Xenophilia (True Strange Stuff)

Blog of the real Xenophilius Lovegood, a slightly mad scientist

Archive for June 4th, 2010

The Austrailian Roswell incident, 1966 Westall, Over 200 Witnesses

Posted by Anonymous on June 4, 2010

http://files.abovetopsecret.com/images/member/7f25efc797ca.jpgThe Westall ’66 UFO. This is a UFO that was spotted in 1966 in Clayton South, Melbourne. But what was this Unidentified Flying Object? A new documentary comes out on it on the 4th of June on Foxtel, and Today Tonight gave a brief report on the 3rd.

This was also covered on the 1st of June by Brian Dunning on his podcast Skeptoid. The transcript and podcast can be found here -
http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4208

Another interesting UFO case from Australia, this time a School in Victoria.

At approximately 11.00 am on Wednesday, 6 April 1966, a class of students and a teacher from Westall High School were just completing sports on the main oval when an object, described as being a grey saucer shaped craft, with a slight purple hue and being about twice the size of a family car, was sighted.

Witness descriptions were mixed: Andrew Greenwood, a science teacher, told “The Dandenong Journal” at the time that he saw a silvery-green disc. According to witnesses the object was descending and then crossed and overflew the high school’s south-west corner, going in a south-easterly direction, before disappearing from sight as it descended behind a stand of trees and into a paddock at The Grange in front of the Westall State School.

After a short period (approximately 20 minutes) the object – with witnesses now numbering over 200 – then climbed at speed and departed towards the north-west. As the object gained altitude some accounts describe it as having been pursued from the scene by five unidentified aircraft which circled the object.

…Around 30 of the witnesses from that day were interviewed.

On the UFO, everyone seems to agree, Mr Ryan says. It was a low-flying, silver/grey shining object, either of classical flying saucer shape or close to it, “a cup turned upside down on a saucer”. The students were familiar with light aircraft because the schools were close to Moorabbin Airport. Although the UFO was of similar size, “everyone said straight away that they knew it was not a plane”, Mr Ryan said, nor a weather balloon.

The object was in view for up to 20 minutes, and many saw it descend. Most agree it landed behind pine trees at the Grange Reserve. Dozens of students ran across what was then an open paddock to the reserve to investigate, but the object had lifted off and vanished.

One of the closest witnesses was a boy whose family leased land at Grange Reserve for horses.

Shaun Matthews was on holidays and spending time on the land.

“I saw the thing come across the horizon and drop down behind the pine trees,” he told The Sunday Age this week. “I couldn’t tell you what it was. It certainly wasn’t a light aircraft or anything of the like …

“I saw the thing drop down behind the pine trees and saw it leave again. I couldn’t tell you how long it was there for, it was such a long time ago.”

Mr Matthews, 51 and now living in Greenvale, said the object “went up and off very very rapidly”.

“I went over and there was a circle in the clearing. It looked like it had been cooked or boiled, not burnt as I remember,” he said. “A heap of kids from Westall primary and high school came charging through to see what had happened — ‘look at this, look at that, we saw it as well’, that sort of thing. It was a bit of a talking point for a couple of days.”

Mr Matthews said the object, about the size of “two family cars”, passed him at a distance of about “four football fields”. “It was silvery, but it had a sort-of purple hue to it, very bright, but not bright enough that you couldn’t look at it,” he said.

“I saw that it dropped down behind the trees, and I thought, ‘hello, hang on’. A minute or so later, it went straight up, just gone.”

He said police and other officials interviewed his mother. But he cannot remember them burning the landing site, as others have alleged. And he did not see any light aircraft trailing the object, as others did.

“The way this thing moved there is no way it could have been a weather balloon or a light aircraft,” he said.

“A helicopter? No way — no noise, wrong shape, and it didn’t move like it. It came out of the distance, stopped, and then just dropped.

“It didn’t just sort of cruise and then slightly descend at an angle. It just stopped, dropped, and then went straight up.”

This is certainly an unusual case with multiple witnesses, military involvement and cover up (No reports have ever been released) and physical evidence.  … – ats

Posted in UFOs | 1 Comment »

Woman Sues Google for Bad Directions

Posted by Anonymous on June 4, 2010

One day I was using my cell phone’s GPS service to find the nearest Target. I was driving down the road when suddenly my cell phone piped up, “Turn right here.” I looked to the right. There was no road, just a tree and some grass. I chalked it up to a GPS glitch and turned right at the next corner.If I had been Lauren Rosenberg, however, I would have turned right at that very moment, hit the tree, suffered some cuts and minor brain damage, and then turned around and sued Verizon for the glitch in its GPS service.Seriously.

Search Engine Land reports that Rosenberg, a Los Angeles California native, is suing Google because Google Maps issued directions that told her to walk down a rural highway. She started walking down the highway–which had no sidewalk or pedestrian paths–and was struck by a car. She is suing Google for her medical expenses ($100,000), as well as punitive damages. She is also suing the driver who struck her, Patrick Harwood of Park City, Utah.

On January 19, 2010, Rosenberg was apparently trying to get from 96 Daly Street, Park City, Utah, to 1710 Prospector Avenue, Park City, Utah. She looked up the walking directions using Google Maps on her Blackberry. Google Maps suggested a route that included a half-mile walk down “Deer Valley Drive,” which is also known as “Utah State Route 224.”

There’s not much more to say–she started walking down the middle of a highway, and a car hit her. Who wouldn’t have seen that one coming?

According to Rosenberg’s complaint filing:

“As a direct and proximate cause of Defendant Google’s careless, reckless and negligent providing of unsafe directions, Plaintiff Lauren Rosenberg was led onto a dangerous highway, and was thereby stricken by a motor vehicle, causing her to suffer sever permanent physical, emotional, and mental injuries, including pain and suffering.”

Google actually does offer up a warning about its walking directions–if you view Google Maps on a computer, it gives you the following message: “Walking directions are in beta. Use caution–This route may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian paths.”

This warning does not show up in PDA’s and cell phones, however. I suppose Google figured that people who are smart enough to use Blackberries are probably also smart enough to not walk directly into the middle of traffic.

via Woman Sues Google for Bad Directions – PCWorld.

Posted in Technology, Travel | 1 Comment »

Australia vets treat hundreds of ‘drunk’ parrots

Posted by Anonymous on June 4, 2010

Rainbow lorikeet in Perth, Australia (file image)A mystery illness resembling human drunkenness has caused hundreds of native birds to fall out of the sky in the tropical Australian city of Darwin.

The brightly-coloured lorikeets are receiving treatment at an animal hospital with symptoms similar to alcohol abuse in people.

It is unclear what is causing Darwin’s inquisitive and gregarious lorikeets to unceremoniously fall to Earth.

Vets say it could take some birds several months to recover.

The mystery ailment often strikes these small parrots at the end of the wet season in Australia’s rugged Northern Territory.

About 200 birds are being looked after by vets suffering what appears to be a giant hangover.

The splendidly-coloured birds with blue faces, red beaks and green wings are a sorry sight.

Bleary-eyed and dishevelled, the cantankerous patients are suffering from headaches and a lack of energy. Many seem to want just a good lie down.

Tests have failed to reveal the cause of their distress and their rehabilitation could take a few months.

When the groggy lorikeets do finally emerge from this debilitating fog, they will be released back into the wild, where they roam in large, noisy flocks.

These extrovert creatures are generally fussy eaters.

They are one of the few types of parrot that feast mainly on nectar and pollen but are best known for the shrill way they go about their daily business.

via BBC News – Australia vets treat hundreds of ‘drunk’ parrots.

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16-Foot Pen Commemorates India’s Right to Education Law

Posted by Anonymous on June 4, 2010

Indian social studies teacher M.S. Acharya poses with his disassembled 16-foot pen.The pen is mightier than the sword, but a man in Hyderabad, India, has just made a pen that, in a pinch, could make a mighty fine weapon of its own.

Social studies teacher M.S. Acharya commissioned the construction of a 16-foot-tall, 1-foot-wide brass pen that he calls “Bharatiya Pali,” or “India’s Pen,” to honor the government’s passage of the Right to Education law.

The work of making the pachyderm-sized pen was done by two Hyderabad artists, Ratnam and Malikarajan, who etched various Indian dance styles and musical instruments all over it.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the trio started working on the pen in early February and spent nearly 450 working hours and 250,000 rupees (about $5,555 U.S.) getting the pen just right.

“We worked Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for a total of 56 days,” Acharya said. “And every penny that the pen cost has been paid from my pocket to these two artists, who have put tremendous effort and labor in completing this project.

“Since it is the token of our love and appreciation, none of us complained about undertaking so much effort.”

It started with sheets of brass, cut and soldered into 10 cylindrical structures. After cleaning the surface, the artists began etching.

So what do you do with such a large pen?

Well, it’s so big that writing the great Indian novel is probably out of the question, so Acharya plans to have it serve a more symbolic purpose: honoring India’s new Right to Education law, which guarantees education to every child, ages 6 to 14, by making education a fundamental right. The law came into force on April 1.

via 16-Foot Pen Commemorates India’s Right to Education Law – AOL News.

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Are Mushrooms to Blame For the Violently Bad Trips Up North?

Posted by Anonymous on June 4, 2010

amd_mug_jarrod-wyatt.jpgThe case of mixed martial arts fighter Jarrod Wyatt who, up in Crescent City, CA, murdered his friend by drilling a hole in his chest and ripping out his heart, makes us wonder: Could he have been on the same super-nasty drugs as the guy who castrated himself in Arcata?

Wyatt, age 26, and friends Taylor Powell, Justin Davis, and Wyatt’s ex-girlfriend Billy Jo Bailey were all gathered in a house on March 21 drinking mushroom tea. Reportedly after drinking the tea, Powell’s behavior became aggressive, and ultimately Wyatt said “the Devil’s in that dude” and proceeded to kill his friend. When Davis tried to flee the scene, Wyatt reportedly said there was a tidal wave coming (tidal waves being somewhat common in Crescent City) and told him not to leave.

The final struggle came when Wyatt decided to “kill Satan” by cutting an 18-inch hole in Powell’s chest, removing his heart, cutting his tongue off, removing a majority of Powell’s face, and trying to stuff his body in a wood stove. Police found Wyatt at the scene later, near the victim’s body, naked and covered in blood. He’s pleading insanity and currently about to stand trial.

via Are Mushrooms to Blame For the Violently Bad Trips Up North? – SFist.

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Study: Dog’s Sensitive Schnoz Sniffs Out Prostate Cancer

Posted by Anonymous on June 4, 2010

http://images.sodahead.com/polls/000266337/polls_sniffing_dog_bazusa_2435_886437_answer_3_xlarge.jpegFrench researchers have tapped man’s best friend to detect those at risk of developing prostate cancer, and it turns out that dogs might do a better job than a much-maligned blood test devised by modern medicine.

A team of researchers at Tenon Hospital in Paris trained a Belgian Malinois shepherd, already renowned for its ability to detect bombs, to sniff the urine of men already diagnosed with prostate cancer. The dog was able to correctly identify the urine of a prostate cancer patient, compared with the urine of four healthy individuals.

Bizarre as the idea sounds, it’s already being tested for the identification of other cancers, including lung and breast cancers. Different kinds of tumors release specific chemical compounds whose odor can be picked up by ultra-sensitive noses — like those of dogs.

For prostate cancer, those odors are apparent in urine. Lung and breast cancer, however, can be identified on a patient’s breath.

Prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, blood tests administered to some 30 million American men each year are rife with false positives. Earlier this year, the American Cancer Society sparked debate among medical experts when it relaxed its preventative-testing guidelines in light of the inaccuracies.

The trained dog, however, misidentified only three healthy men as having prostate cancer, out of 66 samples. The dog also sniffed out every single prostate cancer patient in the trial group.

But even though canines are capable of impressive accuracy, the researchers, who presented their findings at this year’s meeting of the American Urological Association, don’t know exactly what the dogs are sniffing for.

“The dogs are certainly recognizing the odor of a molecule that is produced by cancer cells,” lead researcher Jean-Nicolas Cornu told Business Week. “[But] we do not know what this molecule is, and the dog cannot tell us.”

via Study: Dog’s Sensitive Schnoz Sniffs Out Prostate Cancer – AOL News.

Posted in Health, Strange | Leave a Comment »

Whales Evolved in the Blink of an Eye

Posted by Anonymous on June 4, 2010

WhalesWhales evolved explosively fast into a spectacular array of shapes and sizes, a new study suggests.

Whales’ sizes stretch the imagination from the 100-foot (30-meter) long blue whale — the largest animal to have ever existed — to a small species about the size of a dog. Many ideas exist for how whales evolved into different body types, but the new study, published online in the May 19 edition of the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, is the first attempt to unravel the mystery.

“It’s as if whales split things up at the beginning and went their separate ways. The distribution of whale body size and diet still correspond to these early splits,” said evolutionary biologist and study co-author Michael Alfaro of UCLA. “Our study is the first to test the idea that evolution in early whales was explosively fast.”

Around 35 million years ago, when modern whales began to appear in the ocean, whale evolution ignited. Whales began as basically similar body types and evolved into everything from porpoises to blue whales over the next 5 million years, said study lead author Graham Slater of UCLA.

“Five million years is like the blink of an eye,” Slater told LiveScience.

The finding supports what’s known as the explosive radiation hypothesis. The idea is that a few key traits allowed the earliest ancestors of modern cetaceans — marine mammals, including whales, dolphins and porpoises — to explore new ways of living. Once these ancestors branched out into a new body form, they stayed the course.

The key traits credited with the explosive evolution include sonar, large brains, baleen (the stringy looking stuff across some whales’ mouths that filters small animals from sea water), and complex sociality.

Looking back 35 million years, to when the ancestor of all living whales appeared, Alfaro and colleagues analyzed the evolutionary tempo of modern whale species and probed how fast whales changed their shape and body size. The research team analyzed DNA sequences and studied the fossil record to figure out when major groups of whales appeared and when they became dominant.

The “variation that we see in modern whales today is the result of partitioning of body sizes early on in their history,” Alfaro said. “Whatever conditions allowed modern whales to persist allowed them to evolve into unique, disparate modes of life, and those niches largely have been maintained throughout most of their history.”

Historically, not all of these remarkably diverse body plans were successful. Today, 84 living species of whales roam the oceans, while more than 400 other species are known to have gone extinct, including some that lived partly on land.

Archaic whales appeared around 55 million years ago, eventually entering the ocean and filling a void left by ancient ocean-dwelling reptiles that went extinct. These primitive whales, now extinct, ranged in size from a few feet in length to as large as 65 feet (20 m) long.

Large whales, small whales and medium-size whales all appeared early in the history of whales, with the large whales eating mostly plankton, small whales eating fish, and medium-size whales eating squid.

“Those differences were probably in place by 25 million years ago, at the latest, and for many millions of years, they have not changed very much,” Slater said. …

via Whales Evolved in the Blink of an Eye | LiveScience.

Posted in Alt Energy, Biology | Leave a Comment »

Dead elephant becomes fuel

Posted by Anonymous on June 4, 2010

click to zoomA dead elephant has been turned into fuel in the former Yugoslavia.

The giant animal, named Sony was donated to the country 40 years ago by Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as a symbol of peace – but has now been turned into biodiesel following its death at the age of 42.

Up until his death, Sony lived at the Brijuni National Park in Croatia, where his tusks – valued at $293,600 – will now go on display.

A spokesperson for the park said: “We wanted to make sure we treated the remains with respect.”

Yugoslav ex-president Josip Broz Tito used to regularly visit Sony before the elephant’s death.

via Dead elephant becomes fuel | Showbiz | STV Entertainment.

Related:

A German inventor named Dr. Christian Koch has invented a process whereby old tires, weeds, and animal cadavers (in this case, dead cats) are used to create high-quality bio-diesel. The process produces roughly 2.5 liters (under two-thirds of a gallon) of diesel per cat. Dr. Koch has driven 105,000 miles so far in his own vehicle on the fuel without any problems.

The process involves heating the mixture to 300 degrees Celsius, which filters out hydrocarbons. The mix is then converted to diesel fuel by use of a catalytic converter. (Semi-scientific details are listed on the Solutions page of Dr. Koch’s website.) – link

Related:

A Texas company plans to develop an $80 million biodiesel plant in Clovis, where another company is already preparing to break ground on a similar project.

Dallas-based American Renewable Fuels, a subsidiary of Australian Renewable Fuels Ltd., plans to begin construction on its plant this summer.

Ross Garrity, chief executive of American Renewable Fuels, said one of the reasons his company chose New Mexico was that the state doesn’t have a large biodiesel industry.

“After talking with the governor, it became very apparent to me that New Mexico was very aggressive in wanting our business in the state,” he said Feb. 22.

American Renewable Fuels will get $6 million in incentives from the state in the form of tax credits for jobs and investment as well as help from the Job Training Incentive Program, Gov. Bill Richardson said.

Additional tax credits for producers and distributors of biodiesel fuel are currently under consideration by the Legislature along with a measure that would require 5% of every gallon of diesel sold in New Mexico to come from agricultural sources by 2012, Richardson said.

The new Clovis plant will be capable of producing 75 million gallons of biodiesel fuel each year by processing animal fat from feed lots within a 100-mile radius of Clovis, Garrity said.

The plant will be near another biodiesel facility being developed by California-based ARES Corp., which will produce 15 million gallons of biodiesel fuel annually by processing refined soybean oil with methanol and glycerin.

Richardson said the country uses more than 20 million barrels of mostly imported oil every day. By switching to biodiesel fuels, he said the U.S. can decrease its reliance on foreign oil. – link

How long until everyone who dies, by law, is recycled as biofuel?

Posted in Alt Energy, Strange | 2 Comments »

Artefacts hint at earliest Neanderthals in Britain

Posted by Anonymous on June 4, 2010

Flint tools (University of Southampton)Archaeologists have found what they say is the earliest evidence of Neanderthals living in Britain.

Two pieces of flint unearthed at motorway works in Dartford, Kent, have now been dated to 110,000 years ago.

The finds push back the presence of Neanderthals in Britain by 40,000 years or more, said Dr Francis Wenban-Smith, from Southampton University.

A majority of researchers believe Britain was uninhabited by humans at the time the flint tools were made.

An absence of archaeological evidence suggests people abandoned this land between 200,000 years ago (or 160,000 years ago, depending on who you ask) and 65,000 years ago.

via BBC News – Artefacts hint at earliest Neanderthals in Britain.

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Easyjet to trial volcanic ash detection system

Posted by Anonymous on June 4, 2010

1. Infrared beam detects ash up to 62 miles ahead at levels between 5,000 and 50,000 ft. 2. System shows images of ash to aircrew, allowing them to change flight path. 3. Images also sent back to ground control. Data from multiple=Easyjet has unveiled a system that it says will allow airlines to safely fly around ash clouds.

It involves infra-red technology that allows pilots to see the damaging particles up to 62 miles ahead.

The theory is that a pilot can then change course and continue to fly safely.

It has the support of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the body that decides whether it is safe to fly through ash in UK airspace.

The CAA said it was happy an airline appeared to have found a technical solution, and, although it was not endorsing the product, it would do what it could to help certification.

‘Silver bullet’

Earlier this year, many air passengers had their travel plans wrecked when airlines had to scrap thousands of flights due to the Icelandic volcanic ash problem.

The CAA faced criticism from some airlines, who argued that the body had been overly cautious.

Easyjet chief executive, Andy Harrison, said: “This pioneering technology is the silver bullet that will make large-scale ash disruption history.”

The new system, called Airborne Volcanic Object Identifier and Detector (Avoid), will be tested by Airbus on behalf of Easyjet within the next two months.

Easyjet, which is spending £1m ($1.47m) on the system, says it is happy for rivals to share its knowledge.

Mr Harrison, said: “What we don’t want to do is to gain a commercial advantage over other airlines so we can fly and they can’t. We are not going to exclude people from this technology.”

He said the hardest part would be to get approval from European authorities. …

via BBC News – Easyjet to trial volcanic ash detection system.

Posted in Technology, Travel | Leave a Comment »

 
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