quarta-feira, 31 de março de 2010

The Medical Marijuana Economy


There is a fascinating piece on the California medical marijuana industry in today’s (July 28, 2008) New Yorker. If you’re interested in learning more, I also recommend watching Doug Benson’s hilarious and informative documentary, Super High Me.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, July 29th, 2008


Soulful Sounds from a Soulless Being: Triumph of the Cyborg Composer

March 2010
by Surfdaddy Orca

“Why not develop music in ways unknown? This only makes sense. I cannot understand the difference between my notes on paper and other notes on paper. If beauty is present, it is present. I hope I can continue to create notes and that these notes will have beauty for some others. I am not sad. I am not happy. I am Emily. You are Dave. Life and un-life exist. We coexist. I do not see problems.”

—Emily Howell

Emily Howell’s philosophic musings and short Haiku-like sentences are the giveaway.

Emily Howell is the daughter program of Emmy (Experiments in Musical Intelligence — sometimes spelled EMI), a music composing program written by David Cope, Dickerson Emeriti Professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Emily Howell’s interesting ramblings about music are actually the result of a set of computer queries.

Her music, however, is something else again: completely original and hauntingly beautiful. Even a classical purist might have trouble determining whether a human being or an AI program created it.

Judge for yourself:

Cope is also Honorary Professor of Computer Science (CS) at Xiamen University in China. While he insists that he is a music professor first, he manages to leverage his knowledge of CS into some highly sophisticated AI programming. He characterizes Emily Howell in a recent NPR interview as “a computer program I’ve written in the computer programming language LISP. And it is a program which accepts both ASCII input, that is letters from the computer keyboard, as well as musical input, and it responds to me in a collaborative way as we compose together.” Emmy, Cope’s earlier AI system, was able to take a musical style — say, classical heavyweights such as Bach, Beethoven, or Mozart — and develop scores imitating them that classical music scholars could not distinguish from the originals.

The classical music aficionado is often caricatured as a highbrow nose-in-the-air, well… snob.

Classical music is frequently consigned by the purist to the past few centuries of European music (with the notable exceptions of American composers like Gershwin and Copeland). Even the experimental “new music” of human composers is often controversial to the classical music community as a whole.

Frank Zappa — a student of the avant-garde European composer Edgard Varèse and a serious classical composer in his own right — had trouble getting a fair listen to his later classical works (he was an irreverent rock-and-roll star after all!), even though his compositions broke polytonal rhythmic ground with complexity previously unheard in Western music.

UC Santa Cruz emeritus professor David Cope is ready to introduce computer software that creates original, modern music. (Catherine Karnow/miller-mccune.com)

Cope faced similar prejudices with his AI composer, Emmy, and was unable to find any big-name classical musicians who would even touch her work.

“Most musicians, academic or composers, have always held this idea that the creation of music is innately human, and somehow this computer program was a threat in some way to that unique human aspect of creation,” says Cope in an Ars Technica piece.

With Emily Howell, however, he has gone a step further than he did with Emmy. Rather that starting with works of the classical masters, Emily Howell uses Emmy’s output to create completely original compositions. Emily Howell is adaptable and egolessly self-modifying in her ability to respond to audience criticism. (Cope’s choice of names makes it easy to anthropomorphize “her.”)

She is able to take written or audio feedback and incorporate it into her next musical composition. Emily’s inner workings along with code samples are included in Cope’s 2005 book Computer Models of Musical Creativity.

Adaptability and self-modification are two attributes of intelligence. The Turing test was devised by Alan Turing as a way of authenticating machine intelligence. His well-known test involves a human judge communicating with both a computer and a human using a computer terminal. The judge must determine which is human and which is machine. The judge cannot see either the computer or the human and must make his or her determination by interviewing both. The computer attempts to convince the judge that it is human.

As Turing originally envisioned it, the computer tries to act like a human during the interview. Ray Kurzweil argues that a narrower concept of a Turing test is for a computer to successfully imitate a human within a particular domain of human intelligence, “We might call these domain-specific Turing tests,” says Kurzweil. Emily Howell falls into the category of a domain-specific Turing test, based on a computer’s ability to write entirely original music that even classical purists can’t always distinguish from human compositions.

Has Emily Howell passed the Turing Test? Put another way, can a computer become a truly creative independent agent within the narrow domain of music composition? Cope’s efforts have been praised by both musicians and computer scientists, but they disturb some. Emily Howell raises interesting questions about what it means to be human. If a machine can write a Bach invention, a Chopin mazurka, or a Mozart concerto that is indistinguishable from the original — an entirely original piece that fools even the classical aficionado — then who’s to say that Emily Howell hasn’t passed the Turing Test?

In Emily’s own words: “If beauty is present, it is present. I hope I can continue to create notes and that these notes will have beauty for some others.”

Emily Howell’s first CD is due out this month from Centaur Records.

Article from: HPlusMagazine.com

Triumph of the Cyborg Composer

By: Ryan Blitstein

David Cope’s software creates beautiful, original music. Why are people so angry about that?

The office looks like the aftermath of a surrealistic earthquake, as if David Cope’s brain has spewed out decades of memories all over the carpet, the door, the walls, even the ceiling. Books and papers, music scores and magazines are all strewn about in ragged piles. A semi-functional Apple Power Mac 7500 (discontinued April 1, 1996) sits in the corner, its lemon-lime monitor buzzing. Drawings filled with concepts for a never-constructed musical-radio-space telescope dominate half of one wall. Russian dolls and an exercise bike, not to mention random pieces from homemade board games, peek out from the intellectual rubble. Above, something like 200 sets of wind chimes from around the world hang, ringing oddly congruent melodies.

And in the center, the old University of California, Santa Cruz, emeritus professor reclines in his desk chair, black socks pulled up over his pants cuffs, a thin mustache and thick beard lending him the look of an Amish grandfather.

It was here, half a dozen years ago, that Cope put Emmy to sleep. She was just a software program, a jumble of code he’d originally dubbed Experiments in Musical Intelligence (EMI, hence “Emmy”). Still — though Cope struggles not to anthropomorphize her — he speaks of Emmy wistfully, as if she were a deceased child.

Emmy was once the world’s most advanced artificially intelligent composer, and because he’d managed to breathe a sort of life into her, he became a modern-day musical Dr. Frankenstein. She produced thousands of scores in the style of classical heavyweights, scores so impressive that classical music scholars failed to identify them as computer-created. Cope attracted praise from musicians and computer scientists, but his creation raised troubling questions: If a machine could write a Mozart sonata every bit as good as the originals, then what was so special about Mozart? And was there really any soul behind the great works, or were Beethoven and his ilk just clever mathematical manipulators of notes?

Cope’s answers — not much, and yes — made some people very angry. He was so often criticized for these views that colleagues nicknamed him “The Tin Man,” after the Wizard of Oz character without a heart. For a time, such condemnation fueled his creativity, but eventually, after years of hemming and hawing, Cope dragged Emmy into the trash folder.

This month, he is scheduled to unveil the results of a successor effort that’s already generating the controversy and high expectations that Emmy once drew. Dubbed “Emily Howell,” the daughter program aims to do what many said Emmy couldn’t: create original, modern music. Its compositions are innovative, unique and — according to some in the small community of listeners who’ve heard them performed live — superb.

Sample of Emily Howell — Track 1

Sample of Emily Howell — Track 2

With Emily Howell, Cope is, once again, challenging the assumptions of artists and philosophers, exposing revered composers as unknowing plagiarists and opening the door to a world of creative machines good enough to compete with human artists. But even Cope still wonders whether his decades of innovative, thought-provoking research have brought him any closer to his ultimate goal: composing an immortal, life-changing piece of music.

Cope’s earliest memory is looking up at the underside of a grand piano as his mother played. He began lessons at the age of 2, eventually picking up the cello and a range of other instruments, even building a few himself. The Cope family often played “the game” — his mother would put on a classical record, and the children would try to divine the period, the style, the composer and the name of works they’d read about but hadn’t heard. The music of masters like Rachmaninov and Stravinsky instilled in him a sense of awe and wonder.

Nothing, though, affected Cope like Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, which he first heard around age 12. Its unconventional chord changes and awesome Sturm und Drang sound gave him goose bumps. From then on, he had only one goal: writing a piece that some day, somewhere, would move some child the same way Tchaikovsky moved him. “That, just simply, was the orgasm of my life,” Cope says.

He begged his parents to pay for the score, brought it home and translated it to piano; he studied intensely and bought theory books, divining, scientifically, what made it work. It was then he knew he had to become a composer.

Cope sailed through music schooling at Arizona State University and the University of Southern California, and by the mid-1970s, he had settled into a tenured position at Miami University of Ohio’s prestigious music department. His compositions were performed in Carnegie Hall and The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and internationally from Lima, Peru, to Bialystok, Poland. He built a notable electronic music studio and toured the country, wowing academics with demonstrations of the then-new synthesizer. He was among the foremost academic authorities on the experimental compositions of the 1960s, a period during which a fired-up jet engine and sounds derived from placing electrodes on plants were considered music.

David Cope in his home office. (Catherine Karnow)

When Cope moved to UC Santa Cruz in 1977 to take a position in its music department, he could’ve put his career on autopilot and been remembered as a composer and author. Instead, a brutal case of composer’s block sent him on a different path.

In 1980, Cope was commissioned to write an opera. At the time, he and his wife, Mary (also a Santa Cruz music faculty member), were supporting four children, and they’d quickly spent the commission money on household essentials like food and clothes. But no matter what he tried, the right notes just wouldn’t come. He felt he’d lost all ability to make aesthetic judgments.

Terrified and desperate, Cope turned to computers.

Along with his work on synthesis, or using machines to create sounds, Cope had dabbled in the use of software to compose music. Inspired by the field of artificial intelligence, he thought there might be a way to create a virtual David Cope software to create new pieces in his style.

The effort fit into a long tradition of what would come to be called algorithmic composition. Algorithmic composers use a list of instructions — as opposed to sheer inspiration — to create their works. During the 18th century, Joseph Haydn and others created scores for a musical dice game called Musikalisches Würfelspiel, in which players rolled dice to determine which of 272 measures of music would be played in a certain order. More recently, 1950s-era University of Illinois researchers Lejaren Hiller and Leonard Isaacson programmed stylistic parameters into the Illiac computer to create the Illiac Suite, and Greek composer Iannis Xenakis used probability equations. Much of modern popular music is a sort of algorithm, with improvisation (think guitar solos) over the constraints of simple, prescribed chord structures.

Few of Cope’s major works, save a dalliance with Navajo-style compositions, had strayed far from classical music, so he wasn’t a likely candidate to rely on software to write. But he did have an engineer’s mind, composing using note-card outlines and a level of planning that’s rare among free-spirited musicians. He even claims to have created his first algorithmic composition in 1955, instigated by the singing of wind over guide wires on a radio tower.

Cope emptied Santa Cruz’s libraries of books on artificial intelligence, sat in on classes and slowly learned to program. He built simple rules-based software to replicate his own taste, but it didn’t take long before he realized the task was too difficult. He turned to a more realistic challenge: writing chorales (four-part vocal hymns) in the style of Johann Sebastian Bach, a childhood favorite.
After a year’s work, his program could compose chorales at the level of a C-student college sophomore. It was correctly following the rules, smoothly connecting chords, but it lacked vibrancy. As AI software, it was a minor triumph. As a method of producing creative music, it was awful.

Cope wrestled with the problem for months, almost giving up several times. And then one day, on the way to the drug store, Cope remembered that Bach wasn’t a machine — once in a while, he broke his rules for the sake of aesthetics. The program didn’t break any rules; Cope hadn’t asked it to.

The best way to replicate Bach’s process was for the software to derive his rules — both the standard techniques and the behavior of breaking them. Cope spent months converting 300 Bach chorales into a database, note by note. Then he wrote a program that segmented the bits into digital objects and reassembled them the way Bach tended to put them together.

The results were a great improvement. Yet as Cope tested the recombinating software on Bach, he noticed that the music would often wander and lacked an overall logic. More important, the output seemed to be missing some ineffable essence.

Again, Cope hit the books, hoping to discover research into what that something was. For hundreds of years, musicologists had analyzed the rules of composition at a superficial level. Yet few had explored the details of musical style; their descriptions of terms like “dynamic,” for example, were so vague as to be unprogrammable. So Cope developed his own types of musical phenomena to capture each composer’s tendencies — for instance, how often a series of notes shows up, or how a series may signal a change in key. He also classified chords, phrases and entire sections of a piece based on his own grammar of musical storytelling and tension and release: statement, preparation, extension, antecedent, consequent. The system is analogous to examining the way a piece of writing functions. For example, a word may be a noun in preparation for a verb, within a sentence meant to be a declarative statement, within a paragraph that’s a consequent near the conclusion of a piece.

Finally, Cope’s program could divine what made Bach sound like Bach and create music in that style. It broke rules just as Bach had broken them, and made the result sound musical. It was as if the software had somehow captured Bach’s spirit — and it performed just as well in producing new Mozart compositions and Shakespeare sonnets. One afternoon, a few years after he’d begun work on Emmy, Cope clicked a button and went out for a sandwich, and she spit out 5,000 beautiful, artificial Bach chorales, work that would’ve taken him several lifetimes to produce by hand.

When Emmy’s Bach pieces were first performed, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1987, they were met with stunned silence. Two years later, a series of performances at the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival was panned by a music critic — two weeks before the performance. When Cope played “the game” in front of an audience, asking which pieces were real Bach and which were Emmy-written Bach, most people couldn’t tell the difference. Many were angry; few understood the point of the exercise.

Cope tried to get Emmy a recording contract, but classical record companies said, “We don’t do contemporary music,” and contemporary record companies said the opposite. When he finally did land a deal, no musician would play the music. He had to record it with a Disklavier (a modern player piano), a process so taxing he nearly suffered a nervous breakdown.

Though musicians and composers were often skeptical, Cope soon attracted worldwide notice, especially from scientists interested in artificial intelligence and the small, promising field called artificial creativity. Other “AC” researchers have written programs that paint pictures; that tell Mexican folk tales or write detective novels; and that come up with funny jokes. They have varying goals, though most seek to better understand human creativity by modeling it in a machine.

Read the full article at: www.Miller-McCune.com

Also tune into

Source: http://www.redicecreations.com

The Dawn of a New Epoch?

March 26, 2010

Geologists from the University of Leicester are among four scientists- including a Nobel prize-winner - who suggest that the Earth has entered a new age of geological time.

The Age of Aquarius? Not quite - It’s the Epoch, say the scientists writing in the journal & Technology. (web issue March 29; print issue April 1)

And they add that the dawning of this new epoch may include the sixth largest mass extinction in the ’s history.

Jan Zalasiewicz and Mark Williams from the University of Leicester Department of Geology; Will Steffen, Director of the Australian National University’s Climate Change Institute and Paul Crutzen the Nobel Prize-winning atmospheric chemist of Mainz University provide evidence for the scale of global change in their commentary in the American Chemical Society’s’ bi-weekly journal Environmental Science & Technology.

The scientists propose that, in just two centuries, humans have wrought such vast and unprecedented changes to our world that we actually might be ushering in a new geological time interval, and alter the planet for millions of years.

Zalasiewicz, Williams, Steffen and Crutzen contend that recent human activity, including stunning population growth, sprawling megacities and increased use of fossil fuels, have changed the planet to such an extent that we are entering what they call the Anthropocene (New Man) Epoch.

First proposed by Crutzen more than a decade ago, the term Anthropocene has provoked controversy. However, as more potential consequences of human activity — such as global climate change and sharp increases in plant and animal extinctions — have emerged, Crutzen’s term has gained support. Currently, the worldwide geological community is formally considering whether the Anthropocene should join the Jurassic, Cambrian and other more familiar units on the Scale.

The scientists note that getting that formal designation will likely be contentious. But they conclude, “However these debates will unfold, the Anthropocene represents a new phase in the history of both humankind and of the Earth, when natural forces and human forces became intertwined, so that the fate of one determines the fate of the other. Geologically, this is a remarkable episode in the history of this planet.”

More information

Zalasiewicz, J.; Williams, M.; Steffen, W.; Crutzen, P. The new world of the Anthropocene. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2010, 44 (7). DOI:10.1021/es903118j

Provided by University of Leicester

Source: http://www.physorg.com

Our sex lives! Their agenda

29 March 2010
by Laurie Penny

Moral posturing paints the young as victims or villains of a sexualised society. We are just getting on with it

Reading the papers today, you could be forgiven for believing that young people live in a technological Sodom and Gomorrah – tweeting, blogging and "sexting" our way into sick cybernetic promiscuity. The press pounced on a Teesside health spokesperson's suggestion that online hookups might be linked to a rise in cases of syphilis in the area, with the Sun luridly declaring that Facebook had "caused" a 2,000% surge in the disease. It then transpired the actual rise was far smaller and the connection with social networking was tenuous, but parents had been dosed with another clumsily concocted reason to fear and police the sexual behaviour of their children.

Young people are used to seeing statistics shoehorned into an adult agenda that smothers and misunderstands our sexual choices. Last month a Conservative policy document claimed that 54% of teenage girls in "the most deprived areas" were getting pregnant, when the real figure was only 5.4%. That such a glaring exaggeration made it past the proofreading stage points to a chilling incomprehension of the reality of young people's lives. It is not just Conservatives who are guilty of lazy thinking: stern headlines about teenage pregnancy persist despite the fact that teenage conception rates have been decreasing steadily for a decade.

Dr Petra Boynton, a sex educator and academic, says the change in sexual behaviour isn't nearly so dramatic as the media make out. Most young people still don't lose their virginity until they are over 16, she says. "As adults we're very quick to look at young people and say 'Aren't they awful', without looking at the wider issues – like our appalling track record on sex education."

If anything, there is a curious frigidity to our understanding of youth and sexuality. What surrounds young people is not sex itself but the illusion of sex – a straining, airbrushed vision of sexuality that is as chaste as it is relentless. Young people growing up with the pressure to perform in every aspect of their lives find themselves aping a robotic eroticism that has little to do with their desires. "Some girls in my class like to play up to the idea of being a sexy schoolgirl, like you see in films and music videos," said Ellie, 16. "But that idea didn't just occur to us. After all, it's not us making the videos." This commercial pantomime of sexuality is an adult invention, and has little to do with real sex.

Young people are blamed for mimicking adult sexuality even as we are told we are hapless victims of "sexualisation", a word that has entered the lexicon following the recent Sexualisation of Young People Review by the Home Office. Feminists like Natasha Walter are quick to condemn young people's sexual culture as exploitative. As a contributor to Walter's book Living Dolls, I was disappointed to see a lack of acknowledgement that young women can make positive sexual choices. The harmful, objectifying experiences I discussed with her were part of my bumpy journey towards an adult awareness of sexuality.

For young women in particular, a double standard is in place. We are pitied for growing up amid media encouraging erotic availability, but we are also portrayed as wanton strumpets, vomiting our worthless GCSEs into drains with our knickers around our knees, especially if we are "girls from deprived areas". Nowhere is there the idea that young women might have their own minds.

Moral posturing is deeply unhelpful to young people attempting to navigate the murky, marvellous world of sex and intimacy. Protecting them from abuse is vital, but we must be granted the space to take risks. How else will we develop a healthy sexuality of our own?

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk

Food addiction

March 29, 2010
by Stephen Daniells

Food addiction
Fat may rewire brain like hard drugs

Over eating may be driven by a same neurobiological mechanism in the brain as drug addition, says a new study from the US that adds clout to the theory ‘food addiction’.

Data from a study with laboratory rats indicated that the development of obesity was accompanied by a break-down in brain chemistry linked to pleasure responses. According to findings published in Nature Neuroscience, the very same changes occur when rats over-consume heroin or cocaine.

"These findings confirm what we and many others have suspected that overconsumption of highly pleasurable food triggers addiction-like neuroadaptive responses in brain reward circuitries, driving the development of compulsive eating," said lead researcher Dr Paul Kenny, from The Scripps Research Institutein Florida.

"Common mechanisms may therefore underlie obesity and drug addiction,” he added.

The data appears to refocus attention on the formulation of foods, and the Western diet in particular – the researchers fed the rats easy-to-obtain high-calorie, high-fat foods like sausage, bacon, and cheesecake.

Of mice and men

However, despite a slew of newspaper coverage, experience in the area of ‘sugar addiction’ should fan the flames of caution. Results from animal studies recently likened the brain activity and behaviour of rats bingeing on sugar to those seen in drug addicts. Researchers from Princeton University reported their findings at the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology in Scottsdale, Arizona in December 2008.

However, a professor from Swansea University in the UK who specialises in dietary influences on mood and cognitive function challenged the findings. Professor David Benton told our sister publication ConfectioneryNews.com that the neurobiological changes observed in the animals would be unlikely to be observed in humans, noting that “only when sugar is administered in a highly prescribed and unusual manner is it reported that signs of addiction occur”.

Rats like junk food

Dr Kenny and graduate student Paul Johnson divided rats into three groups: One group was fed normal rat chow, while the second and third groups were given restricted or extended access to a so-called ‘cafeteria-style’ diet, defined by the researchers as “consisting of palatable energy-dense food readily available for human consumption”.

Results showed that animals in the extended feeding group consumed twice the amount of calories as rats in the control (chow) group. Rats in the restricted group (with some access to chow) were found to consume over 66 per cent of their calories during the one hour restricted access to the cafeteria-style food.

“When we removed the junk food and tried to put them on a nutritious diet – what we called the 'salad bar option' – they simply refused to eat,” noted Kenny. “The change in their diet preference was so great that they basically starved themselves for two weeks after they were cut off from junk food. It was the animals that showed the ‘crash’ in brain reward circuitries that had the most profound shift in food preference to the palatable, unhealthy diet. These same rats were also those that kept on eating even when they anticipated being[given an electric shock]."

Brain receptors

The researchers focussed their attention on dopamine receptors in the brains of the animals, with specific attention on the dopamine D2 receptor. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is released in the brain by pleasurable experiences like food or sex or drugs like cocaine.

Similar to the effects of cocaine, the junk food-fed animals displayed significant reduction in the activity of these D2 dopamine receptors. Additional experiments looked at knocking out these receptors using a specialized virus, and the results showed a dramatic acceleration of addiction-like eating, said Kenny and Johnson.

"This addiction-like behavior happened almost from the moment we knocked down the dopamine receptors," said Kenny. "The very next day after we provided access to the palatable food, their brains changed into a state that was consistent with an animal that had been overeating for several weeks. The animals also became compulsive in their eating behaviors almost immediately.

“These data are, as far as we know, the strongest support for the idea that overeating of palatable food can become habitual in the same manner and through the same mechanisms as consumption of drugs of abuse,” he added.

The work was funded by a Bank of America Fellowship, the Landenberger Foundation, and the US National Institutes of Health.

Source: Nature Neuroscience
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1038/nn.2519

“Dopamine D2 receptors in addiction-like reward dysfunction and compulsive eating in obese rats”

Authors: P.M. Johnson, P.J. Kenny
A full copy of the paper is freely available here:


Source: http://www.foodnavigator.com

Velikovsky's Comet Venus

March 12, 2010

Left: Diagram and Animation of the solar wind interacting with the atmosphere of Venus. Credit: ESA/C. Carreau. Right: Close up of Ankhsunamun’s 'comet’ crown on the back of
Tutankhamun’s throne.

Immanuel Velikovsky concluded from his extensive interdisciplinary research that the planet Venus was remembered from the time of the dawn of civilization as a brilliant cometary body.

While there is a wealth of literary sources to draw upon, when it comes to the pictorial evidence it isn’t as forthcoming. No images can be conclusively identified as actually representing Venus in cometary form, a situation that essentially shouldn’t exist. After all, it stands to reason that it was naked eye observations that primarily inspired the myths. So, at the very least the imagery should be equal to or analogous to the literary sources – but this clearly isn’t the case.

Have we overlooked something? Is it possible images of Comet Venus have been staring us in the face for decades?

The image on the right has been taken from the back of Tutankhamun’s throne. It depicts the wife of king Tut, Ankhsunamun. The queen is shown wearing a very distinctive crown consisting of a disk surmounted by cow horns and two tall plumes.

This unusual headdress made its appearance in the New Kingdom and features prominently in Egyptian art - numerous queens can be seen sporting this particular crown. Although the actual shape or outline remained constant (for approximately 900 years), there exist a few variants to the colours shown. For example, the disk was predominantly painted the traditional Egyptian deep red, the ‘horns’ normally black, while the plumes can be gold, a plain yellow, or blue and without the ‘filaments‘.

Like most Egyptian crowns encompassing a sphere, it somehow represents an aspect of the sun, or so the conventional way of thinking goes. This is a perplexing line of thought since the Sun is a golden glaring ball—it doesn’t have cow horns wrapped around it and most certainly exhibits no signs of enormous cometary tails.

It is apparent even to the uninitiated that what we are looking at here is a comet—a large comet with a plumed tail. Furthermore, if Egyptian art is used as a measure of time, this comet graced our skies for nearly a thousand years. It is carved, painted, and represented in statues the length and breadth of the Nile valley. Even the legendary Cleopatra wore this headdress.

Could this particular crown be a true-life physical representation of proto-Venus as it appeared in ancient times?

To quote Wal Thornhill:

'In the electrical model of the solar system, any body on a sufficiently eccentric orbit about the Sun will exhibit cometary features. For ancient people to have seen Venus as an Earth-threatening comet, Venus must have had an eccentric orbit that brought the planet near to Earth'.

Are we looking at Velikovsky’s comet Venus?

Comparing the comet crown with the Venus diagram on the left reveals some fundamental similarities, far too close to be deemed coincidental. In fact, for all intents and purposes they are virtually identical!

The orb represents the body of Venus: the horns signify the bow shock as the solar wind slams into the Venusian surface, enveloping its body due to a lack of an intrinsic magnetic field. The two large plumes represent Venus’ magnetotail—split in two and flowing downstream at least three times its diameter.

The image on the left is just a diagram, and today Venus’ comet tail can only be detected by magnetometers and charged particle detectors. However, place Venus on an eccentric orbit in a highly charged ‘dusty’ environment and the normally invisible magnetotail (and bow shock) would become highly visible.

Wal Thornhill commenting on Venus’ cometary magnetotail:

'A power surge in those filaments today would cause them to glow, and Venus would form a "stupendous" cometary apparition in the sky. The forensic evidence would stand up in court, showing that Venus was a comet within human memory'.

Science is slowly proving Velikovsky to be correct in a number of areas. Perhaps with the comet crown of ancient Egypt we now have the pictorial evidence to match.

Contributed by Gary Gilligan

Source: http://www.thunderbolts.info

Paedophilia and Satanism

March 2010


By David Icke

This is a newsletter I wrote some weeks ago that I am now releasing to a wider audience because of its fundamental relevance to current events.

Please circulate far and wide.
This is the link to send …



I have had countless surprises and many shocks as I have lifted the stone and seen what horrors lie beneath, but few more than the scale of child abuse and Satanism.

And that's the word - scale. The fact that it is happening is one thing, but to realise how widespread and fundamental it is to establishment power all over the world was truly shocking.

I have talked with people in the best part of 50 countries in my research of this subject, the abused, the insiders who know the abusers, and those who have dedicated their lives to exposing this evil.

Put it all together and the situation is as clear as can be: paedophilia and Satanism are the cement that hold the establishment control structure together in every country, and these 'national' networks connect together to form a global network of paedophiles and Satanists all watching each others' backs - while they continue to serve the Control System.

If anyone wants to get out or refuses to take orders they know the consequences - 'suicide' or exposure.

Governments around the world are being controlled by the bloodline cabal via paedophile and Satanist politicians and 'leaders' who dare not resist the demands of the Shadow People who have the evidence that would destroy them.

A few weeks ago a document came to light in Australia purporting to be a 'death bed confession' by a leading Satanist from the 'top' coven/lodge in Sydney. It certainly rang true because what it said is supported by my 15 years research into these matters. It said:

'Politicians are introduced by a carefully graded set of criteria and situations that enable them to accept that their victims will be, "Our little secret". Young children sexually molested and physically abused by politicians worldwide are quickly used as sacrifices. In Australia the bodies are hardly ever discovered, for Australia is still a wilderness.'

In more crowded locations the Satanists and paedophiles (the two networks are fundamentally connected) have crematoria to 'lose' the evidence of child sacrifice and murder.

People don't realise how organised it all is. Satanists and paedophiles (and those doing their bidding in pursuit of power, money and sheer survival) are placed in the key public offices to hide their activities. I am talking presidents and prime ministers, too.

Ted 'child killer' Heath

I have been naming the former British Prime Minister, the now late Ted Heath, since 1998 to be a child-killing paedophile Satanist and, in terms of his 'high-office', he is far from a rarity (see article below this one). I know others, including one who spent a long time in that position.

These networks control governments, national and local, 'law' offices, police, courts, coroners' offices, crematoria, social services, law firms and so on, and they have their own doctors and pathologists to ensure when necessary that they can cover up how people have truly met their fate.

Every time I have investigated, or read about the investigations of others, the same blueprint is there to see. Children are supplied for prominent members of 'society' through children's homes and other sources and should they and their families seek to expose what has happened they are met with a wall of resistance from police, social services and the court system.

The former Nebraska state senator, John W DeCamp, famously uncovered a paedophile ring in Omaha involving establishment figures and leading US politicians while he was investigating the financial fraud of a top Republican called Lawrence King who ran the Franklin Community Federal Credit Union in Omaha.

King sang the national anthem at the Republican conventions in 1984 and 1988, but he was doing more than that. He was supplying children for politicians and others at the conventions and elsewhere.

The truth began to emerge from the late 1980s and even made some major newspapers, especially the Washington Times which ran a story that implicated the Reagan-Bush regime.

The mention of Father Bush is especially significant because I have been naming him in my books and on radio for years as a serial paedophile, child torturer and killer. I said it on a live BBC radio programme once, actually twice, and this fact appeared in some national newspapers.

The papers wrote the story in a ridiculing way because they are, well, pathetic, and not one of them came to me and said 'tell me more'. Meanwhile, as the 'intellectual' prostitutes focus on tits, celebrities and fake scandal, the children go on being abused, tortured and murdered on a staggering scale.

President George H W Bush - child abuser, torturer and killer.

The US government mind and sex slave, Cathy O'Brien, exposed Bush and many others in her book, Trance-Formation of America. Here she describes what Bush did on a regular basis to her daughter, Kelly:

'Kelly's bleeding rectum was but one of many physical indicators of George Bush's pedophile perversions. I have overheard him speak blatantly of his sexual abuse of her on many occasions. He used this and threats to her life to "pull my strings" and control me.

The psychological ramifications of being raped by a pedophile President are mind shattering enough, but reportedly Bush further reinforced the traumas to Kelly's mind with sophisticated NASA electronic and drug mind-control devices.

Bush also instilled the "Who ya gonna call?" and "I'll be watching you" binds on Kelly, further reinforcing her state of helplessness. The systematic tortures and trauma that I endured as a child now seem trite in comparison to the brutal physical and psychological devastation that George Bush inflicted on my daughter.'

What has happened to Cathy and her daughter, Kelly, would be horrific enough if it was a one-off, the result of one sick and depraved man, but this is happening daily all over the world to enormous numbers of children.

Wherever you are in the world reading this newsletter - your country's political-intelligence-military network is doing exactly the same.

You don't hear about it, except through those willing to investigate without fear of the consequences, because of this 'wall' I talked about. The system slams the door by refusing to investigate and prosecute; by making sure 'investigations' that are started never get anywhere; by threatening, even killing, the people seeking justice; and by threatening those few in the mainstream media who are willing to handle the story.

John W DeCamp details in his book, The Franklin Cover-up: Child Abuse, Satanism, and Murder in Nebraska, how the Satanist-paedophile ring included those who controlled the government, police and media in Omaha and thus the 'wall' was in place to stop justice. Most of the small fry are also protected because their prosecution could lead to the 'big fry'.

Part of the paedophile-Satanist blueprint includes 'convenient' deaths and the media suddenly withdrawing from an investigation. Both happened in the Franklin case.

A special Nebraska state legislative committee was eventually assigned to investigate the abuse allegations and private detective, Gary Caradori, was hired as lead investigator. He seems to have been a genuine man determined to find the truth, but he was killed during his investigation when the small plane he was piloting broke up in mid-air over Illinois.

The British television company, Yorkshire Television, made a 56-minute documentary about the Lawrence King scandal called Conspiracy of Silence that was also due to go out on the Discovery Channel. Then, at the last moment, the programme was pulled and all copies were ordered to be destroyed. At least one wasn't, however, and you can see it at the end of this article.

All of this brings me to the story that I and others have been working on with avengeance - the case of the Down's Syndrome girl, Hollie Greig. It is a classic of its kind and once again the blueprint for all to see.

Hollie lived in Aberdeen in the Grampian region of Scotland, an area notorious for Satanism and child abuse. Scotland as a whole is a global centre for these abominations and they connect into many of the aristocratic Scottish families going way back.

Scotland - one of the global centres for paedophila and Satanism

The biggest secret society in the world is not called the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry for nothing. The Knights Templar remerged out of Scotland after they were purged in France in 1307 - that's how far the Scottish connection to this goes back. In fact, even beyond that.

Whenever you investigate paedophilia and Satanism, you will find that Freemasonry and/or other secret societies eventually come up. Every time. So it is with the Scottish paedophile-Satanism ring that goes into the 'heart' (wrong word) of the Scottish and British governments.

If you want to find a nest of paedophiles and Satanists look no further than the British establishment and the Houses of Parliament. The same goes for Scotland, the United States - everywhere.

This is one major reason why the paedophile-Satanist-controlled system has to ignore or intimidate any child and family that seek to expose the perpetrators of abuse - they are terrified of where it could lead should the dominoes start to fall.

This was especially so when a Freemasonic paedophile called Thomas Hamilton walked into Dunblane Primary School in Scotland and shot dead 16 children and a teacher on March 13th 1996.

Hamilton should not have had a gun licence because his mental state and paedophile tendencies were known to police, but his Freemasonic and political contacts ensured that it was granted. When you procure children for the establishment elite, as Hamilton did, you tend to have friends in high places.

A massive cover-up followed and documents relating to the case were ordered to be locked away for 100 years. Just a coincidence, nothing to worry about.

The paedophile-satanic rings operate within Freemasonry, like a secret society within a secret society, and most Freemasons, even some high ones, don't know what is going on.

In fact, it was a former Scottish Freemasonic Grand Master, Lord Burton, who said that the official 'inquiry' into the Dunblane massacre, conducted by the Scot, Lord Cullen, was a cover-up.

Lord Burton told the media that Cullen's inquiry suppressed crucial information to protect high-profile legal figures who belonged to a 'Super-Mason' group called the Speculative Society. Lord Burton said:

'I have learned of an apparent connection between prominent members of the legal establishment involved in the inquiry, and the secretive Speculative Society. The society was formed in Edinburgh University through Masonic connections so I accept that there might be a link by that route.'

Members of the Speculative Society have included Lord Cullen and a number of other judges, sheriffs and advocates, plus, it is reported, the former British government minister and Secretary-General of NATO, Lord Robertson, who knew Thomas Hamilton. Lord Burton, of course, was subjected to the usual dismissal, condemnation and threats for demanding action.

Hollie Greig and her mother, Anne, have seen at close range over many years how the system closes ranks to protect its own - paedophiles and Satanists - at the expense of justice for appallingly abused children.

Hollie had been sexually abused by her father, Denis Charles Mackie, and by many others in the ring for more than a decade before she told her mother. This happened when Anne took Hollie away from the family home because of Mackie's violence.

Hollie said she had not said anything before because her father had threatened to kill her pet dog and her mother if she did. Down's Syndrome children are particularly sought after by some paedophiles and Satanists - it's a way they get their 'kicks'. The 'confession of a Satanist' document says:

'Any form of bizarre sexual congress is explored and encouraged because atrophied tastes need stronger stimulation. Children, the elderly, the mentally retarded and desperate are used at satanic ceremonies throughout the world. The left hand path caters for all tastes and responds to all needs. In Australia and throughout what used to be the Soviet Union, Downs Syndrome pornography is an expanding market and an acquired taste.

Approximately one new DVD - like The Gangbang of Mary Mongoloid Series (1998-2001) or Downer Syndrome Follies I-II (2001-2003) - hits the underground market every couple of months.'

These are the people running our world. It's about time they weren't.

Hollie and her mother went to the police to report her abuse and the people she had named. These included a Scottish sheriff (a top judge), senior police officers, lawyers, a fire officer, accountant, nurse and social workers. She said that the rapes happened at the perpetrators' homes and inside a temple of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry.

What most people don't know is that Down's Syndrome people make excellent witnesses because they tell it like it is and, in effect, don't have the ability to spin a story that isn't true.

Once again the 'wall' went up. The Grampian police refused to investigate and, when pressed into some sort of 'action', refused to investigate in anything, but name.

Then there is the story of Elish Angiolini, who was Procurator Fiscal in Aberdeen while Hollie was seeking justice. The Procurator Fiscal is basically the law officer in the Grampian region who decides if a prosecution will go ahead.

Angiolini has claimed that she wasn't Procurator Fiscal at the time of the case, had nothing to do with it and didn't remember it. Official paperwork shows otherwise on all counts. How would you not be aware, massively aware, that one of your sheriffs was being accused of the serial rape of a Down's Syndrome girl??

Angiolini's Procurator Fiscal office decreed that there was not enough evidence to pursue a prosecution in the Hollie case and this was despite the fact that there was a lot of evidence and the people named by Hollie, and other victims she also named, were never interviewed by the police.

Interestingly, a strange story appeared in the Daily Telegraph newspaper during Angiolini's tenure in Aberdeen in 2001 - 'Procurator apologises to girl, 10 in sex case'. It told of how her office had written to another girl who had claimed to have been sexually abused to 'apologise' for the 'incompetence' that stopped the case going ahead.

Angiolini's office took so long to process the case - the best part of three years - that it was thrown out by a sheriff for taking too long to get to court. Who was this sheriff? The one named by Hollie Greig as one of her primary abusers.

The Daily Telegraph also reported at the time that 'This week it also emerged that a case of a seven-year-old boy who was allegedly raped had collapsed because of delays in bringing it to court in Aberdeen'.

Elish Angiolini was appointed Lord Advocate, Scotland's top law officer, by the Scottish Parliament on October 5th 2006 and in December 2009 she decided again that in her new capacity there would be no prosecution against the people named by Hollie Greig.

Come on Lord Advocate - do something

A refusal to investigate or prosecute is a theme that runs through this whole case. Hollie's uncle, Robert 'Roy' Greig, her mother's brother, died mysteriously in an alleged, repeat alleged, car fire in 1997 while Hollie was still being abused.

There were extreme inconsistencies in witness statements and the circumstances involved, but the Crown pathologist said that Robert Greig died of 'smoke inhalation' and no inquest was ever held.

After a battle over many years, Hollie's mother and her supporters secured a copy of the post mortem and it showed that Robert Greig had suffered serious blows to the head along with a broken breastbone and two broken ribs. The injuries were consistent with being hit with a pickaxe handle.

Alcohol had been forced down his throat - whisky, a drink he hated - and then he was thrown into the blazing car. Robert Greig had clearly been murdered and yet there was no police investigation by the deeply corrupt Grampian police.

Hollie told her mother that Robert Greig had walked in while her father was having sex with her and a big row had broken out. It would also appear that one of the people who 'found' the blazing car was known to Hollie's father.

Hollie and her mother were subjected to threats and intimidation after they reported the case, including a group from a psychiatric unit turning up at their door, grabbing Anne, injecting her, and taking her away in a failed attempt to have her held in a mental institution.

As a result of this they fled to England. Think about that. A Down's Syndrome girl and her mother have to flee from Scotland to get away from these brave men and women of the Scottish establishment. You are pathetic, ladies and gentlemen, truly, truly pathetic.

Hollie and Anne were given tremendous support in England by a journalist and broadcaster called Robert Green who has been superbly compiling the evidence and applying the pressure on the sick and sad Scottish establishment in all its forms.

The BBC approached them to do a documentary on the case for BBC Scotland, BBC Radio Scotland and the BBC flagship current affairs programme, Panorama. Everything was going well and the main reporter said that they had also uncovered other cases of paedophilia in Scotland. Well, there's no shortage of it.

Then, suddenly, the reporter called and said the programme was being pulled. He said they had been threatened and could do no more on the Hollie Greig case, or any other paedophile investigation in Scotland. If they did, the three BBC staff involved would be sacked.

Robert Green plans to stand for Parliament in the Grampian 'capital', Aberdeen, this year on the single issue of the Hollie Greig case. In February he went to the city to continue his campaign to win justice for Hollie, but he was arrested by the Grampian police.

Colin McKerracher, the Chief Constable of Grampian police, the force which failed to investigate Hollie Greig's abuse, but then arrested Robert Green for trying to do what the police should have done, is ... wait for it ... Chairman of the North East of Scotland Child Protection Committee!!

Why would someone act like this in relation to the Hollie Greig case and Robert Green and be a top name in 'child protection'? Maybe you can work it out. I have.

When we heard of what had happened to Robert Green, I and websites like the UK Column, which has been following this story closely, began to encourage people to ring or email the Grampian police headquarters demanding to know what was happening to him.

Apparently, every time they put the phone down it rang again over a whole weekend. This is important because the thing these people fear above all else is publicity and public awareness. They have already had far more than they want and they are going to get plenty more - whatever they do.

Robert was charged with a 'breach of the peace', which is applied so widely in Scotland that you can basically use it for almost anything. The police and government law office even held the hearing in private in a small-town court 15 miles from Aberdeen where it should normally have taken place. No public or press were allowed.

Such is the level of corruption and terror of the playground bullies of the Scottish establishment cabal. Like all bullies, they have balls the size of peanuts. Robert was bailed to appear again and a gagging order was imposed to stop him repeating the names and evidence surrounding the Hollie Greig case.

His home in England was also raided at the same time by police who would rather harass a decent man seeking justice for an abused Down's Syndrome girl than investigate what happened to her. Trying to destroy the evidence, eh, chaps? You have no shame.

The UK Column has received a series of threats from a major Scottish law firm called Levy and McRae for what they have posted about Hollie and Robert.

They say they represent the Lord Advocate, Elish Angiolini, and threaten action if she is connected with the Hollie Greig case. But she was Procurator Fiscal in Aberdeen when the Hollie case was running and now she is the top law officer in Scotland, so how can you not??

Don't be silly.

It is reported that the Scottish mainstream media (see under 'gutless') have been warned in similar terms and that Google has been contacted.

One letter by Levy and McRae to the UK Column also makes reference to Sheriff Graeme Buchanan, who was named by Hollie Greig, so presumably they must represent him, too.

The lawyer at Levy and McRae sending out the warning letters is one Peter Watson, their head of litigation, who represented the families of those killed by Thomas Hamilton at Dunblane in 1996 and is said to have played a 'key role' in the Tribunal of Inquiry under Speculative Society member, Lord Cullen. Watson, like Cullen, studied law at Edinburgh University.

Watson also represented the victims' families in the 'inquiry' into the Lockerbie plane bombing for which a Libyan was jailed to cover up the fact that American, British and almost certainly Israeli intelligence were the real perpetrators.

Watson played the same role in the 'inquiry' into the Piper Alpha oil rig disaster, another 'inquiry' headed by Speculative Society member, Lord Cullen.

Edinburgh and its university, especially the law department, come up again and again. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was a student and Rector there, while his predecessor, Tony Blair, was born in the city and his father studied law at Edinburgh University.

The current Scottish 'Justice' Secretary, Kenny MacAskill, is a former lawyer with Levy and McRae, and yet another who studied law at Edinburgh University.

MacAskill's response to demands for action over the Scottish establishment paedophile ring has been to make additions to legislation passing through the Scottish Parliament that would effectively gag anyone seeking to win justice for Hollie Greig and other abused children when his government and the police refuse to investigate.

He says: 'Stalking can be a deeply frightening crime for victims'. Yes, mate, Robert Green can tell you that after he was stalked by your pathetic government law office and the Grampian police - but the multiple rape of children is rather worse.

Why is it not being investigated by either your government or the Grampian police? Why is a blatant murder connected to the case being covered up and not investigated by the Grampian police?

What is your response to these legitimate questions, Mr 'justice' man? Shut them up. What a bloody disgrace.

MacAskill was in the news in August 2009 for releasing Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, the official Lockerbie 'bomber', on 'compassionate grounds' because he was said to have only weeks to live (he's still alive at the time of writing). President Obama reacted with fake horror that MacAskill would do this given that 189 Americans died at Lockerbie.

I would suggest, however, that the real reason that Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi was suddenly released had nothing to do with 'compassion' - these people have none - and Obama well knew that.

He was due to have a second appeal heard in 2009 that his lawyers said would demolish the official story of Lockerbie. Among their evidence was:

  • Vital CIA documents relating to the Mebo timer that allegedly detonated the Lockerbie bomb - documents which had been withheld from the defence team.
  • Tony Gauci, chief prosecution witness at the trial, was alleged to have been paid $2 million for testifying against Megrahi.
  • Edwin Bollier, the owner of Mebo, said that in 1991 the FBI offered him $4 million to testify that the timer fragment found near the scene of the crash was part of a Mebo MST-13 timer supplied to Libya.
  • Ulrich Lumpert, a former employee of Mebo, swore an affidavit in July 2007 that he had stolen a prototype MST-13 timer in 1989, and had handed it over to 'a person officially investigating the Lockerbie case'.

Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi abandoned his appeal that would have brought all this evidence and more to light as part of the deal for his release on 'compassionate grounds'. Wheels within wheels within wheels. 'Compassion' my arse.

So there we have it. What has happened to Hollie Greig and everything that surrounds her case is a story I have seen repeated all over the world so many times and I am not letting this one drop. It has the potential to open a can of worms that will engulf British politics and beyond. So it should.

Justice for Hollie. Justice for all the children.

Watch this space.


Click here …


Investigative journalist confirms connection of leading political and legal figures to Scottish paedophile ring and Dunblane child killer Thomas Hamilton.

Read more …


Ahhhh, there you are. Is that a 'journalist' behind you?
'Your Scotland, Your Voice' - unless you are a Down's syndrome girl serially-abused by 'pillars' of the Scottish establishment. Then they chase you out of the country and arrest the man who is trying to win you justice, eh, Mr Salmond?
Please contact Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish Parliament, and demand that action is taken in this case ... email: firstminister@scotland.gsi.gov.uk
Please also email Scottish Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini and demand that she stop the cover up of horrific child abuse by the Scottish 'elite' ... email elish.angiolini@scotland.gsi.gov.uk
'Justice' Secretary Kenny MacAskill can be contacted at his official email address - Kenny.MacAskill.msp@scottish.parliament.uk

Establishment Paedophile Networks - How They Operate: An American Example

'From Senator John Decamp: In mid-1993, after The Franklin Cover-Up [book] had been circulating for almost a year, the British-based TV station, Yorkshire Television, sent a top-notch team to Nebraska to launch its own investigation of the Franklin case. Yorkshire had a contract with the Discovery Channel to produce a documentary on the case for American television. Finally, the big day came. Their documentary was to air nation-wide on the Discovery Channel on May 3, 1994.
It was advertised in the TV Guide and in newspapers for that day. But no one ever saw that program. At the last minute, and without explanation, it was pulled from the air. It was not shown then, and has never been broadcast anywhere since. I have a copy of that program, which arrived anonymously in my mail in late 1995. When I watched this pirated copy, I could see clearly why the program had been suppressed. Conspiracy of Silence proved, beyond doubt, that the essential points I had stressed in the book (and more) were all true.'

Click here to watch ...

John DeCamp on the Franklin Cover-up

Click here to watch ...

Like I say, it is happening everywhere ...

Law in Mormon State of Utah Would Sheild Paedophiles and Satanists (just like Scotland wants to do - see article about 'Justice' Secretary, Kenny MacAskill)

Read more ...

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