In the first half, aerospace and defense systems developer Sir Charles Shults spoke about how commercial endeavors are basically taking over space travel, and we are no longer dependent on government to be leaders in this field. The reusing of spacecraft such as boosters from SpaceX significantly cuts launch costs, he added. Rather than a failure, he views the recent Israeli moon lander mission (which ended in a crash), as a success, as they achieved lunar orbit while employing private industry and being an entrant in the Google Lunar X Prize contest.
Regarding extraterrestrial life, he said there appears to be at least six places in our solar system alone which may host primitive forms. Beyond them, exoplanets could have life forms unfamiliar to us, yet if we are to eventually make contact with them, he believes they'll have utilitarian abilities so that they can manipulate objects and technology. On the question of visitations, it doesn't make sense for an alien civilization to risk their life in some "clunky piece of hardware" when they could send an extremely tiny craft or even "dust" to record or observe our activities, Shults surmised. Scientists are starting to think about how we can deflect an asteroid that's on an impact course with Earth. We could quickly send a spacecraft near such an object, and we'd just need to alter its course by seven minutes to avoid a collision, he reported.
San Francisco-based writer and lecturer, Jennifer Dumpert, is the founder of the Oneironauticum, an international organization that explores the phenomenological experience of dreams as a means of experimenting with mind. In the latter half, she discussed her techniques for surfing the edges of consciousness using hypnagogic (falling asleep) and hypnopompic (waking up) states. Referring to these threshold realms as "liminal dreaming," they occur between waking and sleep and are distinctly different from the narrative stories of our REM dreams, she explained. With liminal dreaming, she continued, you briefly have a foot in both worlds-- being aware of your waking environment along with a kind of "kaleidoscopic" dreamworld behind closed eyes.
People such as Salvador Dali and Thomas Edison have used this state to glean creative ideas, and others such as Robert Monroe have sought out hypnagogia as a launchpad for out-of-body travel, she noted. Dumpert detailed how dreams might differ for those of varying chronotypes (Lark-- a morning person, Owl-- a night person), as well as talked about lucid dreaming, and Yoga Nidra-- an ancient practice where a person is led on a guided meditation into a liminal dream space. She also described the dreaming experiments of the Onerionauticum, in which people take the same "oneirogen" (herb or supplement to induce vivid dreams) on the same night and then compare notes.