Wednesday 6 December 2023

Chimera- the Book

See here for essential background:
I was keen to read the original 1982 novel of the TV series, also penned by Stephen Gallagher. Books are normally better than their adaptations, for example:, but not in this case. The plot varies significantly despite having the same author. A lot of the action from the TV series takes place as flashbacks and the narrative begins effectively about when episode two of the TV story does. The setting is Cumbria, not North Yorkshire; I don't know why that detail was changed. The biggest difference is that the novel is far less emotional; it lacks the human interest that the TV series does. Peter and Tracy are steady couple on TV, whereas in the book the two have only known each other for a short time and have gone on a couple of dates. As a result Tracy is an unseen character, as is Marie Forester who does not attend the Jenner Clinic and so does not die in the disaster. Dr Jenner himself is every bit as much the narcissist and megalomaniac well played by David Calder in the TV programme; an excellent antagonist. By contrast, Hennessey is a more light-hearted and almost farcical character in the book. He lacks the bureaucratic menace of Kenneth Cranham's portrayal. Dr Liawski is dead in the book. It was actually quite a good idea to resurrect him for the TV programme, so giving the classic actor Sebastian Shaw one last movie. Despite this, Liawski does appear at the start as a young man in a rather incongruous prologue scene. He then goes on to provide the information posthumously through his diaries which are found by Peter Carson. The role of Alison Wells is far more morally ambiguous in the book and she deceives Peter in a far worse manner. The ending is completely different and, although not happy exactly, it is far less apocalyptic. Chad is far more animalistic and his human side does not really come out at all. He manipulates and tricks the Gaskell children in a way that makes it difficult to sympathize with him. Still, the book is worth reading and comparing by fans of Gallagher's TV series.
See here for more information:

Monday 4 December 2023

Nandor Fodor and the Talking Mongoose

The release of a Hollywood movie about Gef the talking mongoose had just hit the news before I went to the Isle of Man for the first time. During this trip I visited the remains of the Irvings' home, see background links below, and so was eager to watch the film on my return. It is actually a crowdfunded project by a number of different studios and the director is called Adam Sigal; and he used to work as a private eye, of all things. The story centres on Nandor Fodor, a real paranormal investigator who visited the Irvings to investigate Gef. In the film he is portrayed as a grief-stricken alcoholic whose only comfort comes from his assistant Anne, played by Minnie Driver, and his friend, another real ghost hunter, Harry Price. Source: The film is so historically and factually inaccurate that it's hard to know where to start. It was not filmed on the Isle of Man, which should really annoy the Manx tourist board. The island itself is shown as being very close to the mainland and can be reached by a small boat, which is of course not true; it's in the middle of the Irish Sea and a good few hours voyage on a large ship. The Irvings have a farmhand named Errol who is played by a black actor when I doubt if any black people lived on the Isle of Man in the 1930's. This is typical unnecessary and obtrusive "diversity and inclusion" casting which will annoy anti-woke conservatives; but it will also irk left-wingers because Errol is a servant, a stereotypical black person's role. He speaks with a strong West Country accent while another supporting character, Maurice, has an Ulster accent. Harry Price is played by Christopher Lloyd who has a lot of experience with acting in ghost stories, but he is far too old to play Harry Price. What's more Price was English and yet Lloyd retains his American accent when he is perfectly capable of dropping it. Also, despite the film being set in London when not on the Isle of Man, the currency people use are called "dollars". Despite the presence of genuine photos of the Irvings and their house in the closing credits, the filmmakers are not interested in delivering any kind of true story. It is simply a comedy with a very loose connection to the real Gef enigma, deliberately so. It's not all bad though. There is a scene about Harry Houdini which includes something I thought was a totally fringe, that his wife did indeed receive the coded message via a medium that the couple agreed on before Harry's death, see here for details: Deep down, Fodor is suffering from losing his father and is desperately seeking evidence for anything supernatural because it might also support the existence of the afterlife. He refuses to believe without that, whereas at one point Errol says that it doesn't matter what is real so long as people believe in something that makes them happy. What doesn't make sense is that when Fodor receives what he is looking for, in the form of mongoose scratches on his wrist, he turns into a skeptic. This transformation is never explained. The film is mildly amusing, but it lacks a coherent plot and is not as close to the real history of the "eighth wonder of the world" as I had hoped.
See here for background:

Friday 1 December 2023

Auto-Checkouts are Off

Three cheers for Booths! Actually I've never been in a Booths store; this supermarket chain is quite small, with only twenty-eight outlets in the North Country, but it has just done something really radical. It has taken away the automated checkouts in its shops and replaced them with good old fashioned human beings. As Charlie Chaplin once said: "a machine shouldn't speak for men!" Automatic checkouts are everywhere these days. There is a Marks and Spencer convenience grocer in London's Victoria Station that has nothing but; and only one of those auto-tills takes cash. London is particularly bad generally for this sort of thing. Here is the heroic Piers Corbyn telling one of these Davos ration distributors exactly what he thinks of them: I've used auto-checkouts a couple of times and I dislike them a lot. A robotic voice instructs you to scan the barcode of each of your items and then you put the money in a slot, or more usually tap your bank card. Often something goes wrong or the machine thinks you've put your carrier bag in the wrong place etc, so almost every minute or so somebody asks for help from an assistant. Also you can't buy alcohol or tobacco products unless an assistant confirms that you're old enough. Computers can't do that yet. Booths' managing director Nigel Murray, said: "Our customers have told us that the self-scan machines can be slow and unreliable. They're obviously impersonal (my emphasis)... We believe colleagues serving customers delivers a better customer experience and therefore we have taken the decision to remove self-checkouts in the majority of our stores. We are a business that prides ourselves on the high standards and high levels of warm, personal care (my emphasis)". Source: Based Booths! This is just one small step in the right direction, but at least it is in the right direction. Just for once, the warm and personal has triumphed over the callous and efficient. Hopefully more shops will follow suit. There is a petition with over 250,000 signatures asking Tesco to ditch its auto-tills. I am impressed how in the grocer I use the most, The Cooperative in Oxford, the queues for the human tills are getting longer and the mechanical ones are less popular. I don't mind waiting; it's a sign of healthy change.
See here for background:

Thursday 30 November 2023

1927- A Space Odyssey

I've asked before what can AI do; perhaps an easier question is what can AI not do? I've just seen something that stunned me. An AI was given a very simple instruction: to remake Stanley Kubrick's 1968 film 2001- A Space Odyssey in the style of Fritz Lang. Fritz Lang was an Austrian filmmaker who became one of the most celebrated creators in the earliest period of cinema, when films were almost all monochrome and silent. They usually had scores, but these were often performed by musicians live in the auditorium. His futuristic steampunk sci-fi classics include Metropolis and Woman in the Moon. The result of the AI instruction is this video: It is amusing, but also chilling. The method is very simple. Just show the AI all of Lang's early filmography and then show it 2001. Of course a human could do this; in fact such anachronisms are the basis of a lot of comedy, but I bet the AI made its own remake far quicker. It has also done Blade Runner, see:, and Casablanca in the style of Denis Villeneuve, see: What else? I've already covered AI art in the background links. What about music? This is the country singer Johnny Cash: only it's not. It's an AI performing the Eurodance track Barbie Girl by Aqua with Johnny's sound and style. What about books? Could AI write a new edition of Roswell Rising in the style of William Shakespeare? Yes, easily. I can't imagine what that would be like! Anything humans can do, AI can do better. What job will not be forfeit in the AI future? And if you think "It's alright, we'll still need people to program the computers." No, they can program themselves. This is why AI has boomed in sophistication in just the last couple of years. They are writing their own upgrades; and they can do it a thousand times faster than any human coder. What's more, there's no way the government will not find a way to weaponize this technology against us, like they do everything else. I'm not sure what we can do about this. I think this is one of those wait-and-trust issues. This technology could be used to do some really good things as well. For example, Doctor Who fans have spent years looking for the missing episodes of the show. In the early years, the BBC used to delete recordings from its archive to save money or space, or because of broadcasting rights. Fans have scoured the world to locate the missing episodes and have found a few of them, but it looks like some of them are lost forever because no recording at all survives. An AI could recreate them. You could enter the script and production design together with surviving recordings to compare them with and hey presto! Out would come a very accurate reconstruction, even if it's not an exact facsimile. The AI William Hartnell would be indistinguishable from the real First Doctor.
See here for background:

Wednesday 29 November 2023

CIA Does Roswells

The Daily Mail has just published yet another UFO story with extraordinary implications. According to their research, the US Central Intelligence Agency has a special unit that travels all across the world salvaging the debris from crashed extraterrestrial spacecraft. Multiple sources have informed the newspaper that the CIA has a "system in place" ready whenever a UFO appears. They have dealt with at least nine incidents across the world since 2003. They even have a method for discerning when UFO's are still "cloaked", invisible to the naked eye. They have two "non-human" artefacts that are completely intact. This sounds very like the NATO organization detailed in this Richplanet show: The unit has a name that is both strangely banal and Orwellian at the same time: the Office of Global Access. This is a division of the Science and Technology Directorate, which is actually not part of the CIA, it's part of the Department of Homeland Security; not that there's that much of a difference these days. Its official role is in biological and electronic warfare; it has a facility at Plum Island and its replacement in Kansas. There is no mention of the OGA on its public website though so it is probably a black budget setup. The Mail's three sources all spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid reprisals. It is possible they are some of the same insiders David Grusch has been interviewing, see: This revelation has come at a time when the NDAA 2024, the so called "UAP Disclosure act", is due to pass into law, see: Source:
The OGA's reach includes the ability to perform operations behind enemy lines in hostile countries, indicating that there is some kind of global policy in place that most if not all nations comply with, even if they are antagonistic towards the United States and locked in conflict with it. The resulting research projects are outsourced, something else I've always thought, see: The author Jeffrey T. Richelson has written a book called The US Intelligence Community in which he mentions the OGA, except the book was published in 1985, long before 2003, so the OGA must be older than the article says. The book does not mention UFO crashes, but says the OGA did more conventional find-and-secure missions to recover material from enemy countries. It was set up be somebody called Doug Wolfe; any relation to Karl? The sources said some of the people involved in the research may not even realize they are dealing with non-human technology due to the intense security and compartmentalization of information. This ties in with what Dr Irena Scott said about the Battelle Memorial Institute and Wright-Patterson AFB, see: At the moment there is an attempt to revise the NDAA in order to make it less powerful. The congress people behind the attack all had their campaigns funded by the military-industrial complex. Are these secret sources trying to slip information out around this barricade of counterDisclosure? Ross Coulthart has warned that it may be better for the government to come clean now or risk a "catastrophic leak", one that will cause an "uncontrolled Disclosure" consisting of decisive media scoops. This will put them on the back foot and cause worse post-Disclosure chaos, see: However, that might be the only way to get the job done; in which case, I say go for it. The alternative means a continuation of the Truth Embargo which is infinitely worse.
See here for background:

Tuesday 28 November 2023

Rethinking MH370

Several people have asked me to comment on this subject. A Reddit thread appeared in August digging up a pair of obscure videos that were originally posted on YouTube in 2014. They were dismissed and forgotten at the time; today one of the originals is only visible on an archive. The two videos apparently show the same thing. A Boeing 777 airliner is flying through a cloudy sky; it turns sharply to the right at the same time as a number of spherical or ovoid objects fly past very quickly. A few seconds later three more objects enter the frame, maybe the same ones re-entering; and they start flying around the aircraft in circles. They keep formation at an equal distance apart and match each other's movements precisely. After a few seconds there is a bright flash of light and everything vanishes, the plane and UAP's. The videos were republished by somebody called Ashton Forbes who describes himself thus: "Citizen Journalist, Seeker of Truth, Organizer of MH370x, Solver of MH370". Source: He contests that the disappearing airliner is the missing Malaysian Airlines flight 370. I did not believe him at first and dismissed the videos as a hoax. In this day and age it is difficult to do otherwise. Producing fake digital images that are so good they are indistinguishable from reality can be done so easily that photographic evidence simply no longer carries the same weight that it used to and there is a terrible signal-to-noise ratio problem as a result. Here is a good piece of such work: I posted the comment: "It's too easy to fake imagery these days. Even if this were real, who would believe it?" This is the current burden for all kinds of paranormal research, UFOlogy, Loch Ness, ghosts etc. Mick West made a series of post debunking it too; and it's not often I agree with him. Why MH370 went off course and lost communication is a mystery, but the plane's fate was not. It flew away over the Indian Ocean until it ran out of fuel and crashed into the sea. The wreckage cannot be found, and probably never will be, because it disintegrated into small pieces on impact and sank into the abyss, see background links below.
However, people have made me aware of some updates. Ashton Forbes has done a number of interviews where he provides more details. He confidently and coherently dismisses the criticism of the skeptics, for example see: and: These videos allegedly are real images of MH370 that were leaked to social media by an unnamed whistleblower; although Ashton thinks it is somebody called Edward C Lin, a man convicted in the USA of spying for China. Chillingly, the UFO's therefore seem to the "taking" the aircraft and the people in it, as they are rumoured to do with others, like the pilot Fred Valentich. One of the videos was captured by an infrared satellite and the other by an interceptor drone that was in the vicinity at the same time. I don't have a final answer to this conundrum right now and this article is an interim report. I will need to look deeper and maybe wait for new information. At the moment, however, I am not as certain as I used to be that MH370 really did just run out of fuel and crash into the sea.
See here for background:

Sunday 26 November 2023

Apollo Detectives 13

A film edited and produced by Neil Ward.
See here for the film:
This thirteenth Apollo Detectives film brings more new and original information that casts doubt over the official story of the first moon landings. This programme includes some field experiments by Neil and a presentation by Jarrah White with new information about the famous "C rock". Also a debate between Jarrah and an astronaut! Joining us on the panel are Scott Henderson and Robert Williams. See here for background:
HPANWO Radio interview with Marcus Allen:
See here for Neil's channel:
See here for Neil and Andy Chaplin's radio show:
I have produced my own version of this film on HPANWO TV which includes my personal commentary: (coming soon).