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News Briefs 16-08-2005

I stayed up far too late watching the cricket…it’s been a tough job collecting the news today.

  • The New York Times reviews Abducted: How People Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped by Aliens (Amazon US and UK – preorder for October), by Susan Clancy of Harvard University (is Harvard trying to exorcise their ‘personal demon’?). The headline shows what an informed individual we have reviewing this book on abductions…
  • Another Atlantis candidate. I can’t keep track anymore.
  • Behind the scenes, there’s a lot of doubt about the ‘fundamentals’ of cosmology.
  • Teach your child the ABC a different way – H.P. Lovecraft style. Alternative title perhaps Bub’s Niggurath? Hmm, rhymes with “take a bath” too…I see I have a future in children’s writing.
  • They’re working hard to find intelligence in Edinburgh. I should say ‘artificial intelligence’, before Cernig comes over and slaps me upside the head.
  • Carbon nanotubes may heal broken bones. Hurrah for the inanimate carbon rod!
  • Nasal spray clears Alzheimer’s brain plaques.
  • HIV breakthrough raises hopes for a cure.
  • Virus gene may be key to anti-aging treatment.
  • Geologists slab back at Bush.
  • Weird science from the religious right. Unknown if Kelly LeBrock is part of their vision.
  • Small town council faces big bill from Wiccan, after ruling against using the name of Jesus Christ in prayers before meeting.
  • How Witchcraft Made America: a review of Judge Sewall’s Apology: the Salem Witch Trials and the Forming of a Conscience (Amazon US and UK), by Richard Francis.
  • Scientists’ belief in God varies by discipline.
  • Kelsey Grammer (Frasier) talks to dead people. He’s had a tough run with the family tragedies.
  • Psychologist Robert A. Baker – “there are no haunted places, only haunted people” – dies aged 84.
  • Digital birth ID stirs privacy debate. I had a hard enough time with being fingerprinted as I entered the US as part of their ‘Visitor Induction Program’. I felt so special getting the VIP treatment.
  • US shoots ahead in stun gun design.
  • Undersea adventurer Robert Ballard explores ‘lost city‘ (natural formation) using the latest in technology.
  • Smugglers of Egyptian artifacts get prison sentences of up to 55 years.
  • First fully-jointed Neandertal skeleton constructed.
  • Ancient floor‘ a work of nature, not man.
  • Easter Island residents seek autonomy from Chile.
  • What will be the name of the newly discovered ‘tenth planet’? Sitchin supporters probably need not apply (and don’t even think about it Jameske!). And it may be bigger than first thought. Hmmm, giving it a name, bigger than first thought…are we talking about a planet here?
  • British MoD open-minded about alien encounters. No wonder nobody is seeing UFOs anymore, with the cricket so darn exciting (yes, I know – cricket and exciting are strange words to pair).
  • Alien author tours the US in his motor home.
  • To go where no man has gone before: take a visit to a Sci-Fi convention.
  • Undiscovered giant waterfall found in California. A new place for BMB to take the silver Coleman?
  • A pee-powered battery the size of a credit card. Now drunk guys have an excuse for p*ssing their pants…”just charging up sweetheart!”
  • Polar bear swims 50 miles in one day.
  • Psychic’s crystal ball burns down his flat.
  • Praying Mantis spears Hummingbird. Man, I’ve been hanging out on the Bird Watcher’s Digest website for seven years waiting for a big story to break…I knew the wait would be worth it.

Quote of the Day:

One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.

Martin Luther King

Editor
  1. Go the AUSSIES!
    I stayed up too, and the sleep deprivation was worth it to see the look on the faces of all the English in the crowd. Heheheheh. πŸ™‚

    I just hope Gillespie doesn’t play next test …

    p.s. You mean Lovecraft’s Cthulhu books aren’t for children? Well, I was sure robbed as a child!

    1. yes….
      I couldn’t keep my eyes opened. missed it. I don’t understand the selectors sometimes.

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

    1. Wiccan Wyrd
      Oh, and thanks for the update on that Wiccan and her local council. I’m glad the Supremes turned the councils appeak down and I truly pray she gets her money. They could have just been in the can for $18k but because of their stupidity in continuing to fight for an extra 2 years its now $65k.

      Maybe the council should have heeded the old magikal adage

      “As thou give, so shall thou receive, only threefold”

      heeheehee

      Regards, C

  2. great pics of humming bird and mantis
    Wow Greg, that was well worth waiting 7 years for those pics, they are terrific although the poor little hummingbird came to a sticky end that I could never have imagined for him.

    I loved the story about the Wiccan woman winning the court case.I don’t know where people get the idea that we are living in Christian countries.
    When the Europeans took over Australia they declared it a Christian country and that was rubbish as there was already a large population of indigenous people who were not Christian.
    We get this garbage in editorials in the newpapers at Xmas and Easter.That’s a damn insult to all the people, millions of them, who are not Christian.

    How on earth could Kelsey Grammer have lost 2 step brothers to shark attacks?
    That’s just plain carelessness.
    I don’t like him, and now that he says dead people miss their milkshakes I know he is a frootloop.

    Thanks Greg, great links even if you are exhausted after the cricket.I started watching the Big Brother eviction and it nicely put me to sleep.That’s the sort of TV I like.

    shadows

  3. Inanimate carbon rod
    “Hurrah for the inanimate carbon rod”.

    I can hear that line in a film somewhere, but I just can’t place it. Is it Jurassic Park, or one of the Pythons?

    yer ol’ pal,

    Xibalba
    (This post was brought to you by “Realm of the Dead”)

      1. Ahh yes, with the whole 0g cr
        Ahh yes, with the whole 0g crisp eating and the ant colony…. yes. very good.

        It was the carbon rod that kept the door shut…. I think, but I can’t remember why they needed the door jammed.

          1. A-haaa
            you’re right! It was indeed the Simpsons Space Shuttle episode. Homer got the shuttle into trouble by releasing the ant colony into zero g. The camera showed them all close up, and they thought that aliens were taking over the shuttle.
            Did they blow the lot into space (like the end of Alien), and then the door wouldn’t shut anymore. The inanimate carbon rod had been the bain of Homer’s existence to that point, ironically it was ultimately used to save his life, and those of the crew.

            yer ol’ pal,

            Xibalba
            (This post was brought to you by “Realm of the Dead”)

          2. The blowing the door to flush
            The blowing the door to flush them out sounds right…. but not completly right. Do I have to go and watch this ep. again or does somebody know the truth? πŸ™‚

            Stay frosty,
            Kainen
            (This post was brought to you by the country “Wales”)

          3. I think that’s right Kainen
            I think that’s what happened.Don’t worry the episode will soon come up again for you to see it.

            Aren’t you lucky being Welsh!
            I always wanted to be Welsh but I can’t sing.

            shadows

          4. Don’t worry about singing, as
            Don’t worry about singing, as long as you can drink and be merry then you can have an honorary Welsh-Person badge (I have 5 to give out)

          5. I can drink…
            …but I go to sleep so I am not much good.That’s the good thing about getting older…. most things send you to sleep.
            You should be extremely proud of your Welsh heritage and specially your poets.

            shadows

          6. Proud to be Welsh yes. Lots
            Proud to be Welsh yes. Lots of history around me. 20 stone castles within 20miles, 15 Iron age hill forts, couple of standing stones (some 30tons), few sites of battles in days gone by, lots of mysteries and ghost stories πŸ˜›

            The Welsh have done lots of things, too many to list. Even discovering America before Chris C and the Vikings…. πŸ™‚ but yes, some of the greatest feats have come from bards/poets of old. Not too many about these days πŸ™ a great shame

          7. Stop it I’m jealous!
            Tell us some stories of these castles Kainen, I don’t think we have too many Welshmen on here.

            shadows

          8. Not much to tell to be honest
            Not much to tell to be honest. Most were build by the Normans around the 1080s. A few wer turned into fortified manor houses, a few were left as motte and bailey castles and few went big, with massive stone walls.

            Most of the castles (if not all) were taken during the uprising of Owain Glyndwr and some were burnt to a crisp there and then.

            Along the coast of Gower, we have 2 known Viking towns that the sand dunes have taken over, another one village was left after the black death wiped everybody out….

            Try googling for “Maen Ceti” its a standing stone otherwise known as Arthurs Stone. 25ton cap stone resting on 6 uprights. very cool site as you can see for miles there. Funny enough, there is a stone there that you can stand on and it causes involuntary bodily actions, such as diorea. As legend goes its an energy vortex πŸ™‚

            I’d type more, but my boss thinks I’m working πŸ˜›

          9. Welsh bards…..
            could we handle another TOM JONES….hang on…wheres my spare nikkers…….

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

          10. Welsh
            I’m half Welsh – my Dad came from Llanrwst (yes Shadows, that is a real spelling – not made up). My mum, on the other hand, comes from Venice (Italy – not California!)

            I think my top half is Welsh….but my brain is probably mostly Italian. I can sing (at least I used to be able to, when I was involved in the music business).

            My Dad’s most over-used catch-phrase is “I was born in Wales – but I’m better now.” He’s lived in and around London since moving from the foothills of Snowdonia in about 1952.

            I like visiting Wales (Gower is particularly beautiful in parts), a brother lives in Cardiff, but I’m not sure I would like to live there. I guess I’m just a soft southerner.

            yer ol’ pal,

            Xibalba
            (This post was brought to you by “Realm of the Dead”)

          11. “Gower is particularly beauti
            “Gower is particularly beautiful in parts”

            In parts? lol. First area in the UK to be giving the title of “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty” I’ll have you know πŸ˜›

            Check out my website (just starting it) http://www.littlejohns.tk if you want proof πŸ™‚

            As far as Cardiff goes…. I wouldnt like to live there either m8 πŸ˜€

  4. “pee-powered”
    I wonder how many times in a person’s life they get to use the term “pee-powered”.

    And about that ancient floor being the work of nature, I don’t think it is.Scientists are often wrong.
    Either that or they have deliberately covered it up so no one can say that there was a civilisation that many years ago.

    shadows

  5. What’s wrong with alternate theory?
    Interesting blog on intellegent design. I don’t quite understand what is so threatning to the scientific establishment to have alternate possibilities exposed to our children in schools. In my oppinion nothing should be taught as fact. Doing so is a fundemental problem with the world.
    Attempting to cement people in what a consensus of scientists believe to be fact at any given time, is just another form of brainwashing, whether it’s scientific, religious or hokus pokus, it’s still brainwashing.

    As long as children are first taught to have an open mind about all things and study all angles of the human experience, not just the 5 senses, I don’t quite get why the scientific establishment feels so threatened by anything outside their “sphere.”

    1. fact vs theory vs religion
      The problem is that you don’t understand the difference between a scientific theory and a religious belief. Neither one are facts. Among other things, a scientific theory allows you to test it, and possibly establish that it is false. A religious belief, such as “intelligent design”, does not allow for this. Hence the two concepts should not be taught as being equivalent.

    2. Religious education
      Typical Christian Reconstructionist troll talk. You want to see public schools converted into Sunday schools.

      Religion and scientific education are implacably opposed. Intelligent design is nothing more than sugar-coated creationism, and it has already rotted your brain.

      All religious education should be abolished, not just religious education in public schools. Religious schools should be closed down too. Even Sunday schools should be closed down. They pervert the minds of our children and make it hard for them to reason properly and absorb scientific learning in later life.

      Worse still, Christian religion has perverted the political process, especially in America, but also here in Australia, where Brendan Nelson, the Minister for Education, is trying to foist phonics education on State schools, and threatens to withold money from State public schools if they do not toe the Commonwealth line, but phonics education is one of the rallying points of the Religious Right.

      For similar reasons, Jewish and Muslim schools should be closed down too.

      Christianity itself is fatally flawed, resting on the demonstrably false premise that Jesus Christ was an historical figure (just as Judaism and Islam are fatally flawed, resting on the false premises that Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, etc. were historical figures).

      Secular humanism is the only antidote to Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Perhaps atheism should be taught in public schools to quicken the process of secularization.

      1. Holier than thou scripture
        Salman Rushdie wrote an editorial recently that’s very applicable, despite his focus on Islam — I think what he writes applies to every other major religion.

        Salman Rushdie argues that a large part of the problem of religious fanaticism is that many won’t accept that their faith is merely an event within history; instead, they argue their faith is supernaturally above it.

        Another point he makes, and I think this is the crux of the problem, is:

        The insistence within Islam that the Koranic text is the infallible, uncreated word of God renders analytical scholarly discourse all but impossible.

        Same goes for the Christian Bible, the Jewish Torah, and all other holy scriptures. The fanatical insistence that these books contain the holy words of God is the PROBLEM. Rushdie, and I agree with him, argues that these holy books are historical records, and as such should be open to academic debate.

        And I’d like to add Science to this list. There are many scientists, especially in the field of human evolution, who think their theories are the infallible words of God and are supernaturally above debate.

        At least Sigmeund Freud had the balls to say, “It’s just a theory”.

        1. I read that piece by Rushdie..
          …and I wish he would stop targeting Muslims.
          He is right though, that religion thinks it is above history and commonsense.
          One of the problems with religion has been that there is no separation of powers in many countries, and yes Muslim countries are some of these.
          And in America now we have a Christian president pushing a Christian barrow and the same in Australia.
          You cannot possible proclaim a country multi-cultural when the leaders defer to one religion and make so much of it.

          shadows

    3. Note the irrational reaction
      You hit the nail, t.b. All you have to do is listen to the blood boiling and you know that this is not a subject for rational discourse. If you want to find the definition of ‘dogma’ in the dictionary, look under evolution.

    4. Evolution Revolution
      Totally agree, Thrustbucket.

      The best teachers help a student learn how to question. The worst teachers make a student think they know all the answers. Sometimes, it’s a good thing to know you just don’t know.

      Evolution is one theory of human origins. Intelligent Design is another. And there are plenty more theories in between and on the edges. We should be exposing students to all of the theories, and encouraging them to question.

      If I ever teach one day, the first thing I’ll teach my students is that “I don’t know“, and anyone who says they “know without a doubt” is full of sh*t.

      “Wiser is he who knows he does not know.” – Socrates

      And another good quote:

      When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.” – Arthur C. Clarke

      Damn, I should have saved that quote for my news next Monday!

      1. my own…..
        intelligence is not knowing the answers, rather it’s knowing the questions.

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

      2. Thanks for all your insight.
        Thanks for all your insight.
        I truly see science as just another religion. I see mainstream scientific establishment of today very much like the Catholic church was in the 12th century. Everyone is expected to believe it is the be all and end all of fact, and if you present any other theories that aren’t proveable to everyoines five senses, you are labeled a fringe heretic. Instead of being physically burned at the stake today, your career is.

        Science is the religion that worships things that can be proven to another persons five senses. That doesn’t make it any more right or valid than any religious persons beliefs or views that may not be so easily provable to another. If someone claims to have had some experience that can not be repeated for another person to experience, that’s called a religious experience. And just because they can not repeat the process for me to see myself, is not proof it did not happen.

        I fully agree with you Rico- The ability to question and hold all things to criticism, religious or scientific, is key. And yes, contrary to what it seems some of you think, religion can – and often is- something personally treated very much like science and can change drastically over ones life. This is how it should be. Making blanket statements about Muslims or Christians or other being dangerous belief systems and brainwashing is extremely ignorant. Any religion, as well as science, can and should just be used as a simple starting point or angle to learn more.

        1. questions are not all that is needed
          It is very easy to question everything, in fact it is trivial.

          What is harder is to come up with answers, and to be willing to check those answers. That is what science attempts to do.

          Religion does not attempt any verification.

          If you think that verification is useless, perhaps you are just lazy.

          1. Lee,

            I resent your comment
            Lee,

            I resent your comment, since I don’t worship anything or count myself among any religious group. How do you assume that? Tell me how I’m wrong. Tell me how science is any more useful to an individuals happiness than some religions or spiritualism?

            I never said religion was the way. I am simply saying neither science or religion are better than each other. How does that make me a religious fanatic? Because I’m not a ‘Science Fanatic’ like you perfer to be?

            Worship is the exact thing I despise. There are those that worship in a religion and those that worship science. Both are poor decisions.

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