News Briefs 01/06/2006

Why is it June already, and what happened to March, April and May??? o_O

  • The 4700-year-old Silbury Hill is under threat from ramblers who now have the right to roam. Julius Caeser passed a similar law.
  • A 1000-year-old citadel was uncovered in Hanoi during the construction of a carpark.
  • The recent earthquake on May 27th killed thousands of Indonesians, and it also badly damaged the Prambanan temple complex.
  • Chinese archaeologists have unearthed an ancient city that has remained buried beneath the Taklimakan sands for 2200 years.
  • Giant clouds of dust whipped up by desert storms in Africa can carry infectious organisms to other continents, scientists claim. Toto has rabies?
  • A hidden ecosystem has been discovered beneath an Israeli cement quarry. I was hoping for Fraggles.
  • The Earth's tropical zone has expanded further from the equator since 1979, providing evidence of global warming.
  • Scientists claim to have discovered how to achieve invisibility without breaking the laws of physics. If they're male undergrads, I'm sure they'll be breaking other kinds of laws.
  • An exotic theory that proposes the existence of an extra fourth spatial dimension, could be tested using a satellite to be launched in 2007. Is it wise to open a door not knowing what's on the other side?
  • Nearly 50 tons of red rain showered India in 2001, and now the race is on to figure out what it is, and why Peter Gabriel hasn't booked a concert in Delhi.
  • On film he's married an alien, played a conehead, busted ghosts, and now he's produced a documentary on UFOs: Dan Ackroyd Unplugged On UFOs. It's a serious doco, by the way.
  • Bob Park, a vocal critic of spaceflight, claims that intelligent alien civilizations do exist, but they have not colonized the galaxy because they don’t want to. Imagine the frightening possibility of a planet populated by Bob Parks!
  • A study has found that music can significantly ease a patient's perception of chronic pain. Most music in the Top 40 will make the pain worse.
  • In his book the Singing Neanderthals, Steven Mithin suggests neanderthals had a musical culture (Amazon US or UK). [Insert heavy metal pun here].
  • Is this photograph one of the most powerful UFO images ever captured?
  • Babies born in winter are more likely to be bigger, brighter and more successful adults than their summer counterparts, according to Harvard researchers. I prove that theory wrong, but then again, my pessimism proves them right!
  • A pregnant British woman is fighting to have her baby induced so it's not born on the 6/6/06. Idiots, it's not 6/6/6, it's 6/6/2006. Gosh!
  • Hopefully these June 6th conspiracies are on the doctor's waiting room coffee table for her to read.
  • Was Aleister Crowley the father of Barbara Bush, mother of George Dubya Bush, and is the occultist rolling in his grave?
  • In a paddy-lined valley in the far north of Japan is a municipal signpost inscribed, Tomb Of Christ: Next Left. The Holy Grail is a Tamagotchi.
  • Weird plaques embedded in downtown St Louis point to Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, but no one knows who made them. Known as Toynbee Plaques, they've mystified everyone for two decades, and are also found in Pittsburgh.
  • An excellent interview with Carol K. and Dinah Mack, authors of A Field Guide to Demons: Fairies, Fallen Angels, and Other Subversive Spirits (Amazon US or UK).
  • My favourite storyteller Neil Gaiman was recently in Sydney, and here are wmv videos of his Graphic Books presentation with Audrey Niffenegger, and the Meet the Writers presentation with Jonathan Stroud. If you need me, me and Neil'll be hanging out with the Dream King.

Quote of the Day:

Stories may well be lies, but they are good lies that say true things, and which can sometimes pay the rent.

Neil Gaiman

Fortean Times #211

The latest issue of Fortean Times (#211) is now available, with features on 'Flying Saucers from Hell', the 'Death-Worm diaries' and an investigation into Intelligent Design. The FT website has also been updated with some older articles being made freely available:

Full details of the latest issue are available at the FT website.

News Briefs 31-05-2006

Substituting for Jameske today, I can think of no better intro than The Simpsons as philosophy.

Quote of the Day:

In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics.' All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.

George Orwell

New Dawn Special Issue #2

I mentioned last week a 'special edition' of New Dawn which I had contributed an article to. The issue looks at the topics covered by The Da Vinci Code, and you can get a full rundown on the contents on this website. The purty cover is designed by - who else - our own Mark James Foster, and if you click on the "What's Inside" link you'll find a full list of the essays and what they cover. Got mine in the mail yesterday, so looking forward to reading through it later in the week.

Tuesday Roundup 30-05-2006

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

  • Binnall of America's latest audio interview is with Ryan Wood, author of Majic Eyes Only (available as mp3/podcast or Flash).
  • Matthew Cromer has a pair of related essays worth checking out: "Mind and Brain" and "What is the Brain For?"
  • Guy Lyon Playfair reviews Lewis Wolpert's Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast for
  • This weeks' eSkeptic takes on Time Magazine's article on facilitated communication.
  • Skeptic Randi's latest newsletter has a fair go at Brad Steiger. Congratulations to Brad on raising the ire of the R-dude.
  • UFO Casebook #207 is now online with the latest reports from around the world.
  • Also Filer's Files #21 is ready to read.


News Briefs 30-05-2006

Happy birthday Dad...

  • Professor predicts human time travel this century. Someone check his birth certificate...
  • National Geographic has a long feature on Peruvian shamanism and the use of ayahuasca. Has a little video teaser as well.
  • The recent Indonesian earthquake badly damaged an historic Hindu temple. Speaking of the quake, I think I mentioned last week that the UFO sightings over China were reminiscent of the 'wave' preceding the Boxing Day earthquake/tsunami...
  • Ground-scanning to be done at Native American mounds site.
  • Controversy over claims in favour of GM corn.
  • Researchers produce images of AIDS virus which may help shape a vaccine.
  • Abominable actor (yes that's an unfortunate pairing of words) Paul Gleason has passed away.
  • What is lurking in Johor? Bigfoot, cyclops, yeti or hype?
  • Welsh UFO 'myth' debunked?
  • Is there a point to the Lost experience? Much as I enjoy watching the show, I reckon put me in a room with a few monkeys and typewriters and I could come up with something which makes more sense. Although TDG news readers may not agree...
  • Pagan Pride March in London puts the spotlight on pagan prejudice.
  • Officials join debate over pentacle headstone marker for Wiccan soldier.
  • Are you ready to take advantage of the business opportunities which would come with Ray Kurzweil's vision of the future?
  • Google users promised artificial intelligence. Does that mean Google thinks we don't have natural intelligence?
  • Alberto Gonzales urges ISPs to keep your Internet usage logs rather than deleting them. I bet he's just a fan of nostalgia.
  • Iran says it is working on nuclear fusion.
  • Space elevator idea is going down.
  • Skeptic Michael Shermer has changed his mind...well, on the subject of environmental skepticism anyhow.

Quote of the Day:

Every four years the naive half who vote are encouraged to believe that if we can elect a really nice man or woman President everything will be all right. But it won't be. Any individual who is able to raise $25 million to be considered presidential is not going to be much use to the people at large. He will represent oil, or aerospace, or banking, or whatever moneyed entities are paying for him. Certainly he will never represent the people of the country, and they know it.

Gore Vidal

Radio 30-05-2006

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

Fate Radio: This week is an encore presentation of the interview with Shirley Andrews on life in the fabled lost city of Atlantis. (Realplayer or Windows Media).

Coast to Coast AM: Monday is a roundtable with Laurence Gardner, William Henry, and Glenn Kimball examining the popularity of The DaVinci Code. On Tuesday Wayne Herschel will discuss the evidence that humans are ETs who invaded Earth 10,000 years ago, Wednesday's guest is author Dale Brown who will discuss a new front in the War on Terror, while on Thursday Steven Greer will discuss his new memoir Hidden Truth: Forbidden Knowledge which covers his early ET experiences that impelled him to start CSETI.

More details including relevant guest links are available at the C2C website. Also C2C can be listened to through KOGO.

News Briefs 29/05/2006

So much work to do, I'm like a mouse balancing an elephant on the tip of his nose.

  • Are the ruins of the legendary kingdom of Cantre'r Gwaelod to be found submerged in Cardigan Bay?
  • Is the legendary Boudicea buried beneath a Birmingham McDonalds? Imagine what the toy is in a happy meal!
  • The Great Pyramid is a cuckoo clock, according to engineer Jean-Pierre Houdin. And anyone who thinks the shafts are for air ventilation are cuckoo, imo.
  • A year after the discovery of a burial chamber in the Valley of the Kings, Egyptologists still can't decide what it is. Perhaps we need an alternative theory from Robert Bauval, and then they'll quickly decide what it isn't.
  • A colossal statue of Ramses II will say goodbye to the traffic and exhaust fumes of Cairo's Ramses Square, and say hello to the Grand Egyptian Museum. Ramses! Colossus! Yeah, Indigo here we go oh ...
  • Titicaca, lake of legend and gold.
  • More than half of Britons believe in psychic powers, a survey suggests, tho whether it was taken at an Ibiza rave is another thing.
  • The popularity of reading past-lives is booming in Japan, thanks to a spiritual counsellor and his co-host, a cross-dressing singer said to be the reincarnation of a 17th century Christian revolutionary.
  • An engineering student speculates that OBEs (out-of-body experiences) allow us a glimpse of the mutidimensional universe as predicted in string theory. Hey, I already thought of that! But I don't have a degree ...
  • A geneticist, a philosopher and a chicken farmer walk into a bar and ask, "What came first? The chicken or the egg?"
  • Scientists predict how to detect a fourth dimension of space. You take the third dimension, and add one.
  • Glowing, silvery blue clouds that have been spreading around the world and brightening mysteriously in recent years will be studied by NASA.
  • Three planets roughly the same mass as Neptune have been discovered around a nearby sun-like star.
  • A dragon-like dinosaur has been named after JK Rowling's school for young wizards, Hogwarts. When they find a dinosaur skull with a lightning bolt on its forehead, you'll have Harrypottersaurus.
  • X-rays of a duck reveal an extraterrestrial face. No wonder they waddle when they walk.

Thanks Kat.

Quote of the Day:

Destiny is a name often given in retrospect to choices that had dramatic consequences.

JK Rowling

Sub Rosa Last Call

We are in the midst of finalising Issue 5 of Sub Rosa Magazine, and so I thought I'd make a last call for anyone interested in advertising this issue to email us as soon as possible with your enquiry. The mag offers great value, with a full page ad getting to 10,000 readers for just $US100 (that's an unbelievably cheap $10 cpm to reach a targeted audience, for you media savvy folk out there). Half-page cost is $US60, or if you are an author or publisher you can take out a placement in our book spotlight section for just $US25. We also offer the unique ability to embed live website links, audio or video into your advertisement, to make it truly interactive. This issue is another huge affair with some big names contributing, so we'll be burning the candle at both ends to get it finished over the coming week or two.

Fatima Sequel

Eccenova Books has announced that in July they will be releasing the sequel to the well-received (and I will post a review of it one day soon) Heavenly Lights: The Apparitions of Fátima and the UFO Phenomenon. In fact, the upcoming book - titled Celestial Secrets: The Hidden History of the Fátima Cover-Up - will be the second book in what is a trilogy on the topic of the 'Miracle at Fatima'. The blurb reads:

In 1978, Portuguese historians Joaquim Fernandes and Fina d’Armada were given unprecedented access to the original records of the Fátima incident, which had been held secretly by the Church in archives located at the Sanctuary of Fátima since 1917.

Here, for the first time, they tell the esoteric history of the "cover story" concocted by the Church in 1941, which has both shaped our modern view of the Fátima incident and obscured its true significance as the first major close encounter case of the 20th century.

The final book, Fátima Revisited: The Apparition Phenomenon in Myth, Religion, and Science, is to be released next year.It's a fascinating topic, and I'm looking forward to seeing these follow-ups to Heavenly Lights.