HEMP: A Threat Assessment

Another report from the ever-lovin’ Congressional Research Service, this one formerly classified and only recently prised from the grip of the Bush Administration:

“High Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse (HEMP) and High Power Microwave (HPM) Devices: Threat Assessments” (PDF)
Congressional Research Service, as updated March 26, 2008

“Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) is an instantaneous, intense energy field that can overload or disrupt at a distance numerous electrical systems and high technology microcircuits, which are especially sensitive to power surges. A large scale EMP effect can be produced by a single nuclear explosion detonated high in the atmosphere. This method is referred to as High-Altitude EMP (HEMP). A similar, smaller-scale EMP effect can be created using non-nuclear devices with powerful batteries or reactive chemicals. This method is called High Power Microwave (HPM). Several nations, including reported sponsors of terrorism, may currently have a capability to use EMP as a weapon for cyber warfare or cyber terrorism to disrupt communications and other parts of the U.S. critical infrastructure. Also, some equipment and weapons used by the U.S. military may be vulnerable to the effects of EMP.

“…In the past, the threat of mutually assured destruction provided a lasting deterrent against the exchange of multiple high-yield nuclear warheads. However, now even a single, specially designed low-yield nuclear explosion high above the United States, or over a battlefield, can produce a large-scale EMP effect that could result in a widespread loss of electronics, but no direct fatalities, and may not necessarily evoke a large nuclear retaliatory strike by the U.S. military. This, coupled with the possible vulnerability of U.S. commercial electronics and U.S. military battlefield equipment to the effects of EMP, may create a new incentive for other countries to develop or acquire a nuclear capability.”

Sun Ra: “Calling Planet Earth”

Calling Planet Earth (1986)

Video short by Bill Sebastian. Made at Mission Control, Boston.  13 min.

“Visuals performed by Bill Sebastian on the Outerspace Visual Communicator.”

Music by Sun Ra and his Arkestra:  Ra-keyb, voc; Al Evans-tp; Fred Adams-tp; Tyrone Hill-tb; Marshall Allen-as; John Gilmore-ts; Danny Ray Thompson-bs; Eloe Omoe-bcl; James Jacson-bsn, perc; Bruce Edwards-eg; John Brown-d; June Tyson-voc. Dance, gesture, and Virtual Reality: Michael Ray, Barday, Eddie Thomas (Thomas Thaddeus), Atakatune.

The Sun Sets on 2007

Bay Area sunset, Dec. 31, 2007

Genuine, un-Photoshop-ed photograph of the Dec. 31, 2007 sunset as taken somewhere in the Bay Area by my olde friende, Jen.  May 2008 prove the old adage true:  “Red sky at night, a sailor’s delight.”  Blessings, peace, and smoothest sailings to all.

Glowing Seafood? FDA Doesn’t Give a Crap.

The article below just appeared on the front page of the Seattle P-I. According to multiple accounts, shrimp, crab, and fish being sold in groceries in the Seattle area actually glows in the dark. Does the FDA care? Hell no. Count on the Bush FDA to keep us safe from rogue bio-engineered mutants or possibly “nukuler” radiated food…not. They won’t even let their scientists comment on the subject, which is about what you’d expect from the cronyist “free market” retards.

Also so very reassuring is the fact the dumb-asses at Washington Poison Center “wouldn’t hesitate” to eat GLOWING FISH AND SHRIMP. According to this article, even cats know better than the idiots charged with “protecting” our food supply. What the hell?!?

Possibly worst of all, the story is being treated as a mildly humorous human interest piece! I can only conclude that Ming the Merciless on Planet Mongo has unleashed the StupidAssRetardifier Ray on humanity while I was resting in my handy lead box. I can see where this is leading, so please shoot me in the face when Paris Hilton is floated as a viable candidate for President, won’t you?

(And, alas, count on the P-I to be lame enough to actually lose the domain name seattlepi.com to bottom-feeding cybersquatters after owning it for more than a decade. Sigh.)

Glow-in-the-dark shrimp — it’s all a little fishy
Luminescent crustaceans bought in Seattle stores; FDA won’t investigate

By Andrew Schneider
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Thursday, October 25, 2007

It sounds like a Halloween joke. A pile of brightly glowing cooked shrimp sitting on the counter in a darkened kitchen.

But Randall Peters doesn’t see the humor in it. He bought the shrimp last week from the West Seattle Thriftway. He ate some that evening and returned to the kitchen a few minutes later.

“It was like a bright eerie light was shining on it,” said Peters, who works for a natural food store.

“I thought that maybe it had been overirradiated, you know, too much radiation. Now, whenever I buy seafood, I take it home and turn out the lights.”

Another batch of glowing shrimp apparently was bought at a Quality Food Center in Wallingford.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it was not going to investigate the Seattle episodes because no “official, through-the-proper-channels” report was made.

“Further,” a spokeswoman added, “it’s not a food safety issue because no one got sick.”

Glowing seafood has been reported in the past. A government report in the ’90s said some products exhibited luminescence from the presence of certain light-emitting bacteria — a chemical reaction similar to that found in fireflies. There are at least nine luminescent species of bacteria in salt water.

Andy Richards, manager of the seafood department at the Thriftway, calls the glowing shrimp “creepy.”

He said he took Peters’ report seriously but believes it’s an isolated incident and doesn’t present a health hazard.

“We don’t hear a lot of complaints about glowing seafood, but then people rarely look at their shrimp and crab in the dark.”

However, Richards admits that he might “take a peek” at the seafood now and then in a darkened freezer “just in case.”

A caller who identified herself only as Barbara told the Seattle P-I on Monday that she had given some cooked shrimp she bought at the QFC in Wallingford to her three “very large” cats Sunday night as a “birthday treat.”

An hour later, she said, she was frightened at what she found. She saw a greenish-blue glow coming from the cat bowl on the darkened porch. When she turned on the light, she found the six shrimp untouched. Her porky cats, which she said “would eat your leg off if you stood in one place long enough,” didn’t touch them.

She pulled open the refrigerator door. The light bulb had burned out weeks ago, she said, but the plastic bag holding the remaining shrimp glowed brightly in the chilled darkness.

Neither Peters nor Barbara, who also ate some of the shrimp, said they were made ill, just a bit queasy at the idea of consuming the glowing seafood.

“I wouldn’t hesitate to eat the stuff,” said Dr. Bill Robertson of the Washington Poison Center, when asked about the safety of consuming the glowing food.

“I don’t know of any studies that show it’s hazardous, but, then again, I can’t envision anyone spending the money to do the costly tests to prove it’s safe,” the medical toxicologist said.

Some might expect the FDA would test glowing seafood.

Fortunately, the agency’s Seafood Product Research Center is in Bothell. Unfortunately, it hasn’t done anything on glowing seafood for almost a decade, said the center’s spokeswoman, who declined to permit any of the scientists to discuss the topic. The spokeswoman said the only research into luminescent bacteria or phosphorescing phytoplankton in seafood was begun about 20 years ago by Patricia Sado, an FDA microbiologist.

Sado’s study, which was published in 1998, examined reports of glowing seafood in the mid-1990s to health departments, poison centers and FDA offices across the country.

The products involved were imitation crabmeat, lobster and shrimp, herring, sardines and the always mysterious seafood salads.

Sometimes all that was left were the glowing plastic foam trays or empty wrappers.

A man in Aberdeen reported his fingers glowed after he and his wife ate some crabmeat.

Fresh, uncooked fish also were reported as glowing in the dark. A team of Environmental Protection Agency investigators evaluating the pollution of the Columbia River near the Hanford Nuclear Reservation were stopped by members of the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon. They had 200 to 300 pounds of brightly glowing fish — whole king salmon they planned to use in a ceremony.

They were afraid to eat it because they believed the fish were radioactive, Sado reported. The analysis found the salmon — skin, intestine and gills — heavily contaminated with a bacterium called Photobacterium phosphoreum.

The reports the microbiologist collected listed only one death attributed to a bioluminescent seafood, and this was not from consumption of the bacterium but rather a 72-year-old man who cut himself while cleaning fish.

The ailments most often reported by Sado were headaches, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping and diarrhea — symptoms similar to most food poisonings. However, many of her case studies — like Peters and Barbara — reported no health problems.

The FDA scientist — now retired and living in the Seattle area — still retains her interest in bioluminescence.

“It is just fascinating to study,” she said in an interview this week. “But people who see their seafood glowing should not think they’re crazy nor that the aliens have landed. There are reasons backed by solid science.”

She believes the problems at the Seattle stores probably were the result of cross-contamination. Cooking the product kills the luminescent bacteria and pathogens.

“Boiling the shrimp would have killed the P. phosphoreum, so the contamination probably happened after cooking,” she said. “Somewhere, either in the grocery that sold the product or the plant where the cooked shrimp were packed, contamination from uncooked seafood had to get on the shrimp. This could present a problem.”

The shrimp from the two stores were supplied by Ocean Beauty Seafood.

“We’ve spoken to the folks at Thriftway and QFC and are addressing their concerns,” said Jim Yonkers, director of corporate quality assurance for the Seattle-based seafood company, the largest in the Pacific Northwest.

“We’re going back to the eastern Canadian company that supplied the shrimp to us to discuss the procedures that they use. That’s only common sense.”

Rare Books About 3D Film & Stereoscopy Available for Free Download

While trolling about for things 3D, I came upon Stereoscopic.org, the official web site of the Stereoscopic Displays and Applications Conference (SD&A), which is tied to The Society for Imaging Science and Technology (IS&T) and The International Society for Optical Engineering (still known by its olde acronym, SPIE).

While not much in the beauty department, the SD&A site includes archived conference proceedings dating all the way back to 1996. Among the site’s other offerings is a small but wonderful virtual library that offers free downloads of licensed PDF scans of three rare and notable books about 3D film and stereoscopic photography.

Following are relevant details (quoted from the library link above), with links to the download pages. The two books still in copyright are licensed for one-time download solely for personal use. This is why you have to register for each download, but I can attest that they don’t spam you for it.

Foundations of the Stereoscopic Cinema
by Lenny Lipton (1982)

Provides a wide ranging [technical] analysis of many stereoscopic topics. The book’s primary focus is the stereoscopic cinema, however the book’s many background sections are equally relevant to the many different types of stereoscopic display devices available today. This book provides a wealth of information for both the novice and also those already active in the field of stereoscopic imaging. Also included with the download is a 5 page errata list.

The World of 3-D Movies
by Eddie Sammons (1992)

Primarily a filmography of 3-D movies however it also provides an extensive history of 3-D Movies. Titles of chapters in the book include: 3-D in the Beginning and Now, 3-D or Not 3-D, The Formats, The Movies – A Chronology, The Movies – The Filmography, Who Directed What, At Home With 3-D. An errata list is provided at the end of the book.

Three-Dimensional Photography: Principles of Stereoscopy
by Herbert C. McKay (1953 ed., orig. 1948)

The main topic is stereoscopic photographic technique. Titles of chapters include: Elementary Stereography, Stereoscopic Cameras, Stereographic Technique, Flash in Stereo, Color in Stereo, Pictorial Stereography, Applied Stereoscopy, Polarized Light Applied to Stereoscopy, Close-up Stereography, Trick Work and Hyperstereo. The book also provides a review of a wide range of stereoscopic film cameras, viewers and projectors available at the time [ca. 1953]. The book touches on a few areas of stereoscopic theory but intentionally does not go into too much detail in these areas. The book contains a glossary of stereoscopic terms and is amply illustrated.

The First Images of the Sun in 3D

STEREO image of the sun (red on left)

As reported here back in October 2006, NASA launched two imaging satellites with the intention of producing 3D images of the Sun. Six months later, on April 23 this year, NASA unveiled the first images from the Solar TErrestrial RElations Observatory (STEREO).

The 3D images like the one above require Red-and-Cyan (light blue) glasses, with red on left (inexplicably contrary to tradition). The NASA site provides info on sources for 3D glasses, as well as instructions on how to make your own.

STEREO is sponsored by NASA Headquarters’ Science Mission Directorate, Washington, DC. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Solar Terrestrial Probes Program Office, in Greenbelt, MD, manages the mission, instruments and science center. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), in Laurel, MD, designed and built the spacecraft and will operate the twin observatories for NASA during the mission.

A number of museums in the US and abroad will be displaying high-resolution STEREO images and movies, though apparently none in Seattle (yet?). Dammit.

Here are links to various NASA web sites and online galleries devoted to the STEREO Mission.

French Government Releases Its OVNI (UFO) Files to the Web

The official French governmental group in charge of investigating UFOs (or OVNI — Objet Volant Non Identifié — as they’re commonly known in France) has publicly released what it claims are all of its files to the Web, including graphics, audio, and video recordings. (But I guess that would not include the evidence that UFO researcher, computer scientist, and noted author Jacques Vallée witnessed being destroyed in 1961.)

The Web site — at http://www.cnes-geipan.fr/geipan/ — has been completely overwhelmed by visitors (terrestrial, albeit virtual), and at this writing is frequently not accessible at all due to the load.

The collection numbers some 100,000 documents, spanning more than 50 years and incorporating 1,650 cases and approximately 6,000 witness reports, plus police and expert reports, witness sketches, maps, photos and video and audio recordings. According to the group’s director, Jacques Patenet, 25-28 percent (depending on which news story you read) are classified as “Class D aerospace phenomena,” defined as “inexplicable despite precise testimonies and the (good) quality of material information gathered.” This is roughly equivalent to the percentage of unexplainable cases in the old Project Blue Book As reported by the Associated Press, “Only 9 percent of France’s strange phenomena have been fully explained, the agency said. Experts found likely reasons for another 33 percent, and 30 percent could not be identified for lack of information.”

The oldest report in the French archives reportedly dates to 1937, 17 years before the formal French investigations began.

Regrettably, the site’s basic navigation requires JavaScript and Ajax support in order to function, which means no outside search engine indexing (sorry Google) and, actually, that it’s probably in violation of the EU’s Web accessibility standards.

The French space agency CNES was first charged with investigating UFOs in 1954, but apparently it did not form a specific group for that purpose in 1977. It is currently known as GEIPAN (Groupe d’Etudes et d’Information des Phénomènes Aérospatiaux Non identifiés, or the Group for Study and Information on Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena), it has undergone several name changes over the years. At its formation in 1977, it was called GEPAN (Groupement d’Etude des Phénomènes Aérospatiaux Non-identifiés). In 1988 it was replaced by SEPRA (Service d’Expertise des Phénomènes de Rentrées Atmosphériques), privatized (I think) in 1999 and re-christened Service d’Expertise des Phénomènes Rares Aérospatiaux (allowing it to keep its old acronym). The current GEIPAN organization was created in 2005.

You can read some GEPAN/SEPRA/GEIPAN-related documents and news articles over at UFOevidence.org. There’s also a French-language page at the Les Découvertes Impossibles site (Google translate-o-tron link) that includes an organizational timeline and numerous papers and publications issued by GEPAN from 1979-1983, available in both HTML and PDF formats.

Bon appetit, mes étrangers. As an apéritif, here’s a Google auto-translated version of the CNES press release announcing the formation of GEIPAN in 2005:

PARIS, 28.9. 2005
CP 075 – 2005

A STEERING COMMITTEE FOR THE FOLLOW-UP OF THE ACTIVITIES
DEPENDENT ON THE AEROSPACE PHENOMENA NOT IDENTIFY

To supervise and control the activity of follow-up of the Not identified Aerospace Phenomena (SIDE) and a policy of information in this field, it was decided to constitute a Steering committee of which the first meeting was held on September 22, 2005 with the CNES.

The activity of the CNES concerning the Not identified Aerospace Phenomena comprises three shutters:

  • collection, seizure and the filing of the reports/ratios in order to maintain and to manage a data base (activity CNES),
  • analysis of this information by calling upon correspondents in the fields and disciplines concerned,
  • the communication with public interested, publication of periodic reports/ratios and the management of the access to the files.

The Steering committee, chaired by Mr. Yves Sillard, old Directing General of the CNES, former Delegate General for the Armament, is made up:

  • representatives of the CNES: the Deputy manager of the Center of Toulouse, the Director of the External Communication, Education and the Public affairs, in charge one of mission for the ethical questions,
  • representatives of the organizations with which the CNES collaborates in this field: National gendarmerie, National police force, Air Force, Civil Safety, Civil aviation, Weather-France,
  • researchers invited by the President of the CNES in agreement with the President of the Steering committee.

At its first meeting, the Committee recommended the installation or the reactualization of draft-agreements between the CNES and the Organizations partners. It underlined the need for a policy transparent and recommended the creation of an Internet site with setting on line of information available, in the respect of the legislation in force.

The Steering committee will meet as a need and at least twice a year on convocation for its President. Person in charge CNES in load for the SIDE activity will submit an annual review article to the Steering committee as well as a progress report at semi-year. The CNES will address the annual review article to its supervisions accompanied by the presentations and recommendations by the steering committee.

Am I Having Fun Yet, Master?

Courtesy of Bovine Inversus comes this slightly disturbing news item from the Korea Times. The start-up may get some business, but somehow I don’t think it’ll be Sony, Nintendo, or Xbox who will be queuing up. Paging Donald Rumsfeld…

Acoustic Wave Prevents Game Addiction

By Kim Tae-gyu
Korea Times (Seoul), March 12, 2007

A Korean venture start-up has developed an inaudible sound sequence, which it claims can prevent obsessive use of online games, thus giving hope to game addicts.

Xtive on Monday said the sound sequence is based on subliminal effects.

“We incorporated messages into an acoustic sound wave telling gamers to stop playing. The messages are told 10,000 to 20,000 times per second,” Xtive President Yun Yun-hae said.

“Game users can’t recognize the sounds. But their subconscious is aware of them and the chances are high they will quit playing,” the 35-year-old Yun said. “Tests tell us the sounds work.”

Xtive, which was established in 2005, spent about a year to create the sound sequence geared toward addressing the concern that Korean teenagers spend too much time playing computer games.

The addiction to the network games has turned into a serious social problem and some gamers have even died after long sessions in front of the computer.

Experts point out roughly 10 to 20 percent of high school students can be categorized as Web junkies who need treatment. And many believe that is a conservative perspective.

“Experiences tell us kids or adolescents simply don’t stop playing games when faced with forceful measures. Such attempts can also cause many side effects,” Yun said.

“But our newly developed sound sequence tells them to stop playing on their own. We think this can make a real difference in the war against obsessive game play,” he said.

Yun said Xtive plans to commercialize the phonogram along with the government [emphasis added] and game companies.

“Game companies can install a system, which delivers the inaudible sounds after it recognizes a young user has kept playing after a preset period of time,” Yun said.

Xtive applied for a domestic patent for the phonogram and is looking to take advantage of the technology in other sectors.

“We can easily change the messages. In this sense, the potential for this technology is exponential,” Yun said. [Emphasis added.]

Aliens and Music — Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together

Somewhere in my web trollings I happened upon the song “Sky Men” performed by Geoff Goddard. An early ’60s British pop ditty with a for-me irresistible double KO of an alien theme and a killer gritty organ/proto-synth keyboard part, I can’t get the damn thing out of my head. It’s endearingly cheesoid, and I’m singing the thing in the shower, folks.

Photo of Joe Meek before early-'60s-vintage recording studio gear.Turns out, “Sky Men” was produced by one Joe Meek, an outsider producer lunatic genius (and slightly tone-deaf songwriter) who I’m now ashamed to say I was not aware of previously, although we’ve all heard his greatest hit, “Telstar” by The Tornadoes.

In addition to cutting-edge recording science, Mr. Meek had an abiding interest in space and aliens and the occult, to the extent that in 1959 he composed the concept album I Hear a New World — an Outer Space Music Fantasy, which he described as his attempt “to create a picture in music of what could be up there in outer space.” To realize his vision, Meek called upon a skiffle group he had worked with previously, The West Five, and re-christened them The Blue Men (a point of personal synchronicity I may expand upon some other time). Quoting further from Wikipedia:

“At first [Meek explained] I was going to record it with music that was completely out of this world but realised that it would have very little entertainment value so I kept the construction of the music down to earth.” This he (as producer) achieved by blending The Blue Men’s skiffle/rock and roll style with a range of sound and effects, created by such kitchen-sink methods as blowing bubbles in water with a straw, draining water out of the sink, shorting an electrical circuit, and even banging partly-filled milk bottles with spoons; yet one must listen carefully to detect these prosaic origins in the finished product. Another important feature of the recordings is the very early use of stereophony.

While the entire album was completed and slated for a 1960 release, only a 4-song EP ever saw the official light of day via the financially doomed label, Triumph Records. Fortunately, a few promo copies of the full album did circulate and were preserved by collectors, permitting grey-market releases many years later.

Meanwhile, the good folks of Comfort Stand Records, an internet label offering free music, offer a compilation of rare Joe Meek demo recordings which I commend to you. (Also available via Archive.org.) While you’re there, you may also wanna check out Comfort Stand’s 2-CD compilation, Interplanetary Materials, though I ain’t heared it yet and can’t attest one way or ‘tother.

Alas, Joe Meek suffered a singularly strange and tragic end. As related here, “Joe had a vision during a tarot card reading that his idol, Buddy Holly, with whom he was deeply in love, would die tragically on February 3rd, 1958. When the day came to pass, Joe informed Buddy of his prediction and told him how glad he was it hadn’t come true. Buddy Holly, of course, died on February 3rd 1959 [exactly one year later] in an horrible plane crash…”

Already prone to paranoia and manic depression, this incident apparently precipitated a further decline in Meeks’ mental health. This was not at all helped by the fact that he was gay — literally a crime in Britain in those days — and as the ’60s progressed there were increasingly draconian police crackdowns on “poofters.” In January 1967, police discovered a suitcase containing the mutilated body of a male prostitute who had at one time been associated with Meeks, though whether he was connected with the crime was apparently never conclusively shown. The murder became a public scandal, and with the police saying they would be interviewing all known homosexuals in the city, Meeks’ paranoia intensified still further. Whatever transpired, on the eighth anniversary of Buddy Holly’s death, Meeks killed his landlady and then himself with a shotgun.

Today, a line of top-notch professional mics and compression gear continues to carry the Joe Meek imprimatur.

CD/LP cover of 'Music of the Future' by Desmond Lesllie - early British musique concrete. Another amazing discovery I’ve recently made (and one unburdened by tragedy) is the wonderful and nearly-lost-forever musique concrete works of one Desmond Leslie (1921-2001). While Joe Meek was basically just an alien fan boy, Desmond Leslie was practically hanging out with them: he co-wrote George Adamski‘s landmark UFO contactee book, Flying Saucers Have Landed (1953) and, by his own account, had several UFO sightings while visiting Adamski in California in 1954.

Coming from an Irish aristocratic family — complete with castle in County Monaghan — that “can trace their ancestry back to Atilla The Hun,” Desmond Leslie was able to support other endeavors that included writing and directing a couple science fiction films and brief but very worthwhile travels in electronic music.

During the late ’50s, while living in London, Leslie built a small private studio where he created a number of really quite good musique concrete works, which have been released recently on the CD Music of the Future from Trunk Records. Quoting from that release’s liner notes:

“…[T]he recordings that exist were privately issued by Leslie himself (and just for friends) on a single acetate called Music of the Future, in 1959. These pressings are exceptionally rare and of very poor quality [due to the fragile nature of acetate records]. All Leslie recordings were later licensed to Josef Weinberger, the famous London publishers. Leslie’s extraordinary recordings were pressed onto a short series of 78 rpm library discs, and were put to occasional use in science and mystery based programming, such as the early Dr. Who episodes.”

Except for that extremely limited release (and much to the chagrin of Mr. Leslie), Music of the Future dwelt in unjust obscurity for some 45 years…until 2005, when Trunk Records stepped up to the plate (or platter, as the case may be) and released the entire album on CD, with very well restored audio and complete with Leslie’s original liner notes. These include the following clues to his composerly philosophy:

“It is possible, perhaps, to abolish melody, form and thematic development when writing for the conventional orchestra which, like the frame of an abstract painting, of its essence, sets some limits even to the most anarchal frenzy. Abolish the orchestra as well and you are a creator without reference points, a creator in a pristine void. ‘Musique Concrete’ therefore must set its own aesthetic limitations, discover its own rules, and discipline itself.

“…Some composers of electronic music, ‘Musique Exotique’ and ‘Musique Concrete’ shudder at the least hint of emotion, thematic development, or any sound the least pleasing to the ear. …Why shouldn’t a sound be beautiful? Must the cult of Ugly, and the Highpriesthood of Drears have the final word on everything concerning the senses? The world is so full of beautiful and subtle sounds; and to capture these and present them in an original form, unashamed if they happen to please emotion as well as mind, is the motivation behind this work.

“Put this record on a good Hi-Fi set. Twiddle the knobs till you find the levels you like. Tell the neighbors to go to hell (they’ll probably only think it’s the plumbing). Sit back and enjoy yourself.

“My MUSIQUE CONCRETE is meant to be enjoyed.”

And enjoyable it is, indeed, though not nearly as pastoral as the above might lead one to believe. The disc is divided into four sections: “Theme music from the [apparently unreleased] film ‘The Day The Sky Fell In’”, “Music of the Voids of Outerspace” [sic], “Sacrifice, B.C. 5,000″, and “Death of Satan” — the latter two being especially appealing to my ears. Highly recommended.

With this rescued acetate Leslie is proved to be a neglected and nearly forgotten early master of tape music. You can (and should!) buy the CD of Desmond Leslie’s Music of the Future online while it still lasts via Ye Olde Trunkshoppe. Based in Britain, prices are in pounds but I can attest that the shopping experience for us Colonists is painless, and delivery is prompt and well-packaged for shipment across the big pond.

Cover of the 'Secrets of the Sun' LP by Sun Ra and His Solar Arkestra (Saturn Records)

And naturally no discussion of aliens and music, or music qua aliens, would be remotely complete without a mention of Sun Ra. On that polyphonous note, I suggest stopping by the “sharity” site church number nine, which has been posting with some regularity complete, high-quality MP3 rips of otherwise long-unavailable limited edition vinyl LPs from Ra’s own Saturn Records label, complete with large-ish scans of the covers (though you have to grab those from the pages [click 'em for the big versions] — for some reason they’re generally not included in the downloadable zips).

Recent offerings have included Secrets of the Sun (ca. 1965), Sun Ra and his Arkestra, Featuring Pharoah Sanders and Black Harold (1976), Sound Mirror (Live in Philadelphia ’78), and The Antique Blacks (There is Change in the Air) (Interplanetary Concepts), recorded live in 1974. There are more precious Saturn Records offerings further back in the archives (not to mention all sorts of delightful out jazz rarities). The older download links may have expired — but if you ask very nicely they might get re-upped. Meanwhile, more rare Sun Ra is promised in the near future.

Cover of the essential book 'The Wisdom of Sun Ra' edited by John Corbett (Chicago, IL: Whitewalls Press, 2006)And while it’s not audio, I would surely be remiss not to tell you, dear interstellar reader, of an incredible new-ish book, The Wisdom of Sun Ra: Sun Ra’s Polemical Broadsheets and Streetcorner Leaflets (Whitewalls Press, Chicago; 2006), compiled and introduced by the noted Chicago-based music writer John Corbett.

Run, don’t walk. The Wisdom of Sun Ra is an anthology of some of Ra’s earliest philosophical and religious writings dating from the early and mid-’50s in Chicago. This collection of writings, originally distributed hand-to-hand as mimeographs and intended for an exclusively black audience, were discovered in 2000 (appropriately enough) at an unnamed location on Chicago’s South Side in a folder labeled “One of Everything.” Apparently, these priceless documents were nearly destroyed, saved only by some unelucidated cosmic providence. As such this slim volume provides an absolutely invaluable (superlatives fail me here) glimpse into Sun Ra’s cosmology, mysticism, and racial/political analysis just as it was taking form.

As Corbett explains in his excellent introduction:

“Parallel with his secret musical activities [in Chicago ca. the early 1950s], Ra became the focal point of a secret reading group, together with his patron and later business manager Alton Abraham and a small cluster of South Side intellectuals. This group would eventually call itself Thmei Research, and its activities included the composition of a new dictionary based on Sun Ra’s intensely creative revisionist etymologies and the scholarly findings of the group.

“Street-corner preaching was one of the primary outlets for Ra’s findings, both on his own and as part of Thmei. …In these early broadsheet writings Ra was exclusively addressing a black audience. …As such, he didn’t pull any punches in his assessment of race and power. …On other corners there were Baptist preachers and Nation of Islam proselytizers. Ra’s declarations were in direct dialogue with those other figures of affiliated African-American intellectual life.

“Ra’s preachings was accompanied by writings — booklets, pamphlets and broadsides some of which were mimeographed and handed out to people on the street as well as members of the [Sun Ra] band. They were sometimes unsigned, sometimes signed ‘Ra’ or ‘Sun’ or ‘El.’”

And these are them. What…you’re still reading this? Click the damn link above and buy the thing already!

[Update: If you're interested in Sun Ra, you should read my follow-up post with the back-story on the rescue of these papers and much else besides. I also failed to mentioned that The Wisdom of Sun Ra consists of photographic reproductions of the originals.]

And since I’ve already mentioned sharity sites — and after all that book readin’ — I should prolly point y’all to some easily digestible music singles courtesy of the UFOMystic blog, run by Greg Bishop and Nick Redfern, who have compiled (among much else) a number of entertaining posts devoted to Flying Saucer Music, each featuring one fine close encounter of the (often kitschy) musical kind. Even if a couple-few are also available from that Mugu Brainpan stalwart, WFMU’s Beware of the Blog and their 2007 edition of the 365 Days Project, it’s a bee-line to the alien mind, yo, and unlike WFMU you can either (usually) download or stream via Flash widget.

(Downloader tip: If one of the links below doesn’t include a download link do this [simpler than it sounds]: View Source, do a Find on “.mp3″, copy that full URL, then go here and paste that URL in the blank labeled “Encoded,” and click the “URLDecode” button, copy the new URL in the blank labeled “Plain,” and use that URL to download the audio file to your hard drive.)

Offerings include:

And finally, the true alien audio fanatic would do very well indeed to pay a visit to the Faded Discs web site, an “audio archive of UFO history” run by one Wendy Connors. Ms. Connors offers some astonishing MP3 collections on CD, each running anywhere from 24-35 hours of total running time, and consisting of primary audio documents of UFOlogy, including original recordings of witness reports (the holy grail of all true researchers) to contactee babbles to rare radio & TV appearances by all and sundry.

Some of the most alluring titles are inexplicably and damnably no longer available, but what’s currently offered is still worth your archival lucre. For example, Saucerology (35 1/2 hours) includes all sorts of interviews, lectures, and whatnot by first-wave contactees (including a 23 min. interview of George Adamski by the aforementioned Desmond Leslie); Project Blue Book (27 hours) features the recorded words of direct participants in the earliest official and secret USAF investigations, from Project SIGN through GRUDGE and right up to Blue Book — including recordings of J. Allen Hynek debunking UFOs (he who later did a 180 on that point), interviews with Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, and way too much more.

Not least of the Faded Discs offerings is Research Recordings of Robert Gribble’s National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC), Seattle, WA, 1974 – 1977, an incredible 44-hour collection of recorded witness accounts and interviews. As Connors explains on her site:

Robert Gribble began his research into the unidentified flying object phenomena in 1955. He began the Aerial Phenomena Research Group (APRG), which circulated a newsletter detailing new cases. [Not to be confused with Jim and Coral Lorenzen's group, APRO.]
In late 1974, Gribble converted the Phenomena Research Reporting Center to allow the public a place they could call and report their experiences to a nonjudgmental researcher. Commonly known as the UFO Reporting Center or UFO Central during the early years, it became known internationally as the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC). First calls received began on November 11, 1974.

Over a period of twenty years, Gribble received thousands of telephone calls from witnesses of actual encounters with UFOs, which were recorded and data collected. On-site investigations and interviews were conducted by Gribble and his associates and accompanying documentation for cases were archived.

Robert Gribble retired from research in 1994 and Peter Davenport took over the on-going data collection of the National UFO Reporting Center. In 2004, Robert Gribble donated his research materials to Wendy Connors, culminating in this audio archive of research material. Documentation accompanying these recordings are maintained along with the original recording sources, including the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all witnesses. What you hear is raw, minimally edited, research. Most of the interviews were done within minutes of the encounter or while the encounter was happening.

These recordings are of actual witness interviews to UFO encounters and were selected to show a broad based overview of the UFO phenomena being observed and reported.

I’m sayin’. To get a taste, you can read a sampling of ARPG reports compiled in the undated article “ETs from ???” archived at think-aboutit.com.
Definitely give Faded Discs a visit!

Oh, gotta go — my sinus implant is humming. Be Seeing You…

The Hermetic Art of Robert Fludd

Art from 'De Naturae Simia' by Robert Fludd, ca. 1617-1619.

My buddy Eric Leonardson hipped me to these two wonderful posts at the breathtakingly great BibliOdyssey blog, which include a number of images of art by the great 17th century hermetic artist, scholar and scientist, Robert Fludd.

I’ve been a great fan of Fludd’s art since I first came across one of his most famous pieces, “The Mystery of the Human Head,” in a Dover edition of Grillot de Givry’s Witchcraft, Magic and Alchemy (originally Le Musée des sorciers, mages et alchemists, 1929). So much so that in the decades since I’ve used that particular piece for fliers, posters, and even as a company logo. And while perhaps I’ve not been looking in the right places, reproductions of Fludd’s work seem to be rare indeed.

Fortunately for me (and for you), the BibliOdyssey post includes a link to greyscale reproductions of Fludd’s entire magnum opus, Utriusque Cosmi Maioris Scilicet et Minores Metaphysica, Physica Atque Technica Historia, available for download as numerous zip files or a single mammoth 238mb PDF. These were scanned by Bill Heidrick from micofilm in the Bancroft collection at UC Berkeley, which “may be the only complete modern version available.”

Large cropped “color” repros (albeit edited) of De Naturae Simia, one of the books comprising the Utriusque Cosmi Majoris…, are available online from the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah — albeit wrapped in iframes. Uncropped (but much smaller) photo repros of the same work are also online via the ECHO Project of the Max Planck Society in Berlin. That site offers some Ajax-y browsing tools of marginal utility, but my understanding is that online collection is unedited.

The BibliOdyssey posts also offer links to numerous worthwhile articles about Fludd and his work, as well as items of related interest.