Thursday, December 21, 2006

‘Hibernating’ Man Survives for 3 Weeks

A man who went missing in western Japan survived in near-freezing weather without food and water for over three weeks by falling into a state similar to hibernation, doctors said.

tok80212201203-small.jpgMitsutaka Uchikoshi had almost no pulse, his organs had all but shut down and his body temperature was 71 degrees Fahrenheit when he was discovered on Rokko mountain in late October, said doctors who treated him at the nearby Kobe City General Hospital. He had been missing for 24 days.

"On the second day, the sun was out, I was in a field, and I felt very comfortable. That's my last memory," Uchikoshi, 35, told reporters Tuesday before returning home from hospital. "I must have fallen asleep after that."

Doctors believe Uchikoshi, a city official from neighboring Nishinomiya who was visiting the mountain for a barbecue party, tripped and later lost consciousness in a remote mountainous area. His body temperature soon plunged as he lay in 50-degree weather, greatly slowing down his metabolism.

"(Uchikoshi) fell into a state similar to hibernation and many of his organs slowed, but his brain was protected," said Dr. Shinichi Sato, head of the hospital's emergency unit. "I believe his brain capacity has recovered 100 percent."

Uchikoshi was treated for severe hypothermia, multiple organ failure and blood loss from his fall, but was unlikely to experience any lasting ill effects, Sato said. Doctors were still uncertain how exactly Uchikoshi survived for weeks with his metabolism almost at a standstill. - ap

80-Year-Old Man Celebrates Birthday Crossing Grand Canyon 106 Times

061220121645_hiker.jpgGRAND CANYON -- One man is celebrating his 80th birthday in an amazing way -- by crossing the Grand Canyon 106 times. When tourists walk to the rim of the Grand Canyon and look down, most would consider a rim-to-rim hike a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But this guy is averaging twice a week! All yearlong!!

His name is Laurent Guadreau. But he goes by 'Maverick'.? "By 'Maverick' because there aren't many 80-year-olds that do the strange things I do," said Guadreau.

That's right -- 80. He's hiked up and down the mile-deep canyon more times this year than most octogenarians ride an elevator.? "I can't explain it! It's just there!! And I want to be in it!!"

Hiking from the south rim, it's 7 miles down, 14 miles up the other side. 21 miles each way. On the 42-mile round trip, he usually spends two nights in the canyon.? - wtlv

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Study finds the air rich with bacteria

jk24.jpgWant biodiversity? Look no further than the air around you. It could be teeming with more than 1,800 types of bacteria, according to a first-of-its-kind census of airborne microbes recently conducted by scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
The team used an innovative DNA test to catalog the bacteria in air samples taken from the Texas cities of San Antonio and Austin. Surprisingly, they found a widely varied bacterial population that rivals the diversity found in soil. They also found naturally occurring relatives of microbes that could be used in bioterrorist attacks -- although many of these relatives are harmless.

"Before this study, no one had a sense of the diversity of the microbes in the air," says lead author Gary Andersen of Berkeley Lab's Earth Sciences Division. ...

The team also determined that location was not as strong a source of microbial variation as time and weather. Specifically, the time of the year during the 17-week testing period was the most significant source of variation, followed by atmospheric conditions. For example, warmer and dryer conditions led to increased amounts of spore-forming bacteria. -sciencedaily, Physorg

Ah, so that's what the skyfish are eating! Plankton of the air! Read this for the personal human contribution to air bacteria, and about suppression regarding the farming industry's contribution to airborne bacteria. PS. Our military once sprayed germs on US cities, including San Franciso.? It took them 30 years to admit it. How much of the bacteria in the air over Texas is there because we put it there?
"A jet aircraft equipped with spray devices, flew a course near Victoria, Texas, and the harmless particles were monitored in the Florida Keys." - fas

13 billion years old - a photo of the dawn of time.

magellanic-cloud.jpgTo a casual observer it could be the psychedelic creation of a mischievous puppy that has dipped its paws in paint. But it may be one of the most extraordinary pictures ever snapped.

It is, scientists said yesterday, the glow from the first things to form in the universe, more than 13 billion years ago. Snapped by NASA's Spitzer space telescope, the bizarre objects must have existed within a few hundred million years of the Big Bang, 13.7 billion years ago.

An Australian astrophysicist, Ray Norris, said the NASA team may have found "the holy grail" of astronomy.

What the ancient objects are remains a mystery. One possibility is stars, the first to light up after the dawn of time. They would have been "humungous", said NASA, "more than 1000 times the mass of our sun". Or they may be "voracious black holes". While black holes are invisible, heat emitted by matter plunging into them can be detected.

"Whatever these objects are," said Alexander Kashlinsky, of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre, "they are intrinsically incredibly bright and very different from anything in existence today." The image was made by Spitzer shooting pictures of five areas of the sky. All light from stars and galaxies in the foreground was then removed, leaving only the ancient infrared glow. - smh

Where in the night sky is the dawn of time located? How big is it? Ah, here's an answer:
"The recent data indicate this patchy light is splattered across the entire sky and comes from clusters of bright, monstrous objects more than 13 billion light-years away." -caltech

It is located in several clumps spread across the entire sky, so the photo is of one of these clumps. The gray areas are where the stars in front were removed from the picture.

FBI releases “last” of secret John Lennon files

The FBI has released the last 10 documents from its secret files on slain Beatle John Lennon that had been withheld for 25 years on the ground they could prompt "military retaliation" against the United States, campaigners for their release said on Wednesday.johnth.jpg The files turn out to contain only well known information about Lennon's ties to left-wing leaders and antiwar groups in London in 1970 and 1971, said Jon Wiener, a history professor at the University of California, Irvine, and the Southern California chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

"Today we can see that the national security claims the FBI has been making for 25 years were absurd from the beginning. The Lennon FBI file is a classic case of excessive government secrecy," Wiener said in a statement.

The released documents include one that states Lennon "encouraged the belief that he holds revolutionary views ... by the content of some of his songs."

Another talks of the Beatle turned anti-war campaigner promising to finance a left-wing bookshop in London. A third describes a 1971 interview with Lennon in The Red Mole, a London underground newspaper, in which the singer "emphasized his proletarian background and his sympathy with the oppressed and underprivileged people of Britain and the world."

Wiener first requested the files in 1981. After legal action under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act that went all the way to the Supreme Court, he got most of the 300 pages in the Lennon files released in 1997.

But 10 documents remained classified on the grounds of national security. The FBI told the U.S. courts in 1983 that release of those documents could "lead to foreign diplomatic, economic and military retaliation against the United States."

Wiener, whose campaign was detailed in a book and formed the basis of the 2006 documentary "The U.S. vs John Lennon," has posted the documents on the Web site

"I doubt that Tony Blair's government will launch a military strike on the U.S. in retaliation for the release of these documents," Wiener said.

Lennon, whose iconic song "Imagine" has become a rallying call for anti-war activists around the world, was murdered in New York in December 1980 by a deranged fan. - reuters

*cough* cover up *cough* *cough*

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Reading Shakespeare has dramatic effect on human brain

brain_functional_shi.jpgShakespeare uses a linguistic technique known as functional shift that involves, for example using a noun to serve as a verb. Researchers found that this technique allows the brain to understand what a word means before it understands the function of the word within a sentence. This process causes a sudden peak in brain activity and forces the brain to work backwards in order to fully understand what Shakespeare is trying to say.

Professor Philip Davis, from the University's School of English, said: "The brain reacts to reading a phrase such as ?he godded me' from the tragedy of Coriolanus, in a similar way to putting a jigsaw puzzle together. If it is easy to see which pieces slot together you become bored of the game, but if the pieces don't appear to fit, when we know they should, the brain becomes excited. By throwing odd words into seemingly normal sentences, Shakespeare surprises the brain and catches it off guard in a manner that produces a sudden burst of activity - a sense of drama created out of the simplest of things." - physorg

Aye, many a brain our bawdy Bard hath tonguefished into worlds undreamed.

Build a transcranial magnetic stimulation and play with your brain

tms_diagram.jpgOpenStim is a community that aims to develop a magnetic brain stimulator which you can build and use in your own home.The technique is known as 'transcranial magnetic stimulation' or TMS. In essence, TMS is a powerful computer controlled electromagnet that sends focused magnetic pulses into the brain.

The magnetic field induces a current in the neurons, which then become stimulated as a result.

This can be used to alter the brain in specific ways, either activating or deactivating certain areas of the cortex. ... Existing research has used this technique and has shown that stimulating certain areas improves mood or, in some instances, cognitive performance. - more on mindhacks

Too late, I already installed a small door with some squeeky hinges in my skull. I can open it and directly plug my I-pod into my mesodiencephalic transition zone, including the ventral tegmental area.

Computers ‘could store entire life by 2026′

A device the size of a sugar cube will be able to record and store high resolution video footage of every second of a human life within two decades, experts said yesterday. Researchers said governments and societies must urgently debate the implications of the huge increases in computing power and the growing mass of information being collected on individuals. ... "In 20 years' time it will be possible to record high quality digital video of an entire lifetime of human memories. It's not a question of whether it will happen; it's already happening." - telegraph

See holographic memory. Debate? Don't make me laugh! Humans always just DO whatever can be done. Our species never avoids a technological advance due to the possible moral consequences.? Atom bombs, global warming, depleting the oceans, the ozone hole, over population, these are all the results of technological advancement devoid of long term planning.

The denial industry

denial.jpg"For years, a network of fake citizens' groups and bogus scientific bodies has been claiming that science of global warming is inconclusive. They set back action on climate change by a decade. But who funded them? Exxon's involvement is well known, but not the strange role of Big Tobacco. In the first of three extracts from his new book, George Monbiot tells a bizarre and shocking new story ..." - READ MORE

You can believe scientists or you can put your trust in professional liars. The choice is yours. You can deny reality, but it will continue to be.

The odd musical instrument gallery

Go hear some strange instruments at the OddMusic gallery:


Dig some Nayan Ghosh


Head-butt by horse restores man’s sight

A SECOND World War veteran who was blinded in his right eye when he was hit by shrapnel can see again after being head-butted by a pedigree racehorse.

horsehead.jpegDoctors tried in vain for 64 years to restore Don Karkos's sight, until My Buddy Chimo stepped in. ...

Hours after the horse smacked the 82-year-old paddock security guard in exactly the same spot as the shrapnel gashed his forehead in combat in 1942, he realised his vision was returning. "I was putting a collar around his chest, and he whacked me real hard with his head," Mr Karkos told the New York Daily News.

"Being kicked is part of the job, but I've never been hit that hard. "I was pretty shaken up, kind of dazed. Then, later that night, I started to get the vision back in my right eye. "It was unbelievable. I've been seeing doctors all my life, and they've always told me there is nothing can be done."

Although his vision is still not perfect, Mr Karkos has been able to see about 15ft with his damaged eye since the incident at the Monticello Raceway racecourse in New York state two months ago. ... "I'm on very good terms with that horse now, and he gets special care from me," he said. - scotsman

Alive and kicking, but no pulse

A Canadian is believed to be the only man alive without a pulse after his heart failed and a new silent pump was embedded in his chest to keep blood gushing through his veins, doctors said on Wednesday. The Quebec man thoratec.jpegunderwent surgery on November 23 after suffering severe heart failure due to a heart attack months earlier, Ian Popple, a spokesperson for McGill University Health Centre in Montreal, told AFP.Due to other medical conditions, the 65-year-old patient was deemed an unsuitable candidate for a transplant, doctors said. So, a mechanical heart was implanted as a last resort, as part of ongoing North American clinical trials of the product. However, an "interesting feature" of the novel device is that it provides a continuous flow of blood, so the patient has no pulse, said Popple.

Surgeon Renzo Cecere told reporters his patient is "the only individual living in Canada without a pulse and without a measurable blood pressure". A spokesperson for the mechanical heart maker Thoratec said he had not heard of a similar occurrence with some 400 patients who received the implants, about the size of a standard D flashlight battery, in Europe or the United States. "Everyone who has received one of these has some level of heart muscle contractions," he told AFP.

Popple noted: "It's kind of a weird concept because if anything happened to him, a car accident or something, and he was lying there on the ground, breathing, but with no pulse, it could upset people."

"I think he was a bit unnerved himself about having no pulse, but he is very much alive," he added. The patient was expected to be discharged from hospital later in the day. - news24

Strange Sighting In The Skies Over The Valley

10553376_240x180.jpgPolice were flooded with phone calls Saturday morning after people in the valley thought they saw an unidentified flying object.

It happened around 7 a.m. and could be seen throughout the entire viewing area. People said it looked like a bright object zig-zagging through the sky with a trail of white smoke following behind it.

"I mean it was huge, brighter than the moon," said Kevin Kuri, who witnessed the object. "It just started going up in all kinds of crazy shapes and got real huge, I mean, it was nuts."

The FAA confirms the sight was likely the Minotour I rocket launched from Virginia. It is the first launch from the mid-Atlantic region's spaceport. It didn't have anything extraterrestrial onboard, just two experimental satellites. - wtov

Grand Canyon’s Glass Walkway to Open Next March

061215-skywalk_170.jpg Members of a Native American group based in a remote part of Arizona are hoping to entice more tourists by inviting visitors to step off the edge of the Grand Canyon. The 1,500-member Hualapai tribe announced last week that the Skywalk?a giant, 30-million-dollar steel-and-glass walkway?will open to the public in March 2007.The Skywalk will jut out 70 feet (21 meters) from the canyon rim, allowing tourists to go for a stroll with nothing between their feet and the Colorado River?4,000 feet (1,220 meters) below?except for four inches (ten centimeters) of glass.

The Hualapai, or "People of the Tall Pines," are working with the Las Vegas, Nevada-based Destination Grand Canyon to market the Skywalk and draw in valuable tourist dollars. - natgeo

Monday, December 18, 2006

Tagging Apophis before it tags us.

"A $50,000 (?25,000) competition has been launched to find the best way to tag a 400m-wide asteroid. ... Apophis will come closer to Earth in 2029 than the orbits of many communications satellites - but it will not hit the planet, that is clear. The concern centres on the small chance that its orbit could be perturbed enough in the flyby to put the rock on a collision path for its return in 2036." - bbc

apophis.jpgI'm glad our calculations are good enough to tell for certain that we don't get hit in 2029.
The closest approach of it, being at least 3402,6 km or 2114 miles, would occur the 13th of April 2036 according to the NEO database using analysis based on 2 radar delay, 5 Doppler, and 31 optical observations spanning 884.52 days between 2004-Mar-15.10789 and 2006-Aug-16.626954. There is a 99.99780000% chance the asteroid will miss the Earth. - setiathome

According to one Impact Calculator, if Apophis hit the Earth, you'd hear the air blast as far as 2,000 or 3,000 miles away, but the fireball would be below the horizon and you wouldn't feel the resulting local earthquake. The figures I used were:
Size: 400 meters wide meteor
Density: iron (worst case scenario)
Speed: 17 km/s ( 38,027 miles per hour)
Angle of impact: 45 degrees
Hitting: Ocean ( average depth is 12,175 ft )
Distance from impact: Same as distance of Sacramento, CA from Honolulu, HI, 2458 miles/ 3956 km.

Fish dance on sulphur cauldrons

_42391810_atonguefish_noaa_203b.jpgtonguefishextreme.jpgScientists have witnessed the extreme lifestyle of tonguefish that like to skip across pools of molten sulphur. The animals - a type of flatfish - were filmed on three expeditions to undersea volcanoes in the western Pacific. Huge numbers were seen to congregate around the sulphur ponds which well up from beneath the seafloor. ... The measured temperature is more than 180C (355F).

"These flatfish live right up against the edge of the pools, and in a couple of cases we saw them out on the surface of a pool," said Dr Dower. "We have video of a fish sitting on the molten sulphur and then moving off after a couple of minutes, apparently unharmed. They seem to be able to tolerate an environment that no other flatfish, and very few fish in general, are found in."

The deep-sea submersibles captured some of the fish and they are now being analysed. ... Dr Alex Rogers is a senior research fellow at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), and recently co-authored a report on the state of seamounts for the United Nations.

"This is stunning," he told BBC News. "The temperatures which these fish are experiencing means they must have remarkable stress defence mechanisms to be able to survive in that environment. "So physiologically it's remarkable; but as a visual spectacle, it's like something from another planet." - bbc

Hmmm... a fish you can't cook.

To feel no pain…

hotcoals256.jpgScientists at Cambridge University began studying the child to understand why he was unable to feel pain, but was otherwise completely healthy. He died shortly before his 14th birthday, from injuries sustained after jumping off a roof while playing with friends.

The scientists broadened their investigation to three families related to the child and found that none had experienced pain at any time in their lives. All six family members had bruises and cuts and most had fractured bones. Two were missing the front third of their tongues after biting themselves in childhood. The way in which the young street performer died also highlighted the importance of pain as a built-in defence mechanism to stop people damaging themselves.Detailed neurological tests on the families, all of whom originated in northern Pakistan, revealed they responded normally to touch, temperature, tickling and pressure and had no signs of nerve disease. An explanation for the rare condition only became apparent when a team of scientists led by Geoff Woods, a medical geneticist at Cambridge, conducted extensive genetic tests which revealed they all carried an extremely unusual mutation in a single gene.

The defect, in a gene called SCN9A, disrupts the flow of sodium ions in specific nerve fibres that sense damage. The results of the research are published today in the journal Nature. ... "This gives us an excellent target to develop painkillers, because we know that if we can block this sodium channel, you will lose the perception of pain, but it will not affect you in any other way," said Dr Wood. "Potentially this is as important as the identification of the morphine receptors. - guarduk

What we really need is the conscious ability to completely turn pain on and off for as long as is needed.

Thousands of ducks mysteriously dying in Idaho

Officials scrambled on Wednesday to determine what has caused the deaths of thousands of mallard ducks in south-central Idaho near the Utah border. Although wildlife experts are downplaying any links to bird flu, they have sent samples to government labs to test for the deadly H5N1 flu strain, among other pathogens.Officials with the federal Bureau of Homeland Security have been also called in to help with the probe. Wildlife officials are calling the massive die-off alarming, with the number of dead mallards rising from 1,000 on Tuesday to more than 2,000 by Wednesday afternoon. "We've never seen anything like this -- ever," Parrish said. - yahoonews

So, what’s your sign? You crash here often?

2006_12_14t105609_450x298_us_astrology_driving1.jpgAccording to a study by, a Web site that quotes drivers on insurance rates, astrological signs are a significant factor in predicting car accidents.

The study, which looked at 100,000 North American drivers' records from the past six years, puts Libras (born September 23-October 22) followed by Aquarians (January 20-February 18) as the worst offenders for tickets and accidents

Leos (July 23-August 22) and then Geminis (May 21-June 20) were found to be the best overall.

"I was absolutely shocked by the results," said Lee Romanov, president of Toronto-based, who also wrote the book "Car Carma" which touches on the correlation between astrological signs and driving ability while doing the study.

Romanov originally wanted to have some fun by examining astrological signs as a possible cause for the variance between insurance companies quoting high and low rates but didn't expect to find anything interesting. - yahoo

I'm skeptical. Where are the details of the actual study?

Germs Found Trapped in Amber Lived With First Dinosaurs

061213-amber-germs_big.jpg Scientists have discovered a "microworld" of 220-million-year-old life trapped in tiny drops of ancient amber.

The fossilized plant resin preserved bacteria, fungi, algae, and microscopic animals known as protozoans some 220 million years ago?the era when the very first dinosaurs began to appear.

... Surprisingly, these microscopic organisms look quite familiar to today's scientists. Alexander Schmidt and colleagues from the Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany, report that the microbes have undergone few or no physical changes since the Triassic period?from 245 million to 208 million years ago. - natgeo

Very strange! How similar? Shouldn't they be 220 million years simpler?

High IQ link to being vegetarian

_42353905_vege.jpgIntelligent children are more likely to become vegetarians later in life, a study says. A Southampton University team found those who were vegetarian by 30 had recorded five IQ points more on average at the age of 10.

Researchers said it could explain why people with higher IQ were healthier as a vegetarian diet was linked to lower heart disease and obesity rates.

The study of 8,179 was reported in the British Medical Journal.

Twenty years after the IQ tests were carried out in 1970, 366 of the participants said they were vegetarian - although more than 100 reported eating either fish or chicken.

Men who were vegetarian had an IQ score of 106, compared with 101 for non-vegetarians; while female vegetarians averaged 104, compared with 99 for non-vegetarians. - bbc

So, on average, vegetarian women are slightly above average and non-vegetarian women are just below average intelligence. Of course, the way averages work, there probably some carnivorous female geniuses.

Mexico pilots release ‘UFO film’

_40143879_ufo_ap203body.jpg Footage released by the Mexican air force is further proof of the existence of UFOs, an investigator has said. The video, filmed by pilots using an infrared camera, shows 11 bright objects moving rapidly in the sky.

"We are not alone! This is so weird," one of the pilots can be heard saying after the radar picked up the objects.

The Mexican defence ministry confirmed the videotape had been filmed by members of the air force, but did not comment on its content.

Mexican UFO investigator Jaime Maussan said that, while there were hundreds of UFO videos, it was the first time one "had the backing of the armed forces". "The armed forces don't perpetuate frauds," he added after showing the footage at a news conference on Tuesday. - bbc

See my notes, including much better photos, here. I'd really like to see the full video to see if these things move in relation to eachother, if they manuver, if they accelerate, etc. How did the pursuit end? Where did they go?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

More work on harmony

Here is another sample from my musical sketchbook: freedomf3parts.mp3. ( Click link to get to download page, then again to listen. )
This is some 3 part harmony on guitar. It sounds Hawaiian to me in places.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Freak solar explosion disrupts satellites

sun151206.gifCommunication systems are being disrupted by the effects of an unusually large solar explosion that started lashing the Earth this week. The explosion could also cause spectacular auroras in the night skies as far north as Sydney, weather permitting.

Dr David Cole, director of the Australian Government's space weather service, says the massive solar explosion as the Sun is supposed to be in a fairly quiet phase.

"We didn't expect anything in particular and suddenly this turns up and it's really fierce," says Cole, of IPS Radio and Space Services in Sydney.

When magnetic fields in the Sun coalesce in dark regions called sunspots they can explode sending a blast of radiation. Such solar flares reach Earth within minutes. This is followed by a cloud of plasma or coronal mass ejection (CME) that takes a day or so to reach Earth. The flare and CME alter the ionosphere, the outermost part of Earth's atmosphere, and cause problems with communication systems.

Comet observations upend scientists? beliefs

ss_061128_misp_teasevsmall.jpgScientists expected the minute grains retrieved from a comet Wild 2 to be made up mostly of interstellar dust ? tiny particles that flow through the solar system thought to be from ancient stars that exploded and died.

Instead, they found an unusual mix of primordial material as if the solar system had turned itself inside out. Hot particles from the inner solar system migrated out to the cold, outer fringes beyond Pluto where they intermingled and congealed to form a comet. ... How material from the inner solar system could have ended up in comets is still a mystery. - msnbc

Who says the material is from OUR inner solar system? I think this shows that our solar system was created from a collision of two or more earlier solar systems.

Brown Engineers Use DNA To Direct Nanowire Assembly And Growth

060713154057.jpgA research team led by Brown University engineers has harnessed the coding power of DNA to create zinc oxide nanowires on top of carbon nanotube tips. The feat, detailed in the journal Nanotechnology, marks the first time that DNA has been used to direct the assembly and growth of complex nanowires. ...The tiny new structures can create and detect light and, with mechanical pressure, generate electricity. The wires? optical and electrical properties would allow for a range of applications, from medical diagnostics and security sensors to fiber optical networks and computer circuits.

?The use of DNA to assemble nanomaterials is one of the first steps toward using biological molecules as a manufacturing tool,? said Adam Lazareck, a graduate student in Brown?s Division of Engineering. ?If you want to make something, turn to Mother Nature. From skin to sea shells, remarkable structures are engineered using DNA.?

...Engineers in the lab of Jimmy Xu used DNA to grow zinc oxide nanowires like this one on the tips of carbon nanotubes. The zinc oxide wires created in the lab measured between 100 and 200 nanometers long. - scidaily

I saw the headline and had a humorous moment where I imagined someone wondering why the color of the Engineers was even mentioned.

Venus: The Strongest Greenhouse Effect in the Solar System

scsmoker2th.jpg"On Venus there are no day and night variations of the surface temperature. The heat is globally 'trapped' under the carbon-dioxide atmosphere, with pressure 90 times higher than on Earth. Instead, the main temperature variation is due to topography. Just like on Earth, mountain tops are colder, whereas the lowlands are warmer. The 'only' difference is that on Venus 'cold' means 447? Celsius, while 'warm' means 477? Celsius. Such high temperatures are caused by the strongest greenhouse effect found in the Solar System." - physorg

Could life exist at such temperatures? We don't think so. Currently, 121 degree Celsius is the hottest temperature on Earth at which life has been found to exist (a single-celled microbe from a deep-seal hydrothermal vent).

A cool new idea from British scientists: the magnetic fridge

dl-mrs0628021.jpgDo you like fridge magnets? A new technology being developed by British scientists could put an even bigger one inside your refrigerator. Once Karl Sandeman, a physicist at Cambridge University, has helped resolve the practical issues, the cooling power of the 21st century fridge will come from a 19th century discovery - and it promises to cut energy consumption by 40% and save the ozone layer.The key is a material that cools when it is put in a magnetic field. The idea - which is ambitious, but feasible - is to replace the present system used by refrigerators the world over. Your kitchen fridge has a compressor, which turns a gas into a liquid, releasing heat (which you'll feel at the back of the fridge). The liquid is then pumped round the inside walls of the fridge, where it draws heat from the contents; that turns it into a gas, which is pumped on to the compressor. ...

A magnetic fridge works like this. Powdered gadolinium (with coarse grains for good heat transfer qualities) is put into a magnetic field. It heats up as the randomly ordered magnetic moments - the electrons with spin - are aligned, or "ordered", by the field. The newly-acquired heat - a boost of between 2-5C, depending on the gadolinium's original temperature - is removed by a circulating fluid, like a conventional fridge.

The magnetic field is removed and the gadolinium cools below its starting temperature as the electrons resume their previously disordered state. Heat from the system to be cooled - your fridge interior - can then be transferred to the now cooler metal. Then all you do is endlessly repeat. But unlike conventional fridges, which need very toxic chemicals, the only liquid needed for heat transfer is water, alcohol or, more likely, antifreeze.

See Magnetic Refrigerator Successfully Tested

Isaac Newton’s rare ‘theory of everything’ says Gravity is a Push force.

A new transcription of Isaac Newton's "theory of everything," providing rare insight into the scientist's views on nearly all known natural phenomena, is now available online to scholars around the world, thanks to an Indiana University research team.

_38164743_anti_gravity_inf2150.gifIsaac Newton, the seventeenth-century physicist and astronomer whom many consider the leading figure in the history of science, is widely known for his theory of gravitational attraction, which according to legend, he contemplated after observing a falling apple. .

"This is a highly significant testament of Newton's philosophy that has remained up to now unedited, untranslated and virtually unnoticed by Newton scholars," Newman says, referring to a section of the document that is written in Latin.

"The manuscript is important in part, because it shows how Newton linked alchemy to his early theory of gravitation," Newman says. "Many alchemists had argued that an ethereal substance circulated between the center of the earth and the sun, and that this invisible material was responsible for combustion, for the subterranean generation of metals, and for the preservation of life in general. In 'Of Natures obvious laws' the young Newton adopted this alchemical theory and modified it by saying that the ether pushed all matter towards the center of the earth, hence accounting for why things fall." - physorg

It is dramatic to me that Isaac Newton thought of gravity as a push force. Some modern ideas for anti-gravity devices include shielding this push force. A highly regarded Physicist working in the field once told me when we spoke in person, however, that "The push model of gravity does not explain why the more mass you have, the more gravity you have." I think, however, that a push force which mostly passes through mater, only mildly pushing it, answers this objection. The more mass you have, the more shielding you have.
The push model, it seems to me, predicts a maximum amount of matter, beyond which all of the push force has been shielded. At that point, adding more matter would not create any more gravity. The discovery of a maximum gravity 5x10^18 kg/m^2, for example) would suggest the push model is correct. So far no maximum has been shown to exist.

Brain Tumors May be Infectious

... sobering findings reveal the chances of a child developing a brain tumor and cancer elsewhere in the nervous system increase with the more younger brothers and sisters one has.The finding suggests infectious agents might play a role in causing these cancers.

The researchers analyzed more than 13,000 cases of nervous system tumors in Sweden, data collected over the course of more than 70 years. They found people with four or more siblings were twice as likely to develop such tumors as people with no siblings.

The investigators also found there was a two- to four-fold increase in nervous system tumor rates among children younger than 15 who had three or more younger siblings compared to children of the same age who had no younger siblings. They did not see a link between the number of older siblings a person had and these tumors." - yahoo

For years people have been ignoring Raymond Royal Rife's finding in the late 1930's that cancer is caused by a virus. He also claimed to have found a cure for cancer by killing the virus with radio(?) waves of certain frequencies.? So, this startling new? news was already revealed ... 70 years ago.

Breast cancer may be sexually transmitted

Breast cancer could be sexually transmitted, says a researcher who has found the same virus that causes cervical cancer in breast cancer tumours from Australian women.

hpv121206.jpg"Ten studies published since 1999 have identified the human papillomavirus in breast tumours. But more studies are needed to show how closely the two are linked"

Emeritus Professor James Lawson of the University of New South Wales and colleagues have found the same form of the human papillomavirus (HPV) associated with cervical cancer in almost half the breast tumour samples they tested. It's the first study of its kind in Australia, although international studies have also found cervical cancer-related HPV in breast cancer cells.

He says while the evidence is far from conclusive, "it's possible and totally worthy of investigation" to suspect that HPV could also cause breast cancer. Lawson says it's possible that HPV is spread by sexual activity or during showers or baths, when the virus could be transferred from the genital area to the breasts via the nipple ducts.

"We know that the virus explodes out of the cell and is spread by touch, so it's fairly obvious that it could be spread by sexual activity to the breast, you could also argue that it would be spread by washing and bathing," he says. Lawson says more research is needed to establish whether HPV is actually causing the breast cancer or if women with breast cancer are more prone to infection with the virus. - abc

Friday, December 15, 2006

Playing with 4 Part Harmony

I've never tried this before, but I've always wanted to write some 4 part vocal jazz harmony. This is a test that I may use in the show I'm currently working on. It was challenging and fun due to the chromatic parts. The Alto part is horrible, but it all works together! I couldn't really sing the parts because 1) one is too high, and 2) I'm doing this at 3 AM and I don't want to bug my neighbors.
First, individual sketches on guitar. (For these mp3s you have to click once to get to the page with the file, then click again to hear it.)





Then with vocals all together: Get Some Freedom Fries freedomfrize4ptharmonytest.mp3.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

New: Search over 7 million patents at Google.

A shark protector suit of the invention is a combined rubber suit and helmet to completely cover the body of the wearer, including a face mask for facial protection, and preferably having at least a partial lining of flotation material, such as foam sheet. The suit and helmet have a plurality of spikes extending outward therefrom to prevent a shark from clamping its jaws over the wearer.

Patent number: 4833729
Filing date: March 13, 1985
Issue date: May 30, 1989
Inventors: Nelson C. Fox, Rosetta H. V. G. Fox

Search millions of other inventions on Google now.

Rare White Dolphin Declared As Extinct

"A rare, nearly blind white dolphin that survived for millions of years is effectively extinct, an international expedition declared Wednesday after ending a fruitless six-week search of its Yangtze River habitat.The baiji would be the first large aquatic mammal driven to extinction since hunting and overfishing killed off the Caribbean monk seal in the 1950s." - washpost

They don't mean that one single blind white dolphin survived for 20 million years, rather the entire species existed for that long.

Wisconsin hunter bags deer with 7 legs

rod1.jpgRick Lisko hunts deer with a bow but got his most unusual one driving his truck down his mile-long driveway. The young buck had nub antlers ? and seven legs. Lisko said it also had both male and female reproductive organs. "It was definitely a freak of nature," Lisko said. "I guess it's a real rarity." ..."It's a pretty weird deer," he said, describing the extra legs as resembling "crab pinchers."

"It kind of gives you the creeps when you look at it," he said, but he thought he saw the appendages moving, as if they were functional, before the deer was hit. ... Bilgo took photos and sent information on the animal to DNR wildlife managers. ... "And by the way, I did eat it," Lisko said. "It was tasty." - yahoo

Where do they find these people? "It was so weird ... so I killed it and ate it." That's humanity for you. That will be our credo as we explore the universe. Seek out strange new lifeforms, and eat them. Extrapolating, it is only a matter of time before some advanced alien race finds us and writes a book on "How to Serve Man"

World’s oldest person dies at 116

An American woman officially recognised as the world's oldest person has died at the age of 116. Elizabeth "Lizzy" Bolden died at a nursing home in Memphis, Tennessee. Born in 1890, she married at 19 and was widowed in the 1950s. She suffered a stroke in 2004 and spoke little after that.

Mrs Bolden had two surviving daughters, and her extended family includes 220 great-great-great grandchildren and 75 great-great-great-great grandchildren.

"She was always very family-oriented. She gave good advice and the family listened. She was a hard worker, and a farmer for most of her life," said her grandson, James Bolden. - washpost

4,000-year-old Seahenge to rise again ? but not until 2008

getedimageaspx.jpegPieces of Seahenge, the mysterious Bronze Age monument uncovered on the beach at Holme in 1998, will be renovated and transported to Lynn Museum over the next few months, where a permanent display will be painstakingly created for them.

... In 1999 the pieces were excavated and preserved before they were handed to the Mary Rose Trust in Portsmouth for conservation, with the ultimate aim of putting them on display in Lynn.

The pieces chosen to go on display in Lynn Museum are currently being removed from a waxy substance called peg, which holds the wood fibres together. - lynnnews

World’s tallest man saves dolphin

laun.jpg_42351709_arm2.jpgThe world's tallest man has saved two dolphins by using his long arms to reach into their stomachs and pull out dangerous plastic shards. Mongolian herdsman Bao Xishun was called in after the dolphins swallowed plastic used around their pool at an aquarium in Fushun, north-east China.

Attempts to use instruments failed as the dolphins contracted their stomachs.

Guinness World Records list Mr Bao, 54, as the world's tallest living man at 2.36m (7ft 8.95in). ... Veterinarians turned to Mr Bao after attempts to extract the plastic shards at the aquarium in Fushun, Liaoning Province, had failed. - bbc

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Vatican Unearths Apparent Tomb of St. Paul

Cardinal Andrea Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, Archpriest of the Basilica of St. Paul outside-the-Walls, shows the sarcophagus during a press conference in the basilica on Monday. - more


Stressed woman thought she was French

A Bath woman convinced herself she was French after she developed a rare disorder.

jn95596f2.gifLouise Clarke, 30, a recruitment consultant, babbled away in French for weeks, according to the Sun. She demanded croissants, rang her pals to tell them she was living in Paris and even invited them over. Louise said: "It might sound funny to others, but suddenly thinking you are French is terrifying."

She had been in France four years before becoming one of only four people in Britain, and 200 in the world, to be diagnosed with Susac's syndrome. The brain disorder, which can be brought on by stress, is thought to affect blood vessels leading to the brain, ears and eyes and can scramble memories.

Louise is now controlling it with steroids and other medication and has been told it can last up to five years.

She said: "It was a really tough time for my family. At one point my sister discovered I had phoned all my friends and told them to come and visit me in Paris. She had to ring them all back to explain what had happened." - anova

Well, Susac's syndrome does not make people think that they are from France, but along with hearing loss and vertigo there can be confusion and personality changes.

Strange South American amphibian found

A fish, or hybrid amphibian, was caught in a fisherman's nets last Thursday. It measured about 35 centimeters, with an oversized round head. It is white, transparent, and has a pair of frog-like legs. Miguel Hernandez, president of the local Meeting of Communal Action, stated that he had never seen anything similar. 'I believe it is amphibious, but the strange thing is that the toes are webbed,' and noted that William Blanco, the fisherman who found the animal, is keeping it refrigerated. No scientist has yet visited the area, but the animal is available for study. - strangeark


Looks like a tadpole in the process of turning into a frog.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

10 Most Bizarre People on Earth

This is a great article on OddPeak. I knew about most of these from my own blogging of strange news here ... but not all!

How many billion seconds in a lifetime?

faceclock.jpegHas anyone ever lived 4 billion seconds? Not that we know of. "The longest human lifespan on record that has been authenticated is the 122 years 164 days of Jeanne Calment, though fiction, legend, and mythology have proposed or claimed vastly longer lifespans in the past or future and longevity myths frequently allege them to exist in the present."
1 billion seconds = 31yrs 251days 13hrs 34min 53seconds

2 billion seconds = 63yrs 137days 21hrs 21min 4seconds

3 billion seconds = 95yrs 24days 5hrs 7min 11seconds

4 billion seconds = 126yrs 275 days 18hrs 42min 21seconds

If you know anyone who is 31 years, 8 months and 7 days old ... have a 1 billion seconds party for them!

Growing your clone - Two takes with Actresses

Getting a little closer. Here are tests with actresses for the Burlesque skit "I'm Growing Your Clone". The basic blocking works, but comments so far include needing to get the girls more in front and me more in the back. I agree. It might work if I had a raised "clone control" platform in the back and the girls were dancing in the front.
I still need four more dancing maid Jessica's then costumes and props! Stay tuned.


Monday, December 11, 2006

Amber’s Going Away Party.

I made a video at Amber's party, but I wasn't happy with it so I took it down for repairs. That's what used to be in this spot. I'll put it back when I get it fixed up.

Johnny Dep song

It is so cool that the Johnny Dep song I wrote with Amy Anne has over 101,600 views on YouTube now.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

What’s up in Allentown Pennsylvania?

housefire.jpgAt least three houses were destroyed, and a fourth was heavily damaged, in an apparent explosion Saturday in Allentown, Pennsylvania. No injuries are reported, but authorities evacuated nearby houses as a precaution.

One neighbor says all she heard was "a big boom." She says her whole house "just shook" and her windows broke. A large cloud of smoke was visible from the city's downtown. An explosion a day earlier in nearby Bethlehem destroyed a duplex and was most likely caused by a gas leak. No injuries were reported in that blast. - wfie

UGI marketing manager Tony Cox said he has not spoken to the subcontractor. Cox said the man was doing work on gas meters, but could not confirm exactly what he was doing. He also would not confirm that there was a smell of gas before the explosion. He said the worker had a small cut on his face. ''I don't know his name. He was not a UGI employee.''

... Denise Parker, of 1914 S. Delaware St., didn't see the explosions but saw smoke, flames and large white flashes of electricity arcing across roofs of homes on Mohawk." - mcall

Mysterious subcontractors doing unknown work... two huge explosions in two consecutive days ... white flashes of electricity?!? What in the Hellboy is going on?

Team discovers new giant Rock Lobster species

lobstergiant.jpg"...The rock lobster, weighing 4 kilograms with the main part of the body spanning half a metre, has been found off Madagascar by South African researchers, the group said as it released its 2006 Ocean Census report.The lobster has been determined as a new species by the size and gene analyses, named Palinurus barbarae.

Separately, about 60 species thought to be new discoveries have been found in the deep Atlantic between Iceland and Portugal, including a squid with a hard beak looking "quite capable of chewing its food," it said.

Discoveries elsewhere include a shrimp, off Australia, similar to one believed to have become extinct 50 million years ago, and 12 likely new crustacean species in the Sargasso Sea, it said." - theage

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Random Jelly Bean Sounds

title_text.gifClick here to hear a random sound, different almost every time. Hours of fun. Username: asdf Password: asdf. You have to push play to hear the sound. Reload the page to hear a new sound. Some of the sounds are quite nice, but don't have your volume up too loud ... some sounds are terrible! This is somewhat like eating any flavored jelly beans, you never know what you will get.

Control someone’s Christmas lights from your computer

Control the Show is a unique Christmas display which allows anyone in the world with a computer connection to log on and control the lights. We are currently live each night from 5pm until midnight until New Year's Day. ... Control the Show uses a queuing system to maintain order on the light switches. This means you must line up to control the show. Each person is limited to one minute of control time. During your control time you will be in total control of the system and ONLY YOU will be switching the lights on or off.


Meanwhile in Iraq…

2006_12_09t115336_450x284_us_iraq.jpgsaudi.jpgisrael.jpgOur good friends the Saudis want us out of Iraq and are reportedly funding Iraqi Sunni insurgents. Our good friends the Israelis are worried that we will pull out of Iraq. Our good friend Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, who paid a surprise visit to Iraq in his last few days, is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit that would hold him personally responsible for allegations of torture in oversees military prisons. Our good friends the Iraqis are disputing US military claims (despite bodies to the contrary visible in sheets in the photo here) that only adults were killed, not children in a recent US air attack. The US military claims they only killed 20 suspected Al Qaeda members. Let's stop killing kids, get our of Iraq and impeach Bush, m'kay? Put the money going into the war toward hydrogen generating bacteria plants which could provide alternative power so we don't have to rely on foreign oil. Then, work on population control, global warming and repopulating our oceans. I doubt this is part of Bush's newest Iraq plans. In fact, he has decided to ignore 79 recommendations which would result in a gradual withdrawal of US troops by 2008.
"The [non-partisan] ISG report, even if ignored, spelled out the facts on the ground in Iraq and signalled the end of the neo-conservative dream of reshaping the Middle East. " - guarduk

Simple minded people talk about "the enemy" we are fighting in Iraq ... but who is this enemy exactly? They don't actually have a clue. Saddam is gone. He's been out of control for the last three years, since at least Friday the 13th, December 2003 yet Iraq continues to get worse. Who is our enemy in Iraq? "Al Qaeda!" Oh, really? Who is Al Qaeda? Is Al Qaeda causing the civil war in Iraq? What about the Sunnis? The Shiites? Most American's don't know the difference between the last two. Al Qaeda is at most 27 years old, but there is currently a 1,400- year-old split in Islam between Sunnis and Shiites. This not only fuels the militias and death squads in Iraq, it also "drives the competition for supremacy across the Middle East between Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia."

10 Coolest Lego Creations

I liked the USB lego drive but the lego harpsichord didn't sound very good. See all 10 here.

Super Solar Storms

During a solar storm one flight over the poll can be the equivalent of 100 chest x-rays. The sun is capable of a whole lot worse than anyone now alive has ever seen. It can knock out power grids and pagers for millions of people. Sept 1, 1859 there was a solar flare that doubled the intensity of the sunlight. Aurora were seen as far south as Hawaii. Currents were induced on the surface of the earth. In 1859 the event caused several buildings to burn to the ground and people were shocked by touching conductors. It is just a matter of time before this happens again, but we are more vulnerable today.


The origins of heavy metal headbangers

Keep an eye on this bass player who also seems to be the drummer, the soloist and the headache commercial spokesman.


Friday, December 8, 2006

Please excuse my French

eiffel-tower_1_th.gifI've learned that "Les Slip De Vol" (the name of the show I'm working on) actually translates to "The slipway of flight" or perhaps "the men's underwear of flight". This is not the intended meaning. To get closer to this intended meaning ( "The panties are flying!" ) in actual French, I think the title of the show should be "Les culottes volent!" ... but if tickets are already printed with "Les Slip De Vol".... Ah well, c'est la vie. Burlesque means absurd, after all.

eiffel-tower_1_th.gif For my part of the show, I suppose I should learn a few basic French phrases. Since I've been to Paris, this should be no problem. Ha ha. Here's a phrase which sounds easy ... until I try to pronounce it myself:

"un spectacle de vari?t?" = a variety show. Hear correctly it here.

Video on Time Travel

Time travel in a physical device may be only 50 to 100 years away. People in this video are saying that the brain processes information before from the future and brings it back into the present. Neurological responses have been recorded in animals happen 1/2 second before the stimuli?


NASA can’t explain why we need a lunar colony.

This article convinced me that a moon base is a waste of money.

NASA crushes lunar real estate industry


NASA has confirmed its moon base will not illegally occupy other people's land. The news deals a crushing blow to the dreams of thousands of idiots, who coughed the cash for their very own patch of dusty countryside on the moon. NASA announced earlier this week it would start building a permanent lunar outpost in 2020.

A NASA spokesman told us: "Property rights on the moon are governed by the United Nations. Those are all just frauds."

It transpires the moon comes under the same jurisdiction as international waters. In 2004 the Board of Directors of the International Institute of Space Law aimed to clear up confusion over the legal status of land flogging operations.

It said in a statement: "The sellers of such deeds are unable to acquire legal title to their claims. Accordingly, the deeds they sell have no legal value or significance, and convey no recognized rights whatsoever." - register

Offerings to a Stone Snake Provide the Earliest Evidence of Religion

3fe89a86-e7f2-99df-366d045a5bf3eab1_1.gifThe discovery of carvings on a snake-shaped rock along with 70,000-year-old spearheads nearby has dramatically pushed back the earliest evidence for ritual behavior, or what could be called religion. The finding, which researchers have yet to formally publish, comes from a cave hidden in the Tsodilo Hills of Botswana, a mecca of sorts for the local people, who call it the Mountain of the Gods.

"It's very big news," says Sheila Coulson, an archaeologist at the University of Oslo in Norway and leader of the study. Prior to the discovery, researchers had identified signs of ritual practice going back at most 40,000 years from sites in Europe.

Researchers believe that anatomically modern humans emerged from East Africa perhaps 120,000 years ago. "The difficulty was always this incredible time lag between that occurrence and any more complex aspect of the culture other than just basic survival," Coulson says.

3fe89a86-e7f2-99df-366d045a5bf3eab1_2.gifAlthough some carved ornaments and wall markings from another African site are as old as the new find, they seem to have had no obvious ritual significance. ... in a one-meter-wide, two-meter-deep excavation right next to the snake, the researchers uncovered more than 100 multicolored spear points from a total of 13,000 man-made artifacts.

The tips closely resemble those found elsewhere in Africa that researchers have dated at up to 77,000 years old, Coulson says. Judging from the rare colors of the stone points and the pattern of fragments, people from far and wide likely brought them to the cave partially made and finished working them there, she explains. - sciam