Fortean Times #216

Fortean Times #216 is now out on news-stands. Here's the rundown of articles:

  • Last of the Megaliths: The Kelabit people erected massive stones to honour hallowed forebears - until contact with outside influences during World War II. Mike Jay explores the jungles of Borneo for one long-lost megalith before the logging companies show up.
  • In Search of the Mad Gasser: Jonathan Downes investigates a classic example of mass hysteria in the American Midwest, and finds the case is not necessarily as mysterious as it seems.
  • Village of the Vanished: England's villages have been abandoned for a variety of reasons over the centuries, but Leigh Driver uncovers the tale of a Dorset community forced to abandon its home during World War II and excluded ever since.

Head to the Fortean Times website for further information, and while you're there browse through some of the great free articles from past issues.

News Briefs 18-10-06

Looks like element 118 will last longer than whales.

  • Minding the brain.
  • Iceland begins commercial whaling.
  • Dark mission: data’s head.
  • Is it time for a new Martian chronology?
  • Aztec monolith unearthed in Mexico City.
  • Undeniable evidence of UFOs and lunar atmosphere?
  • The hum is back.
  • Of pith balls and plasma.
  • Signs of technology detected on Mars.
  • What happened on the Moon: part 1 and part 2.
  • How to steal an election with a Diebold machine.
  • Europe moves to kill the internet.
  • Human species may split in two.
  • Finger forecasts.
  • Eleven millennium old building discovered in Syria.
  • The Origin of Europe and the esprit de géométrie: part 1 and part 2.
  • Stonehenge makes list for new seven wonders of the world.
  • Russian-US team claims to have created element 118.
  • TV causes autism?

Quote of the Day:

Happiness is an imaginary condition, formerly attributed by the living to the dead, now usually attributed by adults to children, and by children to adults.

Thomas Szasz

John Keel Has Heart Attack

Loren Coleman has some sad and worrying news over at Cryptomundo regarding the health of the 'legendary' John Keel (author of The Mothman Prophecies and numerous other great books and articles on UFOs, Men in Black, 'ultraterrestrials' etc):

I’ve learned that John A. Keel suffered a heart attack late last week, and is undergoing surgery in New York City, Monday, October 16, 2006...Word is that he is not in great shape, but hopefully he has come through post-op recovery fine. I will update this information, as soon as I can.

All at TDG wish John Keel the best hopes for a speedy recovery. Big thanks to Loren Coleman for passing on the news.

Update: Loren now has more information about Keel's oparation, and says that the prognosis is good.

Tuesday Roundup 17-10-2006

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

  • Tim Boucher has posted an interesting Google video of Doug Rushkoff and Daniel Pinchbeck discussing everything from psychedelics to the apocalypse.
  • Binnall of America Audio has part two of the interview with UFO and paranormal film-maker, Paul Kimball. The interview is again split into two mp3s due to the length, alternatively you can play it through your browser using Flash. You can find part one here. Nice quick mention of TDG as a worthwhile news source in there too, so hat tip back to Mr Kimball.
  • Rupert Sheldrake was interviewed by Robyn Williams for ABC Radio National (audio and text transcript available).
  • has a 'new' historical essay: "Can Psychical Research Contribute to Religious Apologetics?", by Everard Feilding.
  • Ian Simmons puts Intelligent Design under the spotlight in his article "On the Origin of the Specious", for Fortean Times.
  • UFO Casebook #227 is now online.
  • The Cato Institute has video (or an alternative audio podcast) of skeptic Michael Shermer debating Intelligent Design advocate Jonathon Wells at their forum "Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design".
  • The Société Périllos have part three of their article "Enigmas of the cemetery of Rennes-le-Château". Part one is here, and here's part two.
  • Filip Coppens takes a closer look at the man named Socrates.
  • Michael Shermer's latest "Skeptic" column for Sci-Am goes into the rights and wrongs of science (without contemplating at all the self-affirming axiomatic nature of materialist scientific philosophy).
  • A quick review of the New Frontiers Symposium held over the weekend, hosted by Paul Kimball.
  • And here's TDG member Twyster's look at the CPAK conference (also just posted today as a blog here on TDG).



The Science Museum website has an excellent exhibition currently titled "Neurobiotics...the Future of Thinking?":

Your brain is amazing. And now medical technology can give us new ways to understand and use our brains. Imagine being able to control a computer with only the power of your mind. Or read people's thoughts and know if they are lying. And what if a magnetic shock to the brain could make you more creative... But should we be able to engineer our minds?

There is plenty to look at online, so take a browse. Found via Mind Hacks.

News Briefs 17-10-2006

It's raining news, hallelujah...

  • Major announcement scheduled for today by SETI: "for all of you out there who have been waving your arms around and speculating, this is not an announcement about finding a signal from ETs, the face on Mars, or anything else." I don't normally wave my arms around when I speculate, but it does make for an interesting visual (if a little dangerous for bystanders)...
  • Spielberg, Hollywood and the extraterrestrial threat. Caution: stand clear of the waving arms.
  • Richard Dolan gets a gig on Sci-Fi Channel. Richard's book UFOs and the National Security State (Amazon US and UK) is absolutely required reading for anyone interested in ufology.
  • Paul Kimball says he likes mysteries. A news piece just before the New Frontiers Symposium last weekend. Here's a follow-up story reviewing the conference.
  • Cartoon tribute to Pope John Paul to be released on DVD. I hope he's a Transformer, it would be cool to watch the Pope turn into a jet..."pontiffs, in disguise".
  • Pagan graves in the Vatican's basement. Hmmm, Pope in the TV, pagan graves under Vatican...sounds like Poltergeist IV.
  • Mexican archaeologists believe that the recently discovered Aztec monlith may be the largest stone idol ever found, and that it may be a door to a hidden chamber beneath the temple.
  • Author traces journey of "God's gold". Another article about the new book God's Gold: The Quest for the Lost Temple Treasure of Jerusalem by British archaeologist Sean Kingsley (available now from Amazon UK, or pre-order from Amazon US for May 2007 release).
  • Ancient Stonehenge houses unearthed.
  • Iraqi antiquities continue to be pillaged and destroyed.
  • The latest issue of Biblical Archaeology Review has been released, and the website has the usual teasers for the feature articles.
  • Piltdown's lessons for modern science.
  • Women more likely to dress well near ovulation. Ladies, I'd like to point out that I only report the news...
  • Salon interviews Richard Dawkins (have to watch an ad to view the complete article, though a teaser is available).
  • Biographer claims novelist Agatha Christie's mysterious 11-day disappearance was due to out-of-body amnesia.
  • Top medium quits, saying "I Was Deluded".
  • Boeing begins testing aircraft-mounted combat laser.
  • Future aircraft might morph during flight.
  • Is the US government using LSD for interrogations?
  • Study finds pharmaceutical companies call the shots in leading medical journals.
  • Superheavy element 118 finally created. I propose calling it Jambi.
  • More on targeted electrical brain stimulation being used to revive head-injury victims.
  • Fans of cryonics are too cool for the 21st century.
  • Researchers detect the spread of skin cancer by listening to the blood.
  • Sorting through your computer files using your sense of smell. A lot of today's news would probably smell a little fishy.
  • To what degree do you create reality? Study finds that even black and white bananas look yellow.
  • Museum exhibit explores the gay animal world. Can a museum handle the excitement of two giant whale penises flailing about?
  • Mars Express and the story of water on Mars.
  • Astronomers need you to help find some planets.
  • Forget NASA heading back to the Moon - the Swedes are looking to build a house there by 2011.
  • Reuters opens a news bureau in the virtual world of Second Life. Who's got time for a second life...I can't even fit everything into this one.
  • US population to hit 300 million sometime this morning. Maybe now. Or now. Perhaps now? Now?

Quote of the Day:

You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing — that's what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.

Richard Feynman

Lunar Explorer

Who's up for some space exploration? A new software package, Lunar Explorer, allows you to land on and explore the Moon:

Lunar Explorer is a realistic interactive visual representation of the moon using actual data collected by NASA spacecraft and earthbound telescopes. It uses real-time 3D graphics techniques to provide an immersive virtual environment for the user to explore our nearest neighbor in a variety of ways - at a distance, in orbit, or walking on the lunar surface.

Lunar Explorer retails for around $40, which you can order from the website. Hat tip to Alan Boyle's Cosmic Log, who posted about this.

Radio 17-10-2006

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

Fate Radio: This week there are a bunch of 'encore' presentations available, including interviews with John Anthony West, Michael Cremo and Loren Coleman. Follow the link and scroll down to see the full list.

Coast to Coast AM: First hour Monday Richard C. Hoagland will reveal a startling Moon 'artifact' photo. Afterwards, peak performance hypnotherapist Pete Siegel will discuss how luck is a function of the mind and what you can do to change your fortune. On Tuesday Dennis Swift will discuss his work compiling evidence of dinosaurs and man living together on Earth, Wednesday is author of New York State Ghosts David Pitkin, who will discuss some of his favorite experiences researching the nature of disembodied spirits and ghosts. Thursday's guest is producer of paranormal documentaries Barry Conrad, who will go into his research on such cases as Mothman, the Flatwoods Monster and the San Pedro haunting.

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

News Briefs 16-10-2006


  • Sardinia is Atlantis, according to Italian journalist Sergio Frau, and UNESCO supports him. Support Robert Bauval, I say!
  • A UK team has proposed a new location for the mythical Ithaca.
  • A joint American-Iranian archaeological team will begin excavating the Susan Plain in southwestern Iran for the first time since 1973.
  • Obelisks belonging to the Neolithic period have been found in southeastern Turkey, and are decorated with human and animal figures.
  • Bronze idols of Lord Siva and Goddess Parvati dating to the 12th century AD were unearthed at a temple in Tamil Nadu.
  • Nine Neolithic-era buildings have been excavated near Stonehenge, the first house-like structures discovered there.
  • A self-described hobby physicist challenges the skeptics.
  • A non-profit US group has reached an agreement with Libya to provide each of its 1.2 million schoolchildren with an inexpensive laptop by 2008.
  • It was exactly ten years ago when 176 world leaders at the World Food Summit pledged to halve the number of undernourished people by 2015. Things have gotten worse.
  • Bono enlists Oprah to preach charity where people will listen -- in the shopping mall.
  • New software will give computer-generated characters more soul. Does anyone remember Max Headroom?
  • This old house is haunted.
  • A prophetess says Russia will face a series of large-scale catastrophes in 2014 because the mummy of princess Ochy-Bala was recently unearthed. Egypt's in a wee bit of trouble then ...
  • A new biography (Amazon UK) of crime-writer Agatha Christie claim's her two-week disappearance was a case of out-of-body amnesia.
  • A new book investigates sightings of deceased pets and tells you how to contact your own departed furry friends. Pet Ghosts: Animal Encounters From Beyond The Grave by Joseph P. Warren (Amazon US or UK).
  • Is this a photo of a UFO over Tel Aviv, or just a plane's exhaust painted orange by the sunset?
  • Here's video of UFOs filmed on a flight somewhere over Europe en route to England.
  • More than 700 UFO sightings have been reported to the UK's Ministry of Defence, but only 12 of them are worth investigating according to MOD officials.
  • An article discussing the problems of UFO hoaxes.
  • A shadowy sack-like being was encountered by a Polish resident. I see plastic-bag-like beings on windy nights all the time.
  • A teenage boy in eastern India married a hill to appease its goddess who had put a curse on his mother.
  • No explanation needed -- Crying, while eating.

Thanks Kat.

Quote of the Day:

God is really only another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant, and the cat. He has no real style. He just keeps on trying other things.

Pablo Picasso.

News Briefs 13-10-2006

It's been quite a while since I last found a parrot article for Shadows.

  • Stonehenge update (link now fixed): After more than 20 years of argument over what to do about disgraceful surrounding conditions, a leading expert has proposed a 'radical solution' - do nothing. Meanwhile, when Geoff Wainwright and Tim Darvill proposed that bronze-age builders believed bluestone had healing powers, and suggested that Stonehenge should be seen as a prehistoric Lourdes, archaeologists attending their lecture reacted with dropped jaws and outright laughter.
  • Scholars gather in Rome to discuss the theory that Sardinia is the lost island of Atlantis.
  • Fossil remains show the merging of Neandertals and modern humans.
  • If humanity were to suddenly vanish from the face of the Earth, it would only take 200,000 years for all traces of human existence to be wiped away.
  • For the first time, astronomers have measured the day and night temperatures of a planet outside our solar system.
  • First detailed images of a binary asteroid system reveal a bizarre world.
  • Rising ocean temperatures and pollution have put oysters in hot water.
  • Chemists reinvent the making of plastics. These guys should be nominated for a Nobel.
  • Scientists find molecular signature which protects cells from viruses, opening up completely new perspectives for the treatment of viral infections and cancer.
  • David Grinspoon, author of the excellent book Lonely Planets: The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life (Amazon US & UK), has won the Sagan Medal for 2006.
  • Citing concerns about possible damage to the ancient site, Yahoo cancels 'time capsule ceremony' at Mexican pyramid. Actually, it wasn't Yahoo that was concerned...
  • Mexican officials to Yahoo: Get off our pyramid.
  • Pregnant women infected by cat parasite more likely to give birth to boys.
  • Cellular organism with only 182 genes could revise ideas about what's needed for a cell to work.
  • Neuroscientist claims he can unleash creativity by boosting low-frequency brainwaves.
  • Neurofeedback training (pdf) may correct abnormal brain wave patterns associated with several medical conditions. The technical aspects are way over my head, but the essence is understandable.
  • Sophisticated Toy Robot to Get Mind-Altering Software.
  • Teenager plays video games just by thinking.
  • The longest-living rodents, naked mole-rats, are unfazed by oxidative stress, which flies in the face of the oxidative stress theory of aging. Love that photo.
  • Human brain relies on eye movements to identify partially obscured or moving objects.
  • The future isn't what it used to be: A review of Eric and Jonathan Dregni's new book Follies of Science: 20th Century Visions of Our Fantastic Future. Amazon US & UK.
  • 'A living fossil': Mighty mouse discovered in mountainous area of Cyprus.
  • Mouse-eating carnivorous plant in Lyon's Botanical Gardens is the first to actually prove that plants can indeed eat small mammals.
  • 500-billion-year-old embryos give up their secrets. The text gets it right, but Greg points out that, for the article's title to be correct, these embryos would have to be 30 times older than the Universe itself.
  • Results reported from double-blind test of the effects of 'distant intention' on water crystal formation.
  • Hiding secrets in optical noise: CDMA encoder will allow secret messages to be sent over existing public fiber-optic networks.
  • Worth repeating: New research highlights what classical economic theory fails to take into account - emotion is nature’s way of letting people know that if you’re treated badly you’ll do something about it.
  • Happy 25th Birthday, PC.
  • IM Misconduct: Foley may be the current poster boy for IM bad judgement, but with 60% of US corporations saying it's a problem for them, this article is actually about the clash between generations in the workplace.
  • Canadian troops fighting Taliban militants in Afghanistan have stumbled across an unexpected and potent enemy - impenetrable forests of marijuana plants 10 feet tall.
  • Tempting Faith: Former White House official David Kuo, whose 'conservative Christian credentials are impeccable', has written a scathing account of how the Bush administration used evangelical Christians for their votes - while consistently giving them nothing in return. Amazon US & UK.

Big thanks to Greg!

Quote of the Day:

It is no accident that the rise of so many democracies took place in a time when the world's most influential nation was itself a democracy.

George W. Bush, 2003