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weird but true

the world is weirder than science
compiled and edited by jamal munshi
all rights reserved


a deadly vision
in january 2000, kamal huq of dhaka, bangladesh, while still perfectly healthy, told his brother that he was having visions. he said that he could see his own corpse. two weeks later he had the first of his seizures and died of brain cancer in march. (nov 2000)
planetary spin
the theory of gravity can explain planetary orbit but not spin. no one knows for sure why the planets spin or why the spin rate and spin axis vary so much from one planet to the next. (link) nov 2000
nature's pollution
a giant sub-surface seam of coal in northern china, about half the size of the united states, is on fire, and has been burning out of control for over a decade. the burn rate is somewhere between 10 to 200 million tons per year - more than the human consumption of fossil fuels per month. no one knows what to do about it. scientists at itc are trying to figure it out (september 2000).
nature's hackers
the larva that hatches from the egg that the parasitic wasp attached to her body a week ago reprograms the spider to weave a hammock where the larva may cocoon and pupate. The larva can tell when the hammock is ready and it is only then that it administers a lethal injection and eats its hammock weaver, nutrition being her only remaining utility. (william eberhard, university of costa rica, nov 2000, link)
indigo children
more and more of these weird children are being born. they share the following common features: extraordinary organization of dna, immunity to aids and other emerging diseases, extreme intelligence and self confidence, extra sensory perception, and paranormal abilities. somehow we are communicating to the next generation through our semen and ova that there is trouble ahead and the kids are making the appropriate adjustments. they are the next evolutionary generation of our race. the phenomenon has been documented in china and the united states. (link) (btw: these kids are hard to parent and are often "diagnosed" with a.d.d. or other invented disorders and "treated" with ridalin.) (sept 2000)
it's all in the mind
if you are right handed and your left-handed penmanship is gibberish it will also be gibberish if you close your eyes and simply imagine yourself writing with your left hand. practice in your head until you get it right with your left, then write. voila! you can. but why? (Misty Hyman, the gold medalist in the 100-meter breaststroke at sidney, practiced for the event by lying in bed with a stop watch and swimming the race in her mind stroke for stroke until she got her time down to where wanted it. the next day she repeated her performance in water - exactly.) (october 2000).
fufu the cat
right after the family dog died, fufu returned to her home in sicily with a new mate and three kittens eight years after she had disappeared when the dog had first arrived.(latimes, oct 2000)
sleep on it
when you sleep, the electrical activity of your brain does not decrease, it increases. according to robert stickgold, we don't sleep to rest but to figure out stuff that our conscious awake-mind could not. to work smarter, take more naps. (link, october 2000)
mini nukes
the pentagon, reaching for straws in the post cold war world, has come up with a nuke "small enough to use" in a small war about the size of kosovo or iraq. these guys could use a nap. (september 2000)
particle wars
according to physicists, all matter is made up of elementary particles. the problem is that matter has mass but none of their particles do. so where does mass come from? from yet another particle that is yet to be discovered, say the physicists. they've even given it a name. they are sure they can find the "boson". all they need is more money and we have to hurry because the europeans might beat us to it. (september 2000)
neuron regeneration
did your science textbook teach you that after a certain age the brain can no longer regenerate? they've changed their minds about that. the brain not only manufactures new neurons all the time but these neurons are able to migrate to different parts of the brain and assume the needed functional form. (elizabeth gould, princeton university) (1999)
reach out and cut someone
robots with enough arms, tools, and a video camera can carry out minimally invasive surgery while the surgeon watches the video and directs the robot from a computer; and given secure internet connections it can be done remotely. the technology is awaiting fda approval. (btw: only robots can hold a scalpel with no tremor.) (intuitive surgical systems, 2000)
doggie science
in rohnert park, california, around 3:30pm on wed 9/22/99 the caller's german shepherd ran full speed from the yard into the glass panel of his sliding door - something he had never done before. when allowed in, he hid under the bed. about 2 minutes later, the earth shook, buildings shuddered and groaned, and their surprised and terrified occupants ran out to safety. scientific earthquake prediction has been a complete failure. doggie science is better than ours in that respect. (ksro radio talk show caller, 1999).
medecins avec frontiers
when doctors prescribe "bed rest" in america it is not because they believe it will help you heal but because they believe it will help them in case of a lawsuit. what our healers do for us may have more to do with legal defense than healing. (dean edell, kgo radio, 1999)
fossil fuels r us
the 100 billion tons or so of petroleum that we have burned so far have been transformed back into 100 billion tons of plants, animals, and even humans. some of your body weight used to be oil. (1999) (btw: when we burn fossil fuels we return to the atmosphere the carbon that was removed from it by geologic formations; only things like volcanic eruptions can introduce new carbon into the system.)
dictyostelium discoideum
these normally single celled creatures can gather together and form a multicelled creature when the going gets tough. and the new creature is a creature in every way complete with cell specialization, a reproductive system, and even self-awareness. apply this concept to yourself; and to bee hives, schools of fish, flocks of birds, mobs, society, and the stock market. and what do you make of those textbook theories that it took millions of years for single celled organisms to evolve into multicelled organisms? (uc san diego, 1999)
the mouse that remembered
dope a mouse embryo with the gene nr2b and the mouse that you get will be smarter with better long term memory than other mice. (joe tsien, princeton university, 1999)
but will it fly?
apply all the physics that we know to the weight, shape, wing design, and power transmission and control technology of a housefly and you will conclude that it won't fly. we know how to put a man on the moon but we don't know what makes a fly fly. michael is working on it. (michael dickinson) 1999
he-she mice
more than a third of the field mice in the kesterson national wildlife refuge near los banos, california have both male and female reproductive organs. our scientists can't figure out how they got that way. (u.s. bureau of reclamation, 1999)
following orders
during the second war a german pilot returned to his base after a dogfight over england and landed safely. the ground crew opened the cockpit to find the pilot stone dead with half his head blown off from what must have been a direct hit. according to jonn, if we really want to do something, we don't let biological death get in the way. (jonn mumford, 1999)
geophagy
the otomac indians who live along the orinoco river in venezuela hunt for fish with bows and arrows when the water is low but for two or three months of the year when the water is too high and rapid they survive on a diet of mud balls. the mud does not contain any nutrient that we can recognize and yet these indians remain healthy and strong thru the dirt eating season. (alexander von humboldt, 1828) (geophagy link, 1999)
patient pam
in july 1991, a female aneurysm patient code-named "pam reynolds" underwent an 8-hour surgery in phoenix arizona during which she was clinically dead for an hour. during the dead hour an electric saw was brought into the operating room in a case and this saw was used to cut open her skull. after the operation she said that she saw the procedure from "above" and she accurately described the saw which she had never seen in life. she also accurately related the conversation that took place in the room at that time although her ear canals were packed with test equipment which showed no response from the brain stem to repeated audible clicks. (michael sabom, 1999)
deinococcus radiodurans
we know that this bacterium can withstand 3000 times the radioactivity that would kill a human but we don't know the how or why of it. when radiation causes dna damage it instantly and mysteriously effects repairs. our preconditions for the existence of life are way off the mark. (btw: maybe it was designed to survive space travel. if so it supports the theory that life was incubated in mars and transported here by interplanetary debris. (normal sleep, stanford.)) (btw2: if you believe that we evolved from simpler critters by virtue of random dna damage then this critter is the victim of its own success. it is impossible for it to evolve.) 1999
the stuff of life
there is more to inheritance than dna. simple protein molecules in yeast cells can change their shape in response to an environmental change and then pass this trait on to succeeding generations of yeast without any intervention by dna. protein molecules mimic life in mysterious ways. (susan lindquist, 1999)
giant spheres
in the diquis delta in southern costa rica are a large number of ancient granite spheres up to 6 feet in diameter with no apparent clues to their origin or purpose. ivar thinks they may be the remnants of a lost civilization. (ivar zapp, 1998)
telepathy
do you believe in telepathy? no? then what are you doing when you pray? (the reverand charles moore, monterey, ca: 1998)
darwinism debunked
if the origin of species lies in random mutations over millions and millions of years then why does the fossil record show sudden explosions of new species usually following cataclysmic events? maybe it's not so random. maybe we possess the genetic codes in dormant form to grow tails or feathers or whatever we need in response to climactic changes and it is these changes and not random mutation that drives evolution (stephen jay gould). In a controlled laboratory experiment of simulated climactic changes susan lindquist, formerly of the university of chicago, was able to cause fruit flies to undergo such changes within a few generations. (1998)
the tunguska puzzle
a picture taken by leonid kulik in 1927 shows that in a 30-mile circle of piney forest in the tunguska region of siberia the trees appear to have committed mass suicide jonestown style. the center is occupied by standing but dead and limbless trees and they are surrounded by similar trees lying on the ground and pointing radially away from the center. whatever devastation may have created this strange art form left us no other clues. the dominant theories link this picture with a fireball and explosion that was reported nearby on june 30 1908 and conclude that it must have been a meteor or a comet which became vaporized in the atmosphere and therefore did not leave a trace except possibly for some microscopic dust in the resin of some of the trees.
giant sucking sound
imagine a sea-serpent with tentacles so large they could tear out both goalposts of a football field from the 50-yard line. none has seen a live giant squid and lived to tell about it but we have seen the evidence in disgorged stomachs of whales and the scars left on these whales from the battle of behemoths in the deep. (richard ellis in the search for the giant squid)
nanobacteria
in 1997 we did not even know they existed but they have been right under our noses all along. they form more than half the living matter of our oceans and there are millions of them in our blood. these bacteria are even smaller than viruses but they are alive and they reproduce on their own. there is no known lower limit to the size of life. (ovi kajander, finland: ed weiler, nasa: 1998)
them ants
red harvester ants and fruit flies at the hanford nuclear complex in richland, washington are radioactive and they are spreading the radioactivity around. (associated press, 1998) (btw: hanford is where we produce plutonium for our nuclear bombs.)
subliminal messages
provocative words hidden among banal text will raise your pulse and blood pressure even though you don't know what these words were. Sean Draine, university of washington, 1998)
the human interface
write a little program so that when the cursor moves to a different part of the screen the computer says a different word or makes a unique sound. now wire your brain to the mouse port with a neurotrophic electrode so that your brain's electrical activity moves the cursor. at first the motion will be a frenetic mess but soon you will gain control of the cursor and you will know how to make the computer make the sound you want but you won't know how you do that. (roy bakay, emory university, 1998)
vanishing amphibians
frogs and toads are dying off at an alarming rate and we can't figure out why. it could be pollution, or the ozone hole, or a fungus called chytrid, or all of these or none of these. (david wake, berkeley)
the oldest profession
after becoming pregnant with their true love female adelie penguins on ross island in the antarctic prostitute themselves to other males in exchange for rocks which they need to build their nests. rocks are hard to find because horny males hoard them. (nigel barley, british airways inflight magazine, june 1998)
the pioneer anomaly
to make the speed and trajectory of the pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft fit the data john had to assume a force that is slowing them down as they leave the solar system; and unlike gravity this mystery force does not diminish with distance; it exerts a constant force but it does not exist in any physics that we know. (john anderson, jpl)
orcas
the capture of the orca "namu" in 1965 would not have been possible without his cooperation. namu was an intelligent and willing participant in his own capture. (Randall Eaton) (btw: according to randall the orcas are actually sentient beings just like us; and they are not only aware of us but actively trying to make contact to form a joint stewardship of the planet.)
cosmic rays
we know that all of space exists in a continuous shower of protons travelling at almost the speed of light but we don't know where these things come from, how they got to travelling so fast, and what effect they might have on genetic material. they might turn out to be the mechanism that causes aging and the random mutations subsumed by darwin. (john walker, uchicago hep)
old age
we are a superorganism consisting of living cells that divide and die but why does the superorganism die? leonard thinks it is because a chemical counter called telomeres that is necessary for cell division depletes each time our cells divide. the cells eventually run out of this stuff and die and take us with them. in the limit we simply die of old age. (btw: doctors invent medically acceptable causes of death in such cases.) (leonard hayflick)
life after the hayflick limit
h lee sweeney isolated the gene that produces the hormone that normally maintains muscle tissue, wrapped it into a benign virus and injected it into the muscle of laboratory mice whose muscles were wasting away either with age or muscular dystrophy and the muscles returned to youthful health and vigor. (pennsylvania muscle institute, 1998)
it's all in the mind
just as we are conditioned to survive and mate, so we are also programmed to age and die. it's software. you don't have to do it. (deepak chopra, 1999)
the five weirdnesses
according to charles hundreds of carefully designed experiments have shown that humans use telepathy, clairvoyance, pre-cognition, psychokinesis, and faith-healing but we don't know how they do these things because they are inconsistent with the universe described by science. (charles tart)
the human subject
wearing t-shirt and jeans take the subject to a windowless room with a panic button and tell him that this is an experiment and if he gets bored to press the button. he will sit there for hours without pushing the panic button and without any ill effects. but if you wear a lab coat and have the subject sign a release; then take him to the same room and inform him that this is a sensory deprivation experiment and if it starts to go wrong he must push the panic button he will do so within an hour and display symptoms normally associated with sensory deprivation experiments. (john lilly)
the power of prayer?
grow mold in two identical petri dishes 1 and 2 and pray for dish-1 and don't pray for dish-2. the mold in dish-1 will grow bigger. 1998. (the national institute of health office of alternative medicine) (btw: in a similar experiment in 1986 at ucsf, 24 heart patients were randomly assigned to two groups of 12 and the group receiving prayers did better.)
faith heals
reproducible scientific experiments carried out by harold koenig of duke university show that people who have a religion, any religion, are healthier, are more disease resistant, and live longer than those who don't. (see also the book by dale matthews, 1998)
the human's perspective
according to human beings only they are capable of intelligence, design, choice, mirth, anger, anguish, love, compassion, and kindness and the other critters just carry out nature's programming. but what was the program that drove a hippopotamus to rescue an impala from the jaws of a crocodile and then try to resuscitate her? and what would you have made of it had it been a human instead of a hippo? (stephanie leland in "peaceful kingdom", 1998)
laughing rats
young lab rats laugh in ultrasound when tickled and when engaging in horseplay in what appears to be evidence of mirth in the animal kingdom. (Jaak Panksepp, Bowling Green State University, 1998)
the prince of snakes
boonruang buachan of thailand communicates and makes friends with snakes and insects. he has been seen hanging out with king cobras and scorpions and even kissing them. (the press democrat)
angiogenesis
when we need to, some of us can grow our own heart-bypass blood vessels; and now tom says that anyone can if injected with a growth hormone that he has genetically engineered. (thomas-joseph stegmann, fulda medical center, germany)
urine heals
to build up your immune system or to fight off aids, cancer, or anemia, drink the urine of a pregnant woman. (robert gallo in nature medicine.)
chemistry
we are constantly communicating with each other by discharging into the air colorless and odorless chemicals that form our social glue and determine how we interact and mate. (Martha McClintock, university of chicago)
big bang busted
red shift measurements indicate that the universe is falling apart against the force of gravity. therefore there must have been a big bang and the resultant expansion should be slowing down over time due to gravity. but it isn't. it's speeding up. (robert kirshner, harvard-smithsonian center for astrophysics)
gender wars
witch burnings and misogyny are left over embers from a war fought in 3500 bc in which a goddess-worshipping matriarchal culture that ruled europe peacefully for thousands of years was defeated and subjugated by a patriarchal warrior culture from the east that worshipped male dieties. (marija gimbutas)
sids
infants sometimes check out of their incarnation without a medical reason or clues to the cause of their death. medical science once thought they understood sudden infant death syndrome but their "congenital disease" theory was debunked because their data set was tainted. several crib death cases in a family turned out to be infanticide. when you take that family out of the sample, the family correlation disappears; but for 25 years the theory stood as text book science and was taught as fact. (philip hilts, ap wire)
don't worry, be happy
the single strongest predicter of heart disease has nothing to do with diet, exercise, obesity, or smoking and everything to do with your attitude. when it comes to healthy hearts the don't-worry-be-happy crowd has the edge over the angry or the depressed. (hillel cohen, albert einstein college of medicine)
don't worry, be pregnant
alice domar taught stress reduction to 174 infertile women and 77 of them became pregnant and another 68 eventually conceived. (alice domar, harvard university infertility program, 1998)
history we will never know
in the 1550s in mexico franciscan bishop fray diego de landa torched the entire collection of mayan writings because they contradicted the bible. the collection consisted of thousands of volumes and it took fray diego many years to complete the job. the mayans also left mountains of hieroglyphic sculptures but these were mined for gravel and destroyed. most of history has left no trace. our account of it is biased by the availability of data.
the dead sea scrolls
boys playing in a desert cave near qumran in judea in 1947 came upon thousands of bottles containing papyrus scrolls (link) dating back more than 2000 years. as we re-write our version of the past from these scrolls we find that jesus christ was not the only charismatic and messianic cult leader that preached apocalypse and a second coming in that period but he was the only one that did not set a specific date for armageddon. the others failed when the world did not end when it was supposed to. (michael wise, 1999)
rongorongo
in 1868 european explorers in easter island discovered hundreds of wooden tablets of hieroglyphs called rongorongo which the natives could not interpret and which must have been left over from a previous more literate civilization. twenty one of these tablets have survived. an intense and enduring international effort to decipher these tablets has been waged since 1892 with many scholarly articles in the journal of polynesian society, scientific american, nature, and american anthropologist but to no avail. upon scrutiny all the rongorongo theories turn out to be wrongowrongo. we have in our hands an intricate message from a previous civilization but we don't know what it says and we will probably never know. (jacques guy), (the fischer theory) 1999
the jainist universe
it is not possible for the universe to be limited in either space or time; therefore it is infinitely large and has no beginning and no end; therefore it could not have been created; therefore it has no creator. (mahavira, 500 bc)
catch prey and avoid predators
if you no longer see the paintings on your wall, rearrange them and you will. the information processing mechanism of your conscious mind is designed for survival in the wild where only the unusual contains useful information. once your mind decides that some pattern is familiar the pattern will be classified as background noise and discarded as a source of information. (lyall watson)
the missing link
if we evolved from foreheadless knuckle dragging bipedal apes then where is the evidence of the in-between variety, like an ape with a developed brain, that must have existed at some time? so compelling were the darwinian scenario and the bipedal connection that scientific theory went ahead of the data being certain the evidence would turn up any day. but it hasn't yet. maybe it doesn't exist. (james burke) (btw: according to lloyd pye the ape lineage begot bigfoot not us. we are space bastards. 250,000 years ago man-like space creatures from an advanced civilization came to earth to dig for gold in south africa and genetically engineered some miners by using genetic material from themselves and from apes; and we are the darwinian descendents of those gold diggers.)
spiral galaxies
we know that space is full of rotating elliptical disks with spiral arms that consist of billions of stars and star-like gaseous substances spinning around as if they are draining out of a cosmic sink. but we don't know what makes them spin. so we invented imaginary and "invisible" point masses weighing more than a billion suns called "black holes" just to make sense out of it all. it's how we make the universe conform to our equations. (washington state university, astronomy lecture)
expanding earth
ever notice how all the continents fit together like a jigsaw puzzle? maybe they were all stuck together once into one large landmass and then got pried apart. karl thinks it's because the earth was smaller once and all land and then it expanded like a balloon and ripped the continents apart. (Karl Luckert)
coronal mass ejection
every once in a while the sun burps up a 10 billion ton ball of fire and magnetism and spits it out in photon torpedo fashion at over 2 millions miles per hour. ([orlando] [nasa photo]) (btw: according to charles cagle if we get hit with one of these things we will be fried or drowned in biblical fashion)
dark matter
we cannot make the motion of the galaxies fit our theory of gravity without filling 99% of the universe with imaginary stuff that exerts gravitational force but is not detectable by any other means; not unlike the angels that once carried the heavenly bodies across the heavens.
exotic matter
scientists believe in the principle of conservation of mass and energy according to which things don't just pop out of nothing. but particles do pop out of nothing even if for a fleeting moment. to preserve their conservation principle scientists have invented 'exotic matter' which has negative mass, claiming that a gram of negative mass is created for every gram of particle that pops out of nothing giving god a net gain of zero which is nothing. (jean cavelos, 1999)
circular science
the religion of a society tells us a lot about their culture and nothing about god. and so science tells us a lot about ourselves and nothing about the universe. what we "discover" about the universe is simply our perception of our own conception. we perceive what we conceive. "when science has progressed the furthest the mind has regained from nature what the mind has put into nature." (sir arthur stanley eddington) (an eddington reading list)
the magic of garlic
to avoid illness eat lots of garlic. it contains a chemical called allicin that kills bugs even if they are resistant to antibiotics. garlic is our last hope against the tough new resistant strains of bacteria. (meir wilchek, weizmann institute of science)
the magic of music
don campbell had a 1-inch blood clot in an artery that led to his brain. so he hummed until the clot shrank. don calls it "the mozart effect". he has written a book about it. (btw: at uc irvine mozart's sonata for two pianos in d major increased s.a.t scores of students by 51 points. at st. agnes hospital, bach, debussy, haydn, mendelssohn, and mozart are substitutes for sedatives for the critically ill. in washington state mexican immigrants learn english faster when listening to bach. and georgi lozanov of bulgaria found that vivaldi makes it easier to memorize poetry.) (from usa weekend magazine)
muscular resonance
muscles consist of elastic tissue stretched tight by tendons attached to bones - not unlike stringed instruments - and the sympathetic vibration of these muscle strings define our individual response to music. the music that you find relaxing does indeed physically relax your muscles. (lm boyd, 1999)
the magic of stem cells
inject stem cells from a mouse embryo into the brain of a mouse suffering from a brain defect such as parkinson's disease, epilepsy, or huntington's disease and the stem cells will: 1. fan out throughout the brain; 2. find defective cells; 3. change into the type of cell needed to fix the defect; and 4. fix the defect. (jeff macklis, 1999). see also (stemcell.com.)
herding humans
if the muzak is french, supermarket shoppers in britain buy more french wines but if it is german they prefer german wines. (adrian north, 1997, university of leicester)
feral humans
darwin said man is an animal and now jeff holland has proof. mountain men, hippies, and hermits who go back to nature sometimes go too far and in their solitude become one with nature. at some point, they revert to an animal state and in fact become animals. these creatures have been observed in the red river gorge of kentucky. there is an animal in us all and all it takes is a jungle to bring it out. (btw: at the turn of the century two little girls were found in an animal state living with wolves in india.)
gamma ray bursts
about twice a day on average the universe lights up in a flash that lasts anywhere from 1 second to a minute in a form of energy one billion times more intense than light and no one has the faintest idea why. (nasa compton observatory)
(btw: not even black holes or anti-matter can bail us out here because the energy in each burst is detected simultaneously in every direction.) (btw2: the apparent source of an intense 40-second flash on dec 14, 1997 was a galaxy 12 billion light years away and for that to have been the source about 5 billion stars would have had to blow up in a few seconds. either that is an impossibility or our physics is all wrong. it's a paradox. caltech)
composite humans
in what appears to be life after death for organ donors, recepients of organ transplants assume some of the characteristics of the donor including personality, tastes, and cravings. (abc tv) (something to think about before we start harvesting organs from baboons and farm animals.) (btw: something else to think about is that pig genes contain previously unknown aids-like viruses. (fritz bach, harvard)
sexist science
science has a gender bias. anthropological data are interpreted in terms of the strong dominant male hunter-provider model. in a circular logic, scientists often find support for the hunter-provider model in data whose interpretation was tainted by the hunter-provider assumption. "lucy" could be male; there is not sufficient detail to determine gender but it was assumed to be female because of its diminutive size in comparison with larger bones found nearby. humans may have become bipedal and tools may have been invented not so men could hunt but so pregnant women could dig for roots. (adrienne zihlman, zihlman@cats.ucsc.edu)
the virginian
during the great depression, an honest, hard-working, god-fearing, bonhomme from virginia beach, virginia, found that he could slip into a sleep-like state in which he was simultaneously aware of all time and space. while in this state he exhibited healing powers and he could describe distant events as well as past and future events. his name was edgar cayce.
the figure head
7,686,369,774,870 times 2,465,099,745,779 is 18,947,668,177,995,426,773,730 and the 43rd root of 18,947,668,177,995,426,773,730 is 3.871240336. results like these come to shakuntala devi of india upon a moment's reflection and without the aid of any computational device. she can figure in her head. (india current affairs)
flying machine
one day in 1970 when an air force pilot flying an f106a jet fighter over montana went into an "uncontrollable flat spin", the aircraft took over and 1. ejected the pilot, 2. recovered from the spin, and 3. landed safely all by itself. the craft is on permanent display at the (united states air force museum in dayton ohio)
space plane
a new jumbo jet airliner that is part plane part spaceship will travel at speeds of 6,700 miles per hour and at an elevation of 130,000 feet. (preston carter, lawrence livermore labs, 1998) (btw: these are the things that h-bomb engineers can come up with when they run out of bombs to design.)
tiny flying machines
if darpa has its way future wars will be fought not with few large aircraft built for survival but with swarms of pocket-sized kamikaze flying machines called micro air vehicles. our children will fight these wars away from the battlefield and on a computer screen as if it were a video game.
photon torpedoes
lightning sometimes forms a ball of charge that does not disperse. the ball floats around until it makes contact with great destructive force. the dod, not one to miss an opportunity for mayhem, has figured out how to make these things. they call them electromagnetic weapon systems or localized packets of energy. residents of pine gap, australia, where there is a usaf base, report seeing such balls of light that knocked off their power supply and dimmed auto headlights. (linda moulton howe)
weird weather
does it appear to you that weather is getting more extreme? statistics agree. kevin trenbreth of the national center for atmospheric research thinks that global warming is to blame.
global warming
since 1979 the mean temperature of the earth has fluctuated more in sync with solar activity than with a rising trend of greenhouse gases. burning fossil fuels only returns dead fossils to life in the carbon cycle. it does not create environmental disasters. (arthur anderson, oregon institute of science) (btw: according to kevin trenberth of the noaa the temperature measurements used by global warming advocates are not sufficiently precise to draw any conclusion about trends. for example the orbit of the noaa-11 satellite has been drifting so that daily temperature measurements of the same point on earth are not made at the same time of day. (ap, feb, 1999)
hot tropical weather makes ice
non-uniform heating of the earth by the sun generates a water pump that transfers water from the equator to the poles. water evaporates in the tropics and the vapor is carried to the polar regions where it condenses into ice; and the hotter the tropics the faster this pump runs and the bigger the polar ice gets. (mtu.edu)
a desert flower
the northern continents are covered with ice most of the time. there are brief inter-glacial periods of warm weather. the ice persists for 100,000 years or so and the interglacial periods about 10,000 to 20,000 years but often with violent temperature swings over one or more decades. the ice periods too have volatile weather with large chunks of ice sliding out to sea and the ice thinning for a while and then getting thicker again. the current interglacial period has lasted ten thousand years. it has been unusually calm and it is this spell of rare balmy weather that has made possible agriculture and therefore human settlements and therefore civilization and therefore the current explosion in human population. we are a desert flower. just another biological flash in the climactic pan.

(btw: we don't know what causes these ice cycles. the theories are full of holes. the milankovitch wobble theory does not work because the earth's precession has a fixed period and the ice age cycle does not. and heinrich's warm earth theory cannot explain why the glacier flows happen at the same time all over the planet. ice age phenomena could turn out to be nothing more than deterministic chaos.)


mind over machine
suppose that you want to see picture 1 and you don't want to see picture 2. if your computer produces a random mixture of the pixels from pictures 1 and 2 your mind will force the result to be more like picture 1 than picture 2. and it's not just in your head because the picture will actually contain more picture 1 elements than is its random share. what's weirder is that without your attention it goes back to random. try it for yourself. the software is downloadable. (john haaland)
(incidentally, the resultant picture is a fingerprint. no two persons produce the same picture. this could explain, among other things, why some individuals win more than average and others lose more than average at slot machines and why some slot machines more than others work better for you.)
the alyson o'mahoney puzzle
when alyson uses a computer it is more likely to fail than when it is used by someone else. in general computers crashes occur more frequently for some individuals than for others all other things being equal and we can't figure out the why of this. (ny times, may 25, 1998)
spitting camels
camels spit, usually at a target, with great force and accuracy. the spitball is 200 grams of disgusting phlegm. if your camel is making weird sounds and moving his mouth around a lot get at last 5 meters away. (ellen hess)
the ronald opus story
in march 1994 ronald opus left a suicide note and jumped from the 10th floor and as he passed his parents' apartment his father fired what he thought was an unloaded shotgun at his wife but she slipped and fell and the shot killed ronald instead. ronald had secretly loaded the gun to arrange his father to accidentally kill his mother and jumped when he became despondent over the apparent failure of his plot; he did not know that window washers had erected a safety net and that he could not have died from the fall. (don harper, the american association of forensic sciences) (david dixon says this story is a fabrication. he cites a 1996 la times story.)
the gloria ramirez story
on feb 19 1994 a woman in cardiac arrest was brought to riverside general hospital. when a nurse drew blood it released a powerful stench. the nurse passed out and the rest of the medical team began to collapse. pathologists who conducted the autopsy also became sick even though they wore space age 'toxic suits'. (the los angeles times)
et's r us
we once believed that the universe was a vast arrangement of dead rocks and that life on earth was an oddity. but now we live in a different universe described by john hayes of the woods hole oceanographic institution. life is everywhere in the universe even in apparently dead rocks where it exists in a dormant form. in fact life on earth was seeded by these rocks. and that's who we are.

(btw: nasa astronomer dale cruikshank thinks that the trillion balls of ice in the outer solar system that ocassionally visit the sun as comets contain the ingredients of life and they too could be the johnny appleseeds that are sowing life all over the galaxy; and according to the European space agency, if you look at the universe with visible-light eyes you see dead rocks but if you look with infrared eyes you see water everywhere.)


cosmic rain
all our water came from space. the outer solar system is swarming with house-sized ice cubes and over 40,000 of these things fall into earth and disintegrate in the atmosphere each day. this has been going on for billions of years. and that is why we have oceans and life on earth. it's still going on and not just here but on the other planets as well. we water creatures are not as much a planetary phenomenon as we are a planetary system phenomenon. (louis frank of the university of iowa)
extremophiles
our search for extra-terrestrial life widened its possibilities when we discovered micro-organisms right here on earth that live, no thrive, in boiling springs, subterranean rock formations, under the deepest ocean, and on active volcanoes. these extremophiles have shattered our previous notions about what it takes to sustain life. (john baross, university of washington). (university of bath)
(btw: john delaney of washington and thomas gold of cornell think that life on earth began with extremophiles either under the ocean or in volcanoes.)
the cosmos is us
not just pulsars and comets but we too are made of the stuff of the universe. understanding comes not from externalizing the universe but from internalizing the questions. "all that we are arises from our thoughts. with our thoughts we make the world." (gautama buddha)
odd chirality
of the many amino acids possible, life on earth is composed of only 20 and all of them are of the left sided variety. equal amounts of left and right mirror images of these molecules form in the laboratory but not in living things. molecular leftness is part of a cosmic pattern of life. (john cronin, arizona state university)
mind reading plants
plants generate electrical impulses that may be measured. cleve backster measured these voltages. he found that the plant became agitated when he injured it with a knife or a match; or if he even just thought about causing such an injury. (in "the secret life of plants", by peter tompkins and christopher bird) (btw: according to robert stone not just plants but individual cells in your body show the same behavior and they seem to be able to recognize you.) (btw2: since plants respond electrically to human presence couldn't we wire them up as burglar detectors? yes, says hal philipp whose company, quantum research markets just such a device. hal thinks that the plant is just a giant capacitor and nothing more.(new scientist, 25 april 98)
mutual synchronization
all critters tend to synchronize their rhythmic activities. women living together synchronize their menstrual cycles, crickets chirp together, and the pacemaker cells trigger your heart in unison. but the most spectacular example is that of fireflies in thailand. they completely cover a tree and at first flash in random patterns but soon synchronize their flashing so that the whole tree flashes on and off at about 1.5 hz. (h.m. smith, science, v82 1935)
la cucaracha la cucaracha
behead cockroach 1 and cut the legs off cockroach 2. now mount roach 2 on top of roach 1 with a tiny tube that allows their bodily fluids to comingle; and watch as headless roach 1 now walks around navigating with the eyes and head of his buddy. roach 1 also knows night from day and only comes out to feed at night as is the roachian custom. (janet harker in 'nature', 1954)
spiritual signature
if you showered with red dye you would leave tell-tale red marks everywhere you went, on clothes you wore, and every object you used. this is what your trail looks like to a dog's nose and to a psychic's mind. the objects and places of your life not only contain your odoriferous signature but your spiritual signature as well. you recognize your own spiritual trail; it is why you feel at home at home; and why that old hat or glove or t-shirt feels so good. they all contain traces of your essence. (lyall watson)
perverse statistics
statistics released in 1996 show that we are murdering less in america. but it's not for the lack of trying. we are gunning our fellow citizens down more than ever but high tech trauma centers are bringing them back to life. it's not that we are killing less but that medical advances are making it harder to keep them dead. (spencer hughes, ksfo radio, san francisco)
the fossil record
sedimentary rock going back hundreds of millions of years come in alternating layers of fossil counts. layers containing lots of fossils are followed abruptly by layers containing hardly any and then lots again. this is all we really know. "mass extinctions" and "life explosions" are things we made up. we have no independent evidence that they actually occurred let alone how they occurred. there are some believable mass extinction scenarios but they do no good unless they can also explain how fossil counts suddenly reverted to normal levels right after the supposedly dead period.
antarctica
it contains 90% of the world's ice but it was once a balmy temperate forest teeming with life. on the transantarctic mountain there is a petrified forest; and there are fosslized remains of animals anywhere you look. some are 250 million years old. william hammer of augustana college thinks that a cataclysmic climate change froze antarctica. (jamal's note: maybe the continent used to be elsewhere and simply drifted into the cold.)
perverse justice
larry singleton raped a young girl then hacked her arms off with a butcher knife and left her to die but was paroled after 8 years whereupon he murdered a young woman also with a butcher knife. he was paroled because the prisons are overcrowded with people serving mandatory sentences for drug offenses prescribed by our 'war on drugs'. when the cops were taking singleton from one outraged community to another to find him a home they were protecting us from drug dealers. if the war on drugs continues much longer our prisons will be full of drug addicts and our streets full of criminals. (christine kraft, kgo radio, sf) (btw:in 1997, 1.7 million of us are in jail and it costs the rest of us $30 billion dollars a year to keep them there.)
the mystery of birth order
of the siblings were you born first? or second? or last? it has a lot to do with who you are. not just nature and nurture but also birth order plays a role in shaping our personalities and our lives. frank sulloway of mit has written a book about this phenomenon.
the mystery of birth date
could birthdate have anything to do with who and what you are? yes, says dennis ownby of the henry ford health system. statistics show that children born in fall face twice the risk of developing asthma than children born in summer. so far researchers have not come up with a rational explanation of these findings. (btw: asthma inflames and narrows air passages and causes difficulty in breathing.)
where's jimmy?
does the fbi always find their man? on july 30, 1975 jimmy hoffa disappeared without a trace from the parking lot of the machus red fox restaurant in bloomfield. after the most intensive manhunt in history the fbi is stumped. and shed a tear on thanksgiving for dan "db" cooper who jumped from a 727 with a parachute and $200,000 over the columbia river in oregon on november 24, 1971 and simply vanished into thin air. the fbi is clueless.
a thanksgiving story
after thanksgiving dinner in 1984 in the small town of pedley, california shannon prock, 13, was attacked by a rapist. cousin danny ostenowski, 11, came to her aid and she broke free and ran into the street begging for help from passing motorists. they just drove on by as the rapist brutally murdered danny on the sidewalk shooting him three times while he begged for his life. (archive of news stories, la times)
amelia earhart
on june 1, 1936 pilot ameila earhart and navigator fred noonan took off from miami on a lockheed 10e 'electra' to fly 29000 miles around the world. they flew 22000 miles and reached lae, new guinea on june 29, 1937. at midnight between july 1 and july 2 1937 they took off from lae for Howland Island 800 miles away. they maintained radio contact with u.s. coast guard cutter 'itasca' for 6 hours and then vanished. (naval historical center)
(btw: accordiing to joe klaas, amelia was actually on a spying mission. she was captured by the japanese in the marshall islands and later returned. she lived incognito as irene bolam in new jersey until her death in 1982.)
the bermuda triangle
more ships and aircraft have vanished without a trace in the waters between miami, bermuda, and puerto rico than anywhere else of equal area. the phenomenon has been extensively studied but it remains a mystery. among its victims are the ship "marine sulphur queen" and a squadron of tbm avengers, (naval historical center)
(btw: in the 16th century the sea in this triangle was thought to be evil and bermuda was called devil's island. shakespeare's "tempest" is about the bermuda triangle.) (gerald dickens of james cook university thinks that there are frozen deposits of methane under the sea there that are responsible for sudden release of gas.)
teenagers from hell
teenagers these days are out of control. they eat like pigs, they are disrespectful of adults, they interrupt and contradict their parents, and they terrorize their teachers. (aristotle, circa 350 bc.)
immigrants from hell
immigrants of today just don't measure up to those that came before them. they are not well educated. they don't bother to learn english. and at the rate they multiply there will soon be more of them than there are of us. (benjamin franklin, 1753)
loopholes in time
if ghosts are souls of our dear departed ancestors then why do inanimate objects have ghosts? aircraft, ships, and even buildings have ghosts. according to richard senate the ghost phenomenon reveals a property of time that we don't understand. when we see ghosts we are actually seeing through time.
what we are really saying
to find out, tape it and play it backwards. you will hear things the person did not say forwards. according to david john oates our subconscious mind put those messages there. the conscious mind decides what to say but the subconscious decides how to say it and that is how the backward messages are placed into speech. the listener's subconscious picks up these messages which constitute the intuitive component of the communication. if the person is lying the backward speech will reveal the truth, if the person is speaking the truth it will confirm it, and if the person is hiding information it will reveal it. (btw: baby babble is rich in reverse speech. according to david we learn reverse speech first, even before we can talk normally.)
(btw2: kourosh saberi of caltech took digitized speech and chopped the sentences up into segments and then played them back. subjects could understand these sentences even when he ran the segments in reverse order. (reported by ap and sent in by luis reis, 1999)
baby grammar
children not only learn vocabulary from their parents but can "infer" grammar and then use that grammar to construct sentences they have never heard before. noam chomsky thinks we may be born with an innate universal grammar. language acquisition by children remains a paradox. (ray jackendoff)
baby talk
a 6-month old baby has already learned the sounds of its native language. the number of words an infant hears each day is the single most important predictor of future intelligence. (patricia kuhl, university of washington).
(jamal's note: maybe smarter infants are better at engaging adults in 'conversation'. without controlled experiments it's hard to tell whether x causes y or y causes x or whether a third unobserved variable z causes both x and y.)
>graphology
another way you unwittingly reveal yourself is by writing. no matter what language, the way you make the marks on paper captures your personality and even hidden intentions. even things about you that you do not wish to reveal may be deduced from the way you write.
it's the sound, stupid
according to the Vedic Rishis of India the essence of it all is sound; and sound is geometry and geometry is sound. we can now see this in a device invented by ernst chladni. spread sand on a metal plate and cause it to vibrate with different notes and sounds and the sand will arrange itself into geometrical shapes of great complexity but familiar to us because they resemble shapes found in nature like the annual rings of trees, the stripes of a zebra, cells in a honeycomb, canals in a jellyfish, and turrets in shellfish. maybe the rishis were right. nature is not random mr. c. darwin. it is the way it is because of cosmic vibrations and the way they are. (Lyall Watson, hindu scriptures)
(btw: doug ruby studied the geometry of crop circles by cutting out cardboard models and spinning them. his insight is that 'geometry equals frequency equals energy'. he describes it in his book, 'the gift'.)
what is gravity?
we are born into it, we live in it all our lives, and we die in it but we don't know it. newton and einstein thought they knew but they didn't. and now physicists at the max planck institute say that a disk of super conducting material can produce a 'weak shielding' of gravity and that this phenomenon has no explanation that they know of. a prototype of the device has been built at the tampere university of technology in finland by eugene podkletnov. he found that things weigh less above a super conducting disc than anywhere else. he described his findings in the journal physica c.
what is life?
science does not recognize what must be an essential nature of the universe, the ability of matter to spontaneously form self-sustaining and self-replicating organizations that consume energy from the environment to produce localized order out of disorder and to attain identity and awareness. everything in the world of science is dead. life is an impossibility because it cannot be experimentally verified. in the problem of life the dead universe model of truth has found its dead end. (btw: animal life consists only of transmutations of organic matter along the food chain. the source of it all is the chemical magic plants use to capture solar radiation and assemble simple inorganic substances into the stuff of life. the secret of life is contained in photosynthesis.)
the saturnic verses
one time nasa scientist dr. bergrun has written a book about saturn in which he says that nasa has evidence of a spacecraft about the size of earth orbiting saturn. the craft is described in the feb. 96 issue of 'science news' and also by ufologist rich boylan.
it slices it dices
during their invasion of panama in 1989 our forces left some cars neatly cut in half with some new weapon they were testing but won't tell us about. when asked the pentagon spokesman pete williams said with a straight face, "we know of no cars cut in half in panama".(the panama deception)
mission impossible
colombia would not sign the canal treaty with us so we arranged an insurrection in 1903 and invented panama; and its leaders that we installed did sign just the treaty that we wanted. the country's leaders even now take their marching orders from the cia. if they don't we get rid of them. (the panama deception)(btw: another thing weird about panama is that their currency is the u.s. dollar.)
psychic spying
edward dames offers psychic spying services. dames was spying for the military in 1981 when he was frustrated by his inability to crack into the russian biological warfare program and resorted to psychics. the military eventually developed the psychic technology called remote viewing or 'rv'. the program became discredited and ed left to start psitech. most recently he helped the military during the persian gulf war. he can train people in remote viewing. courtney brown is his student. he agrees with courtney that there is some kind of intelligent life on mars but it is underneath the surface. (btw: mars orbiters sent by the u.s. and russia mysteriously vanished. the last picture taken by the russian craft shows an object approaching the satellite. edward used rv to learn that the satellite was destroyed by a robot-like device sent from underneath the martian surface.
war is killing us
in 1975 the dod's biological warfare crew developed a "synthetic agent" that attacks the immune system of the victim. between 1982 and 1989 we shipped this and other "biologicals" to saddam hussein who used them in the gulf war. when the allied troops went home they took this illness with them to over 20 countries around the world. the symptoms are aids-like. the illness is mysterious, without treatment, fatal, and communicable. it is spreading through blood transfusions, sex, and perspiration, and by contact with equipment and clothing that were exposed. the human race today stands at a precipice. (joyce riley) (btw: joyce says that the gulf war records will prove her right. according to the baltimore sun the military has lost the records.) (btw2: aids may be another byproduct of the 1975 "synthetic agent" project.)( btw3: but read this assessment of the gulf war syndrome by the nih.)
doctors are killing us
researchers at harvard have found evidence that doctors overprescribe medication and surgery. could be why mortality rates drop when doctors go on strike. (noted by (henry jankowski, 1998) (see also al carney's letter in surg neurol, 46(2):191 aug 1996) (btw: the leading cause of death in the usa is not cancer or aids or automobile mishaps; it's health care. the bozo factor in medicine kills more than 90,000 per year with miscalculated dosage, misprescribed drugs, and misdiagnosis. washington post 1999)
liars
during the manhattan project circa 1945, the military subjected soldiers to deadly radioactivity experiments without their knowledge. they were injected with plutonium and otherwise exposed to harmful levels of radioactivity. then for fifty years the military flatly denied that these experiments took place. recently declassified govt records show that they did.
agent orange
a 1984 air force study showed high rates of birth defects and infant deaths among children of vietnam vets and that these effects could be causally linked to the use of agent orange in vietnam; so the air force altered the data until the effect disappeared and then made the report public. (san diego union-tribune, november, 1998) (vietnam vets)
du
we have over a billion pounds of depleted uranium, a toxic waste product of the nuclear weapons industry. so, intelligent minds in our military have found a way to recycle this stuff into artillery shells to pierce tank armor; and the dust from exploded shells poisoned the environment and sickened our soldiers in the gulf war. (dan fahey)
fun with thermonuclear devices
during the fifties the u.s. military exploded hundreds of nuclear bombs in nevada to see (1) what would happen to our soldiers' vision if they observed the flash without goggles, (2) if they could be fired from a cannon, (3) if they could damage bunker walls from a mile away, (3) what they would do to a steel bridge at ground zero, (4) what they would do to jeeps, armored personnel carriers, airplanes, diesel locomotives, a glass house, an underground garage full of cars, and a pine forest, (5) whether a walk-in bank vault could take a direct hit, (6) what would happen to cattle, dogs, donkeys, naked pigs, and pigs dressed in human attire at ground zero, (7) whether a hill would deflect the blast, (8) whether they could be used to build harbors, reservoirs, and canals, (9) what damage it would do to a typical suburban housing development built in the desert just to be blown up. (1999)
backyard physicists
is there room for the little guy in science anymore?
scary algae
there is an algae called pfiesteria piscida. they can smell fish and when they do they change into an active amoeba-like creature which attacks and eats the fish multiplying rapidly. then they go back to their dormant algal state. infected fish and shellfish are toxic to humans. eating or even breathing these toxins may cause memory loss and personality changes in addition to pain, nausea, and vomiting. when the feeding and reproducing are good they can form coastal swarms known as red tides.
(btw: p. pscida is responsible for giant fish kills in the estuaries of north carolina. rodney barker has written a book about it. he thinks that the creature has been around for millions of years and was awakened by pollution from swine and turkey farms. fish "bearing lesions and swimming in a disoriented manner" are also observed in the chicamacomico and pocomoke rivers in maryland.)
gene therapy
dr. jack roth of the m.d. anderson cancer center injected the tumors of lung cancer patients with a gene that he designed. the tumors shrank.
itc
penelope smith of point reyes california can communicate with animals. she uses a technique called interspecies telepathic communication. she has written a book about it. recently she had a long conversation with a runaway alligator in san francisco. the alligator told her his name was fred, he was lonely and scared, and he was eating ducklings but he prefers chicken. penelope runs a training program in itc. she is not alone. there are many others like her.
a normal teenager
i guess i am a normal teenager, but i have dreams that come true, i can predict a person's actions just by talking to them, i see lights that others don't, and i have walked away from two bad accidents that should have killed me. i was born on the first day of the zodiac calendar (march 21,1980). i was conceived even though my parents were using birth control. i have birth marks that need explanation. (shaun remyleblac@aol.com)
death to death
before you were formed in your mom's womb you were dead. so you do know what it is like to be dead. you just can't remember. but some children can and their stories of white lights and light beings are not unlike nde accounts.. apparently we see these things coming and going. (tamara long) (btw: nde = near death experience, obe = out of body experience, rv = remote viewing, pk = psychokinesis)
privacy lost
when the feds first issued social security numbers they told us that the numbers will not be used for any purpose other than ss record keeping.(andre bacard)(btw: according to andre if you pay for anything with your atm or credit card the transaction record becomes public information. eg your insurance company will know if you bought cigarettes or booze and how much.)
shamanism and botany
the amazon indians may look like savages but they have medical technology that is at least 50,000 years old and it is in many ways superior to ours. our 'discovery' of a cure for herpes consisted in learning from them what they have known for a thousand years. Shaman medicine consists of plant material drawn from the rain forest. both the shamans, that carry this knowledge, and the rain forest, that carries the medicine, will become extinct in the next thirty years at the current rate of encroachment by cattle ranchers and well meaning christian missionaries. (mark plotkin, ethnobiologist) (btw: we think of the soil as containing nutrients and the stuff of life so we clear forests to reclaim land. but the life of the amazon is in the canopy and not in the soil. so in 'clearing the forest' we are throwing the baby out with the bath water and creating wasteland.)
sangre de draga
the blood red sap of this amazon tree can arrest bleeding faster than anyhting else. other strange health effects are claimed. (ashaninka.com,1998) (submitted by leon paredes)
a brief history of mars
about 150 million years ago mars was full of life. some martian 'humans' resemble native americans. their civilization was similar to that of the ancient egyptians. they built pyramids, cities, and canals. then something terrible happened. a large meteor grazed their atmosphere and started a chain of events that reduced the planet to its lifeless form that we know today. advanced beings called 'greys' from another part of the galaxy rescued the martians. the greys gave them technology that enabled them to live underground and to travel thru space. the martians are tired of living underground and a massive exodus to earth is imminent. some martians are already here. they live underneath a mountain in new mexico. courtney has seen all of this by using a technique called 'remote viewing'.(courtney brown)
group memory
we carry with us our individual memories. we are conscious of that. but we also carry with us a subliminal group memory of our tribe, culture, race, species and of all living things and maybe even of the cosmos. some more than others are in touch with this source of information perhaps even without being conscious of this connection. they share this information with us through great works of art, literature, science, and teachings of a spiritual nature. (richard c. hoagland) (jamal's corollary: if group memory is not equally received maybe it is not equally generated either; i.e. the caesars, napoleons, shapespeares, tolstoys, and cleopatras of the world exert more than their pro-rata share of influence. this might explain why people who undergo past life regression find themselves as historical figures and why mediums seem to contact historical figures so much of the time. they are recalling group memory.)
homing cats
a family in florida left their cat with the neighbor and moved to california. the cat ran away from the neighbor's house and two years later showed up at the family home in california. and a cat in portugal named camilla became lost and walked home from a campsite 125 miles away.
homing spermatazoa
spermatazoa have a sense of smell and the ovum secretes a distinctive scent that is their siren call.
homing pigeons
2,200 homing pigeons competing in a race in october 1998 near philadelphia became lost and disoriented and never made it back home. the weather was fine. (the press democrat)
we sleep to dream?
there is no evidence that the body needs rest. even if it did it wouldn't get it from sleeping. there is no evidence that sleep provides rest. in sleep deprivation experiments subjects function normally. in the limit they begin to dream on their feet. (but read this note from tone)
does the soul have mass?
duncan weighed the almost dead and the dead and he found a consistent difference of about an ounce between these weights. (duncan macdougall
"we are from the constellation known to you as ..."
a word of caution about ufo accounts that include constellation names. constellations are not star groupings. they only appear so when viewed from earth.
a drug addiction
falling in love is phenylethylamine addiction, heartbreak is phenylethylamine withdrawal. the person you are in love with is only an artifice in the ritual you use to cause your brain to manufacture this drug. (gary spink, formerly of Monash University)
it's all in the mind
if you think you are beaten, you are
if you think you'll lose, you're lost
it's all in the state of mind
life's battles don't always go to stronger or the faster
... the man who wins is the man who thinks he can
(from the victor by cw longnecker)
olaf johnsson
olaf has been subjected to many controlled tests and experiments by scientists and skeptics and no one denies that he can materialize and dematerialize objects; he can also move objects as large as an end table with his mind; and he can control other people's minds to make them say things they don't want to say. (brad steiger)
the rat and the miner
a miner befriended a rat which one day convinced the miner, by running and squealing, to leave the mine shaft moments before it collapsed. a pet frog jumped up and down on its owner's face to wake him when the house was on fire. brad steiger explores the strange and mysterious world of human-animal relationships in his new book on this topic. (brad steiger)
the rat and the information superhighway
judy reavis of Hermes Systems has trained her rat "rattie" to pull cable thru conduit. she knocks at the other end and rewards rattle with gummi bears.
loopholes in space?
in south africa one night a drunken man walked out of a tavern and into ohio. this case has been well documented but never solved. (brad steiger)
what astrophysicists know
not much. according to them some parts of the universe are older than the universe. more than 90% of the universe is something called dark matter but they can't tell you what that is; in other words they haven't a clue what most of the universe is made of. and the universe got started when a small immensely dense baseball containing all the mass in the universe exploded but they don't know what made it explode; or how all the mass in the universe got into a baseball in the first place.
(btw: michael feast of the university of capetown has a solution to the age paradox and thinks the answer is that the universe is a lot older, probably 11 to 14 billion years old. hopefully 14 rather than 11 because if it is 11 we still have a problem. he is working on it.)
what scientists know
not much. when the movie The China Syndrome was released scientists and experts all agreed that the meltdown of the core of a nuclear power generator is a scenario based on fuzzy thinking and pseudo science. then three mile island happened.
what economists know
not much. according to them the combination of full employment and economic growth necessarily causes inflation and recession. but it hasn't (1998). (btw: they think we are fools for not behaving according to their equations and that our 'foolish exuberance' will be punished either with inflation because we are running out of workers or with deflation because we are making too much of everything; and, with any luck, a stock market crash.)
the world according to zecharia
there is another planet. it is in a very oblique orbit. it visits the inner solar system once every 3500 years. it is inhabited by advanced critters. 450,000 years ago these critters visited earth and found early hominids. they used genetic engineering to implant some of their genes into one of the female hominids. that's how we got started. she of course was eve. since then we have had many cycles of civilization triggered by visitations from our extra planetary fathers. all of this information can be found in sumerian writings. the aliens are described by the sumerians as having large eyes, leathery skin, and non-specific gender definition. (zecharia sitchin, in his new book "the beginning of time")
exploding planets
the conventional theory is that the solar system started out as a disk of rotating gas and smoke and the sun and the planets formed out of this mess. the asteroids and comets are leftover junk from the rotating gas days. but the orbital paths of comets are inconsistent with this theory and they are better explained by the existence of at least one other planet which exploded or which was caused to explode. the comets and meteors are the debris of the explosion.(tom)
vegetarians
anti cancer diet
eat large quantities of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. particularly good anti cancer foods are broccoli, garlic, tomatoes, berries, and soybeans. they contain chemicals that neutralize free radicals and remove them from the body. these chemicals are fragile and easily destroyed or removed by cooking. (national cancer institute)( btw: according to larry clark of the university of arizona cancer center the mystery ingredient of anti cancer foods is selenium. the best dietary source of selenium is brazil nuts. one small caveat: larry's study was partially funded by a supplier of selenium capsules.)(btw2: as a cancer buster, 3-day-old broccoli sprouts are 20 times as potent as mature broccoli and they taste better according to paul talalay of Johns Hopkins University school of medicine.)
red wine
red wine not only lowers cholesterol and prevents heart disease but also contains a cancer inhibitor. a substance called resveratrol (rsv) is responsible. the vine produces rsv to fight fungus. since rsv is found in the skin of the grape red wine contains more rsv than white wine. and vines grown in moist regions, which are more susceptible to fungal attacks, produce more rsv than those grown in drier regions. (university of burgundy dept of enology) (resveratrol data from the american journal of enology and viticulture (ajev))
more on anti cancer foods (noted by jean carper of 'eat smart')

cough no more
cloves are a powerful anesthetic. to stop coughing just hold a stick of it between your cheek and gums.
unusual liquid
glass is actually a liquid and it flows but very slowly. this means that all glass windows will eventually open from the top and that very old windows are fatter at the bottom. (from Ask Marilyn)
rattlesnake
cut off the head of an attacking rattlesnake and it will continue to attack with its headless stump which can apparently see. if you move the stump will follow and will actually attempt to bite. (observed by jamal at his ranch in penngrove)
catatonia
gently hold a toad flat between the palms of your hands; turn it over on its back and hold it there for a minute. now slowly remove your upper hand. and the toad will lie still with its feet in the air. although it is now free to run away from captivity, it is apparently in a state of catatonia induced by captivity. (excerpted from supernature by lyall watson)
chicken too
lay a 2-week chick on her side and then push her head to the ground. while it is thus restrained draw an imaginary line on the ground across its field of vision. now let go. it will remain in that catatonic state transfixed on the imaginary line until moved. (tage andersen, chicken rancher, denmark)
herbal medicine
medical research
sodium is bad for you but it could be good for you. caffeine is bad for you but it could be good for you. alcohol is bad for you but it could be good for you. nicotine is bad for you but it could be good for you. cholesterol is bad for you but it could be good for you. (jean carper, in usa weekend, and philip hilts, ap)
sugar
when you feel that your body is fighting off a disease you know that if it loses you will be sick. you can help your body win the battle by abstaining from alcohol and sugar. sugar weakens our immune system. (btw: norwegian fishermen have known for a long time the magical healing powers of shark liver oil which works by turbo charging the immune system.)
a hawaii sun tan
according to christopher lowe and gwen goodman of the university of hawaii, you can get a shark to tan but you can't give it melanoma. humans tan but humans also get melanoma when their dna becomes damaged by high energy solar radiation. so what do sharks have that we don't?
no calories
there is a plant native to south america called stevia rebaudiana. it's leaves are intensely sweet. a tiny pinch will sweeten your coffee with no more calories than a morning kiss. it is awaiting FDA approval.
olestra
it's the magical new fat that isn't. but what is it really? the clinical descriptions boil down to this: it's 30-weight motor oil. and it can make you just as sick. the molecules are too big to be absorbed thru the walls of the intestines so they go right on thru to the other orifice carrying with them oil soluble vitamins and nutrients that become hopelessly entangled in their complex molecular tree.(eisenberg and williams) (btw: if you lube your xxx won't your yyy leak out? oui. it is one of the known side effects of olestra.)
kinky fish
a tropical fish found off okinawa normally live in groups of one dominant male and several submissive females. if a larger male comes along, the dominant male changes into a subservient female by restructuring its brain and genitalia. if the bigger male leaves or dies, the once dominant male will change back to a male. the restructuring process takes four days. (discovered by matt grover, univ of idaho)
livin on tulsa time
european fresh water eels found in mountain streams and lakes as high as 10,000 feet above sea level begin and end their lives in the ocean. here is their incredible story. they begin life in the sargaso sea (equatorial atlantic ocean) where the larvae are carried by the gulf stream to europe. during this journey the larvae grow into little cylindrical fish. once they get to the mouth of a river they swim upstream relentlessly even wriggling up waterfalls and crawling across meadows until they get to the lakes. there they live for asexually for 14 to 20 years and then some other hormonal program kicks in. they grow big and fat and their sex organs get large; but instead of mating, they begin another epic journey apparently to return to the sargaso sea for mating. but they don't make it back. down to the last eel, they all die trying and therefore never mate. (the population is replenished by their american cousins who do make it back). these eels are apparently carrying out a life cycle program that must have worked once millions of years ago before the continents drifted apart. (lyall watson)
sponge
photograph a live sponge and then grind it into a slurry. press the slurry through a micropore strainer and you will get what appears to be muddy water. all the individual cells of the sponge have been separated from each other. let it sit for a few days and the sponge will rise like a phoenix from the muddy water. compare this sponge with your photograph. it's the same sponge.
mouse brains
this also works with mouse brains. you can tease apart the individual cells of the brain of a laboratory mouse. if you let this soup stand in a favorable environment the brain will reform and even restructure its synapses. somehow each cell knows how to build the whole. (many thanks to the mouse who donated his brain to Johns Hopkins University school of medicine.
(btw: brain damaged lab mice injected with a hormone that martin developed grow new nerve tissue and the mice are once again able to remove sticky tape from their paws. proof that adult animals can regenerate nerve cells. martin schwab, university of zurich, dept of neuromorphology, 1998.
quail brains
48 hours after fertilization replace cells in the brainstem of a chicken embryo with those from a quail embryo and the chicken you get will bob its head like a quail. (evan balaban, neurosciences institute, san diego)
a nose for science
blindfolded and with arms spread eagle bend one arm and touch the tip of your nose. everything we think we know about how our nerves and muscles work together says you can't do that, but you can. you are a mystery to neuroscience.
mouse welfare
fred gage of the salk institute for biological studies separated 24 'teenage' mice into two groups. group 1 mice had to run thru tricky obstacle courses to find food while group 2 mice lived in regular cages with food trays so that they could eat whenever they wanted. group 1 mice developed bigger brains and did better in a test of learning. 1997.
you are what you eat
teach mouse-a to run a maze but don't teach mouse-b or mouse-c. now kill and grind up mouse-a and feed it to mouse-b and not to mouse-c. mouse-b will run the maze better than mouse-c. (reported by art bell, 1998)
star wars
to catch moths bats use sonar. they whistle a note above the audible range and listen for the echo.