Just a quick note to introduce two new Daily Grail admins - Perceval and Turner Young. TY will be doing Friday news briefs from next week, while Perceval is helping out as needed - starting with today's news. Hopefully the helping hands will allow me to focus on improving TDG and offering more feature content. Give the lads a warm welcome!
Also, while I'm noting changes here on the Daily Grail, the bi-weekly roundups are now named "Blogscans", just to point out that they are links to blogs (and podcasts) - so the content is likely speculative and/or opinionated (but nearly always fun!). As always, with the weird topics we cover here on TDG, you should take a hot cup of caveat lector with you on your travels.
THE END IS COMING! The End... of the week, thank God ;-)
- Intuition more than just a hunch, says research. You know? Somehow, deep inside I already knew that ;-)
- Psychologist and Dog Expert, Dr. Stanley Coren says dogs are intelligent, but NOT telepathic. You & your dog can hear the entire interview here.
- Mind-reading machine knows what the eye sees. I hereby propose they call it… The Randitron!! ;-)
- The British Astrology Plot against Hitler.
- Happiness is partly inherited, according to study. Yo, eggheads! It’s called trust fund, stupids.
- World can 'afford' to solve its environmental woes: OECD.
- Foggy wars: Over Washington, big industries are embarking in a big lobbying effort to block new, tougher limits on air pollution.
- Are the birds on their side? Pollution help birds sing better, studio says. Wouldn’t that be a ‘swan song’ of sorts?
- Well, in any case, we can always replace them! Robotic bird makes first flight.
- Always two steps ahead: 2,200 Japanese homes run on fuel cell systems now. Goal is one-fourth by 2020.
- First Godzilla, now it’s blood-thirsty leeches what’s threatening Japan.
- Black Fungus Found in Chernobyl Eats Harmful Radiation. But what about the man-size worm?
- Sure, ‘10,000 B.C.’ looks like an awesome flick, but are the paleo-monsters depicted in it based on real science, or mere Tinseltown exaggeration?
- Loren Coleman & Henry Stokes (creator of the incredible blog ‘I Love the Yeti’) explore the evolution of the Yeti in popular culture throughout the decades.
- What New World?? Primate Fossil discovered in North America may be even older than the ones already found in Europe.
- Shackleton Crater: The New Tranquility Base?
- Move over shuttle! And make way for Europe’s cargo ship, ‘Jules Verne’.
- Those damn aliens and their juvenile pranks! NASA Baffled by Unexplained Force Acting on Space Probes.
- Alien graffiti! New alleged Video of Stephenville UFO leaked to the web. You be the judge. More info about this video at Linda Moulton Howe’s Earthfiles, here.
- Possible Photo of the Texas UFO, taken by a police officer with his patrol cam?
- How lame! British man makes hoax of UFO sighting by using a 13-year-old Mexican photo —which is probably a hoax to begin with. Do your homework you NOOB!
- ‘Only Fools & Goatsuckers’: The adventures of Jonathan Downes, Graham Inglis & a film crew in Puerto Rico, Mexico & Miami in early 1998 (Thx to Nick Redfern & UFO Mystic for the link).
- Say Hello to my little friend! A Goliath Sniper Rifle May Take Some of the Physics Out of War. Well, you know there was this young chap named David…
- Great in theory, flawed in practice: 'Virtual Fence' along border to be delayed.
- Oh s**t! Quick, act casual! US seeks terrorists in web worlds.
- Butterflies Remember What They Learned as Caterpillars. Man, I don’t even remember what I had for breakfast yesterday! (Note to Self: turn vegan).
- Let’s spark the controversy: Norwegian whaling lobby alleges that whale hunting is greener than farming livestock.
- Don’t have a cow, man? Go get one! California cows start passing gas to the grid. Here in Mexico, we pass cows… to the grill ;-)
- On ‘Beyond the Blog‘, Anthony North writes about Cannibalism, and helps us prepare for the day when beef becomes too damn expensive. Mmm… Soylent Green! ;-)
- Learn about the ‘Magic Teapot Cult‘, at Cabinet of Wonders.
- It has come to this: The tale of a French village where dying… is illegal!
Quote of the Day:
“When he awoke, the dinosaur was still there.” (*)
Augusto Monterroso Bonilla (1921-2003), guatemalan writer.
(*): Actually, this is not exactly a quote, but the world’s shortest story.
The Christian Science Monitor has a review of a fascinating new novel which explores the last days of enigmatic scientific pioneer Nikola Tesla, titled The Invention of Everything Else (Amazon US and UK):
Some people thought he was literally from the future; others suspected Venus... Interplanetary theories aside, the electrical engineer was actually from a small village in Serbia, where at age 7, he created an engine that was powered by June bugs. As an adult, he showed up in New York at Thomas Edison's factory with almost no money and a letter of introduction from Charles Batchelor, Edison's factotum. It read simply: "I know two great men and you are one of them; the other is this young man."
Samantha Hunt's novel seems to lean towards hagiography, but by the same token sometimes its nice to leave the cynicism at the door. Tesla's life certainly offered more than its share of strange and wonderful tales, so definitely worth taking a look at. The CSM review also features an audio interview with the author. Thanks Kat.
The campaign continues to posthumously pardon "the last witch", UK medium Helen Duncan. The strange tale of how Duncan was charged, possibly in order to suppress her psychic secret-telling about World War II operations, has made the Daily Mail:
When the battleship Barham was torpedoed by the Germans in November 1941, with the loss of over 800 lives, the Admiralty delayed announcing the news to maintain morale. But the secrecy was ended within a few days when medium Helen Duncan told a couple during a seance that their son, a sailor on the ship, had appeared from the spirit world to tell them it had sunk.
In one of the most bizarre acts of the Second World War, Mrs Duncan was accused of leaking military secrets - and became the last woman jailed as a witch in the UK. Now campaigners want an official pardon for the Scots-born mother of six, who spent nine months in Holloway Prison, north London.
This episode has given Helen Duncan a certain notoriety as being a genuine psychic in Spiritualist circles, but it should also be pointed out that it seems likely that she was plenty fraudulent as well - Michael Prescott recently posted a comprehensive blog entry, with links to photos. That's not to say that Duncan didn't have any psychic talent...many spiritualist stars seemed to mix fraudulent tricks with apparently genuine abilities. But worth keeping in mind both sides of the story.
- More on Benny Shannon's theory Moses was tripping out on Mt Sinai.
- Shadow of the gods: touring the exotic temples of southern India.
- "Not until the hells are emptied will I become a Buddha", said the monk Jizo, Japan's favourite saint.
- The mystery of Cixi, the concubine who became China's last empress.
- Computer technology brings Johann Sebastian Bach's head back to life.
- The Continuum Fingerboard will be used in the soundtrack for Indiana Jones IV.
- Poet Seamus Heaney has eloquently condemned the M3 motorway that will choke the Hill of Tara. His translation of the Norse epic Beowulf is one of the best (Amazon US or UK).
- With Australian petrol prices set to hit $3 per litre in the next decade, we need cars that run on air. It won't be long until we have to pay for air.
- The world's largest solar power plant in Arizona hinges on US Congress.
- Incredible pictures of an avalanche on Mars. Zoom in to look for exposed fossils.
- Binary deathstar could shoot Earth with a searing beam of high-energy gamma rays. Raise your hand if you can bullseye womp rats in a T-16 Hopper.
- If someone winks in Japan, they're not flirting with you but adjusting their iPods. I use that excuse all the time.
- 85% of spam in February originated with just six botnets.
- Like a character from the X-Men, a magnetic 12-year-old breaks every computer he touches.
- A magnetically levitated joystick provides realistic physical experiences of virtual objects. It'll feature in the XXX-Men comic.
- A French astronaut is growing plants on the International Space Station. No, it's not whacky tobacky.
- British MoD says, "But wait, there's more" and releases new UFO files.
- Billy Cox seeks expert advice on how to spot photoshopped fakes of UFOs.
- Paul Kimball's the Other Side of Truth is a must-read for UFO research. I think TDG needs a photo of us news editors enjoying a frothy ale, Greg.
- Video of UFOs over Mezcala, Mexico. Playing with flares again, RPJ?
- Britain enlisted an astrologer to fight Adolf Hitler.
- Intangible Materiality tries to untangle the strings of Quantum Mechanics.
- Australian scientists claim the Flores Island hobbit is just a modern human affected by iodine deficiency in the womb.
Quote of the Day:
“There is no intimacy; [computer games are] not live. It’s being translated through a computer, and your imagination is not there the same way it is when you’re actually together with a group of people. It reminds me of one time where I saw some children talking about whether they liked radio or television, and I asked one little boy why he preferred radio, and he said, ‘Because the pictures are so much better.’"
Gary Gygax on ye olde roleplaying games.
Professor Benny Shanon, whose book The Antipodes of the Mind investigated the Amazonian shamans' brew ayahuasca, has stirred controversy by claiming that Moses may have been on a psychedelic trip when he received the Ten Commandments:
Such mind-altering substances formed an integral part of the religious rites of Israelites in biblical times, Benny Shanon, a professor of cognitive psychology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem wrote in the Time and Mind journal of philosophy.
"As far Moses on Mount Sinai is concerned, it was either a supernatural cosmic event, which I don't believe, or a legend, which I don't believe either, or finally, and this is very probable, an event that joined Moses and the people of Israel under the effect of narcotics," Shanon told Israeli public radio on Tuesday.
Moses was probably also on drugs when he saw the "burning bush," suggested Shanon, who said he himself has dabbled with such substances.
Now, when they say Shanon has "dabbled", they of course mean that he has drunk the potent ayahuasca brew over 160 times (each of which normally entails a psychologically and physically demanding 6 to 8 hours minimum). There are certainly ayahuasca analogues in the Middle East (that is, plants that contain similar psychotropic chemicals as to the ones used in South America), but I haven't heard of any hard evidence for usage in the Middle East. Probably worth getting a hold of the Time and Mind paper mentioned in the article to see what Shanon has to say about it all...
Hollywood super producer Steven Spielberg is preparing to launch a new social network, we’ve heard from multiple sources. The focus will be on users who’ve had or who are interested in sharing paranormal and extraterrestrial experiences. The new social network may also have original video content investigating alleged ghost and UFO stories.
Not sure what to make of that really. A few very interesting, genuine experiences, mixed with the entire populace of Crazy Town? If it is for real, let's hope they do something innovative with it that enhances the paranormal field in some way (h/t to Paranormalia, which has extended comment on the news).
Gygax and Dave Arneson developed Dungeons & Dragons in 1974 using medieval characters and mythical creatures. The game known for its oddly shaped dice became a hit, particularly among teenage boys, and eventually was turned into video games, books and movies.
Dungeons & Dragons players create fictional characters and carry out their adventures with the help of complicated rules. The quintessential geek pastime, it spawned a wealth of copycat games and later inspired a whole genre of computer games that's still growing in popularity.
All role-playing games, right up to the modern computer games such as World of Warcraft, spawned from the seed planted by D&D. Certainly, a man whose creation became a touchstone for millions of people.
Not looking forward to the discovery of Pentapus. It will look too much like a hand with a mind of its own.
- The hazard to civilization from fireballs and comets.
- The origins of the British.
- Why flu strikes in cold weather.
- A wound in the Earth.
- Tiny pieces of deep time brought to the surface.
- Avalanches caught flowing on Mars.
- Six-legged Hexapus claimed as world first.
- The temple of heaven: four wonderful sounds.
- Discovery of space soot casts doubt on dark energy theory.
- Walson visits the moon: part 1 and part 2.
- What's really drifting out there in space?
- History's rulers have sought solace in the stars.
- The economics of bribery and assassination.
- Earth looking down the barrel of a deathstar.
- Don't laugh, sugar pills are the future. Doctors used to call those pills ADT.
- A slightly wet piece of rock.
- The black pharoahs. I see a soap on the horizon.
- Anomalous trajectories.
- Babies see pure colour, but adults peer through the prism of language.
- What do they know?
Quote of the Day:
Honesty may be the best policy, but it’s important to remember that apparently, by elimination, dishonesty is the second-best policy.
Almost five years after the release of Dan Brown's mega-seller The Da Vinci Code, Rosslyn Chapel continues to cash in on its newfound fame from being a pivotal plot-point in the novel:
Rosslyn Chapel has chalked up a £1.35m surplus due to the stream of visitors who came to see the building in the wake of the Da Vinci Code film. The 15th-century Scottish church, which featured in the controversial hit movie, saw the number of visitors climb from just 30,000 a year in 2000 to 120,000 in 2005/06 and 176,000 in 2006/07.
The cash is being ploughed into speeding up a planned £12.75m renovation of the building and a revamped visitor centre. But the managers of the attraction, entrance to which costs £7 for adults and £5 for children, believe that Da Vinci Code fever has peaked and that annual visitor numbers are due to fall by about 20,000 a year.