Scientists create organism with ‘Alien’ DNA

organism with 'alien' DNA

organism with ‘alien’ DNA

Scientists have created the first “semi-synthetic” micro-organism with a radically different genetic code from the rest of life on Earth.

The researchers believe the breakthrough is the first step towards creating new microbial life-forms with novel industrial or medical properties resulting from a potentially massive expansion of genetic information.

The semi-synthetic microbe, a genetically modified E. coli bacterium, has been endowed with an extra artificial piece of DNA with an expanded genetic alphabet – instead of the usual four “letters” of the alphabet its DNA molecule has six.

The natural genetic code of all living things is based on a sequence of four bases – G, C, T, A – which form two sets of bonded pairs, G to C and T to A, that link the two strands of the DNA double helix.

The DNA of the new semi-synthetic microbe, however, has a pair of extra base pairs, denoted by X and Y, which pair up together like the other base pairs and are fully integrated into the rest of the DNA’s genetic code.

The scientists said that the semi-synthetic E. coli bacterium replicates normally and is able to pass on the new genetic information to subsequent generations. However, it was not able to use the new encoded information to produce any novel proteins – the synthetic DNA was added as an extra circular strand that did not take part in the bacterium’s normal metabolic functions.

The study, published in the journal Nature, is the first time that scientists have managed to produce a genetically modified microbe that is able to function and replicate with a different genetic code to the one that is thought to have existed ever since life first started to evolve on Earth more than 3.5 billion years ago.

“Life on earth in all its diversity is encoded by only two pairs of DNA bases, A-T and C-G, and what we’ve made is an organism that stably contains those two plus a third, unnatural pair of bases,” said Professor Floyd Romesberg of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California.

“This shows that other solutions to storing information are possible and, of course, takes us closer to an expanded-DNA biology that will have many exciting applications, from new medicines to new kinds of nanotechnology,” Professor Romesberg said.

Expanding the genetic code with an extra base pair raises the prospect of building new kinds of proteins from a much wider range of amino acids than the 20 or so that exist in nature. A new code based on six base pairs could in theory deal with more than 200 amino acids, the scientists said.

“In principle, we could encode new proteins made from new, unnatural amino acids, which would give us greater power than ever to tailor protein therapeutics and diagnostics and laboratory reagents to have desired functions,” Professor Romesberg said.

“Other applications, such as nanomaterials, are also possible,” he added.

The researchers emphasised that there is little danger of the new life-forms living outside the confines of the laboratory, as they are not able to replicate with their synthetic DNA strand unless they are continuously fed the X and Y bases – synthetic chemicals called “d5SICS” and “dNaM”, that do not exist in nature.

The bacteria also need a special protein to transport the new bases around the cell of the microbe. The transporter protein comes from algae and if it, or the X and Y bases, are lacking, the microbial cells revert back to the natural genetic code, said Denis Malyshev of the Scripps Institute.

“Our new bases can only get into the cell if we turn on the “base transporter” protein. Without this transporter or when the new bases are not provided, the cell will revert back to A, T, G, C and the d5SICS and the dNaM will disappear from the genome,” Dr Malyshev said.

 

Source:  independent.co.uk

Giant Alien Planet Discovered

Giant Alien Planet Discovered in Most Distant Orbit Ever Seen:

Giant Alien Planet Discovered in Most Distant Orbit Ever Seen

Giant Alien Planet Discovered in Most Distant Orbit Ever Seen

An enormous alien planet — one that is 11 times more massive than Jupiter — was discovered in the most distant orbit yet found around a single parent star.

The newfound planet, dubbed HD 106906 b, dwarfs any planetary body in the solar system, and circles its star at a distance that is 650 times the average distance between the Earth and the sun. The existence of such a massive and distantly orbiting planet raises new questions about how these bizarre worlds are formed, the researchers said.

“This system is especially fascinating because no model of either planet or star formation fully explains what we see,” study lead researcher Vanessa Bailey, a fifth-year graduate student in the University of Arizona’s department of astronomy, said in a statement.

In the most commonly accepted theories of planet formation, it is thought that planets that orbit close to their parent star, such as Earth, began as small, asteroid-type bodies that clumped together in the primordial disk of gas and dust around the burgeoning star. Yet, this process operates too slowly to explain how giant planets form far away from their star, the researcher said.

Alternative hypotheses have suggested that distant giant planets may form in ways similar to mini binary star systems, Baily said.

“A binary star system can be formed when two adjacent clumps of gas collapse more or less independently to form stars, and these stars are close enough to each other to exert a mutual gravitation attraction and bind them together in an orbit,” she explained.

In the HD 106906 system, the star and planet may have collapsed independently, but the materials that clumped together to form the planet were insufficient for it to grow large enough to ignite into a new star, Bailey said.

But, there are still problems with this scenario. For one, difference between the masses of two stars in a binary system is typically no more than a ratio of 10 to 1.

“In our case, the mass ratio is more than 100-to-1,” Bailey said. “This extreme mass ratio is not predicted from binary star formation theories — just like planet formation theory predicts that we cannot form planets so far from the host star.”

Researchers are also keen to study the new planet, because leftover material from when the planet and star formed can still be detected.

“Systems like this one, where we have additional information about the environment in which the planet resides, have the potential to help us disentangle the various formation models,” Bailey said. “Future observations of the planet’s orbital motion and the primary star’s debris disk may help answer that question.”

The planet HD 106906 b is only 13 million years old, and is still glowing from the residual heat from its formation,” the researchers said. By comparison, Earth formed 4.5 billion years ago, which makes it roughly 350 times older than the newfound exoplanet.

The planet was found using a thermal infrared camera mounted on the Magellan telescope in the Atacama Desert in Chile. The researchers used data from the Hubble Space Telescope to confirm their discovery.

The study, which has been accepted for publication in a future issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters, could lead to a better understanding of distantly orbiting exoplanets.

“Every new directly detected planet pushes our understanding of how and where planets can form,” study co-investigator Tiffany Meshkat, a graduate student at Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands, said in a statement. “Discoveries like HD 106906 b provide us with a deeper understanding of the diversity of other planetary systems.”

U.S. Astronauts encounters Extraterrestrials and UFOs

U.S. Astronauts reveal encounters with apparent Extraterrestrials and UFOs:

   U.S. Astronauts reveal encounters with apparent Extraterrestrials and UFOs


U.S. Astronauts reveal encounters with apparent Extraterrestrials and UFOs

Rumors have persisted for years that the astronauts — nearly all of whom are military officers susceptible to being silenced under orders — may have seen something more on the Moon than rocks and dust. According to transcripts of the technical debriefing following the Apollo 11 mission, astronauts Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins told of an encounter with a large cylindrical UFO even before reaching the Moon,” U.S. investigative journalist and researcher Jim Marrs documents Mr. Aldrin further officially presented his encounters with apparent Extraterrestrials on CNN’s Larry King Show. Jim Marrs further presents that Mr. Aldrin said, “The first unusual thing that we saw I guess was one day out or pretty close to the Moon. It had a sizable dimension to it”. Aldrin said the Apollo crew at first thought the object was the Saturn 4 booster rocket (S-IVB); but, he added, “We called the ground and were told the S-IVB was 6,000 miles away.” Mr. Aldrin described the UFO as a cylinder, while Armstrong said it was “really two rings” Two connected rings”. Collins also said it appeared to be a hollow, tumbling cylinder. He added, “It was a hollow cylinder. But then you could change the focus on the sextant and it would be replaced by this open-book shape. It was really weird.” Even more strange was the experience of Mr. Aldrin and Mr. Armstrong, after they reached the Moon. According to an Associated Press story of July 20, 1969 published in the San Bernardino Sun-Telegram, the astronauts sighted eerie lights inside a crater near the point on the Moon where their lunar lander was due to touch down the next day. On their first sweep around the Moon, Armstrong described a mysterious bright light on the inner wall of the crater Aristarchus, located north of their flight path. “It seems to have a slight amount of florescence to it. The area in the crater is quite bright,” he reported. “That area is definitely brighter than anything else I can see. There doesn’t appear to be any color involved in it. It looks like an eerie sight,” confirmed Aldrin. Two astronauts who appear to have broken ranks are Dr. Edgar Mitchell and Gordon Cooper. On The Oprah Winfrey Show on 19 July 1991, Mitchell hinted that all information regarding UFOs has not been released, saying, “I do believe that there is a lot more known about extraterrestrial investigation than is available to the public right now [and] has been for a long time… It’s a long, long story. It goes back to World War II when all of that happened, and is highly classified stuff.” On Dateline NBC in 1996, Mitchell was even more candid. “I have no firsthand experience, but I have had the opportunity to meet with people from three countries who in the course of their official duties claim to have had personal firsthand encounter experiences… with Extraterrestrials,” he said. Jim Marrs says that “Mitchell flatly stated that some advanced military craft use technology derived from alien spacecraft that have been collected by the U.S. Government.” Cooper, in a letter read during a 1978 meeting at the United Nations to discuss UFOs, stated, “…I believe that these extraterrestrial vehicles and their crews are visiting this planet form other planets, which are obviously a little more advanced than we are here on Earth.” Also that year, Mr. Cooper wrote a letter to the ambassador of the Mission of Grenada to the United Nations supporting a UN initiative to study UFOs. In his letter, Cooper stated that astronauts “are very reluctant even to discuss UFOs due to the great numbers of people who have indiscriminately sold fake stories and forged documents, abusing their names and reputations without hesitation. Those few astronauts who have continued to participate in the UFO field have had to do so very cautiously. There are several of us who do believe in UFOs and who have had occasion to see a UFO on the ground, or from an airplane.” Cooper’s mention of a “UFO on the ground. apparently was a reference to his own experience at Edwards Air Force Base on May 2, 1957. In 1993, Cooper gave this account of the incident: “I had a crew that was filming an installation of a precision landing system we were installing out on the dry lake bed, and they were there with stills and movies, and filmed the whole installation and they came running in to tell me that this UFO, a little saucer, had come down right over them, put down three gear, and landed about 50 yards from them, and as they proceeded to go on over to get a closer shot of it, it lifted up, put the gear in, and disappeared in a rapid rate of speed. “And so I had to follow my directions as a military… I had to look up the regulations on who I was to call to report this, which I did, and they ordered me to immediately have the film developed, put it in a pouch, and send them by the commanding general’s plane to Washington, which I did. And that was the last I’ve ever heard of the film.” It is interesting to note indicates Mr. Marrs that, “despite the continued protests that there is no government secrecy regarding UFOs, there is no public report on this incident. Although the event was listed in the Project Blue Book index, a full report and clear photos are suspiciously absent.” Yet Mr. Cooper, who reported the UFO landing, was selected as a Mercury astronaut only two years later. In a 1996 interview, Mr. Cooper said he discounts any conventional explanation for his experience. Asked his thoughts on UFOs, the astronaut said, “Well, I figured it was somebody coming from some distant place to visit us.” Steve Omar, another investigative journalist and researcher, indicates that J. Allen Hynek (who investigated U.F.O.s for the U.S. Air Force), Major Donald Keyhoe, Timothy Good (in his book Above Top Secret) suggest secrecy about UFOs and Extraterrestrials. One unquestionably absolute expert we may want to consult is Christopher Kraft, who was Director of the NASA tracking base in Houston during the Apollo Moon missions, when he revealed the following conversation “after” he left his work at NASA:

– ASTRONAUTS NElL ARMSTRONG and BUZZ ALDRIN speaking from the Moon: “Those are giant things. No, no, no …. this is not an optical illusion. No one is going to believe this!”

– MISSION CONTROL (HOUSTON CENTER): “What…what…what? What the hell is happening? What’s wrong with you?”

– ASTRONAUTS: “They’re here under the surface.”

– MISSION CONTROL: “What’s there? Emission interrupted… interference control calling Apollo II.”

– ASTRONAUTS: “We saw some visitors. They were there for awhile, observing the instruments.”

– MISSION CONTROL: ”Repeat your last information.”

– ASTRONAUTS: “I say that there were other spaceships. They’re lined up on the other side of the crater.”

– MISSION CONTROL: “Repeat…repeat!”

– ASTRONAUTS: “Let us sound this orbita ….. In 625 to 5… automatic relay connected… My hands are shaking so badly I can’t do anything. Film it? God, if these damned cameras have picked up anything… what then?”

– MISSION CONTROL: “Have you picked up anything?”

– ASTRONAUTS: “I didn’t have any film at hand. Three shots of the saucers or whatever they were that were ruining the film.”

– MISSION CONTROL: “Control, control here. Are you on your way? Is the uproar with the U.F.O.s. over?

– ASTRONAUTS: “They’ve landed there. There they are and they are watching us.”

– MISSION CONTROL: “The mirrors, the mirrors…have you set them up?”

> – ASTRONAUTS: “Yes, they’re in the right place. But whoever made those space ships surely can come tomorrow and remove them. Over and out.”

There is an unconfirmed report, also documented by Steve Omar, that when Buzz Aldrin opened the door after landing on the Moon, he immediately saw a transparent etherical being staring at him outside. Welcome to the Moon?? Allegedly, NASA Director Kraft added that there was a public and a secret private A.S.A. radio frequency between Moon and Mission Control and that the conversation above took place during a mysterious two minute interruption in public transmissions. To prove it is the truth, hundreds of independent CIVILIAN radio operators with powerful VHF equipment separately reported hearing the AME spaceship report from the Apollo moon-walkers!

“Soviet radio operators also picked it up and published it in Moscow. Another mysterious radio message from the Moon was broadcast on French public television only one time before it was censored AFTER it leaked out. That transmission appeared to be a mysterious clearly spoken ALIEN LANGUAGE,” further reports Steve Omar. The famous French historian and author Robbert Charroux published the transmission which has been suppressed in the U.S. It came from U.S. astronaut Worden who transmitted it to NASA, and expert linguists have been unable to translate the message.

Alien Skulls In Mexico

Archeologists Unearth Alien-Like Skulls In A Mexico Cemetery:

Archeologists Unearth Alien-Like Skulls In A Mexico Cemetery

Archeologists Unearth Alien-Like Skulls In A Mexico Cemetery

Archeologists have unearthed what looks like a cone-shaped alien skull from 1,000 years ago in Mexico. The skull, which dates from 945 A.D. to 1308 A.D., was discovered accidentally while digging an irrigation system in the northwest state of Sonora in Mexico. Cristina Garcia Moreno, who worked on the project with Arizona State University, explained that 13 of the 25 skulls found in the Hispanic cemetery had these deformed heads. “We don’t know why this population specifically deformed their heads,” Moreno told ABC News. The site, known as El Cementerio, was discovered in 1999, but the team just completed their analysis of the skeletal remains last month. They plan to continue their research during the next field season. Archaeologists also discovered artifacts on the site, like pendants, nose rings and jewelry. They said the deformation of human skulls was part of an ancient ritual that took place 1,000 years ago. The deformation was achieved by binding a person’s head between two blocks of wood to apply pressure on the skull by wrapping the wood with bands. “Cranial deformation has been used by different societies in the world as a ritual practice, or for distinction of status within a group or to distinguish between social groups,” Moreno told ABC News. “The reason why these individuals at El Cementerio deformed their skulls is still unknown.” The team said that many of the bones unearthed were the remains of children, leading them to believe the practice of deforming skulls “may have been inlet and dangerous.” The Chinook of the U.S. Northwest and the Choctaw of the U.S. Southeast both were known for practicing skull deformation as well. Moreno told ABC that people deformed their heads in Mexico because they wanted to distinguish important people, or they wanted to distinguish people from one group from another.

Russia Orders Obama to Tell the World About Aliens

Russia Orders Obama: Tell World About Aliens, Or We Will

Russia Orders Obama: Tell The World About Aliens, Or We Will

 

A stunning Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) report on Prime Minister Medvedev’s [photo top left] agenda at the World Economic Forum (WEF) this week states that Russia will warn President Obama that the “time has come” for the world to know the truth about aliens, and if the United States won’t participate in the announcement, the Kremlin will do so on its own. The WEF (The Forum) is a Swiss non-profit foundation, based in Cologny, Geneva and describes itself as an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Russia Orders Obama Tell World About Aliens, Or We Will

The Forum is best known for its annual meeting in Davos, a mountain resort in Graubünden, in the eastern Alps region of Switzerland. The meeting brings together some 2,500 top business leaders, international political leaders, selected intellectuals and journalists to discuss the most pressing issues facing the world, including health and the environment. Medvedev is scheduled to open this years Forum where as many as 50 heads of government, including Germany’s Angela Merkel and Britain’s David Cameron, will attend the five-day meeting that begins on 23 January. Critical to note about this years Forum is that the WEF, in their 2013 Executive Summary, scheduled for debate and discussion a number of items under their X Factors from Nature category, and which includes the “discovery of alien life” of which they state: “Proof of life elsewhere in the universe could have profound psychological implications for human belief systems.” Equally critical to note is that Medvedev, after completing a 7 December 2012 on-camera interview with reporters in Moscow, continued to respond to reporters and made some off-air comments without realizing that his microphone was still on. He was then asked by one reporter if “the president is handed secret files on aliens when he receives the briefcase needed to activate Russia’s nuclear arsenal,” Medvedev responded:

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“Along with the briefcase with nuclear codes, the president of the country is given a special ‘top secret’ folder. This folder in its entirety contains information about aliens who visited our planet… Along with this, you are given a report of the absolutely secret special service that exercises control over aliens on the territory of our country… More detailed information on this topic you can get from a well-known movie called Men In Black… I will not tell you how many of them are among us because it may cause panic.”

Western news sources reporting on Medvedev’s shocking reply about aliens stated that he was “joking” as he mentioned the movie Men In Black, which they wrongly assumed was a reference to the 1997 American sci-fi adventure comedy about two top secret agents battling aliens in the US. Medvedev, however, wasn’t referring to the American movie but was, instead, talking about the famous Russian movie documentary Men In Black which details many UFO and alien anomalies. Where Western news sources quoted Medvedev as saying “More detailed information on this topic you can get from a well-known movie called ‘Men In Black,’” his actual answer was, “You can receive more detailed information having watched the documentary film of the same name.” The reason(s) for Western propaganda news outlets deliberately distorting Medvedev’s words become apparent after his shocking statement, and as evidenced in just one example of their so called reporting on this disclosure of alien life already being on our planet where the title of one such article was “Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev makes a crack about aliens, and conspiracists promptly lose their minds.” If anyone is “losing their minds” about aliens, it must be pointed out, it is certainly not Russia, but the Vatican, which in November 2009 announced it was “preparing for extraterrestrial disclosure.” Equally, and apparently, “losing their minds” are US government officials themselves, such as former Pentagon consultant Timothy Good, and author of Above Top Secret: The Worldwide U.F.O. Cover-Up, who in February 2012 stated that former President Dwight Eisenhower had three secret meetings with aliens who were ‘Nordic’ in appearance and wherein a ‘Pact’ was signed to keep their agenda on Earth secret. With the recent discovery in the Russian city of Vladivostok of a 300-million-year-old UFO tooth-wheel, and scientists, astronauts and YouTube users reporting increasingly strange happenings on the moon, the European Space agency reporting their discovery of a 1,000 ancient river on Mars, and UK and Sri Lanka scientists saying they now have “rock solid proof of alien life” after finding fossilized algae inside meteorite, the only ones who seem to be truly “losing their minds” are the Western, especially American, propagandists who for decades have covered up one of the most important stories in all of human history that “we are not alone.” To if Medvedev will be able to convince the Obama regime to tell the truth about UFO and aliens at the WEF this week it is not in our knowing.  What is in our knowing, though, is that with or without the US, the Kremlin will surely begin the process of telling the truth about that which we already know to be true.

Halloween 2012

Halloween 2012

Halloween 2012

 

Halloween as it is celebrated these days is but a pale representation of its rich and multicultural history. It is not, as some would call it, a celebration of the Devil or of Hell or of the Damned, but rather a blending of the celebrations marking the end of the growing season, a heralding of the coming of the winter months and folk traditions that told of the day when the veil between the living and the dead, ever a transparent, gossamer veil at that, would lift and ghosts and ghouls would walk among the living. From those many traditions, coming to us from the Celts, the Roman rituals and even Catholic tradition, we get the stirrings of what would eventually become Halloween. Back in the old days, or once upon a time, in the tradition of fairy tales, there were the Celtic people and their Druid priests. The Druids were believed to have the ability, among other skills, to commune with the dead. Their powers, it was rumored, were much more powerful on the day of Samhain (pronounced sow-en), which was the last day of the year in the Celtic calendar. But, before believing that the Halloween celebration came directly from Samhain, a day mistakenly attributed directly to the Wiccans rather than to the Celts, you must understand that it is a blend of Hallowmas, a celebration of Catholic origins, as well as the Roman festival called Feralia. On the day of Samhain, the Celtic people would all extinguish their home’s hearth fire. They would gather in front of a blessed bonfire and would sing, dance and listen to the stories that were told during the celebration. At the end of the evening, each person would take some of the bonfire home to relight their heart fire in hopes of ensuring good fortune to their home and family for the coming year. It is said that if your hearth fire would not light from the sacred bonfire, misfortune, even death, would befall someone in the house that very year. By the 19th century, most of the religious aspects of the Halloween celebration had dwindled away and it was mostly a secular holiday, a gathering of community with only some of the remnants of the past clinging to it like the cobwebs of a haunted house. People would still dress up in costume, but less for the original reason of confusing the dead and more for just plain entertainment and fun. European immigrants brought many of their traditions and beliefs with them to the New World, even those that were sometimes frowned upon or scoffed at. Halloween itself was largely disallowed, even forbidden, but in Maryland, the tradition was not only allowed but encouraged. The people there held what they called “play parties” where they would take turns telling each other’s fortunes, dancing, singing and telling ghost stories. The children would dress in costumes and try to scare one another as well. The Irish immigrants came to the new world in great masses, fleeing from the Potato Famine that was starving them to death, and brought with them the Halloween tradition of going door to door looking for sweets and other treats.

Halloween House

Halloween House

The tradition of trick or treating is still a favorite among little children today.There are still many, especially among fundamentalist Christians, who believe that Halloween is nothing more than a celebration of paganism and witchcraft because of some of the traditions that are involved. It was thought that on Halloween night, a young woman could determine who her future spouse would be by staring into a mirror in a darkened room or by peeling an apple in one long strip and then casting the peel over her shoulder. Other traditions involved baking small coins and trinkets as well as a single, plain ring into a barm brack, a type of fruit cake that would be shared among the neighbors. If you got a trinket in your piece – that was your fate for the coming year, with the person who got the ring destined to wed.While the Catholic Church bears no ill will toward the Halloween traditions and the holiday itself, there are some Christian churches who say that it encourages witchcraft and may even lead to Satanism. These churches hold “Hell Houses” meant to scare children and young adults away from the traditions and to lead them back to the church. Some of these churches even hand out pamphlets and religious tracts on Halloween night to be found when the children go through their candy.

 

 

Halloween is an old holiday and it’s evolved from those first Druid & Celtic roots, to what’s celebrated today.  In Canada and the US is where it’s most popular.  Up to 65% of Americans decorate for Halloween and Christmas is the only holiday which is more popular.   More candy is sold on Halloween than on any other holiday and every country which celebrates Halloween at all, does so in its own unique way.

Halloween in Austria

Just like at Christmas in North America with milk & cookies for Santa, Austrians have a tradition of leaving water, bread, and a lighted lamp on the table before going to bed on Halloween night.  From long ago, the tradition held that these types of items would welcome any dead souls back to the land of the living.  Austrians felt that Halloween was a night chock full of cosmic energy and this made the dead souls’ return for a night much easier.

Halloween in Canada

Irish and Scottish immigrants arrived in Canada during the 1800s.  Festivities included trick or treating and parties, homes decorated with corn stalks and pumpkins, plus the carving of Jack O’Lanterns.

Halloween in Belgium

Belgian’s believe that a black cat crossing someone’s path is unlucky.  If it goes on a ship or enters a home, then that’s also unlucky and Belgians light candles on Halloween to remember dead relatives.

Halloween in Czechoslovakia

Chairs are put by the fireside on Halloween and they are one per family member, plus one for each of their spirits.

Halloween in China

Halloween is known by Teng Chieh here.  Water and food are placed in front of dead relatives’ photographs.  Lanterns and bonfires are lit so that spirits can see the pathway back to earth.  Buddhists make little boats from paper and these are burned when it gets dark and this honors the dead, plus spirits of pretas are released and can ascend into heaven.  Pretas are people who died because they drowned or had an accident and their bodies weren’t able to be buried.  If pretas roam amongst the living, the Chinese feel that it’s dangerous.

Halloween in England

English children used to carve beetroots like Jack O’Lanterns.  They carried these “punkies”  from door to door and sang, then asked for money.  Turnip lanterns were placed on posts to protect the home form spirits roaming around on Halloween.  Sometimes, stones, nuts and vegetables were tossed into a bonfire to scare away spirits and fortune telling was often read into the remains of the bonfire in the morning.  The English people no longer celebrated Halloween when Martin Luther had his protestant reformation.  Costumes and trick or treating have crossed back over the pond into England and the children there go out on Halloween.  Most seniors in England don’t know what it’s all about.

 

 

Halloween in France

Until 1996, Halloween was thought of as an American holiday and the French do not celebrate it to honor the dearly departed.

Halloween in Hong Kong

Yue Lan is the name of the Halloween celebration in Hong Kong.  Spirits supposedly roam freely for 24 hours and people there burned photos of money and fruit.

Halloween in Germany

Residents of Germany put their knives away on Halloween because returning spirits could be harmed.

Halloween in Japan

In Japan, the Obon festival is similar to Halloween.  Food is prepared and red lanterns are hung all over.  When lit candles are placed into the lanterns they are set adrift on rivers.  Families light fires to show ancestors the path to their families and community dances are put on, and memorial stones are cleaned during the Obon Festival.  The Japanese festival happens during August or July.

Halloween in Ireland

This is supposed to be the birthplace of Halloween.  Bonfires are lit in the countryside and children dress in costumes then go trick or treating.  Parties are given in neighborhoods and games are played, one of which is bobbing for apples.  A type of fruitcake is eaten on Halloween and a treasure is buried inside for someone to find.

 

 

Halloween 2012

Halloween 2012

 

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Scientists might be overlooking alien communication

Scientists suggest we might be overlooking alien communications:

Scientists suggest we might be overlooking alien communications

Scientists suggest we might be overlooking alien communications

A new theory has been put forward in the astrophysics world suggesting people have assumed too much when looking for alien attempts to communicate with Earth.

The theory, proposed by James Benford, his son, Dominic Benford, and Jame’s twin brother Gregory Benford, published in two papers in June, have generated a great deal of excitement in the science world. The Benfords looked at the issue of communications and concluded that aliens, much like humans, would want to economize their resources where possible, and thus they would not send out communications resembling what scientists have expected would be sent. Instead, the scientists suggest, aliens might be as frugal with expensive resources as humans are. The University of California Irvinesaid extraterrestrials might have been trying to contact Earth all along, but because scientists were looking for something different, the messages were missed. The trio of scientists believe extraterrestrials might send out short messages, or pulses. James explained, saying

“This approach is more like Twitter and less like War and Peace.”

James is a physicist as well as the founder and president of Microwave Sciences Inc. in Lafayette, California. Dominic is a scientist with NASA, and Gregory is an astrophysicist with the University of California Irvine. The new hypothesis is based on an old adage. Gregory explained

“Our grandfather used to say, ‘Talk is cheap, but whiskey costs money.’ Whatever the life form, evolution selects for economy of resources. Broadcasting is expensive, and transmitting signals across light-years would require considerable resources.”

SETI(Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) has been searching for extraterrestrials for the past fifty years, trolling for signals from space with arrays of satellite dishes. The Benfords hypothesize

“Assuming that an alien civilization would strive to optimize costs, limit waste and make its signaling technology more efficient, … these signals would not be continuously blasted out in all directions but rather would be pulsed, narrowly directed and broadband in the 1-to-10-gigahertz range.”

James summarized their hypotheses and findings during an interview with New Scientist.

“If ET was building cost-effective beacons, would our searches have detected them? The answer turns out to be no. Societies are always constrained by their resources. Why did cathedrals take centuries to build? Partly because they had only so many artisans, but also their capital was limited.”

James explained the hypothesis to the New Scientist

“Short pulses rather than a continuous signal would also enable frugal aliens to use small and cheap transmitters. Small transmitters can beam out powerful radiation using high voltages – but only if they broadcast brief pulses that don’t give the electric fields time to discharge. They wouldn’t want to target individual stars: there are far too many of them. Instead, they’d build a powerful beacon, then swing that beacon around and repeat it. Astronomers have seen some unexplained signals that lasted for tens of seconds then were never seen again. Some of those could have been extraterrestrial beacons but there wasn’t enough observing time to wait for any repeats.”

The Benfords suggest SETI should point its receiver dishes towards the center of the milky way because the stars are denser there. Gregory said

“The stars there are a billion years older than our sun, which suggests a greater possibility of contact with an advanced civilization than does pointing SETI receivers outward to the newer and less crowded edge of our galaxy.”

The short pulse approach to communications has cottoned on quickly, with science writers calling the theory Benford beacons. The hypothesis has also meant that many are speculating that the WOW signal, found in 1977, might actually be an alien tweet. The signal was dismissed as a ‘cosmic burp.’ Gregory said

“Will searching for distant messages work? Is there intelligent life out there? The SETI effort is worth continuing, but our common-sense beacons approach seems more likely to answer those questions.”

The real answer, of course, will be revealed as scientists test the hypothesis. The Benford’s theory has been endorsed by other scientists. The trio’s hypotheses were written up in two papers, Searching for Cost-Optimized Interstellar Beaconsand Messaging with Cost-Optimized Interstellar Beacons, both of which were published in Astrobiology in June.