Acknowledging the dead is a common practice for many societies: From Mexico’s Día de los Muertos to America’s Memorial Day, remembering and honoring our lost loved ones allows us to consciously recognize their absence. However, some cultures take remembering and honoring their dead to another, much higher, level. For example, some of the residents in Toraja, Indonesia, practice a ritual that is referred to as Ma’nene (The Ceremony of Cleaning Corpses). This ritual is performed on the dead every three years. These Torajans believe that the Ma’nene Ritual strengthens their bonds with their deceased relatives.
From the time that space exploration began, astronauts have enjoyed a rather peaceful experience as they ventured out to ‘go where no man has gone before;’ however, in the very near future, as adversaries of the U.S. deploy weapons beyond our atmosphere, that peaceful journey into space may become something of the past.
Although war in space is a frightening prospect, this possibility has led the U.S. military to begin preparing for a potential war in space. General John Hyten is the head of the U.S. Strategic Command. Gen. Hyten told CNN that every time humans physically move into any area, there is conflict: He references the Wild West and the world wars in Europe. And the possibility of conflict in space requires that we prepare for it.
When it comes to extraterrestrials, one of the most common questions asked has always been, “If aliens exist, what do they look like?” Well, a 22-year-old make-up artist/model from Los Angeles has a unique vision as to what physical characteristics an alien possesses. His name is Vinny Ohh, and he is in the process of transforming himself into his version of an extraterrestrial.
A Brief History
Vinny felt like an outcast during his childhood and when he was 16 years old he began wearing full body suits with eight-inch platform shoes, so being different feels normal to him. He began having cosmetic procedures to change is appearance at the age of 17: He states that with his large head and lack of eyebrows, he already resembled a Martian, and he is just embracing that. Vinny has wanted to be sexless and genderless since he was in his teens. Although he has been seeking assistance from physicians to make this dream a reality for quite some time, he is having difficulty finding a doctor willing to remove his genitals.
I may be disclosing my age here, but does anyone remember the series The Six-Million Dollar Man? If not, here is a refresher for you (or a bit of information to fill you in on what you missed): NASA Astronaut Steve Austin (who was wonderfully portrayed by Lee Majors), was severely injured during a crash. He was ‘rebuilt’ in an operation costing a whopping $6 million (hence the name of the series). All in all, Austin received bionic legs, a left eye and a right arm.
These bionic implants substantially increased his ability to perform certain tasks: his limbs were as powerful as a bulldozer, his eye had infrared capabilities and a 20:1 zoom lens, he could also run up to 60 mph. He uses all of these enhanced abilities working as a Secret Agent for the Office of Scientific Intelligence. Well, Mr. Austin, there is a new Bionic Man in town, and he is a robot named Frank (short for Frankenstein). Yes, I am referring to this robot as a ‘he, him’ because, well, he does have a masculine name after all.
If you asked a scientist what the basic building block of life is, the answer would be water. Therefore, when NASA’s Curiosity Rover recently found evidence suggesting that the Red Planet (Mars) was not always completely dry, thoughts of previous life forms come to mind.
Evidence of Ancient Lakes
In 2012, the Curiosity Rover landed close to an area officially named Aeolis Mons: An area that is now referred to as Mount Sharp (named after Professor Robert P. Sharp, 1911-2004). Since landing in 2012, the rover has continued moving around the planet. In 2014, the rover reached the base of Mount Sharp, at which point scientists realized that the evidence the rover gathered may suggest that Martian lakes were full of life. While the Curiosity Rover had already found evidence suggesting that lakes existed on Mars’ older, lower-lying layers of rock, these more recent photos show evidence of desiccation cracks (ancient mud cracks).