News Briefs 28-10-2004

I would like to wish every TDG reader a happy Samhain this coming weekend. Here is todays news...

  • A new theory will attempt to persuade Shakespeare scholars that the playwright was a member of a religious or spiritual order which can best be compared to the philosophy of Sufism.
  • Why life seems to speed up as you get older.
  • Sir Richard Branson has said one of the next projects he wants to undertake is building a Virgin hotel in space.
  • A team of archeologists has uncovered the burial of a witch in Crimea.
  • Biological weapons pose biggest threat to world, scientists warn.
  • It seems wrong, but scientists and bookies agree that global warming means more snow in Britain.
  • A top NASA expert has criticised the Bush administration for it's approach on global warming.
  • Gardener finds rare Roman magical charm.
  • Chinese historians find pictorial evidence for science and technology of up to 1,600 years ago in Chinese cave art.
  • A mysterious object that came from the sky and hit in Oklahoma turns out to belong to NASA.
  • Why time flows in only one direction.
  • The halo around a lonely and far off galaxy raises questions about dark matter.
  • A new study suggests Native Americans and their lands are disproportionately exposed to hazards posed by the U.S. military's explosive and toxic munitions.
  • The Bush campaign block their website to surfers outside the U.S.
  • A biotech cat which won't trigger allergies will cost you $3,500.
  • Scientists still arguing over whether the dinosaurs went with a bang or with a whimper.
  • Hobbit discoverers hope to find other tiny hominids on nearby islands.
  • A new analysis purports to prove that Oswald was indeed a lone gunman.
  • He "called everybody 'brother', liked Gospel, and couldn't get a fair trial", of course Jesus was black.
  • Geopolitics: Hi-tech call to arms threatens military alliances.
  • Every single elm tree in Britain may be the results of Roman cloning 2,000 years ago.
  • New York's subway is 100 this week, but decades before, there was a secret train under Broadway.
  • A supernova 3 million years ago may have kick-started human evolution.
  • Astronomers have found what they believe to be the surviving companion star to a 1572 supernova.
  • An excellent TV special for Hallow'een looks at the evidence surrounding the Salem Witch Trials and concludes that fungus poisoning was responsible.

Quote of the Day:

There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.There is another theory which states that this has already happened.

Douglas Adams


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Rick MG's picture
Member since:
2 May 2004
Last activity:
13 weeks 5 days

Wow, they've really invented a non-allergenic cat? I've always wanted one! I like cats, but they make me sneeze and itch violently, and I get a hideous rash.

In a children's book (for adults) that I'm writing, the main character has a ghost-cat, which is quite fortuitous for her allergies. When I've finished my website, I'll post the link so everyone can read it. Or I could use my blog privileges on TDG ...


"Read like a butterfly, write like a bee." - Philip Pullman

Rick MG's picture
Member since:
2 May 2004
Last activity:
13 weeks 5 days

I have a theory for this.

The younger you are, the less past you have behind you and the more future you have ahead of you. The older you are, the more past you have behind you and the less future you have ahead of you.

I think that the younger you are, the more you live in the "now" moment. We lose this ability, or force ourselves to, knowingly or subconsciously, through personal experience or external influence (society, etc), when we become adults. It's awareness of our past, accomplishments and regrets.

Although I think it has something to do with having to work 40+ hour weeks, do the laundry and cook dinner and drive the kids to football practice and mow the lawns and pay the bills and run a website and so many other things. When you're a kid, you have more time to just "be". ;-)

Richard's picture
Member since:
1 May 2004
Last activity:
3 years 12 weeks

A bit like a sand glass, the same amount of sand goes down at about a constant rate but the level of the sand is percieved as going down slowly at first and then much faster near the end.

khefre's picture
Member since:
1 May 2004
Last activity:
12 years 32 weeks

I'm not a great believer in conspiracy theories, but there are some that stick in my mind. Vince Foster, Ron Brown, and JFK are some.
"Most importantly, nuclear activation analyses ties much of the physical evidence together and brings Oswald much closer to the crime by proving that his rifle did it all.

So the mob, Castro, the CIA, the Russians, Vice President Lyndon Johnson or the countless other supposed conspirators aren’t the bad guys. Although society seems to need to feel that only great plots can take down great men, the two scientists argue that Oswald, alone, took his shot at history. A shot that forever changed the course of our nation and gave birth to America’s skepticism."
While the evidence seems compelling from a forensic standpoint, I don't quite understand or agree with how they make the leap to Oswald acting alone. The subsequent events indicate to me a concerted effort to maintain a degree of "plausible deniability". I'm still not happy with the Warren report, and there are definitely too many loose ends for me to accept the "lone gunman" theory. All this proves is that the recovered rifle from the TBD fired bullets that struck the victims, which I never doubted in the first place. I've also seen some "ballistics debunking" which purports that the Zapruder film proves the killing shot came from behind. The targets used were inanimate objects, lacking muscle tone. The Zapruder film shows JFK slumping slightly, as Jackie pulls him toward her. At that point, he was still alive. I'm still not buying the "lone assassin" theory, strategically or tactically.


"Scientific acoustical evidence establishes a high probability that two gunmen fired at President John F. Kennedy. Other scientific evidence does not preclude the possibility of two gunmen firing at the President." (New York Times reprint of selected portions of the Report of the Select Committee on Assassinations, pg. 63)

Nostradamus's picture
Member since:
1 May 2004
Last activity:
3 days 6 hours

One of the critical points raised is the timing of the shots and whether or not Oswald could have fired them all, and given the time available, yes I think he could have.

However... the timing of the shots was I assume, taken from the 8mm home movie of the incident: the infamous Zapruder Home Movie (26 seconds total duration). This footage was not seen publicly until March 1975 (ABC’s Goodnight America) and has since been featured in a number of investigative programmes, each time the footage has been shown either as a series of still frames, or in slow motion, or at the very least, with the appearance of a low frame rate. And these days it is the footage that we all refer to when discussing the assassination.

The problem with using the std 8mm film to determine duration of the shots is the speed of the film in the camera. Std 8mm cameras could have more than one speed setting, these being 12, 15, 16 and 18 frames per second; the camera used by Zapruder had a top speed of 16fps, though the FBI determined that the frame rate was 18.3 fps. Only a slight difference…

The next problem is that the original 8mm film is now viewed on videotape, having been transferred to 525ntsc videotape which operates at 30 frames per second: therefore the original frame rate has been converted up to 30 frames per second. Today’s feature films (16mm or 35mm) are exposed at 24 frames per second and are transferred to videotape utilizing what is known as the ‘3 – 2 pull down’ sequence to increase the frame rate to the 30 frames per second American television standard. Hence counting frames to establish a precise timing of the shots will need to take these points into consideration.

One final point: the original Zapruder film was copied at least 3 times with the original being held by Life magazine; it is now known that frames were removed from the original due to ‘photo-technician errors’ when copying still frames for publication. It is not known which ‘copy’ was used to make the videotape master.


khefre's picture
Member since:
1 May 2004
Last activity:
12 years 32 weeks


I agree, it would be difficult to use the Z film for anything but a general documentation of the event, from one perspective. I understand that technicians were even examining the sprocket area of the developed film. Not being a photo expert, I don't have much more of an opinion, and I'm far from an expert on the JFK thing.

I have, however, had considerable experience with firearms, and while I agree that there is enough time, based on published figures, for a decent marksman to get off three aimed shots from a bolt-action carbine, that still isn't enough to prove to me that Oswald actually was the gunman, or that it was those shots alone that killed JFK. Too much of the trail has been muddied for us to ever know the truth of the matter, absent a time machine (wonder what John Titor's doing these days?). Three friends just recently visited Dealey Plaza on a visit to Dallas, and all three came away with a conviction that it was more than just Oswald involved. I've never been there, myself, so I'll have to be from Missouri on this one; it just doesn't sit right with me - the "lone gunman" scenario is just too pat. I know, I know; Occam's Razor. So why do I have such a hard time buying it?


Anonymous's picture

Regarding the Zapruder film:

Anonymous's picture

As one of TDG's older members I have a suggestion about why time goes faster when you get older, and it is from first hand experience.
When you are a child you do everything,a kid gets out of bed in the morning, zaps into the loo,slides down the stairs, flicks on the TV on the way to the kitchen where he downs his cornflakes all in about 10 minutes.
I, on the other hand, sit on the side of the bed,try to decide whether I survived the night, and having decided that I did, I first take medication.
I limp to the bathroom where I remain for at least half an hour.To the kitchen where I put on the kettle and slowly wander downstairs to get the paper, look at the roses and back upstairs to read the paper with my cup of tea.
This takes me nearly an hour.
I am not yet dressed.
Kids run everywhere,at least the ones around here do, I walk slowly everywhere, thus I am using more time just in the mundane things I need to do to dress,shop,make decisions etc.So there is never left-over time.
Kids don't notice the activity involved in getting there or dressing or any of the necessities that have become difficult for older adults.
Because kids move quickly and so easily it does not seem like passing time, where with older people they worry that time is passing too fast as they hasten to do the things they could have done once in a few minutes.
Just my personal opinion.


X_O's picture
Member since:
1 May 2004
Last activity:
27 weeks 4 hours

Hi shadows,

The short answer for time going faster is that life is like a roll of toilet paper: the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes;-0

I've always thought it was the simple fact that we have a built-in sense of our TOTAL span of life. Each moment then, is measured by that reference length of time. So for a child waiting for something to happen, five minutes is an eternity. For us old timers, it's lunchtime before we finish our morning coffee.


Anonymous's picture

Xavier sweetie, I always thought you were just a little chick.
What's this about being an old timer?
That's a good concept, a built-in sense of our total life span.
I'm gunna give that some thought.

shadows (a wrinklie)

Anonymous's picture

I saw a documentary on cable tv which was about a 6 part series of the assassination.A woman who was on the side of the road when the motorcade went past snapped a pic of the president just as he was shot in the throat.
She fainted I think, but I do know that she was so shocked at what happened that she never had the film developed. It sat in her camera, just the one pic on the film for all these years.
Then a few years ago she had the film developed and there was a photo of the gunman who had fired from the grassy knoll directly across the road from her caught in the act of firing.
The story went on to show the young soldier also in the pic and in his interview he said he saw the gunman behind him and ducked as the bullet whizzed past.
The gunman demanded the film from the soldier's camera and disappeared down to the railway line where he changed from his police uniform and folded the gun, put it into a bag and handed it to someone on the train.
The young soldier went to the FBI but was told that it didn't happen and if he mentioned it, something might happen to him.
The doco ends with the claim that it was the Mafia who brought in hired guns, and that the story was covered up in extremely high places.Namely the Warren Commission at the behest of the President,Johnson I imagine at that time.
It seemed to make perfect sense to me, and there were very many high profile people interviewed.
But your guess is as good as mine as to whether it is true.


Cernig's picture
Member since:
11 May 2004
Last activity:
4 years 27 weeks

Hi All,

Every Thursdy I post the news, I always have some guesses at which items may be commented on - and I am almost always wrong!

This week, I expected: 1) Someone to relate Shakespeares sufism to the Templars, Arabic mystics and the whole rennaisance-generating esoteric and hermetic movement in a very learned way. I was really looking forward to learning some new stuff about this period of history. 2)Some psychonaut to post more detail on the effects of ergotamine, from which LSD was derived, and relate it maybe to alchemists or in general to consciousness altering shamanistic experiences. 3)I truly expected someone to say something about the polarisation of Europe and the US, which is slowly but surely creating a new world superpower out of the disparate remnants of old empires (Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Russia et al). If Russia ever joins the EU, and it has said that such is a long term aim. Then the vast resources of Russia in Siberia and the Caspian would be wed to the population density, modern economies and technological expertise of Western Europe, which are the four primary reasons the US is a superpower now. Meantime, Americans still have a McCarthy hangover and are watching China, who may eventually manage to come in third in the race.

So, this week, great posts on the speed of time, JFK, and biotech cats so far. All wonderful and thanks, folks. I wonder what next, or even next week?

Regards, C