an egg, with the small end aimed at the black hole. But this egg doesn't have a smooth edge. Instead, hot gas flows away from the star toward the black hole. The gas forms a wide, flat accretion disk that encircles the black hole. Friction heats the gas to a billion degrees or more, causing it to emit a torrent of X-rays -- enough to fry any living thing within millions of miles.

But the X-ray glow isn't steady. Instead, it flickers, which is one bit of evidence that identifies the dark member of the binary as a black hole. Gas enters the outer edge of the accretion disk then spirals closer to the star.

If the center of the disk contained a normal star, or even a superdense neutron star, then the disk would get hotter and brighter all the way in to its center, with the brightest X-rays coming from the middle. Instead, the X-ray glow cuts off well outside the center of the disk. Observations with Hubble Space Telescope reveal that the central region occasionally flares up as blobs of gas break off the inner edge of the disk and spiral into the black hole.

These blobs are accelerated to a large fraction of the speed of light, so they circle the black hole hundreds of times per second. This causes the system's X-rays to "flicker." If the blobs of gas were orbiting a larger object, they would not move as fast, so their high-speed revolution is one bit of circumstantial evidence that identifies the dark companion as a black hole.

The black hole's strong gravitational field "redshifts" the energy emitted by this gas to longer and longer wavelengths. Eventually, as the gas approaches the event horizon, the redshift becomes so great that the material disappears from view -- just before it spirals into the black hole.

Egyptian authorities try to hide the cave discovery

According to Collins,
"Dr Hawass [Secretary General for Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities] actually denied the existence of the caves. He has done this publicly. Why he has done this is a matter of debate.The most easiest explanation is that the preliminary investigations that he did following our visit to inform him of the discovery of this cave, in April 2008, meant that his people went in the tomb overlooked the entrance, as we did initially."
Fifteen months later, bowing to the inquiries made by the press and Egyptian scholars, Dr Hawass confirmed that he has ordered an all-Egyptian team to explore the tomb at the center of the "controversy". Controversy? How could a discovery on such a scale be controversial?

"We are clearing this system now, and it is a Late Period catacomb, like many others around Egypt," he stated this week. "There is no mystery about it, and there is no connection with esoteric topics. We will publish our results as part of our normal process."
While applauding Dr Hawass's new interest in the site, Collins remains sceptical of his motives. "We knew in August that he had started clearing the tomb," he said. "The excavations began almost immediately after knowledge of the cave discovery hit the internet."

Collins is also unconvinced by Hawass's explanation of what he calls the "catacomb". "Does his use of the term 'system' now suggest that he has found and entered the caves, which he previously denied even existed? he asks.

"My colleagues and I have examined photographic evidence of dynastic catacombs throughout Egypt, and these all appear to be carved by human hands." --Hawass
But photographs don't lie. Collins says, "Those at Giza are natural, and penetrate the bedrock for many hundreds of metres, perhaps following the course of local geological faulting."

Although Dr Hawass suggests there is no mystery surrounding the "catacomb", Collins suspects that the caves extend beneath the Second Pyramid, where ancient tradition puts the legendary Tomb of Hermes [right], Egypt's legendary founder. This is significant because Hermes is known as the Great Wisdom Bringer and Collins suspects that the chambers could possibly reveal something left behind by Hermes -- something like the legendary Hall of Records.

The Hall of Records -- as prophesied by Edgar Cayce?

According to the legendary psychic, Edgar Cayce, the pyramids were constructed by an ancient civilization that had its origins in Atlantis. This great civilization existed somewhere around 10,000 to 11,000 BC and was responsible for building the Great Pyramid, and for burying the lost history of mankind in a chamber called "The Hall of Records."

"The records are one... [They contain] "...a record of Atlantis from the beginnings of those periods when the spirit took form or began the encasements in that land." -- Cayce
The records extend through the first destructions of that ancient civilization, the exodus of Atlanteans to other lands, and the final destruction of Atlantis. They contain a description of the building of the Great Pyramid, as well as a prophecy of "who, what, where, would come [to make] the opening of the records."Collins says,
"This has never been found. So perhaps it is still there, awaiting discovery, somewhere close to where Salt and Caviglia reached nearly 200 years ago. 
"I do believe that the caves that we have entered are part of a much larger complex that stretches right beneath the entire Giza plateau."
Collins explains that the network of caves are natural and resemble Swiss Cheese. He believes they were formed long before the pyramids were built and suggests that they could be the reason the pyramids were built on this site. The early civilizations believed that part of the dying process involved traversing the so-called "underworld" and these caves might have been viewed as the entrance to this underworld. There is evidence of human activity in the deepest parts of the caves.

Satellite images help verify the caves

According to Collins, "Satellite images would tend to suggest that the caves... go all the way to the Second Pyramid." A little west of here archaeologists have found a collection of bird mummies. Since the constellation of Cygnus is historically depicted as a bird, specifically a swan, it is theorized that worshippers left mummified birds as an offering associated with this star configuration or perhaps to Socar, the bird-like figure that was the ruler of the underworld.

From the entrance of the caves it appears that you can travel towards the Second Pyramid and directly under the spot where the Cygnus star, Deneb, would be aligned with the three pyramids and the wings of Cygnus. Is this where we will find the famed "Hall of Records"? Will the Egyptian government allow the world to know about what's really there? Why are they being so secretive?

What's in the caves

As of February 2010, Dr Zahi Hawass revealed that the system of caves was being probed by a host of experts.
"We have experts in all fields working with us," he revealed this week. "Archaeologists, geologists, engineers, and architects, to name a few... I will be posting information about our excavation at Giza on my web site and will be publishing the results of our work in due course."
Work at the cave-tomb, designated "NC2" by American Egyptologist George A. Reisner, has discovered two new rock-cut shafts and stairways leading into a maze of underground chambers and galleries never seen before in recorded history. Dr Hawass has suggested that they may date to the Old kingdom period. It appears that the caves were originally used as catacombs but leter were used for a bird necropolis, where mummified birds and other small animals were offered as sacrifices.

A British man named Richard Gabriel and his partner Judith was able to gain access to the tomb and cave system and take a sequence of breathtaking pictures. The top 5 photos are from the actual tomb.


Notice the many electrical cables [above, left] indicating the level of activity currently being undertaken in the caves.

One photo [above, right] displays rock simulacrum in the form of a snake's head, making sense of local folk stories which claim that the caves are haunted by a giant snake called el-Nahash. So now we wait. What will these "Experts" find in the maze of caves? Are there records of a prior civilization, describing their accomplishments in science and philosophy? Are there warnings of a fate that they once survived and is yet to befall us? And will they tell us if they do find these things?

What do you think?

Originally posted on: View Zone