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

News Briefs 20-06-2007

We've swapped news days, but we haven't swapped bodies. So why do I feel like a pint of Guinness and some Yeats?

Quote of the Day:

Being prepared to receive what thought is not prepared to think is what deserves the name of thinking

Jean-Francoise Lyotard

News Briefs 19-06-07

The world is about to end, and I was just getting used to it.

  • Earth is in imminent peril.
  • Fabrication of stone objects, by geopolymeric synthesis, in the pre-incan Huanka civilization.
  • The Gore dossier: the front man of the global warming hoax.
  • Stones confirm golden past of ancient African kingdom.
  • Embattled scientist on the edge of deletion.
  • Mystery of Earth’s innermost core solved.
  • We are running out of oil.
  • Flying a kite.
  • MAPS-ing a new frontier in psychedelic research.
  • Bees on the battlefield and other US military experiments.
  • Isaac Newton saw the end of the world in 2060.
  • Warnings of internet overload.
  • Drug resistance doesn’t always come from drugs.
  • Pick your favourite flood story.

Quote of the Day:


Life is an unbroken succession of false situations.

Thornton Wilder

News Briefs 18-06-2007

As it turns out, hell is actually populated by realists, not sinners.

Quote of the Day:

On our planet, we inhabit a calm little oasis of ordinary solids, liquids and gases that is immersed in a perpetually blowing, roiling, flaring erupting substance of a very different kind, called plasma. Sometimes called the fundamental state of matter to distinguish it from its tamer cousins, plasma makes up more than 99 percent of the visible universe. The plasma side of the cosmic ledger includes the seething atmospheres and interiors of stars, the wind of particles that our sun flings outward into space, Earth's cocoon-like magnetosphere, the tenuous wasteland between stars and galaxies, and fantastically energetic displays such as quasars, supernovas and parts of the compact spinning stars that spray out beams of x-rays like some kind of hellish fire hose. (More here.)

Adapted from The Pervasive Plasma State, an essay written by James Glanz for the American Physical Society.

News Briefs 15-06-2007

What will vegetarians do if plants turn out to be sentient?

  • Plants recognise their siblings. New spooky revelations about plants every other week lately...it'll be Day of the Triffids before too long.
  • 'Beastwatch' investigators descend upon Cannock Chase, in search of a werewolf. Nick Redfern has been documenting the weirdness at Cannock Chase for a while, and I think has a book out on the subject later this year.
  • Was there a psychic moment on Australia's 'Big Brother' television show?
  • Was an unrepentant Edinburgh sorcerer the inspiration for Dr Jekyll?
  • 'UFO' over Salt Lake City turns out to be a blimp. Are they sure it's not Moroni in his latest hot-rod?
  • Demolishing a cliche, Neanderthals were in fact 'ahead of their time'. Although, to be fair, to be 'ahead of the times' in 30,000 BCE just meant you didn't throw your faeces at each other.
  • Partying like it's 1999 (BC). Visiting Egypt's Sin City.
  • Ancient Rome brought back to life via world's biggest computer simulation.
  • An illustrated history of trepanation. Vaughan has a good summary on the topic as well at (the appropriately named, in this case) Mind Hacks.
  • Treasure hunt strikes gold at former Greek royal estate.
  • While Dan Brown might turn out to be a flash in the pan, the Bible continues to sell big. With a plot twist like the resurrection, how can you go wrong?
  • Skeptic Benjamin Radford tells you how it is with Full Moon Fever.
  • Oops - no puddles on Mars actually, say scientists. But forget puddles...new evidence points to oceans on Mars (in the past at least).
  • Meet the man at the top of the 'United Nations of Space'. Wouldn't it be more fun if they called themselves 'The Federation', or the 'Galactic Empire'...heck, I'd even settle for the '12 Colonies of Kobol'.
  • Revolutionary plasma rocket engine tested in Costa Rica.
  • Seth Shostak discusses the possibilities of habitable planets outside our Solar System.
  • Hail Eris! She's much bigger than Pluto.
  • Baby monitor picks up video from the space shuttle. The mother should check her baby is still at home...
  • Is the weather to blame for the great bee die-off?
  • An influential life comes to an end - goodbye, Mr Wizard.

Thanks Kat.

Quote of the Day:

Of all the ways of acquiring books, writing them oneself is regarded as the most praiseworthy method.

Walter Benjamin

News Briefs 14-06-2007

I'd rather be Marooned than feeling Blue...

Thanks Kat.

Quote of the Day:

If science can disprove some aspect of Judaism, then to hold on to it makes me, I guess, a loyal Jew, but a stupid human being… If my religion says that the world is flat, and I can show a photograph that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the world is round, but as a faithful person I’m going to hold onto the flatness of things, then yea, I’m a faithful idiot.

Rabbi Rami Shapiro

News Briefs 13-06-2007

Jameske got caught short again this week, so I'm posting the news. Couldn't add much, with an important football game on and all...

Thanks Jameske, Baldrick, Shadows and Tracy.

Quote of the Day:

People say what we're all seeking is a meaning for life. I don't think that's what we're really seeking. I think what we're seeking is an experience of being alive...so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. That's what it's all finally about..

Joseph Campbell

News Briefs 12-06-2007

My experiences with telepathy caused me to notice something both interesting and annoying -- the brain habitually echoes every thought by immediately trying to clothe it in words, even though I already know the full content of the thought without any words.

  • The Pentagon wants a string of solar satellites to beam power to Earth.
  • Light Fantastic: Flirting with invisibility.
  • Cause of mammoths' demise a tad less wooley.
  • New theories about why dinosaurs died agonizing deaths.
  • Early Europeans likely sacrificed their own.
  • World's oldest surviving book, the Dervenin papyrus, may hold a key to understanding early monotheistic beliefs. Large sections of the mid-4th century B.C. book -- a philosophical treatise on ancient religion -- were read years ago, but never officially published.
  • Greek archaeologists find four intact tombs dating from the Mycenaean period.
  • More Clues in the Legend (or Is It Fact?) of Romulus.
  • Ancient Rome reborn in virtual reality.
  • Professor proposes theory of unparticle physics.
  • A shocking idea: Nerves may run on sound, not electricity.
  • Can a Tiny Microphone Save the Bees — and the Food Supply?
  • Space station's new wings unfold.
  • Mysterious signal hints at subsurface ocean on Titan.
  • Researchers chart Internet 'black holes' - when packets are diverted to the wrong location, and lost forever.
  • New drug found to reverse male pattern baldness.
  • Eisenhower, scientists, and Sputnik. When men were men, and science advisors trusted.
  • Envirocateclysm of the Week: Dirty snow may be warming Arctic as much as greenhouse gases.
  • Researchers hope that immersing people in a virtual wildfire will encourage them to invest in prevention.
  • Drinking a milkshake-style medicine at breakfast seems to feed brain cells starved from Alzheimer's damage.
  • Newly discovered antibody may be the body's natural defense against Alzheimer's.
  • Drug that rejuvenates aging dopamine cells found to slow - and possibly halt - the progression of Parkinson's disease.
  • Japanese researchers engineer rice to carry cholera vaccine - to be delivered in a capsule or pill containing rice powder, not eaten.
  • Boffins put encrypted bio-copyright watermarks in beer DNA.
  • Newly identified 'starvation hormone' is responsible for low-carb diet's effectiveness.
  • Exploring the Mind-Body Orgasm. For more, check out The Science of Orgasm (Amazon US & UK).
  • Need to make a decision? According to a surprising new study, it may help to get angry.
  • Wisconsin Bigfoot sighting raises hairs. Includes photo of Bigfoot - trailed by what looks like the creature from the black lagoon.
  • Philip K Dick: A sage of the future whose time has finally come.
  • Anakin Skywalker: Borderline personality, bipolar or narcissist?
  • Editor who was first to spot the potential of JK Rowling's boy wizard claims to have found Potter's successor in tale of boy archaeologist.
  • Dante's Inferno: A Virtual Tour of Hell. (flash)
  • The wrath of 2007: America's great drought.
  • Eye-tracking device lets billboards know when you look at them.
  • Which ISPs are spying on you? Is your firewall spying on you too?
  • Additional 5.3 million pounds of ground beef recalled due to E. Coli contamination.
  • First Indian finishing school opens, to groom geeky software engineers in workplace etiquette and social skills. More are expected to open soon, since 300,000 Indian 'computer nerds' will be hired this year, many of whom will travel the world to work with clients that have outsourced software programming jobs.
  • Appeals court rules cops can stage collisions, steal cars and their contents, and lie to victims to conduct a warrantless search. Link now fixxored.
  • Calling the federal Real ID Act 'repugnant' to the state and federal constitutions, New Hampshire lawmakers vote to reject the Real ID Act. Legislation or resolutions opposing Real ID have been introduced in at least 26 states.
  • US federal appeals court orders the Pentagon to release a man being held within the US as an 'enemy combatant'.

Quote of the Day:

To sanction such presidential authority to order the military to seize and indefinitely detain civilians, even if the President calls them ‘enemy combatants,’ would have disastrous consequences for the Constitution — and the country. ...We refuse to recognize a claim to power that would so alter the constitutional foundations of our Republic.

Judge Diana Gribbon Motz, writing in the ruling of the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va. in the case of Ali al-Marri.

News Briefs 08-06-2007

How's the serenity...

Quote of the Day:

Most people live, whether physically, intellectually or morally, in a very restricted circle of their potential being. They make use of a very small portion of their possible consciousness, and of their soul's resources in general, much like a man who, out of his whole bodily organism, should get into a habit of using and moving only his little finger. Great emergencies and crises show us how much greater our vital resources are than we had supposed.

William James

News Briefs 07-06-2007

Lots of great stories about today, so dive right in...

Thanks Kat and Baldrick.

Quote of the Day:

Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe.

Frank Zappa

News Briefs 06-06-2007

Posting the news on behalf of Jameske, who got called in to work halfway through...

Quote of the Day:

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.

Dalai Lama