News Briefs 04-01-2007

Lots of good things in the news to start the year off...

  • A video interview with 'NASA UFO Hacker' Gary McKinnon.
  • Inventors win funding for research into flying saucer technology. Gary McKinnon's uncles perhaps?
  • Marijuana might cause new cell growth in the brain. I'm really getting confused as to whether it's supposed to be good or bad for you.
  • Looking back (or is that forward?) on the story of alleged time-traveller John Titor.
  • Is taking the oath of office on the Koran a threat to American values? What about if it's on Thomas Jefferson's Koran?
  • Pat Robertson says God has whispered in his ear that there will be mass killing in the U.S. during 2007. Hrm, hearing voices and predicting mass killing - sounds like someone should be sent to Gitmo without a trial...
  • Free will: now you have it, now you don't. Is your conscious mind just a puppet of the subconscious?
  • Study finds that coal mining causes earthquakes.
  • Manufacturing uncertainty: how oil money funds groups who "cast doubts and deceive the public on the scientific consensus regarding global warming." I guess the critical part is whether it's deception or information.
  • Climate shift helped destroy China's Tang Dynasty.
  • The music of the hemispheres. Brain hemispheres, that is.
  • 49 of 72 rare rhinos go missing in Nepal.
  • The Lure of Móo: judging Augustus Le Plongeon.
  • The ancient and mysterious history of tattooos. Grisly image warning.
  • Satellites and video game technology used to track the movements of ancient Central Americans. I hope they didn't frag them.
  • 2007 is the Asian Year of the Moon, as China and Japan ready lunar probes.
  • Lost lakes of Titan found at last.
  • Amazon forest relies on dust from the Sahara. And that butterfly beating its wings too, no?
  • Human brain evolution slows to a crawl. Dubya, you're dragging our average down!
  • Spaceship Earth sculpture falls apart. Art imitating real life?
  • The Wunderkammer: cabinets of curiosities make a comeback.
  • Spilt Animal parts and a tomahawk missile listed as worst traffic incidents in US during 2006.

Quote of the Day:

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

Martin Luther King

History of Ouija

Our good friend Mitch Horowitz, editor-in-chief at Tarcher Penguin, has recently published an excellent blog entry here on TDG about the history of Ouija:

Ouija. For some the rectangular board evokes memories of late-night sleepover parties, shrieks of laughter, and toy shelves brimming with Magic Eight Balls, Frisbees, and Barbie dolls.

For others, Ouija boards – known more generally as talking boards or spirit boards – have darker associations. Stories abound of fearsome entities making threats, dire predictions, and even physical assaults on innocent users after a night of Ouija experimentation.

The essay is a great overview of the history and strange occurrences associated with Ouija Boards. For more wonderful essays from Mitch, make sure you stop by and browse his personal website.

Top Stories of 2006

A final look back at the year that was, before we plunge headfirst into the latest instalment...

That's cleared the slate, so let's look forward from here!

Tuesday Roundup 02-01-2007

A strange assortment to get you through the week...


The Edge on Optimism

No, not the guitar player originally known as Dave Evans. The Edge Foundation have published their now famous 'big question', and the answers to that question from some of the globe's top thinkers. The question is: "What Are You Optimistic About, and Why?" On the website you'll find responses from individuals such as Richard Dawkins, Freeman Dyson, Rudy Rucker and Brian Eno, a few of the names amongst a very large cast. Fun reading, so check it out.

News Briefs 02-01-2007

All the best for the New Year! I took two weeks worth of news, and via secret alchemical techniques, distilled it into this one news update. Whether it's lead or gold is left to your opinion...

Quote of the Day:

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

Pink Floyd, 'Time'

Radio 02-01-2007

Here's the alternative radio schedule for the first half of the week.

Fate Radio: This week's guest is Bernard Haisch, who discusses the interaction and relationship between science and God (Real Audio or mp3).

Coast to Coast AM: Monday is C2C's New Year's Day Special, with George Noory welcoming various guests who'll share their predictions for 2007. Tuesday is a special evening of open lines, Wednesday is a rebroadcast from 10/1/06, in which Colm Kelleher and George Knapp discussed their investigation of the Skinwalker Ranch, and on Thursday Art Bell welcomes author Whitley Strieber for a discussion about climate change.

More details including relevant guest links are available at the C2C website.

Gobekli Tepe: Garden of Eden?

Since 1994, archaeologist Klaus Schmidt has overseen an astonishing archaeological dig called Gobekli Tepe. Located in southern Turkey, South African palaeolithic art expert David Lewis has called Gobekli Tepe "the most important archaeological dig anywhere in the world." Why? Schmidt explains, "Gobekli Tepe is staggeringly old. It dates from 10,000 BC, before pottery and the wheel. By comparison, Stonehenge dates from 2,000 BC. Our excavations also show it is not a domestic site, it is religious - the world's oldest temple. This site proves that hunter-gatherers were capable of complex art and organised religion, something no-one imagined before."

In part, Gobekli Tepe is thought to be a temple, or funerary complex, because of the human bones installed in the open niches beside its standing stones. Forty or so T-shaped standing stones - two to four meters in length, and weighing anywhere from 5 to 50 tons - have been unearthed thus far at the main site; and geomagnetic surveys suggest at least another 250 stones have yet to be uncovered there. However, the largest stone discovered thus far - nine meters in length - was recently found about a kilometer from the main site, so there may be many more.

Age alone isn't the site's only Wow! factor. Since there's nothing I can say which would adequately descibe this article's photos, I suggest you take a look for yourself, and read why some people are even speculating that Gobekli Tepe could almost literally be the Garden of Eden: Pages one, two, three, four, five, and six.

As always, feel free to post your thoughts.

John Anthony West Podcasting in 07

John Anthony West is a funny and highly heretical Egyptologist, in the gang of Hancock-Bauval et al. He wrote Serpent in the Sky, and runs regular tours of Egyptian temples. (Wouldn't mind going on one of those myself!)

Starting sometime in January, you can find West's podcasts at To give a flavor, some sample topics:

Notes from a Heretic’s Notebook; Symbolist Egypt: The Doctrine of the Return to the Source; Darwin Debunked, Darwin De-clawed, Darwin Dethroned; Einsteins of Old: Ancient Symbolism/Modern Astrophysics; Son of Mystery of the Sphinx - Geo-panel – the Quest to Rewrite History. Further evidence; Number – Ancient Key to the Kosmos; Consider the Kali Yuga – Precession of the Equinoxes and the Great Year; Atlantis Here, Atlantis There, Atlantis Damn Near Everywhere; The Four Cowboys of Apocalypse 2.0: Capitalism, Patriotism, Democracy and Technology; Science, Education and the Media:Jesuits of the Church of Progress; Debunking Debunkery: JAW Takes on the Mind Gestapo and the Paradigm Police... etc...

Xmas Break

As always at this time of year, news sources go quiet and there isn't too much out there to read - so we're going to make good use of the downtime by taking a few days off ourselves to recharge the batteries. There will be sporadic updates over the coming two weeks, and of course feel free to post your own blogs or post a story on the Underground Stream to help out those looking for some interesting reading. Thanks to everyone for another fun year here at TDG, and best wishes for the holiday season. Here's looking to everyone having a great 2007.