According to Spain’s El Mondo newspaper, the unnamed man lost consciousness after being struck by lightning in the groin on Thursday night, with the bolt travelling down his leg and striking the ground.
His son called paramedics who later treated him for burns to the scrotum and feet at the scene in Madrid’s suburb Tres Cantos.
He was then taken to Madrid’s Hospital de la Paz where tests showed his heart and brain functions were not affected by the lightning strike.
The man is said to be in a stable condition in hospital.
The incredible story has unsurprisingly gone viral, with the original piece receiving over 1,000 tweets and 7,000 ‘likes’ on Facebook.
Archive for May 8th, 2012
Posted by Xeno on May 8, 2012
Posted by Xeno on May 8, 2012
It sometimes seems like there is a huge swath of the general public that will just believe anything — they are immune to skepticism and compelled to accept the most obvious scams. These delusions can be relatively harmless — believe in spoon-bending and perpetual motion if you must. But some fakers are very, very dangerous. At the worst end of the spectrum, in my estimation, are faith healers. They can cause real harm to the victims they parade before the rest of us — and even more to those, as I will show, whom they give false hope and ignore.
Johnny Carson and I shared several illuminating moments on The Tonight Show, the most satisfying one by far being a 1986 episode in which we revealed the blatant cheating and deception of TV evangelist Peter Popoff — the shrieking, frenetic, Bible-flaunting preacher who is still invoking invisible healing from divine sources on TV.
That definitive exposé should have spelled finis to his act. Johnny didn’t live long enough to know this, but only a few years after he’d been exposed Popoff took in $1 million more annually than he got back in 1986!
We had discovered that Popoff was using a hidden electronic earpiece to communicate with his wife Elizabeth, who was backstage relaying information she’d found out by interviewing prospects before the show. She would whisper into Popoff’s ear electronically, and he would seem to have a gift.
My team then — the mentalist Banachek, private investigator Alec Jason, postman-turned-actor Don Henvick, and several others — visited Popoff “revivals” in several cities. The clincher came when Henvick disguised as a woman named Bernice, was “called out” (The Holy Spirit had notified Popoff of her need for healing, you see) and was cured of uterine cancer, even though he lacked a uterus.
Now, that is a miracle.
Don — as a man — had already been “healed” of alcoholism by Popoff in San Francisco, and this drag act turned out to be the fraudulent preacher’s undoing.
First, Elizabeth said to her husband via their secret electronic link:
“Peter, there’s one there that has a beard. Looks like she has a beard. Her name is Bernice Meticall. She can’t walk. She gets real tired and Peter, the doctors think she has, doctors think she might have cancer of the uterus. She can walk. She can walk. That’s one of our rentals.”
(“One of our rentals” refers to a wheelchairs that these swindlers give to people who can walk but are wheeled in as a “courtesy,” only to rise to the amazement of an unwitting TV audience.)
Then, just as Don rose from the wheelchair and started to walk, Elizabeth “saw the light.” She started screaming to Popoff:
That’s a woman? That’s not a woman! Hey! Is that the — isn’t that the guy who was in Anaheim? Pete! That’s the man who was in Anaheim that you said — that had arthritis. Do you remember that man? The way he was — let’s go on to the next! Get rid of him! Remember the guy who was on the news the other day? Remember that guy? When he went out — that was it! That’s the same guy who was in Anaheim! We’re gonna move to the other side. We don’t like this. There’s some funny bunnies out there.
This, and many other examples, is covered in full in my book The Faith Healers, the first and only exposé of Popoff, which I believe was the inspiration for Steve Martin’s 1992 movie Leap of Faith (though his writers chose to have the villain himself “saved” in the end, rather than being exposed.) I take some comfort in the fact that the movie was made, even if I was not directly credited, and even though the script appears to take quotes directly from my book …
Posted by Xeno on May 8, 2012
Web wanderers are more likely to get a computer virus by visiting a religious website than by peering at porn, according to a study released on Tuesday.
“Drive-by attacks” in which hackers booby-trap legitimate websites with malicious code continue to be a bane, the US-based anti-virus vendor Symantec said in its Internet Security Threat Report.
Websites with religious or ideological themes were found to have triple the average number of “threats” that those featuring adult content, according to Symantec.
“It is interesting to note that websites hosting adult/pornographic content are not in the top five, but ranked tenth,” Symantec said in the report.
“We hypothesize that this is because pornographic website owners already make money from the Internet and, as a result, have a vested interest in keeping their sites malware-free; it’s not good for repeat business.”
The report was based on information gathered last year by the Symantec Global Intelligence Network, which monitors cyber attack activity in more than 200 countries through its services and sensors.
Symantec said that it blocked 5.5 billion attacks in 2011 in an increase of 81 percent from the prior year.
In keeping with trends seen by other Internet security firms, Symantec reported surges in hacks aimed at smartphones or tablet computers and in attacks targeting workers in companies or government agencies.
Posted by Xeno on May 8, 2012
A team at the University of Florida determined the age of skeletal remains and claimed to have gathered evidence that humans reached the Western Hemisphere during the last ice age and lived alongside the giant mammals, now extinct.
The findings, published in the ‘Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology’, address the century-long debate about whether human and mammal remains found at Vero Beach in the early 1900s date to the same time period.
Using rare earth element analysis to measure the concentration of naturally occurring metals absorbed during fossilisation, the researchers showed modern North Americans co-existed with large extinct mammals about 13,000 years ago.
“The Vero site is still the only site where there was an abundance of actual human bones, not just artifacts, associated with the animals,” said co-author Barbara Purdy.
She added: “Scientists who disputed the age of the human remains in the early 20th century just did not want to believe that people were in the Western Hemisphere that early. And 100 years later, every single book written about the prehistory of North America includes this site and the controversy that still exists.”
Following discovery of the fossils in South Florida between 1913 and 1916, some prominent scientists convinced the researchers the human skeletons were from more recent burials and not as old as the animals, a question that remained unanswered because no dating methods existed.
“The uptake of rare earth elements is time-dependent, so an old fossil is going to have very different concentrations of rare earth elements than bones from a more recent human burial. We found the human remains have statistically the same concentrations of rare earth elements as the fossils,” said lead author Bruce MacFadden.
In their research, the team analysed samples from 24 human bones and 48 animal fossils in the Florida Museum’s collections and determined the specimens were all from the late Pleistocene epoch about 13,000 years ago.
While rare earth element analysis method is not as precise as radiocarbon dating, Purdy said the significance of human skeletons found in Vero Beach is unquestionable in terms of their presence in the Western Hemisphere.
“Humans would have been following the animals for a food supply, but that’s about all we know. We know what some of their tools looked like and we know they were hunting the extinct animals but we know practically nothing about their family life, such as how these ancient people raised their children and grieved for their dead,” Purdy said.
Posted by Xeno on May 8, 2012
A BIRMINGHAM author has caused a storm among historians by claiming Jack the Ripper was a WOMAN.
Former solicitor John Morris, 62, has named Welsh-born Lizzie Williams as the Whitechapel monster – and claims she killed her victims because she could not have children.
Lizzie was wife of royal physician Sir John Williams, himself seen as a prime suspect by many other crime experts.
John’s new book, Jack the Ripper: The Hand of a Woman, was written along with his late father Byron.
The men sifted through thousands of medical and legal documents to draw-up a compelling case for branding Lizzie the killer.
But John, speaking from his current home in Wicklow, Ireland, said their theory has not proved popular among Ripper experts.
He told the Birmingham Mail: “The case for a woman murderer is overwhelming. But unfortunately it does not sit well in some quarters where such a theory flies in the face of long-held beliefs.
“There’s absolutely no doubt that the Ripper was a woman. But because everyone believes that the murderer was a man, all the evidence that points to a woman has always been ignored.”
The Ripper struck five times during a blood-soaked ten weeks in 1888.
The victims – Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly – were all East End prostitutes. Three had their wombs removed, which John believes is significant.
He says Welshwoman Lizzie, born on February 7, 1850, was unable to have children and, in an unhinged state, took terrible revenge on those who could.
Coroner Wynne Baxter said at Annie Chapman’s inquest: “The conclusion that the desire was to possess the missing (body) part seems overwhelming.”
John also points to the facts:
- None of the women was sexually assaulted;
- Personal items were laid out at the feet of Chapman in, according to newspaper reports, ‘a typically feminine manner’;
- Three small buttons from a woman’s boot were found in blood near Catherine Eddowes;
- Remnants of women’s clothing – a cape, skirt and hat – were found in the ashes of Mary Kelly’s fireplace. Mary had never been seen wearing them,
John believes there’s a reason Mary Kelly was targeted – and why the killing spree ended with her death. Lizzie’s husband, Sir John, who ran abortion clinics in Whitechapel, was having an affair with her.
The author added: “There are numerous clues scattered throughout the crimes which, taken individually, may mean little, but when grouped together a strong case for a woman murderer begins to emerge.”
Soon after the grisly deaths, Lizzie suffered a nervous breakdown. She died of cancer in 1912, having never been quizzed by police over the murders.
Jack the Ripper: The Hand of a Woman is published by Seren Books.
Posted by Xeno on May 8, 2012
A federal jury found on Monday that Google Inc. infringed Oracle Corp. copyrights, but its decision appeared unlikely to require Google pay a significant amount for damages.
The jury decided that when Google was developing its Android mobile phone software it made use of Oracle’s Java interfaces, or essential building blocks for applications. But it was unable to decide whether that its use was protected by a fair-use doctrine that permits some limited use of copyrighted materials.
The jury separately found that Google infringed a small amount of Java code as it developed Android.
Posted by Xeno on May 8, 2012
Although Christopher Columbus is widely credited as the ‘discoverer’ of America, a new loan form to the first sailor to find North America hints that other expeditions might have found the continent BEFORE 1492.
The loan to John Cabot – discovered by historical detective work – makes reference to ‘THE new land’, hinting that sailors had discovered America BEFORE Cabot or Columbus.
Christopher Columbus famously sailed to the Caribbean islands in 1492 – but with a royal patent from Henry VII of England, John Cabot, a Venetian merchant, sailed from Bristol to North America in 1497. The new discovery shows that the first European to set foot in North America since the Viking Leif Ericsson in the 11th Century was financed by a loan of 50 nobles (£16, 13s, 4d) from the Bardi banking house.
Just like Columbus, the Engish voyages were financed by the great Italian merchant banks of the era, receiving the loan in 1496. John Cabot – also known as Zuan Caboto or Giovanni Chabotte due to his Venetian birth – made two voyages, one in the summer of 1496, one in 1497.
On the second journey, he landed in Newfoundland.
The entry itself is also curious in that the reference to ‘the new land’ implies that the money was given so that Cabot could find a land that was already known about.
As such, it may revive claims that Bristol merchants had discovered North America at an earlier time. Dr Guidi-Bruscoli is more cautious on this score, however. ‘While the entry implies that the Bardi believed in a prior discovery, we can’t assume this had occurred.
‘It is likely the Bardi were referring to the mythical ‘Island of Brasil’, which Bristol mariners certainly claimed had been found by one of their number in times past. Whether this story can be equated with an actual discovery is much more uncertain, however.’
Dr Jones agrees. ‘It would be wonderful to find that Bristol mariners had first visited North America before the 1480s – if only because it would cast new light on the originality of Columbus’ venture of 1492. Right now, however, we can’t be sure about that. Although one never knows, that could change.’
Dr Evan Jones, who leads the project in Bristol, describes the new evidence as a ‘fantastic find’. He adds, ‘We have long known that Italy’s great merchant banks were key to the success of the ventures launched by Portugal and Spain. But it always seemed that the English ventures were an exception. Now it is clear that they too were part of network of Italian-financed expeditions to explore beyond the limits of the known world.’
The payment of 50 nobles (£16 13s. 4d.) was made so that ‘Giovanni Chabotte’ of Venice, as he is styled in the document, could undertake expeditions ‘to go and find the new land’.
The second of these was to result in the European discovery of North America – Christopher Columbus not having ventured beyond the Caribbean islands. Dr Guidi-Bruscoli, who is based at the University of Florence and is also a Fellow at Queen Mary in London, found the financial records after being contacted by Jones and his co-researcher, Margaret Condon. …
Finding out about the funding of Cabot’s voyages is exciting because, while it has long been known that the explorer received political support from the King, the identity and motivations of those who paid for the expeditions has never been known. …
Reactive arthritis from Chlamydia beat Columbus, in the end. Columbus is the only serial killer rapist with an American holiday (the 2nd Monday in October) named after him. On one of his journeys landed on what is now the Dominican Republic. The natives there were the Taino “Indians” which Columbus and his men killed and used as sex slaves.
“While Columbus once referred to the Taino Indians as cannibals, a story made up by Columbus – which is to this day still taught in some US schools – to help justify his slaughter and enslavement of these people. He wrote to the Spanish monarchs in 1493: “It is possible, with the name of the Holy Trinity, to sell all the slaves which it is possible to sell…Here there are so many of these slaves, and also brazilwood, that although they are living things they are as good as gold…”
Columbus and his men also used the Taino as sex slaves: it was a common reward for Columbus’ men for him to present them with local women to rape. As he began exporting Taino as slaves to other parts of the world, the sex-slave trade became an important part of the business, as Columbus wrote to a friend in 1500: “A hundred castellanoes (a Spanish coin) are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten (years old) are now in demand.” – Thom Hartmann
… “Because Columbus captured more Indian slaves than he could transport to Spain in his small ships, he put them to work in mines and plantations which he, his family and followers created throughout the Caribbean. His marauding band hunted Indians for sport and profit – beating, raping, torturing, killing, and then using the Indian bodies as food for their hunting dogs. Within four years of Columbus’ arrival on Hispaniola, his men had killed or exported one-third of the original Indian population of 300,000. Within another 50 years, the Taino people had been made extinct [editor's note: the old assumption that the Taino became extinct is now open to serious question] – the first casualties of the holocaust of American Indians. The plantation owners then turned to the American mainland and to Africa for new slaves to follow the tragic path of the Taino.
This was the great cultural encounter initiated by Christopher Columbus. This is the event we celebrate each year on Columbus Day. The United States honors only two men with federal holidays bearing their names. In January we commemorate the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr., who struggled to lift the blinders of racial prejudice and to cut the remaining bonds of slavery in America. In October, we honor Christopher Columbus, who opened the Atlantic slave trade and launched one of the greatest waves of genocide known in history.” – Jack Weatherford
We’d be better off just celebrating the fact that it is the 2nd Monday in October.