News Briefs 19-12-2012

Well, here I am, I made it, my last news briefs for 2012. I’ll be back sometime in 2013, my consciousness expanded… or possibly just my waistline. Thank you all for sticking with the Grail, and I wish you a safe and happy holiday season.

  • Do we all secretly want the end of the world? Just 2012, it’s been a crap year.
  • Was Earth’s most devastating mass extinction caused by a single microbe?
  • Entire microbe communities live in the clouds. Cue new UFO theory…
  • Earth As Art: free ebook of landscape satellite images from NASA.
  • Taken while in Saturn’s shadow, NASA’s Cassini snaps a stunning backlit image.
  • The Overview Effect: awesome video featuring five astronauts describing how seeing the Earth from orbit changed their perspectives forever.
  • Tau Ceti, the nearest Sun-like star to the Earth, hosts five planets, one potentially habitable.
  • Maori stones may hold clues to Earth’s magnetic field.
  • Are we simply biological robots? Dr Mario Beaurogard on Skeptiko (Amazon).
  • Chapel of Sacred Mirrors: cosmic creativity, entheogens, and psilocybin with Allyson and Alex Grey.
  • Mayan sun god masks & Neanderthal medicine chests: the best archaeological finds of 2012.
  • Amazon caves that hold priceless prehistoric secrets to be destroyed by giant iron ore mine.
  • Old bones reveal how prehistoric people cared for their sick & disabled.
  • Temple dedicated to Poseidon unearthed in Bulgarian town.
  • Spider creates elaborate decoy spiders in its web.
  • Great Boo’s up! King Richard III’s Blue Boar Inn recreated by archaeologists.
  • Britons must overcome 43 separate instincts to get out of bed each morning.
  • Is this video of an eagle snatching a child a fake, or very good timing?
  • Finnicky felines fussy about their food have science on their side.
  • Guaranteed to melt your heart, photos of a wild monkey that adopted an abandoned kitten. I wonder if they’re still together?

Many thanks to Kat and Greg.

Quote of the Day

Don’t wake me for the end of the world unless it has very good special effects.

Roger Zelazny

  1. eagle
    it just looks fake. even though these birds are big, as it comes in you can see it “grow.” they are big birds but not big enough to carry off little kids. also, i doubt the bird would attack in the middle of a crowded park with the much taller parents right there. the real wingspan of this eagle is about 40 in at most in reality, which is near the height of the child. the math says in won’t work.

    so either we have a thunderbird on our hands, or parents have to stop making their children look so tasty to animals:
    say hi kitty kitty 😛

  2. Do we all secretly want the end of the world?
    There’s this poem titled Waiting for the Barbarians, which deals with how the Romans are preparing for what they feel is the inevitable arrival of the Barbarian hordes:

    What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?

    The barbarians are due here today.

    Why isn’t anything going on in the senate?
    Why are the senators sitting there without legislating?

    Because the barbarians are coming today.
    What’s the point of senators making laws now?
    Once the barbarians are here, they’ll do the legislating.

    Why did our emperor get up so early,
    and why is he sitting enthroned at the city’s main gate,
    in state, wearing the crown?

    Because the barbarians are coming today
    and the emperor’s waiting to receive their leader.
    He’s even got a scroll to give him,
    loaded with titles, with imposing names.

    Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today
    wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas?
    Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts,
    rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds?
    Why are they carrying elegant canes
    beautifully worked in silver and gold?

    Because the barbarians are coming today
    and things like that dazzle the barbarians.

    Why don’t our distinguished orators turn up as usual
    to make their speeches, say what they have to say?

    Because the barbarians are coming today
    and they’re bored by rhetoric and public speaking.

    Why this sudden bewilderment, this confusion?
    (How serious people’s faces have become.)
    Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
    everyone going home lost in thought?

    Because night has fallen and the barbarians haven’t come.
    And some of our men just in from the border say
    there are no barbarians any longer.

    Now what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?
    Those people were a kind of solution.

    C.P. Cavafy: Collected Poems
    Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard
    Translation Copyright © 1975, 1992 by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard
    Reproduced with permission of Princeton University Press

    Source: C.P. Cavafy: Collected Poems (Princeton University Press, 1975)

    We all secretly yearn the arrival of the Barbarians.

    1. my high school english teacher did
      [quote=red pill junkie] We all secretly yearn the arrival of the Barbarians.[/quote]

      i remember reading this for class, and hearing her rant about becoming a Viking….:P

      Also, Happy Holidays to all you Grailers, the naughty, the nice, and the lab mice 😉

      1. A lot of people are suicidal.
        A lot of people are suicidal. It is a fundamental human trait probably born of millions of years of brutish and short evolution when one’s extinction was a distinct possibility from one day to the next. Having a devil may care feeling about one’s imminent extinction even to the point of embracing one’s end is just good preservational psychology. What you fear most you make your friend.

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