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Is a Kaplutis the small-screen equivalent of Newthink? That’s the impression I got from the themes of some Kaplutii others have noticed. Also, would one of you nice folks over in Scotland please buy me a copy of Saturday’s Scotsman newspaper, and send me the free Rosslyn CD that’s inside it? I’ll happily reimburse you.

  • The Eternal Value of Privacy.
  • Egyptian geologist backs Bosnian pyramid claim. More.
  • On ancient walls, a new Maya epoch.
  • After the ‘Gateway to Hell’ blew in 1159 BC, ancient Scotland went without a summer for 20 years, says Alistair Moffat, author of Before Scotland: The Story of Scotland Before History. Amazon US & UK.
  • Scientists say Hobbit was one of us with a diseased brain.
  • The Amazon Trail: Anna Roosevelt’s ventures into the jungles of South America have turned up traces of human settlements far older than archaeologists ever suspected.
  • Amazon Stonehenge suggests advanced ancient rainforest culture.
  • Peruvian woman of A.D. 450 seems to have had two careers.
  • Roman myth: “We were ‘barbarians’”, says ex-Python Terry Jones, “but early British civilisation outshone the Roman version. We just lost the propaganda war.” Terry Jones’ Barbarians is available at Amazon US & UK.
  • Cosmic Log takes a look beyond The Da Vinci Code, including a slide show of the real-life art and artifacts. I had to lie on my back to view slide 13.
  • Critic says Ron Howard handles the supposedly provocative material in Dan Brown’s best-selling book with kid gloves. Shoot – I guess that means he’s not the anti-Christ after all.
  • Michael Baigent describes the Da Vinci Code court case as ‘one of the worst experiences of my life’. Meanwhile, almost unbelievably to anyone who has read the judgment, Baigent and Leigh have applied to appeal.
  • Remember all that buzz last August about the Maranatha Puzzle? Maranatha: Et In Arcadia Ego has just been published in Oz, and The Age has an interesting update on the story. Maranatha: Et In Arcadia Ego is available from Amazon UK, and a 300-page companion book is due out in July.
  • Forget Scientology: With visibility, exclusivity and controversy, Opus Dei is the perfect fit for celebrity religious tastes.
  • Hidden history: Voltaire and Emilie du Châtelet, his forgotten muse who played a crucial role in the development of science, together created something of a modern research institute.
  • Archaeologists find candidates for Endeavour, the vessel Captain Cook commanded on his first epic voyage across the Pacific Ocean.
  • New study using 800 times more DNA than earlier efforts shows unusual evolutionary split between humans and chimps. I’m curious what this implies about the two groups’ cultural interactions, but nobody’s talking about that yet – at least, not beyond the merely physical.
  • Can evolution make things less complicated? We may think of it as a forward progression, but sometimes evolution goes backwards or sideways.
  • Apes shown to be able to plan ahead.
  • New evidence shows mad cow disease threatens everyone in Briton.
  • Ain’t no mountain high enough to resist the effects of climate change.
  • Giant slab of Earth’s crust found near core.
  • British scientists discover first evidence of seawater deep inside the earth.
  • With time running out, a discovery deep in the crust of the Earth.
  • Study: Exxon Valdez oil lingers, extends farther into Alaska’s tidal waters than previously thought and could be causing long-term harm to wildlife. Anybody surprised?
  • Scan This Book: The long-heralded great library of all knowledge may finally be within our grasp.
  • ‘A matter of getting history right’: Portrait found to be a Titian after all.
  • The Internet changed the world. Politics is now changing it back.
  • If computers could create a society, what kind of world would they make?
  • Media blackout continues against former officials, others, who say 9/11 was an inside job. CNN’s taken it a step further by shopping for guests to attack Charlie Sheen.
  • Judith Miller says that, in July, 2001, an anonymous White House source leaked top-secret NSA intelligence to her that Al Qaida was planning a major attack on the US. Sploid and I wonder, Why AlterNet, and why now??
  • Your coffee or your web? As with Jack Benny’s delaying tactic when confronted with the threat ‘Your money or your life?’, hesitant responders say, ‘I’m thinking about it!’
  • Pat Robertson says God has informed him that America is in for a lashing – perhaps even a tsunami – this year. Unfortunately, scientists agree that this forecast is not a bad bet.
  • Harry Potter’s missing Ford Anglia mysteriously turns up at Carn Brea Castle, which bears a striking resemblance to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Nice to know it still flies.
  • Bicycle riders’ dream and solution to high gas prices, all rolled into one: Man reinvents the wheel. Yo David, you can check out the specks of this amazing new engine at www.revopower.com.

Quote of the Day:

Too many wrongly characterize the debate as “security versus privacy.” The real choice is liberty versus control. Tyranny, whether it arises under threat of foreign physical attack or under constant domestic authoritative scrutiny, is still tyranny. Liberty requires security without intrusion, security plus privacy. Widespread police surveillance is the very definition of a police state. And that’s why we should champion privacy even when we have nothing to hide.

Bruce Schneier, author of Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly About Security in an Uncertain World. Amazon US & UK.