Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

Archive for August, 2008

Tesla Inside: Intel back at Nikola’s wireless ideas

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The image comes from a recent presentantion by Alanson Sample, Intel Research, featuring 60 Watts transmitted without wires over a distance of around two-feet at 75% efficiency. Among the applications envisioned four years from now are laptops drawing energy inconspicuously from charging stations around the house and even the possibility of abolishing batteries in favor of supercapacitors, almost weightless and capable of instant recharging.

Drowned among chargers, wires and exploding batteries, this all sounds like a dream of the future, doesn’t it?

Now, look again at the spirals from Intel’s recent work and then at this photo of a peculiar guy who more than a century ago claimed he would create a wireless world:

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Some resemblance? This is not a casual coincidence, as this man did in fact invent resonant circuits which are the fundamental basis of the contemporary research.

His name was, of course, Nikola Tesla, the genius who single-handedly envisioned the fundamentals of a complete system of electrical energy generation and transmission used to this day. With wires.

After winning a war with Thomas Edison based solely on the clear superiority of this electrical system, Tesla soon announced he would go on to even greater things. Without wires, of course. Watch his video from Intel’s research:

It’s almost identical to demonstrations done by Tesla a century ago:

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Tragically, the life of the man of the revolutionary ideas was a real drama. His Colorado Springs laboratory burned down. He gave away his patent rights over electricity generation and transmission to save his partner Westinghouse, only to soon afterwards see himself bankrupt and with nobody to save him. His Wardenclyffe laboratory, where he would develop the “World System” of wireless energy transmission, was never completed and was then dismantled.

Needless to say, he never completed his vision of a wireless world, and all the while some of his ideas were shaping the world, he spent the last decades (not years) of his life as a penniless man without a real laboratory to work. If that wasn’t enough, he was depicted as the stereotypical mad scientist, being even a villain against Superman in 1941.

Tesla was not always right, much to the contrary, he condemned Einstein’s ideas, for instance, and his tragic end had much to do with his utter naiveté on social relations. Even his image as a mad scientist was in part due to his own propensity to make exaggerated claims.

We will never know if he did in fact invent a practical means of worldwide wireless energy transmission. Much as it would be a nice story to think that he did, he very probably didn’t. On the other hand, it’s just as much probable that if he had had the chance, he would have got closer to it. Such a genius sure deserved better.

And even without inventing such a golden world wireless energy system, it’s a historical fact the wired energy system was his. It’s also well-established in his remaining papers and patents that he also pioneered if not invented the radio, radioastronomy, radar, robots, logical gates and even one world network of electronic information exchange. That idea sounds familiar.

Intel’s latest research draws upon an also recent work from folks at MIT, and both of them made sure to mention Nikola Tesla as more than a pioneer in the field, a century ago.

Interested on more on Tesla’s life? PBS has a nice website on the Life and Legacy of the Master of Lightning.

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More Spiky “UFOs” in Brazil

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After the first “spiky UFO surfaced in the beggining of this year – which was actually shot in 1995 – we have had several other examples, like the one above shot by Denis Serafim in November 2006 from inside a train in São Paulo and recently sent to us (obrigado!). Full images below:

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We also had this one, shot by Luiz Felipe in Curitiba, May 2008 and published in the CUB website:

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Interesting as they are, as we know already, they are in fact ellaborate hot-air balloons:

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So let’s remember the most famous:

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Crosses of Light

Crosses of light have been hailed as miraculous by many, and recently evolved to adorable beings of light.

In the video above, by Massimo Polidoro, the answer to these phenomena is as automatic as canned laughter. There are more enlightnening videos here.

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Crop Circle Marketing

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A few months ago a huge and very nice formation appeared in Chungnam Boryoung City, South Korea, which could be the first “crop circle” in the country. Now it turns out it was part of the marketing campaign for the new album of local singer Seo Tai-ji:

Note how he actually call these a lie. There are some other clips of his marketing campaign on Youtube.

I saw this over on Francesco Grassi’s blog, of CICAP, who also posted about Mathew Williams’ 2001 reproduction of the 1995 Longwood Warren formation. People over at Crop Circle Connector think Williams’ reproduction seems to be proof human-made crop circles are clearly different from "authentic" formations, but they forget to mention how this is usually so only in retrospect. Just see how they presented the Koren formation.

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In Spain, just last month, several formations like the one above appeared around the country. They received a fair amount of media attention, and the inevitable references to a mystery. Spanish skeptic Luis Alfonso Gámez, on a tip from Eduardo Martinez, soon revealed that it was actually part of the viral marketing campaign for Bacard’s new "Seven Tiki" rum.

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It bothers me that these clear explanations of who and how these crop circles were created do not get as much attention as the first reports. It’s as if people prefer to be fooled by viral marketing than to expose these marketing ploys. For instance, people to this day debate the infamous 2002 alien disk formation:

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What they almost never mention is that that particular style used to create the alien face image, with a series of parallel lines with different thickness, was the real novelty here (even more than the giveaway use of ASCII code to bear a message).

And what they never tell you is that just a few weeks after this first appeared, the Circlemakers team applied the exact same technique in several commercial crop circles:

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The one above was for the Richard and Judy show, and they also made several ones for Orange. Note that the Circlemakers do take authorship for these commercial formations.

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(Not) Home Alone

“Middle age Florida couple plagued by abductions and home intrusions by ufo alien creatures capture one such invasion on video. Images taken from original video.”

And that’s all. The video is not that clear either, and visitors over at “Phantom and Monsters” have already questioned

“the dark tubular looking shadow that appears to move in sync with the supposed "alien" visitor. It’s located at the top of the door way and extends downward toward the subject in question.”

If that was a reflection, then nice touch. It could also suggest the alien could be simply pareidolia, that is, some weird shadow or reflection than in those few frames only appear as a little alien, although the enlarged frames suggest otherwise.

Other possibilities include a puppet, perhaps an inflatable alien, computer graphics, and of course, a real peeping alien abductor.

The video uploader on Youtube is one “ufological”, who apparently joined the video sharing site exclusively to add this one video clip, which curiously has the catchy search-friendly keywords “ufo alien creatures”. He describes himself as “an explorer of the unknown and researcher of what many claim as the improbable”, but does not give his name. Let’s hope verifiable details emerge of this.

Emps also warned about the lack of context, reminded of an excellent overview of attempts to capture alien abductors in video, and noted how this latest video seems to follow a recent trend with an abduction caught on CCTV and the alien at the window circus.

After the Haiti UFO video, it’s just a matter of time before someone creates a seemingly believable alien video that will make Youtube stardom. This one is getting closer, though apparently there’s still a long way ahead.

It reminded me of the Chile “Parque Forestal” alien, which was actually a dog. English commentary over at Magonia (scroll down).

[via Anomalist, Damn Data]

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