News Briefs 07-06-2006

For some reason, there’s climate change news everywhere today…perhaps 6/6/6 has called up the fires of hell. In any case Bill, I didn’t go looking for them…

  • British climate report predicts millions will be forced to leave coastal areas and seek higher ground.
  • How far will we go to save ourselves if global warming predictions are correct?
  • Dubya’s administration creates a climate of fear, with scientists claiming they were gagged on the climate change issue.
  • Petroleum/gas fuels new cold war in the Arctic. Wouldn’t they all be cold wars in the Arctic?
  • Study shows that our ancestors survived Snowball Earth.
  • Two deaths in the UFO research community – Karl Pflock and Dr Harley Rutledge.
  • Physicists generate ball lightning – actually plasma clouds – in the lab. Nice timing to go with the MoD Condign Report.
  • Tips on how to predict psychic pscams – with the interesting revelation that 0.1% of psychics are actually genuine.
  • Vanity Fair reopens the whole Dan Brown copyright issue with an investigative feature on Lewis Purdue’s claims (I’ve been wanting to look more into the whole Ahamedd Saaddodeen mystery for a while – perhaps it would make a good basis for a novel…).
  • Science at work – an anti-allergenic cat has been bred. Now if they can just breed one that doesn’t get into my garbage bin and tip it over the floor, I’ll be a happy man.
  • King Arthur’s Scottish Camelot.
  • Forget Gitmo, here’s real human rights abuse: Barry Manilow’s music used to clear streets and parks of undesirables in Australia. I’m ashamed of my country…
  • Uri Geller rocked as Presley’s home slips from his grasp. Shouldn’t he have seen that coming?
  • Researchers find hidden Greek text on the Antikythera Mechanism.
  • Archaeologists have discovered what they believe to be a 27,000-year-old drawing of a face, which would make it the oldest in history.
  • Cambodia temple ‘faces collapse‘.
  • Mini-planet systems get stranger.
  • Post 6/6/6, we ask the question – what is up with those doomsday obsessives?

Huge thanks to Kat (perfect timing as I went down with gastro).

Quote of the Day:

If you asked me to name the three scariest threats facing the human race, I would give the same answer that most people would: nuclear war, global warming and Windows.

Dave Barry

  1. Allergen free – and garbage free – cats
    >>Now if they can just breed one that doesn’t get into my garbage bin and tip it over the floor, I’ll be a happy man.

    Wha?!! Your cat gets into the garbage? Even with 3 cats, my plastic garbage bag, sans bin, continually sits on the kitchen floor unmolested, and I couldn’t bribe the critters to take an interest in it. Perhaps this is due to the fact that they have 2 full bowls of their favorite kitty-kibbles (dry cat food) available 24 hours a day – one upstairs and the other downstairs, for their convenience. I suggest you give this a go. If food’s always available and the cat still knocks over the garbage bin, maybe it’s not trying to get in the garbage per se, but rather trying to use the top of the bin as a ‘stair’ to a higher vantage point in the room, presumably the kitchen counter, and via that, a window. If that turns out to be the case, you’ll just have to provide the critter with a window-perch so it can meditate on the great outdoors.

    If all that fails, I suggest you smear honey on the top of the garbage bin for a couple of weeks. Of course that might temporarily attract a few insects, but your cat will loathe getting it’s feet sticky.


    1. I had a problem ..
      when I bought a swing-top tidy bin for my kitchen, not realising that my small cat had used the old bin as a stepping stone to reach the bench so she could steal the dish-cloth (she came from a long line of dish-cloth thieves!). Every so often piteous but rather muffled howls would emit from the new bin (into which she had disappeared) until I rescued her from the cat-dungeon into which she had fallen. The bin was replaced and peace reigned again!!

      Regards, Kathrinn.

  2. Cave painting of face
    Those early human artists were really shit weren’t they?

    That looks nothing like a face. I would even suggest that the markings on the cave wall are a map showing how to get from the cave, up the road to the chemist.

    As maps go, it’s a pretty good attempt. As art, pur-LEEZ! Although it’s still better than anything Tracy Emin has produced.

    yer ol’ pal,

    (This post was brought to you by “Realm of the Dead”)

    1. mathematicians?
      This looks more like the first drawing of straight lines, and the first right angle.

      Some of these archeologists spend to much time in the field by themselves. The mind wanders.

  3. Antikytherea text
    Although the article linked above doesn’t say what the text translation is, I have seen a document which gives the translation so far.

    It says:
    This is a novelty item only. Made in Chi…

    yer ol’ pal,

    (This post was brought to you by “Realm of the Dead”)

  4. 27,000-year-old drawing of a face
    Bah… That’s a natural rock formation. Pieces fell randomly forming the illusion of a face by chance. The lines are the result of someone brushing an object against the rock to clean it of accumulated gook. The very concept of a face did not even exist then.

    Lol, just kidding of course.

  5. Mini-planet systems get stranger
    [quote]Professor Jayawardhana, who also worked on the study, added: “The diversity of worlds out there is truly remarkable. Nature often seems more prolific than our imagination.”[/quote]

    That is quite an astute remark. What is even more extraordinary is that we nonetheless will try to limit nature to our imagination.

    Well, at the very least, our ‘understanding’ of nature is the limit of our imagination.

    1. Climate change
      I think people are missing the point entirely with the whole climate change thing by getting bogged down in the unwinnable argument of whether climate change is caused by man-made emissions or is a natural cycle.

      Regardless of which of these is correct (and who’s to say that it isn’t a combination of the two) – pumping the levels of greenhouse gasses into our atmosphere can’t be a good thing. Even if it’s not changing the climate directly it must be affecting the health of our children.

      Perhaps there is a natural cycle there that happens every 100,000 years (or whatever). The fact is, last time it happened, it wasn’t exacerbated by mankind pumping unprecedented levels of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. On previous occasions the Earth has recovered from its natural cycle – however, this time round, can we really be so certain that it will be able to recover given our assistance in accelerating that change? Is that a gamble we’re willing, or even qualified, to make on behalf of our children and grandchildren?

      yer ol’ pal,

      (This post was brought to you by “Realm of the Dead”)

      1. Its affecting me
        I live on a busy highway and the pollution sometimes nearly finishes me off.I am near the sea but can’t smell it because of the fumes from traffic.
        People will go on creating pollution because that’s what they do.The only solution is what you said you are going to do when you sell your house.A lot of people are doing that here now but there will not be enough soon enough.
        In the meantime we cough and wheeze and hope we survive.


      2. Evil Greenhouse Gas

        Regardless of which of these is correct (and who’s to say that it isn’t a combination of the two) – pumping the levels of greenhouse gasses into our atmosphere can’t be a good thing. Even if it’s not changing the climate directly it must be affecting the health of our children.

        The greenhouse gas in question is carbon dioxide (CO2). Here in the land of the living CO2 has no effect on you or your children. But the crops that you and your children eat love the stuff, like we love oxygen. The plants expel oxygen as we expel CO2. It’s a symbiotic relationship. It has been for a long time. You really should read one of those links I posted.


          1. Trees love that CO2
            Hi Hayis Me Lad,

            No, forestation is actually increasing in the USA.

            According to the USDA Forest Service, the folks that inventory the forest lands and trees in the US, the forest area has remained statistically constant since 1900 at 745-million acres. Cutting has decreased on public land since 1970. As a forest matures with larger diameter trees the number of smaller diameter trees decreases. However, since 1977 the number of all diameter trees has increased. There are an estimated 300-billion trees one-inch in diameter or larger in the US.

            I don’t know about elsewhere.


          2. not just trees
            It is not obvious what happens when you replace trees with other vegetation. As far as I know, trees and the surrounding plants are cut down significantly in some of the tropical rain forests. In places like Brazil and Indonesia, and probably other places too.

            However, if you then grow some kind of crops in the same location, these plants will consume CO2 as well. Practically the entire crop is made from CO2 out of the air. But it is not obvious what the balance is – the native forest was historically stable in volume, and that volume was very large (trees, leaves, undergrowth and all that).

            The new crops are most likely smaller in volume – but they get cut down and shipped off frequently. So how does that affect the CO2 balance?

            Of course, it you cut down vegetation and pave over the area, it is more obvious what happens.

          3. Trees love that CO2
            Younger, smaller trees consume the CO2 much faster than old growth. That’s why the timber industries, those that plant and harvest trees, do much more to protect the environment than tree huggers.

            I am presently doing battle with several hundred trees on my property. My goal is to eliminate them and plant grass but they aren’t easy to kill. If you know what a mesquite tree is you probably understand. All the cedars will die also. The EPA is actually helping me.


          4. War on Trees
            Dear Bill, very best of luck in your battle against
            those villainous trees. I’m sure they hate our values.
            Maybe you could start a War on Trees? A word of caution
            though, I am reminded of that infamous ”branch” scene
            in Evil Dead and I am worried what the trees will do to
            you if they start fighting back.
            Have a good weekend all.

          5. Just trees
            Hi Hayis me Lad,

            No villains here; no counterattack expected. I shall prevail out of stubbornness. In win. :o)


          6. Rain forests
            If all the old trees aren’t doing much to process the CO2, then perhaps we should be doing more to chop down the rain forests – they’re ancient!

            Bulldoze the lot, and plant saplings. The world would, apparently, be a much better place.

            yer ol’ pal,

            (This post was brought to you by “Realm of the Dead”)

          7. Rain Forests
            Bad plan Xibalba. You would sacrifice the animal life as well. But if you managed it in stages, a little at a time, and actually replanted the same plants, it would increase the rate of atmospheric processing.

            But I don’t own a rain forest and neither do you. But you can still put your time to good use – just go plant some trees.

            Good luck with that.


        1. Brilliant!
          Thanks for the biology lesson, Bill.

          So, if all the trees, plants, algae can happily process all the CO2 in the atmosphere, why are we worrying?

          Because there’s more CO2 in the atmosphere than can be processed by all those trees, plants and algae. That’s why the levels of CO2 are rising – the atmosphere is saturated beyond the processing capability of the green stuff.

          Since all that excess CO2 isn’t being processed back into O2, the “blanket” it forms is only getting thicker, hence global temperatures are rising.

          You don’t mention any other greenhouse gasses, such as methane, which was recently being found by a group of German scientists (if my memory serves me correctly) that showed that plants actually produce methane in significant levels – something that wasn’t known before. Therefore, perhaps the planting of more trees is only adding to the greenhouse effect through increased methane output!!

          Oh dear, I’m confused now – think I’ll go and have a sit down and a nice cup of tea.

          yer ol’ pal,

          (This post was brought to you by “Realm of the Dead”)

          1. Absolutely!!


            You’re welcome. Now let’s try some climatology.

            You really should read that link I posted, The Real Inconvenient Truth. There you will learn that CO2 doesn’t act like a “blanket” in the atmosphere and the temperature of the planet has risen less than one-degree Centigrade since 1900.

            Got any data on methane?

            Good luck.


          2. Methane info
            I found this in about 2 seconds by Googling “methane greenhouse gas”. 21 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2, apparently.

            Bill – you’re not listening to Dubya when it comes to data on climate change, are you? That would explain a lot of your views.

            yer ol’ pal,

            (This post was brought to you by “Realm of the Dead”)

          3. Panic
            Hi Xibalba,

            I didn’t see anything on your link that showed any data. You alluded to methane emission from plants. How much? Compare it to CO2 absorption. How much compared to the total quantity?

            No, I gave you a link to some of the people that I listen to. Scientists – not politicians. I’m trying to get Dubya to listen to scientists also. He’s still determined to reduce CO2 emissions – something Kyoto will never do. There is no scientific evidence to support your position.

            But I have learned that some persons believe what they want to despite the facts. Global Warming is a faith-based religion. So go in peace and believe what you will. I’m going back to the ranch in my CO2-spewing truck.


          4. Onya Bill!
            That’s just what the earth needs, more people like you who realise the importance of producing as many deadly vehicle immissions as they can possibly muster.
            It’s not only the CO2 it is the lead and other horrible stuff as well.
            It’s people like you that have made America great.


          5. Methane
            Hi Bill,

            >>I didn’t see anything on your link that showed any data.

            Maybe Xibalba just copied the wrong shortcut. Here’s the beginning of the EPA’s Methane section, which includes links to several of their other pages about methane. At the bottom, there’s also an index of the site and links to main topics in the area of Global Warming. Here are a couple of paragraphs from this main methane page:

            Methane (CH4) is a greenhouse gas that remains in the atmosphere for approximately 9-15 years. Methane is over 20 times more effective in trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2) over a 100-year period and is emitted from a variety of natural and human-influenced sources. Human-influenced sources include landfills, natural gas and petroleum systems, agricultural activities, coal mining, stationary and mobile combustion, wastewater treatment, and certain industrial process.

            Methane is also a primary constituent of natural gas and an important energy source. As a result, efforts to prevent or utilize methane emissions can provide significant energy, economic and environmental benefits. In the United States, many companies are working with EPA in voluntary efforts to reduce emissions by implementing cost-effective management methods and technologies.

            Methane is one of several non-CO2 gases that contribute to global climate change. To learn more about these gases and what EPA is doing to reduce their impact, visit our Non-CO2 Gases page.

            Back to your mesquite problem… Mesquite wood sure does smoke a fine backyard burger! I learned that back in the ’80s when I was living on the eastern shore of Lake Whitney. One way to get rid of that all that mesquite in a hurry would be to buy a chipper/shredder, package the result in some zip-locks, and sell it to all us backyard bbq-ers in the rest of the country. EBay would probably take care of any marketing concerns. Humm, come to think of it, EBay would take care of any storage concerns too – you could chip just enough for however many orders come in. I’ll even take a 2 lb. bag myself. 😉

            Btw, I was thinking of you last night when I linked to that OKC article from WND.


          6. methane
            i’m thinking of fitting “gas catchers” to my cows. Tanks strapped to their backs and a gas catcher fitted to their tail. Could you imagine 200 million cows around the world catching methane for us.
            Untapped natural sorce of energy.

          7. Cow methane
            I have it on good authority that bovine flatulence is one of the largest contributors to atmospheric methane levels.

            Perhaps, in order to save the earth from increased levels of bovine flatulence, we could all go out and cull a cow.

            Alternatively we could all go out and adopt a donkey.

            Thanks for posting the info re. methane, Kat. Here’s another link for you Bill – the one relating to research showing that plants release methane.

            yer ol’ pal,

            (This post was brought to you by “Realm of the Dead”)

          8. Reply to ‘cow methane’
            The physorg article Xibalba linked to says:

            ‘…scientists looked at the release of gases from living plants like maize and ryegrass. In this investigation, it turned out that living plants let out some 10 to 1000 times more methane than dead plant material.’

            ‘In terms of total amount of production worldwide, the scientists’ first guesses are between 60 and 240 million tonnes of methane per year. That means that about 10 to 30 percent of present annual methane production comes from plants.’

            Since we know (from that epa article) that methane is over 20 times more effective in trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2) over a 100-year period, the solution is obvious – and proves Bill’s point! So, in his honor…

            Let’s call it the Ft. Worth Protocol: Forget CO2. Reduce methane overproduction – eat more plants!

            Btw, Floppy’s doing his part. He’s harvesting his corn – one of those methane-producing ‘grasses’.


          9. Methane
            Hi Kat,

            I was about to suggest that you carefully read read my response to Xibalba’s link because you only partially quoted me. You seemed to believe that I don’t know what methane is by quoting, “I didn’t see anything on your link that showed any data.” What I actually said was:

            You alluded to methane emission from plants. How much? Compare it to CO2 absorption. How much compared to the total quantity?

            However, you did a much better job here. But before we have a methane-panic, let’s follow the methane-trail that you’ve discovered and see where it takes us.

            What is the total amount of methane in the troposphere? Are we producing more methane now than we did 100-years ago? Do grasses produce more methane than other plants, like trees? But the big question is, “Why hasn’t the planet-wide temperature risen more than 1-degree C since 1900 if all this is anything other than ‘so what’?”

            BTW, Floppy’s cows, as well as mine, will convert that dead corn to methane with vigor. You are welcome to come and try to trap it in a plastic bag and sell it on Ebay with all the mesquite you can chip. I reserve the right to sell tickets he methane harvest – the cowboys would enjoy that. :o)

            With reference to some post that you made for me on Friday, I should tell you, reluctantly, that I don’t read your news posts. Too much politics. :o(


          10. No such thing
            >> You seemed to believe that I don’t know what methane is by quoting, “I didn’t see anything on your link that showed any data.”

            I know you’re very smart and well-educated, so of course I would assume that you know what methane is. After all, that’s what you guys were discussing. I just quoted the part about a lack of data as my reason for posting a more relevant link.

            >>BTW, Floppy’s cows, as well as mine, will convert that dead corn to methane with vigor.

            You’re right – feeding the corn to cows isn’t gonna help matters (assuming matters need helping). But we humans don’t produce nearly as much methane from corn, and I’m sure a few of the hungry billions would be happy to eat it. I wouldn’t mind a nice buttery ear of corn on the cob myself.

            >>I reserve the right to sell tickets he methane harvest…

            Since he suggested it, I’ll let Floppy fighre out how to harvest that bovine methane. haha

            >>With reference to some post that you made for me on Friday, I should tell you, reluctantly, that I don’t read your news posts. Too much politics. :o(

            Since the politics is usually toward the bottom of the list and clearly identified, it sounds to me like you’re throwing the baby out with the bath water. But, just so that you won’t have to avert your eyes from any potentially problematic posts, here’s the article from WND that I linked:

            Congress to hold hearings into OKC bombing.
            Examining foreign connection to plot, including Arab terrorists.

            You might also try the New Briefs of 02-06-06 – since there’s not a single political article anywhere in it.


          11. Enema
            I’m sure that somehow this becomes GWB’s fault but I would rather that you go give your cat an enema than tell me.


          12. What?
            Sorry, I don’t understand what you mean.

            But to explain a former post better, I meant that, while I enjoy ‘discussing’ various subjects, I don’t like to argue because I don’t think it’s likely that anyone’s mind will be changed, or anything ‘proven’, by arguing about it.


          13. What!
            Hi Kat,

            Of course you know what I mean. But well said – you hit the proverbial nail on the head.

            Discussions result from facts; arguments result from opinions.

            Politics is always based on opinion. You and I have very different opinions. Any political post that you make will result in an argument. Whatever political story you post on TDG news is placed there because of your political opinion. As you said, neither of us will cause the other to change our opinions based on some argument on the Internet. So why post it in the first place? I already know what your opinion is and you know what mine is. Why bother butchering up the news with it? Post it in a blog if you must. It’s easier to ignore in a blog.

            And that’s my opinion. :o)


          14. So now I’m a liar?
            >>Of course you know what I mean.

            No, at the time I posted that comment, I didn’t understand what you meant.

            I just figured it out though – you meant you didn’t want me to tell you how GWB was somehow to blame.

            You know, Bill, sometimes you can be a real jerk.


          15. Jerks
            >>You know, Bill, sometimes you can be a real jerk.

            Yes, I can. I was just returning your cat enema comment to you in kind. I guess we can both be jerks if we put our minds to it.


          16. discussion vs. argument
            Kat, there is a fine line, well not really, but a very smudgy line, between discussion and argument.

            Kat, don’t you post all your interesting news items so that the besst ones will start discussion? And a few of them are political. Not most, but a few of them reflect your political views. Most of your news items fall in the category of interesting, strange, funny, mystic, and those sorts of things. Which is what this site is about.

            I know I offend a few people here, by disagreeing firmly sometimes. I never mean to make them feel bad, or insult them personally. Ok, there were some racist people, and I called them on it. That has to be done. Perhaps they will wake up, I don’t know.

            But we should not stop discussion, just because it sometimes strays into arguement. There are reasons to disagree on some subjects, and we should not stop disagreement on important subjects just to be polite.

            Of course, when people just get angry after some lenghty discussion, they need to back off, calm down, and think about what they really want to say, and what they really want to do.

          17. discussion vs argument
            Discussion is about people explaining their point of view, or exploring possibilities. Usually, the people involved in a discussion are actually interested in what the other person has to say.

            Argument is about trying to prove you’re right. Argument also frequently devolves into such low techniques as emotional baiting, logical fallacies, and personal attacks. People who are trying to prove they’re right are rarely sincerely interested in the other person’s thoughts on the matter.


          18. in defense of argument
            You are correctly pointing out how it should be. I have never seen a neutral a “discussion” about anything political, here on TDG or anywhere else in the universe. I don’t think it is possible.

            There are also honest attempts at discussion from some people who present genuine new ideas of their own, and TDG is a good site for that. Of course they try to prove that they are correct, and they are not neutral. They will first present evidence that supports their new ideas. With some insistence, and rightly so, since they have spent time and effort developing these ideas. Without that sort of insistence, we would be sitting in caves eating raw meat and roots.

            There are also things such as “heated discussion”, which is not a bad thing. But it looks like argument.

            The exchange of thoughts is not always the reason for discussion. Sometimes the reason is to find a course of action, when there is a real problem, as opposed to a theoretical of philosophical issue.

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