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News Briefs 15-01-2007

It’s 2007, where are the hover cars and robot maids?

  • South Korea isn’t letting me down, aiming to put a robot in every home by 2010.
  • Also in South Korea, a robot that gives birth is helping medical students who can’t practice because of the country’s low birthrate. Governator Arnie plans to use it in his new movie, Terminator Junior.
  • Australia is taking part in the One Laptop Per Child project for aboriginal communities in the top end.
  • Will Windows Vista be one step forward, two steps back? One day we will witness iWindows.
  • Comet McNaught, named after the Australian astronomer who discovered it last August, streaks across the southern skies this week, but Sydney may miss out. Some punters say it’s a cricket ball smashed by Gilchrist from hapless English bowlers.
  • Black diamonds may have their origins in intersteller space, US researchers claim.
  • A researcher says the Viking space probes of 1976-77 did find life on Mars, but inadvertantly killed it and didn’t recognise what it had found.
  • We are the Martians.
  • New life forms have been discovered in the Arctic Ocean.
  • A plant with the world’s largest flower evolved from a family of flora whose blossoms were nearly all tiny. You should see the bees.
  • A duck believed to be extinct has been found alive because scientists were looking in the wrong habitat for 18 years. Maybe the duck was hiding.
  • A 36’000-year-old skull discovered in South Africa gives support to the “Out of Africa” hypothesis.
  • But wait, there’s more. Modern humans may have spread out of Africa only relatively recently according to the analysis of fossil finds in Russia.
  • Tools found in northern Minnesota may be 13000 to 14000 years old, which many skeptical archaeologists are having a hard time grasping.
  • A quartz stela unearthed in the Avenue of Ram-headed Sphinxes in Luxor has changed what Zahi Hawass knows of Ancient Egypt’s 20th dynasty.
  • A slickly-produced SciFi Channel program is looking for flying dinosaurs in the mountainous jungles of New Guinea with sexy guides.
  • The Transylvanian castle loosely associated with Vlad the Impaler is on sale for $91million US, but could end up as part of a theme park. Now I know why Greg made a donation link for TDG.
  • This is the reason, not Stephen King’s It novel and miniseries, why clowns scare the hell out of me.
  • A campaign to clear the name of Mrs Helen Duncan, jailed for nine months in 1944 for being a witch, is gaining international support.
  • What is this strange flying orb captured on video?
  • The Other Side of Truth says the O’Hare UFO incident, for better or worse, will define how the public views UFOlogy. If only the public read TDG instead of celebrity paparazzi gossip magazines.
  • Paul Kimball also believes that self-styled alien abduction researchers — such as David Jacobs and Budd Hopkins, have is a cult. I’m disappointed in Paul, he (conveniently) fails to mention John Mack’s research.
  • But this piece by the UFO Iconoclast(s) is just plain offensive, describing abductees as people experiencing psychotic episodes who need to be “cured”. Whoever wrote that needs to be anal probed by klingons.
  • Nick Redfern says he supports people who search for ET using radar and radio, but wonders if we’ll have a better chance winning the lottery. I forgot to buy a ticket last week.
  • The Beyond Reason talkshow discusses the latest in UFOlogy with Dr Kevin Randle.
  • Does this video footage really show a spiraling UFO above Russia, or is it a clever fake?
  • The opposition to String Theory is growing. I can hear the snip snip of scissors.
  • The internet needs less cell-phone recordings of Saddam Hussein’s latest booze-up and Paris Hilton’s execution , and more pics of the O’Hare UFO.
  • Is this the face of Dante? The author of The Divine Comedy (Amazon US or UK), not the guy from Clerks.
  • I’m a big fan of Rob Brezsny’s Free Will Astrology and Pronoia (Amazon US or UK), and I’m delighted to discover he reads TDG.

Quote of the Day:

“I have a dream that in the New World Oprah Winfrey will buy up all the Pizza Huts on the planet and convert them into a global network of menstrual huts, where for a few days each month every one of us, men and women alike, can resign from the crazy-making 9-5, drop out and slow down, break trance and dive down into eternal time.”

from Pronoia, by Rob Brezsny

  1. The Alien Abduction Cult
    Actually, in the comments section under the original post (which did not refer to Dr. Mack), I specifically exempted Mack from my critique. I wrote:

    “I haven’t reached a conclusion about the nature of what these people claim to be experiencing – my conclusion is instead about the way they have been used by the Alien Abduction Cult – people who are wholly unqualified, by either training or objectivity, to deal with this (Dr. John Mack being a notable exception, but note that he never said thousands of people were being abducted by aliens).”

    Also, you wrote that I wrote:

    “the alien abductees have created is a cult.”

    Actually, I referred not to the alleged abductees, but to the so-called investigators, like Hopkins, Jacobs, Sims et al. I see the alleged abductees as their victims, which was the point of the post.

    Best regards,

    1. John Mack

      You’re right, I did misread your main argument. I’ve fixed my news link. I also apologise because I didn’t read all of the comments. But I would have thought John Mack’s research is important enough to mention in the main article.

      I do agree that there are parts of the alien abduction research community that act in an unprofessional (and dangerous) manner, but to apply your statement to everyone and anyone who is part of the alien abduction phenomenon is just plain wrong. The phenomenon is much bigger than the little labeled box you’d like to place it in.

      Susan Clancy, meanwhile, was Harvard’s attempt to wash themselves of John Mack in my opinion. Yes, I have read her book, and I found her to be smug and condescending — John Mack treated people with dignity. Clancy, as a professional (Harvard) psychologist conducted herself in a very unbecoming manner not only in her book but in interviews as well. There’s a place for humour, but not smug elitism. She leaped over that line. Clancy’s methods of finding alien abductees to interview are also very questionable — placing an ad in a local paper?! She also limited her research to the Boston and northeastern United States area, which is ridiculous because the alien abduction phenomenon is global. One of Clancy’s conclusions is that alien abductees watch too much tv and scifi movies, which again is ridiculous because the alien abduction phenomenon transcends the modern television era — Jacques Vallee and Graham Hancock have clearly demonstrated that (whether they’re right is another argument entirely).

      I agree with you in part, Paul, that there is a section of the alien abduction research community who have created cults (although it could be argued the people who buy their books and ingratiate themselves into the phenonemon are the ones who have created the cults). I find reading Whitley Strieber’s Unknown Country a tad uncomfortable these days, mainly because you pay to access special features. But you can’t apply this to the entire research community and phenomenon. It’s much more complicated and layered.

      Thanks for replying, Paul, I appreciate it.


      I’d also like to point out to TDG readers not to confuse my anger with the UFO Iconoclast(s) with Paul Kimball’s The Other Side of Truth — the links come after each other only because they both deal with the alien abduction phenomenon. I respect Paul’s work and enjoy reading his articles.

      1. Rick:Let the mutaul love-in

        Let the mutual love-in begin!


        Seriously, I agree with much of what you wrote about Clancy – I saw her on Larry King one evening, and she didn’t have a clue as to what she was talking about, or at least came across that way. However, I don’t think her work is some sort of official attempt to undermine Mack’s. Also, my criticism of some in ufology is that they slammed her book without even bothering to read it, not because of what she said or how she said it, but simply because they had made up their mind in advance.

        Whenever I want to send someone to a well-written book on the alien abduction phenomenon, that more or less reaches the same conclusions as Clancy (or, to be more precise, she reached the same conclusions as them), I refer to The Abduction Enigma, by Kevin Randle (no debunker), Russ Estes and Dr. William Cone.

        It takes the abductionologists to task without hammering away at the patients, which was what I was trying to do.

        Mack is a (big) step above the likes of Hopkins, Jacobs and Sims in my book, at least in terms of professionalism. But Randle et al have little brief for his conclusions (even as they respect the man). At p. 247 they write:

        “Mack’s theories and questions about the abduction phenomenon can be answered. The criticisms he levels at the skeptics and debunkers are, for the most part, without merit. And as we begin to examine his investigations and writings, we find that he seems to know most of the answers. He has danced around them, failing to see them in the proper light. He identifies the sources of the contamination but won’t acknowledge them. He should know why people would invent these abduction tales but refuses to admit it. He must know exactly why people would want to join this abduction club but he won’t see it.”

        Does this mean that Kevin and his co-authors were right? I think they make their case, but others no doubt disagree. However, I think it’s important to highlight that there is another side to the “alien abduction” stories, and it is definitely important to shine a light on the work of people like Hopkins et al. What you find when you do so is not pretty.

        Best regards,

        P.S. Yeah, the UFO-Iconopests are pretty sad. “Thoughtful” is not a word I would ever use with them given their track-record, even if I wound up agreeing with them on a particular issue.

        1. Share the love
          Let the mutual love-in begin! [/quote]

          About time, the Age of Aquarius is here (but I can’t grow my hair as long as I used to!). πŸ˜‰

          Yep, many people slammed Clancy’s book without reading it; but the same can be said of many skeptics when criticising alternative researchers. I think it’s prevalent on both sides; two wrongs don’t make a right. I also think that many skeptics build their own cults; I’m sure the only thing missing at CSICOP headquarters are bottom-spanking rituals in the basement and fancy hats.

          You’re right though. For alien abduction research to be taken seriously, we need more John Macks, and less quacks. Fair, balanced, objective research is hard to come by; but I think that’s true for both sides. Too many approach the issue with bias and made-up minds.

          Regarding Clancy, her research into alien abductions was an attempt to validate a theory she proposed regarding victims of child abuse. She was vilified for that theory; in another time and day she would have been chased out of town by a lynch mob, so vehement was the anger of child abuse victims, support groups and peers alike. She makes no secret of the fact she chose alien abductees because she believed they fit the behavioural models she had proposed in her child abuse studies. She was biased from the get-go, and I think it shows in her book.

          Kevin Randle is a good researcher. Have you listened to the interview I posted? I highly recommend it.

          Anyways, I’m gonna wrap this reply up because it seems I’m getting the hot balmy weather Greg’s been missing up in Queensland (40c), and I need to cool down somewhere air-conditioned. Nova Scotia is more my type of climate!

          I’m glad there was no misunderstanding re my link to your website; I was a bit worried people would mistake my anger at the Iconoclast(s) with your blog post. But here at TDG, we love to dance on the razor’s edge and confuse folks. πŸ˜‰

          I haven’t read Russel Estes, I’ll track his book down. I’ve been out of the UFO/alien abduction scene for a few years now and I plan on getting stuck into it again now that 2007 is looking a lot more stress free (knock on wood).

          All the best mate,


  2. Russian UFO video
    Sorry, this one is a fake.

    Resolution of the UFO is much higher than the generic backgroud. Also the UFO does not exhibit any image-lag which once again, the generic background image does. Hence these are superimposed images.


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