Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Arabic Script Appears Mysteriously On Boy’s Skin

Despite the advances medicine has made, there are still plenty of unusual conditions that appear mysterious, perplexing medical experts and defying all logic. Ali Yakubov, a nine-month-old baby boy from Russia left doctors stupefied after the word Allah allegedly showed up on his chin when he was only a few weeks old. Since then, verses from the Koran have emerged consistently on the infant’s back, arms, legs and stomach, before apparently fading away and being replaced with new ones. Ali was born in an ordinary family with no major inclination towards religion. His parents initially concealed the fact about the strange writings but when a phrase “Show these signs to people” appeared the news spread all around the province of Dagestan. The child has not undergone any dermatologic examination. He was diagnosed with coronary heart disease and cerebral spastic infantile paralysis at birth, but once the Arabic script emerged on his body, his medical problems vanished and he miraculously recovered. Madina Yakubova, the boy’s mother, stated, "Normally those signs appear twice a week - on Mondays and on the nights between Thursdays and Fridays."Ali always feels bad when it is happening. He cries and his temperature goes up. It's impossible to hold him when it's happening, his body is actively moving so we put him into his cradle. It's so hard to watch him suffering." Since the phenomenon of the passages from the Koran emerged on Ali’s skin, the child has become the focus of Muslim homage in his home province of Dagestan and the neighboring republics. Madina disclosed that people have shot videos and taken photos of Ali. They have also taken all his clothes as tokens and presented him with new ones. The council of Muftis of Degestan stated, "We interpret that sign as a warning to all Muslims of Russia and Dagestan, namely that they should turn to the wisdom of the religion of Allah, repent of their sins, and abandon their discord, conflicts, and the fratricidal confrontation that today shakes the blessed land of Dagestan and the entire Caucasus." Local MP Akhmedpasha Amiralaev said: "This boy is a pure sign of God. Allah sent him to Dagestan in order to stop revolts and tension in our republic."

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sylvan Lake Mystery Remains A Mystery

There seems to be more questions than answers to the mysteries surrounding Sylvan Lake. And last month’s retrieval by the Washington County Water Recovery dive team of a large rock with a hole drilled through it and a three-eighths inch faded yellow nylon rope attached did nothing to solve what is still considered an open case by a lake expert who has followed the story. The boulder, estimated to weigh 40 pounds or more, was the only thing found during a dive training session Sept. 10. The water recovery unit was part of a response team on July 27 when a Sylvan Lake resident reported that something may have crashed into the lake. The eyewitness saw a rogue wave with air bubbles emanating from concentric circles. That summer day the water recovery unit deployed its side-scan sonar to help determine if something was in the lake and recorded information of an object the size of a dryer or wash machine in deep waters. Nothing of the like was found in any of the dives. Sheriff Bill Hutton said last week authorities still have no idea what caused the incident that dozens of rescue personnel, including those from Forest Lake, responded to in July. He is confident that it wasn’t a meteor, nor anything that could have fallen from an airplane. How long the rock may have been in the lake is also unknown. “We cannot make any conclusionary statements,” Hutton said. The mystery has deepened with the investigation by a UFO hunter from Nebraska who visited the area last summer, as well as a water specialist familiar with Forest Lake. Steve McComas, of Blue Water Science in St. Paul, opened a case file at the urging of Joe Soucheray who hosts “Garage Logic” on KSTP AM1500 after he became interested in the Sylvan Lake story. McComas, the radio show’s designated “Lake Detective,” agreed to look into the matter. He issued a full report in August. McComas said his theory is that the splash was caused by something falling off or from an aircraft. Hutton said the sheriff’s office checked with the FAA and Department of Homeland Security, but found no leads of any aviation incidents that would have been the culprit behind this mystery. The discovery of this rock, most likely a homemade anchor, does not answer anything. McComas said during Soucheray’s radio show on Oct. 2 that McComas’ theory has not been disproved. The lake detective won’t admit to being stumped until something definitive turns up, McComas said.
Washington County divers pulled this rock with rope attached from the bottom of Sylvan Lake
“The mystery is unsolved,” McComas said. “I would consider this case open,” he added. Instead of a lost plane part, McComas said it is possible that blue ice — a mixture of human waste and liquid disinfectant formed by leaks in commercial aircraft lavatory tanks that freezes at high altitude — could be the cause of the incident. Linwood resident Frank Kvidera, 84, an experienced pilot with over 40 years of experience flying single engine planes, has his own theory. Maybe the rock was used to anchor a small aircraft and plummeted to the ground after take off? Kvidera read a similar story in an aviation magazine, but with the plane crashing into the water as well. “There are questions,” he said, “and who’s gonna answer them?” Eugene Huerstel has lived on Sylvan Lake for many, many years. Around 1967, he and a neighborhood boy went out in a row boat to the area where the rock was found. Huerstel recalls that his friend had drilled a hole through a big, heavy rock and knotted it with a nylon rope. The two boys lost the boat anchor when the rope broke, Huerstel said. Perhaps that rock was the very same one recovered by the county sheriff’s office? Huerstel said he believes the eyewitness, who lives doors from him, saw something in the water but it had not come from the sky. His opinion is that it was a whirlwind, which is a column of air moving rapidly around and around in a cylindrical or funnel shape. Huerstel was on his boat with KSTP Channel 5 during the September training session, nearly 60 yards from the dive team. He was one of those surprised when the water recovery unit came to the surface with a rock. “I could tell if they did recover something, they didn’t want us to see,” Huerstel said. Supposedly, a boat was spotted maneuvering in a grid pattern on the lake in the late hours of Aug. 16. Hutton told the Forest Lake Times he was unaware of any such late-night incident on the Sylvan Lake waters. As for the county, Hutton said his office has no plans to continue the Sylvan Lake search. McComas said there is a chance the rock was sunk in an effort to throw people off, thus putting the mystery to rest. It’s a long stretch, but he noted the sonar detected an image that was not found again during the dive exercise. “It’s just a little suspicious,” McComas said.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloween Has Been 'Cancelled' In Britain's Most Haunted Village

Pluckley residents are fed up of being invaded by hundreds of ghost-hunting revellers, causing vandalism and traffic chaos. The village is said to have at least 12 spectres, including a highwayman, a phantom monk, the hanging body of a schoolmaster and a poltergeist in the local pub. In previous years residents of the sedate Kent hamlet have tried to turn the night of expected disturbance into family fun, set up by the parish council's own Halloween committee. But although the festivities raised thousands of pounds for good causes the uproar caused by hundreds of revellers flocking to the village has alarmed locals. Now Halloween has been banned and the parish council has called in police to keep visitors under control. "There will be no entertainment provided for visitors," said a notice on the Parish Council website.
The Black Horse pub is said to be the haunt of a mischievous poltergeist.
"There will be no barbecue, no hog roast, no beer tent, no fun fair and there will be no ghost tours. In fact, unless you are coming for a quiet drink, may we suggest you visit one of the many other attractions in Kent for Halloween." Parish council clerk Jackie Grebby said previous organised events had caused problems. "When we've tried to lay on something before it has backfired. The whole village has been gridlocked," she said. "There is in fact very little to do in Pluckley apart from have a quiet drink. People are very welcome if they just want to come for a quiet drink." Residents have been advised to keep their gates locked and any outside lights turned on until at least 2am in the morning to deter troublemakers.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Zombie Punched Twice

Iowa City police are investigating an early morning assault in which a man accused another of being a zombie, then punched him twice. Police said the assault occurred at 1:17 a.m. Sunday at an Iowa City restaurant south of the University of Iowa campus.A man was ordering food when he was approached by another man who called him a zombie, then hit him in the eye. When the victim tried to call police on his cell phone, the man punched him again, breaking his nose. The man then ran out a back door. The victim was taken by ambulance to a hospital.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Mystery Of The Damaged Turbine

Experts are trying to get to the bottom of a mystery after claims that a wind turbine was damaged by aliens. One blade was knocked off the turbine and another was left bent out of shape on Sunday. At around the same time worried residents were calling UFO fans about bright lights in the sky nearby. A spokesperson for the turbine's owners said the blades are hard to break and a smash with UFOs - unidentified flying objects - hadn't been ruled out. Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity, said: "We don't have an explanation at the moment as to what the cause was. "We have been crawling all over it and have sent bits off for analysis to see if we can work out what caused it."But there may be a more down-to-earth solution for the broken blades of the turbine in Lincolnshire in the east Midlands of England. A scientist says rainwater could have got into cracks in the blades, and then with all the cold weather around recently, may have turned to ice. When water freezes into ice it expands, which could have made the cracks bigger. That may have led to the blades snapping and falling off. And experts at the Ministry of Defence, which investigates weird sightings in the sky, aren't convinced little green men are behind the smashed turbine.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Cat-Girl Baffles Doctors

Doctors in China are reportedly baffled after thick grey hair started growing uncontrollably over the body of a six-year-old girl, who has been dubbed "cat girl". The hair has spread over Li Xiaoyuan's back and has started growing on her arms and face. The hair had been confined to a mole on her back, but in recent months spread rapidly. "The poor girl - it breaks our hearts to see her suffer like this," said mother Li Jiang, of Fengkai in southern China."Doctors told us it was just a birthmark even when it started spreading but now it covers half her body," her father Li Yan told reporters. "None of the other children want to play with her. They are calling her cat girl and are really mean." Surgeon Lou Zhongquan of Zhaoqing City Dermatological Hospital said Li Xiaoyuan was most likely suffering from a rare disease in which normal moles spread out of control. "If they were smaller we could use laser treatment but even if we removed these with surgery there is a very strong chance of post surgery haemorrhage," he told reporters.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Police Officer Sees Aliens At Crop Circle

The sergeant, who has not been named, was off-duty when he saw the figures standing in a field near Silbury Hill, and stopped his car to investigate. However, as he approached the 'men' – all over 6ft tall with blond hair – he heard "the sound of static electricity" and the trio ran away ''faster than any man he had ever seen''. The officer returned to his home in Marlborough, Wiltshire, and contacted paranormal experts and told them he had spotted a UFO. Wiltshire Police has refused to comment on the incident, saying it is a ''personal matter'' for the officer involved. Crop circle researcher Andrew Russell, who is investigating the bizarre sighting on behalf of the officer, described the moment his sighting was made. He said: ''At first he thought they were forensic officers as they were dressed in white coveralls. He stopped his car and approached the field. ''The figures were all over 6ft and had blond hair. They seemed to be inspecting the crop. When he got to the edge of the field he heard what he believed to be a sound not dissimilar to static electricity. ''This crackling noise seemed to be running through the field and the crop was moving gently, close to where the noise was. ''He shouted to the figures who, at first, ignored him, not glancing at him. When he tried to enter the field they looked up and began running.''He said; 'They ran faster than any man I have ever seen. I'm no slouch but they were moving so fast. I looked away for a second and when I looked back they were gone. ''I then got scared. The noise was still around but I got an uneasy feeling and headed for the car. For the rest of the day I had a pounding headache I couldn't shift.'' The bizarre incident occurred on the morning of July 6 this year as the police officer was driving. The officer claims the three figures were examining a crop circle, which had appeared several days earlier, when he stopped his car and began walking towards them. However, the mysterious beings disappeared when he ''looked away for a second'' and he contacted UFO experts after witnessing other paranormal activity. A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said: ''The police officer was apparently off duty when this happened so we have no comment to make because it is a personal not a police matter.'' Crop circle expert Colin Andrews, who investigated the incident alongside Andrew Russell, said he is ''convinced'' by the police officer's story. He said: ''I am quite convinced the officer had an experience that day and one that we have not fully explored. ''I think with the unusual movement of the being and the poltergeist experiences there is too much additional information to say that is something in nothing.''

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Army Family Lives In Haunted House

When the Muñoz family moved to the Rookery at 14 Sumner Place last February, they knew it was an unusual house. At first, things began to disappear. Anne was moving in with her four boys when she thought she misplaced her cellphone. Then the remote control to their digital video recorder was gone. Then the family's wireless phone disappeared. On a Friday night, the family went out to eat and Lt. Col. Carlos Muñoz remembers looking through his wife's purse. The next morning, the cellphone, the remote control and the telephone were all mysteriously stacked neatly in Anne's purse. The two homes that make up the Rookery, 12 and 14 Sumner, are not only the oldest homes in Kansas, built in 1827, but are also said to be one of many Fort Leavenworth's haunted buildings. Dozens of homes and buildings throughout post have been reported as having ghosts or other unexplained phenomena. The Friends of the Frontier Army Museum organizes a Haunted Walking Tour of post each year around Halloween as a fundraiser for the museum. Anne Muñoz said she was pleased to make her home at the Rookery one of the haunted tour stops this year. She said there would be a storyteller in her furnace room, where tourists would see the home's historic hand-hewn logs that form floor joists. Historians estimate the trees were cut in 1827, which means they could have been growing during the Revolutionary War era. However, Anne said she wouldn't be surprised if tourists experienced some type of unexplained event in her house. They've had so many occurrences they can't even remember them all, she said. There are sounds of a door opening and footsteps going up the stairs, sounds of furniture moving across the floor upstairs, doors that are locked open by themselves and lights turn on by themselves.One night, Anne noticed the light had been left on in the basement after she had told her son to turn it off. They went down a second time to turn off the light, but when they reached the top floor, it was on again. Whatever presence is in her house doesn't seem to mind people, but doesn't seem to appreciate the Muñoz family pets - especially the cats. The family has noticed their pets being let outside when no one is in the house. When their small cat, Lucy, tried to sleep on the bed one night they heard loud banging for hours. Once, Anne noticed her large cat, Missy, at the top of the stairs not moving, as though she were being held down by something. The cat's hair stood on end except for one spot on her back about the size of a hand. Anne said at first they weren't sure what to believe. They came up with excuses, such as the furnace making noise, the wind blowing against the house or the foundation settling. But there were some things they couldn't explain. "We're trying to debunk it instead of, you know, just saying 'Oh, it's a ghost.' We just haven't been able to explain it," she said. "So that's why we're just saying it's something abnormal." The youngest son, Ryan, 9, is always trying to come up with debunking theories, Anne said, and Ryan said he hasn't experienced anything unusual. The Muñoz family isn't the first occupant of 14 Sumner to report unexplained events. People have reported hearing noises from an old woman, a man and an angry girl. Some speculate the old woman is Mary Pinkney Hardy MacArthur, the mother of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who lived in the house with her son for a short time. An addition on the north side of the house is where she lived, and indeed that is where the family reported hearing noises.Around Memorial Day, Anne was cleaning house to get ready for visiting relatives. She had received a notice from Frontier Heritage Communities that maintenance workers would be coming to her house. She opened the door that led downstairs to the furnace room to grab some cleaning supplies. A man's face appeared near the bottom of the staircase in the doorway that leads to the furnace room. Assuming he was part of the maintenance crew, Anne said, "Oh, hey," grabbed her cleaning supplies and closed the door. The man smiled at her. The next day, the real maintenance crew showed up. They didn't know anyone matching Anne's description - a pointy face, moustache and salt-and-pepper hair. Anne was worried that one of the tourists interested in the Rookery had come in unannounced or that someone may have broken into her house. It wasn't until she was looking through the book "Fort Leavenworth: Gateway to the West," by J. Patrick Hughes that she realized the man she saw might have been a ghost. She recognized his picture almost immediately - Maj. Edmund Ogden, quartermaster of Fort Leavenworth in the mid-1800s. Sons Adam, and Erin have learned to sleep with music on so they don't have to listen to noisy footsteps in each other's bedrooms at night. Anne said each boy hears footsteps in his brother's room, but not his own. The footsteps continue through both rooms when the door adjoining their rooms is open, but stop when the door is shut. Carlos said this isn't his first experience with a haunted house. His family's ancestral home in Mexico is known to be haunted and one of his homes growing up in El Paso, Texas, was also haunted. He said he wouldn't have moved his family into the house if he were worried about their safety. The first day he came to visit, sunlight was pouring in all the windows and the house was warm and inviting. "If the house was not a nice house, it wouldn't have survived," he said.
Anne Munoz explains how she mistook one of the ghosts to be a maintenance worker
One ghostly presence seems to care about the family's well being. It's a Muñoz family joke that if someone "gets mouthy" to mom, a ghost might punish them. One of the boys had received new track shoes and was arguing with his mom the night before a meet. The next morning, his shoes were gone. They were missing for days until a relative found them in a corner in the furnace room. Another one of the boys was arguing with his mom one night and the next morning couldn't find his boots. He left his boots in the living room on the main floor and they were missing moments later. The boy apologized to the ghost, saying he would be late for church if he didn't find the boots. He turned the corner, and the boots were underneath the dining room table. The oldest son, Ian, was getting ready to leave for college and arguing with his mom. When she warned him about the ghost, he thought it was funny. He placed his wallet and keys next to the computer and in the morning, his debit card was missing from inside his wallet. They know he used it that night, because he bought books online. The debit card still has not been found. The Muñoz' love their historic home, even with its haunted quirks. They plan to stay at least until the end of their assignment in January 2011. They enjoy sharing their home with others, and like to have visitors who were previous occupants in the home - especially if they're still living. This year's tours begin at 7 p.m. Oct. 23, 24 and 30, and at 8 p.m. Oct. 31 at Zais Park. Tickets are $10 cash or check and are sold in advance at the museum gift shop. Children under 12 should be accompanied by an adult. Janine Johnson, volunteer for FFAM, said children under age 7 were free, but parents should be cautious about bringing young ones who might be easily frightened. The tour is about two hours and covers about two miles of walking. Participants should dress warmly, wear good shoes and bring a flashlight. Johnson said the group would have storytellers at about 10 different locations. FFAM needs volunteer tour guides to escort groups.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Jupiter's Moon Europa Has Enough Oxygen For Life

New research suggests that there is plenty of oxygen available in the subsurface ocean of Europa to support oxygen-based metabolic processes for life similar to that on Earth. In fact, there may be enough oxygen to support complex, animal-like organisms with greater oxygen demands than microorganisms. The global ocean on Jupiter’s moon Europa contains about twice the liquid water of all the Earth’s oceans combined. New research suggests that there may be plenty of oxygen available in that ocean to support life, a hundred times more oxygen than previously estimated. The chances for life there have been uncertain, because Europa’s ocean lies beneath several miles of ice, which separates it from the production of oxygen at the surface by energetic charged particles (similar to cosmic rays). Without oxygen, life could conceivably exist at hot springs in the ocean floor using exotic metabolic chemistries, based on sulfur or the production of methane. However, it is not certain whether the ocean floor actually would provide the conditions for such life.
Therefore a key question has been whether enough oxygen reaches the ocean to support the oxygen-based metabolic process that is most familiar to us. An answer comes from considering the young age of Europa’s surface. Its geology and the paucity of impact craters suggests that the top of the ice is continually reformed such that the current surface is only about 50 million years old, roughly 1% of the age of the solar system. Richard Greenberg of the University of Arizona has considered three generic resurfacing processes: gradually laying fresh material on the surface; opening cracks which fill with fresh ice from below; and disrupting patches of surface in place and replacing them with fresh material.Using estimates for the production of oxidizers at the surface, he finds that the delivery rate into the ocean is so fast that the oxygen concentration could exceed that of the Earth’s oceans in only a few million years. Greenberg presented his findings at the 41st meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences now under way in Fajardo, Puerto Rico. Greenberg says that the concentrations of oxygen would be great enough to support not only microorganisms, but also “macrofauna”, that is, more complex animal-like organisms which have greater oxygen demands. The continual supply of oxygen could support roughly 3 billion kilograms of macrofauna, assuming similar oxygen demands to terrestrial fish. The good news for the question of the origin of life is that there would be a delay of a couple of billion years before the first surface oxygen reached the ocean. Without that delay, the first pre-biotic chemistry and the first primitive organic structures would be disrupted by oxidation. Oxidation is a hazard unless organisms have evolved protection from its damaging effects. A similar delay in the production of oxygen on Earth was probably essential for allowing life to get started here. Richard Greenberg is the author of the recent book “Unmasking Europa: The Search for Life on Jupiter’s Ocean Moon”, which offers a comprehensive picture of Europa for the general reader.

Carlisle Creature Spotted

A large puma-like creature was reported to be prowling on waste-ground near Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary, sparking a police investigation. Staff working at the city’s dental centre were mesmerised by the sight of the animal, which they described as being black and distinctly feline, but as long and as large as an Alsatian dog. They spotted it on Monday afternoon, strolling across a patch of gassy wasteland near bushes next to the infirmary’s incinerator unit. “I looked out of the window and just saw this creature coming out of the bushes,” said dental nurse Bonita Curr, 50. “I could see straight away that it was not a domestic cat: it was far too big. The back of its spine was the height of an Alsatian and the head looked like a lynx. “It had the elongated body, but it was easily as long as an Alsatian. It just strolled out on to the grass and stood there for a few moments then just ambled away from us. “By this time all the other dental nurses were watching, and one of them said: that’s either a lynx or a puma. “It just took its time, wandered all the way down to the trees, sat down, then stood up again and walked on until it was out of sight. Within moments of it disappearing near the bushes, we saw a chap walking his dog coming towards us.” Bonita then rang the police to raise the alarm, telling them what she and her colleagues had just seen. “The young lady I spoke to said she wasn’t quite sure what to do,” said Bonita. “I was just really surprised – totally amazed. It was a lovely creature, elegant almost. It didn’t seem at all bothered about where it was.“It was just ambling around for four or five minutes. It was seen by myself and at least two colleagues. “I realised later we had not taken a picture but we were frightened to look away.” Bonita’s colleague, fellow dental nurse Sarah Twentyman, 25, spoke of her astonishment at seeing the creature through the front window of the Dental Centre. She said: “I just walked into the room and said: ‘Oh my God – what’s that Bonita?’ “It was absolutely amazing – a lot bigger than a domestic cat and pure black. It was out there in broad daylight. There were children and families walking about. It just walked right past us.” The cat was also seen – on land at the opposite side of the Infirmary – by Menzies worker Louise Tickner, who watched from a first floor window of the Infirmary on Monday afternoon. “It was a cat but it looked very, very big,” said Louise. A spokeswoman for Cumbria Police said the investigation would be handled by its wildlife officer PC John Shaw, who is based in Keswick. “We’ll monitor the situation to see if we have any more sightings,” she added. Steve Pearson, general manager of Interserve FM, which looks after security at the Cumberland Infirmary, said his staff were also alerted about the big cat sighting. He added: "We sent a patrol around the site to take a look. The patrol didn’t notice anything out of the norm."

Sunday, October 18, 2009

iRobot's 'ChemBot' Morphs Between Solid And Semi-Liquid States

iRobot, well-known for the Roomba, and researchers at the University of Chicago are showing off their chemical robot, or chembot, which they are calling "the first demonstration of a completely soft, mobile robot using jamming as an enabling technology." What's this jamming they speak of? It's how the robot moves, using its "jamming skin" made up of cell compartments that can be filled or emptied, coupled with a central actuator that can inflate the 'bot's beach-ball-like body. The research began as the "ChemBot" project, part of a multimillion-dollar R&D contract awarded to iRobot over a year ago. If fully realized, it's believed that such a robot would serve as a valuable tool in traversing tricky terrain, such as a crack in the wall.
Check out the video below to learn more about this mysterious jamming skin.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Stevenage Witch Puts Hex On Thieves

With Halloween just around the corner, a woman who has had £600 worth of shoes stolen is preparing to put a curse on the thieves, in the hope they will return her property. Margaret Poulter and her husband Raymond, of Jessop Road in Stevenage, were in bed when they heard a disturbance outside just before 2am on Friday. Mr Poulter jumped up and saw two men enter their garage and pull the door down behind them. He called the police and his wife ran downstairs and said she "banged on the door like a maniac and gave them a good scare". But the men managed to escape before the police arrived minutes later. The thieves got away with two crates of shoes, and other boxes had been disturbed.Friends of Mrs Poulter believe she is a witch because many predictions she has made have come true. Mrs Poulter, 60, said: "The thieves left an item behind - the screwdriver they used to break in with. With Halloween coming up, the screwdriver may be able to give me the vibes to put a curse on them, and hopefully I'll get the items back." One offender is described as white, aged between 30 and 35, about 5ft 8ins tall, of medium build, and with a fair moustache. He was wearing a dark grey hoodie and dark clothing. The second offender is described as white, aged between late teens and early 20s, about 5ft 4ins tall, and of slim build. He was wearing a light cream hoodie.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Time-Travelling Higgs Sabotages The LHC. No, Really

Could the Large Hadron Collider be sabotaging itself from the future? That's the suggestion of a couple of reasonably distinguished theoretical physicists, which has received a fresh airing in the New York Times today. Actually, it's the Higgs boson that is doing the sabotage. Apparently, among the many singular properties of the Higgs that the LHC is meant to discover could be the ability to turn back time to stop its cover being blown. Or as the New York Times puts it:
"the hypothesized Higgs boson... might be so abhorrent to nature that its creation would ripple backward through time and stop the collider before it could make one, like a time traveler who goes back in time to kill his grandfather."
That is the ultimate reason, suggest the duo - Danish string theory pioneer Holger Bech Nielsen and the Japanese physicist Masao Ninomiya - why Congress stopped the funding for the USA's Superconducting Super Collider in 1993, and why the LHC itself suffered such an embarrassing meltdown shortly after starting up last year.Reading the first paper from a couple of years ago and the follow-up last week, it's not quite clear to me how or why the Higgs contrives to influence the minds of Congressmen, or cause LHC magnets to overheat from its point of discovery some time in the future. Even trying to consider how it would achieve such feats makes my own magnets overheat. The authors clear up some of the mystery by describing their model as starting with "a series of not completely convincing, but still suggestive, assumptions". Some more excitable corners of the physics blogosphere have been considerably less polite about the theory. Even more fun is Nielsen and Ninomiya's suggestion of how their theory might be tested: with a card game. First, take a million or so cards, each scribbled with a future fate for the LHC. Make them overwhelmingly read "carry on", but add just one or two saying "shut the thing down". If you pull one of the "shut down" ones at random, you have pretty good proof that the Higgs is trying to tell you something from the future. I don't know what happens if you disobey the warning: perhaps that's where the thing with the black holes that eat the world come in. I'm not sure anyone in charge needs my advice on this, but I'd be tempted to go ahead with the LHC restart anyway, just on the off-chance Nielsen and Ninomiya are wrong. If the thing keeps on failing to work, at least you have the perfect excuse: it wasn't me, it was the Higgs.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Mystery UFO Halo Over Moscow

This glowing halo in clouds over Moscow looks like an Independence Day style alien attack. The astonishing ring was spotted over the city and captured on video by stunned locals. It has been described as a "true mystery" by a UFO expert. Scores of supernatural enthusiasts have been gripped by the astonishing footage and speculated it could be an alien mothership. The sighting in the clouds is reminiscent of scenes from the 1996 Hollywood blockbuster Independence Day. say it's a bizarre meteorological effect. "Theories range from it being an alien mothership, proof of Russian weather modification technology - a weather weapon - or even a sign of the end of the world.
The video has appeared on YouTube and been viewed more than 100,000 times. The bizarre light was spotted last Wednesday. But meteorologists rejected theories of the supernatural calling it an optical effect. The Moscow's weather bureau said several weather fronts had passed through Moscow as the sun shined from the west to cause the effect. A spokesman for the bureau said: "This is purely an optical effect, although it does look impressive. "If you look closer, you can see sun rays coming through that cloud. Most likely, the sun was setting when the video was being made."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Full Moon Photographer Baffled By UFO Over Filey

A Filey man captured this striking images of an unusual light in the moonlit sky above Filey Bay. Mike Richardson, of Thorntree Drive, said: "I was just experimenting with my digital camera taking shots of the full moon reflecting on the sea. "It was only when I was putting them through my computer that I noticed this luminous lilac shape that appeared to be moving from one image to another."About three-quarters of an hour later I saw four RAF jets flying over my house, which I thought was a bit unusual." Mr Richardson said he was not looking for UFOs and had an open mind about the nature of the light, which he admitted could be camera effects. The pictures were taken between 7.30pm and 8.30pm on Monday.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Researchers Claim Jim Morrison's Ghost Picture Is Not A Fake

It is a story which fans of the Doors know only too well. Travelling American rock historian Brett Meisner decided, one day in 1997, to stop by his grave at the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris to pay respects to his hero. As he did so, he asked his assistant to take a souvenir photograph. Almost as soon as it as taken, the picture was forgotten. But five years later, they found it...and noticed something that would shock the world: A chilling image in the background of, what appeared to be, the dead singer himself. Crowds of people had been there at the same time - up to 1,000 still visit the singer's grave daily - but nobody else recorded the strange image. Word quickly spread across the internet. The Morrison ghost photograph became notorious and, keen to know what had happened, Meisner agreed that both the picture and negative should be sent for extensive analysis.
But, according to a new book, Ghosts Caught on Film 2: Photographs of the Unexplained researchers have, to this day, been unable to explain the picture. A trick of the light has, apparently, been ruled out while image manipulation - the most likely explanation - also appears 'unlikely'. In fact, the book goes even further, and concludes the image is simply unexplainable. Whatever the truth, Meisner's life was never the same after the picture was taken. His marriage broken down and he lost a close friend to a drug overdose - the same thing that killed the Doors legendary frontman. For his part, Meisner is philosophical: "Part of me wishes that I would have never stepped foot into the graveyard in the first place,” says Meisner. “While I also know I’m partly to blame for talking about it in the first place. I should have kept it to myself. “I’ve had strangers come to my home at all hours of the night wanting to talk to me saying they had messages from Jim. “At first it was sort of interesting to see how many people felt a spiritual bond with Jim and the photo, but now the whole vibe seems negative.”

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Archaeologists Discover Dracula's Cellar

Archaeologists have found a cellar in the university town of Pécs in southern Hungary, which they believe to have belonged to Wallachian Duke Vlad III, more commonly known as ”Dracula.” Tamás Fedeles, tutor of medieval and early modern history at Pécs University said his research showed that Vlad III Tepes alias ”Dracula,” lived in a two-story town house on what is now the city’s central square. Fedeles says the Duke of Wallachia (modern-day southern Rumania) owned the house in the 1460s and this is confirmed by a 1489 document that refers to it as ”Drakulya House.” The document contains a detailed description of the house and from this, Fedeles says the cellar most likely belonged to ”Drakulya”. Olivér Gábor, a local archaeologist, agrees. He says this cellar was one of the most impressive medieval cellars found to date. In his opinion, further excavations could turn up interesting finds. However, authorities plan to fill in the site of the newly discovered cellar. This is partly due to the views of the official archaeologist of the Cultural Heritage Protection Service, who expressed the view that the excavations did not unearth any items that might point to an individual owner. Zoltán Kárpáti also disagreed with the position of the house referred to in the medieval document. He did concede, however, that the cellar could have been that of the ”Dracula House” of the document.Based on Kárpáti’s statement, city official Péter Merza said Pécs was not obliged to open the find to the public. He added that the space would have to be filled in such a way that it could be reopened at a later date. Meanwhile, the English-language website Pestiside noted cynically that the discovery was very close to the city’s upcoming tenure as the European Capital of Culture next year, saying it was ”suspicious.” The character of Count Dracula, who actually lived from c. 1431 to 1476 was made famous by the 19th Century Anglo-Irish novelist Bram Stoker, and was not closely based on the life of Voivode (Duke) Vlad III. Unlike the story character, Vlad’s castle was in northern Wallachia, at Târgovişte, not in Transylvania, as in the book. Nor did he have anything to do with vampire cults. He was, however, reportedly very cruel and stories about his cruelty were circulated even during his lifetime, with pamphlets circulated about him as far away as Germany and Russia. His nickname, ”Tepes” is Romanian for ”Impaler,” while his father, Vlad Dracul’s name refers to the Society of the Dragon, an order of knights founded by the Hungarian King Zsigmond (Sigismund).

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Oval UFO And Small 'Creature' Reported By California Man

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pub Landlady Plans An Exorcism To Get Rid Of Ghostly Barman

A pub landlady is calling in an exorcist to get read of a ghost which she claims is topping up regulars' pints. Janice McCormack says the spirit is costing her a fortune as it tops up beers. Mrs McCormack, 60, said: 'I know it sounds very strange. But it happens when customers pop to the toilet or put their pint down for a second or two, and when they turn around there is an extra inch of beer.' She has nicknamed the ghost 'Reedy' after legendary actor and drinker Oliver Reed and said he has been haunting the Apsley House in Southsea, Hampshire, after she took over the lease ten years ago. Since January the generous ghoul has been mysteriously re-fuelling regulars' glasses. Mrs McCormack, who runs the pub with husband Patrick, said: 'My regulars love it but it is costing me because people are drinking less.'We are getting more people through the door but it seems to be people expecting a cheap, never-ending pint. 'It is all a bit strange and it is driving me round the bend a bit. It makes stock take an absolute nightmare.' To the disappointment of thrifty drinkers, she now plans to hold a seance to ask the poltergeist to quit, and if that fails, she will seek an exorcist to get him out. Regular John Sanders, 27, said: 'I will certainly miss old Reedy because he always keeps me topped up. 'It is a novelty but if the pub is going to lose money then perhaps he'll have to move to a different one. 'You were always guaranteed a hangover when you drank in the Apsley - and you'd always have money left in your pocket for a kebab on the way home.' The Apsley was formally a Victorian girls school before being used by city councillors as their offices and was turned into a pub in the 1960s.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bizarre Eyes In The sky

IS this someone looking down on us with their head in the clouds? This evil face stares from the sky through a bizarre cloud formation. Captured early morning, the blue sky adds a sinister look to its huge eyes.
The footage was caught by Mehmet Candar, 18, on his mobile phone in the Bozkir town of Konya, Turkey. Mehmet said that he and his uncle woke up early in the morning to capture a special dove on camera, which is usually seen at dawn. "We were passing by the mosque when we realised this unusual image was in the sky," he said. "I was scared while filming it and my uncle went on shooting because the image was so amazing and surprising."

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Grotto Statue Took On Human Form And Wept, Say Witnesses

Visitors to a remote grotto have claimed a statue wept and crosses appeared and disappeared in the night sky this week. A group of 14 people, who had gathered at the statue of the Virgin Mary, in a rocky outcrop near the town of Dungloe, Co Donegal, on Tuesday night, were transfixed as they watched the phenomenon, which they said lasted almost an hour. "It was a crazy evening. It was absolutely amazing. I am still on an emotional high. All but one person seemed to see the same thing," recalled James Boyle, from Ardara, who was at the site with his wife Margaret and children, Martin (10) and Mary (11). The Kerrytown shrine is visited by thousands of pilgrims annually, after first becoming the subject of a religious apparition 70 years ago. James explained how the group had been drawn there last Tuesday night because of a claim by Ballyfermot-based faith healer Joe Coleman that the Virgin Mary had told him in a channelled message that she would appear at the shrine on September 29 at 8pm. "We went into the shelter facing the rock and at a few minutes to eight someone suggested we should start the rosary. We had no sooner started than someone shouted 'look up'."To the left of the cross, another cross appeared in the sky and as soon as it disappeared, another one appeared. It lasted about 10 minutes," he explained. Then people began noticing that the white statue with its red heart had begun changing colour and form. "She appeared to have a human face and her head turned and she looked at people. She looked down at the children who were at the front," he said. One woman explained how the statue began crying and she went up to dry the tears. "The tears were running down from her eyes," she told Highland Radio. Speaking to the Irish Independent from his Dublin home, Mr Coleman said that the Virgin Mary, who has been appearing to him for many years, had communicated to him that she would make herself known at Kerrytown on September 29. He had passed on the details of that message to a small group of people who attended a healing service organised by him in Dungloe last June. He added that a lot of priests in Co Donegal did not believe he was doing his healing work for the love of God. Dungloe parish priest, Father Seamus Meehan, said last night that there had been talk about the Kerrytown grotto for years. "But I would be kind of sceptical about it myself," he added.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Annoying Buzz Plaguing Neighbourhood

Researchers are trying to pinpoint what goes hum in the night for red-eyed residents in the northwest Calgary neighbourhood of Ranchlands left sleep-starved from noise pollution. Since last year, the neighbourhood has been plagued by an irritating -- and mysterious -- sound which Ranchlands Community Association president Terry Avramenko likens to "a diesel engine on low idle." "I haven't had a good night's sleep since March," added the 28-year Ranchlands resident, referring to when his home started playing host to the annoying hum. "It never increases in volume and it never decreases in volume ... in my house, it's just enough that during the day you don't notice it but when the house is quiet at night and I go to bed, I can pick it up." The low-decibel dilemma first sounded its arrival in July 2008 at one residence, then was quickly noticed by other homeowners -- with Avramenko estimating about 20 homes have been affected.The city disconnected all utilities from the first home to isolate the source, but the incessant drone stubbornly remained. A volunteer research team led by U of C professor Marcia Epstein and noise engineer Richard Patching has since lent its expert ears to the conundrum and updated residents last night (WED) at the community association's annual general meeting. Theories abound about the irritation's origins, said Patching. "It's a bit of a detective story and part of the trick is getting the measurements and finding out when it's happening and finding out what we can tie it in with," he said. "There are a number of possibilities ... the utilities that are distributed, it could be waterworks, it could be telephone, it could be building ventilation systems, it could be electromagnetic." Researchers hope more people beyond the handful who have signed up will allow acoustic testing at their homes -- even those not driven to sleepless distraction.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Vampire Worshiper Accused Of Trying To Lure Girl, 12

A self proclaimed vampire worshiper is accused of plotting to kidnap a 12-year-old girl from South Boston who he met online. Bryan Confere, 20, was under indictment for child molestation in West Virginia and out on bail when he was caught by Boston police.Officers learned that Confere was traveling with a 16-year-old girl from Pennsylvania when he went to pick up the girl from South Boston. He was arrested just doors from the girl's home on Bowen Street. Confere was ordered held and faces seven years in prison if he's convicted.