News Briefs 12-12-2005

Like Japanese anime, the colours of Sub Rosa gave me an Out of Body Experience.

  • The final season of excavations at Sialk Tepe in Iran begins, a site that dates back more than 8000 years.
  • Also in Iran, staircases and floorings have been excavated in Gour, constructed during the third century AD.
  • In 1925, a humble photographer discovered the tomb of Queen Hetepheres.
  • Scientific testing has shown that Britain’s first known cave art at Cresswell Crags is more than 12’800 years old.
  • 4000 lanterns decorated the Pueblo cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde National Park.
  • A pot full of silver coins from the Mughal era has been found in eastern India, despite the absence of rainbows and cursing leprechauns.
  • Italian archaeologists have found five remarkably untouched Roman sarcophagi in a burial vault outside Rome.
  • Fears are held for the safety of a German archaeologist abducted in Iraq.
  • Millions of rare artifacts in museums and libraries across the USA are slowly disintegrating because of improper storage. You should see Dubya’s bedroom.
  • Ireland’s chief archaeologist, who advised the government on the construction of a highway through Tara, has no track record of archaeological excavations or publications. Again, there’s no sign of rainbows nor cursing leprechauns.
  • The Greek Government has changed laws allowing recreational divers access to its coastline, but archaeologists are concerned it will lead to an increase in illegal artifact poaching and smuggling.
  • Chinese archaeologists have found the Vermillion Phoenix Gate of the 1300-year-old Daming Palace in Xian.
  • The ancient murals of northwestern China’s Mogao Grottoes have been repaired by a team of Chinese and American experts. For some amazing photos, see here, here, and here.
  • Basque country has many sites where mysterious beings and spirits are glimpsed.
  • Tombstone, Arizona, is a town where many in the Wild West met a violent end, and their ghosts wander the streets like tumbleweeds.
  • A tumbleweed in the sky? Kecksburg Pennsylvania has an unexplained UFO legend to rival Roswell.
  • A SciFi Channel-backed researcher is pressing NASA for UFO files. You’d have better luck convincing Susan Clancy she was abducted by an alien.
  • FATE Magazine has a great article on UFOlogy in the old Soviet Union, by Vladimir V. Rubtsov.
  • Russian researchers say they can explain the mystery of Noah’s Ark.
  • What sea monsters lurk in the deep blue sea? The Skeptical Inquirer says none. Kinda premature, considering we’ve explored more of the moon than we have our own oceans.
  • Did a sea monster devour a German submarine in 1918, and is this what the Beatles were singing about? I didn’t see that in Das Boot.
  • Loren Coleman asks what is this mysterious orange humanoid, dubbed the Braxton Beast? Someone drank too much orange Gatorade. Bill denies he has anything orange in his wardrobe.
  • A new cat-like mammal found in Borneo has astounded us all, but millions of animal species are still to be discovered.
  • Susan Clancy, my favourite Harvard Psychologist, says alien abductions are “… so boring after you’ve heard one … they’re all the same.” Could say the same about skeptics like Susan Clancy.
  • An article discussing Graham Hancock’s Supernatural (Amazon US or UK).
  • Nobel Laureate David Gross says String Theory is in trouble. Maybe he’s just a bit strung out.
  • Astrophysicists weigh up the risks of a cosmic wipeout, and say it’s a one in a billion chance. That’s still a chance though.
  • Scientists say the Earth’s north magnetic pole is drifting from North America at such a rate, it could end up in Siberia in the next 50 years.
  • Two months after the original incident, a mystery smell of maple syrup is drifting over New York again, and nobody knows what it is. They make big pancakes in Canada.
  • U2 band members were recently awarded Amnesty International’s highest human rights accolade — the “Ambassador of Conscience” Award for 2005. No surprise really.
  • Damien Rice, also Irish and a favourite of mine, wrote a song after visiting Burma in 2004 in support of Aung San Suu Kyi. It’s available here.

Quote of the Day:

“Two things people throughout history have had in common are hatred and humor. I am proud that, like Mark Twain, I have been able to use humor to lessen people’s hatred.”

Richard Pryor 1940 – 2005