Friday, March 31, 2006

Leahy: Bush deserves censure for wiretapping

Looks to me like the Bush mob has killed or intimidated or bribed so many people (using information obtained by illegal wiretaps no doubt) that he is above the law and will not be held accountable for this criminal wiretapping, the same thing that got Nixon impeached.

story.justice.dept.wire.tap.jpg... Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the panel's ranking Democrat, said he was "inclined to believe" that censure by Congress is appropriate for Bush. "We know the president broke the law," Leahy said. "Now we need to know why." ... Leahy and Feingold, of Wisconsin, were the only Democrats to speak, whereas five Republicans defended Bush. The Constitution authorizes a president to take necessary steps -- including warrantless wiretaps -- to protect the country from would-be attackers, said Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

Hatch is using fear of would-be attacks to justify destroying our fundamental rights. He should read the fourth amendment of the damn constitution of our damn USA, damnit. It says:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Bush bypassed secret the FISA court in order to spy (probably on political opponents rather than terror suspects) and he should go to jail for it.

"I can only hope that this constitutionally suspect and, I believe, inflammatory attempt to 020829_secretcourt.gifpunish the president for leading this war on terror will not weaken his ability to do so," he (Hatch) said. ... Only two other Senate Democrats -- Barbara Boxer of California and Tom Harkin of Iowa -- have fully endorsed it, and Republicans vow to crush it if it reaches the Senate floor. But they agreed to let Feingold invite two witnesses to the hearing, and he chose Republican lawyer Bruce Fein and John Dean, White House counsel to Nixon, whose last Senate testimony was before the Watergate committee in June 1973. Dean, 67, served time in a minimum-security facility for obstructing justice in the Watergate investigation. Since then, he has written books and drifted left politically. Dean said he has "more expertise than anyone might wish" on how "presidents can get themselves on the wrong side of the law." He told Hatch there is "lots of evidence" that Bush violated the FISA law.

"I don't think you have any," Hatch retorted.

Hatch, you're fired. Bush broke the law and it doesn't matter what you think about it.
TALKING POINT: Bush's secret, warrantless spying on Americans is constitutional and legal.
FACT: False, false and false. Indeed, the nonpartisan and highly regarded Congressional Research Service (CRS) has stated politely that the legal justifications offered by the Bush 2CongressionalResearchService02.gifadministration to conduct illegal wiretapping of American citizens and permanent residents do not really hold water (more on this in Appendix 1). CRS has also weighed in to point out that the Bush administration also likely violated the National Security Act (see Appendix 2). Moreover, leading constitutional law experts (and former Government officials) agree that Bush's actions were illegal (also see here and here). NSA Director Michael Hayden also committed an illegal act in violating the Fraud and False Statements Statute. Not to mention, it appears that some form of warrantless spying (different from the main NSA spying program) was started in 2001 even without Bush's Executive Order and apparently even before 9/11 (the latter would make it even more obvious that the fake justification that such spying could have prevented 9/11, is, um, fake.) [Incidentally, the Pentagon has also violated the law with its illegal domestic spying program.] - MORE HERE.

Anti-gravity Effect Measured In Lab

Scientists funded by the European Space Agency have measured the gravitational equivalent of a magnetic field for the first time in a laboratory. ...

060325232140.jpg Just as a moving electrical charge creates a magnetic field, so a moving mass generates a gravitomagnetic field. According to Einstein's Theory of General Relativity, the effect is virtually negligible. However, Martin Tajmar, ARC Seibersdorf Research GmbH, Austria; Clovis de Matos, ESA-HQ, Paris; and colleagues have measured the effect in a laboratory.

Their experiment involves a ring of superconducting material rotating up to 6500 times a minute. Superconductors are special materials that lose all electrical resistance at a certain temperature. Spinning superconductors produce a weak magnetic field, the so-called London moment. ... Small acceleration sensors placed at different locations close to the spinning superconductor, which has to be accelerated for the effect to be noticeable, recorded an acceleration field outside the superconductor that appears to be produced by gravitomagnetism. "This experiment is the gravitational analogue of Faraday's electromagnetic induction experiment in 1831.

It demonstrates that a superconductive gyroscope is capable of generating a powerful gravitomagnetic field, and is therefore the gravitational counterpart of the magnetic coil. Depending on further confirmation, this effect could form the basis for a new technological domain, which would have numerous applications in space and other high-tech sectors" says de Matos. Although just 100 millionths of the acceleration due to the Earth's gravitational field, the measured field is a surprising one hundred million trillion times larger than Einstein's General Relativity predicts. Initially, the researchers were reluctant to believe their own results.

"We ran more than 250 experiments, improved the facility over 3 years and discussed the validity of the results for 8 months before making this announcement. Now we are confident about the measurement," says Tajmar, who performed the experiments and hopes that other physicists will conduct their own versions of the experiment in order to verify the findings and rule out a facility induced effect. ... The results were presented at a one-day conference at ESA's European Space and Technology Research Centre (ESTEC), in the Netherlands, 21 March 2006. - YUBANET

If you've been reading my site for many years now, you'll recall that I once posted this:

Lifelike Dolls Selling Well.

I read an article today in the Sacramento News and Review about a guy who repairs lifelike adult entertainment dolls and sells them at a discount. ( A new one is about $7,000 with shipping.) Since I'm facinated by robots ( browse the technology section ) I started wondering how realistic looking they really are and if someone will ever combine them with robotics. How long until the androids in our popular science fiction come to life? Will our society have to discuss and make laws regarding Robot Fetishism? I checked some pictures of these dolls and they look *moderately* real. Some faces look somewhat real in the right light. Great detail on the hands and feet... but you would not mistake one for a real person on close inspection. They seem to bend and in lifelike ways due to an internal metal skeleton, but they can't stand unassisted. Customters select from 16 faces and 10 body types, and various skin tones. On the one hand, I think these dolls encourage gross objectification. When will they add a brain? On the other hand, I find them interesting as works of art.


"The skeleton used in REALDOLL moves in nearly all of the ways a real human being does." sunni01_edited3.jpg


Question: Do you offer electronic or animatronic versions of REALDOLL?

Not at this time, but we hope to offer such dolls in the future.

This was interesting:
"I recently toured RealDoll?s headquarters and factory, an exceptionally nondescript building in San Marcos with no sign?not even a decal on a window?that might clue you in to what the company is or what is manufactured within. In the front office, Shelly Couture, a tall, friendly blonde with pretty blue eyes, greets me as my guide. She?s the spokesperson for the company, and before advancing past the front office, she photocopies my driver?s license.

I ask about photocopying visitors? licenses and their low-profile, Cheney-esque undisclosed location. Is it because they?re afraid that someone on a moral crusade might vandalize their business? Couture assures me that the security is for proprietary reasons. ?There are all sorts of people in Japan and China who are trying to steal what we do,? she says."

... ?One woman came to us with her tax return and, knowing that she was going to be away for a long time, bought one for her husband so he wouldn?t be fooling around on her.? - SDCITY

Hey, if you buy a Nick Black CD, you have a 1 in 2500 chance of winning one of these creepy REALDOLLs free.

Former DeLay Aide Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy

060331rudy.jpgWitness a Republican conspiracy. This is started as another outrageous conspiracy theory, and it is now proven. This is a real right-wing conspiracy. The people involved are guilty. They themselves admit it (although some deny it up to the very last second, when they finally admit it) ... and they are going to jail. Pay attention, "ditto heads". Stop criticising and insulting people who point out suspected criminal activity by politicians. That includes conspiracy theories about the events of 9/11/2001.
"A onetime top aide to Representative Tom DeLay, the former House Republican majority leader, pleaded guilty to conspiracy today and agreed to cooperate in a widening investigation into lobbying fraud and influence-peddling

Tony C. Rudy, Mr. DeLay's former deputy chief of staff, entered the plea in United States District Court here. The felony charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Prosecutors asked that sentencing be deferred until Mr. Rudy is finished telling them what he knows.

"Guilty, your honor," Mr. Rudy, 39, replied when Judge Ellen S. Huvelle asked him how he pleaded. Mr. Rudy appeared calm and replied to questions with simple "yes" and "no" answers.

Mr. Rudy was the third major figure in the affair to plead guilty, and the first since Jack Abramoff, the powerful and wealthy Republican lobbyist, pleaded guilty to three felonies in January in exchange for a reduced sentence of about 10 years, a promise to pay tax penalties and make restitution to former clients he defrauded and cooperate with the investigation." - NYTimes

Plans for massive blast “Divine Strake”

060331_las_vegas_explosion.jpgPlans for a Pentagon-led experiment that involves detonating 700 tons of explosives in the desert drew criticism from state leaders and a disarmament activist. The explosion scheduled for June 2 at the Nevada Test Site is part of an effort to design a weapon that can penetrate solid rock formations in which a country might store nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction."I am concerned that tests of this magnitude have been planned without providing Nevadans with any information about the possible impact on their health or safety," said Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid in a statement Thursday. Nevada Test Site spokesman Darwin Morgan said the test will be conducted about 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas, near the center of the former nuclear testing site.

The test, named "Divine Strake," will involve nearly 40 times the amount of commercial ammonium nitrate and fuel oil explosive set off in the largest open-air, non-nuclear blast at the site to date. In 2002, 18 tons of explosives were set off at the Nevada Test Site. ...
"Given the level of contamination in areas where nuclear tests were conducted, I have real concerns about the dust and other pollutants that will be released into the air as a result of this explosion," said U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley. Disarmament activist Pete Litster said tests at the site violate international law. Litster, executive director of the Shundahai Network, said the site belongs to the Western Shoshone Indian tribe." - whdh

What is a "strake"? One definition is "a tool for tamping down and levelling semi-fluid materials into a mould." Sounds like this is more than just an explosive. Sounds like they intend to liquify the rock.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

First dinosaur traces found in South Pacific

SYDNEY (AFP) - An Australian-based researcher said that he had found the first proof that land-dwelling dinosaurs lived on remote islands in the south Pacific.Jeffrey Stilwell, a US-born fellow in palaeontology at Melbourne's Monash University, said he discovered the fossilized foot, finger and spinal bones of carnivorous dinosaurs on the Chatham Islands, about 850 kilometers (530 miles) east of New Zealand. dinonz.jpgThe discovery confirmed that the Chathams were once connected to New Zealand by a finger-like extension, Stilwell told AFP. "Prior to our discoveries, only a few isolated examples of dinosaur fossils had been found in the northern part of New Zealand," he said.

"Now we've found dinosaur remains almost 1,000 kilometers east out in the middle of the South Pacific," he said, adding that his team had already uncovered more dinosaur fossils in the Chathams than had been unearthed in New Zealand over the past 25 years. While some dinosaur remains had been found along the Antarctic peninsula and in South America, this was the first such discovery in the southwest Pacific and is possibly unique in the southern hemisphere, he said.

"They were on their own evolutionary path for probably 15 million years since the separation of the Chathams-New Zealand region some 85-80 million years ago," he said. Stilwell found the first fossils by accident when he visited the Chatham Islands in 2003 in connection to other studies. "No one had even hypothesized that there were any fossils out that far," he said.

Cannibal film banned in Germany

cannibal_afp203.jpgA German court has banned the screening of a film based on the case of self-confessed cannibal Armin Meiwes. The state court in Kassel upheld a complaint from Meiwes, 44, against the film Rohtenburg, which was due for release in Germany on 9 March. The court ruled that Meiwes' rights as an individual outweighed artistic freedom and that he should not become the object of a horror film.

Meiwes, jailed for eight-and-a-half years in 2004, is facing a retrial.
He admitted that in March 2001 he killed a 43-year-old man and partially ate him. He was jailed for manslaughter. Meiwes says he simply carried out a willing victim's instructions. But last year, an appeal court ordered a retrial after state prosecutors argued Meiwes was guilty of murder.

If found guilty, Meiwes could face a life sentence. Meiwes, a computer technician, killed and ate Bernd Juergen Brandes after posting an advert on the internet asking for a willing victim in 2001. The film Rohtenburg, directed by Martin Weisz, stars Thomas Kretschmann in the leading role.

Don't mess with German computer technicians.

Remote controled Cyborg Sharks

"NUWC is developing a fish tag whose goal is attaining behavior control of host animals via neural implants. This talk discusses a shark tag with multi-channel neural ensemble readers and stimulators, diverse controllers and sensors. Recent results and ongoing work will be discussed. The tag is intended for long-term open ocean field efforts investigating viability of animal behavior control and its utility for networked sensing and data acquisition. The tag is centered on a multi-channel neural ensemble reader, a processor to interpret the readings in real-time, and a multi-channel stimulator, intended for both micro and macro stimulation. Additional capabilities include an undersea navigation/tracking system, acoustic and RF communication capabilities, a sensitive multi-channel Electric field measurement sensor, and a range of environmental sensors, including ph, heading and motion sensors, temperature, pressure and chemical injection micro-pumps. The design is field-reconfigurable, modular, and allows multiple sensor and controller variants to be easily configured. Ongoing work on energy harvesting methods to power the tag will be discussed. The key mechanical issue is facilitating electrode implantation and tag attachment."? - MORE

Robolobsters and Mind-Controlled Sharks

"...Now a Navy research project, the Biomimetic Underwater Robot, Robolobster, is ? well, a robotic lobster that moves just like its organic cousin.

lobster_robots.jpg It's "basically a mechanical lobster that scurries along the ocean floor and looks for mines and buried bombs and stuff like that," Shachtman said.

According to the Web site for the Office of Naval Research, "Biomimetic robots are, in principle, relatively small, agile and relatively cheap, relying on electronic nervous systems, sensors and novel actuators. Most important, they can take advantage of capabilities proven in animals for dealing with real-world environments." - ABCNews

A New Chupacabra Photograph?

tyco_fox_big.jpg"The mystery beast known as the Tyco Animal forages in grassy fields near the Tyco Electronics building in North Carolina.

The beast is likely a Sampson fox, a red fox that is missing its outer layer of fur due to a genetic abnormality, experts say."

This looks supiciously like the Texas Chupacabra that debunkers were calling a "Coyote with mange". The real question is, does this new "fox" suck the blood out of chickens and goats? Is this the beast causing the rumors? It looks a bit like a kangaroo and that would explain some of the eye witness accounts from when I interviewed people. One person saw it standing upright. Another said it leaped over an entire two lane road in one bound. This thing does look like quite a leaper.

Would a fox without fur have a tail that long? Yes, from this photo I think so.  You'd have to see the creatures skin up close to determine if it is a healthy animal or one with a disease that makes its hair fall out.

Surgeons Remove Two Fetuses From Infant

"Surgeons operated on a 2-month-old Pakistani girl Tuesday to remove two fetuses that had grown inside her while she was still in her mother's womb, fetus_in_baby_isl103.jpga doctor said.The infant, who was identified only as Nazia, was in critical condition following the two-hour operation at The Children's Hospital at Pakistan Institute of Medical Science in the capital, Islamabad, said Zaheer Abbasi, head of pediatric surgery at the hospital. Abbasi, the chief doctor who led the operation, said the case was the first he was aware of in Pakistan of fetus-in-fetu, where a fetus has grown inside another in the womb.

"It is extremely rare to have two fetuses being discovered inside another," Abbasi told The Associated Press, adding that he did not know what caused the medical abnormality. "Basically, it's a case of triplets, but two of the siblings grew in the other."

The baby comes from Abbotabad, about 30 miles north of Islamabad. She is the fifth child of a woman in her 30s, who was at the hospital to be with her daughter. Her father works in the Arabian Gulf. Abbasi said surgeons removed the two partially grown fetuses, totaling about two pounds, that had died at about 4 months.

Other fetus-in-fetu cases have been reported elsewhere in the world. A report in a June 2000 issue of the U.S. journal Pediatrics called such occurrences rare and estimated their rate at about 1 per 500,000 births.

Who would be surprised if environmental pollution from weapons of war are the cause?
"In 1998, Iraqi government doctors reported that Coalition use of depleted uranium caused a massive increase in birth defects ... The U.S. Department of State has also published a fact sheet ... It states: "depleted Uranium does not cause birth defects."

DU does not cause birth defects according? to the WHO, and NATO. Well, right, but... DU emits Radiation. Radiation breaks DNA. Broken DNA causes birth defects. They deny the link for political reasons, to hide crimes against humanity, but the facts remain: DU is toxic in the soil and sand for over 4 billion of years.
"uranium causes birth defects ... in several other species of mammals, and human epidemiological evidence is consistent with increased risk of birth defects in the offspring of persons exposed to DU.[link]. "

aurora curtains


What causes gaps between aurora curtains? These unusual gaps can make auroral displays appear more detailed and intricate. Research using data from four Cluster spacecraft orbiting the Earth has likely found the secret: auroral gaps, sometimes knows as black auroras, are actually anti-auroras. In normal auroras, electrons and/or predominantly negatively charged particles fall toward Earth along surfaces of constant magnetic field. They ionize the Earth's atmosphere on impact, causing the bright glows. In auroral gaps, however, negatively charged particles may be sucked out from the Earth's ionosphere along adjoining magnetic field lines. These dark anti-auroras can climb to over 20,000 kilometres and last for several minutes. Pictured above, a series of well-defined auroral gaps is seen dividing green aurora curtains high above Harstad, Norway, earlier this month.

The new more potent solar energy is already starting to hit us.

Pics of the Eclipse

us_eclipse.jpgA photo released by NASA shows the shadow of the moon falling on earth as seen from the International Space Station (ISS), 230 miles above the planet, during a total solar eclipse March 29, 2006. (NASA/Reuters)

Check out the slide show on this page.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Noah’s Ark plan from top Moon man

The European Space Agency's chief scientist has said there should be a "Noah's Ark" on the Moon, in case life on moonpa_203.jpgEarth is wiped out by an asteroid or nuclear holocaust. ... Dr Bernard Foing said the ark should be a repository for the DNA of every single species of plant and animal.

Dr Foing is head of Europe's Moon missions, so his thoughts on matters lunar should be taken seriously. He is concerned that if the Earth were destroyed, there would be little or nothing left of the rich diversity of life on the planet. His solution is to build a DNA library on Earth's satellite.

"If there were a catastrophic collision on Earth or a nuclear war, you could place some samples of Earth's biosphere, including humans, [on the Moon]," he said. "You could repopulate the Earth afterwards, like a Noah's Ark," he said. - BBC

Right. My guess is that they've already been doing this for years secretly. If not on the moon, then at least in underground facilities here on Earth. Perhaps on Mars too.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Wrapped up like a douche under the ovary of the night?

Check out this site of misheard song lyrics. I used it to finally figure out the real words to the chorus of Blinded by the Light.

An island trip


Click photo to view some really fantastic photography. View this slide show is like taking a nice virtual trip to a beautiful island with happy shiny people laughing.

Video: Literal Dancing

Yeah, Scalia has nothing on this guy's obscene gestures. hehe, thanks for the link Ben. Click to view video:


European researchers connect neurons and silicon chips

European researchers have reported the creation of an interface between mammalian neurons and silicon chips. The news is described as a crucial first step in the development of so-called 'cyborgs' that combine silicon circuits with living animals.

medium.jpgThe ultimate applications of the technology are "potentially limitless", according to researchers involved with the NACHIP project funded by the European Commission's Future and Emerging Technologies initiative within the IST programme.

In the long term the interface could enable the creation of very sophisticated neural prostheses to combat neurological disorders, or allow the creation of organic computers that use living neurons as a CPU.

RatNeuronOnChip_color_smaller.jpgSuch applications are potentially decades away, but in the much nearer term the new technology could enable very advanced and sophisticated drug screening systems for the pharmaceutical industry.

"Pharmaceutical companies could use the chip to test the effect of drugs on neurons and quickly discover promising avenues of research," said Professor Stefano Vassanelli, a molecular biologist at the University of Padua in Italy, and one of the partners in the NACHIP project. NACHIP's core achievement was to develop a working interface between the living tissue of individual neurons and the inorganic compounds of silicon chips.

"We had a lot of problems to overcome," said Professor Vassanelli. "And we attacked the problems using two major strategies: through the semiconductor technology and the biology."

It seems inevitable to me that we will become part machine, part genetically modified immortal organisms... if we survive long enough. For some reason the second photo gives me the creeps more than the first one.

Check out this robot.


Do you have a constitutional right to own a pet?

A new McCormick Tribune Freedom Museum survey finds that only about one in four p1-signs-web.jpgAmericans (28 percent) are able to name more than one of the five fundamental freedoms granted to them by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Yet when it comes to knowledge of popular culture, Americans are considerably more tuned in. For example, almost twice as many Americans (52 percent) can name at least two members of ?The Simpsons? cartoon family.

Those freedoms, and the percentage of Americans who were able to name them when asked to list the freedoms of the First Amendment, are:

  • Freedom of Speech (69 percent)

  • Freedom of Religion (24 percent)

  • Freedom of the Press (11 percent)

  • Freedom of Assembly (10 percent)

  • Freedom to Petition for Redress of Grievances (1 percent)

Americans also think they have rights that aren?t necessarily granted at all. About one in five Americans (21 percent) agreed that the First Amendment granted them the right to own and raise pets, something that isn?t discussed anywhere in the U.S. Constitution or Bill of Rights. One in five also believe that the right to drive is guaranteed by the First Amendment, although the car was not invented for another 100 years.

The random telephone survey of 1,000 American adults was conducted Jan. 20-22, 2006 by Synovate, an independent market research firm. The margin of error due to sampling for a sample of this size at the 95th percent confidence level is +/- 3 percentage points. A full report on the survey results is available at the Freedom Museum Web site ?

Monday, March 27, 2006

Survival Kit: Small

There are two very important things to remember about survival kits: they must be SMALL and they must be carried in your pocket or on your person, NOT in your pack! The whole idea behind a survival kit is to have something with you in case you manage to lose your pack and all your regular gear. I once heard a story about two canoeists who got dumped in a set of rapids and their canoe was totalled. The only reason they survived to be rescued was because they had survival kits sewn into their lifejackets, which of course they were wearing. Many a would-be camper hasn't been so lucky.Here is a list of what I have in mine, and reasons for choosing them:
METAL CONTAINER: those Maxwell House gourmet coffee tins, the little ones, are perfect. The container should be metal so it can be used to heat water over a campfire. SMALL LENGTH OF DUCT TAPE: I use this to hold the top of my kit on firmly, plus it's a great waterproofer. Duct tape also works great when you don't have a triangular bandage: it holds on dressings, works well for fastening a splint, etc. EMERGENCY (SPACE) BLANKET: these are those little aluminium- looking blankets you can buy at any camping store. They are good for making into an emergency shelter, keeps you warm, and is reflective (i.e. can be spotted from aircraft). CANDLE STUB: makes a great fire starter, and can keep you warm in an enclosed space if you can't light a fire. BAND-AIDS: always have one or two (or three or four...) CHOCOLATE SQUARE, HERBAL TEA BAG, OXO CUBE: you can use any or all of the above. Each will give you much-needed energy and in the case of tea or stock cube, something warm to drink. Please note!! Regular tea has caffeine which will act as a dehydrator, herbal teas don't. WATERPROOFED MATCHES: for starting fires, of course! LARGE SAFETY PIN OR FISH HOOK: for fishing, if you're hungry. SMALL SAFETY PINS: good for holding slings together, etc. PIECE OF CRAYON: will act as a fire starter; you can also mark trees if you're on the move in the woods to let searchers know you've been there. Of course, in most cases, if you're lost in the woods it's better to stay where you are, i.e. hug a tree! BAKING SODA: a little of this mixed with water will help rehydrate a dehydrated person; mixed into a thick paste it helps on mosquito bites and bee stings. RUBBER GLOVES: anytime you're administering first aid to someone, you should wear gloves!! ANTISEPTIC WIPES: to clean out cuts etc. FIRST AID GAUZE: for any larger cuts. TINFOIL: can be used in lieu of a mirror to signal planes or boats, and takes up less space. Can also be modified into a water carrier if needed. SMALL JACKKNIFE: a blade always comes in handy! FISHING LINE OR DENTAL FLOSS: to use with fish hook for fishing, or to make into snares for animals. SALT PACKETS: again, when you're dehydrated, your body needs to regain salt as well as water. Mix with water and drink. HALAZONE TABLETS: these will help purify your drinking water... check their expiry date before leaving on a trip! Most tablets are only good for a year or so once the bottle's been opened.

I also have a little piece of paper with all the internationally recognized ground-to-air signal codes on it, which fits in my kit. On its flip side are directions for making a simple lean-to. - Camping

Science Stuff You Got Wrong?

Water IS blue, not just because of the sky

Many believe that lakes and oceans are blue "only" because they reflect the blue sky. Actually water looks blue because water is blue; the water molecules do absorb some light, and they absorb red frequencies more than blue. The effect is small, so the blue color only becomes obvious when observing layers of water many meters (or more) thick. (This effect is noticeable to a lesser amount in white-painted swimming pools.) In salt water or mineral-laden fresh water, the color of dissolved minerals can also be seen.

Sky-reflection does play a role, but only when the water surface is very calm, and only when the water is observed at a glancing angle less than approximately ten degrees.

Electricity does NOT travel at the speed of light

Many textbooks claim that Electricity (electrons) within wires flows at nearly (or even exactly at) the speed of light. In fact it's the electrical energy which flows rapidly ("rapidly" is still slower than the speed of light). Electrons, which have mass, can never travel at the speed of light due to the theory of relativity. The drift velocity of the charges in an electric current is extremely slow, on the order of centimetres per hour. Where the electric current is visible, as in electrophoresis, the slow movement of charge carriers can be seen directly.

As a very rough analogy, imagine a line of people at an amusement park. When the people at the front board the ride, a space opens up, and rapidly spreads to the back of the line. However, the average velocity of any one person is far slower than the speed at which the space moves.

Seasons are NOT the same length

Due to the earth moving fastest in its orbit when closest to the Sun, the southern summer / northern winter is the shortest season, with northern summer / southern winter being the longest. However, the difference on earth is only a matter of a few days, while on Mars with its more eccentric orbit the difference is more distinct.

You WON'T get a cold just from low temperature

It is a very widespread misconception that the common cold can be caused by (or the chance of getting infected by it is increased by) exposure to cold weather. In reality, the common cold is caused by viruses and has nothing to do with low temperatures.

Saturn is NOT the only planet with rings

Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune also have rings, though those of Saturn are the most visually striking (and the only ones easily seen).

Meteors are NOT hot when they land on Earth

When a meteor lands on Earth, it usually is not hot. It's usually warm. A meteor's great speed is enough to melt its outside layer, but any molten material will be quickly blown off (ablated), and the interior of the meteor doesn't have time to heat up because rocks are poor conductors of heat. Also, atmospheric drag can slow small meteors to terminal velocity by the time they hit the ground, giving them some time to cool down.

Clouds do NOT form because of the air's temperature

It is incorrectly believed that clouds form because cold air "holds" less water vapor than warm air. Air has no capacity to hold water vapor. It is the temperature of the water itself (and its surroundings) that causes humidity, condensation and clouds to form.

People DID know earth was not flat before Columbus

Some believe that Christopher Columbus had a hard time receiving support because Europeans believed in a flat Earth. In fact, sailors and navigators of the time knew that the Earth was spherical, but (correctly) disagreed with Columbus's estimates of the distance to the Indies. If the Americas did not exist, and Columbus had continued to the Indies (even putting aside the threat of mutiny he was under) he would not have survived long enough to reach them.

The Great Wall of China is NOT particularly visible from space

While at a low orbit, the Great Wall of China can certainly be seen from space but it is not unique in that regard. From a low orbit of the earth, many artificial objects are visible on the earth, not just the Great Wall of China. Highways, ships in the sea, dams, railroads, cities, fields of crops, and even some individual buildings.

As to the claim that it's the only man-made object visible from the moon, Apollo astronauts have reported that they could not see any man-made object from the moon, not even the Great Wall.

There is NO "dark side" of the Moon

The Moon is in synchronous orbit --this means, it takes exactly the same time to rotate once around its axis than it does to make one orbit around the Earth-- so it has a far side, because it always keeps the same hemisphere pointed towards Earth. When the Moon is roughly between the Sun and Earth, it is daytime for the "far side" and night time for the "near side". When the Moon gets "behind" the Earth, it is night time for the "far side" and daytime for the "near side".

Girl Uses Hammer To Escape

"A 14-year-old girl told Toledo police she was abducted Tuesday by a man with a gun but got away with help from a hammer. Police said the quick-thinking teen found it in the man's car and used it to hit him in the groin. According to police, the man forced the girl into his car while she was walking to her school bus stop and said he wanted sex. So, she told him she had dropped her ring in the car and went searching for it. That's when she felt the hammer under her seat. Police said the girl told them she remembered a lesson from school to always search for a weapon in that kind of situation. She was not hurt and ran to her grandmother's house. The suspect is still being sought."

Also teach kids not to get in a car with a stranger, even if he has a gun.? Run for it, in the safest direction.

US debt clock running out of time, space

So rapid is the rise of the US national debt, that the last four digits of a giant digital signboard counting the moving total near New York's Times Square move in seemingly random increments as they struggle to keep pace.

The national debt clock, as it is known, is a big clock. A spot-check last week showed a readout of photo.default.jpg8.3 trillion -- or more precisely 8,310,200,545,702 -- dollars ... and counting.

But it's not big enough.

Sometime in the next two years, the total amount of US government borrowing is going to break through the 10-trillion-dollar mark and, lacking space for the extra digit such a figure would require, the clock is in danger of running itself into obsolescence.

The clock's owner, real estate developer Douglas Durst, knew such a problem could arise but hadn't counted on it so soon.

"We really expected it to be quite some time," Durst told AFP. "But now, with the pace of debt growth only increasing, we're looking at maybe two years and certainly before President (George W.) Bush leaves office in 2009."

Justice Scalia Hand Gesture in Church

"U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia startled reporters in Boston just minutes after attending a mass, by making a hand gesture some consider obscene. A Boston Herald reporter asked the 70-year-old conservative Roman Catholic if he faces much questioning over impartiality when it comes to issues separating church and state. "You know what I say to those people?" Scalia replied, making the gesture and explaining "That's Sicilian." The 20-year veteran of the high court was caught making the gesture by a photographer with The Pilot, the Archdiocese of Boston's newspaper. "Don't publish that," Scalia told the photographer, the Herald said. He was attending a special mass for lawyers and politicians at Cathedral of the Holy Cross, and afterward was the keynote speaker at the Catholic Lawyers' Guild luncheon."

Here, I think, is the gesture made.

Winds Lift Kids Off Slide

"The small, I guess it's a tornado, picked up everything, five inflatables, these are heavy, these inflatables weigh 800 pounds, an 800-pound slide. It picked it up from that building and carried it in the air all the way to this fence that's the length of 2 football field, probably 200 yards." The school rented the inflatable equipment from a company in Bonaire called Kathy's Rock, Inc. All of the inflatables were staked to the ground, the owner said.
One of the students was admitted to the Medical Center of Central Georgia for treatment. The other five children and the adult were in good condition, according to spokeswoman Janie Pullnot. "

Global warming will mean more mean weather. This is the second such story in a short time.

No sign of life on ‘ghost ship’

THERE is no sign of anyone aboard an 80-metre "ghost ship" found floating in Australian waters, Customs officials say.? The tanker, Jian Seng, was about 180km south-west of Weipa in the Gulf of Carpentaria when Customs officers boarded it yesterday morning. There was no sign of recent human activity aboard, nor any signs it had been engaged in illegal fishing or people smuggling. Customs believes the vessel was under tow when it broke free and was subsequently abandoned. It is believed the ship has been adrift for at least a week.

Bigfoot almost made me lose my baby

Police chiefs have hit out at the dangers posed by the spoof ?Bigfoot? craze after a teenager almost lost her baby when a joker clad in a gorilla suit jumped in front of her car.? And the concerns have been echoed by a leading councillor and conservationist, who fears the ?irresponsible idiots? are causing harm to wildlife as well as people. The warnings come as a growing army of Cannock people take to the Chase, often dressed in monkey suits. They have been tempted by The Post?s offer of a free meal for anyone who capture on film the elusive Chase Bigfoot, rumoured to frequent the most secluded areas of our beauty spot. - CANN

Jesus changes name

Bosses at a Stockholm hospital have asked a nurse called Jesus to change his name, after concerns that it might cause confusion among patients. According to Jesus, an auxiliary nurse at Huddinge hospital, his superiors were worried that patients told "Jesus will be coming soon ," might get the wrong idea. "If they thought that Jesus was coming they might believe that they were already dead," the nurse said. Jesus will now use his middle name Manuel. - Yahoo.

Makes sense.

Friday, March 24, 2006

LOST: Season One

In one marathon session of video store rentals I'm watching then entire first season of LOST.

Friends said I'd like it and I'm pretty hooked so far.

Nuclear physicist set to prove aliens exist

A well-known nuclear physicist is trying to prove flying saucers exist. Stanton T. Friedman headed research in the dbimage.asp.jpg Roswell, New Mexico alleged sighting and is now touring with a lecture series called "Flying Saucers are Real." He claims the government has covered up alien encounters, abductions, and thousands of U.F.O. Sightings. He says he gets a lot of ridicule, but many believers as well. "That's why most people don't report their sightings. They're afraid of ridicule, but in reality the world is interested. It's ready," says Freidman. He'll present his lecture Thursday, March 23 at the Pikes Peak Community College Centennial Campus Theater. It starts at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Consider the possibility that aliens are not being covered up, rather that aliens *are* the cover up ... for real secret human flying saucers, black triangle and diamond shaped craft, and so on. In that scenario, is Friedman part of the con, or is he himself mislead?

Strange Photo

This image was found on on anamoulous images. Supposedly it was a square hole in the mountain that emitted rays seen only after the film was developed.

Looks more to me like the photo was taken from inside a car and the flash went off.

Messing with the image (see below), a close up face appears (highlighted circle right) a person walking (highlighted oval, toward the middle top) and a small grey alien (small highlighted circle below the other two.)



Watchdog cleared tritium shipment to Iran

Sale of 70,000 glow-in-the-dark lights okayed by nuclear agency... The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission approved a shipment to Iran last year by a Canadian company of about 70,000 glow-in-the-dark lights containing tritium, a radioactive gas that can also be used as a component in hydrogen bombs.

The amount of tritium approved by the nuclear regulator for shipment to the volatile Middle Eastern country was about 10 per cent of the quantity considered necessary for making one nuclear weapon ( To produce a 1 kt fusion yield 12.5 g of tritium and 5 g of deuterium are required. ), although the company selling the lights, SRB Technologies (Canada) Inc., said it sent less than it was allowed. ... Canada is one of the world's biggest sources of tritium because Candu reactors generate large quantities of it as a waste product. Ontario Power Generation extracts about 2.5 kilograms of it a year. Tritium is one of the world's most expensive substances, selling for about $25,000 a gram. - GAM

I'm guessing there is about 74 micrograms of tritium per light? I'd never heard of these until today, but years ago I interviewed a man who claimed to have seen aliens. He also said he'd been inside Mt. Shasta to meet the Lemurians. He described their light source as very dim lights in the walls that glow for many years but are harmless due to radiation shielding glass. Tritium lights were invented in the 1960s as a reliable self-powered light source for NATO, and they glow for 10 to 20 years. Found this on Tritium Glow Lights:
Tritium (heavy hydrogen with two neutrons) is radioactive, emitting beta particles with a low energy of 18 keV, and having a 12 year half life. besides being useful when building hydrogen bombs, it also has numerous other applications.
A variety of items are sold containing tritium and phosphors, which glow in the dark. Examples include compasses, wristwatches, and glow in the dark keychains, as well as emergency exit signs. The tritium betas excite the phosphors, causing them to glow with visible light. A few microns of plastic is sufficient to block the betas, so the items are quite safe. Unless you were to open one, I guess. Some of thse things have several curies of tritium in them. I don't know what the health effects would be of exposure. Probably not as bad as from the phosphors!

Update! They may not be quite so safe... I decided to place one on a pancake GM detector. The readings went from 55 CPM background to about 210 CM. I then removed the actual glass tube (with the tritium and phosphors) from the plastic holder, and the reading jumped to about 690 CPM. I suspect that the betas are hitting the glass, and creating x-rays, with a peak energy of 18 keV. The plastic absorbs most, but not all, of them.


Evolution Missing from Arkansas Classrooms.

Religious nuts continue their war against reality.
"In his words, ?I am instructed NOT to use hard numbers when telling kids how old rocks are. I am supposed to say that these rocks are VERY VERY OLD ... but I am NOT to say that these rocks are thought to be about 300 million years old.?

As a person with a geology background, Bob found this restriction hard to justify, especially since the new Arkansas educational benchmarks for 5th grade include introduction of the concept of the 4.5-billion-year age of the earth. Bob?s facility is supposed to be meeting or exceeding those benchmarks.

The explanation that had been given to Bob by his supervisors was that their science facility is in a delicate position and must avoid irritating some religious fundamentalists who may have their fingers on the purse strings of various school districts."FG07_23-08.jpg - AKTIMES

Russian Researchers Open UFO School


Russian ufologists have opened a school where they teach people what to do if they encounter a UFO and where to look for extraterrestrials.

The commotion over UFO sightings in Central Russia?s Togliatti began this summer when crop circles appeared in a field just outside the city. The enormous pictogram in the grass attracted dozens of journalists and hundreds of curious onlookers.In response to the evident demand, local UFO researchers decided to establish a school where people would learn about the paranormal. Togliatti?s popularity with extraterrestrials makes it an ideal spot for such an institution, a local daily said Thursday. - MOSNEWS

Bad Idea: Beta-Blockers for Stage Fright

Why dull the rush of performing live?

According to a 1987 study of the 51 largest orchestras in the U.S., over one in four classical musicians used beta-blockers. And 70 per cent of those using the drug got their prescription illicitly. ... For decades now, nervous musicians have quietly taken beta-blocking drugs, more commonly prescribed to treat high blood pressure, to improve their live performance. ... Prescription drugs like Inderal, Monitan and Sectral work by blocking receptors for adrenaline, the hormone that increases heart rates in times of fear and panic. When adrenaline is impeded, blood pumps more slowly.... Doctors will prescribe beta-blockers to relieve musicians? anxiety, Ho said, but only in much lower doses than for people with high blood pressure. ... ?It?s a poison that has to be dealt with by your body.? The main side effects of beta-blockers are dizziness and drowsiness.


?It?s usually not a problem for people who are taking the drugs regularly for hypertension or migraines,? said pharmacist Ho, ?but when someone is only taking the drug once a week, like musicians, the side effects are more severe.? Because beta-blockers get in the way of adrenaline, they can cause serious problems for people with allergies or asthma. Without adrenaline as the body?s natural defence, allergic reactions can quickly progress to acute shock, or even death.

Dozens of Major Cities Under Water this Century.

Time to sell your ocean-front property. If you are close to the ocean but at over 20ft above sea level, your property value may soar.? I'm at (50 ft) above sea level and a few hours away from San Francisco. Awesome. I'll be rich.
"If current temperature trends continue to the end of the century, the Earth's climate will be warm enough to cause a massive melting of Greenland's ice sheet and a partial collapse of the greelandicemelt.jpgAntarctic ice sheet, resulting in a torrent of melt water that will raise global sea levels by up to six metres (20 ft), according to a pair of new research papers.

The increase in ocean levels would devastate low-lying coastal areas, put dozens of major cities under water, and become irreversible at some point later this century "unless something is done to dramatically reduce human emissions of greenhouse gas pollution," warns Jonathan Overpeck, a professor at the University of Arizona and one of the researchers. He said that if serious efforts to limit global warming are not taken soon, "we're committed to four to six metres of sea-level rise in the future." - GAM

Healing Power of Prayer: None. Despite $2.2 Million Search.

Sad. People want this to be true so badly. They've spent huge amounts of time and money trying to find proof of their happy fantasy, but there is none. Like a kid realizing his parents are the real Santa, this country's religious people slowly and painfully are waking up to the fact that they are delusional. Of course, it is still true that positive thinking by a sick person still can activate a body's amazing healing powers.
"... the most controversial research focuses on "intercessory" or "distant" prayer, which involves people trying to heal others through their intentions, thoughts or prayers, sometimes without the recipients knowing it. The federal government has spent $2.2 million in the past five years on studies of distant healing, which have also drawn support from private foundations. ... Two new studies are about to report no benefit of having people prayer.jpepray for the sick, the only study underway is nearing completion, and the largest, best-designed project is being published in two weeks.

... other studies (involving born-again Christians) have been called deeply flawed. They were, for example, analyzed in the most favorable way possible, looking at so many outcomes that the positive findings could easily have been the result of chance, critics say. "It's called the sharpshooter's fallacy," said Richard Sloan, a behavioral researcher at Columbia University. "The sharpshooter empties the gun into the side of a barn and then draws the bull's-eye. In science, you have to predict in advance what effect you may have." (And other) studies have been even more contentious, such as a 2001 project involving fertility patients that became mired in accusations of fraud. - MSNBC

Name-calling Pro-Bush blogger loses web libel case

A pro-Bush liar in the UK was ordered to pay the equivalent of $29,900 for doing what right wing Talk Radio hosts do here in the USA every day: fight truth with hate.
"She ( Tracy Williams,) was very pro-Bush. Initially, she called me lard brain and I wasn't particularly concerned about that. Then she called me a Nazi," he said. He has also taken action against a second poster, he said, with whom he claimed to have settled for a sum "in the region of 30,000 pounds."

"They started saying I was on a sex offenders' list and that people shouldn't let me near their children," said Keith-Smith, chairman of the Conservative Democratic Alliance ... He resolved to take legal action after the pair accused his wife of being a prostitute. But once his lawyers petitioned the court to find out the identity of Williams, who contributed to the forum under a pseudonym, the abuse got worse."It's a matter of principle. I had no proof that anyone who read this took it seriously. I just didn't see why she should be allowed to get away with it," he said. Legal experts said the case should be taken as a warning to the millions of people debating contentious issues on message boards, in chatrooms and on their own blogs that the laws of libel applied just as they would if the comments were published in a leaflet or newsletter. - PeopleDaily

Armless man caught steering car with foot at 121km/h

A man with no arms was caught speeding at 121km/h (75 mph) yesterday - using one foot to steer and the other to operate the pedals. The man told shocked police he was born with no arms and said he'd never held a driver's licence.? The 32-year-old unemployed Waikato man was clocked on State Highway 2 at Papamoa, Bay of Plenty,?at 10.30am.? He was given a $170 fine and has been forbidden from driving. Police say he will probably also be charged with dangerous driving.? Senior Constable Brent Gray approached the driver's window, spotted a foot up on the dashboard and noticed the seat was reclined. Mr Gray told colleagues he thought the man had an "attitude". But then he noticed his armless torso. "He was pretty shocked by that, as you would be," acting Senior Sergeant for the road policing unit, Deidre Lack, told the Bay of Plenty Times this morning.? The armless speedster told the stunned highway patrol officer he had been driving for years, without any issues. - NZHerald

Two-Headed Turtle Found in China

two_headed_big.jpg March 17, 2006?In biology, two heads are rarely better than one. But this unusual golden coin turtle, found in China, appears to be doing just fine. A businessman from the city of Qingdao says he bought the reptile at an animal market last year.According to press reports released Wednesday, the turtle's two heads cooperate well and can even eat at the same time. Its owner says the reptile eats more than one-headed turtles do and has grown over the past year.

The creature most likely developed its unusual anatomy while still in the egg. Its embryo began to split in two?the process that gives rise to identical twins?but then failed to fully separate.

While uncommon, abnormalities caused by incompletely split embryos occur in many animal species, including fish, snakes, rats, cows?even humans, where the phenomenon leads to what are known as Siamese, or conjoined, twins.

Experts say survival rates for two-headed animals tend to be lower in the wild. But in captivity such animals can prosper. At the San Diego Zoo a two-headed corn snake named Thelma and Louise produced 15 normal offspring before it died.

Professional Cryptozoologist: Dragons Exist.

There's a perception that you could be a bunch of eccentrics. Can you dispel it?
richardfreeman_175x125.jpg I do not do this as a hobby. It is my profession. I am a qualified and professional zoologist. I was the head of reptiles at one of Britain's biggest zoos and have studied more than 400 species. I'm not an amateur. ...

So, do dragons exist?
Yes, but probably in more than one form. Dragons are the most universal of all monsters. There are cave paintings going back more than 5,000 years. They also appear in every culture on Earth. It's a complicated tapestry of strands rather than one creature, in one place, at one time. People still report seeing dragons today and now they are less easy to explain away. At the core of all this, I think there is at least one very large, very frightening reptile still unknown to science. It probably exists in Asia.

Panda painted onto single hair

Chinese micro-painter Jin Yin Hua has painted an image of a giant panda on a single human hair. The artist took 10 days to create the mini-masterpiece using a single rabbit hair as a paintbrush. Visitors to a Chinese gallery who wanted to view the tiny artwork had to look at it through a microscope. Other micro-painters include Russian artist Valeriy Dvoryanov who creates oil paintings of famous people on poppy seeds and grains of rice. - BBC