In breaking news all over local TV here, Australian scientists have announced that the 'Hobbit' species found on the Indonesian island of Flores may actually have been genetically mutated due to chronic use of nicotine. Head researcher at Newcastle University, April Dujour, said that excavations of the Flores lowlands had revealed that nicotine was the major crop on the island - but that no trace remained, suggesting that extreme use of the plant species, probably by smoking, meant that it had become extinct (much like the treeless Easter Island).
Working with a well-known genetic biologist, the Australian team has surmised that the endemic abuse of the nicotine crop led to stunted growth in the population. Dujour's former lecturer was stunned by the idea of nicotine in Indonesia: "This is a world first for April," he said. "It's a big day for her career." A peer-reviewed article is said to be imminent, in which the astounding claims are accompanied by another - that the bread baked by the primitive people lacked a crust, and as such caused the 'Hobbit' hair to be completely straight and free of curls.
Update: This story is of course our regular April Fools Day joke. We all know the real story about Flores - that they are the archaic super-race from which jockeys are descended. If you really want some interesting news, how about the fact that Dan Brown is now saying that Kashmir belongs to the U.S., or the apocalyptic revelation that Maynard James Keenan has left TOOL as he has recently found Jesus. Fascinating news stories over the weekend, that's for sure.
A quick note: Amazon.com has decided in its wisdom to offer a discount on my book Da Vinci in America: Unlocking the Secrets of Dan Brown's 'The Solomon Key'. So if you haven't picked up a copy yet, you can currently purchase it for less than $10 in the United States. Apologies to those who snapped it up straight away at the full price, but you retain my gracious thanks for your kind support.
Book Review - State of Fear by Michael Crichton
Michael Crichton's State of Fear is rapidly climbing the best seller lists. I had asked TDG member X_O to review the novel but I was not around when he published it on his blog. Now that I've returned, I am reposting the review:
STATE of FEAR by Michael Crichton
A review by X_O
A quick heads-up to let y'all know that I'm travelling for the next couple of weeks, so will only be around sporadically. Stepping into the chair for to cover the Tuesday news briefs while I'm away is our long-time helper and link gatherer, Kat - I'm sure she'll do a great job...in fact she'll probably be far better than me. Catch you on the other side.
The flying triangle poll has been archived after just over 1000 votes, with more than half of respondents saying these mysterious craft are just secret government projects. Around a quarter of those surveyed did think the triangles were from an alien civilisation. If you still want to vote on this poll, or any of the older ones, they all remain open and can be accessed from the Polls page (a handy link from the front page is just under the site logo).
The new poll takes its cue from my book Da Vinci in America, and asks what sort of influence Freemasonry had in the founding of the United States. With influential identities such as Washington and Franklin having a long history of involvement with 'the Craft', and the esoteric symbolism of the Great Seal, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that it played a major role in the creation of the new nation. Add to that, the desire of people such as Francis Bacon to create a 'New Atlantis', and it is certainly an interesting question. Feel free to add comments to the poll as well as your vote.
A sad piece of news just breaking: counter-culture author Hunter S. Thompson has reportedly shot and killed himself:
Hunter S. Thompson, the acerbic counterculture writer who popularized a new form of journalism in books like "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," fatally shot himself Sunday night at his Aspen-area home, his son said. He was 67.
This is breaking news, so I'm sure further information will be forthcoming.
The site has undergone a major upgrade today, and there are a number of issues we'll be working through over the next few days. So if you notice something looking a bit strange (or broken), please bear with us as we sort it all out. Some other changes are here for good - for instance, if you go into the 'My Account' section, you'll find that there are now clickable tabs at the top of the page for the different parts of your account. Also, the themes (all two of them) now have screenshots to show what they look like. Expect to notice numerous changes like these.
One new addition to the site which I would like to point out is the Amazon search module - in the left hand menu you'll now see 'Search Amazon.com': this link will take you to a page which lets you search Amazon while remaining within the Daily Grail website. This can only be set up for one particular Amazon branch, so we've decided to go with Amazon US - apologies to the other countries excluded.
A tip of the hat to my good friend Blair Blake, for mentioning my book Da Vinci in America on the Toolband.com website. Regular readers here will be familiar with my respect (read 'awe') for TOOL, so it's a buzz to be linked from their website. Anybody not familiar with TOOL's music should begin their education now. And Blair's a handy wordsmith himself, you can check out his book of visionary poetry - IJYNX - by purchasing it from the 'Shop' section of Toolband.com.
For anyone wanting to discuss my book Da Vinci in America, I'm actually the 'Author of the Month' over at Graham Hancock's website so drop on in if you have any questions about the book (or any topic really). In my capacity of AOM, I have contributed an article to GHHQ titled "Dan Brown and the Udjat", and will be available each day to discuss any topics at all on the Author of the Month messageboard. Thanks to Graham and Steve for having me at their site.
We have experienced some server problems over the last few hours, please bear with us while we attempt to pinpoint the source of the problem. Needless to say, if you have troubles reaching us, just try a little bit later. Apologies for any inconvenience caused.