Blessed Imbolc

Aug 21, 2019

Esoterica



The Secret Seat of the Knights Templar

From Indiana Jones to The Da Vinci Code, the legendary figures of the Knights Templar loom large in the modern imagination. Behind the legends, however, is an epic tale, spanning centuries and continents – one that ends in Paris where the traces of the Knights Templar’s final years can still be seen by those who know where to look. And I was in the Marais on that beautiful spring day to find them.

The story of the Knights Templar began in 1099 when Catholic armies from Europe captured Jerusalem from Muslim control during the first Crusade. European pilgrims flooded into the Holy Land as a result, but many were robbed and killed while passing through Muslim-controlled areas during their journey. To combat these attacks, French knight Hugues de Payens created a military order consisting of eight other soldiers called the Poor Knights of Christ of the Temple of Solomon – later known simply as the Knights Templar – around the year 1118. The elite order of knights set up headquarters on Jerusalem’s sacred Temple Mount vowing to protect all Christian pilgrims to the city. The Knights began amassing a great fortune, with grateful pilgrims showering them with riches in exchange for their protection.

The power of the Knights Templar grew exponentially in 1139 and spread well beyond Jerusalem, when Pope Innocent II issued a Papal Bull that gave the order extraordinary protections, including an exemption from paying taxes or tithings anywhere in the world and the retention of all the gifts they received from grateful pilgrims travelling through the Holy Land.



Experts in Pompeii Have Discovered a Female Sorcerer’s Mysterious Arsenal of Charms—See Them Here

Archaeologists have discovered an incredible array of amulets, gems, and lucky charms in Pompeii. Researchers think that the mysterious trove belonged to a female sorcerer who could have been a victim of the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius more than 2,000 years ago.

The experts found more than 100 miniature objects in a wooden crate that had all but decomposed except for its bronze hinges. Inside the box was a hoard that includes miniature dolls, phallic amulets, necklace beads, and a tiny skull among other objects made of bone, bronze, glass, and amber. The researchers determined that the amulets would have belonged to a woman, and were likely used for adornment or protection in the years before Mount Vesuvius erupted in AD 79, burying the city and its population in volcanic ash.

“They are objects of everyday life in the female world and are extraordinary because they tell micro-stories and biographies of the inhabitants of the city who tried to escape the eruption,” said Pompeii’s general director, Massimo Osanna, in a statement. In the same house, the team discovered a room containing the bodies of ten victims, which included women and children. Using DNA analysis, archaeologists are trying to establish if the victims were related.

The Mesoamerican attraction to magnetism

The purpose of Mesoamerican potbelly statues have been the subject of debate among anthropologists for decades: Are they depictions of the ruling elite? A way to honor dead ancestors? Or perhaps portrayals of women giving birth?

As the various theories wound their way through academic circles, the surprising discovery four decades ago that many of the statues, found in Guatemala, are magnetized in certain spots added a new dimension to those discussions.

And a Harvard study suggests that where those areas show up is no accident.

Led by Assistant Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences Roger Fu, a team of researchers has shown that artisans carved the figures so that the magnetic areas fell at the navel or right temple — suggesting not only that Mesoamerican people were familiar with the concept of magnetism but also that they had some way of detecting the magnetized spots. The study is described in an April 12 paper published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Giant Spiral Path Allows You To Walk Above The Treetops In Denmark

An incredible and creatively designed nature observatory called Camp Adventure is located about one hour south of Copenhagen, Denmark, in the preserved forest of Gisselfeld Klosters Skove.

A sturdy walking bridge, nearly 3000 feet long, was built to wind through the forest until the path eventually ends at the foot of 148 foot tall observation tower. The observation tower looks like a spiral ramp that stretches above the trees.

The Treetop Experience includes two different paths, one that allows you to stay on the ground, and another high route that winds through the canopy of the trees, allowing visitors to look down on the forest below.

The higher path passes through the oldest parts of the forest, while the tower and the lower paths are located in the younger areas. The high walkway also features a variety of activities that teach visitors about the forest.

Amazon deforestation accelerating towards unrecoverable 'tipping point'

Deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon has surged above three football fields a minute, according to the latest government data, pushing the world’s biggest rainforest closer to a tipping point beyond which it cannot recover.

The sharp rise – following year-on-year increases in May and June – confirms fears that president Jair Bolsonaro has given a green light to illegal land invasion, logging and burning.

. . .

With five days remaining, this is on course to be the first month for several years in which Brazil loses an area of forest bigger than Greater London.

The steady erosion of tree cover weakens the role of the rainforest in stabilising the global climate. Scientists warn that the forest is in growing danger of degrading into a savannah, after which its capacity to absorb carbon will be severely diminished, with consequences for the rest of the planet.

Iceland holds funeral for first glacier lost to climate change

Iceland has marked its first-ever loss of a glacier to climate change as scientists warn that hundreds of other ice sheets on the subarctic island risk the same fate.

As the world recently marked the warmest July ever on record, a bronze plaque was mounted on a bare rock in a ceremony on the barren terrain once covered by the Okjökull glacier in western Iceland.

Around 100 people walked up the mountain for the ceremony, including Iceland’s prime minister, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, the former UN human rights commissioner Mary Robinson, and local researchers and colleagues from the United States who pioneered the commemoration project.

“I hope this ceremony will be an inspiration not only to us here in Iceland but also for the rest of the world, because what we are seeing here is just one face of the climate crisis,” Katrín said.

'Spooky' Quantum Entanglement Finally Captured in Stunning Photo

Scientists just captured the first-ever photo of the phenomenon dubbed "spooky action at a distance" by Albert Einstein. That phenomenon, called quantum entanglement, describes a situation where particles can remain connected such that the physical properties of one will affect the other, no matter the distance (even miles) between them.

Einstein hated the idea, since it violated classical descriptions of the world. So he proposed one way that entanglement could coexist with classical physics — if there existed an unknown, "hidden" variable that acted as a messenger between the pair of entangled particles, keeping their fates entwined. [18 Times Quantum Particles Blew Our Minds in 2018]

There was just one problem: There was no way to test whether Einstein's view — or the stranger alternative, in which particles "communicate" faster than the speed of light and particles have no objective state until they are observed — was true. Finally, in the 1960s, physicist Sir John Bell came up with a test that disproves the existence of these hidden variables — which would mean that the quantum world is extremely weird.

Hubble Uncovers Black Hole Disk that Shouldn't Exist

As if black holes weren't mysterious enough, astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have found an unexpected thin disk of material furiously whirling around a supermassive black hole at the heart of the magnificent spiral galaxy NGC 3147, located 130 million light-years away.

The conundrum is that the disk shouldn't be there, based on current astronomical theories. However, the unexpected presence of a disk so close to a black hole offers a unique opportunity to test Albert Einstein's theories of relativity. General relativity describes gravity as the curvature of space and special relativity describes the relationship between time and space.

. . .

Black holes in certain types of galaxies like NGC 3147 are malnourished because there is not enough gravitationally captured material to feed them regularly. So, the thin haze of infalling material puffs up like a donut rather than flattening out in a pancake-shaped disk. Therefore, it is very puzzling why there is a thin disk encircling a starving black hole in NGC 3147 that mimics much more powerful disks found in extremely active galaxies with engorged, monster black holes.

'Terminators' on the Sun Trigger Plasma Tsunamis and the Start of New Solar Cycles

In a pair of new papers, scientists paint a picture of how solar cycles suddenly die, potentially causing tsunamis of plasma to race through the Sun’s interior and trigger the birth of the next sunspot cycle only a few short weeks later.

The new findings provide insight into the mysterious timing of sunspot cycles, which are marked by the waxing and waning of sunspot activity on the solar surface. While scientists have long known that these cycles last approximately 11 years, predicting when one cycle ends and the next begins has been challenging to pin down with any accuracy. The new research could change that.

In one of the studies, which relies on nearly 140 years of solar observations from the ground and space, the scientists are able to identify “terminator” events that clearly mark the end of a sunspot cycle. With an understanding of what to look for in the run up to these terminators, the authors predict that the current solar cycle (Solar Cycle 24) will end in the first half of 2020, kicking off the growth of Solar Cycle 25 very shortly after.

Elon Musk says Neuralink plans 2020 human test of brain-computer interface

Neuralink, Elon Musk's startup that's trying to directly link brains and computers, has developed a system to feed thousands of electrical probes into a brain and hopes to start testing the technology on humans in in 2020, Chief Executive Elon Musk revealed Tuesday. And it's working already in animal tests. "A monkey has been able to control a computer with his brain," Musk said at a San Francisco livestreaming the presentation on YouTube Tuesday, revealing even more research results than the company's scientists expected.

Neuralink's initial goal is to help people deal with brain and spinal cord injuries or congenital defects, Musk said. The technology could help paraplegics who have lost the ability to move or sense because of spinal cord injury -- a medical treatment that's a lot less shocking than radical sci-fi ideas like "consensual telepathy."

But the long-term goal is to build a "digital superintelligence layer" to link humans with artificial intelligence, a technology he views as an existential threat to humanity.

"Ultimately, we can do a full brain-machine interfaces where we can achieve a sort of symbiosis with AI," Musk said. One goal along the way will be letting people type 40 words per minute just by thinking.

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