Xenophilia (True Strange Stuff)

Blog of the real Xenophilius Lovegood, a slightly mad scientist

Archive for December 20th, 2010

Amazing Satellite Images Of The Ghost Cities Of China

Posted by Anonymous on December 20, 2010

Zhengzhou New District residential towers -- EMPTYThis $19 billion development is packed with blocks of empty housesThe hottest market in the hottest economy in the world is Chinese real estate. The big question is how vulnerable is this market to a crash.

One red flag is the vast number of vacant homes spread through China, by some estimates up to 64 million vacant homes.

We’ve tracked down satellite photos of these unnerving places, based on a report from Forensic Asia Limited. They call it a clear sign of a bubble: “There’s city after city full of empty streets and vast government buildings, some in the most inhospitable locations. It is the modern equivalent of building pyramids. With 20 new cities being built every year, we hope to be able to expand our list going forward.”

See more: And Now Presenting: Amazing Satellite Images Of The Ghost Cities Of China.

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8000 year-old Sun temple found in Bulgaria

Posted by Anonymous on December 20, 2010

The oldest temple of the Sun has been discovered in northwest Bulgaria, near the town of Vratsa, aged at more then 8000 years, the Bulgarian National Television (BNT) reported on December 15 2010.

The Bulgarian ‘Stonehenge’ is hence about 3000 years older than its illustrious English counterpart. But unlike its more renowned English cousin, the Bulgarian sun temple was not on the surface, rather it was dug out from under tons of earth and is shaped in the form of a horse shoe, the report said.

The temple was found near the village of Ohoden. According to archaeologists, the prehistoric people used the celestial facility to calculate the seasons and to determine the best times for sowing and harvest. The site was also used for rituals, offering gifts to the Sun for fertility as BNT reported.

This area of Bulgaria was previously made famous because remnants of the oldest people who lived in this part of Europe were found.

Archaeologists also found dozens of clay and stone disks in the area of the temple.

via 8000 year-old Sun temple found in Bulgaria.

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Harrods Christmas light message goes viral

Posted by Anonymous on December 20, 2010

Harrods Christmas light F**K OFF HARRODS message goes viralThe online blog spot ‘dashperiod’ has sparked a viral campaign online, which is hitting twitter by storm, after it sensationally revealed that a disgruntled Harrods Father Christmas has written F**K OFF HARRODS in Christmas lights on the side of the world famous department store.

According to dashperiod, the masterpiece is the work of a disgruntled employee, fired by Harrods from his job as the toy department’s Father Christmas. The website claims that he “took revenge last night in spectacular style.”

The employee is reported to have displayed his message by “gaining access to a maintenance control room.”

Lloyd Hudson, 35 from Ilford, Essex, was able to locate the chart and corresponding switches for Harrods 10,000 external light and played havoc with the festive decorations, according to dashperiod.

Reports have revealed that the Father Christmas impersonator “had drunk the best part of two bottles of whiskey” and took part in a standoff with security guard and police for an hour and a half.

Apparently it is his drunken behaviour that got him fired in the first place, according to a spokesperson from the prestigious store.

Dashperiod reported Knightsbridge visitors were stunned, quoting one woman as saying, “I was with my grandchildren. We had just gotten off the bus. I said ‘look everybody’ and pointed up to the lights – but you know what the lights said? They said f**k off. And that is not an appropriate message for a child. At least not at Christmas time.”

After causing a raucous storm on Twitter and becoming a top trending hit on Google, it has been revealed that the whole affair was a lighthearted joke, and in fact Harrods world renowned Christmas décor remain unharmed and glittering as ever. …

via Harrods Christmas light F**K OFF HARRODS message goes viral on Twitter – Business News – Business Review Europe.

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Frozen Cleveland lighthouse draws visitors

Posted by Anonymous on December 20, 2010

Days of unrelenting gale force winds which began on December 13 churned up white caps on Lake Erie. Those monster waves crashed across the Cleveland Harbor breakwall and West Pier lighthouse.

The Arctic temperatures did the rest. The spray froze instantly and layer upon layer accumulated on the lake shore structures until they appeared to be solid ice.

Sunshine coming through breaks in the clouds then illuminated the ice wonders giving them a seemingly divine, otherworldly appearance.

via WKYC.com | Cleveland, OH | Frozen Cleveland lighthouse draws visitors.

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Raptor-like dinosaur discovered in eastern Utah

Posted by Anonymous on December 20, 2010

Houston Museum of Natural Science Visiting Curator ...Scientists have discovered the oldest reported raptor-like dinosaur in eastern Utah.

The Bureau of Land Management said Thursday that the Geminiraptor suarezarum (swah-REHZ’-ur-uhm) is believed to be 125 million years old.

Most of the known raptors discovered in North America date to between 72 and 75 million years ago.

The dinosaur was found on BLM land near Green River, an area about 180 miles southeast of Salt Lake City that has become notable for the number of new species discovered there.

Bones from the dinosaur are being curated at the College of Eastern Utah’s Prehistoric Museum in Price.

Eight new species of dinosaurs have been named in Utah this year, seven of which were found on federal land. …

via Raptor-like dinosaur discovered in eastern Utah – Yahoo! News.

Posted in Archaeology, Biology | Leave a Comment »

The fearless woman who’s lucky to be alive

Posted by Anonymous on December 20, 2010

John von Radowitz – A woman who knows no fear because of damage to a key emotion centre in her brain is lucky to be alive, scientists said today.

The US woman, known only as SM, lives in a poor and dangerous neighbourhood and has been the victim of numerous crimes.

Over the years she has shrugged off being held at knife and gunpoint, death threats, and assaults, and was once nearly killed by an act of domestic violence.

Yet even when her life was in peril her behaviour “lacked any sense of desperation or urgency”, said researchers. She was simply unafraid.

In tests for which she gave her consent, SM showed no hint of fear when exposed to snakes and spiders, during a trip to one of the world’s scariest haunted houses, or while watching clips of spine-chilling horror films.

But other emotions such as happiness and sadness remained entirely intact.

SM suffers from a rare condition that has destroyed her amygdala, an almond-shaped region of the brain strongly linked to fear reactions.

Reporting on her case today in the journal Current Biology, US scientists said this had left her vulnerable to walking into dangerous situations.

Neuropsychologist Justin Feinstein, one of the researchers at the University of Iowa, said: “The nature of fear is survival and the amygdala helps us stay alive by avoiding situations, people, or objects that put our life in danger.

“Because SM is missing her amygdala, she is also missing the ability to detect and avoid danger in the world. It is quite remarkable that she is still alive.”

The biggest surprise for the scientists was SM’s reaction to spiders and snakes, both of which she claimed to “hate”.

Yet at an exotic pet store she had to be prevented from touching a venomous tarantula, and displayed a “compulsive desire” to handle the larger and more dangerous snakes.

The researchers also took her to Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville, Kentucky, reputed to be one of the most haunted sites in the world.

Once a year staff at the sanatorium add to the spooky atmosphere by dressing as monsters and ghosts that attempt to frighten visitors.

Amid screams from other members of her tour group, SM could not be scared – and even gave one of the “monsters” a shock by poking it in the head.

SM “showed no signs of nervousness or apprehension while walking through dark passageways, and was never visibly frightened by any of the numerous attempts to scare her”, the scientists wrote.

On a more serious note, the researchers believe the work could lead to better treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other anxiety conditions. …

via The fearless woman who’s lucky to be alive – Health News, Health & Families – The Independent.

 

Posted in Biology, Strange | Leave a Comment »

Lord Jesus Christ hit by car

Posted by Anonymous on December 20, 2010

The victim might have forgiven the woman who ran him down in a Massachusetts crosswalk, but police haven’t.

Police say a Pittsfield woman has been cited for running down a man named Lord Jesus Christ as he crossed a street in Northampton on Tuesday.

The 50-year-old man is from Belchertown. Officers checked his ID and discovered that, indeed, his legal name is Lord Jesus Christ. He was taken to the hospital for treatment of minor facial injuries and later released, according to the local paper, The Republican.

Christ was in a marked crosswalk at the time of the accident, Capt. Scott Savino told the paper.

Police say 20-year-old Brittany Cantarella was cited for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. ..

via Lord Jesus Christ (his real name) hit by car – U.S. news – Weird news – msnbc.com.

Someone in Belchertown, Massachusetts should catch up with him and ask him a few questions. What would you ask?  No, wait, this can’t be the right guy… This person has actually been in the news before:

The Clapp Memorial Library has taken the unusual step of banning local artist Lord Jesus Christ III from the public facility in response to what they called recurring bad behavior.

The Sept. 8 order issued by the Library Board of Trustees warns Jesus Christ will be subject to criminal charges if he appears in the library again.

Jesus Christ said Tuesday he has contacted a lawyer and is planning to sue the public library for discrimination.

Interviewed in his apartment, which is less than a half-mile away from the town library, Jesus Christ said that all he can conclude is he is being targeted by the library because of who he is.

“I’m black, I’m transsexual and my name is Lord Jesus Christ,” he said.

The 50-year-old Detroit native some years ago had his name legally changed to Lord Jesus Christ III. In an interview with the Republican in May, he said he changed his name because God told him to do it. …

via MassLive

 

 

 

Posted in Religion, Strange | Leave a Comment »

Study finds probable carcinogen in 31 U.S. cities’ tap water

Posted by Anonymous on December 20, 2010

Lyndsey LaytonA new analysis showing the presence of a probable carcinogen in the tap water of 31 cities across the country, including the District and Bethesda, has raised questions about what consumers in those communities can do to reduce their exposure.

The chemical, hexavalent chromium, got public attention via the 2000 film “Erin Brockovich” and has been deemed a “probable carcinogen” by the National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institutes of Health.

Although basic water filters such as those made by Brita and PUR do not remove hexavalent chromium, several reverse-osmosis systems designed for home use can take the chemical out of water.

The analysis, released Monday by the Environmental Working Group, is the first nationwide look at hexavalent chromium in drinking water to be made public. The advocacy group sampled tap water from 35 cities and detected hexavalent chromium in 31 of those communities. Of those, 25 had levels that were higher than a health goal proposed last year by the state of California.

The federal government has not set a limit for hexavalent chromium in drinking water but is reexamining the chemical to decide whether it should impose such restrictions.

Last year, California proposed a “public health goal” for a safe level of hexavalent chromium in drinking water: 0.06 parts per billion. If the state sets a limit, it would be the first in the nation.

Hexavalent chromium was a commonly used industrial chemical until the early 1990s. It is still used in some industries, such as chrome plating and the manufacturing of plastics and dyes. The chemical can also leach into groundwater from natural ores.

Public awareness about the possible health effects of hexavalent chromium was heightened when residents of Hinkley, Calif., accused Pacific Gas & Electric of leaking the chemical into groundwater for more than 30 years. The company paid $333 million in damages in 1996 and pledged to clean up the contamination. The case was the basis for the movie “Erin Brockovich,” which starred Julia Roberts.

But a recent California study found that cancer levels in Hinkley are not elevated. The California Cancer Registry’s third study on the town, released this month, found that cancer rates remained unremarkable from 1988 to 2008. The state survey did not explain why any individual in Hinkley got cancer. State epidemiologist John W. Morgan has said it is still important that PG&E clean up the groundwater contamination, which continues to migrate despite efforts to contain it. …

via Study finds probable carcinogen in 31 U.S. cities’ tap water.

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