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Wherever you are, and however you celebrate (or not) may you have a good festive season. As Calvin and Hobbes remind us, “the best presents don’t come in boxes.” Here is the news.

  • There has been a rain of fish in Shropshire, England. Thats fish, singular.
  • Radio waves from mobile phones harm body cells and damage DNA, a laboratory study has shown. Perhaps mobile phones will just make us all X-men, which would be cool.
  • The Metropolitan Police Force has been criticised for sending its officers on a course which helps identify the satanic ritual abuse of children by experts who say such abuse does not exist.
  • Methane burps, a ticking time-bomb concealed under the Artic tundra.
  • Germany shines a beam on the energy of the future as world’s largest solar energy plant comes on line.
  • A NASA spacecraft has detected three dozen “massive, baby galaxies” forming relatively close to our own Milky Way.
  • Who is it that keeps the miscreants in business by opening e-mail spam? Canadians, it seems. Eh.
  • If you’re going to have a bunch of killer drones roaming the skies, you better make damn sure you can control ’em. Remote control for killer drones as the X-45A is put through it’s paces.
  • Small asteroid passes between Earth and satellites. Once again, I’m reassured by the fact that astronomers didn’t see it until after it had passed.
  • The ESA has announced the 2005 Clarke-Bradbury competition. This time the idea is to produce a short story or art on the subject of space elevators. Winners get $600 US so get writing, folks.
  • Massive Delta-4 rocket makes maiden flight. It still fails to release it’s payload satellite though. What is it with rocketry lately…performance anxiety?
  • Japanese and US scientists in Antarctica plan to search the edge of space for some of the rarest creatures in the universe – bits of antimatter from primordial black holes.
  • An ancient civilisation was flourishing in Peru over 5,000 years ago, making it the oldest known complex society in the Americas.
  • Images from a European space probe suggest the Mars volcanoes are possibly still active.
  • Archeologists in Cana have found stone water jars in an ancient house, but deciding this is the scene of the first miracle of Jesus may be stretching a bit.
  • A New Mexico religious group gains the right to drink psychedelic toxic tea if they want to.
  • If the polar ice-cap melts, where will we tell our children Santa lives?
  • Astro-children. More and more Indian parents are opting to have their children delivered at the time suggested by local astrologers.
  • A new study says that the idea that terminal cancer patients can postpone dying for important events is a myth.
  • Here’s a review of the book Brainwashing: The Science of Thought Control (Amazon UK) by Kathleen Taylor.
  • Earliest depiction of rainbow found? Or perhaps a boat, or a banana, or an eaten slice of watermelon…
  • An ultrafast supercomputer is to simulate a nuclear explosion at 360 trillion calculations a second.
  • Heart rhythms appear to be circadian in nature. Sure, mine doesn’t start till midday each day.
  • Scientists have discovered new fish and insect species, including a “monster cockroach”, living in caves in the remote East Kalimantan province of Indonesia.
  • In Mexico, 7,000 years of religion in one location shows how ritual changed as society evolved.
  • The remains of two Amazon warriors serving with the Roman army in Britain have been discovered in a cemetery that has astonished archaeologists.
  • As if the troops didn’t have enough worries from the insurgents in front and “compassionate” Rummie behind, now a rare and dangerous form of pneumonia has stricken U.S. soldiers in Iraq at an unusually high rate.
  • For the last six months, ghost hunters have been investigating a former shipyard on Merseyside, England.
  • The excellent Annalee Newitz gets annoyed by futurists again – “To claim that the Internet’s influence over social life is so profound that it’s the first big thing to happen to humans since language and composite tools is clearly absurd”.
  • ‘Better Humans’ continues it’s examination of the transhumanism debate with a call for more careful use of language.
  • Lastly, here is my personal Yule present to all the TDG readers…some cartoons of Calvin and Hobbes writing to Santa.

Thanks Greg, for the assistance.

Quote of the Day:

If mom and dad cared about me at all, they’d buy me some infra-red nighttime vision goggles.

Calvin