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The flying triangle poll has been archived after just over 1000 votes, with more than half of respondents saying these mysterious craft are just secret government projects.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.
A few people have emailed regarding delays in delivery of my book Da Vinci in America from Amazon.com. Amazon have said that they are "still trying to order the book" - this is absolute nonsense, as DVIA is available on a 24 hour turnaround from the supplier (as evidenced by Barnes and Noble only taking 4 days from order to delivery for U.S. customers).
I would urge anyone waiting for the book from Amazon.com to cancel your order and instead purchase the book through Barnes and Noble (exactly the same price). It takes no time to set up a new account, as I happily found out myself. For those in the United Kingdom, there is no problem with Amazon UK, which I'm glad to report is shipping within 24 hours.
I have emailed three complaints to Amazon.com regarding their obvious problem in ordering, if you wish to add your voice then please do: go to this page, click on 'Contact Us' at the bottom and then let them know that you have been told the book is readily available, and query why then it hasn't been ordered from the supplier yet. Thanks to anyone affected for your patience, and my sincere personal apologies for these unnecessary delays.
A quick tip of the hat to one of TDG's friends, Alan Boyle, who posts his 'Cosmic Log' over at MSNBC. Yesterday Alan kindly posted a generous review of my book Da Vinci in America, which sent such numbers here that we actually had server problems (while not exactly a 'slashdotting', we've come up with the new term 'hard-boyled').
So a weekend shout-out back to Alan and his Cosmic Log, which I recommend as a daily stop to all TDG regulars as a good source of news and intelligent commentary on science, space, and other assorted topics. And to make it easy for you, you can even find a link to the Cosmic Log in the 'Best Links' section on the left-hand side of the page.
A note to explain a couple of changes on the page. The observant among you may have noticed a new 'block' towards the bottom of the left-hand side of the page, titled 'Best Links'. This is a quick sampling of links to the best sites (and some of our best friends as well) we recommend. More will be added as we think of them.
Also, on the right-hand side of the page (under the poll), there is now a 'Cool Things' block, in which we'll be posting some of the best new books, CDs and DVDs (or alternatively, something older that we're getting into for the first time). Remember if you are a member you can turn these blocks on or off, as is the case with most of the other blocks - each account can be customised to present only the information you want to see.