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

News Briefs 05-06-2006

Should we be worried it's Greg who will be posting the news on the 6th day of the 6th month of the 6th year?

  • Dire consequences are predicted for the world's 500 million desert-living population, due to climate change and water shortages.
  • A meteor believed to have caused the biggest mass extinction in Earth's history (before the dinosaurs), may also have created the Australian continent.
  • Not only do scientists think a meteor wiped out the dinosaurs, but now they believe a huge meteor strike in Antarctica gave birth to them.
  • It's been 84 years since the last intact tomb was found in the Valley of the Kings, and it may be another 84 years before they work out what it is.
  • The battle to stop the construction of a highway near Ireland's Tara Hill continues.
  • Decoding the charred remains of the Derveni papyrus may have implications for the Gospel of Judas.
  • Looking for evidence of fish-to-land evolution in the Arctic.
  • Cryptomundo has a screenshot of the coelacanth filmed off the coast of Indonesia recently.
  • Electric fish emitting different signals may be on the verge of an evolutionary split.
  • Scientists are no closer to working out what ball lightning is.
  • FATE magazine has a great article about UFOs over sacred sites.
  • A woman in the Washington DC area saw 6-8 white hovering lights that were too quiet to be a helicopter.
  • Waterhen Lake is a hotspot for UFO sightings lately, which seem to be interested in the water.
  • Wendy saw a green object as large as the moon sailing across treetops parallel to her car.
  • ThothWeb (I hope I got that one right!) discusses the alien skull debate.
  • Meet EveR-1, a South Korean female android who can express emotions and hold a conversation. My first name is Rick, but my surname is not Deckard.
  • The Lost Orwell is a new book by Peter Davison offering new insights into the life of a genius (Amazon UK only).
  • Here's an article for Brian Joseph, Patti Boyd discusses her life as a muse to George Harrison.
  • A Jesuit priest rejects U2 leadsinger Bono's claim that religion has severely damaged Ireland.

Thanks Kat.

Quote of the Day:
I'm not doubting. I don't doubt God. I have firm faith absolutely in God. It's religion I'm doubting.

Bono

News Briefs 02-06-2006

Monday, the tiny 23 amp, 12v battery in my small gate-opening clicker went caput. Tuesday, the 9v battery in my larger gate-opening clicker died. Wednesday, my car battery bit the dust. Just coincidence, or is the universe trying to tell me something?

Quote of the Day:

Coincidences are spiritual puns.

G.K. Chesterton

News Briefs 01/06/2006

Why is it June already, and what happened to March, April and May??? o_O

  • The 4700-year-old Silbury Hill is under threat from ramblers who now have the right to roam. Julius Caeser passed a similar law.
  • A 1000-year-old citadel was uncovered in Hanoi during the construction of a carpark.
  • The recent earthquake on May 27th killed thousands of Indonesians, and it also badly damaged the Prambanan temple complex.
  • Chinese archaeologists have unearthed an ancient city that has remained buried beneath the Taklimakan sands for 2200 years.
  • Giant clouds of dust whipped up by desert storms in Africa can carry infectious organisms to other continents, scientists claim. Toto has rabies?
  • A hidden ecosystem has been discovered beneath an Israeli cement quarry. I was hoping for Fraggles.
  • The Earth's tropical zone has expanded further from the equator since 1979, providing evidence of global warming.
  • Scientists claim to have discovered how to achieve invisibility without breaking the laws of physics. If they're male undergrads, I'm sure they'll be breaking other kinds of laws.
  • An exotic theory that proposes the existence of an extra fourth spatial dimension, could be tested using a satellite to be launched in 2007. Is it wise to open a door not knowing what's on the other side?
  • Nearly 50 tons of red rain showered India in 2001, and now the race is on to figure out what it is, and why Peter Gabriel hasn't booked a concert in Delhi.
  • On film he's married an alien, played a conehead, busted ghosts, and now he's produced a documentary on UFOs: Dan Ackroyd Unplugged On UFOs. It's a serious doco, by the way.
  • Bob Park, a vocal critic of spaceflight, claims that intelligent alien civilizations do exist, but they have not colonized the galaxy because they don’t want to. Imagine the frightening possibility of a planet populated by Bob Parks!
  • A study has found that music can significantly ease a patient's perception of chronic pain. Most music in the Top 40 will make the pain worse.
  • In his book the Singing Neanderthals, Steven Mithin suggests neanderthals had a musical culture (Amazon US or UK). [Insert heavy metal pun here].
  • Is this photograph one of the most powerful UFO images ever captured?
  • Babies born in winter are more likely to be bigger, brighter and more successful adults than their summer counterparts, according to Harvard researchers. I prove that theory wrong, but then again, my pessimism proves them right!
  • A pregnant British woman is fighting to have her baby induced so it's not born on the 6/6/06. Idiots, it's not 6/6/6, it's 6/6/2006. Gosh!
  • Hopefully these June 6th conspiracies are on the doctor's waiting room coffee table for her to read.
  • Was Aleister Crowley the father of Barbara Bush, mother of George Dubya Bush, and is the occultist rolling in his grave?
  • In a paddy-lined valley in the far north of Japan is a municipal signpost inscribed, Tomb Of Christ: Next Left. The Holy Grail is a Tamagotchi.
  • Weird plaques embedded in downtown St Louis point to Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, but no one knows who made them. Known as Toynbee Plaques, they've mystified everyone for two decades, and are also found in Pittsburgh.
  • An excellent interview with Carol K. and Dinah Mack, authors of A Field Guide to Demons: Fairies, Fallen Angels, and Other Subversive Spirits (Amazon US or UK).
  • My favourite storyteller Neil Gaiman was recently in Sydney, and here are wmv videos of his Graphic Books presentation with Audrey Niffenegger, and the Meet the Writers presentation with Jonathan Stroud. If you need me, me and Neil'll be hanging out with the Dream King.

Quote of the Day:

Stories may well be lies, but they are good lies that say true things, and which can sometimes pay the rent.

Neil Gaiman

News Briefs 31-05-2006

Substituting for Jameske today, I can think of no better intro than The Simpsons as philosophy.

Quote of the Day:

In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.

George Orwell

News Briefs 30-05-2006

Happy birthday Dad...

  • Professor predicts human time travel this century. Someone check his birth certificate...
  • National Geographic has a long feature on Peruvian shamanism and the use of ayahuasca. Has a little video teaser as well.
  • The recent Indonesian earthquake badly damaged an historic Hindu temple. Speaking of the quake, I think I mentioned last week that the UFO sightings over China were reminiscent of the 'wave' preceding the Boxing Day earthquake/tsunami...
  • Ground-scanning to be done at Native American mounds site.
  • Controversy over claims in favour of GM corn.
  • Researchers produce images of AIDS virus which may help shape a vaccine.
  • Abominable actor (yes that's an unfortunate pairing of words) Paul Gleason has passed away.
  • What is lurking in Johor? Bigfoot, cyclops, yeti or hype?
  • Welsh UFO 'myth' debunked?
  • Is there a point to the Lost experience? Much as I enjoy watching the show, I reckon put me in a room with a few monkeys and typewriters and I could come up with something which makes more sense. Although TDG news readers may not agree...
  • Pagan Pride March in London puts the spotlight on pagan prejudice.
  • Officials join debate over pentacle headstone marker for Wiccan soldier.
  • Are you ready to take advantage of the business opportunities which would come with Ray Kurzweil's vision of the future?
  • Google users promised artificial intelligence. Does that mean Google thinks we don't have natural intelligence?
  • Alberto Gonzales urges ISPs to keep your Internet usage logs rather than deleting them. I bet he's just a fan of nostalgia.
  • Iran says it is working on nuclear fusion.
  • Space elevator idea is going down.
  • Skeptic Michael Shermer has changed his mind...well, on the subject of environmental skepticism anyhow.

Quote of the Day:

Every four years the naive half who vote are encouraged to believe that if we can elect a really nice man or woman President everything will be all right. But it won't be. Any individual who is able to raise $25 million to be considered presidential is not going to be much use to the people at large. He will represent oil, or aerospace, or banking, or whatever moneyed entities are paying for him. Certainly he will never represent the people of the country, and they know it.

Gore Vidal

News Briefs 29/05/2006

So much work to do, I'm like a mouse balancing an elephant on the tip of his nose.

  • Are the ruins of the legendary kingdom of Cantre'r Gwaelod to be found submerged in Cardigan Bay?
  • Is the legendary Boudicea buried beneath a Birmingham McDonalds? Imagine what the toy is in a happy meal!
  • The Great Pyramid is a cuckoo clock, according to engineer Jean-Pierre Houdin. And anyone who thinks the shafts are for air ventilation are cuckoo, imo.
  • A year after the discovery of a burial chamber in the Valley of the Kings, Egyptologists still can't decide what it is. Perhaps we need an alternative theory from Robert Bauval, and then they'll quickly decide what it isn't.
  • A colossal statue of Ramses II will say goodbye to the traffic and exhaust fumes of Cairo's Ramses Square, and say hello to the Grand Egyptian Museum. Ramses! Colossus! Yeah, Indigo here we go oh ...
  • Titicaca, lake of legend and gold.
  • More than half of Britons believe in psychic powers, a survey suggests, tho whether it was taken at an Ibiza rave is another thing.
  • The popularity of reading past-lives is booming in Japan, thanks to a spiritual counsellor and his co-host, a cross-dressing singer said to be the reincarnation of a 17th century Christian revolutionary.
  • An engineering student speculates that OBEs (out-of-body experiences) allow us a glimpse of the mutidimensional universe as predicted in string theory. Hey, I already thought of that! But I don't have a degree ...
  • A geneticist, a philosopher and a chicken farmer walk into a bar and ask, "What came first? The chicken or the egg?"
  • Scientists predict how to detect a fourth dimension of space. You take the third dimension, and add one.
  • Glowing, silvery blue clouds that have been spreading around the world and brightening mysteriously in recent years will be studied by NASA.
  • Three planets roughly the same mass as Neptune have been discovered around a nearby sun-like star.
  • A dragon-like dinosaur has been named after JK Rowling's school for young wizards, Hogwarts. When they find a dinosaur skull with a lightning bolt on its forehead, you'll have Harrypottersaurus.
  • X-rays of a duck reveal an extraterrestrial face. No wonder they waddle when they walk.

Thanks Kat.

Quote of the Day:

Destiny is a name often given in retrospect to choices that had dramatic consequences.

JK Rowling

News Briefs 26-05-2006

Are we safe yet?

Quote of the Day:

...the changes that George W. Bush has made to our nation's constitutional firmament may not depart with the first family's bags. His disregard for the separation of powers has so dramatically distorted the office of the president that he may have engineered a turning point in American history.
Bush has taught tomorrow's leaders that, if there are no consequences for ignoring legal constraints on power and if no one stops you from conducting the nation's business in secret, you don't have to be accountable.
Being answerable to another is humbling. It makes you more careful in your actions. It requires that you consider how you will defend your decisions. George Bush has freed himself of this constitutional imperative and is showing the next president, and the next, how it is done.

Excerpts from Robyn E. Blumner's recent editorial.

News Briefs 25-05-2006

Damn the Blues...damn them all to hell.

  • Nazca Line photos deepen the mystery.
  • Third Annual Conference on Precession and Ancient Knowledge to feature Graham Hancock, John Anthony West and Robert Schoch.
  • Who will save the Hill of Tara from modern roadworks?
  • New edition of William Burroughs’ The Yage Letters (Redux) (Amazon US and UK) reveal how the famous writer was transformed by his South American ayahuasca expedition.
  • Meet Sasha Shulgin - at 81 years old, the (re)creator of Ecstasy still has a passion for creating new mind-altering cocktails.
  • These cattle mutilations are alien to me.
  • Mystery object falls through roof, then somehow embeds in wall.
  • Skull found in ceiling may have been used in rituals of 19th century Fraternal society.
  • Mysterious circles of light - aliens, atmospheric phenomena, or window reflections. I’m not sure which Internet this ‘enigma’ is "sweeping"...perhaps Mr Polidoro is surfing the Idiotnet?
  • Is there any truth, or power, to the mythos of the Sacred Feminine?
  • On the back of The Da Vinci Code having the second biggest weekend opening in history, Columbia Pictures orders another Dan Brown adaptation - this time Angels and Demons will be made into a film. I am available for DVC sequel film scripts by the way...
  • Japanese Lab recreates the voices of Leonardo da Vinci and the Mona Lisa. First words it said were: "Where’s my stinking royalties Mr Brown?"
  • Astronaut’s orbital golf shot pulled from the next ISS mission. You know what they say, golf is just a good way of ruining a nice (space)walk.
  • Who would have known? Our solar system is kinky.
  • Steve Wozniak, inventor of the Apple computer, tells all.
  • Web inventor Tim Berners Lee warns of a 'Dark Net' if U.S. plans to split the intarweb are successful.
  • Company plans to offer free wireless broadband to 95% of Americans. The other 5% get two tin cans and a piece of string.
  • Sleeping pill may rouse some coma patients.
  • Scientists find that even ruthless old evolution thinks it's better to be nice to others.
  • Synthetic biologists (who the hell created them?) reject controversial guidelines for bioweapon prevention.
  • British doctors attack funding of complementary medicines.
  • Scientists restore sight to blind chickens. Sure, you want to pull my acupuncture rebate, just so you can help poultry!
  • Gigantic fusion reactor gets the green light. Just as long as it doesn’t get the flashing red warning light in the future...
  • New Orleans faces another grim hurricane season. And another grim Dubya season.
  • British French Fries factory evacuated twice in one week due to bomb parts and grenades being found amongst the potatoes dug up from World War II battlefields.
  • Alligator hysteria sweeps Florida in the wake of three attacks on humans.
  • Sex theme park to open in London. Bound to be closed some days because of headache though...

Quote of the Day:

Our national drug is alcohol. We tend to regard the use of any other drug with special horror.

William S. Burroughs

News Briefs 24-05-06

Short and sweet.

Quote of the Day:


It requires a very unusual mind to undertake the analysis of the obvious.

Alfred North Whitehead

News Briefs 23-05-2006

I'm helping out for a few days over at Sploid.com. As if news updates here aren't enough work - I must be a masochist...

  • Companies cash in on the upcoming 666 frenzy (as in June 6th, 2006). But what about 616?
  • Religious experts rebut The Da Vinci Code film.
  • UFO explodes over China. Sounds suspiciously like the sightings shortly before the 2004 tsunami.
  • UFO crashes into African sea? What's with the bad alien driving lately?
  • New book from Col. Jesse Marcel: Roswell: It Really Happened.
  • Is the recent news blitz on Morgellons Disease just a viral marketing campaign for the film version of Philip K. Dick's A Scanner Darkly (which I'm very much looking forward to...the movie that is, not the disease)?
  • Mad Cow Disease may have infected far more people than originally thought. Moo, I say!
  • The mathematical structure of terrorism. I'd hate to be the one trying to teach it to Dubya.
  • Slovak doctor says solar flares could raise strokes.
  • Scientists predict an above normal hurricane season in 2006.
  • Al Gore blows into Cannes, saying the world is facing a planetary emergency from global warming.
  • While researchers say the world will be even hotter by century's end. The controversial question is: what's causing it?
  • Ivory-billed woodpecker a no-show in recent search. You have to keep the mystery in a relationship.
  • Pigeons think in logarithms. So much for insulting someone by calling them 'bird-brained'.
  • What weather's in store for Britain this summer? Fish and frogs apparently. Good thing the Ashes are here in Australia this year...
  • The male fascination with size appears to be universal, with species around the world evolving huge decorations to impress the females. And no, I'm not using 'decorations' as a euphemism.
  • Towards immortality: the social burden of longer lives.
  • Scientists build a virtual world of software beings.
  • Scientists find you may be doomed to failure, all because of the poverty gene.
  • What does sound look like? Take a look at this video (found via Strange Attractor).
  • Keef flies home from New Zealand after brain surgery.
  • Madonna's giant cross offends Christian groups.

Thanks Kat.

Quote of the Day:

Such a weird belief. Lot of Christians wear crosses around their necks. You think when Jesus comes back he's gonna want to see a f'ing cross, man? "Owwwwww". May be why he hasn't shown up yet. "Man, they're still wearing crosses. F**k it, I'm not goin, dad. No, they totally missed the point. When they start wearing fishes I might show up again, but... Let me bury fossil heads with you Dad"...you know, kinda like going up to Jackie Onassis with a rifle pendant on, you know. "Thinkin' of John, Jackie. We love him. Just tryin to keep that memory alive, baby."

Bill Hicks