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Apologies for today’s late news, I’ve been busy with job interviews. I’m filling in for Bill, who is being hunted by packs of mangey zombie-coyotes in Texas.

  • Here’s an excellent interview with Neal Stephenson, scifi and speculative fiction writer. For the newbie, check out his cult smash Snow Crash (Amazon US and UK).
  • India’s Taj Mahal is tilting and sinking. Mama mia!
  • Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities (ie, Zahi Hawass) allows excavations to continue in the Valley of the Mummies at the Bahreya Oases in Giza.
  • Section of 500-year-old wall in Pingyao, China, collapses. What the Red Guard didn’t destroy in the 1960s/70s, apathy and poverty now is.
  • The 2004 National UFO Conference will be taking place October 29th – 31st in Hollywood, California. You can get updates at the official site.
  • Skeptics criticise inconsistent results of repeated parapsychology experiements. Methinks skeptics are ignoring the successful experiments by publicising the few failures.
  • Two scientists beat NASA by measuring Einstein’s warp effect. Captain Jean-Luc Picard wonders what all the fuss is about.
  • A genome scientist believes we will one day be able to predict how long we have to live. There are some things we are not meant to know.
  • The United Nations begins a two-day debate on the future of cloning.
  • Photos taken by Landsat II satellite in 1975 may show pyramids in the jungles of Peru.
  • Here’s an intriguing website pondering lost ruins east of the Peruvian Andes.
  • Interested in Stonehenge?
  • What will we begin to learn when the Huygens Probe enters the orange atmosphere of Titan on January 14th 2005?
  • New research confirms the chaotic process of planet formations.
  • What are the risks of an uncontrolled Hubble re-entry? Answer: a Chinese remake of Donnie Darko.
  • Australia is named as one of the world’s worst environmental plunderers. This is one top four I don’t want to be a part of.
  • Canadian scientists are using pumpkins to clean up the environment. Good grief, Charlie Brown.
  • Chinese palaeontologists have found feathers on the legs of a fossilised primitive bird, estimated to be between 124- and 145-million-years old, which could prove to be a missing link between the evolution of dinosaurs into birds.
  • Coincidentally, the Chinese Dinosaurs exhibition begins soon at the Melbourne Museum, Australia. There will be fossilised examples of feathered dinosaurs, and visitors will be encouraged to question the possible evolution of dinosaurs to birds. I volunteer at the museum, so if anyone wants free entrance via the backdoor …
  • You’ll soon be watching the cricket on your mobile phone, unless you’re one of the lucky few with Foxtel (cable).
  • A Suffolk man invents a jet-powered shopping trolley. Why?
  • A curious moose gets his antlers tangled in power lines and is hoisted 50 feet into the air. I saw that once on an episode of Northern Exposure.
  • I’ve saved the bad news for last. Experts fear the 1918 flu virus may have escaped from laboratory containment. Guess the movie quote: “There’s no right, there’s no wrong, there’s only popular opinion.”

Quote of the Day:

I am convinced that any amount of theology can be smuggled into people’s minds under the cover of science fiction.

C. S. Lewis