Tuesday Roundup24-10-2006

A strange assortment to get you through the week...


News Briefs 24-10-2006

I know exactly what you mean Rick...

Quote of the Day:

Today it is the fashion to talk of “drugs” in a monolithic sense, as if they were all the same, and as if they were all necessarily bad....our culture is out of step with the entire record of human experience; it is our culture which is eccentric, bizarre and deeply obtuse.

Paul Devereux

Bishop Blog

Greg Bishop, author of the acclaimed Project Beta (Amazon US and UK) and editor of the magazine The Excluded Middle, has joined the blogosphere with his own blog. First up on the new blog is a comprehensive report on the recent New Frontiers Symposium, which he was a speaker at. Worth keeping a close eye on, as Greg is an excellent writer/researcher on all the topics us Grailers enjoy. Note too that Greg also has a 'permanent' website which has news and articles on all manner of interesting topics, from the paranormal to ufology, which you should check out if you haven't previously.

Radio 24-10-2006

Here's the alternative radio schedule for the first half of the week.

Fate Radio: This week's guest Dr Chet Snow, who details the reduced number of circles this year and tells why the 47 created are more important than ever (Real Audio or Windows Media).

Coast to Coast AM: On Monday Howard West tells how he thinks he has deciphered ancient manuscripts from 12,500 years ago which reveal ancient technology and the names of "The Watchers." Tuesday's guest is Kevin Todeschi from the A.R.E., speaking about Cayce and dream interpretation, on Wednesday astrobiologist and astronomer Dr. David Darling will discuss the origins of the universe, the afterlife, human evolution, and immortality, and on Thursday Brad Steiger, will discuss the most bizarre phenomenon in all of psychical research - the poltergeist.

More details including relevant guest links are available at the C2C website.

News Briefs 23-10-2006

I can't think of an opening line.

  • Symbols carved into 8600-year-old tortoise shells and other bones found in a Neolithic grave in central China may edit the history of writing.
  • A translation of the 2400-year-old Derveni Papyrus, a mystical text discussing the fate of the soul and other philosophies, has finally been completed. My novels might take a bit longer.
  • Heritage Malta has begun efforts to preserve 5000-year-old graffiti carved into megaliths at the Tarxien Temples.
  • An eminent 92-year-old Turkish archaeologist is to be tried for inciting religious hatred because she suggested in her book that the use of headscarves by women dated back to pre-Islamic sexual rites. Unfortunately the article doesn't explain how the headscarves were used.
  • Mosaics from the late Roman period have been uncovered at the ancient city of Hadrianoupolis on the coast of the Turkish Black Sea, decorated with a myriad of animals and birds.
  • A travel piece (with a stunning photo) about the 5000-year-old ruins of Caral, Peru.
  • Archaeologists found the remains of a Viking-era ship within a burial mound on a Norwegian farm. It's not every day I get news from Norway!
  • Been a while since we heard from Zahi Hawass too, who has just announced the first-ever discovery of a tomb belonging to a Pharaoh's dentist. Click "next photo" for more pics and info.
  • The US State Department has delayed a decision to restrict the imports of Chinese antiquities to the United States, making museum directors and art dealers happy, but dismaying archaeologists and angering China.
  • A report in New Scientist says that if people were to become extinct today, all traces of humankind would be eradicated in 200'000 years. I'm sure plastic bags and six-pack rings will be floating around somewhere.
  • Science teachers say the demotion of Pluto brings new opportunities to teach kids about the solar system, and perhaps inspire future space pioneers. I bet it was the Taylor kids who taught their dad how to use Celestia.
  • A new study suggests life can exist deep underground for millions of years without any energy input from the sun, boosting hopes for subterranean life on Mars.
  • NASA scientists say the hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica has grown to the biggest size ever recorded -- larger than the North American continent.
  • Folk in the UK will get a stunningly clear night to watch the Orionid meteor shower this Sunday. Bring your own soap and shower-cap.
  • A dozen space elevator prototypes are competing for US$150'000 in the X Prize Cup. Wouldn't you be annoyed if someone hit all the buttons?
  • A new study from Stanford University says one in eight web-surfing adults are addicted to the internet. Don't look at me, Kat, they refused to accept TDG volunteers for fears it'd make their statistic-machines explode.
  • A major exhibition at London's Science Museum ponders the history of video games, and asks if they're a blessing or a curse? When I pwn noobs and ninja l33t loot, it's a blessing, but when I get pwned by noobs and have my l33t loot ninja'd, it's a curse.
  • From Pravda, tales of people suffering from cranial injuries developing extraordinary abilities.
  • A Russian woman claims to eavesdrop on dolphins, and she can also communicate with ants.
  • Maybe she can talk to Narwhal whales, who have distinctive voices, according to researchers who have recorded individuals for the first time.

Quote of the Day:

It doesn't have to be a big fire, a small blaze, candelight perhaps...

Ray Bradbury

Weekend Roundup 20-10-2006

A few things to keep you busy over the weekend...


News Briefs 20-10-2006

Gootube? I sure hope that's not official.

Thanks Greg.

Quote of the Day:

Harold: What were you fighting for?
Maude: Oh, Big issues. Liberty. Rights. Justice. Kings died, kingdoms fell. I don't regret the kingdoms - what sense in borders and nations and patriotism? But I miss the kings.

An ancient, youthful Maude explaining her radical past to a youthful, ancient Harold in the 1971 movie, Harold and Maude.

Radio 20-10-2006

Here's the rundown on the radio schedules for the second half of the week:

Whitley Strieber's Dreamland: This week's guest is Jim Marrs, who will discuss the topics in his new book The Terror Conspiracy (Amazon US and UK).

Coast to Coast AM: Friday is open lines with Art Bell, while on the early show Saturday Ian welcomes welcomes scholar and mythologist John Lash, who'll speak about the Gnostics and goddess Sophia, followed by Dr. Janis Amatuzio who will discuss otherworldly events surrounding the transition between life and death. On Sunday Art Bell talks to Stephan A. Schwartz about his latest work researching how consciousness affects the structure of water.

More details including relevant websites are available at the linked pages above. Remember also that while Coast to Coast is subscription, Dreamland is free. Dreamland also now offers a podcast of the most recent show.

Dawkins and Darwin

There are certainly aspects of Richard Dawkins' opinions that I object strongly to, in particular his intolerance of anyone who doesn't agree with his thoughts on the supremacy of science as a way of understanding the world we live in. However, Dawkins remains an intelligent and thoughtful writer (when not indulging his own prejudices), and offers some incisive commentaries on human behaviour. I wholeheartedly recommend having a browse around The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, as there's plenty of interesting thoughts to digest (and disagree with, often!). On site at this moment also is Dawkins' appearance on The Colbert Report, which provides a refreshing view of Dawkins having some fun, instead of the all-too-common view of him as being angry, frustrated and boorish.

And while we're visiting the lands of Darwinian evolution, I really must pass on this weblink to the complete works of Charles Darwin online. The site boasts "the largest collection of Darwin's writings ever assembled", so you have no excuse to tell me that you had nothing to read over the weekend.

News Briefs 19-10-2006

Learner spoon-benders, today has the news you've been waiting for...

  • Readers try to unlock code to 'Da Vinci' sequel. Marvellous how a long and interesting phone interview gets reduced to an extremely bland one sentence. I wonder if Kat will ever speak to me again for speaking to Fox News.
  • The Da Vinci Code provides a boost for Scotland's tourism industry.
  • Spanish scholars look for the real man who 'sailed the ocean blue' in 1492.
  • Another story on Google Earth being used for armchair archaeology.
  • Digging for the Garden of Eden in Turkey. Don't eat any apples!
  • Investigating the truth behind the 'Quamar Ali Dervish stone'.
  • John Keel remains hospitalised - and Loren Coleman provides an address for any get-well cards to be sent to.
  • Enfield poltergeist investigator Maurice Grosse passes away, aged 90.
  • Uri Geller seeks paranormal protege in reality TV show. Call me psychic, but I can already see the topic of next week's newsletter from James Randi. Do I get the million if I'm right?
  • 'Jolted' fish gave early warning of Hawaii quake.
  • BBC News gives plenty of importance to the new US space policy, by making it their topline story this morning. For your convenience, they also provide the policy document as a downloadable PDF.
  • SETI Institute announcement turns out to be about the formation of the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe. I hope they allowed enough room for copious amounts of arm-waving...
  • Unusual meteorite uncovered in Kansas. Baby found inside answering to the name of Kal-El.
  • Hopes for lunar ice melt away, like...well, not like lunar ice obviously.
  • Google plans largest solar-powered office complex in the United States.
  • Research continues on marijuana-based drug for Alzheimer's treatment. "Researchers are currently trying to develop a similar drug that could control inflammation in the brain without a concomitant high." Damn killjoys. And here I was picturing pharmacists handing over packets of muffins...
  • New Scientist has another interesting article on 'swarmbot' technology, again with video.
  • Swarmbots of the natural kind - have you ever wondered how ants find their way so fast to that food you just put on the kitchen bench?
  • Ancient fish fossil may rewrite the story of human evolution.
  • Russian scientist seeks evidence for tsunami which inspired Biblical flood story.
  • Jordan plans new Temple Mount minaret.
  • Tycoon pulls out of deal to sell his Picasso painting for $139million, after he accidentally put a hole in it with his elbow.
  • Forget the old boy meets girl story. How about cat starts fire, dog saves owner, dog dies while trying to save cat. Perhaps proving that there is no such thing as a just and compassionate god.

Quote of the Day:

Out of all of the sects in the world, we notice an uncanny coincidence: the overwhelming majority just happen to choose the one that their parents belong to. Not the sect that has the best evidence in its favour, the best miracles, the best moral code, the best cathedral, the best stained glass, the best music: when it comes to choosing from the smorgasbord of available religions, their potential virtues seem to count for nothing, compared to the matter of heredity. This is an unmistakable fact; nobody could seriously deny it. Yet people with full knowledge of the arbitrary nature of this heredity, somehow manage to go on believing in their religion, often with such fanaticism that they are prepared to murder people who follow a different one.

Richard Dawkins