News Briefs 20-10-2008

High time humanity returned to its roots…

  • Scientists discover evidence Stone Age humans used hallucinogenic plants. For more information on this topic, see Paul Devereux’s book The Long Trip: A Prehistory of Psychedelia (available now from Amazon US and Amazon UK), recently reissued by Daily Grail Publishing.
  • World’s first dog lived 31,700 years ago: discovery pushes back the date for the earliest dog by 17,700 years. I’m bettin’ dogs domesticated humans.
  • Tomb of ‘Gladiator’ Roman general unearthed.
  • Sunken treasure: Glittering maritime hoard gives glimpse of ancient past.
  • The heliosphere, the protective shield of energy that surrounds our solar system, is shrinking.
  • UK boffin brings Star Trek’s universal translator a step closer.
  • What smells like fried steak, hot metal, and welding a motorbike? Maybe a giant strip of flypaper streamed along behind the ISS could give NASA a few clues.
  • Attempt to restart Hubble runs into new snags.
  • A helium leak, caused by a faulty electrical connection between two magnets, caused the Large Hadron Collider to be shut down until spring.
  • As Hurricane Andrew smashed a Miami waterfront aquarium in 1992, six lionfish escaped into Biscayne Bay. Now thousands of lionfish are devastating Florida’s native shoals — and invading the rest of the Caribbean.
  • Methane hydrates: Energy’s most dangerous game.
  • Scientists to probe fragile Antarctic ice shelf for global sea rise clues.
  • Most ambitious expedition ever will explore huge Antarctic mountain range buried 4km beneath the surface of the icy continent.
  • Four-fifths of all life on Earth is beneath the waves: The incredible secret world at the bottom of the sea. Extracted from Oceans: Exploring The Hidden Depths Of The Underwater World by Anne Laking and Paul Rose (Amazon US & UK).
  • Number of West African chimpanzees has fallen 90% in less than 20 years.
  • Combine a little nanotechnology, some metamaterials made of artificial atoms, and Einstein’s theory of general relativity, and what do you get? Optical microscopes so powerful they’ll make DNA visible to the naked eye, superfast computer microchips, and a muggle knock-off of Harry Potter’s most famous possession.
  • New solar-energy material absorbs all the energy contained in sunlight, and generates electrons in a way that makes them easier to capture.
  • Artificial intelligence chat program fools testers at British university.
  • World’s oldest city may hold the key to treatment of tuberculosis.
  • Human disease genes emerged very early in evolutionary history.
  • World’s first fully functioning robotic exoskeleton: Bionic suit can multiply its wearer’s body strength tenfold. (Link fixxored, thanks to RPJ.)
  • Magnet treatment awakens car crash victim from year-long coma.
  • Worm grunting: Dune thumper mystery solved.
  • With eloquence and anxiety, Wolfgang Sofsky speaks out about the betrayal of liberties for which generations fought and died, from the dawn of the Reformation to the end of the Cold War. Sofsky’s Privacy: A Manifesto is available at Amazon UK.
  • Shrine To Surveillance.
  • Big Brother society: Mobile phone users may be forced to register on a national government database.
  • The 21st century is fast becoming the age of paranoia.
  • Marx makes a comeback: Das Kapital is flying off the shelves as the newly disenfranchised business class tries to work out the root of the financial crisis.
  • Bigfoot hoax costume sold for $250,000 on eBay. A fool and his money…
  • Loren Coleman ponders $250,000 for a Bigfoot hoax.
  • MoD releases more files on UFOs and alien abduction.
  • While based at RAF Manston in 1957, US airman Milton Torres was ordered to arm all weapons and fire on UFO.

Quote of the Day:

The general who became a slave. The slave who became a gladiator. The gladiator who defied an emperor. Striking story! But now, the people want to know how the story ends. Only a famous death will do.

Commodus, in Gladiator.