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News Briefs 12-05-2005

The word “whisky” comes from the gaelic uisge beatha, the water of life. Those old druid geezers knew a thing or two.

  • Mysterious lights have been appearing in the skies of North Wales since March.
  • The latest edition of New Scientist is now available online. Check it out here.
  • And the latest edition of the Near Death Newsletter is also available online. You can read accounts of near death experience and scientific support for NDEs here.
  • It’s Chronic Fatigue Syndrome awareness day. One New Zealand group says it is too tired to do anything to mark the moment. That would be funny if my wife wasn’t a recovering sufferer – instead I understand what they mean.
  • An Indian girl was dragged to a witch doctor and ostracised for carrying the “devil’s child”. But it turned out to be a 15kg tumour not a foetus.
  • David Shealy’s life mission is to keep the Florida Skunk Ape legend alive.
  • Some say it looks like the Hound of the Baskervilles, others mention the cartoon character Wile E. Coyote, but there have been over 20 sightings in the last month of the beast that has brought terror to an upmarket English town.
  • Maybe the Lytham Beast is related to the Demon of Dover that was seen several times in New England in the late 70’s.
  • I’ve reported stories on this theme before. Where are the Flying Cars? And while we’re at it, where are the jet packs and moon hotels?
  • Recent sightings of the ivory-billed woodpecker, a breed long thought lost, remind us that extinction is not always a certainty. And there are still millions of species that have yet to be discovered and documented.
  • A new US robot that makes copies of itself shows the ability to reproduce is not unique to living organisms.
  • Want better health? Then don’t worry, be happy. Research shows optimists are blessed with better health.
  • Maybe — just maybe — the U.S. is going to get laser weapons in Iraq, after all
  • Isn’t he wonderful? A starry-eyed look at the ‘king of Egyptology’, Dr Zahi Hawass.
  • A new study of old rocks on Earth could force a revision of theories about Mars. The results suggest ancient Mars might have been more magnetic than thought, challenging basic assumptions about the evolution of the red planet.
  • An international competition aims to develop software for better robots with the long-term goal of fielding a robot soccer team good enough to play a human team by 2050.
  • A lazy worker, not a satanic cult, was responsible for severed goat heads that caused a scare at a Vancouver-area school.
  • A mob beat six people accused of practicing witchcraft in a mountainous corner of Mexico’s southernmost state, but police intervened before anyone was killed.
  • Drinking malt whisky may help prevent cancer. I’m off now to have a glass or two of cancer preventative.

Thanks to Pam for the NDE Newsletter link.

Quote of the Day:

What whiskey will not cure, there is no cure for.

Old Irish Proverb

  1. Lytham Beast
    Great, another one of those wonderful folk panics. Here’s what I want to know:

    1. Who first saw it?

    2. Who first reported it?

    3. WHo first tipped off the press?

    4. Are all these the same person, or part of the same circle of friends?

    The Lytham Beast is not the product of fevered imagination. It’s a hoax. Wait and see.

  2. Self-assembling robots
    …BIG DEAL!

    Contrary to the headline given in the article “….shows the ability to reproduce is not unique to living organisms” this dumb robot experiment does nothing of the kind!

    The robot is simply following programmed instructions to build something – that “something” just happens to be an identical copy of itself. We already have industrial robots that work tirelessly in car plants all over the world that are programmed to make “something” (in this case, cars).

    The fundamental difference is that, in both cases, the robot is simply assembling components that have already been manufactured. Thus, the robot does not demonstrate that the ability to reproduce is not limited to the living world.

    Now, if the robot was able to manufacture the individual components itself, using any assortment of materials lying around it, and then assemble those components into a working copy of itself (complete with reproductive instructions) then THAT would “demonstrate that the ability to reproduce is not limited to living organisms.

    Have I missed something fundamental here about this robot business? If so, I’m happy to stand corrected on it. Until then, I’m afraid, reproduction IS something that is unique to the living world.

    yer ol’ pal,

    (this scathing critique of stupid scientists making absurd claims was brought to you by “Realm of the Dead”)

  3. CFS sufferers are sick and tired…
    “Many people still believe that people with ME/CFS are ‘malingerers’ and ‘fakes.'” Unfortunately, a lot of these people are employed by Social Security. In Australia, Centrelink is waging a war on people with CFS and other disabilities, and I presume it is the same in other Western countries. CFS sufferers will be hardest hit by the Australian government’s Budget proposals to tighten up access to disability pensions. This government makes me sick – sicker than I already am.

    The article did not mention that CFS is associated with a combination of up to 30 different bacterial, viral and fungal species.

    Another of the causes of CFS that the article left out was poisoning by industrial chemicals, particularly chlorinated hydrocarbons. This is what happened to me 12 years ago. Government and industry do not want to admit to the industrial poison link because it opens them up to litigation.

    1. You’re right there
      I agree that we are being poisoned by industrial chemicals, no doubt about it.
      Medicine in Oz is not what it should be, not even recognising diseases.
      Another thing that annoys me is the treatment of young mothers having babies.I have heard horror stories about what some women have gone through. It is the 21st century for God’s sake and these things should not be happening to women.

      The anti-immune diseases always hit women hardest.Thyroid trouble is another one that affects more women than men.


  4. Robot soccer teams
    “The soccer games varied. One involved humans riding two-wheeled Segways — electric scooters for use by pedestrians — playing with robotic Segway teammates in two-on-two competitions.”

    I want to be the designer of a robot soccer team. My robots would have extra features, such as chainsaws, spinning blades and flamethrowers.

    “Let the wars begin!”

  5. king of egyptology??
    Is it possible to cease posting articles about this tool who claims to be the greatest archeologist of all time. This monkey (i doubt he is smart enough to be the organ grinder) is a racist, manipulative and agenda driven to the extreme. I have viewed so many documentries where this idiot stars above the issues he is discussing, that one wonders what his real grasp of the English language is? I’ll bet it is better than he lets on. Quite convenient: the poor foreigner struggling against the west!

    It is sickening to continually see that the world can do nothing about this moron, but listen to his bullsh%% about his personal ideas and concepts, and fight for the digging rights (crumbs) not taken up by egyptian nationals.

    What a shame he was born in 1948? I thought he was older.

  6. laser weapons in Iraq
    Now what the bloody hell does the US want with laser weapons in Iraq?
    Aren’t daisy cutters and cluster bombs etc enough.
    I guess not.
    You can kill in a whole new way with lasers.

    Geez I felt a real bad pain in my bum when I saw that pic of Zahi the King of Ego on that link.
    He’s more famous than a film star folks,in case you didn’t know.
    Well I didn’t.
    But I’m not impressed.
    Actually I’ve still got that pain.

    Now I have no way of proving this “Cernig” but I said to myself last week that it wouldn’t be long before you would be calling whisky your cancer preventative.
    I’d advise you to get a lot of it into you mate,it’s always good to be on the safe side.

    Your links will keep me going for a couple of days.Thanks “Cernig”,


      1. tequila
        The four stages of Tequila:

        two shots: I’m rich.
        three shots: I’m good looking.
        four shots: I’m bulletproof.
        five shots: I’m invisible.

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