Xenophilia (True Strange Stuff)

Blog of the real Xenophilius Lovegood, a slightly mad scientist

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Doctor bets against Traditional Chinese Medicine

Posted by Anonymous on October 24, 2014

A sceptic of traditional Chinese medicine is challenging practitioners of the age-old craft to prove themselves by putting his own money on the line. One has accepted the challenge. At stake is the claim that practitioners can discern whether a woman is pregnant by her pulse.

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a point of contention in China. Although the government is keen to promote its use in the clinic and, in modernized form, as part of drug discovery, some feel that much of it is unproven and that the government is throwing its money away. There have also been high-profile cases of fraud linked to such research, and the practice is criticized for its dependence on endangered species such as the Saiga antelope (Saiga tatarica).

Ah Bao, the online nickname of a burn-care doctor at Beijing Jishuitan hospital, has been an adamant critic of TCM on Chinese social media, often referring to it as “fake”. He issued the challenge on 13 September, and Zhen Yang, a practitioner at the Beijing University of Traditional Medicine, took him up on it.

Ah Bao put up 50,000 yuan (more than US$8,000), and at his urging others have donated more than 50,000 yuan, making the prize worth more than 100,000 yuan total. Ah Bao turned down Nature‘s request to be interviewed, saying that he has been overwhelmed by media attention.

Yang will have to assess with 80% accuracy whether women are pregnant. The two are reportedly working out the terms of the contest, with a tentative set-up reportedly involving 32 women who would be separated by a screen from Yang.

Via Nature

Having 80% accuracy with 32 attempts would be getting at least 25 correct. I’m very curious to see how this goes. Rather than subtle energies, there is a basic difference that might be observed: A typical resting heart rate for a woman is 75 beats per minute and it would be faster, like 80, for a resting pregnant woman. So if the TCM doctor selects any woman over 79 BPM, would that net 80% correct choices? It might, depending on the variability. There may be considerable haggling over the pool having other conditions, their fitness, etc.

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FBI Director: be “deeply skeptical” of government

Posted by Anonymous on October 13, 2014

Americans should be “deeply skeptical” of government power, says FBI Director James Comey, adding that law enforcement should be able to access someone’s telephone only with a court order,

“I believe that Americans should be deeply skeptical of government power,” Comey told CBS News’ Scott Pelley in an interview for “60 Minutes” that will air on Sunday. “You cannot trust people in power.

“The Founders knew that,” he said. “That’s why they divided power among three branches, to set interest against interest.”

Comey, 53, who became FBI chief in September 2013, cautioned that courts must grant law-enforcement agencies permission to telephones if the information is deemed to be critical to a criminal case or national security.

His comments come in light of numerous leaks since last year by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden revealing that agency’s extensive telephone and Internet surveillance programs and cell phones introduced last month by Apple Inc. that were designed to avoid surveillance by law enforcement.

Apple’s new iOS8 operating system for its cellphones and other devices contains personal encoding software to prevent anyone outside of the phone’s owner from accessing its data. Apple will not be able to access the data, Arstechnica.com reports.

“The notion that we would market devices that would allow someone to place themselves beyond the law, troubles me a lot,” Comey said. “As a country, I don’t know why we would want to put people beyond the law.

“That is, sell cars with trunks that couldn’t ever be opened by law enforcement with a court order, or sell an apartment that could never be entered even by law enforcement,” he continued. “Would you want to live in that neighborhood? This is a similar concern.

“The notion that people have devices, again, that with court orders — based on a showing of probable cause in a case involving kidnapping or child exploitation or terrorism — we could never open that phone?” Comey asked. “My sense is that we’ve gone too far when we’ve gone there.”

Link

Awesome. Let’s get back to checks and balances that work.

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Lab grown penises

Posted by Anonymous on October 7, 2014

Organ by organ, we are learning how to regenerate body parts. Lab grown vaginas are already a success, as I previously posted. Now there’s this:

The engineered penises were developed by researchers at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine in North Carolina, USA, and are currently awaiting approval to be tested on humans.

The work is funded by the US Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine, which hopes to use the technology to help soldiers with battlefield injuries. Professor Anthony Atala, director of the institute, told the Observer the target is to get the organs into patients with injuries or congenital abnormalities. The penises would be grown using a patient’s own cells to avoid the risk of immunological rejection after organ transplantation.

Atala previously led a successful project engineering penises for rabbits in 2008. The previous work on rabbits showed that once the tissue was there the body recognises it as its own.

Who will make history by becoming the first joker to add on a second real penis for reasons of … entertainment? It will happen.

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Ebola Is Diagnosed in Texas, First Case Found in the U.S.

Posted by Anonymous on October 1, 2014

http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2014/03/ebola%20outbreaks.jpgA man who took a commercial flight from Liberia that landed in Dallas on Sept. 20 has been found to have the Ebola virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Tuesday. He is the first traveler to have brought the virus to the United States on a passenger plane and the first in whom Ebola has been diagnosed outside of Africa.

As the disease has swept across West Africa, many health experts said it would be only a matter of time before it reached the United States. Hospitals and health departments around the country have been preparing for it, and a number of false alarms have occurred. But this time, the case is real.

The man, who was visiting relatives in the United States, was not ill during the flight, health officials said at a news conference Tuesday evening. Indeed, he was screened before he boarded the flight and had no fever. Because Ebola is not contagious until symptoms develop, there is “zero chance” that the patient infected anyone else on the flight, said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the disease centers. Ebola is spread only by direct contact with body fluids from someone who is ill.

via nytimes.com

For perspective:

The plan to bring two Americans stricken by the Ebola virus back to the United States for treatment has sparked a backlash on social media from some people terrified that the incurable disease will spread here as it has in western Africa.

“Stop the EBOLA patients from entering the U.S.,” Donald Trump tweeted Friday. “Treat them, at the highest level, over there. THE UNITED STATES HAS ENOUGH PROBLEMS!”

This mystifies infectious disease experts, who consider the viruses that cause Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and bird flu much more contagious — and therefore more dangerous to the public. Transmission of Ebola requires direct contact with an infected person’s blood, vomit or feces during the period that he or she is contagious, something that is extremely unlikely for anyone but health-care workers. The virus is not spread by coughing or sneezing. Nor do Americans bury their own dead family members or friends, as some residents of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea must do with Ebola victims.

Via WashPost

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Earth raises a plasma shield to battle solar storms

Posted by Anonymous on March 8, 2014

Earth can raise shields to protect itself against solar storms. For the first time, satellites and ground-based detectors have watched as the planet sends out a tendril of plasma to fight off blasts of charged solar matter. The discovery confirms a long-standing theory about Earth’s magnetic surroundings and offers us a way to keep track of the planet’s defences.

“It’s changed our thinking about how the system operates,” says Joe Borovsky at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado, who was not involved in the research. “Earth doesn’t just sit there and take whatever the solar wind gives it, it can actually fight back.”

Earth is always surrounded by a bubble of magnetism called the magnetosphere, which protects us from the bulk of the solar wind, a stream of high-energy particles constantly flowing from the sun.

But sometimes, the sun’s magnetic field lines can directly link up with Earth’s in a process called magnetic reconnectionMovie Camera, which opens up cracks in the magnetosphere. Charged particles can flow along these lines into Earth’s atmosphere, leading to dazzling auroras as well as geomagnetic storms that can wreak havoc on navigation systems and power grids.

Shields up!

Gas in Earth’s upper atmosphere is ionised by ultraviolet light from the sun, and the resulting plasma becomes trapped by magnetic fields in a doughnut-shaped ring around the planet. Previous observations of this plasmasphere showed that plumes sometimes emerge from this region.

Theory had suggested that an extra-strong electric field from the sun can rip plasma away from the plasmasphere during reconnection, triggering a plume. If this plume reaches the boundary between the earthly and solar magnetic fields, it would create a buffer zone of dense material. This would make it harder for magnetic field lines to meet up and spark further reconnection.

But while ground-based measurements can see a plume forming, their resolution isn’t good enough to tell for sure whether the material reaches the magnetic boundary.

Brian Walsh at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and his colleagues have now clinched it. In January 2013, GPS sensors on the ground mapped electrons in the upper atmosphere and saw a tendril of increased electron density curling away from the north pole, indicating that a plume of plasma was veering off towards the sun.

Ground truth

At the same time, three of NASA’s THEMIS spacecraftMovie Camera, which are designed to study solar storms, crossed through the magnetic boundary during the event. The craft saw a 100-fold increase in the number of electrons at the boundary, which would probably have been deposited by the plume.

“For the first time, we were able to monitor the entire cycle of this plasma stretching from the atmosphere to the boundary between Earth’s magnetic field and the sun’s,” says Walsh. “It gets to that boundary and helps protect us, keeps these solar storms from slamming into us.”

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25176-earth-raises-a-plasma-shield-to-battle-solar-storms.html

Awesome, Earth. Good job.

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“Love cost the U.S. Government millions of dollars”

Posted by Anonymous on March 1, 2014

A British man accused of hacking into U.S. government computer networks was charged in a new indictment unsealed Thursday with infiltrating the Federal Reserve’s computers.

Lauri Love, 28, of Stradishall, England, was charged with computer hacking and aggravated identity theft, which carry a potential penalty of up to 12 years in prison. He initially was arrested in Britain in October and released on bail after he was charged under a United Kingdom law that permits the arrest of anyone who starts attacks from the U.K. on computers anywhere in the world.

U.S. authorities in the fall had said Love cost the U.S. government millions of dollars by hacking into the computer systems of various agencies, including the U.S. Army, NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency. Those charges were brought in federal court in Newark, New Jersey. He also faced federal charges in Virginia for other alleged intrusions.

In the latest case, prosecutors said Love broke into the Federal Reserve network between October 2012 and February 2013 and then posted on a website the names, email addresses and phone numbers of users of the Federal Reserve computer system.

His lawyer did not immediately respond to a comment request.

“Cybercrime knows no boundaries, and justice will not stop at international borders,” said George Venizelos, head of the New York office of the FBI.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Love was “a sophisticated hacker who broke into Federal Reserve computers, stole sensitive personal information, and made it widely available, leaving people vulnerable to malicious use of that information.”

According to the indictment, Love bragged to other hackers in December 2012 that he controlled the server for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Using the moniker “peace,” Love told others in a chat room that he had “shelled,” or infiltrated, the Federal Reserve computer system and that he controlled several Federal Reserve websites, the indictment said.

It said he discussed possibly defacing the Federal Reserve website and sending fake emails to users of the Federal Reserve computer system.

The indictment said he informed other chat room members in February 2013 that he planned to publicly disseminate Federal Reserve computer system users’ passwords and phone numbers.

Then, it said, he later announced to his online chat room friends that he was about to “drop another little federal reserve bomb” by disclosing additional passwords and phone numbers. …

http://www.infowars.com/british-man-charged-with-hacking-federal-reserve/

Isn’t it the last straw when U.S. Government wants to put Love in prison? :-/

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UFO Invasion Planned for April 5th

Posted by Anonymous on February 27, 2014

Prepare for the UFO invasion folks. Darklore contributor Nigel Watson has uncovered a plot to fill our skies with illuminated flying craft, though the provenance is far from extraterrestrial – it’s a prank being designed by remote-control (RC) aircraft enthusiasts. Via Yahoo News:

Dozens of volunteers around the world have signed up for what may be the biggest prank in history – using decades of knowledge of ‘UFO sightings’ to time the launch perfectly.

The ‘aliens’ will be strips of LED lights, on remote-controlled multi-rotor drone aircraft – launched at 8pm, so there are plenty of people to see the ‘invaders’, and held at a distance where it’s difficult to see what’s behind the glowing lights.

Nigel Watson, author of theHaynes UFO Investigations Manual found plans to “cause a wave of UFO sightings around the world and an apocalypse-like idea in the media,” on forums frequented by drone fans.

Watson says, “‘The Big UFO Project’ was originally scheduled to run on April Fool’s Day, but they have changed it to 05 April 2014 so that it will not seem like an obvious prank. Anyone who has a multirotor drone (pictured below) or anything that can carry a strip of LED lights and hover is invited to join in this event.

I was pointed to discussion about the project on a remote-controlled aircraft forum a few days ago, though since the plan has made mainstream news the thread has been locked down (it can still be found for now in Google’s cache).

So, if any aliens *are* actually out there: April 5th would be a really good night to scout around without any witnesses being taken seriously…

http://www.dailygrail.com/Alien-Nation/2014/2/UFO-Invasion-Planned-April-5th

There are many ways you can join in the fun, like this one:

Great night for military operations or actual aliens to make a move under cover of the fake UFO invasion. Stay alert for sightings and events not easily explained as RC craft, Chinese lanterns, kites with lights, etc.

Something at high altitude that streaks across the entire sky at high speed, maneuvers, comes to an abrupt stop, then streaks off at an incredible speed would still be of interest. Especially if it levitates a cow. Even a small cow.

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Kansas Lawmakers Mull Anti-Fluoride Bill

Posted by Anonymous on February 25, 2014

Kansas legislators are mulling a bill that would require city governments to inform residents if the chemical fluoride has been added to municipal water supplies.
“All Kansas cities and other local governmental units providing water service that artificially fluoridate their community drinking water must notify the consumers of that treated water, that the latest science confirms that ingested fluoride lowers the I.Q. in children,” the bill, in its current form, states.

The bill focuses on results from a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, in which researchers found that “fluoride may adversely affect cognitive development in children.”

“Based on the findings, the authors say that this risk should not be ignored, and that more research on fluoride’s impact on the developing brain is warranted,” the study warned.

Advocates in favor of adding the industrial waste chemical to municipal drinking water, typically in the form of hydrofluorosilicic acid, argue that mass-fluoridation helps people maintain dental health.

The Kansas bill acknowledges fluoride’s potential dental benefits, but counters that in 1999 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found it primarily benefited teeth only when used as a topical agent, not through ingestion.

“Fluoride is not a nutrient used by the human body,” the bill’s text states. “Without regard to dental concerns, the optimal amount of fluoride in the human body is none.”

Moreover, the bill highlights that “Fluoridated toothpaste sold in the United States carries a poison warning label against ingesting or swallowing fluoride.”

The National Science Foundation’s Material Safety Data Sheet on fluorosilicic acid notes that the chemical is “Corrosive to the skin, eyes and mucous membranes through direct contact, inhalation or ingestion. May cause severe irritation and burns, which may not be immediately apparent,” and that it should be handled “with extreme care.”

Indeed, when fluorosilicic acid was spilled outside of a water plant in Illinois, it began eating through concrete and required a team of men in hazmat suits to clean it up.

The bill is preceded by a worldwide movement against water fluoridation, a practice already banned in several cities in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and in the entire continent of Europe.

The Kansas House will debate the bill in the coming weeks. With any luck, activists in other states will be inspired to contact their legislators to draft similar legislation. …

http://www.infowars.com/kansas-lawmakers-mull-anti-fluoride-bill/

Long before 9/11/2001, I dug deep into the fluoride issue. You have to really dig because even today you find two very different views both claiming the scientific evidence is on their side. I wrote to researchers, hit the University health science library and read, starting with the early research. My physical mail was intercepted and tampered with when researchers sent me proof. Powerful forces will step in and stop this bill. Few realize that fluoride is a national security issue because it is/was used to make atomic bombs and because it acts on the brain and makes people easier to control.

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Reptilian Humanoid Startles Bikers in the Sonoran Desert

Posted by Anonymous on February 18, 2014

20140217-195913.jpgTUCSON, Ariz. – A group of three mountain bikers reportedly saw a reptilian humanoid last week in the middle of a trail located in the Sonoran desert.

The bicyclists were riding the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo race course, a 17 mile trail, when they spotted the creature.

“It’s a tough one,” said G. Johnson, 34, a self-described businessperson from Tucson. “It is a 24 hour track, so you better come prepared with more than enough food and water. There are times you just wanna go back and wish you had never got there in the first place. But when you see what nature has to offer you here…well, those regrets dissipate rather quickly.”
Johnson states that he and two other friends were half way into the track when something “terrifying” made the group consider cancelling the ride.
“We had been riding for about… I don’t know maybe nine hours, taking breaks every now and then. Then Michael says he needs to stop for a minute. We are waiting for him to finish when all of a sudden we see this long figure walking across the trail. He is maybe about 6-foot tall, very very skinny, and it had an awkward gait, like a monkey…or a man with a disease, almost robotic, kind of,” he told Cryptozoology News.

According to the eyewitness, two of the men were watching the strange animal while the third one, Michael, was unaware of what was happening.
“Then all I remember about Michael is him saying what the hell is that? Or something like that. But he sounded far away. He probably used a different word instead of hell. Thing is, we had somehow walked a little towards the thing. Don’t ask me why…maybe to look at it better, not knowing what it was.”

Then, Johnson says, the creature “heard Michael speak” and, apparently taking notice of the “intruders”, its head took an eerie 280 degree turn.
“He stopped and it made eye contact with me and I could see him clearly. The eyes were kind of like a snake’s, but black and with a yellow stripe in the middle of the eye. It had green and red scales on the face and head. The red color was kind of like the same as the desert sand there, and it looked like it had a sandy texture too. It didn’t have a nose, only two holes on it. I couldn’t see any ears or hair. A red mouth that looked like it had blood around it, but it didn’t look like it was bleeding, it looked like a pattern. It reminded me of a chameleon, but it looked like a person too.”

Allegedly, the creature raised its “long arms with strange looking claws that looked like a branch full of thorns” and waved at them, emitting a loud chattering sound with its teeth. Then it rapidly ran away, in a fashion that reminded the witness of “a lizard trying to hide.”

“He looked like he was examining us and then he ran into the desert. We thought about going back the same way we came, but we thought it didn’t matter, since we were in the middle of the track anyway. We were scared, to be honest. None of us had ever seen anything like it. It lasted only a few seconds, but it felt longer than that, at least to me. So after we talked about it for a while, we decided to go on and finish the track.”

Johnson believes that what they saw was real and not a product of their imagination. “When you read these stories online or watch them on TV, well, you think man these people are crazy, on meds or something or in need of attention, but this has made me a believer. There has to be more of them out there. If there’s one, there’s gotta be two at least right? I know most people won’t believe a word I said, that’s the way I used to be. I don’t blame them at all. But they are out there. Now I’m not saying this is an alien or a chupacabra or anything like it, all I’m saying is I have never seen anything like it in my life. But I am no biologist so what do I know.” …

Theories of subterranean “alien” bases are popular in the UFO community and describe the entities as humanoids of reptilian appearance. Southwestern Native American legends tell the story of underground creatures living next to humans for thousands of years. People living around the New Mexico border report seeing strange lights in the sky and bizarre phenomena. Indirectly creating a thin line between cryptozoology and ufology, writer Mac Tonnies, in his book The Cryptoterrestrials: A Meditation on Indigenous Humanoids and the Aliens Among Us, proposes the idea that certain “alien” sightings could be attributed to the existence of a group of humanoid species endemic to Earth.

http://beforeitsnews.com/paranormal/2014/02/reptilian-humanoid-startles-bikers-in-the-sonoran-desert-2464422.html

Why only a waist up sketch? The sketch is muscular. What about the legs? Did they see a tail? Which way did it go? Did they follow it? Did they have cameras? Phones with GPS? Without full names, video testimony from each, photos of the area, full sketches from each witnesses, etc. this is just a weird story. But what a story.

If I was a store owner in the area and business was bad, this might bring in some tourists. ;-)

Then again, could super intelligent underground “aliens” (descendants from the dinosaurs) have been plotting for 100’s of years to harvest us? They are getting bolder. Why did this one want to be seen?

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Are Super-Intelligent Aliens Hiding Within Our Atoms?

Posted by Anonymous on February 16, 2014

20140215-173703.jpgOkay, so that headline sounds pretty off-the-wall, and considering it’s a Daily Grail headline then you know it’s pretty weird! But that’s exactly the question put forward by artificial intelligence researcher Hugo de Garis, who wonders whether the advanced artificial intelligences of extremely old alien civilisations might end up harnessing the vast computational power offered by sub-atomic elements, a hypothetical technology he labels ‘X-Tech':

X-Tech provides a potential solution to the Fermi Paradox (“where are all the nonhuman civilizations?”) … maybe they’re not out there living on other planets, but rather living inside atoms and particles! Perhaps we should be looking inside “elementary” particles because creatures constructed at these tiny scales would operate hugely faster, at far greater densities, and with vastly superior performance levels. We may need a paradigm shift away from outer space to inner space, from SETI to SIPI – the Search for Infra Particle Intelligence!

…as one scales down, in general, performance levels increase dramatically. Hence one can readily speculate that any nano-based artilect [de Garis's monker for advanced 'artifical intellects'], sooner or later, will not be able to compete with his femto-based cousins, and will probably downgrade itself as well. This logic applies all the way down (to Plank-tech?). Hence we come inevitably to the following dramatic conclusion.

The hyper intelligences that are billions of years older than we are in our universe (which is about 3 times older than our sun), have probably “downgraded” themselves to achieve hugely greater performance levels. Whole civilizations may be living inside volumes the size of nucleons or smaller.

When I first had this idea, about a decade ago, I chuckled, but now I take it very seriously, because there seems to be so much logic behind it.

De Garis notes that once this idea is thought about seriously, the current SETI paradigm seems very ‘provincial’. “Extra terrestrials (ETs), who might be primitive enough to bother sending radio signals to beings like us,” de Garis says, “are NOT the most intelligent specimens in the universe. The really smart ones I suggest are very very tiny.” …

http://www.dailygrail.com/Alien-Nation/2014/2/Are-Super-Intelligent-Aliens-Hiding-Within-Our-Atoms

Is there evidence for sufficient complexity to exist at that scale? I do believe that bacteria are miniaturized ETs and that their spores are radiation proof spaceships. Scaling down does make sense, but the physics has to work.

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