News Briefs 21-08-2006

Water water, everywhere, and not a drop to drink.

  • Coinciding with World Water Week, experts are warning there must be a radical global rethink on water management to repair the worsening water resource crisis.
  • Taking the first positive step, China will invest billions of yuan to combat its dire water pollution problems.
  • Money can't help the drought-stricken south-western provinces, as areas like Chongqing struggle to deal with a lack of fresh water.
  • Despite the warnings of health officials, people are still flocking to a Mumbai beach to drink sea water that has turned sweet.
  • Problems of fresh water shortages is a global problem, according to a WWF report. Good to know Stone Cold Austin cares about the environment.
  • Despite the country's water crisis, Australians are more concerned about terrorism (and what's on television tonight).
  • 115 million years ago, Australia was once home to ancient reptiles that swam in huge icy lakes.
  • Mammoth sperm frozen in permafrost for thousands of years may help bring them back to life. Anyone like to volunteer to be a surrogate mother?
  • Researchers at America's very posh National Academy of Sciences claim the Flores Island Hobbit is nothing but a deformed caveman. Their words, not mine.
  • Scientists have discovered a unique gene sequence that appears to play a role in the development of the cerebral cortex and human evolution.
  • A backward sunspot seen a few weeks ago is a sign the next solar cycle is beginning, which could delay planned missions to the moon over the next few years.
  • A small hi-tech firm in Dublin has developed a free energy technology that could power everything from mobile phones to cars. Gee U2 are an amazing band.
  • Ajay Sarma, a lecturer in physics from India, says he has found a conceptual loophole in Einstein's famous equation.
  • Can science provide the answers to some of the world's most perplexing questions? This question doesn't count.
  • Several passengers aboard a flight from Volgograd to Moscow witness UFOs.
  • Missing Time is a new website dedicated to sharing paranormal research.
  • Alien Log is a new novel by Dr Robert Farrell, a retired professor with a keen interest in UFOs and alien life (Amazon US or UK). A review's coming soon.
  • A Nigerian-born doctor in the US has witnessed many things he can't explain, and keeps an open mind. But does he give his patients a lollipop?
  • New research suggests men and women have significantly different dreams. Then I must be an extraterrestrial considering the dreams I have (ask me about the monkey dream).
  • If you have access, the History Channel is premiering a documentary about the Egyptian Book of the Dead on August 22nd.
  • A Madrid museum is returning a centuries-old mummy to the Canary Islands.
  • Is the mummy connected to the Canary Islands's Pyramids of Guimar?
  • A 2400-year-old chariot has been excavated in China, with horse remains amazingly preserved in mid gallop. Great pic.

Thanks Neila, Alex and Kat.

Quote of the Day:

And you can dream
So dream out loud
And don't let the bastards grind you down

U2, "Acrobat" (from their album Achtung Baby)

Australian UFO Hoaxer Interview

The trickster has well and truly settled in at TDG this week, with the Circlemakers coming out of the closet (there's actually a good essay about this on the Circlemakers website), and also the unveiling of the Australian UFO Wave 'hoax' - which, like the Circlemakers, was stated to be "immersive artwork".

In my earlier story I mentioned my concerns about the ramifications of these sorts of public deception, but I wanted to hear the other side of the story so I contacted Chris Kenworthy, who was the film-maker behind the Australian UFO Wave project. To his credit, Chris was honest and forthright in his answers, and certainly makes some good points, although I continue to see a negative side for ufology - I've added the interview to the site for those interested.

Field Guide to Crop Circles

This looks interesting. Strange Attractor's Mark Pilkington has joined forces with Jon Lundberg and Rob Irving of The Circlemakers to create The Field Guide: The Art, History and Philosophy of Crop Circle Making:

Three decades ago, two men in their fifties began flattening circles into the fields of Hampshire and Wiltshire. Little did they know that their Friday night antics would seed an international phenomenon that continues to change people's lives to this day.

Now, in the first book of its kind - part history and part how-to guide - the secrets of the crop circle world are revealed, by the people behind the modern era's most astounding artform.

Sure to cause a stir in the crop circle community, so well worth taking a look at. The website has a PDF press release and also samples of the inside of the book, for those interested. As an aside, there is also an article about the Circlemakers on the Greenpeace website which gives some topical background.

Skeptical Inquirer 30:3

The May/June issue of Skeptical Inquirer has been released - this issue's theme is related to SETI (see my commentary from Sub Rosa Issue 5 on the SETI-CSICOP relationship). As usual the SI website has a number of the articles available for free:

See the SI website for complete details of the latest issue.

News Briefs 18-08-2006

After winning 168 games in a row, chess grandmaster José Raúl Capablanca said, 'I see only one move ahead, but it is always the correct one.' That would be a big improvement for me.

  • Scribbles in Rosslyn's stonework may prove (okay, may be evidence) that ancient Celts circumnavigated the globe. Somebody ring Crichton. Update: Several comments have now been posted beneath this article. #8 is a detailed comment by Crichton E M Miller, author of The Golden Thread of Time. (Amazon UK)
  • Now widely acknowledged as having solved the Poincaré conjecture, Grigory 'Grisha' Perelman will probably be awarded the Fields medal next week, but many believe the brilliant mathematician may spurn the greatest accolade his peers can bestow. Why? Well, he turned down a prestigious European award, supposedly saying those who awarded it weren't qualified to evaluate his work, and he hasn't bothered to claim the Clay Institute's million-dollar award either, even though it would likely be his for the asking.
  • Elusive Proof, Elusive Prover: the Poincaré conjecture explained simply enough that you can at least understand what all the fuss is about.
  • The Expert Mind: Studies of the mental processes of chess grandmasters have revealed clues to how people become experts in other fields as well.
  • Irish tech firm throws down 'free energy' gauntlet: Dublin-based Steorn has placed an advert in The Economist seeking 12 top physicists to examine their technology - based on the interaction of magnetic fields - and publish their results.
  • The influence of Vedic philosophy on Tesla's understanding of free energy.
  • Australia was formed 1.6 billion years ago by the collision of three continents.
  • The 2 percent gene difference between humans and chimps represents at least 15 million changes in our genome since the time of our common ancestor roughly 6 million years ago. One of those changes gave us bigger brains.
  • Your brain boots up like a computer. Mine must still be using Windows 95. It's good to know an upgrade may eventually be possible.
  • Hubble captures images of the faintest stars in the galaxy - the burnt-out relics of ancient celestial objects that formed many billions of years ago. Read it now, save it, or pay-per-view later.
  • Compared with the technology used in earlier efforts, SETI's new instrument is like the difference between a Lexus and an oxcart, but what happens if a signal is found?
  • The Key to Atlantis: The Magic Mushroom. And to think, Jake wrote this without ever having visited TDG. No telling what what he'll come up with now that I've invited him to drop by.
  • Microbe being studied in Scotland threatens to overturn current thinking about the production of greenhouse gases.
  • Has Vic Tandy proved that ghosts are created by low frequency sounds?
  • Several airline passengers snap photos of UFOs following their plane to Moscow.
  • Late psychic Dorothy Allison's 1998 sketch of JonBenet's murderer bears a striking resemblance to recently-arrested Karr. Investigators were led to Karr by emails he wrote containing details about the murder that were never made public. Why have so many people believed the Ramsey's killed their daughter?
  • An interview with Bill Katovsky, author of Patriots Act: Voices of Dissent and the Risk of Speaking Out. Amazon US & UK.
  • 9/11 Live - The NORAD Tapes: How did the US Air Force respond on 9/11? Could it have shot down United 93, as conspiracy theorists claim? Obtaining 30 hours of never-before-released tapes from the control room of NORAD's Northeast headquarters, the author reconstructs the chaotic military history of that day - and the Pentagon's apparent attempt to cover it up.

Thanks to Alex at Pravda, and to Greg. How 'bout that - somebody at Pravda reads TDG. Cool.

Quote of the Day:

You're talking about morality. We don't do morality in the CIA.

Former CIA agent Robert Baer, in Telluride for a talk about oil and war in Iraq. Almost forgot... Baer is the author of See no Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism, the book the movie Syriana was based on. Amazon US & UK.

Weekend Roundup 18-08-2006

A few things to keep you busy over the weekend...


Radio 18-08-2006

Here's the rundown on the radio schedules for the second half of the week:

Whitley Strieber's Dreamland: No schedule at time of posting - check the link later for an update.

Coast to Coast AM: Friday is open lines, while on the 'early show' Saturday Ian Punnett speaks with nutritionist Kaayla Daniel, PhD, who will share information about soy that the soy industry has tried to suppress. Afterwards, Art Bell chats with author Joshua P. Warren about his latest work on non-human apparitions including pets. Sunday's guest is Freddy Silva, discussing how crop circles help reveal where the veil between worlds is thinnest

More details including relevant websites are available at the linked pages above. Remember also that while Coast to Coast is subscription, it can be listened to through KOGO, while Dreamland is free. Dreamland also now offers a podcast of the most recent show.

Lost Keys of Freemasonry

Following on from their great work with Manly P. Hall's..errr..."Great Work" - The Secret Teachings of All Ages - publisher Tarcher-Penguin are now releasing another of Hall's classics, The Lost Keys of Freemasonry:

The twentieth century's great scholar of occult and esoteric ideas, Manly P. Hall was a Mason himself and nurtured a lifelong interest in the secret fraternal order, making it the focus of one of his earliest and best-loved books, The Lost Keys of Freemasonry. In this celebrated work, he examines the ethical training required of a Freemason, and the character traits a Mason must "build" within himself. Hall's 1923 volume is now reset and made available exclusively in this new edition, along with the author's two further classics on Masonry.

The two 'bonus' books in this edition are Freemasonry of the Ancient Egyptians (1937), which explores the roots of Freemasonry in the initiatory temple rites of Pharaonic Egypt, and Masonic Orders of Fraternity (1950), a "fascinating work of short history that chronicles the reemergence of Freemasonry in Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries."

The book goes on sale on today, and next month at Amazon UK. A must for those interested in esoteric history and Freemasonry.

News Briefs 17-08-2006

Short and sweet today, because it's just too nice a day outside...

  • Another review of Deborah Blum's Ghost Hunters: William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death (Amazon US), this one from the New York Times. Good to see some mainstream exposure on this, although there have been plenty of other very knowledgable researchers who have published on these topics previously.
  • The Great Zawi waters down talk of KV64 discovery by Nicholas Reeves: "Mr. Reeves wants publicity more than conducting his work through a scientific approach". I'll just hand the Pot a mirror to check his colour...
  • 2500-year-old figurines may be predecessors to Terracotta Army.
  • Israel-Hezbollah war endangers archaeological sites and ecosystems. People too, apparently.
  • Strangers in our skies - a guide to UFO sightings in Ireland. Chariots of the leprechauns?
  • Astronomers set to vote on 12 planets for our Solar System.
  • Space Shuttle Atlantis set for launch on August 27th.
  • Crew members of new James Bond film say aeroplane set is haunted. Seems to be a reliable way of getting publicity these days, to claim a haunted set.
  • Can you see the ghost in the library?
  • Big cat stalks Sydney's west-sieede. What's a few westies and Uni students...
  • Fastest evolving human gene is linked to brain development. And I thought it would have been the gene linked to idiotic wars and genocide.
  • Frozen mice parent healthy offspring, redefining the word 'frigid'.
  • Whale fossil sports some seriously scary teeth.
  • Neolithic stone carving of Big Dipper discovered in northwest China.
  • Circles cropping up across county fields. Probably a bit out-dated to call them 'circles' these days...
  • David Copperfield says he's found the elixir of youth. Obviously he's found the elixir of money too....wish I could afford to throw down $50 million on a few islands.

Thanks Kat.

Quote of the Day:

I do not think this is a door, and there is nothing behind it.

Zahi Hawass (on the 'Gantenbrink Door')

News Briefs 16-08-06

Way to go Mr. Frisky!

  • Cat drags in new theory on cairns.
  • The forger who fooled the world.
  • NASA borrows ideas from Apollo program.
  • Ancient pyramids found in Ukraine.
  • War paint plant tackles cancer.
  • Scientists gene test traces Pictish roots. How did he manage that?
  • The place of the biblical apocalypse is found.
  • The tribes of Britain: a subtle assimilation.
  • No happy ending for tale of Judge and three psychic dwarves.
  • Mesas with moats.
  • Quadrillion space rocks beyond Neptune.
  • Mammoths may roam again after 27000 years. Has it really been that long? How time flies.
  • CBS 60 Minutes Ahmadinejad Interview.
  • One giant blunder for mankind: how NASA lost moon pictures.
  • Scientists crack Martian chemical activity mystery.
  • Reason and emotion duke it out within the mind.
  • The backward sunspot.
  • Ancient whale truly weird.
  • DNA testing, banking and genetic privacy.
  • Our energy future: a message from Harold Aspden.
  • Dead Sea Scrolls theory faces new challenge.
  • Neolithic stone carving of Big Dipper found in NW China.
  • Planets plan boosts tally to twelve.

Quote of the Day:

Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this.