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News Briefs 20-02-2006


  • Deep space x-ray surveys reveal black holes are much more numerous and evolved differently than researchers expected.
  • Our galaxy’s fastest pulsar is leaving us at a speed of more than 670 miles a second. Which makes it our galaxy’s smartest pulsar.
  • Five nearby stars have been chosen by scientists involved in SETI as the best places to look for alien civilisations. It’s life, Jim, but not as we know it.
  • Scotland is at the centre of a gravity revolution, and it doesn’t involve kilts, sporrans or Cernig.
  • Making better fuel cells more efficient and viable, through quantum mechanics.
  • China is leading the nuclear fusion race, and will build the world’s first artificial sun if experiments next year prove successful.
  • Psychdelic drugs are gaining the attention of medical researchers, for all the right reasons. “Hi everybody!” says Dr Nick to a bicycle.
  • Ecstasy and loud music are a bad mix. Boom boom. Rave music alone is enough to damage anyone’s brain.
  • A new study suggests we make our music purchases based partly on our perceived preferences of others. I think I’m the only person in the world who has Nine Inch Nails and Enya in the same record collection.
  • Gene patterns in white blood cells can quickly diagnose disease and the affects of bioterrorism.
  • Humans risk being overrun by diseases from the animal world, according to researchers who have documented 38 illnesses that have made that jump over the past 25 years.
  • Scientists rebuilding the genomes of the mammoth discover it’s closest living relative is the Asian elephant, and the African elephant is their grandparent’s father’s brother’s nephew’s uncle’s former room-mate. So what does that make us? Absolutely nothing.
  • Rats understand cause and effect. It’s a pity most humans don’t.
  • A scientist says seafood provided the conditions for explosive brain growth, paving the way for human evolution. It also lead to the invention of the toilet.
  • Other researchers say the threat of being eaten drove human evolution. That’s what we lack in our modern world, Velociraptors and Pterydactyls and Giant Wombats.
  • Wandering through the hills of Greece, a hiker found a 6500-year-old gold pendant … and handed it in to authorities. Greece is now worried about an invasion of drunk British backpackers from Ibiza.
  • A 1400-year-old moccasin was found in a Canadian glacier. Good luck finding that Cinderella.
  • Henges, pyramids and the Celtic cross helped ancient mariners sail the world. Yarr.
  • The ancient Thornborough Henges are almost 1000 years older than the pyramids of Giza. Zahi Hawass choked on a falafel when he heard this.
  • A set of watercolours by William Blake (aka Billy Boy) detailing a poem by Robert Blair is to be split up and auctioned, dismaying and angering the art world.
  • A new book discusses the shamanic qualities in Ted Hughes’ poetry. Poet to Poet: Ted Hughes, by Simon Armitage.
  • A Picasso painting of his mistress Dora Maar could fetch more than US$50million at auction in may. Here’s a great feature article about Picasso and Dora Maar. Hopefully this wasn’t Picasso’s attempt at Realism, for Dora’s sake.
  • Local artists see the Chupacabra as a metaphor for Mexican-Americans. What does that make Bigfoot?
  • Phenomena magazine discusses the life, and brutal murder, of D. Scott Rogo; writer, science researcher, and paranormal seeker.
  • Is science taking Near Death Experiences more seriously? Probably because the debunkers are starting to collect their pensions.
  • Reflections on being a parapsychologist, an article by Carlos Alvarado.
  • The external influence of consciousness, how thought affects the external world, from the Book of Thoth.
  • From my favourite newspaper, ex-Beatles guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is translating the theory of meditative power into a blueprint for feeding the hungry and bringing peace to the world. Yeah mon!
  • According to the Johor Wildlife Protection Society, there’s not just one Bigfoot hiding in the Malaysian jungle, but a whole colony. Is it Bigfoots or Bigfeet?

Thanks Kat.

Quote of the Day:

To see a world in a Grain of Sand,
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
And eternity in an hour.

William Blake

  1. Rambler strikes Neolithic gold
    My faith in humanity got a lift from this story – not only did this person find a neolithic treasure, a gold one at that, they handed it in to the authorities for no reward and no publicity.

    Well done that person!


  2. Really enjoyed all the news
    Really enjoyed all the news today Rico, thank you.

    Interesting how often we have links to the Deseret News. I’ve written for them before. My father is an editor there.

    1. Cheers
      Yeah, they always seem to have some kind of interesting story you wouldn’t expect a smallish newspaper to print. When I first started the news a long long time ago, I was always amazed at the obscure newspapers that popped up in my searches. Now I’m no longer surprised. I think the editors at these papers can get away with stuff a larger newspaper would balk at for fear their reputation would be tarnished. It’s great! Tell your father he’s doing a terrific job.

      Is Deseret News a Mormon newspaper? I notice it’s Salt Lake City.

      1. Is Deseret News a Mormon
        Is Deseret News a Mormon newspaper? I notice it’s Salt Lake City.

        It is technically owned by a Church subsidiary, yes. Although they claim they never influence the stories or the staff, there are those that like to say they do.

  3. Nine Inch Nails and Enya……, it could happen!
    I could find Candlebox and Clannad, or Dream Theater and Dead Can Dance in my collection. I don’t think it matters one iota what you play….. as long as you like it,it is the right song.

    Oops, a typo.

    1. It did happen!
      Well, I don’t have Nine Inch Nails in my collection anymore, I think I traded it for something else. I have Clannad and Dead Can Dance too. Have you listened to Loreena McKennitt? Her The Mask and Mirror album is one of my favourites. And then I have U2, lots of U2, Damien Rice, the Arcade Fire, Tori Amos, REM, Sting, and lots of obscure japanese ambient electronica, especially Susumu Yokota. I don’t really buy stuff just because everyone else is, nor do I care what people think of my music tastes. I agree, listen with your own ears.

      Oh, I had some Tool cds too, but I gave them away for free. 😉

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