Xenophilia (True Strange Stuff)

Blog of the real Xenophilius Lovegood, a slightly mad scientist

Archive for September 8th, 2010

Hijack ‘suspects’ alive and well

Posted by Anonymous on September 8, 2010

Another of the men named by the FBI as a hijacker in the suicide attacks on Washington and New York has turned up alive and well.

Abdelaziz Al Omari Khalid Al-MidharThe identities of four of the 19 suspects accused of having carried out the attacks are now in doubt.

Saudi Arabian pilot Waleed Al Shehri was one of five men that the FBI said had deliberately crashed American Airlines flight 11 into the World Trade Centre on 11 September.

His photograph was released, and has since appeared in newspapers and on television around the world.

Now he is protesting his innocence from Casablanca, Morocco.

He told journalists there that he had nothing to do with the attacks on New York and Washington, and had been in Morocco when they happened. He has contacted both the Saudi and American authorities, according to Saudi press reports.

He acknowledges that he attended flight training school at Daytona Beach in the United States, and is indeed the same Waleed Al Shehri to whom the FBI has been referring.

But, he says, he left the United States in September last year, became a pilot with Saudi Arabian airlines and is currently on a further training course in Morocco.

Waleed Al Shehri Mistaken identity

Abdulaziz Al Omari, another of the Flight 11 hijack suspects, has also been quoted in Arab news reports.

He says he is an engineer with Saudi Telecoms, and that he lost his passport while studying in Denver.

Another man with exactly the same name surfaced on the pages of the English-language Arab News.

The second Abdulaziz Al Omari is a pilot for Saudi Arabian Airlines, the report says.

Meanwhile, Asharq Al Awsat newspaper, a London-based Arabic daily, says it has interviewed Saeed Alghamdi.

He was listed by the FBI as a hijacker in the United flight that crashed in Pennsylvania.

And there are suggestions that another suspect, Khalid Al Midhar, may also be alive.

FBI Director Robert Mueller acknowledged on Thursday that the identity of several of the suicide hijackers is in doubt.

via BBC NEWS | Middle East | Hijack ‘suspects’ alive and well.

Posted in Politics, War | Leave a Comment »

Grass Valley Man Announces National Bigfoot Hunt

Posted by Anonymous on September 8, 2010

A local man says he came face-to-face with Bigfoot. He said he’s getting ready to spot the creature again using balloons.

A Grass Valley miner used to camp for up to five months every year — just him and his tent, until one night he saw a creature so mysterious he doesn’t rest so easy outdoors anymore.

“It just wandered left and right down the canyon here. Then it went 30 feet from car. It was close enough I could reach through the tent and touch it. My heart beating so hard I could hear it,” said William Barnes.

William says he will never be the same after his encounter. This gold miner was camping near Greenhorn Creek in July 1997, when at 2 a.m., he came face to face with Bigfoot.

“It took me 4 years to mention it to the first person — one of my best friends,” said William.

Once William opened up about his heart-stopping sighting with the 500-pound mysterious ape, he found out he was not alone.

“About 80 percent don’t report it because they get ridiculed,” said William.

But William says 16 people in the area told him they’ve seen the same monstrous mystery.

If there are all these sightings, where are the footprints? William hasn’t seen any in Nevada County. He just says look on the ground.

William will set out on a road less traveled, planning to spend a year and $200,000 hunting for the Sasquatch from the sky.

“I want to film it in the wild not for one minute not for five minutes, but 45 minutes,” said William.

He plans to fly 35-foot helium balloons over 13 different states where sightings were reported watching and recording with thermal imaging cameras.

“If you’re breathing at nighttime I can see you,” said William.

He says Project Falcon, as he calls it, will prove to the world his encounter was real.

“I have no doubt what I saw; no doubt I guarantee I know they exist,” said William.

William is paralyzed from his knees down. It’s not going to be an easy mission, but he says he’ll do what it takes to capture this creature in its natural state. And then maybe he’ll be able to rest at night.

He’s still waiting for the balloons to be built. He’s also waiting for funding from groups as far away as Russia.

via Grass Valley Man Announces National Bigfoot Hunt – cbs13.com.

Posted in Cryptozoology | Leave a Comment »

Bee decline already having dramatic effect on pollination of plants

Posted by Anonymous on September 8, 2010

A decline in bees and global warming are having a damaging effect on the pollination of plants, new research claims.

Researchers have found that pollination levels of some plants have dropped by up to 50 per cent in the last two decades.

The “pollination deficit” could see a dramatic reduction in the yield from crops.

The research, carried out in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado, is the first to show that the effect is real and serves as a “warning” to Britain which if anything has seen an even greater decline in bees and pollinators.

“This serves as a warning to other countries,” said Professor James Thomson at the University of Toronto, who carried out the research.

“For quite some time people have been suggesting that pollinators are in decline and that this could have an effect on pollination.

“I believe that this is the first real demonstration that pollination levels are getting worse. I believe it is a significant decline. I believe the pollination levels have dropped by as much as 50 per cent.

“Bee numbers may have declined at our research site, but we suspect that a climate-driven mismatch between the times when flowers open and when bees emerge from hibernation is a more important factor.”

According to a previous study, England’s bees are vanishing faster than anywhere else in Europe, with more than half of hives dying out over the last 20 years.

Butterflies and other insects are also in decline due to habitat loss and climate change.

The situation is so serious that the government has launched a £10 million project to find out what is causing bees and other insects to disappear.

It is estimated bees are responsible for one in three mouthfuls of our food, and that insect pollinators contribute £440 million to the British economy through their role in fertilising crops.

For the latest study, Prof Thomson carried out a 17-year examination of the wild lily in the Rocky Mountains.

It is one of the longest-term studies of pollination ever done.

It reveals a progressive decline in pollination over the years, with particularly noteworthy pollination deficits early in the season. …

via Bee decline already having dramatic effect on pollination of plants – Telegraph.

Posted in Biology, Food, Survival | 1 Comment »

Swarming spacecraft to self-destruct for greater good

Posted by Anonymous on September 8, 2010

The swarm comes first (Image: ESA/Medialab)Future space probes that operate in cooperative swarms must commit hara-kiri if they begin to fail and risk damaging their comrades, says a recent patent application by NASA.

The agency foresees a day when space missions are undertaken not by one large spacecraft but by swarming formations of much smaller, cheaper ones. Such craft could collectively provide a “floating optics” system for a space telescope comprising separate craft flying in formation, for instance.

However, should one spacecraft in such a swarm begin to fail and risk a calamitous collision with another, it must sense its end is nigh and put itself on a course that takes it forever away from the swarm – for the greater good of the collective.

Failing that – perhaps because it has too little fuel to move – it must “passivate” itself by deactivating all its systems. This would mean discharging its batteries so as to pose no risk of shock in a collision, and venting any last vestiges of fuel that could explode in a crash. Then its neighbours would be programmed to navigate around the lifeless satellite.

Fiery end

To make this altruistic behaviour possible, NASA engineers Michael Vinchey and Emil Vassev at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, want to patent the idea of control software that autonomously guides all the craft in a mission while constantly checking up on critical electronic systems in each one.

When certain failure modes are sensed, the craft must “self-sacrifice voluntarily by transformation or self-destruction”, the application says. The inventors liken this to the way bee colonies operate, with the workers cooperating to ensure that the mission – that is, reproduction by the queen – succeeds at all costs, even at their own peril.

It’s not the first time spacecraft have been put forward for the ultimate sacrifice. The Surrey Space Centre in Guildford, UK, is designing a probe solar sail that can be raised at the end of its mission to brake it against the upper atmosphere, leading it to burn up. And the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has proposed “suicide satellites” that would attach to large chunks of space junk and fire a rocket to propel the junk into the atmosphere – again, to meet a fiery fate. …

via Swarming spacecraft to self-destruct for greater good – space – 06 September 2010 – New Scientist.

Posted in Space, Technology | Leave a Comment »

Aircraft sets hypersonic record at six times the speed of sound

Posted by Anonymous on September 8, 2010

An aircraft has set a record for hypersonic flight by flying more than three minutes at Mach 6 – six times the speed of sound.

The X-51A Waverider was released from a B-52 Stratofortress off the southern California coast and its scramjet engine accelerated the aircraft to Mach 6, and it flew autonomously for 200 seconds before losing acceleration. At that point the test was terminated.

The Air Force said the previous record for a hypersonic flight was 12 seconds.

“We are ecstatic to have accomplished many of the X-51A test points during its first hypersonic mission,” said Charlie Brink, an X-51A program manager with the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

“We equate this leap in engine technology as equivalent to the post-World War II jump from propeller-driven aircraft to jet engines,” he said.

The Waverider was built for the Air Force by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne and Boeing Co.

Joe Vogel, Boeing’s director of hypersonics, said, “This is a new world record and sets the foundation for several hypersonic applications, including access to space, reconnaissance, strike, global reach and commercial transportation.”

Four X-51A cruisers have been built for the Air Force, and the remaining three will be tested this autumn.

“No test is perfect,” Mr Brink said, “and I’m sure we will find anomalies that we will need to address before the next flight.” …

via Aircraft sets hypersonic record at six times the speed of sound – Telegraph.

Posted in Technology, Travel | Leave a Comment »

Dinner at 100 miles per hour

Posted by Anonymous on September 8, 2010

Perry Watkins from Buckinghamshire has set what he hopes is a new world record for the fastest piece of furniture and it just happens to be a Queen Anne dining table.

The table, complete with dinner trimmings, reached a top speed of more than 113 miles per hour.

via BBC News – Dinner at 100 miles per hour.

In Great Britain, a speed demon hit the road with all the comforts of home.

Perry Watkins, 47, is going for a record on a race track, but his vehicle of choice is a Queen Anne table complete with a silver service.

It hit an average speed of nearly 114 miles per hour, peaking at 130.

Guinness must still ratify the data. The table is competing with a record of 92 miles per hour set by a speeding sofa three years ago.

Watkins says the biggest challenge is the ever-flapping tablecloth.

via ABC

Posted in Sports, Strange | Leave a Comment »

Colombian Edward Nino Hernandez Named World’s Shortest Man at 27 Inches

Posted by Anonymous on September 8, 2010

Edward Nino Hernandez is in many ways a typical 24-year-old Colombian male. He loves to dance reggaeton, dreams of owning a car – preferably a Mercedes- and wants to see the world.

Top on his list of people he would like to meet are Jackie Chan, Sylvester Stallone and former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.

What sets Nino (pronounced NEE-nyoh) apart is his size.

He is slightly taller than a piece of carry-on luggage and weighs just 22 pounds (10 kilograms).

Nino has just been officially certified as the world’s shortest living man by Guinness World Records, measuring 27 inches (70 centimeters).

“He hasn’t grown since he was 2 years old,” his mother, Noemi Hernandez, said of the oldest of her five living children.

The previous titleholder was He Pingping of China, who was 1.5 inches (4 centimeters) taller and died March 13. The Guinness people discovered Nino afterward.

They say Nino’s reign is not likely to last long, however.

Khagendra Thapa Magar of Nepal is expected to take over after he turns 18 on Oct. 14. He measures about 22 inches (56 centimeters) and is currently recognized by Guinness as the shortest living teen.

Doctors never could explain why Nino is so small, his parents say.

“They never gave us a diagnosis,” his mother, Noemi Hernandez, said during an interview in the family’s sparely furnished apartment in Bosa, a mostly poor district of southern Bogota.

Hernandez, 43, said Nino weighed just 3.3 pounds (1.5 kilograms) at birth and was 15 inches (38 centimeters) long.

She said doctors at the National University studied him until he was 3, then lost interest. She and her husband, a security guard, lost a daughter who was similarly small in 1992 when she was about to complete a year of life. …

via Colombian Edward Nino Hernandez Named World’s Shortest Man at 27 Inches.

Posted in Biology | Leave a Comment »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 905 other followers