Credible Anomalies and Mysteries

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Ivan Seeking

Staff Emeritus
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Ladies and gentlemen,
We are proud to present our napster of anomalies for scholars. Considered here are anomalies, mysteries of nature, and legitimate scientific puzzles that have been identified as credible by some significant percentage of the scientific community, or by scientists recognized as experts in a related field of study. Unusual phenomena, and mysteries only recently explained or resolved may be included for the sake of discussion, or for continuity, or when appropriate to the subject.

Like the other napsters in this forum, only links and brief quotes are allowed. Please continue with any related discussions in a regular thread. If you see any crackpot material, or if you feel that credible scientific information has been excluded from this napster, either send me a private message explaining your concerns, or better yet, start a thread. Every effort will be made to maintain the highest academic standards while still providing representation for those genuine mysteries that offer unique challenges to today’s scientists.

Information posted may be reorganized from time to time. Please check back frequently as this library is developed for your benefit. Above all, feel free to post links to scholarly papers and references that contribute to this effort. A brief description or excerpt should be included for context.

Finally, I want to thank Nereid for suggesting that we create this library as a reference tool for interested parties.

Your comments and suggestions are always appreciated. Thank you for your interest and participation.

Quick Index of topics to date: 4/25/05
Earth Sciences
Ball Lightning
Earth lights and Earthquake Lights
Jets, Sprites, Starters, ELVES, and TIGERs
The sliding rock phenomenon
Methane Clathrate Hydrate
Rogue Waves

Mind and Body
The Placebo Effect
Holistic and Alternative Medical Practices

The Measurement Problem

As per [URL='']John Baez[/URL], open questions in:
Condensed Matter and Nonlinear Dynamics
Quantum Mechanics
Cosmology and Astrophysics
Particle Physics
The Big Question™

Space and SETI
The Pioneer Anomaly
Transient Lunar Phenomena

The Anomaly Formerly Known as Cold Fusion
[Based on the Dec 1st, 2004, DOE report, there is evidence for some kind of anomaly; probably not fusion. A consensus is found indicating that research should continue.]

The Anasazi
The Colony At Roanoke
Information Technology and the Future of Cities

More to come.
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
Great idea, Ivan. Anomalous observations need to be brought out of the closet to be examined. That is the essence of science.
  • #3
Earth: Ball Lightning

It should be noted that even though many UFO reports may result from ball lightning, earthlights, gaseous fireballs, or similar phenomenon, we are only interested here in phenomena believed to be uniquely identified. Therefore any of the above mentioned are appropriate for this napster except UFOs, as such. For a less rigorous review of potentially related information, please see the UFO napster in this forum.

Ball lightning caused by oxidation of nanoparticle networks from normal lightning strikes on soil
Observations of ball lightning have been reported for centuries, but the origin of this phenomenon remains an enigma. The 'average' ball lightning appears as a sphere with a diameter of 300 mm, a lifetime of about 10 s, and a luminosity similar to a 100-W lamp. It floats freely in the air, and ends either in an explosion, or by simply fading from view. It almost invariably occurs during stormy weather. Several energy sources have been proposed to explain the light, but none of these models has succeeded in explaining all of the observed characteristics. Here we report a model that potentially accounts for all of those properties, and which has some experimental support. [continued]

Ball Lightning
A relatively rare form of lightning consisting of a luminous ball, often reddish in color, which moves rapidly along solid objects or remains floating in mid-air. Also known as globe lightning.

Another form of lightning that is considered rare but has even been observed moving down aisles within an airplane is ball lightning. Weather/Spring 2004/convectiveamateurs.htm

For some photos see: 1/18/05

The PLASMAK™ Configuration and Ball Lightning
...An historical observation of a woman who was "chased" by a Ball Lightning at her own wedding was cited in an ABC television program by Arthur C. Clarke and narrated by George Scott during 1984.

...Applications of PLASMAK™ technology to fusion are exciting.[continued]

Development of the maser-caviton ball lightning theory

The maser-caviton ball lightning theory is briefly described, is compared with the available observations of ball lightning, and is further developed on the basis of the rate equations governing the evolution of the photon number is a single-mode maser [continued]

On the energy characteristics of ball lightning
A compilation of 17 observations of ball lightning showing the most energetic effects is presented along with estimates of their energy content. These observations were chosen from several thousand for the much stronger interaction of each ball lightning on its surroundings, and the method of energy estimation outlined. The case is put that some of the observations show a higher energy than self-contained chemical energy could provide. [continued][/URL]

[quote][b]The properties and the nature of ball lightning[/b]
The observed properties of ball lightning are given. A model of mean ball lightning taking average iarameters is based on observed data. By comparing the observed data with contemporary information on the processes occurring in activated air, different aspects of the ball lightning phenomenon are analysed.[continued][/quote]

[quote][b]The Structure and Stability of Ball Lightning[/b]
The main characteristics of ball lightning are well established. They include its general appearance (shape, size range, brightness, etc.), its peculiar motion and, less satisfactorily, its energy content. A remarkably consistent picture emerges from the thousands of detailed descriptions which are now available. There is, however, no such consistency in the various hypotheses that have been put forward to explain ball lightning. The only thing most of them share is an ability to explain a few aspects of the phenomenon at the expense of physically impossible requirements in other areas. If one is to accept that a single phenomenon is being described in all these observations, it seems clear that ball lightning is, at the very least, an electrical and chemical phenomenon; and several branches of both disciplines seem to be involved [continued][/quote]

[quote][b]Ball lightning as a self-organization phenomenon[/b]
The genesis and characteristics of ball lightning are explained in the frame of a new self-organization physical scenario suggested by laboratory investigations of formation and stability of self-consistent extended macroscopic space charge configurations. These are known as fireballs in dc gas discharges and as plasmoids in gas discharges sustained by a radio frequency electric field.[continued][/quote]

Abstract. Small, quiescent black holes can be considered as candidates for the missing dark matter of the universe, and as the core energy source of ball lightning. By means of gravitational tunneling, directed radiation is emitted from black holes in a process much attenuated from that of Hawking radiation, PSH, which has proven elusive to detect. Gravitational tunneling emission is similar to electric field emission of electrons from a metal in that a second body is involved which lowers the barrier and gives the barrier a finite rather than infinite width. Hawking deals with a single isolated black hole. The radiated power here is P R ∝ e−2∆γPSH, where e-2∆γ is the transmission probability. [continued][/quote]
PF Thread: [url][/url]

ABSTRACT: The present paper describes the interaction of the maser with the soliton, finally deriving the fundamental ball lightning (BL) equation for the linear heat diffusion case. This equation is a rough first approximation based on many drastic simplifications. It assumes stationarity and neglects the field emission of carriers caused by the maser. Our calculations prove for the first time that the instantaneous feedback present in the atmospheric maser allows the discharge to remain stable in the so far always unstable, much colder, discharge branch at atmospheric pressure, even without field emission processes. In fact, according to the basic Maser-caviton theory, natural BL is too cold for electrons to be present and allow it to exist in the stationary state, so it continually extinguishes and is reignited by very fast maser feedback. These are in fact maser spiking oscillations.
The life of the dynamically stabilized BL soliton consists therefore from a continual succession of deaths and rebirths. [continued][/quote]

[quote][b]Plasma Rossby wave as a mechanism for atmospheric fireball's formation[/b]
Summary form only given, as follows. In search of vortex/soliton mechanism for ball lightning and atmospheric fireballs, the properties of rotating plasma have been compared to those of geophysical fluid. This leads to plasma Rossby wave. This wave interacts with velocity field in magnetized rotating plasma and generates plasma vortices and solitons. The similarity of particle's behaviors between geophysical fluid and magnetized plasma together with the properties of turbulent plasma can be used to explain some unusual atmospheric fireball phenomena [continued][/quote]

[quote][b]Two properties of the electromagnetic knots[/b]
Electromagnetic knots are very curious solutions of the standard classical Maxwell equations. Their defining property is that any pair of magnetic lines or any pair of electric lines is a link [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], characterized by the integer nm or ne, respectively, which gives the value of the corresponding helicity [6, 7, 8], and can be interpreted as Hopf invariants [9, 10]. They are interesting not only on their own; recently, they have been used as a basis for a model of ball lightning [continued][/quote]

[quote][b]Shafranov's virial theorem and magnetic plasma confinement[/b]
...Now the integrand acquires both positive and negative contributions, which implies that a virial argument cannot exclude the existence of stable finite-energy solitons. Indeed, in [3] it has been argued that stable knotted solitons are present. These solitons are formed within the bulk of the plasma, in an environment with an asymptotically constant background density. A physical example of such an environment is the solar photosphere; the solitons are natural candidates for describing stable coronal loops. Another, somewhat more hypothetical, example could be ball lightning, in the background of the Earth's atmosphere. Such solitons could also become relevant in identifying particularly stable plasma configurations in fusion experiments, when the plasma is kept at finite density by the boundaries of an appropriate vessel. [continued][/quote]

[quote][b]Physical Mechanism of Nuclear Reactions at Low Energies[/b]
...There are also some special tracks very similar to scratches and ink spots. “Strange” radiation is of spherical form, it resembles a ball lightning, and its duration is more than ten times as great as that of the current pulse arising at electric discharge. With the course of time the luminous sphere (the ball-like plasma formation) is dividing into many small “balls”. [continued][/quote]

From an engineering student at Penn State. Contributed by Wolram.
[quote][b]Ball Lightning[/b]
*Usually occurs during or right after a thunderstorm. Has been created without any detected electrical storm.
*In most surveys about 70% occurred right after a lightning strike.
*Seasonal variations for the frequency of occurance are the same as for normal lightning, with the majority in the summer.
*Other than being associated with normal lightning from a time perspective, ball lightning seems to be totally different than normal lightning.
*In some cases, the ball was observed to descend down the path of recent lightning strike and stop near the ground at the bottom. In some cases the ball appeared at the impact point.
*No current theories can convincingly explain how a such a ball could be created directly by a lightning bolt.
*In a shockingly high percentage of cases the balls actually entered buildings through windows and doors.
*Similar balls have been reported as eminating from tornadoes, cyclones, and hurricanes. In these cases high electric fields are present, like in a lightning strike. [continued][/quote]
- dead link -

[quote][b][A] Ball lightning bibliography[/b][/quote]

The phenomenon of ball lightning has been observed for a long time, but the nature of these luminous balls has been unknown. It is proposed here that they consist of highly excited Rydberg atoms with large polarizabilities that bind them together. Thus the cohesion of the balls comes from photon exchange forces (London dispersion forces) rather than the more usual electron exchange (chemical) forces. The cohesion in plasmas generated at the back faces of detonating explosives has a similar basis. Estimates are given to justify this interpretation. [continued][/quote]

... The stability analysis for the plasma toroid has been completed that explains how the plasma toroid remains stable in atmosphere. The spinning plasma toroid has the appearance of Ball Lightning, in observations, computer simulations, and equations. The plasma toroid explains how a plasma ring can be stable in atmosphere with no external magnetic fields, and how it can contain many electrons with high energy. Ball lightning is often reported as a ring current, in toroid shape, and since a spinning ring appears as a sphere or ball, the spinning plasma toroid provides an explanation for Ball Lightning.[continued][/quote]
Thanks Wolram.

Dead links will be repaired when possible. Some papers may no longer be available online.

More to come...
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  • #4
Earthlights and Earthquake Lights

Earthquake Lights
Article #83
by T. Neil Davis

This column is provided as a public service by the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks, in cooperation with the UAF research community. T. Neil Davis is a seismologist at the institute.

When scientists are skeptical about the existence of reported phenomena, they often try to cover up under a layer of humor. Such an attempt by one seismologist led him to remark that "the chapter on earthquake lights is the darkest in seismology."

No longer does this subject lurk in the shadows of scientific skepticism. Among the more illuminating observations that have brought this topic out into the scientific light of day are those acquired by a Japanese dentist. He managed to photograph earthquake lights occurring during a ten-year earthquake swarm starting in 1965.

While seismologists are not yet certain of the cause of earthquake lights, they now are highly interested. Not only is it certain that earthquakes can cause lights in the sky; it seems possible that the lights sometimes occur before earthquakes and so serve as warning precursors.

One of the more logical explanations of the cause of earthquake lights is the piezoelectric effect. Certain materials, including quartz, respond to changes in pressure by changes in electrical voltage across their surfaces. The idea is that, as quartz-bearing rocks are stressed, they might produce such high voltages that lightning-like discharges could occur in the air above.

Earthquake lights have been described as looking like auroral streamers diverging from a point on the horizon. Beams like those from a searchlight have been reported. Other reports describe sheets or circular glowing regions, either touching the ground or in detached clouds above ground.

The lights seem to show up best during the time of the main shock of an earthquake and also before and after. From a practical viewpoint, the lights before an earthquake seem most interesting since they shed light on the occurrence of the next large earthquake.

So far, no earthquake lights have been reported in Alaska.

Earthquake Lights Observed In Canada
...'Fireballs a few metres in diameter often popped out of the ground in a repetitive manner at distances of up to only a few metres away from the observers. Others were seen several hundred metres up in the sky, stationary or moving. Some observers described dripping luminescent droplets, rapidly disappearing a few metres under the stationary fireballs. Only two fire-tongues on the ground were reported, one on snow and the other on a paved parking space without any apparent surface fissure. The colours most often identified were orange, yellow, white and green. Some luminosities lasted up to 12 min.'...[continued]

Some observations of atmospheric luminosity as a possible earthquake precursor
Some sky radiation measurements in Mexico City suggest that anomalous values occur several days before a strong earthquake, both in the red and the green parts of the spectrum. The emissions appear to be intermittent and are chiefly detected by an increased variance of the hourly light intensity. Before and after the March 14, 1979 Petatlán, Mexico earthquake (M7.4), large fluctuations in sky luminosity were observed. In several instances the radiation intensity exceeded the standard value for a transparent atmosphere. We suggest that the high readings are due to radiation in the visible spectrum which originates in the Earth and is reflected by the haze and the cloud cover. [continued]

Electrification of the Atmosphere by the Underground Sources Causing Lightnings and Corona Discharges
An estimate of the electric charges, fields and currents at the atmosphere/Earth boundary and near it is given basing on the analyses of the published data gathered during and after the 17 January 1995 strong (magnitude 7.2) and shallow (17.2 km) earthquake in Kobe, Japan: on the luminous effects (lightnings and luminous volumes expanding and rising from the ground); measurements of electric conductivity across the fault; determination of strength and porosity of the samples obtained by drilling the ground down to the depth of about 1.8 km and some other.[continued]

Earthquake prediction by monitoring silica particles in the air?
Abstract: Earthquake lights (EQL’s) are visible (VIS) emissions low in the sky known to precede earthquakes. But recently, satellite measurements show near infrared (IR) radiation at about 10 microns emitted from the earth’s surface near the epicenter of the impending earthquake. The VIS and near IR emissions are in part explained by cavity quantum electrodynamics (QED). By this theory, the motion of tectonic plates prior to an earthquake places the crust under intense pressure. Over tens of kilometers, the uppercrust cracks and slides to relieve the pressure, and in the process, rubbing of crack faces forms large quantities of microscopic particles, primarily quartz and phosphorescent particles including feldspars. The particles contain atoms having thermal kT energy that at ambient temperature emit electromagnetic (EM) radiation in the far IR. As the Earth gases carry the particles along in the flow through the cracks, the far IR is freely emitted. But subsequent crack closure tightly packs the particles leaving microscopic gaps with adjacent particles. In effect, every particle is placed in a QED cavity formed by the surface of surrounding particles, each QED cavity containing the particle including the gaps. Since the EM resonant frequency of the QED cavity is in the near IR and higher than the far IR radiation from the particle, the far IR radiation is suppressed. To conserve EM energy within cavity QED constraints, the suppressed far IR radiation undergoes a prompt frequency up-conversion to the EM resonance of the surrounding gaps, typically at vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) frequencies. The VUV radiation then excites the phosphorescent particles to produce blue to red colored VIS light while the SiO stretch mode in the quartz particles is excited in the near IR at 9.7 microns. Although the cavity QED induced VUV radiation ceases as the particles enter the atmosphere, the phosphorescent particles continue to emit VIS light by afterglow. Similarly, the SiO stretch mode continues to be excited as the quartz particles collide with air molecules in equilibrium with blackbody radiation at ambient temperature, the spectral density at 25 C peaking at 9.7 microns. Since the source of VIS and near IR emissions is silica particles in the atmosphere, an array of inexpensive air monitors along the fault is proposed to sample the particulate in the air, thereby complementing the near IR data from the NASA Terra satellite data as a valid earthquake predictor. [contiinued]

Pre-instrumental earthquakes in a low-seismicity region: A reinvestigation of the macroseismic data for the 16 November 1931 events in Central Finland using statistical analysis
The earthquake in Central Finland on 16 November 1931 and its aftershock the same day are investigated. It is the strongest event known to have occurred in this area and thus of importance for understanding the seismicity there. The original macroseismic questionnaires were re-examined using statistical analysis and taking into account the recommendations for intensity assessments according to the European Macroseismic Scale (EMS-92,-98). The data were augmented with contemporary press reports. Test theory was applied when preprocessing the data, and intensity assessment was carried out by means of correspondence analysis. Different approaches were applied to determine the macroseismic field and trace the isoseismals. Some of the practical problems involve the treatment of audible observations. The macroseismic magnitudes were estimated at 4.3 (±0.2) for the main shock and 3.7 (±0.2) for its largest aftershock. Despite the small magnitudes, earthquake light sightings were also reported for the events.[continued]

Rocks That Crackle and Sparkle and Glow: Strange Pre-Earthquake Phenomena
Seismic waves are the most dramatic and most intensely studied manifestations of earthquakes. However, we also know of non-seismic phenomena, which precede large earthquakes. Some of them have been reported for centuries, even millennia. The list is long and diverse: bulging of the Earth's surface, changing well water levels, ground-hugging fog, low frequency electromagnetic emission, earthquake lights from ridges and mountain tops, magnetic field anomalies up to 0.5% of the Earth's dipole field, temperature anomalies by several degrees over wide areas as seen in satellite images, changes in the plasma density of the ionosphere, and strange animal behavior. Because it seems nearly impossible to imagine that such diverse phenomena could have a common physical cause, there is great confusion and even greater controversy. This explains why reports on nonseismic pre-earthquake phenomena are regarded with suspicion in the scientific community. This may change with the recent discovery that igneous and metamorphic rocks, which make up a major portion of the Earth's crust, contain electric charge carriers, which have been overlooked in the past. These charge carriers are defect electrons in the valence band, i.e., positive holes. Under normal conditions they are dormant, but when they "wake up", the rocks begin to sparkle and glow. This paper describes the physical and chemical nature of these positive holes, how they are introduced into minerals and rocks, and how they become activated. Evidence will be presented that, once the positive holes are generated, currents propagate through the rocks leading to electromagnetic emission, to positive surface potentials, to corona discharges, to positive ion emission, and to mid-infrared radiation. These phenomena are expressions of the same fundamental process: the "awakening" of dormant positive hole charge carriers that turn rocks momentarily into p-type semiconductors.[continued] [Broken]

Interpretation of charging on fracture or frictional slip surface of rocks
Fracturing and frictional sliding of quartz and granite under dry condition generates fractoluminescence, charged particle emission and electromagnetic radiation. Various kinds of experiments indicate that surface charge density on fracture or frictional slip surface of quartz and granite is ~10-4 to 10-2C/m2 which is larger than bound charges induced by the disappearance of piezoelectricity due to the release of stress. Hole and electron trapping centers, which is found in semiconductor devices with the Si-SiO2 system, are causes of surface charging on fracture or frictional slip surface of quartz crystal. The quantity of the surface charge is enough to cause corona discharge that can generate earthquake lights. The mechanism considering the hole and electron trapping centers has a probability to explain why non-piezoelectric minerals or rocks generate electromagnetic phenomena. It can be one of origins of seismo-electromagnetic phenomena (SEP). [continued]

Complex resistivity of fault gouge and its significance for earthquake lights and induced polarization
The complex resistivity of two water-saturated San Andreas fault gouges from 0.001 to 1,000,000 Hz, and confining pressures of 0.2 to 200 MPa are measured. Consistent with earlier observations of clays and common rocks, large low frequency permittivities were observed in all cases. Comparisons were made to induced polarization (IP) measurements by inversion of the data into the time domain, where it was found that principal features of the IP response curves were due to these large low frequency permittivities. The results also suggest that, following large earthquakes, significant electrical charge could remain for many seconds and could result in a variety of reported electromagnetic effects. [continued]

A mechanism to explain the generation of earthquake lights
A theory for the appearance of large charge densities near the Earth's surface in the presence of earthquakes measuring at least magnitude 6 is presented. It is suggested that the frictional forces of the shear layer in the rock vaporizes large amounts of water, thereby decreasing conductivity locally [continued]

to be continued...
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  • #5
Fireballs [typically not considered to be ball lightning]

I was amazed to discover that the Naga Fireballs, or "Bung Fai Phaya Naga", are not only a common occurance in Thailand, they appear at about the same time each year. This is a very interesting and surprising read. Related information will be posted as it becomes available.

Every now and again, reddish-pink elliptical balls of light with an eerie glow rise silently into the pitch-black night sky, without a flare, smoke or sound.

Known as the "Bung Fai Phaya Naga", the King of Naga fire-balls is a natural phenomenon that generally takes place on the full moon night of the 11th lunar month, the last night of the Buddhist Lent.

The balls of light, with uniform reddish-pink or rich crimson-burgundy hues of the Siamese Ruby, rise vertically into the night sky to heights ranging from 50 metres to 300 metres before they simply fade into thin air without a trace. The fireballs are visible for approximately 3 to 8 seconds at a time, before they vanish completely. [Broken]

Earthquake Lights Observed In Canada
"Fireballs a few metres in diameter often popped out of the ground in a repetitive manner at distances of up to only a few metres away from the observers. Others were seen several hundred metres up in the sky, stationary or moving. Some observers described dripping luminescent droplets, rapidly disappearing a few metres under the stationary fireballs. Only two fire-tongues on the ground were reported, one on snow and the other on a paved parking space without any apparent surface fissure. The colours most often identified were orange, yellow, white and green. Some luminosities lasted up to 12 min."
(Ouellet, Marcel; "Earthquake Lights and Seismicity," Nature, 348:492, 1990.)

Does mirror matter exist?
One of the most fascinating ideas coming from particle physics is the concept of mirror matter. Mirror matter is a new form of matter which is predicted to exist if mirror symmetry is respected by nature. At the present time evidence that mirror matter actually exists is in abundance, coming from a range of observations and experiments in astronomy, particle physics, meteoritics and planetary science. [continued] [Broken]
PF Thread: [Broken]

The following account of unusual phenomena was received March 10, at the Hydrographic office, Washington, from the branch office in San Francisco. The bark Innerwich, Capt. Waters, has just arrived at Victoria from Yokohama. At midnight of Feb. 24, in latitude 37d north, longitude 170d 15m east, the captain was aroused by the mate, and went on deck to find the sky changing to a fiery red. All at once a large mass of fire appeared over the vessel, completely blinding the spectators; and, as it fell into the sea some fifty yards to leeward, it caused a hissing sound, which was heard above the blast, and made the vessel quiver from stem to stern. Hardly had this disappeared, when a lowering mass of white foam was seen rapidly approaching the vessel...[continued]

The motion of wave energy and the behavior of plasma fireball in the atmosphere
Summary for only given, as follows. The interactions of wave and plasma in the atmosphere can produce some stable plasma entities. These entities with vortical structure in microscopic scale are called vortons or solitons. Many such entities, macroscopically, are plasma vortices, sometimes look like glowing fireballs, whose behavior are similar to those of so called UFOs (unidentified flying objects). As waves are one of the required conditions to form plasma fireballs, the motion and properties of wave energy in the atmosphere are closely related to the behavior of UFOs or, atmospheric plasma fireballs. The wave theory for atmospheric plasma fireballs can be used to explain many strange UFO phenomena in the atmosphere [continued] [Broken]

Flying plasma disks in basalt microwave furnace
Summary form only given, as follows. Our experiments study microwave heating phenomena of small basalt stones (/spl sim/10 cm/sup 3/) in a rectangular cavity (WR340) powered by a 650 W, 2.45 GHz magnetron. Occasionally, we observe the creation of a silvery cloud of plasma, in a disk shape. This occurs first on the top of the basalt stone. Then, the plasma ring (of 2-3 cm diameter) is flying about 20 cm from the stone along the cavity to the magnetron antenna, where it disappears. Soon after, another plasma ring is generated near the stone, flies to the magnetron, and repeatedly. The repetition period and the flying disk life cycle are approximately I sec. The effect is accompanied by a unique sound, and it ceases after 15-20 sec of heating when ordinary heating effects occur. We interpret the flying disks as plasmoids produced by a nonlinear interaction of non-stationary standing microwaves with the stone's surface. The paper discusses this effect in view of Kapitza's idea on spherical plasmoids (lighting fireballs) generated by intensive standing radio-waves, in atmosphere and in laboratory experiments. Astrophysics and geophysics effects related to our observation are discussed as well.[continued] [Broken]

Long-lived light phenomena in the atmosphere
The state of knowledge of long-lived light phenomena in the atmosphere is reviewed in the light of contributions to the International Interdisciplinary Congress on Unsolved Problems of Atmospheric Electricity, September 1993, Salzburg, Austria; and the First International Workshop on Unidentified Atmospheric Light Phenomena, March 1994, Hessdalen, Norway.[continued]

EHD and MHD models of fireballs and their relevance to natural and artificial ball lightning
Summary for only given. Apart from chemical model, main energy of natural ball lightning is thought to be plasma energy, since electric energy is limited to an air breakdown threshold, virtually being converted to plasma energy, and magnetic energy comparable seems to be unavailable in nature unless localized high vortex currents are available. However, this leads to a great possibility of producing artificial high-energy ball lightning, since such high vortex currents could be produced in the laboratory as proposed by Koloc (1977) and described by Roth (1995) with particular reference to fusion. Along this line, it is suggested that artificial ball lightning could be produced by rocket-triggered lightning with a trailing inductive coil grounded, thus realizing Koloc's plasmak in the atmosphere [continued] [Broken]

Formation of Long-Lived Fireballs by Plasma Devices
Results of the long-lived plasma structure and fireball formation (so called ``plasmoids") investigations in the atmosphere have been presented and discussed. Lifetimes of these objects considerably (by several orders of magnitude) exceed typical times of their generation by power sources and of plasma decay time. Experiments on the formation of these objects have been carried out by means of different types of pulse erosive plasma injectors in a wide range of energy (100 J - 100 kJ) putted into the plasmoid. Acrylic glass, fabric-based laminate, caprolon, and different organic materials (waxes, paraffines, resins with natural fillers, wood, lignin, etc.) have been used as plasma forming materials. Injection was made both into undisturbed air and into air saturated by organic vapors. It is shown that the formation of plasmoids of different forms (spherical, torus -type, cylindrical and others) with typical sizes 10-20 cm and their lifetime up to ~1 s takes place during pulse plasma injection into the air. In so doing the time of energy input ranged from 10 mcs to 10 ms. Typical temperature's value at the initial stage of the plasmoid existence is 7 - 10 kK. Initial value of the electron concentration reaches ten in (16-17) power per cubic cm. Obtained plasma radiation spectra and their temporary evolution is under the analysis. It is shown that at late stages of the existence of fireballs their radiation spectra correspond to the radiation of solid carbon and metallic oxide particles, and to spectra of burning of organic materials. It is shown that different structures have been formed at the application of the organic plasma forming materials and /or at the injection of plasma jet into the air saturated by organic vapors. One of them with typical sizes 10-20 cm and temperature ~2000 K has a lifetime up to 0.5 s. Undertaken experimental and theoretical investigations have shown a possibility of different ball lightning type realization in nature in the result of erosion of organic and inorganic materials. Their appearance can be accompanied with complex gasdynamic phenomena. [continued]

The plasma sphere and its possible role in ball lightning
Summary form only given. Experimental studies with plasma spheres are incomplete thus far with respect to formation and diagnostics of stable luminous structures despite numerous investigations of electric gas discharges and hot metals. The subject of spherical plasma structure enters into the question of ball lightning, the mobile fireball observed in the atmosphere often associated with the appearance of ordinary lightning. A few experimental fireballs possibly resembling ball lightning have been reported from laboratory studies. In addition to plasma spheres, certain combustion fireballs have been noted, heated metal globes, and some electric discharges, especially luminous microwave discharges. In addition to other discrepancies the experimental observations of those generally taken to be plasma globes have not yet shown the mobility and flight over moderate distance observed with the natural phenomenon. The virial theorem imposes a severe restriction on the energy content of a plasma sphere in the atmosphere far smaller than some estimates of the energy displayed in a few occurrences of natural ball lightning [continued] [Broken]

More to come
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  • #6
Sprites, Jets, Starters, ELVES, and now, TIGERs


Abstract. The sequence of video tape observations of the upper atmospheric optical flashes called sprites, jets, starters, and ELVES are described in the successsive phases of search, discovery, confirmation, and exploration for the years before 1993. Although there were credible eyewitness accounts from ground observers and pilots, these reports did not inspire a systematic search for hard evidence of such phenomena. The science community would instead wait for serendipitous observations to move the leading edge of this science forward. The phenomenon, now known as a sprite, was first accidently documented on ground based videotape recordings on the night of July 6, 1989. Video observations from the space shuttle acquired from 1989 through 1991 provided 17 additional examples to confirm the existence of the sprites phenomenon. Successful video observations from a mountain ridge by Lyons, starting July 7, 1993, and night-time aircraft video observations by Sentman and Wescott on July 8, 1993 established the basic science of the sprite phenomena by acquiring and analyzing data based on hundreds of new events. The 1994 Sprites campaign and the video titled "Red Sprites and Blue Jets" popularized the name sprite and provided a vocabulary of terms to describe the visual attributes. Prior to this video, investigators used a variety of vague descriptive words to describe the individual events. Also, during the 1994 campaign, Wescott and coworkers obtained the first quantative measurements of jets and provided the name "blue jets". A third phenomenon was discovered in video from the STS-41 mission (October 1990) in the lower ionosphere directly above an active thunderstorm. It consisted of a large horizontal brightening several hundred kilometers across at the altitude of the airglow layer. In 1995, Lyons and associates confirmed the existence of this type of very brief brightening which they named Emissions of Light and Very Low Frequency Perturbations From Electromagnetic Pulse Sources (ELVES). Because sprites, jets, and ELVES have appeared for millennia, their discovery was inevitable. The partial history related in this paper outlines the unsophisticated activities using shuttle video and the dissemination of the results by video presentations during the early phases of sprite research. This paper does not attempt to evaluate the advances in the science based on the measurement campaigns of Lyons, Sentman and the many other investigators. [continued] [Broken]
PF Thread

Columbia crew catches a mysterious TIGER in the Indian Ocean
WASHINGTON -- An unprecedented flash observed by the space shuttle Columbia crew in 2003 over the Indian Ocean may be a new type of transient luminous event, like lightning sprites, but one that is not necessarily caused by a thunderstorm. The discharge was observed less than two weeks before the shuttle was lost during its Earth reentry.

The authors describe the discharge as a Transient Ionospheric Glow Emission in Red, or TIGER, event. It was recorded by a video camera in the near-infrared spectrum in the nighttime sky just south of Madagascar on 20 January 2003. The authors analyzed the video several months later and found what visually looks like a bright flash. They report that the emission did not resemble any known class of luminous events, which typically appear in conjunction with thunderstorm activity. [continued]
PF Thread:

Red sprites and blue jets are upper atmospheric optical phenomena associated with thunderstorms that have only recently been documented using low light level television technology. [continued]

Sprites and Elves
Lightning's strange cousins
flicker faster than light itself

The ancients imagined thunderstorms and lightning to be evidence of titanic war among the gods in the sky above. The truth, it turns out, is even odder and more interesting than such myths. Peek above the black anvil clouds of large storms, as droves of scientists have been doing in recent years, and (with the right equipment) one can indeed find wonders: not gods, but exotic stabs of illumination called sprites and elves. Geophysicists are now scrambling to explain what causes these phenomena and how they may affect the Earth's atmosphere. [continued] [Broken]

to be continued
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  • #7
Earth: Other Anomalies

The Racetrack Playa, at an elevation of 1131 m, is a dry lakebed nestled in the Panamint Range in Death Valley National Park, California. Though almost perfectly flat, it shows evidence of dynamic traction (sliding) of boulder-sized and smaller rock fragments that tumble onto it from two abutting cliffs and surrounding alluvial fans (Figure 1). Scars of sliding rock activity in the form of recessed furrows have been noted since the beginning of the twentieth century...yet to date no one has witnessed the actual surface process that causes the rocks to slide. [Broken]
PF Thread:
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  • #8
Methane Clathrate Hydrate

Likely capable of sinking ships and downing aircraft, potentially an extinction level threat to humanity, a key to solving planetary riddles, as well promising to yield vast reserves of energy to be exploited, methane clathrate hydrate deposits may account for some anomalous maritime incidents, and other unusual reports as well.

Search this site for links and information. Direct links not possible.
U.S. Department of Energy
National Energy Technology Laboratory

Oceanic Hydrates: more questions than answers
From an oil industry standpoint, methane hydrate is known as a major problem because it plugs casing and pipelines. From a media standpoint, hydrates provide an almost inexhaustible supply of articles concerning greenhouse effects, landslides, global warming and mysterious events such as the loss of aircraft in the "Bermuda Triangle". From a scientific standpoint, they provide much scope for academic research projects. [continued]

Geo-engineering Gone Awry: A New Partial Solution of Fermi’s Paradox
...How could humankind’s MTEC-caused extinction begin? Hans Keppler and his colleagues offer a tentative answer: mass extinctions can be caused by the liberation of carbon formerly lodged in the Earth-mantle.23 It is already demonstrated that methane hydrates form a voluminous reservoir of carbon and the quick, punctuated release of this frozen methane— the “Clathrate Gun Hypothesis”24—results in global warming of the Earth-atmosphere. This might have actually happened at the end of Permian (cca. 251 Myr ago), causing the greatest mass extinction ever recorded in the history of terrestrial life, according to the newest study.[continued]

Design and operation of a pressure retaining sampler for sedimentary gases and gas hydrates
...A hydraulically actuated pressure-case has been developed to recover "intact" samples of methane clathrate hydrate and gassy sediments from the sea floor. This system can be deployed on any submersible or ROV that has hydraulic control lines available for user mounted devices. [continued] [Broken]

Measurement of Methane Hydrate Dissociation for Application to Natural Gas Storage and Transportation
Hydrate meta-stable (self-preservation) property has been recently reported by some researchers. If we can utilize the property economically in addition to its high-density gas containing property, it is possible to store and transport stranded natural gas at higher temperature and lower pressure compared to the conventional LNG method. [continued] [Broken]

Peculiarities of Methane Clathrate Hydrate Formation and Solid-State Deformation, Including Possible Superheating of Water Ice
Slow, constant-volume heating of water ice plus methane gas mixtures forms methane clathrate hydrate by a progressive reaction that occurs at the nascent ice/liquid water interface. As this reaction proceeds, the rate of melting of metastable water ice may be suppressed to allow short-lived superheating of ice to at least 276 kelvin. Plastic flow properties measured on clathrate test specimens are significantly different from those of water ice; under nonhydrostatic stress, methane clathrate undergoes extensive strain hardening and a process of solid-state disproportionation or exsolution at conditions well within its conventional hydrostatic stability field.

The strength and rheology of methane clathrate hydrate
...The possible occurrence of syntectonic dissociation of methane hydrate to methane plus free water in these experiments suggests that the high strength measured here may be only a lower bound. On Earth, high strength in hydratebearing formations implies higher energy release upon decomposition and subsequent failure. In the outer solar system, if Titan has a 100-km-thick near-surface layer of highstrength, low-thermal conductivity methane hydrate as has been suggested, its interior is likely to be considerably warmer than previously expected. [continued]

...Work on methane hydrate has revealed that rather than decomposing into ice and methane as had been predicted, methane clathrate hydrate forms a new hexagonal hydrate with a 3.5(5):1 water methane ratio at 0.8 GPa. This hydrate undergoes further transformation to a dihydrate at 1.9 Gpa, which remains stable up to at least 10 GPa. The existence of these transitions has important consequences for modeling of Saturn’s moon Titan and the origins of its atmospheric methane.[continued]

Saturn's largest moon Titan is the only planetary satellite to have a significant atmosphere. The nature of this atmosphere and the origins of the ∼5% of methane in it are a source of longstanding debate. The high-pressure properties of the icy components - ammonia monohydrate and methane hydrate - from which Titan formed are crucial to modelling of Titan and yet until recently were poorly known. We have now carried out neutron diffraction studies of both systems across the entire pressure and temperature range relevant to Titan. We found several new phases in ammonia monohydrate and have been able to construct an equation of state for this material. And we have shown that methane hydrate does not decompose into ice and methane at 1.2 GPa as had been calculated. These results move modelling of Titan onto new ground. [continued] [Broken]

Methane hydrate nonstoichiometry and phase diagram
...This result suggests that hydrates in the ocean floor may have lower methane concentrations than hydrates formed under normal laboratory conditions at the same pressure and temperature. [continued]

Gas hydrates have been recovered in gravity cores within 10 m of the seafloor in sediment of the Gulf of Mexico (Brooks et al., 1984, Brooks et al., 1989, MacDonald et al., 1994, Sassen and MacDonald, 1994, Sassen and MacDonald, 1997), the offshore portion of the Eel River Basin of California (Brooks et al., 1991), the Black Sea (Yefremova and Zhizhchenko, 1974), the Caspian Sea (Ginsburg et al., 1992), the Sea of Okhotsk (Ginsburg et al., 1993), offshore Norway in the Barents Sea (Ginsburg et al., 1997), and the eastern Mediterranean Sea (Woodside et al., 1996). Also, gas hydrates have been recovered at greater sub-bottom depths along the southeastern coast of the United States on the Blake Outer Ridge (Kvenvolden and Barnard, 1983, Shipboard Scientific Party, 1983), in the Gulf of Mexico (Bouma, Coleman, Meyer, et al., 1986), in the Cascadia Basin near Oregon (Shipboard Scientific Party, 1994), the Middle America Trench (Kvenvolden and McDonald, 1985; Shipley and Didyk, 1982), offshore Peru (Kvenvolden and Kastner, 1990), and on both the eastern and western margins of Japan (Shipboard Scientific Party, 1990, 1991). Even though gas hydrates are known to occur in numerous arctic and marine sedimentary basins, little is known about the geologic parameters controlling their distribution or natural gas content. One of the major objectives of ODP Leg 164 was to establish the gas content of the Blake Ridge and an important part of that assessment is the gas content of the recovered gas hydrate. In this paper we describe the gas content, composition, and carbon isotopic composition in recovered gas hydrate from three sites on Leg 164 (Fig. 1) [continued] [Broken]

to be continued...
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  • #9
Rogue Waves

Rogue Waves
Rogue waves have been part of marine folklore for centuries. They are generally considered to be unexpectedly high waves which in some instances come from a direction different from the predominant waves in the local area. A single rogue wave has certainly been known to spell disaster for the mariner. They have, over the past twenty or thirty years, come to be recognized as a unique phenomena albeit with several possible causes.

1) Constructive interference. Several different wave trains of differing speeds and directions meet at the same time. The heights of the crests are additive so that an extreme wave may result when very high waves are included in the wave trains. The effect is normally short lived since the wave trains continue to separate and move on.

2) Focusing of wave energy. When storm forced waves are developed in a water current counter to the wave direction an interaction can take place which results in a shortening of the wave frequency. The result is the superimposing of the wave trains and the generation of extreme waves. Examples of currents where these are sometimes seen are the Gulf Stream and Agulhas current. Extreme wave developed in this regime tend to be longer lived.

3) Normal part of the wave spectrum. The generation of waves on water results not in a single wave height but in a spectrum of waves distributed from the smallest capillary waves to large waves indeed. Within this spectrum there is a finite possibility of each of the wave heights to occur with the largest waves being the least likely. The wave height most commonly observed and forecast is the significant wave height. This is defined as the average of the one third highest waves. The probability of encountering such a wave is about 1 in 10 while 1 in 1000 waves will be nearly double the significant wave height or higher. This is thought to be the source of at least some reports of rogue waves.

On the chance of freak waves at sea
Waves of surprisingly large size, alternatively called freak, rogue, or giant waves, are a well-documented hazard to mariners. Perhaps the most celebrated incident occurred during the world's ®rst solo circumnavigation, when, in 1896, well off the Patagonian coast, the Spray's hull was completely submerged by a giant wave as Captain Joshua Slocum (1899) clung to the peak halyards. Captain Mallory (1974) analysed eleven more-recent incidents, off the south-east coast of South Africa, of freak waves which caused damage to large vessels, including one ship which was cleaved in half. All these occurrences were in an area renowned for producing freak waves when a large ocean swell opposes the swift Agulhas current. Peregrine (1976) suggested that, in areas of strong current such as the Agulhas, abnormally large waves could be produced when wave action is concentrated by refraction into a caustic region. In this scenario, a curved or otherwise variable current acts analogously to an optical lens to focus wave action. Gerber (1996) applied this idea, and the theory of Gerber (1993), to explain the large waves encountered in the Agulhas current, examining in particular the 1986 incident involving the semisubmersible Actinia. A related theory was given by Gutshabash & Lavrenov (1986). Irvine & Tilley (1988) analysed Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data of the Agulhas current, and concluded that caustics caused by meanders in the Agulhas could produce giant waves. [continued] [Broken]

Freak Waves in Random Oceanic Sea States
Freak waves are very large, rare events in a random ocean wave train. Here we study the numerical generation of freak waves in a random sea state characterized by the JONSWAP power spectrum. We assume, to cubic order in nonlinearity, that the wave dynamics are governed by the nonlinear Schroedinger (NLS) equation. We identify two parameters in the power spectrum that control the nonlinear dynamics: the Phillips parameter and the enhancement coefficient . We discuss how freak waves in a random sea state are more likely to occur for large values of [alpha] and [gamma]. Our results are supported by extensive numerical simulations of the NLS equation with random initial conditions. Comparison with linear simulations are also reported. [continued] [Broken]

Task-Related Rogue waves embedded in extreme seas
This paper describes a new technique for the generation of tailored design wave sequences in extreme seas which are simulated under laboratory conditions. The wave field is fitted to predetermined global and local target characteristics defined in terms of significant wave height, peak period as well as wave height, crest height, and period of individual waves. [continued] [Broken]

Rogue Waves and Explorations of Coastal Wave Characteristics
Currently, while there are voluminous conventional wave measurements available worldwide, there is really no available measurement of freak waves per se. The current practice of wave measurement, instituted perhaps over four decades ago, was based on the universal assumption of ocean wave process to be a stationary, Gaussian random process, that is clearly inconsistent with the existence of freak waves. A few sets of recording of freak waves, that may be become available rather accidentally, had been widely used as rogue wave examples. But in reality there is essentially no rogue waves data available that can be readily used to establish a realistic probability for rogue waves. So the weakest and most difficult aspect on the exploration of freak waves in the oceans today is in fact the manifest scarcity of actual field measurements of rogue waves. Academic interests may be satisfied by the theoretical simulation of an event of rogue wave occurrence, which is basically the state-of-the-art of rogue waves research currently, but the present ostensibly lacking of actual field measurements of rogue waves renders even the best formulated theories remain unverified. [continued] [Broken]

Research by Region: International - Asia
...GLERL researchers have been using some available rogue wave measurements in the Sea of Japan and applied wavelet spectrum analysis to explore the transient nature of the freak wave events that has been elusive from current conventional approaches. [continued] [Broken]

More NOAA links

Freak Wave Impact on Semisubmersibles {Time-domain Analysis of Motions and Forces
For the design of safe and economic offshore structures and ships the knowledge of the extreme wave environment and the related wave/structure interactions is required. In general frequency- domain analysis has been regarded as an adequate tool for the assessment of motions and loads which are needed to derive stresses, fatigue and wear as well as operational limitations. However, the increasing number of reported rogue waves with unexpected large wave heights (Hmax=Hs > 2), crest heights (³max=Hmax > 0:6), wave steepness and group pattern (e.g. Three Sisters) may suggest a reconsideration of design codes.[continued] [Broken]


The design of safe and economic offshore structures and ships requires detailed knowledge of the extreme wave environment and the corresponding loads and motions. For the investigation of wave/structure interaction and for the analysis of extreme wave events this paper describes techniques to synthesize nonlinear gravity waves in irregular seas. Extreme waves registered in nature are simulated in a physical wave tank. Furthermore, the impact of one of these rogue waves, the so called New Year Wave, on a semisubmersible and two stationary ships is investigated. [continued] [Broken]

Two-dimensional long wave nonlinear models for the rogue waves in the ocean
Two-dimensional long wave nonlinear models are developed to describe the propagation of the rogue waves. It is shown that the simplest model corresponds to the Kadomtsev-Petviashvili equation, while the influence of the atmosphere movement and the current in the ocean on the generation of the rogue waves is resulted in derivation of new nonlinear integro-differential equation. Two mechanisms of the rogue wave formation are proposed on. the basis of the model equations. First is based on a resonant interaction of inclined plane solitary waves. According to the second one the rogue wave is single two-dimensionally localized traveling wave having the pit shape.[continued] [Broken]

Ocean Dynamics
We present a basic analysis of the propagation of deep-water waves on curved trajectories. The key feature is that the amplitude of the wave varies transversely, and may result in the generation of a short-crested wave of high amplitude. The properties of these waves are explored, and it is suggested that they are a model for extreme waves, which may violate the conditions under which the classical statistical distribution of wave heights has been derived. In their full development, they are manifested as generic rogue waves. [continued] [Broken]

Modelling a "rogue wave"- speculations or a realistic possibility?
It seems that freak- or rogue waves exist even in the open ocean far away from strong current gradients (Kjeldsen (1984), Sand (1990), Skourup Skourup analyzed 89 storms over a 12 year period at the Gorm eld in the central North Sea. They used the following criteria to select candidates for their rogue wave collection: Single waves with crest heights, ac > 1:1Hs,1 or wave heights larger than 2Hs; where Hs is the significant wave height of the surrounding 20 min. wave record. They found 446 events satisfying the crest criterion. [continued]

...As part of the MAXWAVE project a database of ship accidents thought to be due to freak waves is being assembled. Spectral wave model hindcasts were performed in order to simulate as accurately as possible the seastate conditions that occurred around the time and location of several cases selected from the database. These cases either reported freak wave damage to a ship, or resulted in structural damage to another construction in the vicinity. In situ observations of freak waves are indeed rare, and for the examples presented here we have highresolution time series of observed wave height. These observations, with the wave model hindcasts, are used as
a basis for the investigation of rogue waves. A candidate for the development of rogue waves is the Benjamin-Feir instability. Some recent studies have attempted to link the development of rogue waves via the Benjamin-Feir instability with the nonlinear Schroedinger equation. Osborne et al (2000) performed numerical studies using families of JONSWAP power spectra as initial conditions. They found an increased occurrence of extreme wave heights for high values of gamma, the amount of peakedness in the spectrum. The conditions for the occurrence of this instability may hence be related to shape parameters of the wave energy spectrum that are calculable from wave model hindcasts and from high-resolution observations. [continued] [Broken]

The Study of the Spatial Coherence of Surface Waves by the Nonlinear Green-Naghdi Model in Deep Water
The goal is to identify the role of nonlinear wave interaction in the spatial coherence of ocean waves. For this purpose, a numerical tool based on the Irrotational Green-Naghdi (IGN) model to simulate short-crested sea-state is developed.

The objectives are to develop a higher-level Green-Naghdi model; to provide oceanographers and/or ocean engineers a new, numerical nonlinear-wave model; and to simulate fully-nonlinear interaction in short-crested random ocean surface efficiently. Emphasis will be made on the optimization between
accuracy and computational effort by adjusting the `Level' of the model. [continued] [Broken]

The objectives of the Met Office’s contribution to workpackage 4 were to screen the casualty databases to identify the most important graveyards and trading routes. The wave conditions for several selected ship casualties were then hindcast using a global spectral wave model. With input from WP1,2 and 3 the model spectra were assessed to identify the characteristics leading to a high likelihood of extreme waves occurring. Finally the potential for improving wave model predictions by incorporating SAR data was assessed [continued] [Broken]

to be continued
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  • #10
Mind and Body: Consciousness

*****PF Discussion: A Place for Consciousness*******

Few problems have had as interesting an intellectual trajectory through history as that of the mind and its place in nature. Before 1859, the year that Darwin and Wallace independently proposed natural selection as the basis of evolution, this issue was known as the mind/body problem with its various and sometimes ponderous solutions. But after that pivotal date, it came to be known as the problem of consciousness and its origin in evolution. Now the first thing I wish to stress this afternoon is this problem. It is easy for the average layman to understand. But paradoxically, for philosophers, psychologists, and neurophysiologists, who have been so used to a different kind of thinking, it is a difficult thing. What we have to explain is the contrast, so obvious to a child, between all the inner covert world of imaginings and memories and thoughts and the external public world around us. The theory of evolution beautifully explains the anatomy of species, but how out of mere matter, mere molecules, mutations, anatomies, can you get this rich inner experience that is always accompanying us during the day and in our dreams at night? That is the problem we will consider in this symposium. [continued] [Broken]
PF Thread:

Consciousness is a mongrel concept: there are a number of very different "consciousnesses." Phenomenal consciousness is experience; the phenomenally conscious aspect of a state is what it is like to be in that state. The mark of access-consciousness, by contrast, is availability for use in reasoning and rationally guiding speech and action. These concepts are often partly or totally conflated, with bad results. This target article uses as an example a form of reasoning about a function of "consciousness" based on the phenomenon of blindsight. Some information about stimuli in the blind field is represented in the brains of blindsight patients, as shown by their correct "guesses," but they cannot harness this information in the service of action, and this is said to show that a function of phenomenal consciousness is somehow to enable information represented in the brain to guide action. But stimuli in the blind field are BOTH access-unconscious and phenomenally unconscious. The fallacy is: an obvious function of the machinery of access-consciousness is illicitly transferred to phenomenal consciousness.

Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness
Consciousness poses the most baffling problems in the science of the mind. There is nothing that we know more intimately than conscious experience, but there is nothing that is harder to explain. All sorts of mental phenomena have yielded to scientific investigation in recent years, but consciousness has stubbornly resisted. Many have tried to explain it, but the explanations always seem to fall short of the target. Some have been led to suppose that the problem is intractable, and that no good explanation can be given.

To make progress on the problem of consciousness, we have to confront it directly. In this paper, I first isolate the truly hard part of the problem, separating it from more tractable parts and giving an account of why it is so difficult to explain. I critique some recent work that uses reductive methods to address consciousness, and argue that such methods inevitably fail to come to grips with the hardest part of the problem. Once this failure is recognized, the door to further progress is opened. In the second half of the paper, I argue that if we move to a new kind of nonreductive explanation, a naturalistic account of consciousness can be given. I put forward my own candidate for such an account: a nonreductive theory based on principles of structural coherence and organizational invariance and a double-aspect view of information. [continued] [Broken]

Consciousness and Complexity
Conventional approaches to understanding consciousness are generally concerned with the contribution of speciÞc brain areas or groups of neurons. By contrast, it is considered here what kinds of neural processes can account for key properties of conscious experience. Applying measures of neural integration and complexity, together with an analysis of extensive neurological data, leads to a testable proposalÑthe dynamic core hypothesisÑabout the properties of the neural substrate of consciousness. [Broken]

Consciousness: The Remembered Present
This chapter summarizes a theory of consciousness based on brain structure and dynamics. The theory centers around the notion of reentry—ongoing recursive signaling across multiple reciprocally connected brain regions present mainly in the thalamocortical system. It recognized the fundamental beginnings provided by the complementary efforts of Ramon y Cajal and William James.[continued]

A sensorimotor account of vision and visual onsciousness
Abstract: Many current neurophysiological, psychophysical, and psychological approaches to vision rest on the idea that when we see, the brain produces an internal representation of the world. The activation of this internal representation is assumed to give rise to the experience of seeing. The problem with this kind of approach is that it leaves unexplained how the existence of such a detailed internal representation might produce visual consciousness. An alternative proposal is made here. We propose that seeing is a way of acting. It is a particular way of exploring the environment. Activity in internal representations does not generate the experience of seeing. The outside world serves as its own, external, representation. The experience of seeing occurs when the organism masters what we call the governing laws of sensorimotor contingency. The advantage of this approach is that it provides a natural and principled way of accounting for visual consciousness, and for the differences in the perceived quality of sensory experience in the different sensory modalities. Several lines of empirical evidence are brought forward in support of the theory, in particular: evidence from experiments in sensorimotor adaptation, visual “filling in,” visual stability despite eye movements, change blindness, sensory substitution, and color perception. [continued] [Broken]

Toward a theory of episodic memory: The frontal lobes and autonoetic consciousness.
Adult humans are capable of remembering prior events by mentally traveling back in time to reexperience those events. In this review, the authors discuss this and other related capabilities. considering evidence from such diverse sources as brain imaging, neuropsychological experiments, clinical observations, and developmental psychology. The evidence supports a preliminary theory of episodic remembering, which holds that the prefrontal cortex plays a critical, supervisory role in empowering healthy adults with autonoetic consciousness--the capacity to mentally represent and become aware of subjective experiences in the past, present, and future. When a rememberer mentally travels back in subjective time to reexperience his or her personal past, the result is an act of retrieval from episodic memory. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2004 APA, all rights reserved) [Broken]

the mechanisms of consciousness
A number of recent papers and books discuss theoretical efforts toward a scientific understanding of consciousness. Progress in imaging networks of brain areas active when people perform simple tasks may provide a useful empirical background for distinguishing conscious and unconscious information processing. Attentional networks include those involved in orienting to sensory stimuli, activating ideas from memory, and maintaining the alert state. This paper reviews recent findings in relation to classical issues in the study of attention and anatomical and physical theories of the nature of consciousness. [continued]

Temporal binding, binocular rivalry, and consciousness.
Cognitive functions like perception, memory, language, or consciousness are based on highly parallel and distributed information processing by the brain. One of the major unresolved questions is how information can be integrated and how coherent representational states can be established in the distributed neuronal systems subserving these functions. It has been suggested that this so-called "binding problem" may be solved in the temporal domain. The hypothesis is that synchronization of neuronal discharges can serve for the integration of distributed neurons into cell assemblies and that this process may underlie the selection of perceptually and behaviorally relevant information. As we intend to show here, this temporal binding hypothesis has implications for the search of the neural correlate of consciousness. We review experimental results, mainly obtained in the visual system, which support the notion of temporal binding. In particular, we discuss recent experiments on the neural mechanisms of binocular rivalry which suggest that appropriate synchronization among cortical neurons may be one of the necessary conditions for the buildup of perceptual states and awareness of sensory stimuli. Copyright 1999 Academic Press. [continued]

Attention, self regulation and consciousness
Consciousness has many aspects. These include awareness of the world, feelings of control over one's behaviour and mental state (volition), and the notion of a continuing self. Focal (executive) attention is used to control details of our awareness and is thus closely related to volition. Experiments suggest an integrated network of neural areas involved in executive attention. This network is associated with our voluntary ability to select among competing items, to correct error and to regulate our emotions. Recent neuroimaging studies suggest that these various functions involve separate areas of the anterior cingulate. We have adopted a strategy of using marker tasks, shown to activate the brain area by imaging studies, as a means of tracing the development of attentional networks. Executive attention appears to develop first to regulate distress during the first year of life. During later childhood the ability to regulate conflict among competing stimuli builds upon the earlier cingulate anatomy to provide a means of cognitive control. During childhood the activation of cingulate structures relates both to the child's success on laboratory tasks involving conflict and to parental reports of self-regulation and emotional control. These studies indicate a start in understanding the anatomy, circuitry and development of executive attention networks that serve to regulate both cognition and emotion. [continued],13,15;journal,76,104;linkingpublicationresults,1:102022,1 [Broken]

Beyond consciousness of external reality: a "who" system for consciousness of action and self-consciousness.
This paper offers a framework for consciousness of internal reality. Recent PET experiments are reviewed, showing partial overlap of cortical activation during self-produced actions and actions observed from other people. This overlap suggests that representations for actions may be shared by several individuals, a situation which creates a potential problem for correctly attributing an action to its agent. The neural conditions for correct agency judgments are thus assigned a key role in self/other distinction and self-consciousness. A series of behavioral experiments that demonstrate, in normal subjects, the poor monitoring of action-related signals and the difficulty in recognizing self-produced actions are described. In patients presenting delusions, this difficulty dramatically increases and actions become systematically misattributed. These results point to schizophrenia and related disorders as a paradigmatic alteration of a "Who?" system for self-consciousness. Copyright 1998 Academic Press. [continued]

The neuronal basis for consciousness
Attempting to understand how the brain, as a whole, might be organized seems, for the first time, to be a serious topic of inquiry. One aspect of its neuronal organization that seems particularly central to global function is the rich thalamocortical interconnectivity, and most particularly the reciprocal nature of the thalamocortical neuronal loop function. Moreover, the interaction between the specific and non-specific thalamic loops suggests that rather than a gate into the brain, the thalamus represents a hub from which any site in the cortex can communicate with any other such site or sites. The goal of this paper is to explore the basic assumption that large-scale, temporal coincidence of specific and non-specific thalamic activity generates the functional states that characterize human cognition.[continued] [Broken]

Are we explaining consciousness yet?
Theorists are converging from quite different quarters on a version of the global neuronal workspace model of consciousness, but there are residual confusions to be dissolved. In particular, theorists must resist the temptation to see global accessibility as the cause of consciousness (as if consciousness were some other, further condition); rather, it is consciousness. A useful metaphor for keeping this elusive idea in focus is that consciousness is rather like fame in the brain. It is not a privileged medium of representation, or an added property some states have; it is the very mutual accessibility that gives some informational states the powers that come with a subject's consciousness of that information. Like fame, consciousness is not a momentary condition, or a purely dispositional state, but rather a matter of actual influence over time. Theorists who take on the task of accounting for the aftermath that is critical for consciousness often appear to be leaving out the Subject of consciousness, when in fact they are providing an analysis of the Subject, a necessary component in any serious theory of consciousness[continued]

Towards a cognitive neuroscience of consciousness: basic evidence and a workspace framework
This introductory chapter attempts to clarify the philosophical, empirical, and theoretical bases on which a cognitive neuroscience approach to consciousness can be founded. We isolate three major empirical observations that any theory of consciousness should incorporate, namely (1) a considerable amount of processing is possible without consciousness, (2)
attention is a prerequisite of consciousness, and (3) consciousness is required for some specifc cognitive tasks, including those that require durable information maintenance, novel combinations of operations, or the spontaneous generation of intentional behavior. We then propose a theoretical framework that synthesizes those facts: the hypothesis of a global neuronal workspace. [continued] [Broken]

The Link between Brain Learning, Attention, and Consciousness
The processes whereby our brains continue to learn about a changing world in a stable fashion throughout life are proposed to lead to conscious experiences. These processes include the learning of top-down expectations, the matching of these expectations against bottom-up data, the focusing of attention upon the expected clusters of information, and the development of resonant states between bottom-up and top-down processes as they
reach an attentive consensus between what is expected and what is there in the outside world. It is suggested that all conscious states in the brain are resonant states and that these resonant states trigger learning of sensory and cognitive representations. The models which summarize these concepts are therefore called Adaptive Resonance Theory, or ART, models. Psychophysical and neurobiological data in support of ART are presented from
early vision, visual object recognition, auditory streaming, variable-rate speech perception, somatosensory perception, and cognitive–emotional interactions, among others. It is noted that ART mechanisms seem to be operative at all levels of the visual system, and it is proposed how these mechanisms are realized by known laminar circuits of visual cortex. It is predicted that the same circuit realization of ART mechanisms will be found in the laminar circuits of all sensory and cognitive neocortex. Concepts and data are summarized concerning how some visual percepts may be visibly, or modally, perceived, whereas amodal percepts may be consciously recognized even though they are perceptually invisible. It is also suggested that sensory and cognitive processing in the What processing stream of the brain obey top-down matching and learning laws that are often complementary to
those used for spatial and motor processing in the brain’s Where processing stream. This enables our sensory and cognitive representations to maintain their stability as we learn more about the world, while allowing spatial and motor representations to forget learned maps and gains that are no longer appropriate as our bodies develop and grow from infanthood to adulthood. Procedural memories are proposed to be unconscious because the inhibitory matching process that supports these spatial and motor processes cannot lead to resonance. ã 1999 Academic Press [continued] [Broken]
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  • #11
Consciousness: Continued

Abstract: An extensive data search among various types of developmental and evolutionary sequences yielded a `four quadrant' model of consciousness and its development (the four quadrants being intentional, behavioural, cultural, and social). Each of these dimensions was found to unfold in a sequence of at least a dozen major stages or levels. Combining the four quadrants with the dozen or so major levels in each quadrant yields an integral theory of consciousness that is quite comprehensive in its nature and scope. This model is used to indicate how a general synthesis and integration of twelve of the most influential schools of consciousness studies can be effected, and to highlight some of the most significant areas of future research. The conclusion is that an `all-quadrant, all-level' approach is the minimum degree of sophistication that we need into order to secure anything resembling a genuinely integral theory of consciousness. [continued] [Broken]

In a previous paper (gr-qc/9907063) we described the early inflationary universe in terms of quantum information. In this paper, we analize those results in more detail, and we stress the fact that, during inflation, the universe can be described as a superposed state of quantum registers. The self-reduction of the superposed quantum state is consistent with the Penrose’s Objective Reduction (OR) model. The quantum gravity threshold is reached at the end of inflation, and corresponds to a superposed state of 9 10 quantum registers. This is also the number of superposed tubulins-qubits in our brain, which undergo the Penrose-Hameroff’s Orchestrated Objective Reduction, (Orch OR), leading to a conscious event.
Then, an analogy naturally arises between the very early quantum computing universe, and our mind.[continued]

Why Quantum Correlates of Consciousness Are Fine, But Not Enough
The existence of quantum correlates of consciousness (QCC) is doubtful from a scientific perspective. But even if their existence were verified, philosophical problems would remain. On the other hand, there could be more to QCC than meets the sceptic's eye: [continued]

Consciousness and Endogenous State Reduction: Two Experiments
There is a tradition in science that regards consciousness as merely epiphenomenal. Accordingly, physical systems can create and influence consciousness, but consciousness can have no influence on physical systems. Indeed, the current understanding of quantum mechanics provides no way for consciousness to alter the wave function of a quantum mechanical state. Furthermore, there is nothing in molecular biology that would suggest that the human body is anything more that an automaton that operates on the basis of purely physical and chemical interactive forces. However, I believe that the epiphenomenal view is fundamentally flawed, and I suggest the following experiments as a way of demonstrating the existence of an influence of consciousness on material systems. The first uses Positron Emission Tomography (PET) with a human subject, and the second used autoradiography with rats. Detailed arguments for my position can be found in three papers that have been published in recent years. A brief summery of the arguments is initially given below, where it is claimed that ‘pain’ consciousness might be correlated in a certain way with the relative binding of opiates to receptors in a subject’s brain.[continued] [Broken]

The Parallel Principle
Von Neumann’s psycho-physical parallelism requires the existence of an interaction between subjective experiences and material systems. A hypothesis is proposed that amends physics in a way that connects subjective states with physical states, and a general model of the interaction is provided. A specific example shows how the theory applies to pain consciousness. The implications concerning quantum mechanical state creation and reduction are discussed, and some mechanisms are suggested to seed the process. An experiment that tests the hypothesis is described elsewhere. [continued] [Broken]

Spin-Mediated Consciousness Theory: Possible Roles of Oxygen Unpaired Electronic Spins and Neural Membrane Nuclear Spin Ensemble in Memory and Consciousness
A novel theory of consciousness is proposed in this paper. We postulate that consciousness is connected to quantum mechanical spin since said spin is embedded in the microscopic structure of spacetime and may be more fundamental than spacetime itself. Thus, we theorize that consciousness is connected with the fabric of spacetime through spin.[continued]

Spin as Primordial Self-Referential Process Driving Quantum Mechanics, Spacetime Dynamics and Consciousness
We have recently [see previous post] theorized that consciousness is intrinsically connected to quantum mechanical spin since said spin is embedded in the microscopic structure of spacetime and is more fundamental than spacetime itself, that is, spin is the “mind-pixel.” Applying these ideas to the particular structures and dynamics of the brain, we have developed a qualitative model of quantum consciousness. In this paper, we express our fundamental view that spin is a primordial self-referential process driving quantum mechanics, spacetime dynamics and consciousness. [continued] [Broken]

Spin-Mediated Consciousness Theory: An Approach Based On Pan-Protopsychism
As an alternative to our original dualistic approach, we present here our spin-mediated consciousness theory based on pan-protopsychism. [continued] [Broken]

Some perils of quantum consciousness. Epistemological pan-experientialism and the emergence-submergence of consciousness
If consciousness emerges into ontological reality at some point in nature, as system complexity increases, then it also ‘submerges’ at some adjoining point, as structures simplify. This has led some to posit a ‘latent-consciousness’ in what Bohr saw as the consciousness-like spontaneity of quantum phenomena. Yet to move on this basis to Whitehead's ontological pan-experientialism or to direct quantum explanations of consciousness (Hameroff and Penrose) faces serious epistemological limitations -- perhaps being more unwittingly projective than genuinely explanatory. More reasonable would be an epistemological pan- experientialism in the sense of the later James. Consciousness, as the ultimate lens and medium of all knowledge, is inseparable from the physical reality it would know, especially at the very limits of empirical observation in microphysics. ‘Submerged’ consciousness is better understood in Jamesian pragmatic terms than via assumed but unprovable ontologies. [continued]

Quantum aspects of brain activity and the role of consciousness.
The relationship of brain activity to conscious intentions is considered on the basis of the functional microstructure of the cerebral cortex. Each incoming nerve impulse causes the emission of transmitter molecules by the process of exocytosis. Since exocytosis is a quantal phenomenon of the presynaptic vesicular grid with a probability much less than 1, we present a quantum mechanical model for it based on a tunneling process of the trigger mechanism. Consciousness manifests itself in mental intentions. The consequent voluntary actions become effective by momentary increases of the probability of vesicular emission in the thousands of synapses on each pyramidal cell by quantal selection [continued]

Near Death Experiences in Cardiac Arrest and the Mystery of Consciousness
...Cardiac arrest patients are a subgroup of people who come closest to death. In such a situation an individual initially develops two out of three criteria (the absence of spontaneous breathing and heartbeat) of clinical death. Shortly afterwards (within seconds) these are followed by the third, which occurs due to the loss of activity of the areas of the brain responsible for sustaining life (brainstem) and thought processes (cerebral cortex). Brain monitoring using EEG in animals and humans has also demonstrated that the brain ceases to function at that time. During a cardiac arrest, the blood pressure drops almost immediately to unrecordable levels and at the same time, due to a lack of blood flow, the brain stops functioning as seen by flat brain waves (isoelectric line) on the monitor within around 10 seconds. This then remains the case throughout the time when the heart is given 'electric shock' therapy or when drugs such as adrenaline are given until the heartbeat is finally restored and the patient is resuscitated. Due to the lack of brain function in these circumstances, therefore, one would not expect there to be any lucid, well-structured thought processes, with reasoning and memory formation, which are characteristic of NDEs.

Nevertheless, and contrary to what we would expect scientifically, studies have shown that 'near death experiences' do occur in such situations. This therefore raises a question of how such lucid and well-structured thought processes, together with such clear and vivid memories, occur in individuals who have little or no brain function. In other words, it would appear that the mind is seen to continue in a clinical setting in which there is little or no brain function. In particular, there have been reports of people being able to 'see' details from the events that occurred during their cardiac arrest, such as their dentures being removed. [continued] [Broken]

The relation between individual differences in fantasy and theory of mind.
The relation between early fantasy/pretense and children's knowledge about mental life was examined in a study of 152 3- and 4-year-old boys and girls. Children were interviewed about their fantasy lives (e.g., imaginary companions, impersonation of imagined characters) and were given tasks assessing their level of pretend play and verbal intelligence. In a second session 1 week later, children were given a series of theory of mind tasks, including measures of appearance-reality, false belief, representational change, and perspective taking. The theory of mind tasks were significantly intercorrelated with the effects of verbal intelligence and age statistically controlled. Individual differences in fantasy/pretense were assessed by (1) identifying children who created imaginary characters, and (2) extracting factor scores from a combination of interview and behavioral measures. Each of these fantasy assessments was significantly related to the theory of mind performance of the 4-year-old children, independent of verbal intelligence.[continued]
PF Thread:

Imitation and artifice in apes, humans, and machines
Abstract: Suggests that the issue of nonhuman agency may be resolved not through ontology but as a matter of social and descriptive practices. Analysis of behavioral scientist B.L. Whorf's paradox on the reflexive problems of description; Nonhumans capacity to render themselves in human language; Attribution/anthropomorphism quandary.

...The concern here is with what happens when ordinary people, as well as behavioral scientists, contentiously attribute to animals (machines, infants, and other Others) the kinds of mental states or competencies that they attribute to each other, and the grounds on which they do so. In the more serious literature, the prime topics are language and intelligence, and the objects in question are often apes, computers, or human infants. My aim is not to resolve the question of nonhuman agency in any of these cases but to examine some ways in which that issue is generally constituted and decided. The focus is on how various criteria of agency (or "human-ness") work, such as imitation, description, intentionality, attribution, and comembership. Although this might look like a side step, a focus on the debate in preference to its topic, the argument here is that the operation of these criteria, both in ordinary discourse and in the scientific literature, are the substance of it all. [continued] [Broken]
PF Thread:

To be continued...
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  • #12
Consciousness continued

T(opological)G(eometro)D(ynamics) inspired theory of consciousness
In this introductory article I summarize briefly what Topological Geometrodynamics (TGD) and TGD inspired theory of consciousness are and describe the speculative picture about biosystems and discuss briefly the TGD view about quantum brain.

The identification of quantum jump between quantum histories as a moment of consciousness reduces quantum measurement theory to fundamental physics. Quantum entanglement is the central quantum notion and Schrödinger cat able to be living and dead simultaneously is the classical manner to 'illlustrate' the notion ( illustration ) The identification of self as a subsystem able to remain unentangled in subsequent quantum jumps provides a quantum theory of observer and one can identify self also as a fundamental statistical ensemble. The entanglement of subselves of same or of two separate selves means fusion of mental images to a more complex mental image ( illustration ). In the latter case it means sharing of mental images crucial, not only for remote mental interactions, but also for genuine communications.

The notion of manysheeted spacetime ( illustration ) allows to understand how biosystems manage to be macroscopic quantum systems. Topological field quantization implies that also classical fields have particle like aspects: these particle like aspects are crucial for the models of sensory qualia, sensory representations and long term memory as well as for the general model of control and coordination in living matter. One can fairly say that any living system has besides the ordinary physical body also a field body ( illustration ), as a matter fact a hierarchy of bodies.

A further generalization of the spacetime concept involves the introduction of p-adic topologies besides the real topology ( illustration ). p-Adic spacetime regions are identified as cognitive representations for the real regions and thus correspond to the 'mind stuff' of Descartes. The transformation of intention to action correspond to a quantum jump in which p-adic spacetime regions is replaced with a real one.

The realization of the sensory representations at the field body outside the brain represents the most radical departure from the views of standard neuroscience and a rather detailed theory for both 'personal' sensory representations and magnetospheric sensory representations presumably responsible for the third person aspects of consciousness results.

More detailed representations can be found from the online books "TGD inspired theory of consciousness with applications to biosystems" [3] and "Genes, Memes, Qualia, and Semitrance" [4] at my homepage. The online books "Topological Geometrodynamics" [1] and "TGD and p-Adic numbers" [2] represent the recent view about TGD as a unification of fundamental interactions.

To the beginning [continued] [Broken]

Précis of: The Illusion of Conscious Will
Abstract: The experience of conscious will is the feeling that we’re doing things. This feeling occurs for many things we do, conveying to us again and again the sense that we consciously cause our actions. But the feeling may not be a true reading of what is happening in our minds, brains, and bodies as our actions are produced. The feeling of conscious will can be fooled. This happens in clinical disorders such as alien hand syndrome, dissociative identity disorder, and schizophrenic auditory hallucinations. And in people without disorders, phenomena such as hypnosis, automatic writing, Ouija board spelling, water dowsing, facilitated communication, speaking in tongues, spirit possession, and trance channeling also illustrate anomalies of will cases when actions occur without will, or will occurs without action. This book brings these cases together with research evidence from laboratories in psychology and neuroscience to explore a theory of apparent mental causation. According to this theory, when a thought appears
in consciousness just prior to an action, is consistent with the action, and appears exclusive of salient alternative causes of the action, we experience conscious will and ascribe authorship to ourselves for the action. Experiences of conscious will thus arise from processes whereby the mind interprets itself—not from processes whereby mind creates action. Conscious will, in this view, is an indication that we think we have caused an action, not a revelation of the causal sequence by which the action was produced.[continued] [Broken]

What is the Fundamental Nature of Consciousness?
The nature of consciousness is fundamental to philosophy of mind and cognitive science. Science has made very promising progress on the "easy problem" (Chalmers, 1996) - the working out of the neural mechanisms of behavior and physiological correlates of mental states. However, despite thousands of years of philosophy and over a hundred years of hard science, the "difficult problem" - the issue of how first-person experience, and the raw feels of awareness can accompany the physical processes of neurobiology - remains intractable. A crucial aspect of this problem in the philosophy of mind is the question of ontology. Does mind or consciousness exist as a real feature of the world? Materialism asserts that only matter and energy comprise the universe, and all phenomena are products of their interactions. In contrast, dualism asserts that the universe also contains "mind", which cannot be reduced to matter or energy, and is responsible for consciousness. Which (if either) of these basic theories is true is an issue that is crucial to the way we understand normal and pathological human cognition, and the nature of the psyche. The data of parapsychology has direct relevance to these and other issues in cognitive science. In this paper I discuss the contribution that parapsychological research can make to the study of consciousness. Besides promising approaches to the "other minds" problem, and possible applications to the evolutionary origins of consciousness, the greatest contribution of parapsychology consists in what it has to say about materialism vs. dualism. I briefly mention a few arguments against materialism
from the mainstream sciences, and then focus on the powerful implications of parapsychological research, some of which are very telling against the sufficiency of materialism as a framework within which to explain consciousness. The paper concludes with major problems which parapsychology must address to flesh out its contribution to ontology. [continued]

God as an emergent property
Treating conscious states as emergent properties of brain states has religious implications. Emergence claims the neutral ground between substance dualism (perceived as hostile to science) and reductive physicalism (perceived as hostile to religion). This neutrality makes possible a theory of human experience that is religious, yet lies wholly within the natural order and open to scientific investigation. One attempt to explain the soul as an emergent property of brain states is studied and found wanting, because of a dogmatic assumption that God is ‘beyond all material form’. Reflection on the central Christian claim that Jesus Christ was human and divine suggests the alternative view that God and the soul are both emergent properties. Unlike the philosopher's or physicist's remote and isolated ‘first cause’, this God is immediate and personal and social. [continued]

A new theory of the relationship of mind and matter
ABSTRACT: The relationship of mind and matter is approached in a new way in this article. This approach is based on the causal interpretation of the quantum theory, in which an electron, for example, is regarded as an inseparable union of a particle and afield. This field has, however, some new properties that can be seen to be the main sources of the differences between the quantum theory and the classical (Newtonian) theory. These new properties suggest that the field may be regarded as containing objective and active information, and that the activity of this information is similar in certain key ways to the activity of information in our ordinary subjective experience. The analogy between mind and matter is thus fairly close. This analogy leads to the proposal of the general outlines of a new theory of mind, matter, and their relationship, in which the basic notion is participation rather than interaction. Although the theory, can be developed mathematically in more detail the main emphasis here is to show qualitatively how it provides a way of thinking that does not divide mind from matter, and thus leads to a more coherent understanding of such questions than is possible in the common dualistic and reductionistic approaches. These ideas may be relevant to connectionist theories and might perhaps suggest new directions for their development. [continued] [Broken]

Mind and matter as asymptotically disjoint, inequivalent representations with broken time-reversal symmetry
Many philosophical and scientific discussions of topics of mind-matter research make implicit assumptions, in various guises, about the distinction between mind and matter. Currently predominant positions are based on either reduction or emergence, providing either monistic or dualistic scenarios. A more-involved framework of thinking, which can be
traced back to Spinoza and Leibniz, combines the two scenarios, dualistic (with mind and matter separated) and monistic (with mind and matter unseparated), in one single picture. Based on such a picture, the transition from a domain with mind and matter unseparated to separate mental and material domains can be viewed as a result of a general
kind of symmetry breaking, which can be described formally in terms of inequivalent representations. The possibility of whether this symmetry breaking might be connected to the emergence of temporal directions from temporally non-directed or even non-temporal levels of reality will be discussed. Correlations between mental and material aspects of reality could then be imagined as remnants of such primordial levels. Different conceivable types of inequivalent representations would lead to correlations with different characteristics. [continued] [Broken]

"implicate Order" and the Good Life: Applying David Bohm's Ontology in Human World
In an attempt to formulate a coherent view of quantum reality, the theoretical physicist David Bohm has proposed a new concept of order to supplement the mechanistic Cartesian order of traditional physics. The "implicate" order is a subtler and deeper order that emphasizes "unbroken wholeness in flowing movement," in contrast to the coarser and more superficial, "explicate" Cartesian order of distinct phenomena. This dissertation attempts to develop a meaning for the idea of implicate order in the world of human experience. First is offered an account of some evolutionary episodes in terms of implicate and explicate order which draws on compatible work in cosmology, embryogenesis, visual perception, brain memory, decision making and phenomenology. Two important characteristics of the implicate order are then identified: in an implicate order, the whole is enfolded (or represented) in its parts; and all parts render different perspectives of the whole. Using arguments from decision making, the study of "flow" in human consciousness, and a model of skill acquisition, it is suggested that these characteristics manifest themselves in the human world as the "unity experience" and the "diversity experience," respectively. The former is the experience that a given part of one's life reveals a larger wholeness or unity; the subject-object distinction is transcended and one becomes absorbed in the flow of whatever activity is pursued. The latter is a deep appreciation of the diversity of ways in which people may seek the unity experience. These experiences are proposed as general values: social and psychological conditions ought to be such that these experiences are enhanced in all people. A two-by-two matrix of the two experiences demonstrates the danger of pursuing one to the exclusion of the other. The experience of unity without diversity turns into absolutism, the insistence that one's chosen activities or beliefs are the only right ones. The experience of diversity without unity becomes relativism, the excessive tolerance of and indifference to other people's pursuits. The good life lies in the simultaneous realization of both, unity-in -diversity. Lastly, it is suggested that this so-called unity-diversity matrix may be used as a personal compass the meaning of which is negotiated and calibrated in a community of users. [continued]

From Matter To Mind
The relation between mind and matter is considered in terms of recent ideas from both phenomenology and brain science. Phenomenology is used to give clues to help bridge the brain-mind gap by providing constraints on any underlying neural architecture suggested from brain science. A tentative reduction of mind to matter is suggested and used to explain various features of phenomenological experience and of ownership of conscious experience. The crucial mechanism is the extended duration of the corollary discharge of attention movement, with its gating of activity for related content. Aspects of experience considered in terms of the model are the discontinuous nature of consciousness, immunity to error through misidentification, and the state of 'pure' consciousness as experienced through meditation. Corollary discharge of attention movement is proposed as the key idea bringing together basic features of meditation, consciousness and neuroscience, and helping to bridge the gap between mind and matter. [continued]

Quantum Ontology and Mind-Matter Synthesis
The Solvay conference of 1927 marked the birth of quantum theory. This theory constitutes a radical break with prior tradition in physics, because it avers, if taken seriously, that nature is built not out of matter but out of knowings. However, the founders of the theory stipulated, cautiously, that the theory was not to be taken seriously, in this sense, as a description of nature herself, but was to be construed as merely a way of computing expectations about future knowings on the basis of information provided by past knowings. There have been many efforts over the intervening seventy years to rid physics of this contamination of matter by mind. But I use the reports at this Symposium to support the claim that these decontamination efforts have failed, and that, because of recent developments pertaining to causality, the time has come to take quantum theory seriously: to take it
as the basis for a conception of the universe built on knowings, and other things of the same kind. Quantum theory ensures that this conception will yield all the empirical regularities that had formerly been thought to arise from the properties of matter, together with all of those more recently discovered regularities that cannot be understood in that mechanical way. Thus I propose to break away from the cautious stance of the founders of quantum theory, and build a theory of reality by taking seriously what the incredible accuracy of the predictions of the formalism seems to proclaim, namely that nature is best understood as being built around knowings that enjoy the mathemat ical properties ascribed to them by quantum theory. I explain why this idea had formerly been incorrectly regarded as untenable, due to a failure to distinguish signals from influences: relativistic quantum field theory ensures both that signals cannot travel faster than light, but that influences, broadly conceived, cannot be imagined to enjoy that property. Failure to recognize this fact had made a realistic interpretation of quantum theory seem impossible. I then explain how our conscious knowings can play a causally efficacious and binding role in brain dynamics without violating the statistical rules of quantum theory, and describe how these features provide a foundation for understanding how consciousness could have evolved by natural selection from primitive beginnings.

Invited Paper: The X-th Max Born Symposium “Quantum Future”.[continued] [Broken]

Mind over matter? I: philosophical aspects of the mind-brain problem.
OBJECTIVE: To conceptualize the essence of the mind-body or mind-brain problem as one of metaphysics rather than science, and to propose a formulation of the problem in the context of current scientific knowledge and its limitations. METHOD AND RESULTS: The background and conceptual parameters of the mind-body problem are delineated, and the limitations of brain research in formulating a solution identified. The problem is reformulated and stated in terms of two propositions. These constitute a 'double aspect theory'. CONCLUSIONS: The problem appears to arise as a consequence of the conceptual limitations of the human mind, and hence remains essentially a metaphysical one. A 'double aspect theory' recognizes the essential unity of mind and brain, while remaining consistent with the dualism inherent in human experience.[continued]
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  • #13
The Placebo Effect

The Scientist :: The Biological Basis of the Placebo Effect

Dec. 9, 2002
Imaging technologies bring empirical rigor to the study of a mysterious medical phenomenon

The placebo effect baffles patients, confounds clinicians and frustrates drug developers. Until now, relatively little empirical evidence existed for the biological mechanisms that underlie the effect. But recently, researchers have begun approaching the challenge with methodological rigor. This new area of investigation, straddling basic and clinical realms, has evolved largely because of the novel, detailed window of observation offered by modern imaging technologies. "What we're getting," says Harvard Medical School's Ted Kaptchuk, "is good preliminary evidence that describes the hardwiring of the placebo effect--that is, the impact of symbolic treatment, and how it's mediated through the neurobiology of the brain to produce physical effects in illnesses." [continued] [Broken]

An outline explanation of how therapy heals
Therapists are unable to provide a comprehensive account of therapy as an intelligible activity. This is at least partly due to the unresolved problem of explaining how phenomenology is even possible. An alternative to providing a comprehensive account of therapy is to take the fact of phenomenology for granted and provide just an outline account of how therapy heals. One way this can be achieved is to set therapy in the context of medical anthropology which will facilitate a view of therapy as just another healing ritual.

Insight into how healing rituals heal is provided in this paper by a long and in-depth look at the so-called 'paradox' of the placebo effect. This will reveal the so-called 'placebo effect' as a misunderstood, modern example of healing ritual self-healing. In fact, the single term 'placebo effect' will be abandoned and replaced by the two concepts of 'SMCH' ('specifically modified consultation and health care') and 'RMH' ('response to modified health care'). These two concepts provide an outline explanation of how all healing rituals heal and so provide an outline explanation of how the healing ritual of therapy heals, also.

At least one problem arises out of explaining therapy as healing ritual self-healing, namely that this conception conflictswith the idea in therapy circles that, in therapy, it is the relationship that counts. Nonetheless, it will be maintained that the purpose of therapy is healing, that the healing that is achieved is self-healing and that its fulfilment is not dependent upon one-to-one relationships. Finally, it will be argued that the further development of therapy requires a better understanding of what aids and obstructs psychoemotional self-healing. [continued]

Placebo to credebo: the missing link in the healing process
The placebo effect has long been something of a mystery. The response of researchers has broadly been of two kinds: either to dismiss it as an artefact; or to view it as an important, but unknown, component in treatment. The thesis of this article is that the latter view is supported by the weight of evidence. After describing and evaluating a range of evidence relating to the placebo effect, it is concluded that placebos are active and potent elements in a complete theory of healing. Central to the effect is the interaction of the patient’s and the clinician’s beliefs in the efficacy of the process of healing. This permits a redefiniton of the placebo effect in terms of the therapeutic alliance and a shift of emphasis away from the passive treatment of susceptible patients by clinicians to the mutuality of what is termed a joint ‘credebo’ effect. [continued]

The powerful placebo effect: fact or fiction?
In 1955, Henry K. Beecher published the classic work entitled "The Powerful Placebo." Since that time, 40 years ago, the placebo effect has been considered a scientific fact. Beecher was the first scientist to quantify the placebo effect. He claimed that in 15 trials with different diseases, 35% of 1082 patients were satisfactorily relieved by a placebo alone. This publication is still the most frequently cited placebo reference. Recently Beecher's article was reanalyzed with surprising results: In contrast to his claim, no evidence was found of any placebo effect in any of the studies cited by him. There were many other factors that could account for the reported improvements in patients in these trials, but most likely there was no placebo effect whatsoever. False impressions of placebo effects can be produced in various ways. Spontaneous improvement, fluctuation of symptoms, regression to the mean, additional treatment, conditional switching of placebo treatment, scaling bias, irrelevant response variables, answers of politeness, experimental subordination, conditioned answers, neurotic or psychotic misjudgment, psychosomatic phenomena, misquotation, etc. These factors are still prevalent in modern placebo literature. The placebo topic seems to invite sloppy methodological thinking. Therefore awareness of Beecher's mistakes and misinterpretations is essential for an appropriate interpretation of current placebo literature. [continued]

Is the placebo powerless? An analysis of clinical trials comparing placebo with no treatment
...CONCLUSIONS: We found little evidence in general that placebos had powerful clinical effects. Although placebos had no significant effects on objective or binary outcomes, they had possible small benefits in studies with continuous subjective outcomes and for the treatment of pain. Outside the setting of clinical trials, there is no justification for the use of placebos.[continued]

Variation in the placebo effect in randomised controlled trials of analgesics: all is as blind as it seems.
...The results show that the amount of relief obtained with placebo varies considerably between patients, that 38% of patients obtained more than 10% of the maximum possible relief, and 16% obtained greater than 50%. In double-blind, randomised parallel-group studies of high quality placebo scores should not vary. Despite these conditions being met the placebo scores did vary. The previous explanation, of a relationship between the mean placebo scores and the mean scores for the active treatments was not supported.[continued]

Harnessing the power of the placebo effect and renaming it "remembered wellness".
The placebo effect yields beneficial clinical results in 60-90% of diseases that include angina pectoris, bronchial asthma, herpes simplex, and duodenal ulcer. Three components bring forth the placebo effect: (a) positive beliefs and expectations on the part of the patient; (b) positive beliefs and expectations on the part of the physician or health care professional; and (c) a good relationship between the two parties. Because of the heavily negative connotations of the very words "placebo effect, " the term should be replaced by "remembered wellness." Remembered wellness has been one of medicine's most potent assets and it should not be belittled or ridiculed. Unlike most other treatments, it is safe and inexpensive and has withstood the test of time.[continued]

The role of expectancies in the placebo effect and their use in the delivery of health care: a systematic review.
...The original aim was to assess the nature and extent of the placebo effect and to consider how it may be harnessed within the NHS to improve the quality of care. The first step was to develop an approach to the review that would address specific questions about the placebo effect. [continued] [Broken]

The placebo effect: can we use it better?
Placebos work best for pain, disorders of autonomic sensation, and disorders of factors under neurohumoral control. Shapiro defined a placebo as any treatment deliberately used for non-specific psychological or psychophysiological effect.1 That the placeo effect, a classic example of the mind-body relation, is as clinically undeveloped as it is pervasive may reflect the dominance of modern chemotherapy. The placebo depends on largely subconscious interactions between the doctor, the treatment process, and the patient1 2; it is the form of a treatment without its substance. [continued]

The placebo effect in alternative medicine: can the performance of a healing ritual have clinical significance?
In alternative medicine, the main question regarding placebo has been whether a given therapy has more than a placebo effect. Just as mainstream medicine ignores the clinical significance of its own placebo effect, the placebo effect of unconventional medicine is disregarded except for polemics. This essay looks at the placebo effect of alternative medicine as a distinct entity. This is done by reviewing current knowledge about the placebo effect and how it may pertain to alternative medicine. The term placebo effect is taken to mean not only the narrow effect of a dummy intervention but also the broad array of nonspecific effects in the patient-physician relationship, including attention; compassionate care; and the modulation of expectations, anxiety, and self-awareness. Five components of the placebo effect--patient, practitioner, patient-practitioner interaction, nature of the illness, and treatment and setting--are examined. Therapeutic patterns that heighten placebo effects are especially prominent in unconventional healing, and it seems possible that the unique drama of this realm may have "enhanced" placebo effects in particular conditions. Ultimately, only prospective trials directly comparing the placebo effects of unconventional and mainstream medicine can provide reliable evidence to support such claims. Nonetheless, the possibility of enhanced placebo effects raises complex conundrums. Can an alternative ritual with only nonspecific psychosocial effects have more positive health outcomes than a proven, specific conventional treatment? What makes therapy legitimate, positive clinical outcomes or culturally acceptable methods of attainment? Who decides? [continued]

Deconstructing the Placebo Effect and Finding the Meaning Response
We provide a new perspective with which to understand what for a half century has been known as the "placebo effect." We argue that, as currently used, the concept includes much that has nothing to do with placebos, confusing the most interesting and important aspects of the phenomenon. We propose a new way to understand those aspects of medical care, plus a broad range of additional human experiences, by focusing on the idea of "meaning," to which people, when they are sick, often respond. We review several of the many areas in medicine in which meaning affects illness or healing and introduce the idea of the "meaning response." We suggest that use of this formulation, rather than the fixation on inert placebos, will probably lead to far greater insight into how treatment works and perhaps to real improvements in human well-being. [continued]

More to come...
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  • #14
Holistic and Alternative Medical Practices

Holistic Medicine: Scientific Challenges
Søren Ventegodt1,*, Niels Jørgen Andersen2, and Joav Merrick31The Quality of Life Research Center, Teglgårdstræde 4-8, DK-1452 Copenhagen K, Denmark; 2Norwegian School of Management, Sandvika, Norway; 3National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Office of the Medical Director, Division for Mental Retardation, Ministry of Social Affairs, Jerusalem and Zusman Child Development Center, Division of Community Health, Ben Gurion University, Beer-Sheva, Israel; 1,2The Scandinavian Foundation for Holistic Medicine, Norwegian School of Management, Sandvika, Norway

The field of holistic medicine is in need of a scientific approach. We need holistic medicine — and we even need it to be spiritual to include the depths of human existence — but we need it to be a little less “cosmic” in order to encompass the whole human being. Many important research questions and challenges, empirical as well as theoretical, demand the attention from medical researchers. Like a number of other practitioners and researchers, our group at the Quality of Life Research Center in Denmark together with groups in Norway and Israel are trying to tackle the research challenge by using conceptual frameworks of quality of life. We have suggested that quality of life represents a third influence on health beyond the genetic and traumatic factors so far emphasized by mainstream medicine. In our clinical and research efforts, we attempt to specify what a clinician may do to help patients help themselves, by mobilizing the vast resources hidden in their subjective worlds and existence, in their hopes and dreams, and their will to live. The field of holistic medicine must be upgraded to fully integrate human consciousness, scientifically as well as philosophically. We therefore present a number of important research questions for a consciousness-based holistic medicine. New directions in healthcare are called for and we need a new vision of the future of the healthcare sector in the industrialized countries. Every person seems to have immense potentials for self-healing that we scarcely know how to mobilize. A new holistic medicine must find ways to tackle this key challenge. A healthcare system that could do that successfully would bring quality of life, health, and new ability of functioning to many people.[contined] [Broken]

Dr William Coley and tumour regression: a place in history or in the future
Spontaneous tumour regression has followed bacterial, fungal, viral, and protozoal infections. This phenomenon inspired the development of numerous rudimentary cancer immunotherapies, with a history spanning thousands of years. Coley took advantage of this natural phenomenon, developing a killed bacterial vaccine for cancer in the late 1800s. He observed that inducing a fever was crucial for tumour regression. Unfortunately, at the present time little credence is given to the febrile response in fighting infections—no less cancer.

Rapidly growing tumours contain large numbers of leucocytes. These cells play a part in both defence and repair; however, reparative functions can also support tumour growth. Intratumoural infections may reactivate defensive functions, causing tumour regression.

Can it be a coincidence that this method of immunotherapy has been "rediscovered" repeatedly throughout the centuries? Clearly, Coley’s approach to cancer treatment has a place in the past, present, and future. It offers a rare opportunity for the development of a broadly applicable, relatively inexpensive, yet effective treatment for cancer. Even in cases beyond the reach of conventional therapy, there is hope. [continued]
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  • #15
Physics: The Measurement Problem - dead or alive?

Measurement in Quantum Theory
From the inception of Quantum Mechanics (QM) the concept of measurement has proved a source of difficulty. The Einstein-Bohr debates, out of which both the Einstein Podolski Rosen paradox and Schrödinger's cat paradox developed, centered upon this difficulty. The problem of measurement in quantum mechanics arises out of the fact that several principles of the theory appear to be in conflict. In particular, the dynamic principles of quantum mechanics seem to be in conflict with the postulate of collapse. David Albert puts the problem nicely when he says:

'The dynamics and the postulate of collapse are flatly in contradiction with one another ... the postulate of collapse seems to be right about what happens when we make measurements, and the dynamics seems to be bizarrely wrong about what happens when we make measurements, and yet the dynamics seems to be right about what happens whenever we aren't making measurements.' (Albert 1992, 79)

This has come to be known as "the measurement problem" and in what follows, we study the details and examine some of the implications of this problem. [continued]

Why Decoherence has not Solved the Measurement Problem: A Response to P.W. Anderson
Stephen L. Adler
Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

It has lately become fashionable to claim that decoherence has solved the quantum measurement problem by eliminating the necessity for Von Neumann’s wave function collapse postulate. For example…

These striking statements to the contrary, I do not believe that either detailed theoretical calculations or recent experimental results show that decoherence has resolved the difficulties associated with quantum measurement theory.[continued] [Broken]

The quantum measurement problem and various unsuccessful attempts to resolve it are reviewed. A suggestion by Diosi and Penrose for the half life of the quantum superposition of two Newtonian gravitational fields is generalized to an arbitrary quantum superposition of relativistic, but weak, gravitational fields. The nature of the “collapse” process of the wave function is examined. [continued] [Broken]

Can the Decoherence Approach Help to Solve the Measurement Problem?
This work examines whether the environmentally-induced decoherence approach in quantum mechanics brings us any closer to solving the measurement problem, and whether it contributes to the elimination of subjectivism in quantum theory. A distinction is made between ’collapse‘ and ’decoherence‘, so that an explanation for decoherence does not imply an explanation for collapse. [continued]

Abstract: We present a measurement model where the origin of the quantum probabilities lies in the presence of fluctuations between the measurement apparatus and the physical system. First we make a reasoning where we show that the measurement process cannot be described by the unitary Schrödinger evolution only. Afterwards we present our model of measurement and show the necessity of developing a more general structure than orthodox Hilbert space
quantum mechanics to resolve the measurement problem. [Broken]

The convenience of coherent state representation is discussed from the viewpoint of what is in a broad sense called the measurement problem in quantum mechanics. Standard quantum theory in coherent state representation is intrinsically related to a number of earlier concepts conciliating quantum and classical processes. From a natural statistical interpretation, free of collapses or measurements, the usual von
Neumann-L¨uders collapse as well as its quantum state diffusion interpretation follow. In particular, a theory of coupled quantum and classical dynamics arises, containing the fluctuation corrections versus the fenomenological mean-field theories. [Broken]

Insolubility of the Quantum Measurement Problem for Unsharp Observables
The quantum mechanical measurement problem is the difficulty of dealing with the indefiniteness of the pointer observable at the conclusion of a measurement process governed by unitary quantum dynamics. There has been hope to solve this problem by eliminating idealizations from the characterization of measurement. We state and prove two ‘insolubility theorems’ that disappoint this hope. [continued] [Broken]

The Hidden Measurement Formalism: What Can Be Explained and Where Quantum Paradoxes Remain
In the hidden measurement formalism that we have developed in Brussels we explain quantum structure as due to the presence of two effects; (a) a real change of state of the system under influence of the measurement and (b) a lack of knowledge about a deeper deterministic reality of the measurement process. We show that the presence of these two effects leads to the major part of the quantum mechanical structure of a theory describing a physical system, where the measurements to test the properties of this physical system contain the two mentioned effects. [continued]

DNA Molecular Cousin of Schrödinger's Cat: A Curious Example of Quantum Measurement
It is argued that ultraviolet absorption by a DNA molecule (which gets biochemically attached to nearby photolyase enzyme so that the effect of uv absorption becomes macroscopically discernible) constitutes an intriguing example of quantum measurement. We point out that this does not merely illustrate the quantum measurement paradox in the hitherto unexplored arena of biological macromolecules, but is also instructive in highlighting specific difficulties inherent in various approaches to the measurement problem.[continued]

More to come
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  • #16
Physics: Entanglement

The Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Argument in Quantum Theory
In the May 15, 1935 issue of Physical Review Albert Einstein co-authored a paper with his two postdoctoral research associates at the Institute for Advanced Study, Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen. The article was entitled "Can Quantum Mechanical Description of Physical Reality Be Considered Complete?" (Einstein et al. 1935). Generally referred to as "EPR", this paper quickly became a centerpiece in the debate over the interpretation of the quantum theory, a debate that continues today. This entry describes the argument of that 1935 paper, considers several different versions and reactions, and explores the ongoing significance of the issues they raise.

Quantum Entanglement and Information
Most physicists dismissed the puzzling features of entangled quantum states as an artefact of Einstein's inappropriate ‘detached observer’ view of physical theory, and regarded Bohr's reply to the EPR argument as vindicating the Copenhagen interpretation. This was unfortunate, because the study of entanglement was ignored for thirty years until John Bell's reconsideration and extension of the EPR argument. Bell looked at entanglement in simpler systems than the EPR case: matching correlations between two-valued dynamical quantities, such as polarization or spin, of two separated systems in an entangled state. What Bell showed was that the statistical correlations between the measurement outcomes of suitably chosen different quantities on the two systems are inconsistent with an inequality derivable from Einstein's separability and locality assumptions — in effect from the assumption that the correlations have a common cause.

Bell's investigation generated an ongoing debate on the foundations of quantum mechanics. One important feature of this debate was confirmation that entanglement can persist over long distances(see Aspect et al.), thus falsifying Schrödinger's supposition of the spontaneous decay of entanglement as two entangled particles separate. But it was not until the 1980s that physicists, computer scientists, and cryptographers began to regard the non-local correlations of entangled quantum states as a new kind of non-classical resource that could be exploited, rather than an embarrassment to be explained away. (For further discussion of entanglement as a physical resource, including measuring entanglement, and the manipulation and purification of entanglement by local operations, see "The Joy of Entanglement" by Popescu and Rohrlich in Lo, Popescu, and Spiller, or Nielsen and Chuang.)

Conservation laws, causality, entanglement and topology changes. A gate for a time machine
The EPR paradox, showing the incompatibility between causality and quantum mechanics, leads, especially after Bell's theorem and the xperiments based on it, to a deep crisis of the causality principle. A complete redefinition of the entanglement concept, based on the impossibility of violation of conservation laws and on the generalization to a 5-dimensional space, leads to the recovery of the classical and fundamental idea for the physics of causality. The absolute validity of conservation laws, induces moreover, in the cases where they would be otherwise violated, topology changes which make possible ``tunneling processes'' (like wormholes in astrophysics) which connect separate spacetimes. It can be shown that such a phenomenon is a-luminal, opening the door, without overcoming light speed, to a conceivable time-machine. [continued]

Violation of Bell inequality and entanglement of decaying Werner states
Quantum nonlocality, responsible for violation of Bell-type inequalities [1, 2], and entanglement (inseparability) are the fundamental resources of modern quantum-information theory and still the most surprising features of quantum mechanics (see, e.g., [3]). It is therefore desirable to investigate the degrees of the Bell-inequality violation and of the entanglement of a quantum state not only in relation to efficiency of quantum-information processing, but also to understand better subtle aspects of the physical nature. [continued] [Broken]

An Extra Dimensional Approach of Entanglement

Possible explanations for the phenomenon
What are the possible explanations for entanglement? We do not expect that entanglement is just a perfect conservation of the initial qualities. This could hardly explain choice of the pathway both particles take as described by Abner Shimony [6]. There are no workable models in the classical sense, which give an explanation for phenomena such as entanglement.
We can think of a number of possible explanations:

1) Over the given distance the results of the experiments, that are performed up until now, might give the impression of the existence of a messenger which moves faster than the speed of light. However, messengers using a speed exceeding the speed of light are forbidden in the theory of special relativity [10]. As a consequence, we will not take this option into

2) The inexplicable correlation of the particles could be the result of a field comparable with the electromagnetic field. We think this is unlikely, because the observed results cannot be realized by phenomena such as fields, because such a field would influence all particles with equal qualities and it would seem that all those particles are entangled.

3) As a last option we could think of a connection between the particles, or even that the particles remain a unity. In these cases, because we cannot see the connection, it probably has to be in an extra hidden dimension. We think that this is the only possible explanation.[continued]

How a Quantum Theory Based on Generalized Coherent States Resolves the EPR and Measurement Problems
It is shown that the quantum theory can be formulated on homogeneous spaces of generalized coherent states in a manner that accounts for interference, entanglement, and the linearity of dynamics without using the superposition principle. The coherent state labels, which are essentially nstructions for preparing states, make it unnecessary to identify properties with projectors in Hilbert space. This eliminates the so called “eigenvalueeigenstate” link, and the theory thereby escapes the measurement problem. [continued] [Broken]

...The purpose of this article is to give a theoretical review of the derivation of Bell inequalities from classical assumptions, discuss their quantum violations and to illuminate relations to entanglement properties and quantum information theory in general. Moreover, we emphasize the connection with convex geometry in the appendix. As nowadays new papers concerning Bell inequalities or closely related topics are posted on the Los Alamos e-print archive almost every day this will by no means be an exhaustive discussion. We will for instance disregard related topics like the Kochen-Specker theorem, nonlocal hidden variable theories, experimental implementations, and the “Bell theorem without inequalities16” . However, these restrictions will enable us to give an otherwise rather self-contained review of Bell inequalities and entanglement. Other review like articles and extensive discussions emphasizing different topics can be found in ref.17,18,19,20. [continued] [Broken]

Robust Long-Distance Entanglement and a Loophole-Free Bell Test with Ions and Photons
Two trapped ions that are kilometers apart can be entangled by the joint detection of two photons, each coming from one of the ions, in a basis of entangled states. Such a detection is possible with linear optical elements. The use of two-photon interference allows entanglement distribution free of interferometric sensitivity to the path length of the photons. The present method of creating entangled ions also opens up the possibility of a loophole-free test of Bell's inequalities. ©2003 The American Physical Society [continued] [Broken]

Comment on "Exclusion of time in the theorem of Bell" by K. Hess and W. Philipp
Abstract. A recent Letter by Hess and Philipp claims that Bell's theorem neglects the possibility of time-like dependence in local hidden variables, hence is not conclusive. Moreover the authors claim that they have constructed, in an earlier paper, a local realistic model of the EPR correlations. However, they themselves have neglected the experimenter's freedom to choose settings, while on the other hand, Bell's theorem can be formulated to cope with time-like dependence. This in itself proves that their toy model cannot satisfy local realism, but we also indicate where their proof of its local realistic nature fails. Version: April 30, 2002 [continued] [Broken]

Bell’s inequality without alternative settings
A suitable generalized measurement described by a 4-element positive operator-valued measure (POVM) on each particle of a two-qubit system in the singlet state is, from the point of view of Einstein, Podolsky, and Rosen’s (EPR’s) criterion of elements of reality, equivalent to a random selection between two alternative projective measurements. It is shown that an EPR-experiment with a fixed POVM on each particle provides a violation of Bell’s inequality without requiring local observers to choose between the alternatives. This approach could be useful for designing a loophole-free test of Bell’s inequality.[continued] [Broken]

Generation of Continuous Variable Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Entanglement via the Kerr Nonlinearity in an Optical Fibre
We report on the generation of a continuous variable Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen (EPR) entanglement using an optical fibre interferometer. The Kerr nonlinearity in the fibre is exploited for the generation of two independent squeezed beams. These interfere at a beam splitter and EPR entanglement is
obtained between the output beams. The correlation of the amplitude phase) quadratures are measured to be 4.0 ±0.2 (4.0± 0.4) dB below the quantum noise limit. The sum criterion for these squeezing variances 0.80 ± 0.03 < 2 verifies the nonseparability of the state. The product of the inferred uncertainties for one beam (0.64 ± 0.08) is well below the EPR limit of unity.[continued] [Broken]

To be continued...
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  • #17
Space and SETI

The Pioneer Anomaly
...In October, a European Space Agency panel recommended a space mission to determine whether Anderson had found something that could rewrite physics textbooks. Some cosmologists even speculate the Pioneer Anomaly might help unravel some of the thorniest problems in theoretical physics, such as the existence of "dark matter" or mysterious extra-dimensional forces predicted by string theory.

For public consumption at least, Anderson and his close-knit group of researchers will not permit themselves the luxury of such grandiose speculation. [continued]
Study of the anomalous acceleration of Pioneer 10 and 11 [Broken]
PF Thread:

Altogether there are fifty observers who belong to ALPO, the BAA, or who have registered an interest. This newsletter forms part of the British Astronomical Associations Lunar Section Circular, and also the Association of Lunar and Planetary Observer’s: “The Lunar Observer”. Both publications appear monthly. Our aim is to investigate transient lunar phenomenon (TLP), or as they say in America (LTP). TLP are typically faint transient coloured glows or loss of detail that pertain to a particular area.

Theories to explain these reports have included out-gassing on the lunar surface, landslides, meteorite impacts etc. Undoubtedly most TLP are aberations caused by normal terrestrial atmospheric effects e.g. spurious colour, poor seeing, and perhaps even poorly trained observers in the past. In 1978 Dr Winifred Cameron produced a NASA catalog listing 1463 of these reported events covering the years 557AD-1978.

Our task is to try to observe these features again but under the same illumination angles (and if possible libration/viewing angles) in order to record their normal appearance. Hopefully we can then eliminate many of these reports and leave ourselves with a core set of reliable observations that we may then study analytically. [continued] [Broken]

On the Influence of Tidal Forces in Shaping the Solar System to its Present State
...The US Apollo space program installed seismographs on the moon in the mid 1970’s. The subsequently measured activity confirmed the moonquakes as a result of the deformations caused by tidal forces instead of indigenous sources like plate tectonics or volcanism. They peak when the moon’s at perigee – the moon is closest to Earth and subjected to a stronger gravitational field than at other times. It’s at these times that various observers claim to have seen discovering violet plumes and other strangely coloured features on the moon’s surface. These reportings are called TLP’s (Transient Lunar Phenomenon’s). There’s plenty of doubt about their existence as none have been scientifically confirmed nor explained, but could possibly be related to effects of tidal forces as well4. [continued] [Broken]

Transient Lunar Phenomena, 1975
A Transient Lunar Phenomenon (TLP) is any strange flash, glow or obscuration, lasting for seconds, minutes or perhaps hours, on the lunar surface. Members of the BAA Lunar Section have been interested in TLPs since they became "respectable" in 1957 when the Russian professional astronomer Kozyrez obtained the first spectrograph of a TLP.

In the mid-1970s, the BAA Lunar Section ran a network of TLP observers throughout the British Isles with a few observers also in the Low Countries. If any observer witnessed a suspected TLP, he/she would set the observing network in action by telephoning the co-ordinating team at Mills Observatory, Dundee. (Incidentally, in common with Orwell Park Observatory, the Mills Observatory houses a 26cm refractor.) The co-ordinating team would then contact as many observers as possible (including experienced observers such as Patrick Moore) to make as many observations as possible of the suspected TLP. Observers would make drawings of the TLP and take photographs and spectra. [continued] [Broken]

...On November 2 1958, the Russian astronomer Nikolai A. Kozyrev observed an apparent outgassing of vapor near the central peak of Alphonsus crater. He took spectrograms that appeared to show the presence of carbon vapor... [Broken]

WFS Lunar Section
A TLP (Transient Lunar Phenomenon) is a (luminous) event on the lunar surface that we can observe for just a very limited (short) period of time. The event will last from a few seconds up to a duration of some hours. There are a number of different explanations to the causes of such an event. The most promising of theories is that of an outgassing event with a piezoelectrical ignition. This might indicate the last traces of lunar geological activity. There are also reports of "Leonid" meteor hits and another theory that makes it possible to predict TLPs: it might be that some locations on the lunar surface appear brighter than usual just because the suns light is reflected in it at that moment. This effect repeats itself only when sun, Earth and moon meet again in exactly the same geometrical constellation - that is after a span of time that we call a saros and lasts 18 years and 10,33 days.

Example of a (terrestrial) TLP as seen from the Galileo spacecraft in 1992. (Sunlight reflected on the Pacific Ocean)
For more information on TLPs look up the TLP-page. [continued]

to be continued
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  • #18
Open Questions in Physics as per John Baez
While for the most part a FAQ covers the answers to frequently asked questions whose answers are known, in physics there are also plenty of simple and interesting questions whose answers are not known. Here we list some of these. We could have called this section Frequently Unanswered Questions, but the resulting acronym would have been rather rude.

Before you set about answering these questions on your own, it's worth noting that while nobody knows what the answers are, a great deal of of work has already been done on most of these subjects. So, do plenty of research and ask around before you try to cook up a theory that'll answer one of these and win you the Nobel prize! You'll probably need to really know physics inside and out before you make any progress on these.

The following partial list of open questions is divided into five groups:

Condensed Matter and Nonlinear Dynamics
Quantum Mechanics
Cosmology and Astrophysics
Particle Physics
The Big Question™

However, given the implications of particle physics and nonlinear dynamics on cosmology, and other connections between the groups, the division is somewhat artificial, so the classification here is somewhat arbitrary.

There are many other interesting and fundamental questions in other fields, and many more in these fields besides those listed here. Their omission is not a judgement about importance, but merely a decision about the scope of this article.

Since this article was last updated in 1997, a lot of progress has been made in answering some big open questions in physics. We include references on some of these questions. There is also a lot to read about the other open questions--especially the last one, which we call The Big Question™. But, we haven't had the energy to list it. [continued]
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  • #19
The Anomaly Formerly Known as Cold Fusion

There is credible controversy over the proper explanation for the results obtained by various groups.

DOE Report: Dec 1st, 2004 [Broken]

Reviewers comments [Broken]

Scientific Papers Selected for the 2004 U.S. Department of Energy Cold Fusion Review [Broken]

2005 APS March Meeting
Monday–Friday, March 21–25, 2005; Los Angeles, CA

Session U33 : Cold Fusion

More to come...
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  • #20

Hobbit" Discovered: Tiny Human Ancestor Found in Asia
Scientists have found fossil skeletons of a hobbit-like species of human that grew no larger than a three-year-old modern child (See pictures). The tiny humans, who had skulls about the size of grapefruits, lived with pygmy elephants and Komodo dragons on a remote island in Indonesia as recently as 13,000 years ago. [continued]
PF Thread
For a little wild speculation, see also PF thread:

Anasazi, The Ancient Ones
...They carved out a life for themselves in the high deserts of the southwest during the years of 500 - 1300 A.D. One of the great mysteries about these people has to do with their disappearance, because during the 13th century they just walked away from their settlements and never came back. Many recommendations have been made concerning these once great people. The suggestions have covered everything from the obvious to some very odd and disturbing ideas. However, despite all the controvesy, these people have managed to keep the academic world and the rest of the world wondering and guessing as to the possibilities of their fate that occurred over 700 years ago [Broken]

Scientists Study Anasazi Calender
Don Smith, College of Eastern Utah, San Juan branch: "I think we're becoming more aware that those people were far more familiar with astronomy, science and possibly math than we give them credit for."

In a secluded ravine near Blanding, scientists and researchers gather to watch mysterious images forming right before their eyes.

Although the rite of Spring, at least on our calendar, slipped in here yesterday almost unnoticed, it's literally in your face in this strange little canyon. [continued]

The Colony At Roanoke
The first British Colony of Roanoke, originally consisting of 100 householders, was founded in 1585, 22 years before Jamestown and 37 years before the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts, under the ultimate authority of Sir Walter Raleigh. In 1584 Raleigh had been granted a patent by Queen Elizabeth I to colonize America.

This Colony was run by Ralph Lane after Sir Richard Grenville, who had transported the colonists to Virginia, returned to Britain for supplies. These colonists were ill-prepared and not particularly clever, because, although they depended upon the local Indians for food, they also antagonized the Indians by such tactics as kidnapping them and holding them hostage in exchange for information. Unfortunately for the colonists, who were desperately in need of supplies, Grenville's return was delayed. As a result, when Sir Francis Drake put in at Roanoke after destroying the Spanish colony of St. Augustine, the entire colony returned with Drake to England.

Interestingly, when Drake picked up these colonists, he left behind 15 of his own men, who were never heard from again. This foreshadowed one of the great mysteries of North America, Roanoke's so-called "Lost Colony" of 90 men, 17 women and 9 children, founded in 1587 and discovered to be missing in 1590, but for the word "Croatan" carved on a post. Although both the English and the Spanish searched for clues to the colony's disappearance for many years, the mystery has never been solved.[continued] [Broken]

Information Technology and the Future of Cities
Will improvements in information technology eliminate face-to-face interactions and make cities obsolete? In this paper, we present a model where people make contacts and choose a mode of interaction: meeting face-to-face or communicating electronically. Cities are a means of reducing the fixed travel costs involved in face-to-face interactions. When telecommunications technology improves, there will be two opposing effects on cities and face-to-face interactions. First, some relationships that would have been face-to-face will be conducted electronically. Second, the increase in frequency of contact between individuals caused by improvements in telecommunications technology may result in more face-to-face interactions. If the second effect dominates, telecommunications improvements will complement both face-to-face interactions and cities. Our empirical work suggests that telecommunications may be a complement to, or at least not a strong substitute for, cities and face-to-face interactions. Q 1998 Academic [continued] [Broken]
PF Thread:

More to come...
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  • #21
More mysteries of physics added above - 4/25/05.
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  • #22
Solar eclipse

Chris Duif said:
Conventional explanations for observations of anomalous behaviour of mechanical systems during solar eclipses are critically reviewed. These observations include the work of Allais with paraconical pendula, those of Saxl and Allen with a torsion pendulum and measurements with gravimeters. Attempts of replications of these experiments and recent gravimeter results are discussed and unpublished data by Latham and by Saxl et al. is presented. Some of the data are summarized and reanalyzed. Especially, attention is paid to observations of tilt of the vertical, which seems to play an important role in this matter. Recommendations for future research are given and its possible relevance to the Pioneer Anomaly is discussed. It is concluded that all the proposed conventional explanations either qualitatively or quantitatively fail to explain the observations.
A review of conventional explanations of anomalous observations during solar eclipses by Chris P. Duif.
  • #23
Light flashes

A syncytium model to study some electrical properties of the eye is proposed in the attempt to explain the phenomenon of anomalous Light Flashes (LF) perceived by astronauts in orbit. The crystalline lens is modeled as an ellipsoidal syncytium having a variable relative dielectric constant. The mathematical model proposed is given by a boundary value problem for a system of two coupled elliptic partial differential equations in two unknowns. We use a numerical method to compute an approximate solution of this mathematical model and we show some numerical results that provide a possible (qualitative) explanation of the observed LF phenomenon. In particular, we calculate the energy lost in the syncytium by a cosmic charged particle that goes through the syncytium and compare the results with those obtained using the Geant 3.21 simulation program. We study the interaction antimatter-syncytium. We use the Creme96 computer program to evaluate the cosmic ray fluxes encountered by the International Space Station.
The use of a syncytium model of the crystalline lens of the human eye to study the light flashes seen by astronauts by G. Nurzia, R. Scrimaglio, B. Spataro and F. Zirilli.
  • #25
I will get back here and move the following links to the appropriate post in this thread, but here are a few more interesting topics:

Foreign Accent Syndrome

Can there be a test for consciousness?

Vitamin C cure for infectious disease and cancer?
  • #26
Animals used for disease detection in humans:

This is one that I missed. For years we have had anecdotal reports of dogs [esp] warning their masters of a medical threat. I recall that one man reported that for no apparent reason, his dog would not allow him to go for his daily walk along a remote road. Quite uncharacteristically, the dog simply refused to go. Within the hour the man had a heart attack.

I have heard and read quite a few reports like this over the years. One involved a woman whose dog seemed to have warned her that she had as skin cancer. The dog began nibbling at one spot on the woman's leg. Ultimately it was found to the site of a malignancy.

Now it seems that some medical progress has been made on this front wrt to lung and breast cancer.
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  • #28
Ivan Seeking said:
Animals used for disease detection in humans:

This is one that I missed. For years we have had anectdotal reports of dogs [esp] warning their masters of a medical threat. I recall that one man reported that for no apparent reason, his dog would not allow him to go for his daily walk along a remote road. Quite uncharacteristically, the dog simply refused to go. Within the hour the man had a heart attack.

I have heard and read quite a few reports like this over the years. One involved a woman whose dog seemed to have warned her that she had as skin cancer. The dog began nibbling at one spot on the woman's leg. Ultimately it was found to the site of a malignancy.

Now it seems that some medical progress has been made on this front wrt to lung and breast cancer.
Good catch, Ivan. The scent thing is being taken very seriously in medical circles these days. Molecular biology is catching up with the bloodhound nose. Applications include replacing drug and bomb sniffing dogs with electronics - a very vibrant area of research these days! We humans have barely scratched the surface of the amazing capabilities of biological organisms. Perhaps that is why aliens find us so interesting [a joke - the aliens would have already incorporated us if we were that interesting].
  • #29
Glossolalia - Speaking in tongues

Langauge Center of the Brain Is Not Under the Control of Subjects Who “Speak in Tongues

...“We noticed a number of changes that occurred functionally in the brain,” comments Principal Investigator Andrew Newberg, MD, Associate Professor of Radiology, Psychiatry, and Religious Studies, and Director for the Center for Spirituality and the Mind, at Penn. “Our finding of decreased activity in the frontal lobes during the practice of speaking in tongues is fascinating because these subjects truly believe that the spirit of God is moving through them and controlling them to speak. Our brain imaging research shows us that these subjects are not in control of the usual language centers during this activity, which is consistent with their description of a lack of intentional control while speaking in tongues.” [continued]
  • #32
Regarding the so called transient lunar phenomena [post 17 of this thread]:
Strange, bright flashes observed on the moon for centuries and often dismissed as the lunar equivalent of UFOs may in fact be emissions of volcanic gas. A researcher says he has reviewed the evidence for so-called lunar transients and found them to occur only in areas of the moon that belch radon gas, suggesting that the flashes could be the result of dust stirred up by such emissions—possibly volcanic in origin.

"A lot of people think that this is just craziness—this is up there with UFOs," says astrophysicist Arlin Crotts of Columbia University. "But no, this is real science. And it's something people should have done 30 years ago." Other experts, although intrigued, are not yet convinced of transients or Crotts's proposed explanation. [continued]
  • #33
The Bloop
The Bloop is the name given to an ultra-low frequency underwater sound detected by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration several times during the summer of 1997. The source of the sound remains unknown.
  • #34
Stonehenge revisited (by shovel)

This could turn up some new clues. [Broken]
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Suggested for: Credible Anomalies and Mysteries