News Briefs 13-12-2006

Nothing spectacular in today's news. I recommend not reading it, and instead going out to enjoy the world outside your house or office...

  • NASA won't put a price tag on Moon base. "You make an offer first."
  • National Geographic give their top ten stories of 2006.
  • More on the story about the Vatican unearthing the tomb of St Paul (with photo).
  • Christmas: From pagan festival, to Christian celebration, to festival of Capitalism.
  • Livestock emissions the greatest contributor to global warming? And you know what I mean by 'emissions'...
  • Frozen frog comes back to life.
  • This year's Geminids could be the best meteor shower of the year.
  • World's oldest person dies aged 116. Perhaps they should phrase their links better: "Watch Video: World's Oldest Person Dies at 116". Ew.
  • Does storm video show ball lightning? Kind of has a Spielbergian War of the Worlds feel about it, don't it.
  • Are stem cells being harvested from live babies in the Ukraine?
  • UK experts say there is a "strong scientific and moral case" for primate research.
  • Is Wi-Fi a health hazard?
  • Arctic sea ice faces 'rapid melt'. Where will ice bag providers harvest their ice from now?
  • Shuttle docks with ISS.
  • Firefly to be reborn as a multiplayer game.

Thanks Pam.

Quote of the Day:

They are ill discoverers that think there is no land when they see nothing but sea.

Francis Bacon

Erowid Reading

Some of the latest additions to Erowid.org are worth reading (and they have been handily bundled into PDF documents and printable booklets as well, just to make things easier). New on the site is Terence McKenna's "Tryptamine Hallucinogens and Consciousness" (PDF and PDF booklet), as well as some of the writings of Myron Stolaroff: "The Future of Human Consciousness" (PDF and PDF booklet) and "Using Psychedelics Wisely" (PDF / PDF booklet). Always interesting things being added to Erowid.org, so keep an eye on their What's New page, not least to read through the various trip reports (ranging from enlightening to unbelievably frightening).

New Dawn #99

Issue 99 of New Dawn has been released, featuring the usual eclectic mix of stories covering everything from alternative history to occultism and conspiracy theories. On the ND website you'll find a few free articles as samples of the content in the latest issue, including "William S. Burroughs: 20th Century Gnostic Visionary", by Robert Guffey, and "Depleted Uranium, Diabetes, Cancer And You", by Alan Cantwell, MD. Other stories in the print mag include John Major Jenkins on Mayan cosmology, and Professor Michel Chossudovsky on the next phase of the Middle East war. Head to the New Dawn website for the full run-down on the latest issue.

Tuesday Roundup 12-12-2006

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

  • Astrobiology Magazine has "Launching the Alien Debates" - part one in a seven part series of debates about life elsewhere in the Universe.
  • Binnall of America have a new audio interview available, the latest is with a central character in the Project Serpo case, Bill Ryan (mp3/podcast or streaming audio via Flash).
  • Filip Coppens continues his film analyses with the latest being the movie Conspiracy Theory.
  • Peter Watts makes his sci-fi novel Blindsight available under Creative Commons.
  • The Book of Thoth has "The Anthills of Orion" by Gary A. David.
  • Skeptic Randi's latest newsletter attacks the woo-woo worldwide. Someone needs to tell Randi about the whole CSICOP name change thing...he's a little out of the loop.
  • UFO Casebook #234 is now available.
  • Mac Tonnies writes, "If not from space, where?"
  • The Psychedelic Salon continue to post podcasts of McKenna, Sheldrake and Abraham doing their Trialogue thing. Stimulating listening.

Enjoy!

Skeptical Inquirer #30:6

The latest issue of Skeptical Inquirer has been released, and as usual some of the articles have been made available for free on the SI website:

  • Forget swamp gas and the planet Venus. According to Joe Nickell, an owl is all you need (explaining the 'Kelly Green Men' case, after already producing the owl explanation for the Flatwoods Monster and Mothman).
  • Massimo Polidoro gives Lesson One on 'The Devious Art of Improvising' (with the help of James Randi).
  • Benjamin Radford goes in search of Noah's Ark (to Noah Vale).
  • Kendrick Frazier tells how Richard Leakey is fighting a church to protect the importance of fossil finds.

Full details of the latest issue, including more free content, can be found at the SI website, as can the full index of online articles.

News Briefs 12-12-2006

Today's news leans heavily towards the strange. Put on your tin foil hat and venture on in, brave explorer...

  • Twenty years on, the pilot of JAL1628 still doesn't know what he saw. He only knows he paid a price for telling the rest of the world. Some mistakes in the story (no passengers disembarked, as JAL1628 wasn't carrying passengers) - for the full details of this case, you can't go past Bruch Maccabee's comprehensive investigation (if you can forgive the flashing text).
  • Psilocybin trials offer hope for sufferers of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). The irony of an OCD 'cure' coming from something that grows in cow sh*t is inescapable. By the way, Mind Hacks has a good rundown on some of the other psychedelic research going on at the moment as well.
  • Exorcism: psychiatry meets faith (with video). Get thee behind me, TDG reader!
  • Ghost hunter says ghosts are a misunderstood part of the natural environment, which can be explained through the careful application of science. Oh, and don't cross the streams. That would be...bad.
  • Mass hysteria forces evacuation of school.
  • Bob Heironymus claims to be the man inside the Bigfoot suit in the famous Patterson-Gimlin movie.
  • Psychics aid police in search for missing teen.
  • Why is seeing dead people (all the time) suddenly the hip thing in Hollywood?
  • Journalist debunks the Gulf Breeze UFO case.
  • The ten most bizarre people on Earth. David Icke makes the list. Mind you, I reckon on a Saturday night in the valley I could find a few worthy of the list too.
  • FOI in the UK. Government secrets now up for inspection.
  • The Antikythera Mechanism: a masterpiece of technology which raises more questions than it answers.
  • Richard Hansen, consultant on Mel Gibson's Apocalypto, acknowledges some creative licence was used in the depiction of the Maya. NG has video of Maya expert Zachary Hruby explaining how the movie's take on human sacrifice stretches "far beyond the truth" (text story here). Allan Boyle has a good round-up over at his Cosmic Log.
  • India's Pompeii uncovered.
  • Geothermal testing halted after it causes a quake.
  • Why a hydrogen economy just doesn't make sense.
  • Chinese rock formation resembles a face. He doesn't look very happy either...not sure I'd be driving beneath him in that mood.
  • Regional nuclear war could devastate global climate. I think it's a given that the local climate will be influenced.
  • Does our sense of smell depend on quantum mechanics?
  • Stumped on a Xmas gift? Why not give your loved one some jewelry made from your body. Be careful which part of your body...

Quote of the Day:

If you haven't found something strange during the day, it hasn't been much of a day.

J. A. Wheeler

Fortean Times #218

Issue 218 of Fortean Times will be in store this Thursday (14th December), and to get into the seasonal spirit the cover story is "How the Nazis stole Christmas":

If the Nazis were sworn enemies of Christianity, why were they so obsessed with Christmas? And how did they square celebrating the season of goodwill with their racialist policies? In a seasonal story of politics, propaganda and paganism, David Sutton finds that the truth about the struggle for Christmas in the Third Reich is both complex and disturbing.

Also in this issue, Paul Devereux celebrates the 'Cinderella' of UFO research, and traces the evolution in our understanding of 'earth lights' and other luminous mysteries. Plus...startling simulacra; California crazies; suicidal dogs; Christmas monsters; out-of-place artists; lightning visions; eating dirt; Stonehenge seen as an ancient spa; aromatic oddities; exuding glass; school ghost panic; ghost-hunting squaddie – and much more. Pick up your copy this week, or alternatively you could subscribe to the mag and get it sent directly to you (see the FT website for details).

Radio 12-12-2006

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

Fate Radio: This week is an encore presentation of Hilly's interview with Peter Davenport, Director of the National UFO Reporting Center in Washington (Real Audio or mp3).

Coast to Coast AM: On Monday clinical psychologist Dr. Allan Botkin probes the profound implications of apparent contact with departed loved ones. On Tuesday Alex Jones will be discussing the North American Union, New World Order sponsorship of terror groups, and the plunging dollar. Wednesday's guest is writer and documentary filmmaker Ken Klein, who will discuss his research on the supernatural origins of the pyramids, UFOs, aliens, and fallen angels, while on Thursday Linda Moulton Howe will present news on the planned moon base. She'll also take a look back at 2006 and her reports on such subjects as military UFO accounts and mysterious animal deaths.

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

News Briefs 11-12-2006

The news isn't sorted by theme today, it's random madness.

Thanks Kat, Pam and Neil G.

Quote of the Day:

What shakes the eye but the invisible?

Theodore Roethke

Analysis of Randi's Challenge

Michael Prescott has some good reads over on his blog analysing James Randi's famous "million dollar challenge" for claims of the paranormal. Due to the length, he's split it into 3 parts (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3), plus an addendum. Michael points out just how objective and scientific the challenge is. Plenty of other great writing on Michael's blog, so browse through.