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Presidential weirdness awaits you in today’s news briefs…

  • Did Italian saint Padro Pio fake his stigmata with acid?
  • Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich said to have had a UFO encounter at the home of Shirley Maclaine (the smell of roses bit is very interesting…).
  • Man levitates outside the White House (with video). Cool trick (or is it…..cue Twilight Zone music).
  • The art of Ouija.
  • Are they monsters, or make-believe?
  • When being the big fish in the pond isn’t so great…small fish eats fish 4 times its size. And I thought I felt full after last night’s dinner…
  • Scientific studies showing that the foraging patterns of albatrosses, bumblebees and deer conform to a single mathematical axiom all got it wrong, say researchers.
  • Rabbi reveals the name of the Messiah. Much to my disappointment, it isn’t ‘Brian’.
  • St Bernard study casts doubt on creationism. There wasn’t any before?
  • China launches lunar orbiter with patriotic zeal. As opposed to those other space-faring nations, with nary a flag in sight…
  • Russian cockroach gives birth to the “first creatures conceived in space” (assuming we’re alone in this big ‘ole Universe…). Now that’s a Space Race that could get interesting…
  • Space elevator isn’t going anywhere yet. Negative points to that journalist for not going with the obvious headline, “Space elevator stuck on ground floor”.
  • Some fun DIY: How to build your own Sputnik. I have an old satellite dish I’m going to throw out next week – anybody know of a fun DIY project for that?
  • Or how about this one: Nigerian man builds helicopters from junk.
  • Near-Earth ‘space bubbles‘ mapped for the first time.
  • Could quantum effects explain consciousness? (New Scientist subscription required).
  • What happens when you spend eleven days awake? Elephants on Acid, and other Bizarre Experiments is available from Amazon US.
  • Micro-robot can travel through blood vessels and clear arteries. Sounds like a Fantastic Voyage…
  • The future is here right now, if you can read the signs, says futurist.
  • Scientists have a new way to reshape nature – but none can predict the cost…
  • Ancient cataclysm rearranged Pacific map.
  • Fossil record supports evidence of an impending mass extinction.
  • Ethiopia begins re-erecting the famed Axum obelisk.
  • Solomon’s Temple artifacts found by Muslim workers.
  • Archaeologist claims legendary Qin palace didn’t exist.
  • Presidential contender says signers of the U.S. Declaration of Independence were “brave people, most of whom, by the way, were clergymen.” How wrong was he? ‘Pants on Fire’ wrong.

Quote of the Day:

After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with color, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. Isn’t it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up in it? This is how I answer when I am asked – as I am surprisingly often – why I bother to get up in the mornings.

Richard Dawkins