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News Briefs 12-08-2005

For you night-owls, the Perseid meteor shower peaks today, with the best view coming after moonset at 11:20 p.m. (local time) on Friday. While you’re out there, you can see Andromeda too.

  • Oldest Christian monk cell unearthed in Egypt.
  • Ancient Roman temple found on island of Pantelleria.
  • The face of Mana – the 3000 year old woman from Fiji – was unveiled today.
  • Figure-eight knots may be the first word from the Incas.
  • Neolithic artefacts found in Marseille.
  • Ancient bronze Labrys – a double-headed ritual axe – unearthed in Bulgaria. Brilliant pic.
  • Fossil poaching runs rampant. This fossil hunter says business is booming.
  • Saints alive: The spirit of the Sufi mystics lives on in Karachi.
  • Salman Rushdie urges Islamic reformation. Rushdie’s Times op-ed.
  • Prince Turki explains the difference between Islam and the cult of terrorism.
  • Error at lab spreads nuclear material: Contamination from Los Alamos found in four states. Package may have contaminated Fed-Ex workers and other packages. Oops.
  • Communicating with the future: Egyptian pyramids inspire quardians of Britain’s atomic heritage.
  • The men responsible for planning Britain’s recovery from nuclear attack in the early years of the Cold War believed that they would be able to hush up the location of an atomic blast.
  • Embryo screening to stop babies being born with genes that might lead to cancer in later life is being considered by Britain’s fertility watchdog.
  • ‘Tyrano-crabs’ and ‘sumo-crabs’ are among the many new species discovered by researchers during five-month-long voyage in the Pacific.
  • Virus gene may be key to anti-ageing treatment.
  • Approaching revolution in particle physics will bring some 600 physicists and engineers to a Colorado workshop from August 14 – 27.
  • Our galaxy may be a lot bigger than we thought.
  • Shining protosun helped form solar system.
  • First asteroid trio discovered.
  • I figure if I just say glitch and delay, you’ll know what these articles are about.
  • Microcompartments: New discovery blurs distinction between human cells and those of bacteria.
  • DDT-resistant insects have a genetic advantage that has helped them spread across the globe.
  • Fire and ice.
  • Siberian thaw: The world’s largest frozen peat bog is melting for the first time since it formed 11,000 years ago – and could release billions of tonnes of greenhouse gases.
  • Heavy snow blankets southern Australia for the first time in decades. Rico and Shadows sniff at news.
  • Breakthrough for scientists hunting AIDS cure.
  • Ecological Impact of 9/11: Contamination may still lurk near Ground Zero.
  • Farallon Islands mystery suggests ocean off of Northern California is in deep trouble.
  • Coming soon: scientists are working to produce a range of recreational drugs with no side-effects.
  • What do zero-energy homes have that your home doesn’t?
  • Key Argument for Global Warming Critics Evaporates.
  • Investigating a Mega-Mystery.
  • Crater Chains. Nice pic – wish they’d said where it was taken.
  • The Hot Poles of Enceladus.
  • Black hole blows bubble between stars.
  • Black-hole wanna-be’s: Quasars in Infrared are Still Nearby.
  • Attentional rubbernecking: When people see violent or erotic images, they fail to process what they see next.
  • Men and women perceive website aesthetics differently. Reminds me of a funny, long-lost TDG comment: “God! My Eyes!”
  • Men’s brains literally do have trouble hearing women’s voices.
  • Researchers discover why some people die in their sleep.
  • Egads! New MRI contrast agents, gadonanotubes, are 40 times more effective than the best now in clinical use.
  • At levels well below current U.S. standards, arsenic in drinking water stimulates cancerous tumors. Oklahomans beware!
  • ‘Hangover’ gene in flies may explain alcoholism.
  • Britain’s most eminent judges accuse politicians of seeking to subvert the rule of law in attempts to impose anti-terror measures.
  • Oh, so that’s how Pakistan, North Korea, and Iran got the bomb.
  • 9/11 Commission accused of ignoring information on Atta that would have forced a rewriting of the history of the Sept. 11 attacks.
  • Warning: If you can’t stand seeing political articles at TDG, you’d best stay far away from Mark Morford’s latest rant.
  • China’s censors try to stifle awareness of steady upsurge in violent protests, riots.
  • Attention hackers: Uncle Sam wants to recruit you.
  • Arthur C. Clarke Foundation gives UK’s teen techies a chance to win trip to Kennedy Space Center.
  • Man dies after 50-hour online game marathon.
  • Offshoring gets personal. Feeling intrigued, disgusted, and envious all at the same time gave me a stomach ache.
  • Microsoft issues its latest monthly fix to end all fixes. Only 3 ‘critical flaws’ this month?
  • Pagan Puckers crown goat King of Ireland in ancient annual ritual.
  • The fellowship of the 700 Ringies: Tolkien Society celebrates anniversary.
  • World’s best beer is hard to come by.
  • Unlike the red, red rose, cornflower’s blue pigment forms a supermolecule.
  • Mystery Solved: How Plants Know When to Flower.
  • Whether alien or human, a talented graphic designer has been conjuring crop magic this August.
  • Mysterious voice in the dead of night talks to French soccer star.
  • Man’s claims that a UFO surgeon operated on his back – hospital tests showed he had undergone then-impossible back surgery, and his blood makeup matched an astronaut who had spent 10 hours in space.
  • An interview with Nick Pope, head of the Ministry of Defence’s UFO Project from ’91 to ’94.
  • In Abducted: How People Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped by Aliens, due out in Oct., Harvard psychologist discusses research into memory, emotion, culture, and transformative experiences.
  • Noted UFO debunker Klass dies at 85.
  • Russia’s sorcerers look to the future.
  • Cheating: the surprising link between science and tattoos.
  • The Incomplete Gödel.
  • Literary and cultural connections between Sir Walter Scott, the Jacobites, the Society of Horsemen, the U.S. Civil War, the Ku Klux Klan, and the crosh-tairie (fiery cross).

Quote of the Day:

It was Sir Walter that made every gentleman in the South a Major or a Colonel, or a General or a Judge, before the war; and it was he, also, that made those gentlemen value their bogus decorations. For it was he that created rank and caste down there, and also reverence for rank and caste, and pride and pleasure in them. Enough is laid on slavery, without fathering upon it these creations and contributions of Sir Walter. Sir Walter had so large a hand in making Southern character, as it existed before the war, that he is in great measure responsible for the war.

Mark Twain
Life on the Mississippi

    1. Interesting news
      >>Much interesting stuff overall Kat

      Thanks, Richard. I’m hoping that what today’s news-list lacks in organization, it makes up for in variety. So much variety, in fact, that my early attempts at organization broke down along the way, and are now barely visible. I could swear those 3 new Thunderbolts articles were all together at some point!

      There’s an interesting synchronicity between your Skolnick article, today’s article about Britain’s judges, and the Whitley Strieber article Greg posted in his Weekend Roundup.

      I’ve read several of Skolnick’s Reports, and they are interesting! But they also drive me nuts because they’re even more disjointed and disorganized than today’s news. If a good editor were to coherently re-write everything he’s written into a well-organized book, I might finally be able to decide where he fits on a sliding scale from crack-pot to national treasure.


      1. Complexity format and clearliness
        The underlying complexity of power corruption in the world, which has been methodically put into place piece by piece in a process that spanned centuries to pervade political and judicial systems of western nations as a whole is not a simple hierarchical structure but a web of intricacies which makes it extremely difficult to describe in a non-interactive, linear fashion.

        I guess the only way then to make any sense of it is to look at it again and again and again so that it seeks in.

        Did you notice the bit about the indictment?

  1. brass monkey weather
    Hi Kat,

    I bet poor Rick is freezing down there in Melbourne.Heck I’m freezing up here in Queensland.
    We had the coldest day here for 100 years.No one needed to tell me.
    It’s good news though as it will kill off some of the bugs that make Queensland a hot spot for asthma, one of the worst places in the world.Warm and humid all year through.

    Thanks for the heap of terrific news.I have to stay in and get over my cold so it will occupy me all day.
    I hope it doesn’t rain in Melbourne or we may have to get Rick up here to warm up.

    Love the quote and I am just blown away by it.I don’t know how you come up with these.


    1. Michael Scott & the quote
      >>Love the quote and I am just blown away by it. I don’t know how you come up with these.

      Well, at least this time, I can explain how I came up with the quote…

      I was reading the comments under Michael Scott’s blog, Knowing less than nothing. Remember Cernig’s link about Michael Scott of Balwearie? I’d never heard of him, so after reading that link, I did a search to find out more. That search lead to the last article in today’s news, and the quote by Mark Twain is at the beginning of that article.

      My search also lead to another article about The Wizard of Balwearie, which I posted a link to, and quoted from, in a reply to Michael Scott. Due to the lack of any replies, I’m not sure he, or anyone else, ever read it. Michael had mentioned Dumbledore in the comment to which I replied, so I ran with that theme for a few paragraphs. Perhaps that put some people off reading the rest of it. If that’s the case, they all missed out on something else I found that was quite surprising: There were two Scottish wizards named Michael Scott.


      1. That’s a coinkidink
        Now that you mention it I recall that I have a little book stored away somewhere that is a sort of biography of the second Scott amd when I googled him years ago I came up with the second one.

        Another coincidence….under the story of Michael Scott on that link is a request for a poem I used to say as a small child.I haven’t heard of it for a long time, over 50 years.
        Thanks again Kat.


      2. Two Scotts
        Hi Kat,

        Yes, I saw the link and followed it. A lot of the old legends got attached to the second Michael, the one I am descended from. (My grandfather was the last of the line to live on one of the farms granted Scott as part of his estate by the Scottish King) I have a feeling a lot of those legends are even older than the first Michael Scott too.

        Prior to about 900AD “Scott” or “Scot” simple meant a person from the West coast around Dumbarton (Dal Riada). Prior to about 700AD it meant someone who had come over from Ireland. The surname Scott in the Scottish border country would have originally have had the meaning of a family from the Dumbarton area who had moved to the border area of Lauderdale, where the Scott clan has its roots. It wasn’t until King Kenneth MacAlpin unified Scots, Picts and Gaels that the concept of Scottishness as a national identity began.

        Regards, C

        1. Lauderdale
          Hi Cernig,

          Your mention of Lauderdale, at least for me anyway, added a bit more evidence about the Scottish/Old South connection, since I grew up in the county just south of Lauderdale County, Mississippi.

          I had no idea the name ‘Lauderdale’ was connected to Scotland – not that I’m surprised, considering the way history is mis-taught. Of course I was taught that many Europeans migrated to the ‘New World’, and that many of them had come from the British Isles, but the typical reason given was that the Puritans (without any real explanation of who they were) came for religious freedom. I never had a history course that included anything about European history, other than bits and pieces that were directly relevant to U.S. independence.

          And it’s understandable that a lot of this history ceased to be passed down in families after a few U.S.-born generations. Settlers had a lot on their plates – fighting tribal nations, building homes and growing crops by hand, and having very little time for school even when there was one close enough to attend. Even in the early 1900s, it was still very unusual for a rural girl like my grandmother to go to high school, which in her case was a boarding school that was at least half a day’s wagon ride from her home. So, for the most part, family history wasn’t passed down in written form, and oral transmissions tended to grow thinner and thinner over the generations, hampered by the still-present tendency not to speak ill of prior generations, which has led to not talking about them much at all. At least that’s the case in my family. haha To learn what the real deal was with regard to my maternal grandparents, I had to vigorously pry info out of my aunt and uncle a few years ago, and only succeeded by promising I’d never reveal what they told me.

          Since you read my other comment, you’ll know part of that was about the odd notion that stone axe heads were thunderbolts. In my family, something akin to that was passed down. At my gran’s high school, whenever there was a thunderstorm, all the students were made to sit quietly on their beds. So that’s what my gran made my mother and aunt do when they were children. And my grandfather would never let any of them start any work that couldn’t be finished before sundown because it was bad luck. My father had a few peculiar notions too, which were passed on to me as gospel truth. He was certain that every stream, creek, and river ‘purified itself’ every hundred yards, though as with the bed-sitting-during-storms, no reason was ever given for this idea. But judging by the current polluted state of our waterways, it seems likely that was a commonly held belief.

          It all makes me wonder what other relevant chunks of my history are still unknown.


    2. cold? you don’t cold
      What a bunch of amateurs, you get a little snow and you start complaining. And this in the face of the global warming, you won’t ever see it again in those parts. So this is your last chance.

      1. you don’t understand earthling
        Earthling I have been to Canada and I know how the houses are fortified against the cold.
        In Queensland they are not.
        In fact, my house, like a lot of houses here is built on stumps, to let the air circulate underneath.
        The older houses like mine are not insulated except for what we have put in the ceiling.
        I met a man from Winnipeg who said that the coldest winter he ever spent in his life was spent in Brisbane.
        A lot of people here do not even buy warm clothes, and on the Redcliffe Peninsula where I live,north of Brisbane, winter clothing is shorts and T shirt.
        Efficient cold weather clothes are not even available here.
        The humidity on the peninsula, I think because of the string of islands down the Qld coast, is very humid, mostly 90% all year round, far more humid than Brisbane and farther north.
        The first winter I spent here, coming from the very dry of the inland, I nearly froze to death.
        The dry cold is easier to handle than wet cold.
        The attitude of many Queenslanders is to put up with the few cold days we have every year because our summer is so long.
        I must admit that mostly our winter days are stunning, but the cold can be very cold.
        Another thing, all your sports facilities are indoors because of the cold.
        Nothing like that here.
        Our little kids get out in freezing weather to play football and other sports.
        And all the parents of course have to go and watch them.In the cold.
        Cold is a way of life in your country so you are geared up for it.It is not here so we just have to cope.


        1. oh, I understand quite well…
          I know life can be rough. Bill Gates has days with bad cash flow, the Saudis suffer from low oil prices sometimes, their princes don’t get any attention from their 4 favourite wives, so they have to turn to their concubines, and your man Rumsfeld doesn’t have enough fire power. Erich Honecker and Yosef Stalin got low voter turnout, and Michael Schumacher doesn’t have enough horsepower this year. Oh, the suffering, it breaks the heart.

          1. MY man Rumsfeld?????
            Earthling, take that back.
            He’s not my man.
            He’s not even a man.
            He’s an arsehole attached to a mouth.

            So, are you implying that Ausstralia is so wonderful that we have no reason to complain?
            Well, yes, I guess it is.
            And besides,even though it gets cold, there are few places where you could die from exposure in Qld in winter.
            Melbourne of course is a different bucket of schnapper.


  2. God my eyes!
    Kat, what was that all about?
    I vaguely remember it, but I’m old now you know.

    That is interesting about the peat blog melting in Siberia.Not good news I suppose, but if you want to think positive, think about all the fossils and stuff that will be found when it is melted.
    Peat bogs being the place for those things, I think there will be a rush to get into it and see what they can find.

    Talking about the cold…it occurred to me that where Floppy lives would be cold as it is flat country.But at least it is drier than here.
    Hope he has not got brass monkeyitis.We might have to go and investigate.


    1. shadows…….
      your like a good wine……and you know what that means 😉
      as for cold…well I had to break 20mm of ice off the troughs so the cows could drink this morning…..some ice was still there at midday today. This will be the first cold ekka for awhile.
      The brass monkey has thermols thanks for your concern. If I seen you two ladies comming down the road I would run like hell me thinks…hehe…

      DISCLAIMER:the opinions and veiws in this post are mine only and do not nesessarily reflect those of others.

    2. God! My Eyes!
      Keeping in mind today’s article about differing perceptions of website design…

      As many of TDG’s long-term visitors are aware, The Daily Grail has been through several changes along the way that have run the gamut: small, large, subtle, dramatic, well-received, and not-so-well-received.

      One of the most dramatic changes was a switch from the familiar white-on-black format to black-on-white. To put it politely, the reaction from TDG’s fans was – uhhh – mixed. And being a rather outspoken lot, we fans proceeded to post our honest reactions — with varying degrees of tactful consideration for the feelings of our illustrious host who, as some of us were aware, had just spent many relatively sleepless weeks working on this dramatic format change.

      To me, the comment that best represents, uhh, one less-than-tactful faction’s uninhibited reaction to TDG’s new bright-white look began with, “God! My Eyes!”

      Fortunately for those of us who love this site so much that we recklessly allow ourselves to think of it as our own, Greg caught up on his sleep, accepted our apologies, decided not to close TDG, and came up with the solution of offering readers a choice of formats.

      Website beauty is, as they say,…


      1. Yes I remember
        Kat I remember that.Personally I like it the way it is but then I like a dramatic look in anything.And you have to admit that compared with the dreary Phenomena and many other sites, TDG is stunning.
        It is always exciting arriving at a new site with a great look.The good thing about TDG is that you are not disappointed as the look is good and the content is good.

        Geez I’m getting old,I had forgotten that until you reminded me.


  3. Good Points!

    This really was a good post. I don’t know where to start with a comment. But, I particularly enjoyed “Gallaxy”, “Frozen Peat Bog”, “Mega-Mystery”, and Proto-Sun, as well, as the the quote.

    Further comment will be posted after I’ve thought about it.


  4. Freezing in the tropics
    I don’t think we’re asking for pity, just understanding! Our houses as designed to stay cool (for winter read that as cold), with large areas of glass, and generally open-plan living. Ever tried to heat a 30 foot square barn with a 2-bar radiant electric heater??? As it’s usually only cold for a few weeks, we don’t have thick heavy curtains to pull across all those glass windows and, yes, a vast proportion of our houses are up in the air to allow the freezing draught to blow underneath. Apart from which, any warm clothes we might have owned before moving north were long since munched to pieces by moths.

    Saw a TV programme on Qld a few years ago which commented that we have the most diverse range of climate of any place on earth, and that Queenslanders feel the cold more than any other peoples, including those who live north of the Arctic circle. I found that comforting as I thought I was peculiar. Well, I probably am peculiar, but not in this case.

    Regards, Kathrinn.

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