Neil deGrasse Tyson and panelists discuss de-extinction in the 2017 Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate at the American Museum of Natural History. Biologists today have the knowledge, the tools, and the ability to influence the evolution of life on Earth. Do we have an obligation to bring back species that human activities may have rendered extinct? Does the technology exist to do so? Join Tyson and the panel for a lively debate about the merits and shortcomings of this provocative idea.
2017 Asimov Debate panelists are:
George Church Professor of Health Sciences and Technology, Harvard University and MIT
Hank Greely Director of the Center for Law and the Biosciences, Stanford University
Gregory Kaebnick Scholar, The Hastings Center; Editor, Hastings Center Report
Ross MacPhee Curator, Department of Mammalogy, Division of Vertebrate Zoology; Professor, Richard Gilder Graduate School
Beth Shapiro Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Santa Cruz
Three Badass Subfields of Astronomy: Astrobiology, Astrochemistry, and Astrophysics
I’ve been receiving a lot of messages from people curious to know the differences between these subfields of astronomy. So, I’ve written a post giving a simple definition and a brief description of what’s involved in each.
(also known as exobiology) is the study of the origin, evolution, and
distribution of life here on Earth and—more importantly—the entire
universe. Using existing origin theories and models, this relatively
new branch of astronomy is primarily focused on analyzing and
discovering the amazing possibility of extraterrestrial
Astrobiologists face some distinct problems in their work.
Many planets are completely unsustainable to life as we know it.
Scorching or freezing temperatures, seemingly gentle rain that would
actually burn the skin off of your body, or hurricanes the size of
Earth itself are quite common planetary conditions in the universe.
Astrobiologists attempt to simulate the possibilities of life
cropping up in these unlikely conditions. Whether or not a life form
can survive in these types of environments will reveal just how diverse and adaptive it is. Despite nature seeming like a sadistic asshole, there is striking evidence for the
resilience of life. Astrobiologists have outlined four requirements
for life to survive:
A liquid solvent in which molecules can
move freely and interact.
An energy source.
An atom which allows complex structures to exist.
A sh*t load of time.
Considering that certain life forms here on earth have
defied some of these requirements, it’s logical to presume that there is indeed extraterrestrial life. The fact that the conditions can literally
be terrible and life can still survive, is enough to convince me
there are almost certainly other forms of life in the universe.
if we do find evidence of other life forms in the universe, they will
probably look almost nothing like little green men with large heads
and telepathic abilities (although, that would be awesome). In fact, astrobiologists hypothesize that extraterrestrial life will most likely be far more exotic and diverse
than anything we can possibly imagine. Nature has certainly shown that it has
one hell of an imagination.
Vegetarianism, Veganism, and Sant Mat, by James Bean, Plus a Compilation of Veg Quotes of the East & West
It’s hard to reach more subtle states of tranquility in meditation on an animal flesh diet based on the suffering of other beings.
“I must point out that animal food, even if a single particle is eaten, is detrimental to spiritual progress.” (Huzur Baba Sawan Singh)
The Way of the Saints and Mystics, Getting Back to Eden: “And God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.’” (Hebrew Bible, Genesis 1:29, New International Version)
Master Kirpal Singh speaking about Rumi and the other most advanced Murshids (spiritual masters) of Sufi mysticism once said: “Those who take up the practices concerning the lower centers in the body, do take meat – the Mohammedans and people of other religions also. But those who are anxious to rise above body consciousness and go into the Beyond have of necessity to eschew all that. This is the Path I have put before you. Liberation or salvation is something which starts only when you rise above body consciousness. For that reason, vegetarianism is the first essential.” (The Night is a Jungle, published by Ruhani Satsang)
The harshest words that Guru Kabir ever spoke were directed against the slaughter or consumption of innocent animals: “The man who eats meat is a demon in human form. Keep away from him – his company will ruin your meditation.”
Ahimsa (Non-Violence) and Diet
“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.” (Albert Einstein)
The following, on the reason why we in Santmat advocate following the vegetarian diet, is by Swami Santsevi Ji Maharaj from the book, The Harmony of All Religions (Sarvadharma Samanvy), published by Maharshi Mehi Ashram:
“The saints have addressed the sin of violence with particular attention to the foods which are eaten. Foods which are produced by killing living beings, as well as foods which are not pure and fresh, are considered tamasic. Consumption of these is prohibited by the teachings of the saints. This includes animal products such as meat, fish, and eggs. These foods inhibit the clarity of the mind and the health of the body. There is an old saying: 'Whatever kind of food we take in, its properties will also fill our mind.’ A parallel saying is, 'Whatever we eat, just so will our breath smell [indicates the visible effect of food].’
Further, Kabir Sahab says: 'The kind of food and drink which we consume directly influences how our mind will become. Even the quality of water which we drink will influence our speech.’ These words of Kabir Sahib are not merely rhetorical conjecture, but represent direct experience…
"A great yogi named Bhupendranath Ji Sanyal has said: 'It is preferable to always avoid the consumption of flesh and fish. This is because in the very cells of these animals there might be bad diseases. But even more significantly, the natural vibration of these creatures is absorbed into the blood. This can create agitation and even sickness, and will destroy the natural calmness of the mind. Also, one must not take intoxicants, as this is a great breach of the spiritual path and natural duty (dharma). [Under the influence of intoxicants people are unable to discern the right path of action].’
"Therefore, we must be disciplined in what we eat and drink, and by being disciplined, our wealth and spiritual path are protected. This world becomes agreeable, and so does the next world, since we won’t be incurring the karmas from killing other living beings.” (Beloved Swami Santsevi Ji Maharaj, Sant Mat, the Path of the Masters)
All past and present Masters of Sant Mat, the most advanced Saints of Inner Light and Sound, advocate following the vegetarian diet. In fact, being vegetarian is a requirement in order to be initiated into the meditation practice of Sant Mat, Surat Shabd Yoga, Meditation upon the inner Light and Sound of God.
Sant Mat is a vegetarian Path for mystical, spiritual, ethical and theological reasons. The Masters teach that foods are of three kinds: Satvik, Rajsik, and Tamsik. This last category of foods, which includes all flesh foods, is to be completely avoided. Satvik (pure foods), the first category, includes: grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, seeds, and nuts. Satvik foods are considered by Mystics to promote relaxation, meditation, and spiritual experience.
The bad karma and other negative effects of flesh-eating darkens one’s vision of inner Light, interfering with concentration and meditation. It’s interesting to notice that the Satvik diet of Sant Mat, of Hinduism and the Yoga Philosophy of India is also: the life-extension diet, the anti-cancer diet, the diet for antioxidants and most of the other plant-based nutrients, AND the diet of the Light & Sound mystics, East and West.
A Young Kirpal Singh Meditating at an Early Age
“Kirpal began meditating at the age of four. When other boys and girls of his age were busy playing, he would be busy meditating. He never wasted his time with sports. He would sit quiet with eyes closed. He would see spiritual sights within and would traverse on spiritual planes. He would remain lost in ecstasy. But whenever this absorption in meditation would break after intervals of 2 to 3 months, he would feel very restless. His spiritual ﬂights would, however, start again shortly afterwards.
Abstinence from Meat
"His family was non-vegetarian But he was averse to taking meat even as a child. While his brothers and sisters would ask for more, he would have none at all. He was content with bread and vegetables. His father asked, 'Pal, why don’t you take meat? It will do you good.’ He sweetly replied, 'It is very well, father, but is not meat dead ﬂesh, and would you have me make a burial ground of my body?’ The father could only smile and the child had his own way.” (The Beloved Master – Some Glimpses from the Life of Sant Kirpal Singh, by Bhadra Sena)
The notion that vegetarianism is “cultural” and confined mostly to India is the inaccurate assumption of some new age or esoteric teachers in the West. It is true that many conventional world religions condone flesh-eating, but if you do some comparative mysticism you’ll soon discover that the serious esoteric traditions which have practiced Light mysticism, Sound mysticism, and Ascension mysticism through higher planes of heavens are all in agreement about the need for contemplative mystics to abstain from the flesh. The list of Western vegetarian paths includes: Pythagoreans, followers of the Hermetic philosophy of Egypt, the Sethian Gnostics, Theraputae, Essenes (and other Light-mystics within Judaism), the original Jewish Christians called Ebionites (see The Gospel of Jesus – In Search of His Original Teachings, by John Davidson), the Gnostic religions, Manichaeans, some Catholic monasteries, monasteries of the Orthodox Church – including the great mystery school atop Mount Athos in Greece, and the Sufi mystics of Islam who practice Zikhr of the Spirit, Light, and Sound. Most every path that advocates a present-tense spirituality about reentering Paradise or going Back to Eden during this life teaches vegetarianism.
A Western Master of Sound & Light by the name of Pythagoras once said, “Our Earth has abundance of such pure and harmless foods and there is no need for us to partake of meals for which blood has to be shed and innocent life sacrificed.”
Pythagoras also said: “As long as Man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of lower living beings, he will never know health or peace. For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.”
Just like the Pythagoreas gathered together at sunrise, so did members of a Jewish sect of antiquity known as the Therapeutae, and like the Essene branch of Judaism, they were vegetarians. Josephus and Philo wrote about the Essenes and Therapeutae. Philo of Alexandria describes meals at a Therapeutae monastic community in Alexandria: “…And the table, too, is kept clear of animal flesh, nothing which has blood, but there is placed upon it bread for food and salt for seasoning, to which also hyssop is sometimes added…”
John the Baptist Ate Locust (Carob) BEANS, NOT BUGS
“John the Baptist belonged to a group of ascetics who believed in repentance and in leading an austere lifestyle. The carob bean was seen as the diet of the lower class who normally endured hardship and exploitation from the priestly class. So we can conclude that JTB ate (locust plant) seed from the carob tree.” (Wiki Answers Website) Also according to the Gospel of the Ebionites, John the Baptist ate carob beans, bread or cakes made from carob bean (locust bean) flour.
In recent years some of us have noticed the vegetarianism and even veganism present in the original teachings of Jesus and Original Jesus Movement or Hebrew Christians (Ebionites, Nasoreans) found in the Gospel of the Hebrews, Aramaic texts, and other scriptures once used during the early centuries.
Vegetarian Sayings of the Historic Jesus and His Spiritual Successors (Apostles) in the Original Jesus Movement (Ebionites of Israel)
“Be on guard, so that your hearts do not become heavy with the eating of flesh and with the intoxication of wine and with the anxiety of the world, and that day come upon you suddenly; for as a snare it will come upon all who dwell upon the surface of the earth.” (Jesus, Luke 21:34, Evangelion Da-Mepharreshe — Old Syriac-Aramaic Manuscript of the Gospel of Luke)
Like the Essenes, Jesus, his family, and the original followers were also vegetarians and opposed to all sacrifice of animals in the Jewish temple.
“I am come to do away with sacrifices, and if you cease not sacrificing, the wrath of God will not cease from you.” (saying of Jesus in the Gospel of the Hebrews)
Stopping Animal Sacrifice in the Temple of Jerusalem
During the First Century AD, the Essenes were one of the three main branches of Judaism. They were opposed to animal sacrifices being made in the Jewish temple and they were also known to be vegetarians. The Essenes were the group that Jesus and the first Christians, the Ebionites, were closest to, sharing with them many of the same values and sacred texts. Unlike the Sadducees and Pharisees, the Essenes are never criticized in the New Testament.
“When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the Temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords and drove all from the Temple, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said: 'Get out of here.’ (John 2:13-16)
According to the Gospel of the Ebionites, Jesus also rejected the Passover meal:
"Where wilt Thou that we prepare for Thee to eat the Passover?”
To which he replied:
“I have no desire to eat the flesh of this Paschal Lamb with you.”
The first followers of Jesus, also known as Ebionites or Nasoreans, were not only kosher, but also strictly adhered to a vegetarian diet. The largest surviving collection of Ebionite scriptures is the Clementine Homilies and the Recognitions of Clement, which are vegetarian gospels that condemn animal sacrifice in any form. For example, the Book of Homilies states that God does not want animals killed at all (3.45), and condemns those who eat meat (7.4, 7.8). And the passages below also show that the diet of the Original Jesus Movement was vegan – plant-based (no eggs, no dairy, and no animal products), as plants are the only foods mentioned in all the texts!
Peter said, “I live on olives and bread, to which I rarely only add vegetables.” (Clementine Homilies 12,6; also see, Recognitions 7,6)
“And happiness is found in the practice of virtue. Accordingly, the Apostle Matthew partook of seeds, and nuts, hard-shelled fruits, and vegetables, without flesh.” (Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor, Book 2, Chapter 1)
“John never ate meat.” (Church historian Hegesipp according to Eusebius, History of the Church II 2:3)
“James, the brother of the Lord, lived on seeds and plants and touched neither meat nor wine.” (Epistulae ad Faustum XXII, 3)
“James, the brother of the Lord was holy from his mothers womb; and he drank no wine nor strong drink, nor did he eat flesh.” (Hegesippus, quoted in The Church History of Eusebius, book 2, chapter 23)
“James was a vegetarian.” (Biblical scholar Dr. Robert Eisenman, author of, “James, the Brother of Jesus”)
The following passage is from the Recognitions of Clement, another “Book of Acts”, an important scripture of early Christianity. This Ebionite Christian author has very nice things to say about those in India who worship One God, follow peaceful customs and laws, and are vegetarian or vegan, seeing parallels between his own religion and that of his brothers and sisters “in the Indian countries” of two thousand years ago:
“There are likewise amongst the Bactrians, in the Indian countries, immense multitudes of Brahmans, who also themselves, from the tradition of their ancestors, and peaceful customs and laws, neither commit murder nor adultery, nor worship idols, nor have the practice of eating animal food, are never drunk, never do anything maliciously, but always revere God.”
(Recognitions of Clement, Book 9, Chapter 22, Brahmans, Volume Eight, in a New Testament Apocrypha Section of, “The Ante-Nicene Fathers”)
“The consumption of animal flesh was unknown up until the great flood. But since the great flood, we have had animal flesh stuffed into our mouths. Jesus, the Christ, who appeared when the time was fulfilled, again joined the end to the beginning, so that we are now no longer allowed to eat animal flesh.” (pro-vegetarian early church father Hieronymus)
Gnostic Vegetarianism and the Vegetarian Prayer of Thanksgiving in the Nag Hammadi Library (Gnostic Gospels)
The ethics of Jewish and Christian Gnostic sects of antiquity included vegetarianism. The Prayer of Thanksgiving, one of the Nag Hammadi scriptures unearthed in Egypt, describes a vegetarian communal meal as being part of Gnostic worship. The Manichaean Gnostics were known to be vegetarians. The Prophet Mani’s parents were followers of the Elkasites, which was a Jewish-Christian sect related to the Ebionites and Essenes. They were veg. Mani was the founder of Manichaean Gnosis and was vegetarian, and his inner circle of followers or initiates were as well. A group in China known as the Church of the Light , related to the Manichaeans and Syriac-Aramaic branch of Eastern Christianity, were vegetarians. Their beautiful scriptures are known as the Jesus Sutras.
The Gnostic and Hermetic Prayer of Thanksgiving in the Nag Hammadi Library, also a text found in the Corpus Hermetica of Egypt, describes a vegetarian communal meal or Gnostic love feast. At the end of the prayer the final verse reads:
“When they had said these things in the prayer, they embraced each other and they went to eat their holy food, which has no blood in it.”*
* “Vegetarian food” — footnote from the Marvin Meyer’s translation of this in, “The Gnostic Scriptures”.
* A vegetarian meal. This passage is also found in the Epilogue of Asclepius, in “HERMETICA,” translated by Sir Walter Scott: “Having prayed thus, let us betake ourselves to a meal unpolluted by flesh [animalia] of living things.”
* The G.R.S. Mead translation of the same passage: “With this desire we now betake us to our pure and fleshless meal.”
* “With such hopes we turn to a pure meal that includes no living thing.” (Asclepius, translated in “Hermetica”, Brian Copenhaver, Cambridge University Press)
The Vegan Evolution of Humanity: Vegetarianism is Going Vegan
Traditionally, Santmat and the yoga philosophy have advocated the lacto-vegetarian diet: abstinence from meat, fish, fowl, and eggs, but allowed dairy. Vegan means complete abstinence from all animal products and strictly adhering to a plant-based diet: no dairy, eggs, or meat of any kind, or products made from animals. Based on the current cruel practices of the dairy industry in India and around the world that violate the principle of ahimsa or non-violence, plus all the scores of medical studies showing that dairy consumption adversely affects our health and well-being, I believe if they were here today, the classic Saints such as Mahavira, Guru Kabir, Guru Nanak, Tukarama, Ravidas, Tulsi Das, Namdev, Dariya Sahib, etc… would not only be advocating a vegetarian diet, but a vegan diet. These days, many are making this transition to vegan, including a growing percentage of those following Sant Mat. This is the compassionate direction that the vegetarian movement is headed in. Vegetarianism is going vegan.
For the medical, human health aspects of veganism, see the research of Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of, “The China Study”, and Dr. Michael Greger, author of, “How Not To Die”, and creator of the NutritionFacts dot ORG website, a great online resource.
The Reality of Dairy Cruelty – the Final Destination of Dairy Cows is the Slaughterhouse
The following is excerpted from a document called, “My Visit to a Dairy Farm”, published by Pravin K. Shah of the Jaina Education Committee of Jainism (the vegan Jain movement), Jain e-Library, and the Jain Study Center:
“I visited a dairy farm located on Route 2 north of Burlington, Vermont (USA) in May of 1995. The dairy owns approximately 150 cows. All of its milk production is used to make ice cream.
"Here is the summary of what I saw and learnt:
"It was milking time (5:00 PM) and the cows were being milked in 3.5 minutes each by a machine. This is done without regard to how hard it is on the cow. It was extremely difficult to watch the cows’ sufferings during the milking. The machine has no feeling. To extract the last drop of milk sometimes traces of blood get mixed with the milk.
"Since cows produce the most milk after pregnancy, they are kept pregnant for their entire fertile life through artificial insemination.
"Every morning hormones or drugs are injected into the cows. They are also fed a diet geared toward high production of milk. The dairy cow produces about 8 times the amount of milk a cow on the traditional family farm produces.
"The gestation period of cow is 9 months same as human does. If a male calf, of no use to the dairy industry, is born, he is shipped to the veal industry within two or three days of birth. The evening I was there, the farm was shipping three baby calves in a truck to a veal factory. The mother cows were crying when their babies were separated from them. I cannot forget the scene and can still hear the cries of the mother cows.
"The veal industry is the most cruel meat industry in the world. It produces very tender meat that is considered a delicacy. The baby calves are raised in darkness in a very confining crate, which allows practically no movements. They are fed an iron-deficient diet. This way the meat gets very tender and properly textured. They slaughter the baby calves after six months. There is much literature available about cruelty in the veal industry.
"Within two months of delivery, the cows are impregnated again. I did not have the stamina to watch the process of artificial insemination that the farm was showing off.
"About four to five times a year, this farm would take the cows outside for a walk. Otherwise, the cows are tied in one place and they have no choice but to defecate where they are confined. It badly stunk when I was there; the farm would wash the confinement areas once or twice a day, and the remaining times the cows would live in their own waste.
"The life expectancy of cows is about 15 to 20 years. However, after about 4 to 5 years, their milk production capacity drops significantly so these cows are sent to the slaughterhouse for cheap meat which is used in fast food restaurants, hot dog filler, dog & cat food and a variety of other 'foodstuffs’. The rest of the body material (by products) turns up in the products like floor wax, pet-food, medicines, insulin, gelatin, footwear, upholstery, taco filling, cosmetics, candles, and soaps.”
“It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” (Jiddu Krishnamurti)
Compassionate Vegan and Vegetarian Quotes From Supreme Master Ching Hai, and Buddhism
“A true vegetarian diet is vegan: Most of the milk production causes suffering, first of all because the babies of the mother cows are taken away at birth. Deprived from mother’s milk and mother’s love, they’ll be killed as soon as they’re taken away. Then, the mother is forcefully hooked up to a machine that can cause tormenting pain along with illness, just so that humans can take her milk.”
“This killing of other beings must be stopped for humanity to evolve as a civilization.”
“Making a vegan choice is thus a true advancement in the evolution and goodness of our humanity. And then we also know that like attracts like, goodness attracts more goodness. As we share this compassionate truth with others, not only will our own humanity be further uplifted, so will the world’s.”
“It’s the high time that the human race should rise to a higher level of consciousness. They should be noble, kind and compassionate. Go veg, be green, do good, is not just for the planet, it’s for the whole human race ennobling, spiritual merit and quality. They should do it, just for the sake of being noble.”
“We have to turn back to our caring and compassionate nature inside our heart. That’s very simple. We are that. We are compassion. We are merciful; we are caring.”
“If we truly wish to see real harmony born between humans and animals and nature and Heaven, we must be the harmony, we must live in harmony and act also in harmony, which includes the act of eating harmoniously each time we come to the table.”
“Even if the world reduces greenhouse gas emissions, the planet will take time to recover from the gases already in the atmosphere. This is why it is necessary to focus on short-lived gases, namely methane. Organic vegan will produce a beneficial, cooling effect as it will cut down methane and other greenhouse gases which are fatal to our survival.”
Change the World by Changing Ourselves: “It begins with us. Since time immemorial, evolution always begins with the individual. If we want to change the world, we change ourselves first. Now, even if the government forbids smoking or drinking or drugs, but if people individually continue, then we have not made much difference. So now, we have to change.“
“The more people who eliminate meat and, indeed, all animal products from their lives, the more we have a chance to save the planet and not only that, to actually restore our earthly home to her original grace and beauty and even more so, more than what we have known, more beautiful, more abundant, more peace, more gladness than what we have known up to now.”
– Quotes above are from Supreme Master Ching Hai, SMCH Association, from the online book: “From Crisis To Peace: The Organic Vegan Way is the Answer”
“The eating of meat extinguishes the seed of great compassion.” (The Buddha, “Mahaparinirvana Sutra”)
“Veganism is simply letting compassion guide our choice of food. As such, it is a basic Buddhist practice that ought to be expected of everyone who takes refuge vows.” (Norm Phelps, “The Great Compassion: Buddhism & Animal Rights”)
“The Buddha’s teaching leads us to the realization that we must always strive to harm no sentient being, human or nonhuman, whether or not it is in our selfish interest to do so.” (Norm Phelps, “The Great Compassion: Buddhism & Animal Rights”)
“Meat eating and a compassionate religion do not go hand in hand.” (Bodo Balsys, “Ahimsa: Buddhism and the Vegetarian Ideal”)
Vegetarian Diet, Guru Nanak, Guru Kabir, Other Sikh Gurus and Scriptures
Nanak abstained from animal food and enjoined against cruelty to animals: “Having prohibited his disciples to drink wine and eat pork, he (Nanak) himself abstained from eating flesh and ordered not to hurt any living being.” (the Persian historian Mohsin Fani, DABISTAN-E-MAZAHIB)
“To take what rightfully belongs to another, is like a Muslim eating pork, or a Hindu eating beef. Our Guru, our Spiritual Guide, stands by us if we do not eat those carcasses. By mere talk, people do not earn Liberation. Salvation only comes from the practice of truth. By adding spices to forbidden foods, they are not made acceptable. O Nanak, from false talk, only falsehood is obtained”. (Guru Nanak Dev Ji, Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 141)
“Countless are the cutthroats who trade in violence. Countless are sinners who keep on sinning. Countless are liars, wandering lost in their lies. Countless are the impious who live on unwholesome food.” (Guru Nanak, Jap Ji, Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 4)
“Living by neglect and greed, the world eats dead carcasses. Like a goblin or a beast, they kill and eat the forbidden carcasses of meat. Control your urges, or else you will be thrown into the tortures of hell.” (Guru Arjan Dev, Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 723).
“Kabeer says, the dinner of beans and rice is excellent when flavored with salt. Who would cut throats to have meat with his bread?” (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 1374)
“Kabeer: for those who consume marijuana, fish and wine, no matter what pilgrimages, fasts and rituals they follow, they will all be consigned to hell”. (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 1377)
“You keep your fasts to please Allah, while you murder other beings for pleasure. You look after your own interests, and so not see the interests of others. What good is your word? O Qazi, the One Lord is within you, but you do not think or contemplation on Him. You do not care for others, you are mad about religion, this is why your life is wasting away.” (Kabir, Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 483)
“You kill living beings, and call it a righteous action. Tell me, brother, what would you call an unrighteous action? You call yourself the excellent sage; then whom would you call a butcher?” (Guru Granth Sahib Ji, 1103).
Bhai Gurdaas Ji said: “They eat meat by cutting throats, what will their own condition be?” (Vaar 24, Pauree 17)
“One who does not steal, commit adultery, slander anyone, gamble, eat meat or drink wine will be liberated in this very life (i.e. Jeewan Mukt)”. (Guru Gobind Singh, 10th Sikh Guru, “Sudharam Marag Granth”)
It wasn’t long ago that our Earth was thought to be only a few thousand years old and having been created in a matter of days. However during the scientific revolution that was taking place in the 18th and 19th centuries, minds like Darwin, Hutton and Lyell were challenging these age old theories. It was Charles Lyell that pioneered the theory that the forces of physics have remained the same throughout history, James Hutton also expressed that we can interpret the ancient past by studying modern day natural processes because the past and present are governed by the same laws. His findings reported that layers of sediment accumulated at around 2cm per year, he deduced that since mountains are sedimentary formations and thousands of metres high that the planet is more than a few thousand years old, but hundreds of millions.
Our Earth is actually 4600 million years old, this staggeringly long time is almost impossible for the human mind to comprehend. As far as we know, life emerged as single celled organisms around 3800 million years ago, for the next 3 billion years it would remain as these minute unicellular organisms. This is the Precambrian, 4600 - 570 million years ago.
To help us grasp the immense history of the Earth, a geological timescale was developed with each period marking a milestone in evolution and life.
CAMBRIAN540 - 488 million years ago Named after Cambria, an ancient name for Wales where rocks of this age are greatly exposed. The Cambrian period sees explosive development of multicellular life with all the main modern phyla being established. Complex eyes and food chains evolve as well as active predation. Life is confined to the sea.
ORDOVICIAN 488 - 440 million years ago Named for an ancient welsh tribe, the ordovices who lived in areas where rocks of this age are well exposed. Th oceans flourish with huge diversity of jawless fish, trilobites and gastropods and arthropods begin to dominate. The period ends with arthropods taking the first steps onto land. The end of the ordovician is marked by the first of the five major mass extinctions to hit the planet.
SILURIAN 444 - 416 million years ago Named for another welsh tribe, the silures, who inhabited areas where rocks of this age are abundant. Life in the oceans recovered from extinctions, magnificent coral reefs thrive in warm seas. Small plants begin to colonise the land and jawed fishes evolve.
DEVONIAN 416 - 359 million years ago Named after the English county of Devon which is rich in Devonian age rocks and fossils. The Devonian period is also known as the age of the fishes. Jawed fish and placoderm fish rule the oceans, trilobites still thrive. Plants move from the coastal areas deep into land and the first forests spring up. Shark species increase in numbers and early forms of amphibian begin to spend more time on land.
CARBONIFEROUS 359 - 299 million years ago Known as the age of amphibians and named for the ancient coal deposits which were laid down during this time. The land is overrun with lush forests and swamps, The two main continents of the time, Eurasia and Gondwana are colliding to form the supercontinent Pangea. Winged insects take over the skies, oxygen content is much higher that today allowing insects to reach great sizes and the first true reptiles evolve, these are the first truly terrestrial vertebrates.
PERMIAN 299 - 251 million years ago Named after Perm in Russia where rocks of the age are well exposed. Pangea is covered in harsh deserts, the number of species goes into decline, eventually 95% of them are wiped out in the worst mass extinction ever seen. Mammal like reptiles evolve. The first dinosaurs evolve towards the end of the Permian, they start as a few isolated groups and begin to increase rapidly in numbers.
TRIASSIC 251 - 200 million years ago Named after the word “Trias” referring to 3 rock divisions in Germany called bunter, muschelkalk and keuper. The climate of Pangea is warm and dry and dinosaurs have gradually assumed dominance in the land, skies and oceans. Mammals only exist as a few small species. Ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs reign in the sea and reach phenomenal size.
JURASSIC 200 - 146 million years ago Named for the Jura mountains. Dinosaurs still dominate the land and the oceans flourish with marine reptiles and ammonites. The first bird start to appear towards the end of the Jurassic.
CRETACEOUS 146 - 65 million years ago Named for the latin “creta” meaning chalk which is laid down during this period and found widely now. Dinosaurs continue to dominate, the first flowering plants evolve. Sea levels are up to 300m higher than today in some areas, much of the land is covered in shallow seas. Carbon dioxide concentrations rise, slowly choking the atmosphere. The end of the cretaceous is marked by the extinction of the dinosaursdue to possible meteor impact.
PALEOGENE 65 - 23 million years ago The world begins to recover, mammals and birds begin to flourish and exploit the vacant niches left behind by the dinosaurs, in doing so they grow to incredible sizes. The climate is gradually cooling and will continue to do so bringing the earth into an ice age. In these cooler conditions the first grasses evolve.
NEOGENE 23 - 2.5 million years ago The climate is still cooling, ice sheets begin to spread down from the poles, as a result sea levels slowly drop. The size of forests reduce and grasslands take over resulting in vast open planes. Mammals dominate the earth due to their ability to adapt to changing environments and harsh conditions. Towards the end of the period early hominids begin to appear.
QUATERNARY 2.5 million years ago to present With an enduring ice age much of the mammalian megafauna have become extinct. Hominids have continued to evolve, only the homo sapiens survive as they are able to adapt.
More than 550 million years ago, the oceans were teeming with flat, soft-bodied creatures that fed on microbes and algae and could grow as big as bathmats. Today, researchers at the University of California, Riverside are studying their fossils to unlock the secrets of early life.
In their latest study, published today in the journal PLOS ONE, Scott Evans, a graduate student in the Department of Earth Sciences, and Mary Droser, a professor of paleontology, both in UCR’s College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, show that the Ediacaran-era fossil animal Dickinsonia developed in a complex, highly regulated way using a similar genetic toolkit to today’s animals. The study helps place Dickinsonia in the early evolution of animal life, and showcases how the large, mobile sea creature grew and developed.
This is a “Penguin rover” used to study Emperor penguins in Antarctica.
It’s equipped with a spy cam to assist in studying these shy animals. Researchers found that approaching these emperor penguins normally would result in their heart rates rising, producing unreliable data.
This rover works very well, enough to even entice communication from the penguins. According to researchers the penguins were “very disappointed” when the rover didn’t respond, prompting the researchers to plan to have the rover playing penguin songs on it’s next trip.
With 2016 behind us, we take the time to not only reflect on what we’ve
accomplished, but also take a look to what’s ahead for the next year.
Here are a few things to
look forward to in 2017…
New Telescope in Town
This year marked big
progress on our James Webb Space Telescope and there are still a number of
large milestones before the telescope is launched in 2018. Once launched, JWST will
be the premier observatory of the next decade. It will study every phase in the
history of our Universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big
Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets
like Earth, to the evolution of our own solar system.
In 2017, the telescope
will be shipped to our Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas where end-to-end
optical testing in a simulated cryo-temperature and vacuum space environment
Epic Final Year at Saturn
After more than 12 years
studying Saturn, its rings and moons, our Cassini
spacecraft is in its
final year of its epic voyage. The conclusion of the historic scientific
odyssey is planned for September 2017, but not before the spacecraft completes
a daring two-part endgame.
Cassini’s final phase –
called the Grand Finale – begins in earnest in April 2017. During this time,
Cassini will make the closest-ever observations of Saturn, mapping the planet’s
magnetic and gravity fields with exquisite precision and returning ultra-close
views of the atmosphere.
The companies are
successfully resupplying the space station, and more missions to deliver
scientific investigations and cargo are planned for 2017.
Launching Two Earth Missions
New Earth science
missions got underway in 2016 to enable studies that will unravel the
complexities of our planet from the highest reaches of Earth’s atmosphere to
its core. In 2017, we will launch two Earth-observing instruments to the
International Space Station as part of our ongoing use of the orbiting space
laboratory to study our changing planet.
Crew Program is working with American aerospace industry as companies
develop and operate a new generation of spacecraft and launch systems capable
of carrying crews to low-Earth orbit and the International Space Station.
In 2017, astronauts will
train for commercial flights and launch pad 39A will be completed at Kennedy
Space Center in Florida. Work is
wrapping up on a new structure built specifically for the needs of astronauts
climbing into Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner as it stands atop a United Launch
Alliance Atlas V rocket at Space Launch Complex 41 in Florida. In 2017, the
200-foot-tall Crew Access Tower and Crew Access Arm will see installation and testing
of emergency evacuation systems.
has also overhauled the historic Launch Pad 39A at Kennedy and built new support
structures for the company’s line of Falcon rockets. The Crew Access Arm,
currently under construction, will be connected in mid-2017
to provide a bridge from the fixed service structure to the Crew Dragon
spacecraft so astronauts can board before launch
Our Orion spacecraft is
being built to take humans farther than they’ve ever gone before. Orion will
serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry the crew to space, provide
emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during the space travel and
provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities.
In 2017, computers in
crew module for the spacecraft’s first mission with our Space Launch System
rocket will be turned on for the first time to verify the spacecraft can route
power and send commands. While the Orion outfitting and assembly process for
the first mission of the spacecraft atop the SLS rocket continues in 2017,
construction will also begin on the vehicle for the first Orion flight with
astronauts that will fly as early as 2021.
Cutting Edge Technology
Our Space Technology office
is dedicated to pushing the technological envelope, taking on challenges not
only to further space agency missions near Earth, but also to sustain future
deep space exploration activities.
In 2016, the office focused on and made
significant progress in advancing technologies and capabilities that will
continue into 2017.
Advances in Aeronautics
Our rich aeronautical
research heritage added to its history of technical innovation in 2016 with
advancements that will help make airplanes use less fuel, release fewer emissions
and fly more quietly…and that includes working to return supersonic flight to
the commercial marketplace.
We took steps in 2016 to
resume designing, building and flying several experimental aircraft, or
X-planes, as a means to demonstrate key green technologies and help accelerate
their use by industry. In 2017, this research will continue to grow and
Thanks for joining us in 2016, we look forward to sharing our progress with you in the coming year.
In experiments dating back to the nineteenth century, scientists have
validated two types of telepathy: instinctual, or feeling-based,
telepathy and mental, or mind-to-mind, telepathy. According to the
Ageless Wisdom teachings, there is also another, higher type of
telepathy called soul-to-soul, or spiritual telepathy.
It’s a family reunion 32 million years in the making!
The fossilized shell (and partial skeleton) in my hand is the first genus of dry land tortoise ever discovered in the United States! They existed from the late Eocene to the early Oligocene, living in subtropical regions of Europe, Asia and North America. This ~32 million year old specimen was found in South Dakota.
The living critter is an endangered Burmese Mountain Tortoise (Manouria emys), found in fragmented pockets from India to Indonesia. They grow to become the largest tortoise in mainland Asia and the fourth largest on Earth! Based on morphological and molecular studies they are the most primitive of all living tortoises and they are the only tortoise species to build an above ground nest, which is constructed out of leaf litter. The mother will actually protect her nest, doing her best to chase away predators!
These are both specimens freely on display at the Prehistoria Natural History Centre and we have every intention of breeding our mountain tortoise to assist in the longterm survival of their species.
After mastering the building blocks of creation and subjecting them to her design, Dr. Oben set her considerable talent and knowledge to something entirely different and far more interesting in her opinion. Rather than trying to control the human template, what if she learned how to untether the full potential of evolution? What was it, genetically speaking, about life on Earth that allowed for symbiosis, for example? How did one’s personal experiencing affect their DNA, and therefore pass along that change to detriment or benefit of the next generation? And, once isolated, could she exploit and exaggerate this particular quirk of life? These questions, and more lead to the creation of Project Chrysalis.
She began to go deeper and quickly discovered that DNA is far more reactive than we thought. With fine needle and even finer thread, she learned, certain elements of our environment and experiences weave themselves into a genetic tapestry that grows more intricate with each successive generation. Incrementally, these experiences express themselves as genetic predispositions and abilities. This, of course, leads to evolution. For any geneticist, this is basic knowledge, so the question became how could Dr. Oben and her support staff amplifying the subtleties of epigenetics. As with her experience with genetic augmentation, advanced AI programs became invaluable in controlling the variable.
Though it took over two decades, Dr. Oben and her team, working in tandem with AI research analysts, gained their first breakthrough in what they were calling ‘dynamic gene expression’. What this came to mean is, an individual with dynamic gene expression has the involuntary ability to genetically react to the world in real time. These individuals are called many things; Homo Sapien Puparium, Changelings, Epigenetically Reactive Individuals (ERIs), and abominations. When pupae experience a significant threat, whether physical or mental, their body’s stress response is adapt and recode their DNA in real time. For example, a pupa bitten by a venomous snake, should he live, might have his body go into what is known as the chrysalis state. This, essentially, is a deep coma induced by the body’s self-reconstruction. Upon awaking, this pupa, in particular, might find that his body chemistry now allows for acetylcholine receptors, making it impossible for the venom to negatively affect him ever again.
In full, this body function is called metamorphosis, and the length and result of the process vary wildly from situation to situation. Project Chrysalis is still a new directive, with its subjects all under the age of twenty-five, and on the leading edge of epigenetic research. As such, the full limits of augmented gene expression are not yet known, and the potential for erroneous mutation is present. Some pupae have underground changes as subtle as a shift in temperament, while other have grown and entirely new kind of organ. Because of this degree of variation, it has been important to control the experiment without contriving all the factors. To that end, and unlike her research into genetic tailoring, where she had to open herself up to whoever could afford to invest in her research, Dr. Oben had full control of candidates.
For this experiment, Dr. Oben set up a donation program to attract desirable candidates for payment in exchange for healthy eggs and semen. After her volunteers signed ironclad legal documents swearing them to silence and relinquishing them of their parental rights, Project Chrysalis was able to move onto human trials. Cavender School would be the controlled environment the experiment needed while granting the subjects the freedom need to interact with the world. Each child born from Project Chrysalis became wards of the school, with a faculty, staff, and student body making up their admittedly unconventional family. And, as much as possible, this new kind of human was given a life as close to ‘normal’ as possible. Until that is, details of Project Chrysalis were leaked to the public.
Again Dr. Oben found herself being excoriated by the public for ‘farming’ children, except the vitriol was ten times as loud. The idea of scientist raising an ‘experimental brood of inhuman freaks’, as some pundits might and have said, was utterly heinous. She was seen as recklessly playing with life, coldly pricking and prodding defenseless babies. In reality, these children were seen by Dr. Oben as her our flesh and blood, and many on her support staff felt similarly. In her final days alive, it broke her heart to see them so thoroughly alienated by the public. As an African Muslim woman, Dr. Oben knew how it felt to experience backlash and hatred for something you have no control over, and the danger that arises when the masses consume radical misinformation and fail to see the humanity in one another?
Fearing that anonymity was no longer enough to shield them from such danger, Dr. Oben, one of the world’s eight trillionaires, dedicated the full total of her estate to their protection and funded the Cavender School Saltaire and Oben University annexes for the offshore settlement project. There, at least, her children would be safe.
As the newest and rarest form of human variant developed by Ulex Group, there are only a few pupae alive. As such, each player will be limited to one.