Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2583 on: Jan 15th, 2011, 09:29am »
New York Times
January 14, 2011 Restrictions on Travel to Cuba Are Eased By GINGER THOMPSON
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Friday eased restrictions on Americans’ travel to Cuba in an effort to encourage more contact between people in both countries, while leaving intact the decades-old embargo against the island’s Communist government.
White House officials said they were lifting travel restrictions imposed by President George W. Bush and expanding the so-called people-to-people provisions created under President Bill Clinton. The changes provide broad opportunities for travel to Cuba by academic, religious and cultural groups and allow charter flights from more American airports.
The new measures also permit Americans to send money to Cuban citizens — except for members of the Castro government and the Communist Party — and to religious organizations to support “private economic activity.”
The administration had been expected to announce these measures months ago, but Congressional and administration officials said they were delayed because of White House concerns about their possible impact on the 2010 midterm elections.
There were also worries about the effect the move could have on the detention of a contractor for the United States Agency for International Development who was arrested in Cuba more than a year ago after he was discovered distributing satellite communication equipment to religious groups.
State Department officials visited the contractor, Alan Gross, in Havana this week. The Associated Press reported Friday that the State Department was “cautiously optimistic” that Mr. Gross, 60, who has had health problems, would be tried and then allowed to return to the United States.
Still, the fact that the White House announced the new measures late on a Friday afternoon when most Republican members of Congress were away on retreat and Democrats had left their offices for the long holiday weekend, indicated that the administration hoped to enact the changes with as little fanfare — and backlash — as possible.
The White House announcement also comes as the Cuban government is carrying out a sweeping economic overhaul, including layoffs of hundreds of thousands of state workers. Sarah Stephens, executive director of the Center for Democracy in the Americas, said the increased flow of money from American citizens would help Cubans cope with the changes.
Asked whether the administration was concerned that the measure might inadvertently strengthen the Cuban government by providing its economy with a new source of hard currency, a senior administration official said, “What we know is that it will put money into the hands of the Cuban people and allow them to have more independence from the Cuban state.”
Still, a handful of supporters and opponents of the measures took time to make their feelings known.
“Loosening these regulations will not help foster a pro-democracy environment in Cuba,” said Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Republican of Florida, the new chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts and the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, applauded the measures as “an important step,” saying that they “open the way for the good will of citizens of both countries to forge deeper ties that are in our national interest today and in the future.”
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2584 on: Jan 15th, 2011, 09:38am »
James Franco's 'Rise of the Apes' will now mutate on Thanksgiving
January 14, 2011 | 7:12 pm
The apes won't rise this summer after all.
Fox said this afternoon that it's moving "Rise of the Apes" back five months, taking its "Planet of the Apes" prequel out of its planned summer date of June 24 and slotting it for Nov. 23. (Filmgoers will get a different animal in June, with the studio saying concurrently that it has moved up the Jim Carrey family film "Mr. Popper's Penguins" from its August release date to June 17.)
The move slows momentum on the quickly moving "Rise of the Apes," in which James Franco stars in a new version of the science-fiction classic. (He plays the scientist who discovers the apes mutating; Andy Serkis plays the chimp who leads the revolt.)
The studio announced in May that a reboot would be set for June 2011, saying that British director Rupert Wyatt would be offering a "completely new take on one of the studio’s most beloved and successful franchises." The cast was rounded out soon after, with production getting underway in the summer. (Pierre Boulle's novel, of course, spawned the 1968 Charlton Heston classic, which was followed by four sequels as well as a Tim Burton reimagining in 2001.)
The film is using photorealistic apes from Peter Jackson's Weta Digital effects company, and a Fox spokesman said that the November date will allow for increased postproduction time, and also steers the film to a place on the calendar with fewer big-budget action movies. This coming June-July period will see a number of effects-driven blockbuster hopefuls such as "X-Men: First Class," "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" and the final film in the Harry Potter franchise.
Moving a film out of summer can sometimes set off alarm bells in Hollywood, but it doesn't necessarily bode ill for a movie; current comedy sequel "Little Fockers" was pushed back from July to Christmas and has wound up performing respectably over the holidays.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2585 on: Jan 15th, 2011, 09:46am »
Wired Danger Room
Tweet Away, Troops: Pentagon Won’t Ban Social Media By Spencer Ackerman January 14, 2011 | 10:04 am Categories: Info War
Photo: U.S. Army
Using Facebook to stay connected to your friends and family while stationed in the middle of nowhere in Afghanistan? Whatever changes are underway for the Pentagon’s use of social media, they’re not going to stop you from updating your Wall.
“Social media tools are pervasive in the 21st century communications environment, and the department intends to fully utilize those capabilities,” Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, assures Danger Room.
As Danger Room reported yesterday, the Pentagon has gotten rid of its social-media office, saying that using Twitter, YouTube and Facebook has to be part of everyone’s regular communications habits. (Some have more success than others.) And the 2009-era policy that enshrined military access to social media — the result of a hard-fought internal struggle — expires on March 1.
That’s caused confusion on the interwebs. A former contractor with the Pentagon’s chief information officer, Noel Dickover, worried on his blog that the expiry risks “ceding the internet space to our adversaries.”
But Whitman says that by March 1, what’ll be gone is the bureaucratic format for the policy (.pdf) — not the substance — to be replaced by a more permanent format. (To be technical, a temporary Directive-Type Memorandum will give way to a department-wide Issuance.) Under the guidance of Deputy Secretary William Lynn and the review of the Pentagon’s cyberpolicy arm — which now includes former social-media chief Sumit Agarwal — the policy will still give military members access to social media.
Some bureaucratic shifts may occur, but in terms of substance, “we’re not anticipating any changes,” Whitman says, as social-media use is “the way a predominantly young force communicates.”
The proof will be in the post-March policy. But if so, that’s a big victory for those who argued that the Pentagon would lose out if it didn’t aggressively use social media to define what it does and what it stands for.
As recently as mid-2009, the military was considering an almost-total shutdown of social networking tools for its members, out of the fear that they’d compromise internal network security.
Last year, though, the Pentagon leadership scrapped that idea. The compromise reached was that the military’s unclassified network, NIPRNet, would allow access to “Internet-based capabilities across all [Defense Department] components.”
The department’s chief information officer, undersecretary for intelligence and head of Strategic Command would monitor social-media usage for potential vulnerabilities. Call up as many goofy viral videos as you want, but no gambling sites, hate-speech forums or porn.
That has encouraged the growth of social networking inside the military, filtering up all the way to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, who makes policy-significant pronouncements over Twitter. (“Gains in Afg are tenuous; now is the time to press home our adv-to redouble our efforts. Mil presence will diminish-partnership will endure,” @thejointstaff tweeted on Wednesday.)
We’re still awaiting what formal or bureaucratic changes will be made to the military’s social-media guidelines, especially after WikiLeaks has reopened the question of how much access troops should have to internal networks.
So far, the answer has been to strictly punish those who would remove information from department computers, with courts-martial threatened for burning CDs or inserting thumb drives.
But if there are security risks to social-media use, Whitman says, “we have to work on the way to mitigate that, but we’re not going to mitigate them by telling people not to use social media.”
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2586 on: Jan 15th, 2011, 09:55am »
BP Plc and Russia's state-controlled Rosneft agreed to a share swap
By Tom Bergin
LONDON | Sat Jan 15, 2011 10:28am EST
(Reuters) - BP Plc and Russia's state-controlled Rosneft agreed to a share swap under which they plan to jointly explore for offshore oil and gas in a deal that gives the UK company access to areas of the Arctic previously reserved for Russian oil companies.
BP, recovering from its Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster, will swap 5 percent of its shares, valued at $7.8 billion, for 9.5 percent of Rosneft in an agreement that immediately raised concerns about U.S. economic security from at least two American lawmakers and criticism from environmentalists.
The deal covers huge areas of the South Kara Sea in the Arctic that BP said could contain billions of barrels of oil and gas and had been previously off limits to foreign companies.
The pact, which is expected to be completed in a few weeks, highlights a rebound in relations with Moscow both for BP and its Chief Executive Bob Dudley, who was forced to flee Russia in 2008 after heading BP's Russian joint venture, TNK-BP, which is half-owned by BP.
Dudley said the deal was the first significant cross-shareholding between a nationally owned oil company and an international oil company and called it "a new template for how business can be done in our industry."
Dudley had been the boss for TNK-BP's formation in 2003 and was forced to leave due to what he described as a campaign of harassment by BP-TNK's billionaire oligarch co-owners.
The issue has since been resolved and Dudley returned to Moscow for the first time this summer, following his appointment as CEO of BP, to be warmly welcomed by officials.
"It has turned from a fistfight into a lovefest," said Cliff Kupchan, a director at Eurasia Group in Washington.
Russia is a key part of BP's global operation, providing the company with a quarter of its reserves before the U.S. oil spill, so it is vital for Dudley to establish a good working relationship with the world's largest oil exporting nation.
U.S. Congressman Edward Markey, who is the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, immediately called for a review of the deal by U.S. regulators to see whether it affects the national and economic security of the United States. He noted that in 2009 BP was the top petroleum supplier to the U.S. military.
And Republican Congressman Michael Burgess, who is on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, also said the deal "deserves some analysis and scrutiny" by the government's Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States given BP's ownership of critical oil assets in the U.S.
The U.S. Treasury said it is forbidden by law to comment on investigations, planned or under way, by the committee.
Environmental group Greenpeace, noting the fragility of the Arctic, also lashed out.
"Now BP has bought its way into the Arctic by the back door. It seems the company learned nothing last year in the Gulf of Mexico," Charlie Kronick of Greenpeace said in a statement.
BP has a market capitalization of $150 billion U.S. dollars, while Rosneft is valued at about $83 billion.
The venture underscores Europe's dependence on Russia for a rising share of its energy needs -- particularly for clean-burning natural gas. Russia holds one-fifth of the world's reserves of natural gas.
Chris Huhne, British Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, welcomed the "groundbreaking" deal and called it "good news for Europe, for the UK's energy security and worldwide."
BP's deal with Rosneft gives BP access to highly sought after reserves of oil and natural gas in Russia's remote Arctic region.
"It tells the world how important the Arctic is to the future of natural resource production, and while the U.S. dillydallies and resists efforts by U.S. companies to push forward into the Arctic, others are moving on, leaving the U.S. behind," said John Hofmeister, the former CEO of Shell Oil Co. and founder of the group Citizens for Affordable Energy.
Russia, the world's top oil producer with output of more than 10 million barrels of oil per day (bpd), estimates that its Arctic zone holds about 51 billion tonnes of oil, or enough to fully meet global oil demand for more than four years.
BP is seen filling a skills and technology gap for Rosneft as it seeks to develop the Arctic region.
"Rosneft is well aware that its ability to do deepwater Arctic work alone is very limited," said Kupchan. "They have been looking for ways to bring in companies with the technology and especially management skills needed to pull off deepwater Arctic work."
Russia wants to encourage oil exploration and production in its icy Arctic waters, but in the wake of BP's Gulf spill, Russian officials and experts warn that a similar accident in the Arctic could turn out far worse.
The BP-Rosneft discussions "are ones that have happened over a number of months and are not in reaction to anything in the United States," said Dudley at a London new conference. "This is part of BP's strategic direction of access to large hydrocarbon basins and we have had a strong relationship with Rosneft for a long time."
Russia has increasingly been looking to raise its influence on the global financial stage, with major companies -- including state-controlled ones -- seeking foreign acquisitions.
Some deals have come under fierce opposition in the countries involved, such as Surgutneftegas's purchase of a stake in Hungary's MOL. Others, like Sberbank's bid for German carmaker Opel, collapsed.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's government has also pledged to ease investors' access into Russia as it looks to foreigners to play a key role in helping to modernize the economy -- including through taking part in a big privatization drive starting this year.
Britain's new coalition government has attempted to improve relations with Moscow -- tense since the murder of ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in 2006 -- although tensions resurfaced last month with the expulsion of a Russian diplomat from London.
U.S.-listed shares of BP, which had been trading higher, fell slightly to $49.00 in post-market trading. The stock had closed up 3.6 percent at $49.25 on the New York Stock Exchange.
(Additional reporting by Volodya Soldatkin, Toni Vorobyova and Darya Korsunskaya in Moscow; Kristen Hays and Chris Baltimore in Houston, Richard Cowan in Washington, Braden Reddall in San Francisco and Mike Erman in New York, writing by Anna Driver, editing by Gerald E. McCormick, Martin Howell, Gary Hill)
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2587 on: Jan 15th, 2011, 10:01am »
NBC Bay Area news
UFO Hunting with Google Maps Do satellite images reveal UFOs at Area 51? By EVAN DASHEVSKY Updated 7:45 AM PST, Sat, Jan 15, 2011
Thanks to the internet, the concept of a government secret has been rendered little more than a quaint James Bond plot device. For example, in decades past, the public only had conjecture and hearsay to feed its curiosity about the inner workings of the US government's shadowy military base on the southern shore of Nevada's Groom Lake, a site better known as "Area 51."
But today, thanks to technology like Google Maps, we can all achieve a clear birds-eye-view of the secret facility conveniently linked with user-submitted telephoto images supplying a ground level perspective. Now anyone with a smart phone can be treated to an unobstructed view into the secret military installation that — officially — doesn't even exist.
So, c'mon, X-File with me.
Starting Your Tour
The base at Groom Lake, sometimes referred to as "The Dreamland Resort," has been used by the Air Force since WWII as a testing ground for all kinds of experimental aircraft. However, the government only tacitly acknowledges the facility's very existence. The airspace over the area is restricted and the perimeter is littered with signs warning that "photography is prohibited" and the "use of deadly force is authorized."
Which might be considered overkill if there was just a bunch of rocks and tumble weed. Fueled by the base's secrecy, Area 51 has become a focal point of the UFO conspiracy community. Theories range from reverse engineering of the crashed UFO at Roswell to the setting of actual intergalactic sit-downs with visiting extraterrestrials. The conspiracy factory has been further energized by local reports of unusual phenomenon spotted in the skies over the area.
So, are there alien autopsies being performed at a secret UFO chop shop somewhere in Area 51? Last summer, a handful of retired contractors who claimed to have worked at the facility came forward with tales of advanced technology programs being carried out in a vast underground infrastructure built below the base. But sadly, the retirees had no tales of extraterrestrials or any spaceship teardowns. Bummer. But kindly retired contractors be damned, I'm still curious! And thanks to Google, we have been given a partial window into the mysterious desert base.
Area 51 may be one of the easiest nonexistent military bases to find. Simply type "Area 51" as a location search on Google Maps. Make sure you click on satellite view and there it is. (The results even come with the requisite jackass "reviews" of the location commenting how well the staff treated them after their UFO crashed nearby):
As you can see, the satellite image doesn't reveal anything all that Spielbergian. Area 51 is a sprawling dessert complex with various runways. There's a network of large nondescript buildings (possibly hangars) littering the area along with a few planes sitting outside and several cars parked about. There are a few roads leading in from the vast rocky brown Nevada badlands.
One strange feature arises as you search to the south of the main complex. Here, you will find this character etched into the desert floor out of roads and buildings:
This is the aerial view (located at: +37° 12' 48.15", -115° 48' 41.79") of some weird assortment of mounds and paths. To me, this shape somewhat resembles a toaster lying on its side inside a geometrical prison. It is interesting to note that you could only see this very definitive figure from the air. Could this be Area 51's own version of the Nazca lines created to guide alien visitors or other futuristic aircraft? Or is it just a normal example of infrastructure that an overactive imagination might construe as an imprisoned cartoon toaster? For now, we can allow alientoastergate to fester in the UFO supposition machine.
If you switch over from satellite view to map view, this whole segment of the Nevada dessert becomes part of a vast monotonous gray block. This is how Google renders many military or government facilities in map view. Either Google has been asked to remove the data, or the topographical void is the result of a dearth of public info. Either way, the satellite view of these facilities, including Area 51, remain crystal clear.
Which seems like kind of an oversight.
From a cursory overview, there are no signs of vital national interest that would need concealing from Al Qaeda or the Chinese. Still, the Google Street View car probably wouldn't be welcome to drive around the facilities thus giving the world the ability to virtually explore every pathway. However, Google has allowed for other makeshift "street views." Time to Cheat
The map of Area 51 also links to several Panoramio photos taken from around the perimeter of the facilities looking in. Panoramio is a company purchased by Google in 2007 that adds a layer of user-submitted, geographically-tagged photos to Google Earth and Google Maps. On Maps, you can locate these images by dragging the little person icon who lives on top of the zoom bar over to the actual map (works on both satellite and map views). Hold it there a moment and various dots will pop up around the area. Drag the little figure over the dot and you will be shown a thumbnail of an image geotagged to that location. Drop the little figure there and you'll be linked to the full-scale image.(Alternatively, you can just click on the "More..." tab on the top and click the box marked "Photos".) In Area 51's case, you can find linked photos that people took of the base from around the surroundings via telephoto lens, giving you a more comprehensive eye level perspective of the area.
Here's a long panorama shot of the Area taken in 2008 by user "Kenny Jaysson Avello...." One Area 51 Panoramio poster, "macbic110274" comments that a friend who wishes to remain anonymous took the long distance photos from nearby Tikaboo Peak, which overlooks the valley in which the base is located. (Tikaboo is currently the closest vantage point the public has into Area 51 after the government closed two closer areas in 1995 due to increased attempts by the public to capture images inside the facility).
These long distance shots show the sort of infrastructure you might see at an airport anywhere around the world, as well as a bevy of satellite communication dishes scattered throughout. From this vantage point, many of the buildings are as boring and non-descript as they are from the birds-eye-view. Scenic charm was not a priority for whoever designed this place.
Even the Tikaboo Peak images around the main hub of Area 51 fail to provide anything truly sci-fi-tastic. However if you veer to the south of the main facilities, you will find this captionless image that user "Las Vegas 666" snapped in 2003 that shows either an aerial chemical trail or some kind of vehicle traveling down the road or runway in the distance. One commenter chimes in with "spooky." I'll give it that much.
So, there you go, an upclose look at the notorious Area 51. While it sadly doesn't present any earth shattering proof of extraterrestrial encounters, it does offer a window on how technology really has leveled the playing field, giving the general public an unfettered view into a secret government facility — a view that only a decade ago would have been unfathomable.
Still no little green men, though!
PS — For those who might complain about posting information on a military facility online, this information is already widely available and contains nothing that hasn't been viewed many times before.
Vatican Science: How Pope Benedict Reconciled God and the Big Bang
By Gene J. Koprowski Published January 15, 2011 FoxNews.com
God or the Big Bang? Why not both? Things aren't all black and white in the Vatican, it seems.
Pope Benedict XVI made headlines last week during a sermon that made a case for the similarity of science and religion, two disciplines on quest for the truth. Christopher T. Baglow, director of the Pope Benedict XVI Institute for Faith, Ethics and Science explained the nuance the pope tried to convey.
"The Italian word in question is concorrenza, which means 'rivalry,' not 'concurrence,'" he told FoxNews.com. In other words, Pope Benedict pointed out that God and the Big Bang aren't at odds -- not that they don't square up.
Surprised? Don't be. The church has long argued for a reconciliation of science and faith. Reality is a far cry from the caricature often seen in pop culture, in movies like "The DaVinci Code" and "Angels and Demons" that portray the Catholic Church as butting heads with science. That's good fiction, but it's just not true.
In fact, it was a Roman Catholic priest, Fr. Georges Lemaitre, who first proposed the Big Bang theory in 1927, on the basis of Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity, according to the American Natural History Museum in New York. The current Pope wrote about it in a 1995 book, and John Paul II called science a "highway to wonder" way back in 1979.
The Big Bang debate is just one example of the line Vatican scientists must walk. And there are many scientists indeed at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in Rome, where Stephen Hawking and friends have discussed topics as diverse as biology, astronomy and chemistry.
Not all scientists believe there will ever be accord between science and religion, of course.
"Reconciling science with Christian religion is impossible," Zbigniew Jaworowski, a medical doctor, and a professor emeritus of natural sciences at the Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection, in Warsaw, Poland, told FoxNews.com. "Let the Pope stick with his sacred book, and let science follow its way." The Academy will continue to try, however.
It recently appointed Werner Arber, a Nobel Prize-winning microbiologist, as president, and plans a working group this spring on the fate of mountain glaciers. Last fall the Pontifical Academy sponsored a lecture by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re that sought to reconcile the relationship that science and faith have with water. Recent sessions have focused on "human neuroplasticity" and "the scientific legacy of the 20th century."
And the Catholic Church is not the only organization studying the nexus between science and religion these days. At Saint Olaf’s College in Northfield, MN, the topic is a regular subject of inquiry.
"We have a relatively new program called Science Conversation that in part regularly addresses the science vs. religion’ issue," spokesman David Gonnerman told FoxNews.com.
Binghamton University in NY offers a for-credit course of study called "Evolutionary Religious Studies" as well, which offers an introduction to the study of religion from an "evolutionary" perspective. Even the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is getting involved. At the group’s 2011 meeting in Washington, D.C. next month, a scholar from Syracuse University will present a paper entitled, "Teaching and Learning about Biological Evolution in the Muslim World," as part of a panel discussion on evolution and religion.
For years, the Church has sought a reconciliation of science and faith. Back in 2005, French Cardinal Paul Poupard, in a news conference at the Vatican, said that the church wanted to help end the "mutual prejudice" between religion and science.
The project was apparently motivated by Pope John Paul II’s 1992 declaration that the church’s 17th-century excommunication of Galileo was a grievous error stemming from "tragic mutual incomprehension." Galileo was condemned for supporting Nicolaus Copernicus’ discovery that the Earth revolved around the sun; church teaching at the time placed the Earth at the center of the universe.
"The permanent lesson that the Galileo case represents pushes us to keep alive the dialogue between the various disciplines, and in particular between theology and the natural sciences, if we want to prevent similar episodes from repeating themselves in the future," Poupard said at that news conference.
There is hope for a reconciliation of science and religion among some scientific minds today. The work of this pope and his predecessor may be starting to yield results, said Jeffrey Schloss, chair of natural sciences and director of the Center for Faith, Philosophy and the Biosciences at Westmont College, in Santa Barbara, Calif.
"The [Pope’s] comments on the Big Bang fully accept the science of the evolving cosmos and don't claim any laws were miraculously broken," he told FoxNews.com.
"They only suggest that prior to any laws that were describable scientifically, there was a Being who devised them and brought them into existence -- through the Big Bang," he said.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2591 on: Jan 15th, 2011, 2:38pm »
I messed up this last Christmas, twice.......... I purchased "Star Trek" 2009 and Star Wars the original trilogy twice. The Star Wars I screwed up because I wanted the theatrical release and the one they tinkered with. So I got the wrong set and had to buy it again. Then I got Star Trek early, September? and forgot and got it again in November.
My question is if I send the doubles to my soldier will she have a resource in Afghanistan to watch these? All I know is she's at TF Slugger, FOB Airborne. I would hate to send them and find out she couldn't watch them.
Anyone know if it's a waste of time and room in her package? anyone? anyone? Beuller?
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #2593 on: Jan 15th, 2011, 7:24pm »
Disclosure on anomalous topics not so mysterious
January 03, 2011 (This article originally appeared on the Transcendent TV & Media site.)
UFOs and extraterrestrial visitation, multiple dimensions, the afterlife, extrasensory perception (ESP) – these are just a few of many forward-leaning and edge-science topics that seem to be generating increased public interest.
The natural curiosity about certain unconventional areas seems to be very understandable and appropriate.
Leading-edge research into anomalous subjects can sometimes seem a bit "far out." However, in many cases it may not be much of a leap from more conventional areas of common knowledge and routine study.
The continually evolving mass media appear to be handling emerging understanding about anomalous phenomena in a wide variety of ways. In some cases, the media presentations on certain topics may seem to be "dumbed down." In other instances, the intelligence of the general public is respected.
An element that could sometimes be overlooked is the significance of grassroots factors involved in the increasing awareness and perception about interesting unconventional phenomena.
The concept of "disclosure" in regard to certain unconventional topics can imply many kinds of developments.
For example, many people think that government officials should announce something of significant interest about the UFO issue and extraterrestrial visitation.
At the same time, disclosure can involve gradual education and acclimation through various media platforms that inform people in different kinds of ways. Movies, TV shows, books, articles and other works of fiction and non-fiction can be important parts of disclosure.
Consumers and audiences of many kinds of media seem to be increasingly aware of emerging possibilities and probabilities about some edge-science topics.
A good example might be the open-minded way that theories and research about ESP are sometimes presented and accepted.
Since many people have had experiences with significant gut instincts and intuition proving to be valid in their own personal lives, the concepts surrounding expanded human consciousness may seem quite reasonable and logical in some ways.
Although the research and activities of the U.S. government efforts known as Project STAR GATE might stretch the limits of usual beliefs about human abilities of perception and awareness, even these interesting multi-decade defense and intelligence programs may not seem all that strange after all.
LEAP OF FAITH
An additional area of interest is how the many types of unconventional phenomena seem to be related.
What about connections between ESP and the afterlife? Do certain UFOs zip in and out of hidden dimensions? To some researchers, there are multiple combinations of anomalous topics that seem to have connections.
Are there any common denominators? Where do some of these phenomena overlap? When do we consider something "scientific," "natural" or "spiritual" in discussing these kinds of subjects?
These questions do appear to indicate that what we might consider unusual areas of research could actually just be very natural. ESP, multiple dimensions and other intelligent life are, somewhat obviously, part of Nature.
To the degree we consider edge-science subjects as an integral part of the natural world and universe, we will probably be more able to accept and understand various situations.
Of course, just because something is part of Nature does not mean it is always pleasant or wonderful. Life and death, creation and destruction, survival of the fittest – these kinds of dynamics in Nature are serious factors indeed.
Yet, the vision of transcendence beyond some of the difficult aspects of life and "reality" is something that humans have reached out for throughout history. Transcending our normal state of affairs on planet Earth is a goal that seems to be increasingly achievable.
More disclosure – various kinds of disclosure – will most likely move us forward to greater understanding of ourselves, Nature and a transcendent intelligence.