News Briefs 11-10-2005

Anybody got a job for me? Better yet, anybody just want to give me money?

  • Court battle over Ötzi the Iceman heats up (with all apologies to Ötzi).
  • Oldest hieroglyphs discovered in China’s Ningxia.
  • Secrets of the Widow’s Son unearths more Da Vinci theories. Yes this “has happened in the history of literature before”…
  • International UFO conference underway in Italy.
  • $1million bounty to be offered for cryptozoological discovery. Just make sure you don’t bring it back to New York and put it in flimsy manacles.
  • Science investigates the afterlife: a review of Spook, by Mary Roach (Amazon US and UK). The review makes it sound like her research was quite superficial…for example, what about Ian Stevenson’s birthmark correlations in reincarnation cases? This NY Times review says “she appears more concerned with comic effects than cosmic ones”.
  • Afterlife researcher claims his dead father saved his son’s life.
  • Satanists condemn church vandals. Call yourself Satanists…tsk, tsk.
  • Mosquito with glowing gonads to help fight malaria. There’s got to be a superhero comicbook plot in that one!
  • Computer predicts quakes in the San Francisco area (over an 80 year period).
  • University of Queensland researchers appear to have found a vaccine for cervical cancer.
  • Four robot vehicles finish Pentagon’s desert race.
  • New military robot could pinpoint snipers’ nests instantly. The company name ‘Irobot’ doesn’t inspire confidence…I’ve seen that movie.
  • Robot fish join live friends in London aquarium.
  • Here come the bodybots. Exoskeleton prototypes make their debut. Not sure about the Japanese name: HAL-5. Better than HAL 9000 I guess, but only marginally…
  • Where would the future be without futurists?
  • Futurist Ray Kurzweil calls for the government to hide the 1918 flu virus details.
  • Computer head shows that we’re suckers for a good mimic. If you’re typing while drinking a coffee as you read this, I’ll probably like you.
  • Are you ready for Web 2.0?
  • Newly launched ice-scanning satellite does some serious up-close scanning of ice, by crashing into the North Pole.
  • Solar bursts can be surprisingly good news for astronauts.
  • Is dark matter non-existent (literally)?
  • Japan successfully tests supersonic airliner model, which will carry passengers at twice the speed of sound. The captain has to announce the landing before he takes off.
  • Forensic lab worker in Brisbane investigated for stealing pituitary glands from human brains. No, I’m not a lab worker.
  • Crack-crazed squirrels terrorise South London.
  • Best science photos of 2005 named. No crack-crazed squirrels though, I note sadly.
  • The science of happiness.
  • January conference on LSD to celebrate the 100th birthday of Albert Hofmann. LSD obviously had a real negative effect on Albert’s health and longevity. I wonder if that’s how my grandmother Ethel got to the mark (this Saturday, happy birthday Grandma R!)…

Quote of the Day:

I do not think this is a ‘door’ and there is nothing behind it.

Zahi Hawass