News Briefs 23-12-2004

Wherever you are, and however you celebrate (or not) may you have a good festive season. As Calvin and Hobbes remind us, "the best presents don't come in boxes." Here is the news.

  • There has been a rain of fish in Shropshire, England. Thats fish, singular.
  • Radio waves from mobile phones harm body cells and damage DNA, a laboratory study has shown. Perhaps mobile phones will just make us all X-men, which would be cool.
  • The Metropolitan Police Force has been criticised for sending its officers on a course which helps identify the satanic ritual abuse of children by experts who say such abuse does not exist.
  • Methane burps, a ticking time-bomb concealed under the Artic tundra.
  • Germany shines a beam on the energy of the future as world's largest solar energy plant comes on line.
  • A NASA spacecraft has detected three dozen "massive, baby galaxies" forming relatively close to our own Milky Way.
  • Who is it that keeps the miscreants in business by opening e-mail spam? Canadians, it seems. Eh.
  • If you're going to have a bunch of killer drones roaming the skies, you better make damn sure you can control 'em. Remote control for killer drones as the X-45A is put through it's paces.
  • Small asteroid passes between Earth and satellites. Once again, I'm reassured by the fact that astronomers didn't see it until after it had passed.
  • The ESA has announced the 2005 Clarke-Bradbury competition. This time the idea is to produce a short story or art on the subject of space elevators. Winners get $600 US so get writing, folks.
  • Massive Delta-4 rocket makes maiden flight. It still fails to release it's payload satellite though. What is it with rocketry lately...performance anxiety?
  • Japanese and US scientists in Antarctica plan to search the edge of space for some of the rarest creatures in the universe - bits of antimatter from primordial black holes.
  • An ancient civilisation was flourishing in Peru over 5,000 years ago, making it the oldest known complex society in the Americas.
  • Images from a European space probe suggest the Mars volcanoes are possibly still active.
  • Archeologists in Cana have found stone water jars in an ancient house, but deciding this is the scene of the first miracle of Jesus may be stretching a bit.
  • A New Mexico religious group gains the right to drink psychedelic toxic tea if they want to.
  • If the polar ice-cap melts, where will we tell our children Santa lives?
  • Astro-children. More and more Indian parents are opting to have their children delivered at the time suggested by local astrologers.
  • A new study says that the idea that terminal cancer patients can postpone dying for important events is a myth.
  • Here's a review of the book Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control (Amazon UK) by Kathleen Taylor.
  • Earliest depiction of rainbow found? Or perhaps a boat, or a banana, or an eaten slice of watermelon...
  • An ultrafast supercomputer is to simulate a nuclear explosion at 360 trillion calculations a second.
  • Heart rhythms appear to be circadian in nature. Sure, mine doesn't start till midday each day.
  • Scientists have discovered new fish and insect species, including a "monster cockroach", living in caves in the remote East Kalimantan province of Indonesia.
  • In Mexico, 7,000 years of religion in one location shows how ritual changed as society evolved.
  • The remains of two Amazon warriors serving with the Roman army in Britain have been discovered in a cemetery that has astonished archaeologists.
  • As if the troops didn't have enough worries from the insurgents in front and "compassionate" Rummie behind, now a rare and dangerous form of pneumonia has stricken U.S. soldiers in Iraq at an unusually high rate.
  • For the last six months, ghost hunters have been investigating a former shipyard on Merseyside, England.
  • The excellent Annalee Newitz gets annoyed by futurists again - "To claim that the Internet's influence over social life is so profound that it's the first big thing to happen to humans since language and composite tools is clearly absurd".
  • 'Better Humans' continues it's examination of the transhumanism debate with a call for more careful use of language.
  • Lastly, here is my personal Yule present to all the TDG readers...some cartoons of Calvin and Hobbes writing to Santa.

Thanks Greg, for the assistance.

Quote of the Day:

If mom and dad cared about me at all, they'd buy me some infra-red nighttime vision goggles.



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reno1955's picture
Member since:
20 December 2004
Last activity:
2 years 20 weeks

I would like to thank all of you at TDG for your efforts this past year in bringing all of us the best of the news. I always start every morning by reading the latest Daily Grail fare. Your efforts have made your website one of the best out my opinion.

I would like to wish all of you at TDG a happy and safe Holiday season, and a very happy and prosperous New Year.


Greg's picture
Member since:
30 April 2004
Last activity:
1 hour 16 min

Cheers Reno,

Many thanks for your best wishes, much appreciated. Glad to have provided so much enjoyment to you over the year, and hopefully we can move onwards and upwards to provide even better content and services in the coming year.

Speaking of which, I just noticed over at Amazon UK that the first listing for our little book project Da Vinci in America has appeared. We'll be prettying it up a bit with a cover image and book description soon, but anybody that was really keen to purchase the book can now do so (at least in the UK). Hopefully it will turn up in the US in good time as well.

I'll also be adding material here on the site shortly to provide a better idea of the content and quality of the book (I'm pretty damn proud of how it has turned out!). And of course a more official announcement than this little blurb. ;)

Peace and Respect
You monkeys only think you're running things

archdake's picture
Member since:
1 May 2004
Last activity:
6 years 33 weeks

Hey Greg, Bill et al.!

There may be no rest for the wicked but you trully deserve some time off. I think I can give you a small weekend leave (wait, that's already happening!) - well, take the Monday off as well, he he...

Happy holidays guys!

Anonymous's picture

I'm wondering what hidden agenda might lie behind the over-examination of child abuse incidents, with regard to religious or cult involvement. Frankly, I don't give a rat's patootie why these numbnuts are abusing children; it should all be stopped and prosecuted as vigorously as possible.

Cernig's picture
Member since:
11 May 2004
Last activity:
4 years 28 weeks

Hi anon,

One thing we know for sure...the incidence of Satanic Ritual Abuse is unproven, while the Catholic Church and evangelist ministers are constantly paying out millions in compensation to the victims of proven child abuse by clergy. As far as I can tell, the legends and myths of SRA have been promulgated by christian fundementalists with an ideology to grind i.e. it's evil and all evil is Satanic. Something about glass houses and stones comes to mind...

I say follow the French lead and chemically castrate every offender, as I posted in the news briefs 11th November.

Regards, Cernig

Anonymous's picture

Ex-men, more likely. The ones I see driving or wandering aimlessly with the phone jammed in their ears are looking more like automatons every day. Streams is coming.

Anonymous's picture

You're being polite. Giant Earth farts is more like it. Somebody tell the Inuits not to smoke or light a match. :)

Cernig's picture
Member since:
11 May 2004
Last activity:
4 years 28 weeks

Hi anon,

At least we know now why BushOil Inc. are so keen on getting drilling rights in Alaskan nature reserves.

There are a couple of interesting possibilities from these gas burps...

One, all that greenhouse gas vents into the artic atmosphere, accelerating global warming and opening the NW passage. I once saw an official US Navy website with a plan to take over (i.e. invade) key Canadian ports if this happens. Wish I could find the link again.

Two, imagine one of these burps coming up from the sea bottom right under a nice big bulk crude tanker. All the gas bubbles alter the density of the water and the tanker sinks like a stone! (I read this one in a book)

Fun, huh?

Regards, Cernig.

Anonymous's picture

I don't know how they do it, but there must be some tachniques to determine if the remains of a city are the actual city they are looking for.

Maybe the arquelogists found a big sign saying "Welcome to Cana". Otherwise I believe there is a religious agenda behind the claim...

Anonymous's picture

I've been reading for a few months now and have enjoyed everything I've seen posted. Thank you TDG - you've helped make the 'net interesting again.

Happy Holidays to all of you.

Tallahassee, Florida, USA

Anonymous's picture

Hi Everyone, Greg and family including Grandma Grail, Bill, Cernig, Rico, Jameske,Seeker1, Thrustbucket,Archdake and Hairball,Ancient Skyman,Khefre,AMI,Oscar,Pam,Terrence, Richard,Nguyen,and all the names I can remember but cannot spell at this moment for reasons I cannot divulge...
Happy Xmas for those that celebrate it, happy holidays to those that don't.
Thank you all,specially Greg and the other news people for all the hard work brought to me free in this past year, and the entertainment,merriment,fury, impatience,knowlege,expertise and pure joy which I have received as a result.
I'll be thinking of you all and looking forward to more of the same.
May your God go with you.


Anonymous's picture

I can't believe you remembered Hairball!

All the best to you shadows...

Anonymous's picture

Who could forget poor bliddy Hairball whom I was going to send into orbit around the earth or convert to Catholicism, I can't remember which.
God bless the little heathen.