Friday, 17 February 2012
Ridley Scott and Michael Fassbender Explore an 'Alien' Landscape in an International 'Prometheus' Trailer (Video)
By Todd Gilchrist
The acclaimed director enlists Fassbender, Charlize Theron and Noomi Rapace to resurrect the epic sci-fi franchise he founded.
Twentieth Century Fox has released an international trailer for Prometheus, the studio’s upcoming science-fiction opus directed by Ridley Scott. Running almost a minute and a half in length, the clip offers a few new glimpses of the pre-Alien world Scott created within the film, and promises an epic-scale adventure.
Prometheus marks Scott’s return to the sci-fi genre after creating two of its seminal works, Alien and Blade Runner, and more specifically, the universe of the Alien series. Designed as a prequel to the other installments in the series, the film extrapolates an entirely new story out of the silhouette of the “space jockey” that was found dead at the beginning of Alien.
The clip highlights the ensemble cast, which includes Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Noomi Rapace, Patrick Wilson and Guy Pearce, as well as some of the spectacle audiences will see in the film. In addition to a wide shot revealing a broad landscape of explosions and fires, the characters find themselves thrown, struck and otherwise besieged by the elements while the explore the terrain of a planet that closely recalls the visual design and production detail of Alien.
Check out the clip below, which premiered at Daily Motion. Fox is releasing Prometheus nationwide on June 8.
I remember running SETI@home on my computer back in college. While some of the enthusiasm for this project has waned since then, people in the field of SETI, or the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, are still hoping and searching for evidence of aliens. And once that happens, we’ll be ready.
It turns out that any evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence can actually be quantified on a spectrum, known as the Rio Scale. This scale was developed by the astronomers Iván Almár and Jill Tarter in order to quantify how important and earth-shattering a discovery is (or will be). The scale ranges from 0, for no importance whatsoever, to 10, for extraordinary importance. It is actually a mathematically defined scale, with a number of inputs that include how credible the report is, and the nature of the evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence. If you are interested in examining the rating for a scenario of your imagination, may I direct you to the Rio Scale Calculator.
Ambiguity about whether evidence for aliens exists or not is almost never the subject of Hollywood films… Even less so is the idea of a hoaxed signal. Hollywood’s stories seldom benefit from the sort of ambiguity that is the target of the Rio Scale. But if ambiguity were truly rare, the Rio Scale would be unnecessary. In the real world, things are not always what they seem, and this is both a justification and an encouragement to fashion tools that will help clarify a purported detection of extraterrestrial intelligence.So go off and use the Rio Scale, recognizing that alien encounters are probably going to be a lot more ambiguous than we realize. But we can now measure that ambiguity.
In December 2010, scientists announced the discovery of arsenic-based bacteria living in California’s Mono Lake. NASA excitedly declared that this discovery would “impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life.” Researchers currently studying another lake also hope their findings will impact the search for extraterrestrial life.
On Wednesday, February 8, 2012, Russian scientists announced they had reached a subglacial lake under Antarctica named Lake Vostok, which is located in the central part of the continent, approximately 800 miles East of the South Pole. This ancient freshwater lake was buried under 12,365 feet of ice, and is believed to have been cut off from the atmosphere for at least 14 million years. Scientists hope to learn about early life on Earth from this ancient lake, but they also hope to gain insight into what kind of life might exist in similar conditions elsewhere in the universe. The Washington Post explains:
Many scientists see Vostok as not only a last frontier on Earth but also a potential gold mine for learning about possible conditions on Jupiter’s moon Europa or Saturn’s moon Encedadus. Each is covered by a thick shell of ice with liquid water below, warmed by either the inner heat of the moon or by tidal forces.
Similarly, astrobiologist Dale Andersen of the SETI Institute’s Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe told Discovery News, “The real value is that it helps us learn how to explore these kinds of environments better. It opens up your imagination for how to explore these kinds of environments, whether it’s on Earth or Europa.”
Scientists hope that data from Vostok will provide valuable information that will help in designing equipment to look for life beyond Earth. But according to Discovery News, a water sample will not be able to be retrieved for at least another year. The drilling process took more than two decades to complete, so I imagine scientists can handle one more year of waiting.
Russia has, of course, long been a space program powerhouse. Sergei Korolev and his team racked up an impressive lists of “firsts” in the early days of the Cold War and the space race: Russia was the first to orbit a man-made satellite, the Sputnik, Russia was the first to orbit living creatures, and later, a man, and successfully return him to Earth. Russia was the first to put a woman into space. Russian probes stretched out across the heavens to the Moon, to Venus, to Mars. And Russia has maintained, to this day, a reliable stable of “workhorses” of heavy-lift launch vehicles, and continues – along with the European Space Agency – to be laying the careful steps of manned space missions to the Moon and eventually Mars.
But recent events – such as the recent failure of a Russian Mars probe – have set that country’s space program back. Make no mistake, as President Dmitri Medvedev said a few weeks ago, Russia intends to maintain a vigorous manned and unmanned presence in space as part of its national interest. So setbacks or no, budgetary problems or no, Russia, unlike its short-sighted American counterpart, intends to stay in space.
All that said, the head of Russia’s space program recently suggested that the string of failures that has affected that nation’s space posture might not be entirely accidental:
Russia hints at foul play in its space failures
I hope you caught the implications of those first few lines:
“Roskosmos chief Vladimir Popovkin told the Izvestia daily he could not understand why several launches went awry at precisely the moment the spacecraft were travelling through areas invisible to Russian radar.Now on the face of it, this seems to me to begging a few questions. First, the idea that there is a “dark side” of the Earth blind to Russia seems on the face of it to be absurd. Russia, like the USA, has laced the globe with a network of spy satellites, and it is inconceivable that the Russian government would not have a similar network of communications satellites simply for defense purposes if nothing else. The idea that Russia would have a space program where its manned and unmanned probes are not able to receive telemetry readings is equally absurd. And Mr. Popovkin is not a stupid man. He knows this.
“‘It is unclear why our setbacks often occur when the vessels are travelling through what for Russia is the ‘dark’ side of the Earth — in areas where we do not see the craft and do not receive its telemetry readings,’ he said.
“‘I do not want to blame anyone, but today there are some very powerful countermeasures that can be used against spacecraft whose use we cannot exclude,’ Popovkin told the daily.”
And we should too. Which leaves the question of why he would say such patently absurd things. In my opinion, he is sending messages to an unknown “someone” that Russia is aware – probably much more aware than it is letting on – that its space probes are being sabotaged. The question is, who?
We have two possible logical answers: (1) someone off this planet is doing it, or (2) someone on this planet is doing it. And both, when one thinks about it, are equally problematic. Let’s take the second option. If it’s someone on earth, political expediency would seem to rule out China – after all, China got much of its basic space technology from Russia,updated a bit with American and European technology. India, long a country close to Russia, would similarly seem unlikely to risk such a venture. The Europeans would hardly sabotage a program with which their own is becoming increasingly entangled, and add to that the growing closer economic ties between Europe (read Germany) and Russia. So again, Europe would seem an unlikely source. Then there’s the USA. Clearly, the USA, like China or Europe, has a vast array of “countermeasures” that it could deploy against Russia, and it may even have a motivation to deny Russia access to Mars and any hidden data that it knows about. But nonetheless, such a venture is risky at best, and Russian satellite capabilities would surely pick up enough evidence to at least strongly indicate any culprit.
And that’s the point: Russia has that capability, and likely has some idea already of who did it. Which leaves the first alternative. Again, the question is, who? ET? Some unknown off-world human black space project gone rogue and independent? Well, possibly, but if that’s the case, then Russia isn’t talking. But rest assured, there’s a lot more to this story than meets the eye, and Russia isn’t, for the moment, saying all that it knows.
By Adrian Lee
A scene from Steven Spielberg’s 1977 sci-fi
film Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
THIS week’s story that an American president made secret contact with beings from another planet is just the latest claim that our leaders know more than they are letting on about whether we’re alone in the universe.
THE US government is categorical when it comes to aliens: “No such thing… nope… sorry, there is nothing out there.” Recently there has been yet another official denial of any cover-ups including the statement that there has never been any contact between humans and extraterrestrials.
So the claim by a credible witness that a former president not only believed in aliens but had a series of secret meetings with visitors from outer space in the Fifties is causing consternation.
Timothy Good, a former US Congress and Pentagon consultant, says Dwight D Eisenhower and FBI officials made contact with the aliens by sending out telepathic messages. Talks then followed with the space creatures at Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico.
Good claims that an agreement was signed between Eisenhower, who was president from 1953 to 1961, and a group known as “Alien Greys”.
Dwight D Eisenhower is well known to have been a believer in alien life forms and rumours that contact was made have circulated for years.
Eisenhower is well known to have been a believer in alien life forms and rumours that contact was made have circulated for years. However, this is the first time that such a prominent figure has come forward.
The claim by Good, who was speaking on Frank Skinner’s Opinionated chat show on BBC2, will fuel conspiracy theories that regimes around the world have consistently lied about aliens.
Good, now an academic and author, insists there have been encounters for decades. He says: “Aliens have made both formal and informal contact with thousands of people throughout the world. Certainly I can tell you that in 1954 President Eisenhower set up meetings with aliens.”
The revelation supports previous reports that Eisenhower and Winston Churchill were involved in a cover-up on UFOs. It followed an incident involving an RAF reconnaissance plane returning from a mission in Germany towards the end of the Second World War. The pilot was flying over the English coastline when his aircraft was intercepted by a metallic object that matched the aircraft’s course and speed for several minutes before accelerating away and disappearing.
Declassified Ministry of Defence documents show that Churchill, fearing an outbreak of panic, ordered that the sighting should be kept secret for 50 years. It’s believed he discussed the UFO with Eisenhower, who was then commander of US wartime forces.
Eisenhower later became a big supporter of the US space programme, believing that defences were vital against attack from space.
The Roswell incident in 1947, when it’s claimed that a space ship crashed in the New Mexico desert, remains one of the most celebrated UFO cases.
The US government recently tried to close the book on Roswell, insisting that witnesses saw crash-test dummies, but claims of a massive cover-up persist. They have been given credibility by Ed Mitchell, a former Apollo 14 astronaut who walked on the Moon. Mitchell, who also had contacts within the US military, is convinced the Roswell incident was an extraterrestrial visitation. He says: “I happen to have been privileged enough to be in on the fact that we have been visited and the UFO phenomena is real.
“It’s been well covered up by all our governments for 60 years or so but slowly it’s leaked out and some of us have been privileged to have been briefed on it. I’ve been in military and intelligence circles who know that beneath the surface of what has been public knowledge, yes – we have been visited.”
By Micah Hanks
Feb 17th 2012
The appear as if by magic–strange hovering lights above the horizon–that are mostly white, but often varying in color. What are they? Are these will o’ the wisp, or are they strange, intelligently controlled craft from another realm? Perhaps they are neither… or perhaps they are both. While we have various cultural names for these so-called “earth lights,” we have yet to find remarkably consistent scientific terms within which we can really seek to understand the phenomenon.
While physics anomalies, swamp gases, ball lightning and naturally free-floating plasma manifestations are all theories that could account for many strange airborne illuminations seen around the globe, as is often the case with strange phenomenon, our ability to explain their occurrence in a consistent, provable manner seems to continuously fall short of the mark… but why?
Some of the more popular locales known for being home to strange and eerie earth light manifestations include Marfa Texas, famous for it’s legendary “ghost lights,” as well as Hessdalen, Norway, where strange glowing illuminations have been reported since at least the 1940s. Another locale near-and-dear to my heart is the Linville Gorge, a wilderness just outside of Morganton, North Carolina, where a bizarre series of illuminations known as the Brown Mountain Lights have been seen for decades, if not for centuries.
Indeed, the first modern sighting of the strange lights at Brown Mountain appeared in newspapers around 1913, but there are earlier accounts dating further back, along with Cherokee legends that delve into the curious appearances of what have variously been called ghosts, lamp lights, and even UFOs at times throughout the years. It is also well known that official inquiries have been made into the nature of the lights and their cause, including a trip funded by the US Geological Survey the same year as the newspaper attention the lights received; their conclusion was that automobile headlights were behind the seemingly mysterious appearances. Despite the prosaic explanation from 1913, a subsequent trip would occur less than a decade later, and with an entirely different conclusion: the lights, though a real and valid phenomenon, were obviously “combustible swamp gases.”
Fast forward to the present: this past weekend the annual Brown Mountain Lights festival (at which I have appeared as a speaker in the past) was held in Linville Falls, North Carolina, just a few miles from Wiseman’s View, one of the best-known vantages for viewing the lights. During the conference, an old battle of wits continued it’s tug-o-war game, with the separate parties of pullers represented by my old associate Joshua P. Warren, a paranormal investigator with interest in fringe science, and Dr. Dan Caton, a local college professor who has preached with a no-compromise, devout cynicism regarding the illegitimacy of the lights and their adherents. According to an article in the Burke County News Herald, Caton’s view remains that, “there is no proof that visiting Brown Mountain at a certain time of year will make the lights more visible,” and that “there simply has not been enough recorded, scientific data to determine either the origin of the lights or why they occur.”
Something I’ve always marveled about, with regard to such statements, is that while he’s right, the only research I’ve known Caton to actively engage in over the years has involved visiting the overlook at Wiseman’s View, like so many others, and watching for hours. I can say from experience that anyone who chooses this approach (we call it “hit and miss”) for use in understanding the mystery of the Brown Mountain Lights will feel quite justified in their cynicism at the end of the evening, as predicting when the next light show is going to occur can be done with about as much success as predicting what kind of poultry or other meat will comprise Lady Gaga’s next on-stage costume. In other words, much like the controversial pop singer, they’re quite unpredictable… but “they” also quite certainly there.
And to my esteemed colleague Mr. Warren, I would say that, while he has engaged in active research throughout the Linville Gorge, implementing with hope and good cheer the use of scientific instruments in an attempt to solve the mystery (in fact, here’s his report on their potential cause), perhaps there is more that could be done. Granted, to my knowledge Warren is the only person in recent years to work actively at pursuing the mystery and the potential science that lay behind it; for this he deserves accolades. But let us remind ourselves that, despite the merit of his or anyone else’s theories, they must remain just that: just theories.
Much like the greater UFO phenomenon, the Brown Mountain Lights (also a variety of unidentified flying object, by definition alone) have been dismissed seemingly by the greater scientific establishment. Here we find a genuine anomaly in nature, and we have yet to reconcile with the strange circumstances that allow for their appearance… mostly because nobody with the serious funding and wherewithal to get out there and study them has taken interest. Again, to Warren’s credit, he’s done all he can given his budgetary constraints, but those kinds of operations are indeed limited.
In order to proceed with hope coming to a truly comprehensive understanding of earth light phenomenon (and thus potentially recognize new avenues toward understanding certain strange aerial phenomenon and UFOs), it has become a dire necessity that we shift our focus from seeking the answers ourselves, to an extent, and devote more of our time toward bringing recognition to the phenomenon, so that modernized, cutting-edge technology can be utilized in the study of strange earth lights; and not just at Brown Mountain, but at all the various locales around the globe where these objects tend to appear. Brown Mountain is merely one locale where the lights appear with remarkable consistency… perhaps knowing the general location for where such illuminations will occur is a step in the right direction; and with any luck, the illumination their study may provide could further lighten the path toward our greater scientific understanding of nature and the cosmos.