News Briefs 07-05-2004

Welcome to the eclectic news center. It all made sense when I wrote it ........

  • Dinosaurs may have been wiped out by a mighty Verneshot, an underground explosion with the energy of 7-million atom bombs.
  • Arthropod animals were molting to make room for growth more than 500-million years ago.
  • Hummingbirds may be 30-million years old.
  • Physics meets archaeometry in ancient Greece.
  • The tomb of a Mayan queen has been found in the rain forest of Guatemala.
  • An ancient musical instrument has been found in the central highlands of Vietnam.
  • Archaeologists have made a sensational discovery in Turkmenistan -- a royal mausoleum.
  • Zahi Hawass, the man in charge of Egypt's antiquities and the greatest archaeologist of all time, is leading the hunt for to recover ill-gotten artifacts. Classic pic of Zahi and the Sphinx.
  • The Mudslingers protect an ancient ruin.
  • More than 2,000-years ago this ancient Maya community may have been major city.
  • It took ancient peoples in Great Britain a millennium or more to create Stonehenge, but the New Zealand version will be built in a little more than a year. Kiwihenge.
  • The drugstore culture threatens ancient Arab medicine.
  • Far-away Easter Island has become an exotic port-of-call for medical researchers.
  • The infamous, crawling, air-breathing, predatory snakehead fishes may be indicators of ancient climate shifts.
  • The humpback whale is believed to sing its mysterious songs for the same reason generations of teens have started bad garage bands.
  • A rising tide of micro-plastics is plaguing the seas. Where did you think those 2-liter bottles went?
  • Here's a follow-up on that lion in Ohio that Greg told you about yesterday.
  • In Wassaw Sound off Savannah, Georgia there's an 11-foot-long bullet with a snub nose and four stubby fins, an aluminum cylinder with No. 47782 written on it lying in the silt. Enclosed in its metal skin is 400-pounds of conventional explosives and a quantity of bomb-grade uranium. Take a guess what No. 47782 is.
  • Scientists uncover how the brain retrieves and stores older memories.
  • Ex-Nazi corporal says Germany attempted to kidnap Ike. If I told you more you would swear I made it up. Just read it.
  • No one is pretending the forthcoming climate change filmThe Day After Tomorrow is anything but implausible, but that the public is probably smart enough to distinguish between Hollywood and the real world. I wish.
  • Monsters like Godzilla may be scary, but they could be a parent's best friend.
  • Man is not a useless speck lost in the Universe.
  • You're invited to participate in the Massive Medicine Wheel Ceremony set for tomorrow. One Heart, One Mind, One Circle.
  • The James E. Webb Space Telescope is scheduled to take a few baby pictures in 2011.
  • Life in the universe could be everywhere.
  • Join the quest to unlock universe's missing link.
  • One-third of the universe still eludes us.
  • Our map of the Milky Way will have to be redrawn after Australian astronomers made the astonishing discovery that our spiral galaxy has a huge, out-flung arm.
  • Four vast petro-chemical oceans on the surface of Saturn's giant moon Titan wait the arrival of the ESA Huygens probe.
  • Mars scientists find some tempting new rocks.

Quote of the Day:

Nobody succeeds beyond his or her wildest expectations unless he or she begins with some wild expectations.

Ralph Charell

Inside DaVinci

As mentioned in my initial post here on Daily Grail version II, TDG is now just one piece of a larger concept which we call DUAT. Let me introduce you to another facet of what we are doing: Inside the DaVinci Code. This website contains information regarding Simon Cox's new book CRACKING THE DAVINCI CODE (Amazon UK or Barnes & Noble), as well as a DVD that we are producing called INSIDE THE DAVINCI CODE.

The DVD, which is now available for pre-order for delivery from May 28th, will give a unique insight into some of the stunning backdrops used by Dan Brown in THE DAVINCI CODE - St Sulpice, the Louvre, Rosslyn Chapel, as well as the enigmatic village of Rennes le Chateau. Also included will be interviews with researchers and experts concerning some of the 'facts' in Brown's novel.

The website also features a forum to discuss the topics - from Rennes and the Priory of Sion, to the gnostic gospels and the divinity (or not, as the case may be!) of Jesus. Please do register and join in the chat - all we ask is that you treat all other members with respect.

News Briefs 06-05-2004

Come on over and check out our Da Vinci website, join in on the forums...

  •'s image of the day: the astronomer's dilemma...when you look so far back in time that the stars haven't formed yet, what do you look for?
  • Five designer babies created for stem cells. Make mine a Gucci thanks.
  • The dispute over the infamous Patterson Bigfoot film. I know you can't get enough of this, so here's more.
  • Obesity and high-blood pressure are becoming endemic.
  • Ancient map confirmed by satellite images.
  • NASA must transform to put men on Mars. I'm sure they meant to say humans. Or perhaps men are to Mars, women are to Venus?
  • A day in the life of the Spirit rover. What do they tell the little fella when he asks when he's coming home?
  • Tuna and sharks a prime example of convergent evolution. If you believe in that sort of freaky stuff, personally I'll take my chances with God creating the Earth a few thousand years ago (n.b. before starting those emails...that was a joke).
  • NASA releases 180 degree view of Endurance Crater. Looks good.
  • Archaeologists uncover oldest evidence of bedding. For a good night's sleep, you just can't beat a grass and clay mattress.
  • Dr Richard Leakey suggests fencing in the Great Apes to save them from extinction.
  • Laser technique may allow creation of devices within living cells. You have to follow the link just to see the cool image at the very least.
  • Comet NEAT debuts in the Northern Hemisphere. That's for sky-watchers, not an impact prediction...
  • Uber-physicist Brian Greene tell you all about the Fabric of the Cosmos. If the article is interesting, make sure you check out his books THE FABRIC OF THE COSMOS (Amazon US and UK) and THE ELEGANT UNIVERSE (Amazon US and UK). There are not enough hours in the day to read everything cool out there...
  • Giant 'masks' suggest ancient Maya flourished.
  • Ghost hunters encounter some spirits at local pub. Insert punchline here.
  • Houses of Pharaonic gold miners found near Red Sea.
  • African lion roaming central Ohio? See also links in Heck's blog and Sonicreducer's blog. Thanks guys.
  • Giant squid isn't picky, and will mate blind, not caring if other squid is male or female. So bit like humans and nightclub closing time then.
  • Builder survives nail gun incident. Trust me, check this one meaning to 'a pain in the neck'.

Quote of the Day:

Spirits and conjurations...gods, spheres, planes and many other things which may or may not exist. It is immaterial whether they exist or not. By doing certain things, certain results follow.

Aleister Crowley

The Secret Teachings

A strange synchronicity: I was recalling just the other night how my interest in esoterica was ignited as a child when I discovered Manly P. Hall's THE SECRET TEACHINGS OF ALL AGES in my local library. I remember opening this big old book, full of magickal and alchemical diagrams - literally like a scene from a movie, sweeping the dust off the cover. Only later in life did I learn that this heavy tome was one of the absolute classics of esoterica.

Funnily enough, the day after recalling this I coincidentally came across the website of Mitch Horowitz. In his job as executive editor for Tarcher/Penguin, Mitch has been involved with the production of a new, more compact and reasonably priced edition of Hall's classic book (see Amazon US and UK for details on this "Reader's Edition"). As such, on his website you'll find a number of interesting articles, a couple of which deal with this seminal book and its enigmatic author. Well worth a look - I'm hoping to talk more to Mitch about this new edition soon, so stay tuned for more details.

News Briefs 05-05-2004

We've had Phatarhs as a candidate name for a moon discovered orbitting Uranus. Didn't make it past go, though. I would certainly favour Phuket as the name of any new planet that gets discovered. Better than Sedna, and more in keeping with how astronomers really feel about having to name newly discovered bodies in this endless cosmos in which we live. Post your thoughts.

  • Cometary panspermia explains the Kerala red rains. You'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • That natural smile could be just a few years away.
  • Scientists announce cosmic rays breakthrough.
  • The birds are singing in outer space.
  • The science behind climate change forecasts adds up to a lot of hot air.
  • Weather changes may effect stroke.
  • The mystery of mind control.
  • Fortune telling Bangkok septuagenarian has supernatural breasts that produce milk able to ward off black magic. She invites people to suck'em and see. The Phuket Gazette? Is that a joke or is it named by a bunch of very unhappy journalists?
  • Chinese were the world's first modern astronomers.
  • Ancient maps of the world.
  • Flourescent fish spark GM row.
  • AIDS theory renegade returns with challenging cancer theory.
  • The promise of artificial photosynthesis.
  • This time it's real: an antimissile system takes shape.
  • Mammals have multiple timers. Any of them fit any planetary motion in the solar system?
  • Flying saucer franchise.
  • Ancient cave in Central Iran dated to 15 Millennia B.C.
  • The myth of the beginning of time.
  • Breaking the chains of illusion. Part I. Part II.
  • Physics meets archaeometry in ancient Greece.
  • I believe that intelligent life must exist somewhere in the vast universe of stars and galaxies. Is he including or excluding Earth. I suppose there's a case for the latter.
  • Today's conspiracy, tomorrow's truth.
  • 18 year-old has severe reaction to prescription drug.

Quote of the Day:

With most people unbelief in one thing is founded upon blind belief in another.

Georg Cristoph Lichtenberg

Techgnosis Tripping

I was surprised and delighted to read in this week's edition of the LA Weekly an article on the entheogenic library The Vaults of Erowid. I've mentioned this marvellous resource for modern neo-shamans before on TDG, but this article gives a peek behind the scenes at the philosophy and work being put in behind the scenes.

If that wasn't enough, the article was written by a great writer, Erik Davis - author of TECHGNOSIS: Myth, Magic and Mysticism in the Age of Information (see Amazon US and UK). Davis is a regular writer on the blend between spiritual thought and modern technology - for a (large) sample of his writings, check out his website "Figments and Inklings". I think there's a couple of years worth of reading in all those links...

News Briefs 04-05-2004

There's no place like home...

  • Venus: the planet which is the cause of all those kooky UFO stories. Personally, Venus has never given me an anal probe, but I can only speak for myself.
  • Hubble captures a big bug. Damn critter's Nebula-sized.
  • At the other end of the scale, 'real' bugs on Venus might hide from the Sun's radiation by using an umbrella made of of a molecular rings of sulphur. That's a smelly umbrella...
  • Astrobiology Magazine talks to Colin Pillinger, head of the ill-fated Beagle 2 mission.
  • Nothing like a Noah's Ark story to get the media excited.
  • Swedish government watchdog queries regional council as to why they put a lake monster on Sweden's endangered species list.
  • Educate yourself about the oddities of the full Moon.
  • NASA releases status report on shuttle return - within the year, they say.
  • Brain-watching helps suppress pain. Cool little story about biofeedback.
  • Spinach pigment proposed as radical cure for some forms of blindness. Gives a whole new meaning to Popeye doesn't it.
  • NASA uses the public to monitor contrails...for climate reasons of course.
  • The Iranian UFOs - here's the evidence (pics and video). Let's hope it doesn't go to court on that.
  • US customs returns $1million worth of smuggled artifacts to Peru.
  • UK government's chief scientist says Antarctica is likely to be the world's only habitable continent by the end of this century if global warming remains unchecked. Might get awful cramped down there, with the penguins and all...
  • Israeli scientists create a computer made of DNA that identified lung- and prostate-cancer cells and combatted them with a molecule based on an anti-cancer drug. Wonder what DARPA is doing with this sort of technology...
  • ISS astronauts safely back on Earth, although with a bit extra weight on their shoulders.
  • The sky at night. As seen from China some 1,300 years ago.
  • Push for anti-nerve agent drug. Methinks that might be a good idea.
  • Toutatis, the strange looking city-sized asteroid - planet killer, or just a cosmic peanut?
  • Indie band release their album exclusively as ring-tones. It's an audiophiles nightmare.

Quote of the Day:

When the Paris Exhibition closes, electric light will close with it and no more be heard of.

Professor Erasmus Wilson (1878)

Skeptical Inquirer 28:2

A number of sample articles are available online for the March/April issue of Skeptical Inquirer for those interested. Included is a review of the CSICOP conference "Hoaxes, Myths and Manias" as well as articles on our 'cultural indoctrination' into a belief in supernatural phenomena, why religion is natural and an investigation into claims of stigmata. Plenty of reading to keep your mind ticking over.

News Briefs 03-05-2004

Ah, nice to be back, and some cool new features like user blogs and automated news feeds to boot. Should be fun to follow this fresh new version of TDG...

Quote of the Day:

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and all science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead: his eyes are closed.

Albert Einstein

Skeptical Investigations

I've just been pointed towards an excellent website concerning 'skepticism', and the debate over who the 'skeptics' really are. Skeptical Investigations features informative dossiers on so-called 'media skeptics', as well as some of the researchers that they attack.

Add to this a brilliant list of articles on more specific topics, all to do with the true spirit of scientific enquiry and on employing an honest system of skepticism, and you've got a handy resource and a heck of a lot of reading to boot. I'll be spending a good portion of this week there, that's for sure - so check it out yourself. Thanks Joanne for the tip!