Occult Chemistry

In 6th century BCE the concept that matter is composed of discrete and not infinitely reducible units developed in India. Around 460 B.C. the Greek Democritus named these fundamental and irreducible bits of matter átomos, meaning “uncuttable.” Notions of this kind were at this point in history, more than anything, matters of pure Philosophy. As such, when the big daddy Aristotle weighed in and rejected the idea as worthless, “the atom” was pretty much stopped in its tracks. It would be a couple thousand years before Science picked up where Philosophy had left off. But before Science made its first excited indirect observations of electrons and protons and managed to put forward a widely acceptable model for the structure of the atom, another group stepped forward to ply their trade in the service of atomic knowledge. They were theosophists, known collectively as the Occult Chemists, and their goal was nothing less than “direct observation of atoms through clairvoyance.”

08.04. filed under: books. history. people. science. theory. wtf. 4

Skullduggery And Numbskullery

Dear friends, the unknown is vast. Yea, I say to you there are things on our world, in our universe, and within our minds which we have not even begun to understand. There are things forgotten deep in humanity’s past. There are phenomena and objects and events in the present day of which we are quite simply ignorant. Yea, good readers, there are mysteries to be sure. Things unexplained, and in as much, things fascinating. Unfortunately, “Crystal Skulls,” like the one pictured above from the collection of the British Museum are not among them. These are items whose story have a beginning and end. If you are of the mind to you may coax it out from the following:

Origin of the Crystal Skulls. Unmuseum. British Museum’s Skull. Wikipedia. Mitchell-Hedges story. A Crystal Skull. World Mysteries. Smithsonian’s research. Empire Museum. Skepdic.com. A Crystal Skull?. Messengers of light. Seraphim Institute. Crane Cristal (vids). Everything2. Skepticwiki. How Crystal Skulls Work. Crystal’s Skull. Joky’s 9 Crystal Skulls. Odd and Unusual. Prismatic Skull. 13 crystal Maya skulls will save the world. The amazing Crystal Skulls. Cult and fringe archeology. Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Skeptical Inguirer.

 

02.17. filed under: belief. history. link dump. wtf. 2

If you are anything like me good reader (and since you are here at all I must assume that, in some small way at least, you are) you look at the image above, and you read the caption, and you wonder, “what does that mean?” It seems simple enough. A quirky drawing; a short caption. You can’t help but run through possibilities– A comic strip? A children’s book? An illustration from an exposé on the secrets of magic? A rejected New Yorker Cartoon? And yet… it remains opaque somehow doesn’t it?. I mean “M. Ivorde’s little man?” That seems odd. And what’s with the space helmet? And what’s that he’s holding? A metal detector? A street sweeper’s dust-pan? Just what exactly is happening here?

I came across this image accidentally, much as you have, and if you’re anything like me you’re a curious sort and would like nothing better than to just click a link real quick, satisfy that curiosity, and move on. Well, having been down that road I have to ask you, in all seriousness, is that really what you want? I mean, couldn’t you just let it go?

11.28. filed under: ideas. misc. play. wtf. 11

Some researchers at the University of Bristol, UK, have unveiled their findings as to a 46-centimetre eurypterid claw which was found near Prüm in Germany. After some fevered calculations and ratio checking the fossil is now believed to have belonged to the largest sea scorpion ever discovered. As Nature reports, “At 2.5 meters, this monster was bigger than a man.” Eeek.

To give you a real sense of scale I’ve included the image above, in which we see a eurypterid beside both Jean Paul Sartre’s grave, which he shares with Simone de Beauvoir, and a certain Duane Schneider from the hit 1970’s television show One Day at a Time. Hopefully that gives you some perspective.

(Story brought to my attention by the excellent Heraclitean Fire.)

11.22. filed under: science. wtf. 9

Patented for Your Pleasure

What are the things we as a species enjoy? I’m going to go out on a limb and pick two- We enjoy sexual pleasure, and we enjoy tinkering with stuff. The confluence of these two interests have lead, over time, to more sexual gadgetry than you could shake an electrode covered phallus at, and it’s amusing for a couple of reasons. For one, I don’t think with all our noodling we’ve ever actually improved on good ol’ sloppy biology. Secondly, and this is the mouth of the comedy gold mine, all these endless inventions of ours must, if they are to ever to hit the market and enter the orifices at large, pass through the patent office. Can you think of a more incongruous pairing than brute sexuality and government forms? Or of the mysterious workings of human arousal and technical diagrams?

11.13. filed under: bits&bytes. humanity. science. wtf. 14

Bored kids will do just about anything to get a high right? Smoke banana peels. Lick toads. Sniff glue. Whatever. I don’t begrudge them their brain destroying fun, but this… this is simply the ultimate of the jonesin genre. Quote: Jenkem is a homemade substance which consists of fecal matter and urine. The fecal matter and urine are placed in a bottle or jar and covered, most commonly with a balloon. The container is then placed in a sunny area for several hours or days or until fermented. The contents of the container will separate and release a gas, which is captured in the balloon. Inhaling the gas is said to give a euphoric high similar to ingesting cocaine but with strong hallucinations.” The down side? The taste of sewage in your mouth which lasts for “several days.”

Sure, it may well be a hoax. But I sincerely hope not. I love the thought of bored kids purposely huffing super-farts just to get a high. Why should junkies and crack-heads be the only ones who get to have that “holy shit, man, I can’t possibly sink any lower than this” moment? Why should adult users be the only ones to have a complete dissolution of dignity and self respect? Plus, the slang for Jenkem is priceless: Butthash. Hahaha. Yes indeed the children truly are the future.

11.08. filed under: headlines. humanity. wtf. 4

Quote, “I would sooner walk up to the mouth of a cannon, knowing it was going to blow me to pieces, than make another trip over the Falls.” So said the impoverished 63 year old widow Annie Edson Taylor, who ought to know of what she spoke, being the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel. The clever kitten pictured with her here, not hearing the word “food” in the pronouncement, had no opinion.

More on her and the long line of Niagara Falls daredevils: Extraordinary Voyages, A History of Stunting at Niagara, Daredevils of Niagara Falls, How Going Over Niagara Works, Stunters and Daredevils, Niagara Falls Daredevils Ephemera, Anna Edson Taylor, Niagara Falls Daredevil Postcards, Stereoscopic Views of Niagara Falls, Stunts and Stunters, Watercolors of Stunts and Stunters, The Complete Guide to Niagara Falls

10.20. filed under: history. humanity. wtf. 2

Description: A late 19th Century quarter repeating Swiss lever in a gold full hunter case. Gilt three quarter plate keyless movement with going barrel, four armed cam above the plate to actuate the automaton. Plain cock with polished steel regulator, compensation balance with blue steel overcoil hairspring. Club foot lever escapement. Slide quarter repeating on two gongs. Engine turned 18 carat gold full hunter case, slide in the band, etcetera.

Wow. Pretty fancy! And what is all that high presision Swiss mechanical dodaddery in the service of? What does it all lead to? 

 

09.18. filed under: history. humanity. play. wtf. 4

Quote: At first, it was so white it looked like fairyland. Now it’s filled with so many mosquitoes that it’s turned a little brown. There are times you can literally hear the screech of millions of mosquitoes caught in those webs.

In case you missed the news in August officials at Lake Tawakoni State Park in Texas found a truly enormous spider web that completely engulfed multiple trees and shrubs and which, in it’s entirely, covered about 200 yards of trail. Entomologists were in a tizzy because this sort of thing is exceedingly rare. The Tetragnathidae spiders native to the area are cannibalistic and solitary but this mega-web was evidently built cooperatively, by over 12 different types, to take advantage of unusually good feeding conditions brought on by heavy rains in the early summer. Now at the end of summer its being reported that the web is laden with egg sacs… Wow. Spider cooperation? Is this evolution in action? Would another good feeding season lead to a continuation of spider city? New behavioral patterns continuing on? Lets hope not because you just know what it would ultimately lead to...

 

 

 

09.15. filed under: headlines. science. wtf. 10

KATHMANDU (Reuters)- Officials at Nepal’s state-run airline have sacrificed two goats to appease Akash Bhairab, the Hindu sky god, following technical problems with one of its Boeing 757 aircraft. Nepal Airlines, which has two Boeing aircraft, has had to suspend some services in recent weeks due the problem. The goats were sacrificed in front of the troublesome aircraft Sunday at Nepal’s only international airport in Kathmandu in accordance with Hindu traditions, an official said. “The snag in the plane has now been fixed and the aircraft has resumed its flights,” said Raju K.C., a senior airline official, without explaining what the problem had been. (It’s really not necessary for me to make any snide comments on this one is it? Humanity just rules so fucking hard!)

09.05. filed under: headlines. humanity. wtf. 2

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