News Briefs 10-01-2005

I’ve been thinking about China and Japan this week, for various reasons (the grass is always greener …), so enjoy today’s Sichuan-flavoured news.

  • Two weeks after the Asia quake, the Earth is still vibrating.
  • Pollution is worsening in China’s south seas.
  • Why are icebergs floating off the southern New Zealand coast? Someone should tell these scientists about the earthquake recorded south of Tasmania a few weeks ago.
  • Australian scientist declares GM rice trials are safe.
  • Cloned cows with human genes born in Shandong, China.
  • Curry spice may fight Alzheimer’s.
  • One remote control to rule them all, One remote control to find them, One remote control to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.
  • Japan wants to rule the technological world once again. Domo arigato.
  • The possibility of life on Mars may remain unknown until the next Mars Rover mission in 2010. Come on guys, we’re not getting any younger …
  • Perhaps China will get to Mars before NASA.
  • The Black Hole that cannot stop eating. They should name it Kaonashi, from the anime Spirited Away (Amazon US or UK).
  • Still using the critically vulnerable Internet Explorer? Switch to Mozilla Firefox.
  • Ever wanted a computer wrist-watch like Dick Tracy? Fossil has finally released the first wrist-worn PDA.
  • Despite the stolen Homo Floresiensis fossils unavailability, research will go on.
  • Mystery canine baffles experts. It wouldn’t be the first time.
  • The Aztec crystal skull could be a fake. I love how the professor presumes that the Aztec did not have the wheel, nor access to crystal from Brazil (in fact, it was proven many years ago the Aztec and southern Native Americans traded with people as far as Brazil, trade including Amazonian bird feathers).
  • Amateur palaeontologists discover dinosaur footprints in Maryland. No, they’re fossilised footprints, not recent ones!
  • A Chinese professor has found that pterodactyls are oviparous, ie born from egg cells.
  • SETI predicts we will receive an extraterrestrial transmission within the next twenty years. I can hear the Skeptics now …
  • China and India are both aware of undergound UFO base in the Himalayas. No wonder I’ve got an unexplainable urge to write UFO thrillers in India and China … next I’ll be sculpting mountains out of mashed potato.
  • Russia and Iran join forces to study UFOs. George W. Bush chokes on a pretzel upon hearing the news.
  • Chile’s Santiago University is offering a degree in UFO studies. Do you want fries with that?
  • Meanwhile, the Vatican is offering a degree in Satanism and exorcism. If it gets Death Metal-loving teenagers back into school …
  • One of the Beastie Boys witnessed UFOs. No, that was just me playing frisbee with one of their LPs.
  • Did a UFO guide the three Magi to Jesus Christ’s birthplace?
  • Digital technology is helping to preserve China’s ancient artifacts.
  • A different kind of coffee is served at China’s Sex Cafe, where patrons can access information on sexual issues and health.
  • China will make sex-selective abortions illegal, great news for Chinese girls.
  • Was the curse of Tutankhamen released during the recent CT scans? Yes, the curse is called Zahi Hawass.

Quote of the Day:

I never think of the future – it comes soon enough.

Albert Einstein

  1. Famous last words
    Hi Rick,
    What is wrong with these stupid scientists at the CSIRO who are saying there is no problem with GM rice escaping.They said that with canola and look what happened.
    That is only part of the problem anyway.The other part is that when people are forced to grow GM grain, and they will be, they will have to buy it all from MOnsanto.
    I am furious with our government and scientists for even considering growing GM grain here.
    Is that what we want, a world where all the grain belongs to the developers of the gene?
    Santiago University giving a UFO course; OK I predict that Randi next week complains about it,after all he has nothing else to do.
    Cows with human genes;the thought is so awful I don’t want to think about it.
    Et in 20 years? I think before them.SETI has announced it found a signal 1000 light years away last year.I have been running the setiathome program so hope I’m not the one who finds them.
    China would be a good place for you Rick, I would love to go to where no European has ever gone.Imagine the story you could make about that.
    Finally, do you think it is too late for me to start eating curry?


    1. Currying favour …
      It’s never too late to start eating curry … just don’t eat too much. 😉

      As for GM rice … I agree, the most dangerous aspect of GM foods (even though I think they’re safe and reasonable to eat) is the corporate aspect. That’s what worries me, big corporations patenting genetically modified food; the original foods run out, and then we’re all reliant on the Corporation’s GM foods. It’s dangerous and scares me. William Gibson isn’t far off with what he writes in Pattern Recognition.

      China. Yes, I must go and teach english there. Right now, all I’ve got to go on is a job vacancy selling mobile phones at Telstra. Yes, the Evil Telstra Empire. If they offer it, I’ll take it, and save the money for China later this year. 😉

      Make sure there’s a toilet nearby if you’re gonna start the curry diet …


      PS My comment “Do you want fries with that?” following the UFO degree link isn’t a swipe at the degree itself. It’s sarcasm aimed at those who will ridicule the degree — beat them to the punch, so to speak. I fully support the degree, and I’d study it myself if I could.

      1. curry
        >make sure there’s a toilet nearby< Let me just tell you about what happens here in regard to that.When my little dog Pepe hears the bathroom door open he calls out to his little sister....Hey Daph, she's going to the lav, hurry or you'll miss it........ and they both come running from wherever they are and slide in as the door closes. When the parrot is on my shoulder he comes with me too, and when my little great granddaughters are here they come as well. The other day I had the parrot sitting on the shower rail, the little girls on the bath, and the two dogs as usual sitting in front of me all watching carefully in case they miss anything. Why is it that children and animals find peoples' toilet habits so interesting. shadows

          1. too funny
            I’m glad you think its funny Deb.You try concentrating when you have a crowd hanging on your every movement.


          2. more on roses
            Hey Deb, I have some more stuff on roses and history, and will post it when I can keep my eyes open.How did you go with it?


        1. GM crops
          Hi Billy,
          It sounds fine I know, but already a lot of the GM crops that were developed to be Roundup Resistant so that they could spray it around them have turned out not to be resistant at all.
          Also it is immoral for a company to secretly plant a GM crop next to another of the same crop and then claim ownership of the other crop when the GM crop pollinates the other.
          This has happened in Canada and the innocent farmer has had to pay Monsanto for the crop he grew.
          In the hands of moral decent people it may work wonders, but these companies are planning on owning all the grain crops in the world.
          This is not even to mention the third world countries which are starving but the government won’t allow GM grain in because of the fear it will mix with their own grain.
          When they realise that they accept GM grain or starve they will have to do so.
          There is no need to kill the oceans with pesticides and fertiliser runoff.Organic gardening works,it is the WHO who offers these chemicals to countries who formerly never needed them.Once you start using them you kill off all the good predators and then are forced to use chemicals forever, hence the GM grain.
          Many third world countries are in dire straits due entirely to the use of chemicals which for thousands of years they had never used and still grew good crops.
          I spent years trying to stop this working with Greenpeace,but the big corporations have won, more’s the pity.


          1. Loss of crop diversity
            There is another aspect that few seem to be paying any heed to.

            The simple fact that because these are corporate endeavors that bear few sentiments to the consequences, both humane and ecological, cost efficiency and the need for profit demands the use of as small a number of varieties as possible.

            If these spread around uncontrolled, as most human undertakings end up becoming sooner than later (uncontrolled and oversteered), they may pose a threat to the wild varieties and, as farmers use specific modified types of seeds, foregoing the varieties that used to be planted, only a few will remain (which will have to be paid for every year). Much of the domesticated crops won’t grow naturally either. If they are not used by farmers, you won’t find them again in nature.

            The end result is the loss of all types of species for the benefit of the GM few.

            Now, when we get there, what happens if the crops available develop a terminal or grave problem?

            The same is true with the way livestock is handled. Less and less species are being herded and the variety is slowing disappearing. The same problem could be faced the day there is only a few ‘financially viable and engineered’ species and they develop a particular sickness or other serious problem.

            Our blindness for economical advantage leads us to very easily put aside any consideration for consequences. The general attitude is ‘It will never happen in ‘my’ lifetime anyway.’

          2. right on Richard
            You’re spot on Richard.
            That’s why the seeds savers organisations are so vital now, to save heritage seeds that we will never see again once the GM crops take over.
            Biodiversity is extremely important to keep the health of the ecology.
            I can’t believe that governments are so stupid as to let this happen.This is a major threat to the entire ecology of the world.I can’t seem to get anyone interested in the problem.If you are not familiar with seed saving and growing stuff then you probably don’t care.
            Those fools who think it will never happen in their lifetime are very wrong.It is happening right now and when we see the farmers at the mercy of the corporations and the price of the only available products go through the roof,it will be too late to do a thing.


          3. “governments are so stupid as to let this happen”
            For anyone with a neutral look, our governments are not ‘by the people for the people’ but rather ‘by the corporations for the corporations’.

            The problem is with the populations who will buy any lie or promise that seems adequate to their impression of personal well being or of short term financial gains. There is no such thing as ‘owned thoughts’. We have chosen Baal because Baal is implicitly interwoven with our consciousness.

            There are forces at work that are preparing the enslavement of humanity.

          4. Soylent Green is people!
            I believe GM foods are perfectly safe to eat, but I do not believe the Corporations creating them have our best interests at heart. I shudder to think that in my lifetime, I might end up eating Soylent Green. 😉

          5. soylent green
            Well Rick, if they put human genes in cows that’s just what we will be eating!


  2. Mozilla Firefox
    A couple of months ago, my IE got infected by a trojan, which ultimately led to it being browser-hijacked by About:blank, which installs itself as your homepage. There were multiple viruses, the worst of which was CoolWebSearch, which opened the way for all the other viruses and pop-ups to infect my system. I tried lots of anti-spyware stuff, even CoolWebSearch Remover, but even that didn’t work, and I could not remove About:blank as my default home page. About this time Mozilla Firefox became available, so I downloaded it, and it’s been very successful. It blocks all pop-ups and browser hijackers, so it solved a major problem. Unfortunately, when I installed it, it didn’t include a plug-in player (such as Sun Java), and even though I keep trying, it refuses to download Sun Java, so now I don’t have any animations. Thus I don’t recommend Firefox. Perhaps the best browser is Netscape Navigator.

    1. I had the Sun Java download p
      I had the Sun Java download problem too. Are you on a 56k dialup? Sometimes it freezes, but try again, at a later/earlier time of the day. Trust me, it’s worth it.

      Oh, and I forgot about Netscape. I keep thinking they were squashed under Bill Gates’ boots …

  3. Inner space
    So if there’s an outer tsunami, mustn’t there be an inner tsunami as well? And how do the energy waves propagate and dissipate inside the molten mantle? An interesting exercise in fluid dynamics.


    “Certain English geologists produced confusion by embracing continental drift and then drawing up narratives and maps that showed continents moving all over the earth with respect to a fixed and undriftable England.”
    – John McPhee

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