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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Challenging the Mind

Last night a friend and I attended a Roanoke Library event entitled, "From Challenger to Extraterrestrials: Answering the Call of Space" presented by speaker/author Richard C.Cook. According to the press release, "Cook was the first NASA official to testify in 1986 on the causes of the Challenger disaster. Since then, his study of the future of humanity in space has expanded to include all aspects of space exploration including the question, "Are we alone?" His answer is, probably not." He is the author of "Challenger Revealed."

Apparently a lot of Roanokers are interested in space and/or UFO's because the library was the most crowded I have ever seen it. We sat in a back row which was not conducive to viewing the screen in its full capacity so I'm sure we missed quite a bit. I also had the "pleasure" of being seated near an anti-heckler. This alcohol-reeking gent was enthralled with Cook's presentation -- nodding his head enthusiastically and chiming in aloud. It got really annoying and very distracting.

One of the great/bad things that Roanoke Library has at these type of events is free food. Unfortunately too many of the people who attend these events are there only for the free food so are less than considerate of the people around them. It's great that the large homeless population that is found at the library gets to eat, but bad that their sometimes brutal smell kills the appetite of anyone who has the misfortune of having a seat nearby. Avoid sitting in the back where the food is at all costs, not only because of the odor, but because you will miss hearing the speaker at points when the pizza boxes are being crumbled up and smashed into the garbage can, or ice is being sifted through to find a bottle of water. I didn't eat any of the food on site, but did get a bag of Astronaut food to take home to the kids. It was freeze-dried Neapolitan ice cream. Although the kids said it did have a strawberry flavor, it felt like I was eating a chunk of Pepto Bismal.

Even with all the distractions I found Cook quite interesting, very informative and mind challenging. I think people my age who remember watching the first moon landing and tune into every shuttle and rocket launch find space exploration fascinating. I enjoyed hearing the history of NASA -- the glory days as well as the screw ups -- and the UFO/ET segment. Yes, mine was one of the hands that went up when asked, "Who has seen a UFO?"

The one thing that piqued my attention was something I hadn't heard about before -- the Aether theory. According to Wikipedia: "Aether theories in early modern physics proposed the existence of a medium, the aether (also spelled ether, from the Greek word (αἰθήρ), meaning "upper air" or "pure, fresh air"[1]), a space-filling substance or field, thought to be necessary as a transmission medium for the propagation of electromagnetic waves...Although hypotheses of the aether vary somewhat in detail they all have certain characteristics in common. Essentially aether is considered to be a physical medium occupying every point in space, including within material bodies. A second essential feature is that aether's properties give rise to the electric and magnetic phenomena and determines the propagation velocity of their effects. Therefore the speed of light and all other propagating effects are determined by the physical properties of the aether at the relevant location, analogous to the way that gaseous, liquid and solid media affect the propagation of sound waves. The aether is considered the over-all reference frame for the universe and thus velocities are all absolute relative to its rest frame. Therefore, in this view, any physical consequences of those velocities are considered as having an absolute, i. e. real effects."

Cook went into the theory a little more, and I couldn't even begin to explain it, but it interests me enough that I want to do some more research into it especially regarding linking it with my "theory" of how paranormal/spiritual entities are able to "communicate."

Hmmm, are those orbs near Cook? Nah, probably just dust...Kudos to Roanoke Valley Libraries for offering these type of free events which allow the attendees to learn something, and booking guests who give folks the opportunity to walk away with their minds being challenged to different possibilities.


  1. 'terrific post about Richard Cook's space/ET/UFO briefing at Roanoke Public Libraries, Elena - I saw you there and was wondering what you thought of it all! Do feel free to contact Richard directly, his website (includes contact info) - I spent quite a lot of time with him as he prepared for his briefing and I know he'd be more than pleased to chat with you re any questions you have or discussion you desire.
    I was told that approx 25% of the folks attending raised their hands to Richard's question of if they had seen a UFO - good to learn that you were one of them!
    I have often pondered about the events we host at Roanoke Main Library, particularly re the specific library environment and the interaction between the many folks who come to Roanoke Main Library events from outside of the downtown locale and the homeless folks, who are often familiar faces at all downtown libraries. Currently I'm of the perspective that the resulting diversity (and the diversity is much broader in nature than just these 2 groupings of people at Roanoke's downtown library) is what makes events at Roanoke Main Library such a vibrant experience. It becomes one of the very rare places in current culture that folks of so many different backgrounds - socioeconomic status/age/race/personality type etc etc are together through a common interest in a certain topic/field/music/art. All the folks are suddenly thrust together and need to interact and relate and socialize in close quarters with no escape route (unless they leave!). I think it's a great opportunity for everyone involved, though some do no doubt baulk at it! It's fun to watch too!
    Re the food issue - I have taken note of eating habits at Roanoke Main Library events, it's an issue that has been brought up a few times by library patrons. My observations indicate that very very few folks do come to the events just for the food. Food certainly does add to the appeal of the events, but i think that's significantly 'cause of how it makes it so much easier to attend, no need to rush to cook food for family before showing up. Food makes it more convenient for folks to attend the events. Also, having food makes the event, and the library, become a more communal, social meeting place. And yeh, some folks do kinda pile up their plates, and we do try to have a library staff person supervising the food to keep that from becoming a problem. But bottom line, if folks are hungry and we have enough food, I think it's kinda nice that they can come to the library, get fed, and experience something enriching to their whole being, not just their stomach! Ah, also, maybe you weren't meaning this, but to clarify, it's not at all necessarily folks who happen to be homeless that are the ones piling up their plates, or even the ones that have stinky smells!
    p.s. I'm not gonna say who this was, but yesterday, after the event, someone said that perhaps I am an ET, "your head and profile do look similar to the popular images of what ETs look like"!

  2. This is a really great article - very enjoyable to read & wonderful feedback on the program - thanks!
    Another interesting definition of space is the "third force" in the Universe, meaning that all known matter and energy is based on the duality of positive and negative charges; whereas for them to interact you need a medium. Space is the medium, yet it is a force in its own right: the reconciling force that is the field for manifestation. Where does space come from? Ask a black hole, which may be where space originates then disappears again. All very interesting to contemplate.

    All the best,

    Richard Cook

  3. Thanks River...once again, a job well done.

    Richard, I wish I had been sitting closer to the front ;) Great presentation.

    Just a sidenote on how small the universe really is -- A couple of years ago you had given a presentation to Burton students. At that time my son had expressed interest in one day working for NASA so I had clipped out the article and kept it thinking one day he might be able to contact you for advice, or whatever. He's now a freshman at VWCC majoring in Computer Science. Unfortunately with all the cuts at NASA he probably won't be targeting them for a job!