‘One of the wealthiest spiritual leaders in India has either been dead or in a transcendental meditative state since January. The Telegraph’s Dean Nelson reports from New Delhi that a court has now been asked to settle the matter.
Ashutosh Maharaj is presently in a commercial freezer in his ashram, guarded by elders within the multinational sect or, self-described “socio-spiritual-cultural, not-for profit organization” that he created. His followers insist that Maharaj is in a state of transcendent bliss called samadhi, a central tenet of traditional yoga in which a yogi becomes one with the universe. Upon moving all of your prana currents of energy up your spine and into your head, according to the seminal yoga manual Hatha Yoga Pradipika, a yogi can become “as if dead.”
This would seem to be at odds with the assessment of a team of local physicians who examined Maharaj in February. After performing an ECG that showed no heartbeats, noting that he had no respiratory movements, and seeing that his pupils were fixed and dilated, the physicians declared him “clinically dead.”
The sect’s website states, “His Holiness Shri Ashutosh Maharaj Ji has been in a deep meditative state (samadhi) since January 29, 2014.” Though, a representative from the sect did say on February 3, “About 4:00 PM yesterday, some changes were noticed in his skin (it became greenish). The body was then shifted to a freezer,” which may or may not be part of the traditional protocol for transcendent bliss.
The guru’s son and wife corroborate that he died of a heart attack in January, and that his followers are keeping his body in order to retain control of his financial empire, including the ten billion rupee ($170 million) estate where the corpse resides.’ (The Atlantic).
‘Here’s a small collection of bizarre animals that we hope some of you may have never heard of. The animal kingdom does love variety…’ (I Fucking Love Science).
New antibody blocks pain and itchiness: ‘Scientists may have developed an antibody that dulls chronic pain and blocks the itch pathway.Image: Promotive/ShutterstockIf it’s proven successful, the antibody could replace side-effect laden pain medications such as opioids.Developed by researchers at Duke University, the highly specialised antibody inhibits the function of a sodium channel called Nav1.7, which is found on neurons and is known to be involved in generation pain and itchiness.’ (Science Alert).
‘…[A]stronomers suspect it could have been one of the most violent events in the Universe – a gamma ray-burst that, in just a few seconds, could have released as much energy as our Sun in its entire lifetime.If confirmed, this will be the closest gamma-ray burst we’ve ever detected, and will help scientists find out more about these mysterious pulses of energy.Gamma-ray pulses are so powerful, that if one occurred within our galaxy, they could potentially trigger mass extinctions on Earth, explains Dr Alan Duffy, an astronomer at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne.’ (Science Alert).
Addendum (thanks to abby): Possibly not.
“We have re-analysed the prompt XRT data on Swift trigger 600114 (GCN Circ.
16332), taking advantage of the event data.
The initial count rate given in GCN Circ. 16332 was based on raw data from
the full field of view, without X-ray event detection, and therefore may
have been affected by other sources in M31, as well as background hot
pixels. Analysis of the event data (not fully available at the time of the
initial circular) shows the count rate of the X-ray source identified in
GCN Circ. 16332 to have been 0.065 +/- 0.012 count s^-1, consistent with
the previous observations of this source [see the 1SXPS catalogue (Evans
et al. 2014): http://www.swift.ac.uk/1SXPS/1SXPS%20J004143.1%2B413420.
We therefore do not believe this source to be in outburst. Instead, it was
a serendipitous constant source in the field of view of a BAT subthreshold
‘New legislation would increase CDC funding for gun violence research from zero dollars to $10 million. The NRA calls the push “unethical” and an “abuse of taxpayer funds.” ‘ (Pacific Standard).
‘Nearly all amputees feel their missing limb as if it still existed, and many experience chronic phantom limb pain. The going theory is that this pain is triggered by the brain. But scientists have now located and blocked these sensations in the body itself — a finding that upends conventional thinking.’ (io9).
‘Writing in the Boston Globe, Leon Neyfakh profiles activists across the country who have come to the conclusion that execution by the state is an affront to the core principles that conservatives claim to espouse.’ (io9).