Xenophilia (True Strange Stuff)

Blog of the real Xenophilius Lovegood, a slightly mad scientist

Archive for February 16th, 2011

Chinese man complains about migraine, only to find he has had a knife in his brain for FOUR years

Posted by Anonymous on February 16, 2011

Ouch: Here the actual four-inch blade is placed over the top of the X-ray of Li Fu's skullA man who went to the doctor complaining of a headache was shocked to discover he’d had a 4in knife blade stuck in his brain for more than four years.

Li Fu from Yunnan Province, China, was stabbed during a robbery in 2006, and the blade of the knife had lodged in his cranium.

But despite receiving treatment for his injuries, doctors failed to notice the knife buried deep in the 37-year-old’s skull.

Incredibly, it wasn’t until Li visited the doctor last month to complain of his continuous migraines that doctors finally made the grim discovery after a routine X-ray.

Li and his family were so shocked by the X-ray results, they asked for a second opinion before agreeing to let doctors operate.

The second doctor confirmed the suspicions and Li underwent an operation to remove the knife at People’s Hospital in Yuxi City, Yunnan Province on Saturday.

He is now in a stable condition in hospital.

Luo Zhiwei, a surgeon at People’s Hospital of Yuxi said he had never seen anything so bizarre in his entire career.

He said it was a miracle that Li could survive being stabbed in the head, let alone survive having the knife lodged in his brain for four years.

He said: ‘It’s a medical miracle. The knife was almost intact when we removed it.’

via Chinese man complains about migraine, only to find he has had a knife in his brain for FOUR years | Mail Online.

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Anthrax Letters After Sept. 11 Attacks: National Research Council Not Sure Dr. Brice Ivins Was Sole Source

Posted by Anonymous on February 16, 2011

It’s a case that’s been marked by controversy and mystery for nearly a decade: who was responsible for the deadly anthrax-laced letters sent after 9/11?

Today, the National Academy of Science raised more questions.

A review panel said that the FBI overstated the scientific evidence that linked the anthrax flask controlled by Dr. Bruce E. Ivins to the anthrax used in the 2001 attack letters. Dr. Ivins, a researcher at Ft. Detrick, MD., was identified by the FBI as the primary suspect in the case. He maintained his innocence until his suicide in 2008.

The cornerstone of the FBI case against Dr. Ivins was that the anthrax in the flask to which he had access — labeled RMR-1029 — had a unique make-up that identified it as the parent material for the anthrax in the attack letters. It took years of research for the FBI to conclude that the anthrax in the letters came from Dr. Ivins’ flask, and they cited it as “powerful evidence” against him.

The NAS has reviewed the FBI’s scientific work on the anthrax, and today, Dr. David A. Relman, the vice chair of the NAS panel, said, “One cannot arrive at a definitive conclusion about the origins of the anthrax.”

The review by the NAS concludes that while the anthrax in the letters was “consistent with” the RMR-1029 flask, that flask was not the “immediate source” of the spores used in the letters. The NAS found that one or more growth steps would have been required to produce the spores used in the letters. The NAS found that “the data did not rule out other possible sources” of the anthrax.

In addition, the NAS found that the anthrax used in letters sent to New York locations — including ABC News, NBC News and the New York Post — had different physical properties from the anthrax in letters that killed several postal workers and closed down some Senate offices in Washington, D.C.

The FBI says it did not rely on science alone to close in on Dr. Ivins. Investigators said they also used circumstantial evidence, including late-night lab visits by Ivins and e-mail messages describing his psychological turmoil, to identify him as a suspect. …

via Anthrax Letters After Sept. 11 Attacks: National Research Council Not Sure Dr. Brice Ivins Was Sole Source – ABC News.

Will the truth ever come out? Ask Bush and Cheney how the White House knew to start taking Cipro, the anthrax antidote, more than 8 days before the attacks were known, by anyone other than the people doing the attacking.

On the evening after the 9/11 attacks, some White House personnel, including Vice President Dick Cheney’s staff, are given the anti-anthrax drug Cipro, and told to take it regularly. [Associated Press, 10/24/2001] An unnamed “high government official” also advises some reporters to take Cipro shortly after 9/11 (see Shortly After September 11, 2001). Judicial Watch will later sue the Bush administration to release documents showing who knew what and when, and why presidential staff were protected while senators, congresspeople, and others were not. [Associated Press, 6/9/2002] – hc

The first set of anthrax letters had a Trenton, New Jersey postmark dated September 18, 2001. – wiki

Look at who was attacked and when. From the available evidence, it seems that the Anthrax Attacks were aimed at framing Arabs, at getting revenge on a certain paper that printed the story of the drunk Bush daughters, and at getting the Patriot Act passed. The cover up continues:

An official of the U.S. administration said in March 2010 that President Barack Obama probably would veto legislation authorizing the next budget for U.S. intelligence agencies if it called for a new investigation into the 2001 anthrax attacks, as such an investigation “would undermine public confidence” in an FBI probe.  – wiki

Isn’t saying an investigation of the probe would undermine public confidence the same as admitting that the probe does not deserve public confidence? And doesn’t this also show a clear intent to mislead the public?

Posted in Crime, Politics | Leave a Comment »

POLICE in are hoping to reunite these giant trainers with their big-footed owner.

Posted by Anonymous on February 16, 2011

Police hoping for a Cinderella ending to giant shoe mysteryClaire Duffin – …POLICE in are hoping to reunite these giant trainers with their big-footed owner.

The shoes, a whopping size 21, were found by a member of the public at a petrol station in Ilkeston and handed in to officers in the town.

They were due to be destroyed or sold after being in police storage for a month but officers thought they would have one last go at sniffing out the owner.

Denise Bostock, a business support administrator who deals with lost and confiscated property at St Mary’s Wharf police station in Derby, said: “It seems a shame to get rid of them, especially as it seems they must have been specially imported from America.

“It will be like Cinderella, if the shoe fits we might have found the owner. We don’t know if they have been stolen or just lost but I imagine they were quite expensive.”

The trainers, which are a UK size 21, are specialist basketball shoes manufactured by sportswear giant Nike, which also made shoes for basketball star Michael Jordan. The player, said to be the greatest of all time, wore a US size 13 trainer, a UK size 12.5.

However, the trainers are not as big as those belonging to 38-year-old Boston Celtics basketball star Shaquille O’Neal. The 7ft 1in star has a shoe size of 22.

And according to Guinness World Records, if cases of swelling condition elephantiasis are excluded, the world’s biggest feet belong to 28-year-old Sultan Kösen, of Turkey, who is also the world’s tallest man. His takes a US size 28 shoe. …

via POLICE in are hoping to reunite these giant trainers with their big-footed owner..

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Australians hit by Cyclone Yasi warned to stay away from deadly giant birds

Posted by Anonymous on February 16, 2011

[cassowaries_11.jpg]Australians trying to rebuild in the wake of Cyclone Yasi have been warned to stay away from cassowaries – huge flightless birds with claws that can disembowel a human – on the hunt for food after their habitat was destroyed by the storm.

“Cassowaries that come to expect food from humans can become aggressive and dangerous.”

The warning comes after several cassowaries were spotted close to towns following Cyclone Larry, which hit the same stretch of coast in 2006. After the storm, one third of the population of cassowaries died, and conservationists fear that without intervention the same could happen.

Bob Irwin, a conservationist and the father of late Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, said it could take 18 months for the rainforest to grow back and that in that time scores of cassowaries could starve to death.

“As well as losing their food they are losing their homes so they will be very disoriented.

“Like any other animal, if you interfere with them there could be a risk, but the main threat is to the birds themselves.”

While the birds, which resemble emus, are known to be highly aggressive if approached, there is only one documented human death caused by a cassowary.

In 1926 Philip McClean, 16, was killed after he and his brother attempted to beat a cassowary to death. The bird fought back, charging at McClean and knocking him down and slashing his neck with a claw. …

via Australians hit by Cyclone Yasi warned to stay away from deadly giant birds – Telegraph.

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Farmers Rush to Deposit Seeds in Arctic Doomsday Vault, Patrolled by Bears

Posted by Anonymous on February 16, 2011

Snow blows off the Svalbard Global Seed Vault at sunrise, Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2008.Farmers from Australia are the latest donors to a polar bear-patrolled Arctic doomsday vault that stores seeds as insurance against an international food emergency.

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a converted mine, is located about 800 miles from the North Pole in Arctic Norway.

An Australian delegation of farmers and scientists next week will deposit 301 samples of peas and 42 rare chickpeas in the vault, intending to protect the plant species from extinction by climatic or man-made events.

“It’s a very robust structure, concrete, made into the side of a mountain at Svalbard in the Spitsbergen Highlands in the Arctic,” said Dr. Tony Gregson, a farmer and scientist with Plant Health Australia, an agriculture industry body.

According to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault website, the facility’s main purpose is “to store duplicates (‘back ups’) of all seed samples from the world’s crop collections. Permafrost and thick rock ensure that, even in the case of a power outage, the seed samples will remain frozen.”

“It’s as safe as any place on earth, actually,” Gregson said. “It’s built deliberately 60 meters above current sea level, which is above any predicted sea level rise, built into solid rock. …

via Farmers Rush to Deposit Seeds in Arctic Doomsday Vault, Patrolled by Bears.

Posted in Food, Survival | 4 Comments »

Joanne Siegel, Inspiration for Superman’s Lois Lane, Dies at 93

Posted by Anonymous on February 16, 2011

Joanne Siegel in 1999 visiting the house in the Glenville neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio where her husband created Superman. She died February 14, 2011.   (The Plain Dealer/LandovJoanne Siegel, the inspiration behind Lois Lane and the widow of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel, has died at the age of 93.

She was only a teenager during the Great Depression when she placed a classified ad seeking modeling jobs. That led to a meeting with Superman co-creators Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, her future husband, The Plain Dealer reports. Later, Siegel would say that it was Joanne who served as the muse for Superman’s spunky love interest and fellow reporter at The Daily Planet, Lois Lane.Throughout her life, but especially in the later years after Jerry’s death in 1996, Siegel fought very public court battles to win back a share of the rights to Superman. In 1938, Jerry Siegel and Shuster famously sold the rights to the comic hero to Detective Comics for just $130. Joanne and Jerry married in 1948, after he divorced Bella Siegel, according to the Cleveland newspaper.

In 2008, years of legal battles paid off for Joanne Siegel when a judge awarded a share of the copyright to the Siegel and Shuster families. Laura Siegel Larson, her daughter with Jerry Siegel, had also helped fight for the rights. “We were just stubborn,” Joanne Siegel told The New York Times in 2008. “It was a dream of Jerry’s, and we just took up the task.”Brad Meltzer, a friend of the Siegel family and the author of “The Book of Lies,” about the creation of Superman, announced Joanne Siegel’s death on Twitter late Monday evening. “Just heard Joanne Siegel passed away. Lois Lane herself. One of the most beautiful people I ever met,” he wrote.

via Joanne Siegel, Inspiration for Superman’s Lois Lane, Dies at 93.

Posted in Popular Culture | Leave a Comment »

Amid Egyptian turmoil, will Zahi Hawass remain?

Posted by Anonymous on February 16, 2011

This is an interesting post at The Daily Grail:

Two weeks ago, at the height of the Egyptian popular uprising, I asked whether it might spell the end for the controversial head of Egyptian antiquities, Dr. Zahi Hawass. … with President Mubarek stepping aside, and the central protest in Tahrir Square winding down, smaller protests against particular ‘regime personalities’ have begun – and the Big Z appears to be well and truly in the cross-hairs. Around 200 archaeologists have gathered outside the headquarters of the SCA (Supreme Council of Antiquities) with a list of demands, one of which is the prosecution of Dr Hawass “for corruption and accountability for the theft of 18 masterpieces from the Cairo Museum”. This Associated Press article makes clear that many professional archaeologists and students have had enough of the self-serving ego of the antiquities chief.

One would think that ZH is a canny enough operator to work his way out of this current mess though…despite the backlash, his monopolisation of Egyptian archaeology does give his CV enough ‘oomph’ for him to perhaps argue that only he is qualified enough to guide Egyptology forward in such uncertain times. However, according to this report he may already be packing his bags.

… This Discovery News piece also lists more archaeologists disparaging (would “tut-tutting” be too crass?) the Big Z, as well as addressing the strange issue of the conflicting reports about the Cairo Museum looting/vandalism (in a related note, apparently two of the stolen treasures have been found on the ground outside the museum).

And yet bizarrely, given recent events, Dr Hawass will be holding a press conference at the Cairo Museum on Wednesday to announce the results of the DNA testing of King Tutankhamen. Getting on with business, or a handy smoke-screen in a time of crisis? Whatever the reason, it’s just one more controversy that the pharaoh of Egyptian archaeology has found himself involved in. …

via Daily Grail Frontpage | TDG – Science, Magick, Myth and History.

Posted in Archaeology | 1 Comment »

Coca-Cola’s Secret Formula Discovered

Posted by Anonymous on February 16, 2011

For 125 years, Coke’s secret recipe has remained one of the most heavily guarded trade secrets in the world. Now a group of accidental soda sleuths say they’ve stumbled across a list of its ingredients.

Producers of the radio program This American Life came across an article on the history of Coca-Cola in an old copy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Coca-Cola’s hometown newspaper. Published on page 2B on February 18, 1979, the article received little attention at the time. But, producers say, that’s because no one realized the photo used to illustrate the story is a hand-written copy of John Pemberton’s original recipe, jotted down by a friend in a leather-bound recipe book of ointments and medicines, and passed down by friends and family for generations. …

The recipe:

Fluid extract of Coca: 3 drams USP
Citric acid: 3 oz
Caffeine: 1 oz
Sugar: 30 (unclear quantity)
Water: 2.5 gal
Lime juice: 2 pints, 1 quart
Vanilla: 1 oz
Caramel: 1.5 oz or more for color

The secret 7X flavor (use 2 oz of flavor to 5 gals syrup):
Alcohol:  8 oz
Orange oil: 20 drops
Lemon oil: 30 drops
Nutmeg oil: 10 drops
Coriander: 5 drops
Neroli: 10 drops
Cinnamon: 10 drops

via Is This the Real Thing? Coca-Cola’s Secret Formula Discovered by This American Life – TIME NewsFeed.

Posted in Food | Leave a Comment »

FBI ‘overstated’ evidence used in anthrax letters case

Posted by Anonymous on February 16, 2011

Bruce Ivins, in a file photoUS investigators overstated the strength of scientific evidence against a man accused of sending letters laced with anthrax, a review panel has said.

But the National Research Council did not dispute the conclusion that government scientist Bruce Ivins was responsible for the attacks.

The panel said scientific evidence was “consistent” with that result.

The attacks, weeks after the 9/11 terror attacks, killed five, including two postal workers in Washington.

“We find the scientific evidence to be consistent with their conclusions but not as definitive as stated,” said Lehigh University President Alice Gast, who led the panel.

The letters containing the lethal germ were posted to cities across the country. In addition to the five killed, 17 people were made ill.

Ivins killed himself weeks before he was to be charged.

In a statement, the National Research Council said that advanced scientific methods alone – in isolation from traditional investigative methods – were insufficient to trace the source of the anthrax used in the attacks.

The review was carried out at the FBI’s request.

The FBI said in a statement its investigation had not relied only on scientific findings.

“The FBI has long maintained that while science played a significant role, it was the totality of the investigative process that determined the outcome of the anthrax case,” the agency said.

In 2008, investigators said Ivins, a researcher at the army biological weapons laboratory in Fort Detrick, Maryland, was the sole person responsible for the deadly anthrax attacks. …

via BBC News – FBI ‘overstated’ evidence used in anthrax letters case.

Posted in Biology, Crime, Politics | Leave a Comment »

The strange powers of the Placebo Effect

Posted by Anonymous on February 16, 2011

Everyone’s heard of the Placebo Effect — that curious phenomenon where taking a substance that has no known medicinal value makes us feel better. This video takes a look at the many strange effects of placebos (“sugar pills”), as well as the effects of our perceptions on their efficacy: pill size or number of pills swallowed, pill colour, packaging, delivery method (pills versus injections, for example), our symptoms, where in the world we live … and yes, it’s possible to become addicted to placebos! The government even uses the Placebo Effect: if a new drug can’t outperform a placebo there’s no proof it’s effective.

via The strange powers of the Placebo Effect | Science | guardian.co.uk.

Posted in Health, Mind | 2 Comments »


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