News, news and more news. We don't just fill your Xmas stocking, we're here for the duration.

News Briefs 18-01-2005

Happy January 17th for yesterday, you PoSers out there...

  • Opus Dei in the UK. Didn't the Sex Pistols do that song?
  • Coincidences: it's just science baby.
  • Olivia Newton-John talks life after death. "Let's get spiritual, spiritual, I wanna get spiritual, let me hear the psychic talk."
  • Mediums: cold-hearted opportunists, or a genuine and helpful link to the otherside? New 'super-psychic' Alison Dubois gets a mention here, as she does in this companion article featuring Dr Gary Schwartz. And here's some more.
  • Randi even gets in on the act, showing off his unscientific fascism in a letter to the President of the University of Arizona (regarding Schwartz' research).
  • Do Indonesian tribespeople have a sixth sense which saved them from the tsunami?
  • Shhhh! Can you smell something? I'm seeing synesthesia. I better go and post off the royalty check to Dan Ackroyd now...
  • Scientists invent spray-on solar cells. Sheesh, next they'll be saying they've made underwear you can eat. Is there nothing science can't do.
  • Epilepsy drug slows aging in worms. Does a worm really want its life extended?
  • Artificial spider silk may be used for armour. Ah, always with the most important applications.
  • Micromachine grows its own muscles and starts walking.
  • Astrobiology has a number of Titan stories, here's just one. Also: Images from Titan.
  • Planet-hunter thinks there's life out there...somewhere.
  • Life on Mars significant.
  • Mars rover examines intriguing rock.
  • Amazon supremo makes plans for space travel.
  • How do you sell a peach? Make it into a UFO.
  • Da Vinci Code sequel to feature Ku Klux Klan. Oh wait, that's me. Don't go there or we'll get trapped in a cycling-link blackhole that will eventually collapse in upon itself.
  • Replica of ancient boat sets out to relive journey.
  • British Museum attacks US Army over desecration and destruction of Iraqi archaeological treasures.
  • Filer's Files #2-2005 tells of the latest UFO activity around the world.
  • From the cool headline department: llama antibodies could be dandruff miracle cure.

Thanks Cernig.

Quote of the Day:

The knack of flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.

Douglas Adams

News Briefs 17-01-2005

From outer space to Siberia, enjoy today's news.

Quote of the Day:

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it..


News Briefs 14-01-2005

Lots of strange stuff in the news today. Things are seldom what they appear to be.

  • Was the South American rain forest home to complex societies?
  • A Roman statue of Atlas holds clues to the ancient astronomy of Hipparchus.
  • Earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunami - is something wrong with Mother Earth?
  • For you anti-GM crop fans, Monsanto is cracking-down on seed-savers (Monsanto calls them 'pirates').
  • Cutting down on fossil fuel pollution could accelerate global warming and help turn parts of Europe into desert by 2100. Clean air kills!
  • Residents of Catworth have overwhelmingly voted against a wind farm - labelling the proposed 360ft high turbines 'monsters'. What's Plan B?
  • China floats a plan to build a road to Taiwan (Taipei).
  • Attention! Earn easy money in your spare time as a bounty hunter in the jungles and mountains of Columbia.
  • Losing weight and lowering blood glucose with Gila monster venom?
  • Gene silencing - an effort to turn off problem genes before they cause disease. Amazing.
  • The head-on collision between an U.S. Navy submarine accident and an undersea mountain shows that the earth’s crust is changing fast without notice.
  • Muslims on the island of Sri-Lanka assume that the deadly tsunami has been inflicted upon them by Allah and He signed his work.
  • Al-Jazeera's tsunami conspiracy theories include eco-weapons and space aliens.
  • ABC will make a new Ten Commandments. Did they change?
  • Boys will be boys. Prince Harry's Nazi fancy-dress uniform complete with swastika armband has sparked international outrage and calls for him to apologize in public for his "shameful" antics. Just add the incident to other embarrassing moments involving Britain's royal family.
  • Has the U.S. threatened to vaporize Mecca?
  • Two private U.S. companies have designs on building the first luxury RVs that could withstand nuclear radiation.
  • The 15 January 2005 issue of New Scientist is on the newsstands. You can browse the issue here.
  • Four endangered whales have been found dead in the past six weeks.
  • Crows that live on an isolated Pacific island demonstrate that the birds are even more intelligent than originally thought.
  • Evolution made easy. Animal development is not as complicated as it seems.
  • Scholars interviewed say that Dan Brown (The Da Vinci Code) [Amazon US and UK] is relying on discredited sources and flimsy connections to make his bloodline theory.
  • The Pope invokes the Apocalypse and discusses ultimate defeat of evil.
  • Autotrophs: new kind of humans appears who neither drink nor eat.
  • The CIA says it has finally come clean about UFOs. To absolutely no one's surprise, it knew more than it ever let on.
  • Here's the outlook for human space exploration in 2005.
  • A celestial 'spring' of mysterious particles that slam into Earth from all directions may have been discovered by a US physicist.
  • The unimaginably big of today has its explanation in the fantastically small of 13-billion years ago.
  • Keep yourself warm with frozen smoke.
  • Strange objects in faraway space known to astronomers only as Giant Galactic Blobs have, upon close inspection, become a lot weirder.
  • NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft has begun its one-way trip to a smash into a comet on the 4th of July. "Deep Impact' sounds like the title of .........oh, never mind.
  • The Red Planet is alive with dust devils.
  • Opportunity has spotted a curious object on Mars. With pic.
  • The galaxy is even more weird than we supposed. UCLA astronomers present the first evidence that tens of thousands of black holes are orbiting the monstrous black hole at the center of the Milky Way, 26,000-light years away.
  • Astronomers have seen evidence of hot iron gas riding a ripple in spacetime around a black hole, a new phenomenon that goes beyond Einstein's general relativity.
  • The early universe rang with the sound of countless cosmic bells, filling the primordial darkness with ripples like the surface of a pond pounded by stones.
  • The Huygens probe visits the surface of Titan on Friday, 14 January 2005. Watch the animation (click on image).

Thanks Greg.

Quote of the Day:

When logic and proportion
Have fallen sloppy dead,
And the White Knight is talking backwards
And the Red Queen's "off with her head!"
Remember what the dormouse said.
Feed your head.

Grace Slick
White Rabbit
Jefferson Airplane

News Briefs 12-01-05

Giving up weed is going to be difficult. I hate New Year's resolutions. Next year mine is a vow never to have another resolution.

  • Nagging questions remain over causes of strange cosmic shapes.
  • Olive oil is cancer key.
  • Nanotech's new plastic can see in the dark.
  • US tried to suppress pollutant study. It was a census on how many people smoke.
  • Good news from big, bad black holes.
  • The oil reserve fallacy.
  • Congress passes doomsday plan.
  • Aliens could exist on Saturn's moon.
  • DNA to help solve ancient equine mysteries.
  • Comet crash aims to spill secrets.
  • Ancient Astronomer's work found on Roman statue.
  • Discovery of Leonardo's hidden laboratory sheds light on his genius.
  • The mystery of desert music. Singing dunes defintiely beats smoking camels.
  • Hotelier exorcises Crowley bed.
  • Do antibiotics slow the progress of dementia?
  • Revealing a Runestone's secrets.
  • Hyperdimensional Sumatra earthquake. How was it precisely predicted in advance?
  • Wall Street and the rise of Hitler.
  • Did Pentagon create Al Qaeda?
  • Cell phones should not be given to children. Smoking them is bad for you.

Quote of the Day:

An idealist is a person who helps other people to be prosperous.

Henry Ford

News Briefs 11-01-2005

When the lamp on your bedside table gets in the way of the pile of books you are reading, it's time to stop buying books...

  • New survey unveils the three biggest stars ever found.
  • Scientists confident of first-ever photo of an extra-solar planet.
  • Alan Boyle takes a look at the EVP movie White Noise. Also: ghostly chatter - fact or fiction?
  • New exhibition takes a look at Jerusalem Syndrome - a psychosis which occurs in tourists to Jerusalem, making them think they are Biblical characters. I sometimes think I'm an ass, does that count?
  • Get Richard Hoagland on the phone - what's that bulging ring about the equator of Iapetus? On second thought, get me David Grinspoon, he might make more sense.
  • Part 3 of Astrobiology Magazine's interview with Britain's Astronomer Royal, Sir Martin Rees.
  • Astronomers witness black hole in action.
  • Einstein ballet is art, says director. I guess it's all relative.
  • Icebergs return to New Zealand waters after 57 years.
  • Rats can tell the difference between Dutch and Japanese languages.
  • A fireball and loud rumble impresses hundreds in Wisconsin. Seems to be plenty of this phenomenon happening around the globe presently...
  • Mysterious booms in Virginia - originally blamed on prankster teenagers - now believed to be caused by micro-quakes.
  • Skunk Ape movie to debut in April. I hope it doesn't stink.
  • Extra-terrestrial mind control in India. I think India Daily is trying to trump Pravda...
  • Aliens could exist on Saturn's moon. Not Pravda or India Daily, but in fact scientists from the University of Florida.
  • Iranian archaeologists say that the Uruk period began at the same time as Mesopotamia and Egypt.
  • Swordfish heat their eyes to improve tracking of prey.
  • Implant stimulates regeneration of spinal nerves.
  • Sperm magnets set to help infertile men. We're talking laboratory equipment by the way, not buxom blondes in miniskirts...
  • Can dogs sniff out cancer?
  • Scientists create reversible propellor 500 times smaller than a human hair.
  • Vatican to offer two-month course in Satanism and exorcisms. Take a look at The Exorcist for what happens when you fail this course.
  • Randi's weekly skeptical excursion.
  • Hippo and tortoise team up as chums. I think there's a children's book in this.
  • Sunglasses help control epilepsy in dogs. Another book right here.

Quote of the Day:

In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.

Douglas Adams

News Briefs 10-01-2005

I've been thinking about China and Japan this week, for various reasons (the grass is always greener ...), so enjoy today's Sichuan-flavoured news.

  • Two weeks after the Asia quake, the Earth is still vibrating.
  • Pollution is worsening in China's south seas.
  • Why are icebergs floating off the southern New Zealand coast? Someone should tell these scientists about the earthquake recorded south of Tasmania a few weeks ago.
  • Australian scientist declares GM rice trials are safe.
  • Cloned cows with human genes born in Shandong, China.
  • Curry spice may fight Alzheimer's.
  • One remote control to rule them all, One remote control to find them, One remote control to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.
  • Japan wants to rule the technological world once again. Domo arigato.
  • The possibility of life on Mars may remain unknown until the next Mars Rover mission in 2010. Come on guys, we're not getting any younger ...
  • Perhaps China will get to Mars before NASA.
  • The Black Hole that cannot stop eating. They should name it Kaonashi, from the anime Spirited Away (Amazon US or UK).
  • Still using the critically vulnerable Internet Explorer? Switch to Mozilla Firefox.
  • Ever wanted a computer wrist-watch like Dick Tracy? Fossil has finally released the first wrist-worn PDA.
  • Despite the stolen Homo Floresiensis fossils unavailability, research will go on.
  • Mystery canine baffles experts. It wouldn't be the first time.
  • The Aztec crystal skull could be a fake. I love how the professor presumes that the Aztec did not have the wheel, nor access to crystal from Brazil (in fact, it was proven many years ago the Aztec and southern Native Americans traded with people as far as Brazil, trade including Amazonian bird feathers).
  • Amateur palaeontologists discover dinosaur footprints in Maryland. No, they're fossilised footprints, not recent ones!
  • A Chinese professor has found that pterodactyls are oviparous, ie born from egg cells.
  • SETI predicts we will receive an extraterrestrial transmission within the next twenty years. I can hear the Skeptics now ...
  • China and India are both aware of undergound UFO base in the Himalayas. No wonder I've got an unexplainable urge to write UFO thrillers in India and China ... next I'll be sculpting mountains out of mashed potato.
  • Russia and Iran join forces to study UFOs. George W. Bush chokes on a pretzel upon hearing the news.
  • Chile's Santiago University is offering a degree in UFO studies. Do you want fries with that?
  • Meanwhile, the Vatican is offering a degree in Satanism and exorcism. If it gets Death Metal-loving teenagers back into school ...
  • One of the Beastie Boys witnessed UFOs. No, that was just me playing frisbee with one of their LPs.
  • Did a UFO guide the three Magi to Jesus Christ's birthplace?
  • Digital technology is helping to preserve China's ancient artifacts.
  • A different kind of coffee is served at China's Sex Cafe, where patrons can access information on sexual issues and health.
  • China will make sex-selective abortions illegal, great news for Chinese girls.
  • Was the curse of Tutankhamen released during the recent CT scans? Yes, the curse is called Zahi Hawass.

Quote of the Day:

I never think of the future - it comes soon enough.

Albert Einstein

News Briefs 07-01-2005

Okay, the holiday is over, we're all back to work. Now let's have some fun.

  • There’s a connection between that climate change of 5,200-years ago (TDG News Briefs 06-01-2005), the Mayan inspired 25-ton Aztec calendar, and a 2004 crop circle on Silbury Hill as we cruise toward the 13th Baktun that ends on Dec. 21,2012. Or maybe it’s just coincidence.
  • The tsunami spawns wild conspiracy plots.
  • The tsunami's salt is a threat to many islands.
  • 1,500 aftershocks were recorded in the 48-hours following the Asian quake and tsunami.
  • The United States is moving on several fronts toward a global tsunami warning system following the Asian catastrophe.
  • King Tut's mummy is CT-scanned in an attempt to determine the cause of the boy-king's death. Yes, that's ZH in the picture.
  • In the beginning . . . Adam walked with dinosaurs.
  • Archaeologists have unlocked the 2000-year-old secrets of an ancient tower described as one of the wonders of European archaeology.
  • New research has shown that the oldest civilization in the Americas was far more complex than previously imagined.
  • Geography expert finds lost Atlantis in Ireland in a new book. Atlantis from a Geographer's Perspective is available from Amazon US and UK.
  • The race is on to claim the Arctic Circle. Mine. Mine! Mine!!
  • In Afghanistan, roses bloom almost all year. Eat your heart out, Shadow. ;o)
  • Okay, no recess. We'll all remain at our desks until somebody claims this mysterious 4,000-pound buoy that washed-up on Cocoa Beach.
  • Proof at last in a higher power that demands justice. Bill Gates' PC crashes during his keynote speech at the International Consumer Electronics Show.
  • Hawaiian temples tell tale of social change.
  • Watch the skies. Diseases are spread by dust clouds.
  • European trading in carbon-emission permits has begun. This reduces CO2 emissions because .................
  • Down in the forest, genetically modified arboriculture stirs.
  • A 120-year old giant tortoise has adopted a male baby hippo. Cleo, a lonely female hippo, waits without.
  • Someone is trying to scare people in Fairbanks, Alaska by laying down bogus bear tracks, but he's not very clever.
  • Review: White Noise is a cheap scare.
  • Scientists have launched a high-altitude, balloon-borne instrument from Antarctica to search for antimatter.
  • What was here before the beginning?
  • Quantum teleportation is useless to teleport humans.
  • Psychic security department protects Russian presidents from external psychological influence. Try aluminum foil hats.
  • United Poultry Concerns president believes that the 9-11 terrorist attack and the Nazi Holocaust could be good things if the victims ate chickens. All right then, you tell me what the article says.
  • India may be the first country to explain to the world about extra-terrestrial and UFO contacts – the secret debate is on.
  • To understand Earth's magnetic field, Wisconsin scientists are studying a ball of molten metal in a cornfield.
  • Sightings of a Swamp Ape in Florida should be noted with skepticism.
  • The Tsunami of 10,900 BC, an essay by Zecharia Sitchin.
  • SETI Institute: We're all ears, listening for ET.
  • The largest explosion ever seen in space created giant bubbles. Try to wrap your brain around these numbers.
  • Using gravitational lensing techniques on Hubble Space Telescope data analysts show that dark matter clumps in galaxies. (I'll bet that if they look close enough they will find that there is a pattern to the clumps.)
  • The next wheels on Mars.

Quote of the Day:

And then, the Earth being small, mankind will migrate into space, and will cross the airless Saharas which separate planet from planet and sun from sun. The Earth will become a Holy Land which will be visited by pilgrims from all the quarters of the Universe. Finally, men will master the forces of Nature; they will become themselves architects of systems, manufacturers of worlds.

Winwood Reade

News Briefs 06-01-2005

For those who have emailed about the cover of my book, the artist is our good friend (and brilliant graphic designer) Mark James Foster...

Thanks Pam and Bill.

Quote of the Day:

The regularities of nature I think of as more like habits, than as things governed by eternal mathermatical laws...

Rupert Sheldrake

News Briefs 05-01-2005

A sad note to start today's news. Join me, as we explore life, death and everything in between.

  • Will Eisner, legendary comic book hero, has passed away to the other side. Neil Gaiman has written some nice things about him here and here. Will Eisner was a true artist and pioneer who made a difference in our world.
  • Egypt's SCA will attempt to rescue the sun-boats of Giza.
  • Was Oetzi the Iceman murdered? You won't see this plotline on Law & Order.
  • Catastrophic flooding of a lake 13'400-years-ago may have influenced a cold time in history.
  • What caused the cataclysm 250-million-years-ago that almost wiped out all life on Earth? If you know, please tell the warring scientists.
  • If Egypt's Cleopatra were alive today, perhaps she could tell us. The tabloids would only ask her about Antony.
  • Old news, but interesting: the mysterious chirping of a Mayan pyramid.
  • Everyone knows about the Maya and Aztec, but have you heard of Cahokia?
  • Is the SHGb02+14a Signal from an alien civilisation?
  • Are we alone in the universe? An excellent article exploring this question. Another journalist asks the same thing.
  • What's new at SETI, despite a new couch and mini-bar?
  • What's red and mysterious? No, it's not me after a few beers. It's our Solar System's enigmatic planetoid, Sedna.
  • Saturn's moon Iapetus is also very strange.
  • Exploring higher states of consciousness. I've been experiencing lower states of consciousness lately.
  • EVP - Electronic Voice Phenomena - can appear on tape recordings, broadcasts, answering machines, and if you play Tool records backwards.
  • A baby-boom of twins is happening in the Russian town of Kirov. The USA already has the naming rights to Twin Cities, and luckily for the future of mankind the Kirov twins don't all have blue eyes and pale hair.
  • Stem cells taken from monkey embryos show potential in reversing some effects of Parkinson's disease.
  • When confronted with unpleasant words concerning body image, men and women react differently.
  • The giant eagles (Rocs) of Tolkien's Middle Earth may have existed in New Zealand. Hobbits in Indonesia, giant eagles in NZ ... has anyone found any cave trolls?
  • Is the Holy Grail in Hertfordshire, and are the locals using it as a pint glass?

Quote of the Day:

I am not young enough to know everything.

Oscar Wilde

News Briefs 04-01-2005

You can donate to the tsunami relief effort (through the American Red Cross) easily by going to (I realise it's good advertising for the big A, but it's such a simple and easy way to make a difference that it deserves mention)...

Quote of the Day:

You know all that money we spend on the military every year - trillions of dollars? Instead, if we use this money to feed and clothe the poor of this world, which it would do many times over, then we can explore space, inner and outer, together, as one race.

Bill Hicks