News, news and more news. We don't just fill your Xmas stocking, we're here for the duration.

News Briefs 17-08-2006

Short and sweet today, because it's just too nice a day outside...

  • Another review of Deborah Blum's Ghost Hunters: William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death (Amazon US), this one from the New York Times. Good to see some mainstream exposure on this, although there have been plenty of other very knowledgable researchers who have published on these topics previously.
  • The Great Zawi waters down talk of KV64 discovery by Nicholas Reeves: "Mr. Reeves wants publicity more than conducting his work through a scientific approach". I'll just hand the Pot a mirror to check his colour...
  • 2500-year-old figurines may be predecessors to Terracotta Army.
  • Israel-Hezbollah war endangers archaeological sites and ecosystems. People too, apparently.
  • Strangers in our skies - a guide to UFO sightings in Ireland. Chariots of the leprechauns?
  • Astronomers set to vote on 12 planets for our Solar System.
  • Space Shuttle Atlantis set for launch on August 27th.
  • Crew members of new James Bond film say aeroplane set is haunted. Seems to be a reliable way of getting publicity these days, to claim a haunted set.
  • Can you see the ghost in the library?
  • Big cat stalks Sydney's west-sieede. What's a few westies and Uni students...
  • Fastest evolving human gene is linked to brain development. And I thought it would have been the gene linked to idiotic wars and genocide.
  • Frozen mice parent healthy offspring, redefining the word 'frigid'.
  • Whale fossil sports some seriously scary teeth.
  • Neolithic stone carving of Big Dipper discovered in northwest China.
  • Circles cropping up across county fields. Probably a bit out-dated to call them 'circles' these days...
  • David Copperfield says he's found the elixir of youth. Obviously he's found the elixir of money too....wish I could afford to throw down $50 million on a few islands.

Thanks Kat.

Quote of the Day:

I do not think this is a door, and there is nothing behind it.

Zahi Hawass (on the 'Gantenbrink Door')

News Briefs 16-08-06

Way to go Mr. Frisky!

  • Cat drags in new theory on cairns.
  • The forger who fooled the world.
  • NASA borrows ideas from Apollo program.
  • Ancient pyramids found in Ukraine.
  • War paint plant tackles cancer.
  • Scientists gene test traces Pictish roots. How did he manage that?
  • The place of the biblical apocalypse is found.
  • The tribes of Britain: a subtle assimilation.
  • No happy ending for tale of Judge and three psychic dwarves.
  • Mesas with moats.
  • Quadrillion space rocks beyond Neptune.
  • Mammoths may roam again after 27000 years. Has it really been that long? How time flies.
  • CBS 60 Minutes Ahmadinejad Interview.
  • One giant blunder for mankind: how NASA lost moon pictures.
  • Scientists crack Martian chemical activity mystery.
  • Reason and emotion duke it out within the mind.
  • The backward sunspot.
  • Ancient whale truly weird.
  • DNA testing, banking and genetic privacy.
  • Our energy future: a message from Harold Aspden.
  • Dead Sea Scrolls theory faces new challenge.
  • Neolithic stone carving of Big Dipper found in NW China.
  • Planets plan boosts tally to twelve.

Quote of the Day:

Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this.


News Briefs 15-08-2006

Today's news has a theme of destruction and endings...and on the odd occasion, birth and rebirth.

Thanks Kat.

Quote of the Day:

God shmod! I want my monkey-man!

Bart Simpson

News Briefs 14-08-2006

Ask Kat, and you shall receive...

  • The actions of a domestic cat have thrown up a new theory about ancient stone burial cairns in Catness ... er, I mean, Caithness.
  • A 2000-year-old piece of paper inscribed with legible handwriting has been found in China.
  • A handicraft workshop more than 3600 years old has been discovered in China's Henan Province.
  • A centuries-old Qing Dynasty vase smashed to pieces by a museum visitor tripping over their untied shoelaces has been restored.
  • New archaeological research contradicts Tim Flannery's theory that Aborigines wiped out Australia's megafauna. Coming soon, Megawombat vs Godzilla.
  • US researchers have taken a mouse almost 500 million years back in time by reversing the process of evolution. If they had've gone the other way, we'd have a super-evolved mouse that could tell us the meaning of life.
  • Scientists have developed a new type of human genome map that could one day lead to breakthroughs in personalised medicine. And weapons.
  • The over-fishing of our oceans has caused an explosive proliferation of jellyfish worldwide. Jellyfish instead of Jaws doesn't quite have the same effect.
  • The 70-mile-long Pacific dead zone, water unable to sustain marine life due to low oxygen, is getting bigger.
  • Satellites show Greenland's ice is melting at record speeds.
  • Millions of Chinese farmers face misery and starvation as drought conditions worsen.
  • Despite the fossil fuel crisis, people continue to consume power at record rates, and air conditioners are to blame.
  • Can an ice-powered air conditioner help ease the USA's ridiculously high consumption of power in summer?
  • Is MIT's Manhattan Project -- developing technologies such as solar cells made of spinach, plasma-powered turbo engines, and algae-based biofuel -- the answer to our Global Warming woes?
  • Environmental groups have warned that corrosion inside a BP oil pipeline from the Caspian Sea to Turkey could cause a massive oil spill.
  • British Petroleum's pipeline troubles in Alaska should concern us all.
  • How does an oil pipeline get corroded anyway? There aren't enough bears in Alaska to pee on it.
  • Soldiers are getting sick of the amount of medication they must take to avoid the dangers of depleted uranium in war zones.
  • If you have hair-like coloured fibres running through your skin, then you may have Morgellons Disease.
  • Is there a conspiracy to cover-up the truth about Morgellons Disease?
  • The Centre for Disease Control is investigating, but can they be trusted?
  • Is Popular Mechanics guilty of nepotism, bias, shoddy research and agenda-driven politics regading the 9/11 event?
  • Here's YouTube video of CNN's Lou Dobbs and an investigation into the US Government's ineptitude and obfuscation in light of 9/11.
  • On a lighter note, President Bush has permitted himself the power to grant himself more power.
  • A review of Senator Byron Dorgan's book, Take This Job and Ship It: How Corporate Greed and Brain-Dead Politics Are Selling Out America (Amazon US or UK). Dorgan believes we are engaged in "a contest for the soul of a great nation, with immense ramifications for the entire world."
  • Here's another review of Dorgan's manifesto. Looks like a good book.
  • The reason why news agencies must be careful when buying photographs from freelancers.
  • If you find photoshopping your penis to make it larger too dishonest, then here's an entertaining article discussing the options available. Don't look at me, Kat sent me this link.
  • Researchers cast the misery of migraines in a new light.
  • Changes in manufacturing processes are making Western food toxic and addictive, leading to more obesity amongst children. Gee, I wonder if the addition of addictive ingredients is an accident?
  • But just to confuse us, researchers also tell us the most effective way of losing weight is not to try.
  • Getting older and crankier may mean you're smarter than the average bear. I'm a super-genius!
  • A two-year survey of enormous interstellar dust clouds has revealed eight organic molecules in two different regions of space. Eight is the magic number.
  • Will the cosmic computer philosophy help revolutionise our understanding of the universe? Here's hoping it's a Mac.
  • August 12th was IBM's 25th birthday by the way, a company many believe is responsible for the hideous beige colour we suffered with for over a decade.
  • The India Daily says alien civilisations populate the M87 giant elliptical galaxy in order to use the black hole at its center.
  • A Sri Lankan couple photographed a UFO in Bahrain.
  • Is it connected to a UFO spotted hovering above the Tree of Life in Bahrain recently. Here's a Wikipedia entry if you're wondering what that is.
  • Water flowing from a red oak tree more than 100 years old has experts completely baffled.
  • Iraqis ignore the local dentist in favour of a miracle tree known as the Nail Tree.
  • Burt Rutan talks about civilian spaceflight and gives us a look inside SpaceShip Two.
  • A Norwegian pioneer has successfully sailed a traditional raft from Peru to the island of Tahiti.
  • Either they've read one Koji Suzuki horror novel too many, or this office in Japan really is haunted by ghosts.
  • Traditions, folklore and rational explanations for ghosts in Southeast Asia.
  • A museum in Malaysia seeks ghost experts for a paranormal exhibition.
  • A brilliant article discussing the alchemist who thought he could fly: the 16th century mystery of John Damian.
  • Chuck Norris has the most votes in a poll to name a new bridge in Budapest, Hungary.
  • Feeling nostalgic for your 1980s action heroes? Sylvester Stallone is returning in Rambo IV. That they chose Burma is a good thing, it's a country rife with humans rights abuses that most people ignore. I highly recommend the Burma Campaign for information.

Thanks to my fabulous assistant Kat, and Hoo.

Quote of the Day:

"We're pushing the oceans back to the dawn of evolution, a half-billion years ago when the oceans were ruled by jellyfish and bacteria."

Jeremy Jackson, Marine Ecologist at the Scripps Insitution of Oceanography.

News Briefs 11-08-2006

Second half of this week has been a bit slow on news. So I had to make all of this up...

  • Canadian crop circle shaped like musical note sparks debate. "In every case we know to be real, we have found an elongated node on the plants' stems" - I'm wondering how they know which cases are real? Perhaps the ones with elongated nodes..?
  • Well before the Wright brothers, there was the Scottish king's alchemist who thought he could fly (mistakenly).
  • Plane crash blast or UFO?
  • Mars rover inspects Beagle Crater. Now, the researchers say the crater is named after Darwin's ship, but you've gotta be thinking it's an in-joke about the Beagle II. Relatively young...crater...Beagle. Hmmm?
  • Will Anousheh Ansari be the first female space tourist?
  • Satellite patent submitted by Bigelow Aerospace includes military pleasing stealth capabilities.
  • Wired pulls reporter's fake space news stories.
  • Navigational secrets of songbirds uncovered.
  • Researchers create music based on the underground movements of Sicily's volcanic Mount Etna. "Part-time Lava"? "Easy Lava"? Yes, I am a musical child of the 80s, with bad taste in puns.
  • Software developed to morph your snapshots so that your face is more aesthetically pleasing. I may need a supercomputer to do my processing...
  • Vladimir Putin orders a nationwide inventory of cultural treasures, after valuable works are stolen from the Hermitage Museum.
  • Scientists discover the molecular janitors which are supposed to clear away the sticky gunk blamed for Alzheimer's Disease.
  • Greenland ice cap may be melting at triple speed, new research suggests.
  • Gartner names the hot technologies for the coming decade.
  • Biotech - it means different things for science and spirituality.
  • Goat crowned King of Ireland at ancient fair. It's good to b-a-a the king.
  • Drought conditions in Wales has allowed the discovery of a treasure trove of ancient monuments.
  • Has the Patterson-Gimlin Bigfoot film been proven a hoax?
  • SETI: the search for science in science fiction.
  • Apocalypse soonish. From Christian Fundies, to the dangerous date of August 22nd in regards to Iran. Personally I can't wait for the rapture...Earth will be so much more liveable without all the fundamentalist idiots.

Thanks Kat.

Quote of the Day:

There is an art, or rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. Pick a nice day, and try it. The first part is easy. All it requires is simply the ability to throw yourself forward with all your weight, and the willingness not to mind that it's going to hurt. That is, it's going to hurt if you fail to miss the ground. Most people fail to miss the ground, and if they are really trying properly, the likelihood is that they will fail to miss it fairly hard.

Clearly, it is the second part, the missing, which presents the difficulties.

Douglas Adams

News Briefs 10-08-2006

Happy Birthday to our good buddy Mark James Foster!

Thanks Pam, Hoo and Kat.

Quote of the Day:

To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. To summarize the summary: anyone capable of getting themselves made President should by no means be allowed to do the job. To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem.

Douglas Adams ('The Restaurant at the End of the Universe')

News Briefs 09-08-06

Not much to go on today. A few good things worth it though.

  • The chosen ones.
  • Why we should beware mad scientists.
  • A flickering black hole.
  • A parasitic answer to allergies?
  • Allergies linked to Parkinson’s disease.
  • Strange holes in the ground discovered in Krasnoyarsk region.
  • One giant blunder for mankind: how NASA lost moon pictures.
  • Microbes reshuffle Earths early history.
  • From hot to cold in the Arctic.
  • British Petroleum’s smart pig.
  • Alchemy recast: modern science sees a gem.
  • Flu pandemic coming!
  • Space hotel gets a check up.
  • Evolution reversed in mice.
  • 911 Commission chairmen admit to whitewash.
  • Arthur Koestler: the 13th Tribe.
  • Stretching DNA yields surprise.

Quote of the Day:

The perfection of art is to conceal art.


News Briefs 08-08-2006

It's a rare and unique event - the daily news briefs. Cherish it...

Thanks Kat, Rainer and Corona.

Quote of the Day:

There are three ways of knowing a thing. Take for instance a flame. One can be told of the flame, one can see the flame with his own eyes, and finally one can reach out and be burned by it. In this way, we Sufis seek to be burned by God.

Unknown Sufi Scholar

News Briefs 07-08-2006

It's Monday already.

  • In response to my bad pun last week, several people have told me that C.S. Lewis did write science-fiction: Space Trilogy (Amazon US or UK).
  • Strange Horizons, a science-and-speculative-fiction magazine, has a great article discussing the rise of Right-Wing apocalyptic Christian scifi thrillers.
  • There's no theological allegories in Japanese toy consumerism. Toymaker is producing human-sized versions of the Gundam Mobile Suits from the Japanese anime classic. When they build one that I can actually pilot, then I'll be impressed.
  • Robotics researcher Hiroshi Ishiguro has built a life-like android in his own image to teach long-distance classes.
  • It all started with Astroboy, and decades later Japan continues to march into the future of robotics.
  • If our global civilisation dies, what will replace it? Cockroaches, lawyers and bloggers is my guess.
  • For decades, the Amazonian Kayapo people have defended their land against developers, and they're not giving up.
  • A travel piece about the Catholic shrine at Lourdes, which predictably doesn't mention the cave's fairy origins at all. You can read Greg's interviews with Vallee and Hancock in Sub Rosa issues 2 and 4.
  • A Florida medium says he can contact the dead, and that everyone has the capability to do so.
  • FATE magazine has an interesting article about Wolf Messing, Russia's greatest psychic. He has a Native American cousin, Messing With Wolves.
  • The UK's MoD is investigating muliple sightings of orange orbs in the night sky.
  • It's not the Sword of Damocles from the Cave of No Return (I went there once), but a golden dagger has been discovered in Bulgaria, as sharp as it was 5000 years ago.
  • The Roman numeral VI has been discovered etched into an Indian hill, resembling the lines of Nazca in Peru. If there's a IV or a VII nearby, then look for a tall structure casting a shadow.
  • Five years after the Taliban blew up the giant Bamiyan Buddha statues, UNESCO is helping to fund an Aghan initiative to put them back together again.
  • Galloping in the ancient hoofprints of Ghengis Khan.
  • Southwest China is experiencing one of the worst droughts on record, with 2.39 million people facing a serious shortage of clean drinking water.
  • Ugandan politicians are considering making ancient reconciliation rituals part of the country's legal system in an effort to help end one of Africa's longest wars. Do they have those in Judaism and Islam?
  • Five years after the event, the Scholars for 9/11 Truth are dusting off their tweed jackets with the corduroy elbow patches and chasing conspiracies.
  • Microsoft has invited hackers to test the security of their new Windows Vista software, only to find the hackers invited themselves months ago.
  • Feeling down when online? Computer-based art will change to match your mood. You're in trouble if Hieronymous Bosch is set as wallpaper.
  • A UK bank plans to send 1.6 million hand-held password devices to its customers in a desperate bid to beat increasing levels of internet fraud. No one's impersonated me on TDG yet.
  • Our good friend Cernig is most probably off to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this week. Don't be shy to ask the ladies of Bangkok for a dance to a good ol' Scottish jig.
  • Or if you're feeling even more adventurous, perhaps you'd like to attend Europe's first ever Masturbate-a-thon.
  • If you go blind, Hong Kong scientists have developed a pair of glasses and shoes that will help you navigate the trickiest of terrain.
  • Astronauts may need a pair, as NASA plans to send a manned mission to the dark side of the moon.
  • The moon's odd bulge around the middle has been explained, and it's not because of rabbits feeding it too much mochi.
  • In the Chilean Andes, astronomers are building a telescopic time machine to catch a glimpse of the universe exploding 1.3 billion years ago.
  • Ten years after a martian meteorite caused an extraterrestrial controversy, few people still believe it contains fossilised bacteria from Mars.
  • Russia is asking for volunteers to take part in a simulated 520-day flight to Mars. They should use Big Brother contestants, and make it one way.
  • Store plenty of apples: apple juice is one of the best foods for boosting brain function and memory.

Thanks Kat.

Quote of the Day:

Reality is whatever refuses to go away when I stop believing in it.

Philip K. Dick

News Briefs 04-08-2006

I totally forgot I was standing in for Kat today, and I apologise for the news not being up to her high standards (I'd need amphetamines and cyber-augmentations to achieve that).

  • Random House holds crisis talks as Dan Brown's the Da Vinci Code slips out of the bestseller charts ... after a being in the Top 50 since March 2004.
  • Writer Terry James puts a heavy Christian spin to the UFO phenomena with his novel The Rapture Dialogues: Dark Dimension. Imagine if CS Lewis was a scifi writer ...
  • According to the results of a survey, books play a crucial role in influencing our opinions of strangers, with half of the participants admitting they judged a person on the basis of what they were reading.
  • Crop Circles have begun appearing in the English countryside again, with intriguing new permutations. They have their paranormal with tea and scones in England.
  • Circles don't always appear in crops, with the deserts of Africa providing a broad canvas for the mysterious designers.
  • A conceptual artist whose projects include copyrighting his brain and attempting to genetically engineer God is turning his attention to interstellar signals detected by SETI.
  • Dozens of crop circles have appeared in Poland this year, including UFOs such as a triangular craft.
  • Are contrails just streaks of water vapour from passing planes, or something more chemically sinister?
  • A survey suggests more than half of Britons believe in psychic powers such as mind-reading and premonitions.
  • Schools exploring paranormal subjects are booming, with students arriving from all walks of life. I'll enrol the moment I see a listing for Professor Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters.
  • Kids aren't the magical thinkers we believe them to be, according to a new study that has implications for causal attribution and our beliefs in the supernatural.
  • Thousands of Sri Lankans gathered at temples after media reports that coloured images of the Buddha had begun emitting miraculous rays. The Vatican denies it needs to come up with new material, and that its statue-of-Virgin-Mary-shedding-tears-of-blood routine still draws crowds.
  • Is a common parasite found in cats affecting human behaviour on a global scale? Maybe this explains Kat's absence today ...
  • An alien abductee shares proof that we are not alone; Aware of Their Presence by Craig Jacocks (Amazon US or UK).
  • Spectacular images of a UFO were taken by a woman in Coral Springs on Bastille Day last month.
  • Legendary Remote Viewer Ingo Swann made claims of covert extraterrestrial activity on the Moon and here on Earth, and the CIA's Stargate documents support him.
  • Which makes you wonder about NASA recently announcing their plans to send a manned mission to the far side of the moon.
  • Japan plans to have a manned station on the moon by 2030. All your base are belong to us. I don't have the heart to tell them the truth about moon rabbits making mochi.
  • Astronomers are completely baffled by planemos, planet-like worlds that orbit each other. There's that duality thing again.
  • Mini planetary systems may orbit cosmic objects that are 100 times smaller than our Sun. Gulliver in space.
  • Chris Kennish sent me a link to an intriguing website detailing the forgotten correspondences of the Isometric Sephiroph.
  • Are antimatter-fueled spacecraft the stuff of scifi dreams or scientific reality? Make it so, Number One.
  • Two astronomers argue that cosmic radiation was the catalyst for human evolution 40'000 years ago. Spray us again please, Cosmos.
  • National Geographic has an awesome interactive program exploring extraterrestrial life. I highly recommend it.

Thanks Chris, Greg, and Kat.

No thanks at all to my memory.

Quote of the Day:

You can't trample infidels when you're a tortoise. I mean, all you could do is give them a meaningful look.

Terry Pratchett