Saturday, July 27, 2019

Gordon Dillow on Cosmic Collisions, Killer Asteroids, and the Race to Defend Earth | Fire in the Sky

In this interview, Gordon Dillow talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about his/her book, FIRE IN THE SKY: Cosmic Collisions, Killer Asteroids, and the Race to Defend Earth.

“It’s not a question of if we’re gonna get hit by an asteroid at some point; it’s a question of when.” ~Gordon Dillow

Gordon admits that the opportunity to learn about new things is what he likes about being a newspaper reporter, and he remarks that looking into something new gives someone new facts that one would otherwise not have known. He remarks that he hadn’t done much reporting on science prior to researching for the book, and his interest was piqued by an incident he experienced at 4am in June, 2016, while he was in his home in Phoenix, Arizona. He was then having a cup of coffee when the dark sky glowed red, bright enough to bathe the entire ground in its glow. He then noticed an explosion of bright light northeast of him, and when he learned, later that day, that what he saw was an asteroid, roughly five feet wide, which had entered the Earth’s atmosphere at 40,000 mph and disintegrated. He thus looked into the matter, and so was born Fire in the Sky.

A book, Gordon notes, is essentially a long article made as dramatic and as interesting as possible while giving out necessary information. It took him a year to do the research and the initial writing, and then another six months editing it. Gordon remarks that writing a book means staying on the same subject for that long and getting immersed in it, to the point of others not quite getting interested in what he talks about.

It has only been in the past two centuries that people have learned that asteroids existed, as the telescopes prior to that weren’t powerful enough to pick these up. Gordon adds that, originally, people thought that asteroids were located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, but occasionally some asteroids veer off from these orbits to fly near the earth; these are called “near Earth objects,” or “near Earth asteroids.” The increased sophistication of telescopes in the past two decades has led to the discovery of some 20,000 asteroids which come close to Earth, at distances of a few ten thousand miles to a million miles. Some of these objects do enter the Earth’s atmosphere, and the smaller ones burn up in the atmosphere; this happens around once a month, and some of these, such as the 2013 Chelyabinsk event, cause noticeable amounts of physical damage when these exploded. The larger ones, those around 30 - 40 yards wide, actually make it to the Earth’s surface, which they then impact, and Gordon also adds that there are likely “tens of thousands” of other asteroids which haven’t been discovered yet, which could potentially impact the Earth, noting that, if there were a light on each and every such asteroid, the night sky would light up “like the Fourth of July.” He likens the near Earth asteroids to a Nascar racecar which leaves the track and every other car in the race and starts “doing donuts” in the infield, with the Earth being in the infield, in this analogy.

Where size is concerned, asteroids can be as large as the largest, Ceres, which is 600 miles wide, or as small as a yard wide, and the smaller asteroids outnumber the larger ones by a great deal. Most of the ones that we humans need to be concerned about are those 50 - 100 yards wide, as these are the ones which are large enough to hit the earth. Asteroids also have varying densities, which means that the asteroids which are composed mostly of metals, which are in the minority where asteroid numbers are concerned, are more likely to survive burning in the Earth’s atmosphere to hit the Earth, thanks to their density, while those made of rock are less likely to do so. Gordon also remarks that, in 2029, a thousand-foot-wide asteroid named Apophis will pass within 19,000 miles of the Earth (by comparison, the orbit of a geosynchronous satellite is around 22,000 miles, and the Moon orbits the Earth at around 240,000 miles).

Where heavenly bodies and events are concerned:

  • Meteors refer to the streak of light created by a small bit of space rock burning up in the atmosphere, thanks to its enormous speed.
  • A meteorite is space rock which doesn’t disintegrate in the atmosphere and thus manages to hit the ground.
  • An asteroid is a body in space which is made of rock or metal, which ranges from a yard wide to hundreds of miles wide.
  • A comet is a body which comes from the outer edges of the solar system, which are made up of ice and dust and rock. The ice turns into gas as it approaches the Sun, thanks to the Sun’s heat, creating the cometary tail.

(Gordon adds a caveat, in that the definitions noted above aren’t hard and fast ones, as scientists and astronomers “just can’t seem to get together” on exact definitions. That said, these definitions are the ones generally used.)

Where the dinosaur extinction theory is concerned, Gordon notes that an asteroid around six miles wide delivered the killing blow and created a crater around a hundred miles in diameter. This damage was caused, despite the relative size of the asteroid to the Earth being akin to “a pea-gravel at a giant boulder, due to the enormous speed with which the asteroid hit the Earth. (As an aside, Gordon remarks that this was, eventually, good for us humans, as mammals then took over from the dinosaurs in the ecosystem.) Gordon notes that one might not think of the air as being able to exert a great deal of pressure, but he then notes the amount of pressure one would feel if one stuck one’s arm out of a car at 60 miles per hour, then if one did that when the car was travelling at 400 miles per hour. “It’s almost like running into concrete,” Gordon remarks where asteroids hitting the Earth’s atmosphere at the speeds they do is concerned.

Gordon notes that asteroids enter the Earth at regular intervals, and that most of these aren’t noticed by humans, pointing to an asteroid event over the Barents Sea in 2016, one which released energy equivalent to ten Hiroshima atomic bombs and which was noticed only a few months later, when scientific data was reviewed.

Gordon’s intent with Fire in the Sky is not to panic people, but to give information on a topic which fascinates him. He remarks that there are possible ways to deflect or slow down asteroids which appear to possibly hit the Earth. Gordon mentions that a Planetary Defense Conference which is held regularly and which is attended by scientists from around the world to deal with this concern. One of the ideas put forward is to blow up a nuclear device to nudge the asteroid into missing the Earth, but this is presently a concern, given international treaties for not sending nuclear warheads into space. Another idea is kinetic impacter, or “cannonball method,” where an unmanned spacecraft with a payload of around a half ton of metal and ram it into the asteroid to slow it down. Such a slow-down would be small, perhaps a fraction of an inch per hour, but by the time it would have it the Earth, it would have slowed down enough that it would miss the Earth. NASA will actually launch a test mission - a “double asteroid impact test” - in 2021 to see how feasible such a method is, with the spacecraft taking years from launch to hit its target.

Gordon notes that people should be “leery” of a lot of the stories about asteroid impacts, as these tend to be sensationalized, and that serious people are looking at the issue. As this issue is a long term one, any solutions we can apply are likely to benefit our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Purchase from Amazon: FIRE IN THE SKY: Cosmic Collisions, Killer Asteroids, and the Race to Defend Earth by Gordon Dillow

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Bruce Olav Solheim on Ghosts and Other Unseen Spirits and Now Aliens | Timeless Deja Vu: A Paranormal Personal History

In this interview, Bruce Olav Solheim talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about his book, Timeless Deja Vu: A Paranormal Personal History.

“Reducing your fear and increasing your understanding is a good way to go.” ~Bruce Olav Solheim

Bruce has recently begun teaching a course on the paranormal at Citrus College, where he gives a framework for people to understand these activities.  People have been very interested in his course, as Bruce notes that people are desperate for a safe place where they can tell their stories of paranormal experiences. He invites guest speakers to speak in his course and uses some of the frameworks these speakers use, and also defines such terms as mediumship, telekinesis and telepathy. Bruce also speaks on the history of the paranormal, as well as leads the class on events such as seances. He remarks that such a framework grounds people, so that paranormal events and activities don’t come off as freakish or weird.

Bruce remarks that his first book, Timeless: A Paranormal Personal History, was intended to “test the waters,” and that he goes into more detail with Timeless Deja Vu and even moreso with his third, upcoming book, which will be “edgier.” He also is presently planning to come out with a comic book, Snark, which will be illustrated by the illustrator for his books, and its premise is about an alien who travels to the Earth as a scout who is sent out to prepare for an invasion of Earth, and who will then travel around the world and in various times as part of his mission, along the way falling in love with humanity. The project is “very exciting” for Bruce, and he plans to do the ComicCon circuit to promote it.

Bruce’s thesis is that the quantum, paranormal and alien worlds are all one and the same thing. Timeless Deja Vu covers 31 more paranormal events which Bruce experienced, including an event which helps give the book its name. Bruce explains deja vu as being a time where past, present and future all come together, and believes that deja vu provides humans with a glimpse of the quantum world. He remarks that “the present is a moving target,” pointing out that there is no frozen moment where time is concerned, and that this is also the nature of the quantum world. He also notes that, in a subatomic perspective, everything is moving and connected, even though things may feel solid and stationary at the human scale. He also notes that subatomic particles are both particle-like and wavelike, and that we humans create a reality that is familiar to us and which we are taught and trained to believe.

Bruce believes that aliens operate in the spiritual and quantum realms, which enables them to travel the large distances they do. He differentiates aliens from spirits, in that aliens are not native to the Earth, while spirits used to be native to the Earth. He references Michael Masters and his book, Identified Flying Objects, where he opines that some “aliens” are humans from the distant future who are coming back in time to check on present-day human beings. Bruce also believes that there are true extraterrestrial aliens who do come to Earth, and notes that people he has spoken with who speak of alien encounters are down-to-earth people. He also remarks that the US government is coming out with small bits of information about UFO encounters, such as the “Tic Tac” encounter experienced by the US Navy off Baja, California in 2004, and believes that greater disclosure is imminent. Where reasons are concerned, Bruce believes that there are different reasons, pointing out our own, different human motives for traveling and searching, such as tourists, those who are out to conduct scientific research as well as those who would seek to exploit humans for their own gain. He notes that alien technology is so advanced that they could easily take humanity over, if they wanted to.

Bruce confirms that it is possible for parallel worlds to interact with our own, and gives the example in his book where he and his son somehow avoided a potentially fatal accident at an intersection, thanks to his experiencing something along the lines of the kind of “bullet time” popularized by The Matrix film trilogy. He gives this as an example of what he describes as a “fork in the road of time,” and adds that, in a different fork, he and his son could have been seriously injured or killed.

Bruce believes that the sheer number of paranormal experiences that he has had is partially hereditary, as his own mother was psychic. He points out that intuition is paranormal in nature, and that sensing when someone stares at one is the same. Bruce remarks that he is likely to be one of those people who is a “lightning rod” for such activities, in the same way others would be able to throw a ball at 90 miles per hour. That said, he notes that the challenge is about turning off such abilities during such activities as going to parties or even going to sleep, and opines that some people who go mad might do so because they are so perceptive that they cannot do so.

Bruce notes that he believes that there are guardian angels, or spirits who are with all of us human beings in our lives, and that, while these won’t necessarily bail us out if we deliberately go into danger, they could provide their charges with guidance and the occasional push to get things done, as well as intervene subtly. He notes that angels were never human beings, as opposed to ghosts, which are either former human beings who cannot move along the astral pathways, such as being lost on these, or which are essentially things like “tape loops” which just happen over and over again. Bruce remarks that intelligent spirits speak without the personas that we humans all assume, as they are more honest and have nothing to hide. He also remarks that, on ghost hunting shows, the ghost hunters stir up the spirits in the place and leave these still stirred up after they leave, which might not be good for the person who owns the place where the spirits are.

Bruce notes that, just because one doesn’t understand something means that it should be feared, because if one does react with fear, one can start analyzing about what the experience is all about. He remarks that there are charlatans who would take one’s money and run, so people should seek out legitimate people who can help them understand what is going on, if they experienced a paranormal activity.

Bruce Olav Solheim’s first interview on AuthorStory

Timeless: A Paranormal Personal History (Book 1) AuthorStory Interviews blog post

Bruce Olav Solheim on the AuthorStory Videos blog

Purchase from Amazon: Timeless Deja Vu: A Paranormal Personal History by Bruce Olav Solheim

Monday, July 8, 2019

Neal Grace on Having Fresh Eyes Upon the World and Making Life a Spectacular Journey

In this interview, Neal Grace talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about his book, FRESH EYES UPON THE WORLD: Making Life a Spectacular Journey.

“Be bold, be adventurous. Be willing to take a risk.” ~Neal Grace

A lot of things that Neal observed going on in the world didn’t resonate with him after graduating high school, and it was because he wanted to discover who he was and how to fit into the world that he embarked on the lifelong journey that he did, along a path deemed unconventional at that time. His drive led him to want to explore different environments and cultures, and as he did so, he gained opportunities to learn about himself and about life. He acknowledges that this path was both “scintillating and exciting,” as well as spontaneous, occasionally dramatic, lonely and difficult, as he didn’t find a place that he could call “home” for a long time.

Neal liked reading books to learn about the world, and also loved poetry “that made a statement” about life in a tangible and vivid way. Writing poetry, for him, became a way to reflect on his own life, on his perceptions of the world or about some aspect of himself, as well as a way to enrich himself spiritually and intellectually. He also likes music, theater and dance as well as other forms of creative expression because, to him, creativity is “the soul yearning for a discovery of itself, and for an opportunity to interact and dance with the world in magical and mystical ways.” Exploring creativity, Neal remarks, “is a journey into a higher realm,” as well as a journey that takes him back to the “raw reality” of daily life. “Creativity,” he notes, “is a way of playing with the world in such a way that you reinvent yourself with the world.”

Neal notes that everyone is on a spiritual journey, as they are all evolving from the day they are born to the day they die. He describes his own journey as an adventure, where every experience was a learning opportunity that enabled him to get closer with himself. Neal admits that material benefits were secondary to his journey, as he didn’t subscribe to the orthodox lifestyle his peers followed. He opines that all great philosophers need to “step aside” at some point in their lives and travel a “pathless” world to get in touch with their own strengths and weaknesses, and that everyone should figure out how to “reap some great rewards” from life’s experiences.

Neal remarks that, the more sensitive one is, the more one would find it difficult to resonate with society as we know it, as the latter is fractured; indeed, he analogizes it to everyone being in an “insane asylum” where everyone needs to deal with everyone else. In this challenging environment, being creative and resourceful is vital to meeting the inevitable obstacles and detours that one would follow, Neal muses.

Neal notes that there is nothing wrong with working on the “mundane aspects of life” and living a materially orthodox life, and he has proven this in his own life, as he has made money for himself to enjoy the material comforts of life without sacrificing his own integrity and creativity. His outlook on material affluence is to acquire this in a healthy, balanced way, so he can create serenity and stability for himself. Neal notes that the desire for material wealth gets unbalanced when one places one’s “toxicity” on this, by either condemning or becoming obsessed with it, as well as becoming prisoners of it, and that if the desire for material wealth is done in a beneficial way, then this “becomes a good thing.” The toxicity, he notes, comes when people bring their unresolved past issues into the present, and occurs because one brings one’s own disposition, be it disempowered or powered, caring or fearful, into every moment of one’s life.

Fresh Eyes Upon the World, Neal notes, “started when I was born,” as it is a compilation of the lessons he has learned in his life. The purpose of his book is to inspire people to have an uplifting and meaningful life for themselves, in reaction to all the suffering, struggle and malevolence he sees in the world. Its intention is also to promote wellness and to heal all the wounds we all have, as well as the wounds in the world at large, be it environmental or societical, and Neal’s own goal is to create a world of understanding, more than anything else.

The questions in the book, Neal notes, are ones which people reflect on at some point in their lives, and he believes these are asked unconsciously. Neal opines that the most important question that is asked is: “How can I be happy / fulfilled / at peace with the conditions of the world or my own personal life?” The answers that Neal gives are based on his experience, logic and what he learned, and are simple when distilled down to their essence. He notes that the answers are clear and can be incorporated into one’s life, but he also remarks that people might be asking the right questions and getting the answers, but not taking the next, necessary step by doing something in relationship with the question they asked, to transform and heal the issue that the question springs from. Neal notes that taking that action opens up new doors and new questions, and that delving into the question honestly and objectively is what produces viable results. He remarks that one of the reasons why people don’t apply what they know to do to get off feeding unhealthy habits is because they are “wedded” to these, and that it takes a great deal of resolve, commitment and energy to get clear from such habits, as well as a love of self beyond one’s ego.

Purchase from Amazon: FRESH EYES UPON THE WORLD: Making Life a Spectacular Journey by Neal Grace

Friday, July 5, 2019

Karen Rinaldi on Why It's Great to Suck at Something:and What It Can Teach Us About Patience, Resilience, and Stuff that Really Matters

In this interview, Karen Rinaldi talks to Alexander “The Engineer” Lim, host of AuthorStory by, about her book, It's Great to Suck at Something: The Unexpected Joy of Wiping Out and What It Can Teach Us About Patience, Resilience, and the Stuff that Really Matters.

“Don’t play to win; play to be free.” ~Karen Rinaldi

Karen grew up in a household where the parents were loving and was also very laissez-faire, as there was a fear of putting up high expectations. Karen’s driven attitude was in reaction to this environment, which led her to pushing hard to overcome her challenges from school onwards, creating in her a degree of “tenacity and grit” that has served her well.

It’s Great to Suck at Something was over a decade in writing, and it sprang from a conversation she had with her then-eight-year-old son, after a particularly hard day when he had been struggling with some concerns. One of Karen’s fellow parents, upon hearing her son’s day, remarked that “It’s so great to suck at something,” which greatly relieved her son. The incident impacted Karen greatly, and she then began her journey along the road of sucking at things she attempted.

Karen notes that, those people who are viewed as living perfect lives, particularly as presented on social media, do not have the perfect, effortless lives that they present. She notes that others feel lessened when they compare themselves with “successful” people, which results in anxiety and stress due to not knowing what the lives of “successful” people are actually about. Karen remarks that people only post the best things of their lives on social media, and that, if people share their struggles, they would be more honest and would show that, despite their imperfections, they are still “worthy of love,” even though they suck at something.

Doing something with the intention to suck isn’t what Karen speaks of, but rather the freedom that comes with letting go of “that pathological striving” for perfection at everything one does. She does note that people need to do well with such things as social relationships with one’s family and partner, but that other activities, such as surfing or photography, are ones which one doesn’t necessarily have to be perfect at. People do fear being humiliated if they don’t perform well in front of others, but Karen notes that people aren’t paying much attention to one in the first place, as they do have their own things to do. Where humiliation is concerned, she remarks that learning to turn this into humility is possible by accepting that one isn’t perfect at everything.

Where children are concerned, Karen remarks on studies which she had read that show that kids know what they are and aren’t good at, and that the expectation placed by parents that they are good at something they are not is a great disservice to the child, as this increases the pressure they already feel from interacting and comparing themselves with their peers - particularly if the message is that a child isn’t lovable if he or she isn’t perfect. Allowing the children to feel that it is okay to not be perfect at everything, and even to be bad at something, in Karen’s opinion, allows the children the space to excel in what they are good at and learn the necessary grit and lessons necessary to work at what they aren’t good at. Karen remarks that “kids are all brilliant,” that they all have something to offer, and that parents then shunt them into particular lanes, along the way lying to them about what they are good at.

Where millenials are concerned, Karen has noticed that they don’t understand that it is necessary to put time in to achieve success. Millenials feel they deserve such things as being promoted within a year’s time and running a business within three because they are highly competitive, and this is at odds with the reality that it takes time to become really good at something - and Karen points out becoming a doctor as an example. “They have been served a batch of lies,” Karen remarks, “that grit and hard work is not the only way to succeed, when it is the only way,” noting that successful people worked hard to get to where they are.

Perfectionism, Karen believes, is innate and stems from a striving to get close to the Divine. That said, there are normal and abnormal ways to strive for perfection, with the abnormal way essential stating: “Unless I am perfect, I am not worthy, and I’ve failed.” The normal way is to strive to get better while accepting one’s imperfections, and those kind of people are mentally healthier compared to those who don’t accept their imperfections. Karen notes that starting out by accepting one’s imperfections while the expectations are low is a good way to start on the road of accepting one’s imperfections when things get more challenging.

Accepting one’s imperfections is a way of releasing the pressure one feels, and Karen points out that this is a good attitude for people to enter a new situation or do something new, as they give themselves permission to do just that. According to Karen, accepting that one makes mistakes also allows for the freedom from indulgent self-castigation - which occurs when people believe they are perfect at everything - so that one can focus on what needs to be done.

Nostalgia fascinates Karen, and she points out that nostalgia involves a lot of “lying and rose-colored glasses.” Nostalgia, she points out, used to have negative connotations, whereas today it is viewed as a way of giving one hope. Nostalgia is a way for people to push themselves away from the present and not look at where they presently are, Karen believes, which is a disservice, as the present is the only thing there is, where the way we live is concerned, and recounts a story where Swiss soldiers were banned from singing a milking song because doing so kept them from being effective soldiers.

Aspirational psychosis is tied to the messages that are sent out to society, such as those sent out by advertising; and these messages are even more pervasive with social media. These aspirational messages, Karen believes, distract one from figuring out where one presently is and who one presently is. “Why would you want to be anyone else?” she asks, adding that this question is for people for whom the basic needs are being met. Aspirational psychosis preys on people’s insecurities and belief that everyone else’s life is better than theirs, Karen remarks, which isn’t true. “Look inward,” she advises, “and live to your own compass.” She advises that people look to themselves for what they need and want, rather than looking to others for such, as doing so also sends the message that one is never enough. Karen also remarks that “the good stuff” in one’s life happens when one stops trying to be someone or something else and love where one presently is.

To those who realized that they suck at something, Karen would ask: “What did it teach you?” because sucking at something teaches one something. She notes that people learn more from difficult things than they do at things they are good at, as their limitations and desires come up when these happen - limitations and desires which one confronts so one can move on. As one of her sons once said: “Sometimes, the worst moments are the best moments for learning,” and Karen believes that the potential to learn from such moments is “enormous.”

Karen encourages people to go out and play, as “all of this is all about playing,” pointing to a quote by Frederich Schiller: “Man is only human when he plays!” Playing is just as important as work, Karen believes, and people shouldn’t worry about whether or not they will suck at what they play in, as doing so is very satisfying.

Purchase from Amazon: It's Great to Suck at Something: The Unexpected Joy of Wiping Out and What It Can Teach Us About Patience, Resilience, and the Stuff that Really Matters by Karen Rinaldi