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News Briefs 25-08-2005

Grail greetings to you and yours.

  • The lost island of Atlantis will be discovered very soon in the Mediterranean Sea, seven kilometers off the Cyprus coast and 1,000 meters below the surface. And you’ll get to watch it on TMC.
  • Bones reveal the first shoe-wearers.
  • An unknown stone machine is found in a sunken ancient town. This article is so lacking in information; we’ll post more if we find it. Odd little story.
  • Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson apologized for calling for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. That didn’t take long.
  • More than 500 academics, scientists and doctors in the UK have signed a declaration supporting the use of animals where necessary to advance medical research.
  • India’s health ministry has decided to recognize and market leech therapy.
  • Scientists in London report successfully directing human embryonic stem cells to become lung cells.
  • Researchers in the US have discovered a way of generating stem cells that could avoid the use of human embryos.
  • Witches plan casts spell over Lottery. What shall we do with the unemployed witch prickers?
  • He spends his free time trying to disprove paranormal presences, but he admits to hearing “Help us” and other spooky voices.
  • Even chickens use the earth’s magnetic field to find their way. Why can’t we do it?
  • Fetuses are unlikely to be able to feel pain until the last stage of pregnancy.
  • High-Tech door is better than Star Trek.
  • Gambling monkeys give insight into neural machinery of risk. Every monkey I ever gambled with would hit 17 on a dare.
  • Futuristic spy plane maneuvers like a bird.
  • VR goggles heal the scars of war.
  • This one’s for Jameske. Feline experts are unlocking some of the mysteries behind catnip’s intense effect on cats.
  • The King of Swaziland has ended the chastity rite for Swazi girls days before the annual reed dance ceremony at which he traditionally picks a new bride (he has 12) from thousands of young girls who appear before him dressed in little more than beads and traditional skirts. It’s good being king.
  • The plan to populate U.S. grasslands with wild lions, cheetahs, elephants and other African safari favorites has been slammed by conservation groups.
  • A decade after Saddam Hussein had them drained to punish their occupants, the marshlands of southern Iraq, said to be the inspiration for the biblical Garden of Eden, are recovering at a phenomenal rate since Saddam’s fall.
  • Welcome to the world where the little is big: Nanotechnology.
  • Could Einstein have been wrong?
  • Despite what your inbox says, Mars will not loom as large as a full moon this weekend. For instance.
  • Nanotube sheets are stronger than steel.
  • Scientists using NASA’s Swift satellite say they have found newborn black holes, just seconds old, in a confused state of existence.
  • Unique NASA Science Lab tackles the ‘sticky’ issue of lunar dust.
  • Russian clipper spaceship draws European interest.
  • Cosmic dust from meteors could have a bigger impact on our climate than once thought.
  • Volcanic blast location influences climate reaction.
  • Scientists to place radio transmitter on giant asteroid that endangers life on Earth.
  • NASA’s Mars rover Spirit has caught a bevy of dust devils racing across the surface of Mars, which researchers compiled into a movie.

Quote of the Day

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  1. That’s an apology?
    Robertson first said his call for the assassination of Chavez was misinterpreted – that he only meant the US should kidnap Chavez, a democratically elected head of state.

    I suppose it wouldn’t be the first time for the US to kidnap a head of state, but supposedly there was evidence that Manuel Noriega had done something illegal. But then, some say the US was paying him – more than $100,000 a year through the CIA – to do whatever it was.

    Robertson’s shown his true colors, and they’re not red, white, and blue — they’re black, esoterically speaking.


    1. The goggles, they do naaartthing
      Not only is he a liar, he’s an idiot. The explanation:

      “I didn’t say assassination,” Robertson continued. “I said our special forces should take him out. Take him out can be a number of things including kidnapping. There are a number of ways to take out a dictator from power besides killing him. I was misinterpreted.”

      Robertson focuses on the ‘take him out’ line and tries to weasel out of it. However, I’d like to see his explanation of the ‘misinterpretation’ of the rest of his comments:

      “If he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think we really ought to go ahead and do it. It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war…”


      Peace and Respect
      You monkeys only think you’re running things

      1. I saw this on Fox news
        I saw this quality of reporting on Fox News Pay TV channel last evening when surfing. And then, all of a sudden, a repeat of the A Team started. Mr T is hard to beat!


          1. BS
            Heh, the BS was inserted in regards to the Pat Robertson quote.

            Peace and Respect
            You monkeys only think you’re running things

    2. Don’t Trust Pat Robertson!

      I’ve known about Pat Robertson since the late 50’s or early 60’s. This isn’t the first time that he has shown his true colors; but, it may be the first time that he won’t be able to cover them up! Falwell and many others are just like him!


    3. Pat Robertson
      Hi Kat,

      I think everybody and their dog has condemned Pat Robertson. The White House distanced themselves moments after it hit the news.

      Although PR is an ordained Southern Baptist minister, remember that he is also a politician and an entertainer. He speaks for no one but himself. I wonder if his ratings went up?


  2. unknown stone machine
    Those Bulgarian news reporters certainly are frugal with words — maybe there’s a newsprint shortage there. haha

    Here’s a brief history of Bizone and Kavarna (including nice photos). In Dec. ’04, archaeologists found two 2nd or 3rd century Roman tombs on Karvarna bay. There have been numerous archeological finds in the area, the oldest dating back 8000 years. The area has medieval fortresses, tombs carved into the rock, caves, sacrificial stones, undersea ruins, and of course, the Valley of the Thracian Kings, which has recently attracted world-wide attention.

    As the forts suggest, Bulgaria has been invaded many times, but these days they’re actively encouraging ‘foreign invasion’ — you can hardly find a website that mentions Bulgaria that doesn’t include a sales pitch for real estate.

    If you really want to dig deeper on the ‘unknown stone machine’ story, you might try contacting Dr. Ivan Marazov, Head of the New Bulgarian University Department for the History of Culture; Director of the New Bulgarian University Master’s Program in Arts Theory; New Bulgarian University Master’s Programs in the Archaeology of Antiquity, Thracology and Egyptology. His e-mail address: . There’s more info about his work/interests here, including Shamanism in ancient Thrace, and Thracian mythology and legends.


  3. Good Post!

    Einstein and Newborn Blackholes were very interesting. A growing number of scientists believe that Einstein’s theory of General Relativity will be modified within the next 100 years; but, most of the rest of his work is fairly safe. Blackholes are very interesting to me. How about you?


    1. Einstein and Relativity
      Hi kennc,

      Understand that I’m just an electrical engineer with no PhD behind my name, not a theoretical physicist, but I’ll give it my best shot.

      There are several aspects to Einstein’s general Theory of Relatively. These include his famous and well known equation E=mc^2, the existence of black holes, and frame dragging, the prediction that the rotation of an object would alter space and time. Energy and mass conversion is demonstrated in atomic bombs and stars, the Lorentz transformations prove that objects traveling near the speed of light grow thinner and heavier and stretch time (they also prove why one can’t travel faster than light – no Star Trek), and frame dragging has been observed using quasars. The Michaelson-Morley experiments in 1887 proved that the speed of light is a constant. Putting all these proofs together with recent observations of anomalies suspected of being black holes confirms gravitational lensing, light is bent, although in the opposite direction of the prediction, in the presence of a rotating body, seems to confirm that Einstein was correct – space and time can warp, but the speed of light of constant.

      That’s why these experiments by John Webb, of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, when he discovered that light could change over the ages upsets everything. From the reference, “Webb analyzed light from super-bright quasars and found that 12 billion years ago, the fine-structure constant or alpha – an amalgamation of constants, including the speed of light – seemed in fact to be inconstant, being lower long ago.”

      I’m in way over my head when the discussion turns to singularities with infinite density, but I do believe this. Einstien was more right than he was wrong, but it’s not perfect. I expect that our understanding will change in much less than 100-years. John Webb changed it today.


      1. Very Interesting!

        This is very interesting and enlightening! Most of my reading has been on his General Theory of Relativity. Where can I read more about new developments related to his Special Theory of Relativity. I’m not an engineer or scientist by profession; but, I’ve studied it on my own for a very long time. Learning and making scientific progress is more important than whose rigth and whose wrong; because, we only learn when we are wrong. Einstein would agree and salute John Webb. Thank-you very much! Does John Webb have a web site?


        1. The Universe

          Hi kennc,

          Much has transpired since Einstein developed his theories. Scientists used these theories to develop new ideas and disprove old ones. People like Stephen Hawking have helped develop String Theory, multi-dimensions, and other concepts on energy, matter, and gravity.

          Brian Greene’s writings attempt to put these complex concepts in language that we can understand, and he does well. Green wrote The Elegant Universe in 2000, but an updated release is due in October, 2005. The new 2005 release is on Amazon US. Amazon UK still has the 2000 version at UK.


          1. This Is True!

            I’ve read Brian Green’s “The Elegant Universe” and Steven Hawking’s writings. Steven Hawking got me interest in Black Holes. I get Google alerts about string theory every week. My interest in Einstein really evolves around his theory of General Relativity and his paper on the Photo Electric Effect as it relates to Quantum Mechanics. I get a weekly Google alert on Quantum Mechanics also. I’m looking forward to the update of “The Elegant Universe”. We could have an interesting and very informative discussion on this if you want to. This is one of my favorite topics!

            What do you think?


          2. Black holes, classical relativity, gravity, and the quantum
            Hi kennc,

            TDG does a pretty good job of offering new information on a variety of topics, but the format doesn’t lend itself well to in-depth discussions of a single topic. You might consider submitting a review oh “The Elegant Universe” to Greg. My knowledge on this subject is limited by what I have read; it appears that you and I have read much of the same material.

            Einstein predicted black holes, but he set out in 1993 to disprove them while Oppenheimer set on the opposite course. Using this method, both men determined that black holes were an absolute necessity, and the resulting theory of general relativity includes black holes. Penrose and Hawking predicted that any object that collapses to form a black hole will go on to collapse to a singularity inside that black hole. A singularity and the gravitational effects a relatively short distance from the singularity is beyond the scope of the theory of general relativity, and thus no prediction could result.

            The quantum theory is necessary to describe effects of collapsing matter inside a black hole. Quantitazing collapsing matter has been undertaken by Hawking. He has determined that no black hole is completely black and that some information is radiated, in particular, temperature determined by its mass and charge. It is the string theory that allows us to quantatize gravity, but quantizing gravity is no small chore.

            That’s about all I think I know about the relationship between black holes, classical relativity, gravity, and the quantum. The string theory is a different discussion. The results of experiments and calculations is on-going. We haven’t reached the end yet, and we won’t for some time. Like forever. Savor the journey.

            If you find a flaw(s) in my understanding, feel free to correct me. It is good to know that someone on TDG likes this stuff other than myself. Consider the review.


  4. Unemployed witchprickers?
    That is a terrific phrase Bill, can I use it?

    The link about foetuses not feeling pain is the same logic used when people say animals feel no pain.No sense, no feeling.I’ve heard that 1000 times in my life and I still feel sick when I do.

    Kudos to all those people who reclaimed the marshland in Iraq.That is a sensational effort and I have to say, even though I heartily oppose the war, that if any good has come out of it, it is this.
    It gladdens my heart to know that this has been done for the people who belong to the marsh.

    That is very interesting about people who hear spooky voices.A couple of times in my life I have heard a voice say something to me, but I was so startled at hearing a voice in my ear when there was no one there that I forgot the words.
    I have also felt someone touch my arm.My reaction is always one of utter confusion, I wish I could scientifically evaluate what happened.

    There is a lot of great news there, thanks Bill,interesting stuff.
    I just made some chocolate chip and cherry muffins, wish I could give you some.


    1. Witch prickers
      Hi Shadows,

      I’ve heard of dunking, but witch pricking was new to me. Good work if one can get it. ;o)

      You and I don’t agree about the invasion of Iraq, but I think we can agree that Sadam has few redeeming qualities.

      If I heard a spooky voice and something touched my arm I think I would come out of my skin. But my mother told me it happened to her as well shortly after my father died.

      Yum on the cookies and muffins. Where’s that Star Trek transporter?


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