Monday, August 31, 2009

Polish Yeti caught on film experts are heading to Poland after a local man filmed a "monstrous, hairy creature" while on holiday in the Tatra mountains.

There have been rumours of a Polish Yeti in the area for centuries but this is the first time one of the strange creatures has been captured on film.

Piotr Kowalski, 27, from Warsaw was on a walking holiday in the Tatra mountains in Poland when he saw a mountain goat on one of the slopes. As he started filming, his attention was suddenly grabbed by the Yeti creature emerging from behind some rocks.

"I saw this huge ape-like form hiding behind the rocks. When I saw it it was like being struck by a thunderbolt," he told the daily Superexpress.

"Coming from Warsaw, I never really believed the local stories of a wild mountain ape-man roaming the slopes. But, now I do."

The film has been handed over for examination to the Nautilus Foundation, which deals with unexplained phenomena.

"The film clearly shows 'something' that moves on two legs and is bigger than a normal man," says Foundation President Robert Bernatowicz.

"But because the camera shakes so much it is difficult to say what it is exactly. We need to go to the site and see what traces, if any, were left."

via Polish Yeti caught on film – Around the World – Austrian Times.

Is the "Austrian Times" reliable? Another story on the site says "Police are investigating claims an alien peed on a German man's sun lounger while being chased by German fighter planes."

This Yeti story is also on other sites:  examiner | shortnews | inquisitr | romainiantimes (same owner as the "Austrian times"?) The Sun also has this same story:

Caught ... yeti on vid

Here is the video. Moves like a human in a costume. That's my first impression. Perhaps time will tell.

What I want to know is... why is this Yeti wearing shorts and a backpack?

Conjoined rattlesnakes OK after separation surgery veterinarian at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum was successfully able to separate a pair of conjoined rattlesnakes, an official said Friday.

“They both appear to be stable,” Craig Ivanyi, the museum’s associate executive director for living collections, said of the western diamondbacks, who were born connected at the neck. “We continue to be optimistic.”

The rattlers were found two weeks ago at a north side construction site and brought to the museum.

Experts determined the snakes needed to be separated in order to survive. Keeping them attached, Ivanyi said, would have caused one of the two to become highly stressed due to the other becoming dominant.

If left in the wild, Ivanyi said, the snakes would likely have not been able to feed properly and would have been picked off by predators.

The surgery was performed Thursday by Dr. Jim Jarchow, a veterinarian the museum consults with on issues related to reptiles and amphibians, Ivanyi said.

via Conjoined rattlesnakes OK after separation surgery | ®.

Standing broom in Prattville sweeps in paranormal researchers and the curious

A broom mysteriously stands on its own at what will be the Vintage Blu consignment shop when it opens on Main Street in Prattville, Ala., Tuesday, August 25, 2009, as owner Christy Burdett makes a call to find out some of the history of the building. The phenomenon has been studied by paranormal researchers.

via Standing broom in Prattville sweeps in paranormal researchers and the curious - Breaking News from the Press-Register -

This is not mysterious. My broom will do this. You just have to have the right angle and bristles. Here are a few more pictures (okay, the first two may be the same broom.) Many different brooms will work. I first saw this at the"Trees of Mystery, Mystery Spot"  when I was a kid, which I think is where the yellow broom below was photographed.


Lightning helps create artificial blood vessels

Tech: Engineering TissueRegrowing skin, bones and even organs might seem like something out of a mad scientist's lab, but the reality isn't so crazy. Jorge Ribas finds out how tissue engineering could help the sick and injured. ... -discovery

Lightning bolts could help create artificial organs, according to new research by scientists at Texas A&M University.

An electrically charged block of plastic gives way to a series of tunnel-carving lightning bolts when a nail is driven into it. Adding human blood vessel cells to the tunnels could create a template upon which an artificial organ could grow.

"One of the biggest problems in tissue engineering is how to create a vascular network to feed the growing tissue," said Arul Jayaraman, a professor at Texas A&M who, along with his colleague Victor Ugaz, co-authored the study that appears in the journal Advanced Materials. "The structure of these networks closely resembles the human vasculature."

Story continues below ↓advertisement | your ad here

The artificial organs begin as clear blocks of biodegradable plastic about the size of an inch-thick stack of Post-It notes. An electron beam fills the block with electricity, then the scientists drive nails into either end of the plastic block.

With each strike of the hammer, lightning streaks through the block and exits through the nail, leaving tiny tunnels in its wake. "It's pretty spectacular," said Jayaraman. "It looks just like lightning bolts."

... "If you took kidneys from five different people and sliced them open, you would not see the exact same vascular pattern, at the microscopic level," said Hunziker, "even though the overall structure would be the same."

Creating a block of what resembles frozen lightning is only a first step to growing new organs.

via Lightning helps create artificial blood vessels -

Milk drinking started around 7,500 years ago in central Europe ability to digest the milk sugar lactose first evolved in dairy farming communities in central Europe, not in more northern groups as was previously thought, finds a new study led by UCL (University College London) scientists published in the journal PLoS Computational Biology. The genetic change that enabled early Europeans to drink milk without getting sick has been mapped to dairying farmers who lived around 7,500 years ago in a region between the central Balkans and central Europe. Previously, it was thought that natural selection favoured milk drinkers only in more northern regions because of their greater need for vitamin D in their diet. People living in most parts of the world make vitamin D when sunlight hits the skin, but in northern latitudes there isn't enough sunlight to do this for most of the year.

In the collaborative study, the team used a computer simulation model to explore the spread of lactase persistence, dairy farming, other food gathering practices and genes in Europe. The model integrated genetic and archaeological data using newly developed statistical approaches.

Professor Mark Thomas, UCL Genetics, Evolution and Environment, says: "Most adults worldwide do not produce the enzyme lactase and so are unable to digest the milk sugar lactose. However, most Europeans continue to produce lactase throughout their life, a characteristic known as lactase persistence. In Europe, a single genetic change (13,910*T) is strongly associated with lactase persistence and appears to have given people with it a big survival advantage. Since adult consumption of fresh milk was only possible after the domestication of animals, it is likely that lactase persistence co-evolved with the cultural practice of dairying, although it was not known when it first arose in Europe or what factors drove its rapid spread.

via Milk drinking started around 7,500 years ago in central Europe.

'Crystal Palace Puma' is a panther, big cat expert says

Second Crystal Palace puma sighting?A big cat researcher claims to have solved the mystery of the “Palace Puma”.

Neil Arnold said a large wild cat spotted by a woman in a woods in Crystal Palace two weeks ago is in fact a black leopard or panther.

The author of Mystery Animals of the British Isles said decades of sightings across southeast London are a result of a number of large exotic cats being released into the wild by their owners in 1976, when it was deemed necessary to buy expensive licences to keep them.

Mr Arnold said sightings of big cats such as that by Helen Barrett in woodland at Fox Hill on Saturday, August 8, were of the offspring of these “pets”.

In last week’s Streatham Guardian Mrs Barrett described how she had seen a 5ft puma or panther on a pathway between Church Road and Auckland Road.

Police searched for the animal but could find no trace of it.

Mr Arnold said the animals “are no threat to humans”.

via 'Crystal Palace Puma' is a panther, big cat expert says (From Croydon Guardian).

Devon river team's piranha shock

Dead piranhaDead piranhaA "killer" fish native to South America has been found in a Devon river.

The Environment Agency said its staff were amazed to find a dead piranha in the East Okement tributary of the River Torridge.

The piranha, which has razor-sharp teeth, is generally considered to be the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world.

The 35cm (14in) fish was spotted by Bob Collett, Dave Hoskin and Eddie Stevens during a sampling trip on the river.

Among the species the team would have expected to find in the river were salmon, brown trout, bullheads, stone loach and minnow.

"What we actually discovered was something we would not expect to find in our wildest dreams - we could hardly believe our eyes," Mr Stevens said.

"After completing 20m of the survey, a large tail emerged from the undercut bank on the far side of the river.

"Our first thought was that a sea trout had become lodged in amongst the rocks and debris collected under the bank, but when it was removed from the river we were speechless to find it was a piranha."

Tests carried out on the dead piranha revealed it had been eating sweet corn, which proved it must have been kept as a pet.

via BBC NEWS | UK | England | Devon | Devon river team's piranha shock.

Wind, current combined to raise E Coast sea level living along the East Coast were in higher water early this summer thanks to a change in the wind and current flow.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Monday the higher than normal sea levels were caused by persistent winds from the northeast — pushing water toward shore — and a weakening of the Florida current that feeds water into the Gulf Stream.

Water levels ranged from six inches to two feet above normal in areas from Maine to Florida during June and July, the agency said.

While the ocean varies and unusual conditions do occur, Mike Szabados, director of NOAA's Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services, said in a statement, "What made this event unique was its breadth, intensity and duration."

The high water was intensified in June by a strong spring tide, officials added.

While it wasn't a record for northeasterly winds or for the decline in the Florida current, the combination of the two helped raise sea levels all along the coast.

via Wind, current combined to raise E Coast sea level - Yahoo! News.

Two "odds of dying" charts


... The graphic (directly above) is based on 2003 figures from the National Safety Council, a nonprofit group that puts together tables of this stuff based on data from the CDC and the Census Bureau. You can see newer figures and lots more causes of death on the NSC Web site.

Your chances of dying by being “confined to or trapped in a low-oxygen environment,” for example, are one in 271,315. Far more likely (1 in 75,968) is death by “threat to breathing due to cave-in, falling earth and other substances.” Then there are the biggies we write about all the time: heart disease (1 in 5), cancer (1 in 7) and stroke (1 in 24). - wsj

The 2005 odds are here.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

And before the big bang?

How did we get here? What was here "before"?  No one knows. We know some things, however.

We can observe is that the universe is expanding, and we can determine that 13.73 billion years ago, all of the "stuff" outside of the Earth that we can now observe or infer was concentrated.

What about 50 billion years ago? No one knows.

PAUL DAVIES, a theoretical physicist and professor of natural philosophy, has this to say in his interesting article, "What happened before the big bang?" there is very good evidence that the universe did come into existence in a big bang, about fifteen billion years ago.

The effects of that primeval explosion are clearly detectable today-in the fact that the universe is still expanding, and is filled with an afterglow of radiant heat.

So we are faced with the problem of what happened beforehand to trigger the big bang. Journalists love to taunt scientists with this question when they complain about the money being spent on science. Actually, the answer (in my opinion) was spotted a long time ago, by one Augustine of Hippo, a Christian saint who lived in the fifth century. In those days before science, cosmology was a branch of theology, and the taunt came not from journalists, but from pagans: "What was God doing before he made the universe?" they asked. "Busy creating Hell for the likes of you!" was the standard reply.

But Augustine was more subtle. The world, he claimed, was made "not in time, but simultaneously with time." In other words, the origin of the universe-what we now call the big bang-was not simply the sudden appearance of matter in an eternally preexisting void, but the coming into being of time itself. Time began with the cosmic origin. There was no "before," no endless ocean of time for a god, or a physical process, to wear itself out in infinite preparation.

See full size imageRemarkably, modern science has arrived at more or less the same conclusion as Augustine, based on what we now know about the nature of space, time, and gravitation. It was Albert Einstein who taught us that time and space are not merely an immutable arena in which the great cosmic drama is acted out, but are part of the cast-part of the physical universe. As physical entities, time and space can change- suffer distortions-as a result of gravitational processes. Gravitational theory predicts that under the extreme conditions that prevailed in the early universe, space and time may have been so distorted that there existed a boundary, or "singularity," at which the distortion of space-time was infinite, and therefore through which space and time cannot have continued. Thus, physics predicts that time was indeed bounded in the past as Augustine claimed. It did not stretch back for all eternity.

If the big bang was the beginning of time itself, then any discussion about what happened before the big bang, or what caused it-in the usual sense of physical causation-is simply meaningless. Unfortunately, many children, and adults, too, regard this answer as disingenuous. There must be more to it than that, they object.

Indeed there is. After all, why should time suddenly "switch on"? What explanation can be given for such a singular event? Until recently, it seemed that any explanation of the initial "singularity" that marked the origin of time would have to lie beyond the scope of science. However, it all depends on what is meant by "explanation." As I remarked, all children have a good idea of the notion of cause and effect, and usually an explanation of an event entails finding something that caused it. It turns out, however, that there are physical events which do not have well-defined causes in the manner of the everyday world. These events belong to a weird branch of scientific inquiry called quantum physics.

Mostly, quantum events occur at the atomic level; we don't experience them in daily life. On the scale of atoms and molecules, the usual commonsense rules of cause and effect are suspended. The rule of law is replaced by a sort of anarchy or chaos, and things happen spontaneously-for no particular reason. Particles of matter may simply pop into existence without warning, and then equally abruptly disappear again. Or a particle in one place may suddenly materialize in another place, or reverse its direction of motion. Again, these are real effects occurring on an atomic scale, and they can be demonstrated experimentally.

A typical quantum process is the decay of a radioactive nucleus. If you ask why a given nucleus decayed at one particular moment rather than some other, there is no answer. The event "just happened" at that moment, that's all. You cannot predict these occurrences. All you can do is give the probability-there is a fifty-fifty chance that a given nucleus will decay in, say, one hour. This uncertainty is not simply a result of our ignorance of all the little forces and influences that try to make the nucleus decay; it is inherent in nature itself, a basic part of quantum reality.

The lesson of quantum physics is this: Something that "just happens" need not actually violate the laws of physics. The abrupt and uncaused appearance of something can occur within the scope of scientific law, once quantum laws have been taken into account. Nature apparently has the capacity for genuine spontaneity.

In other words, time was created with the big bang, and before that, some strange quantum universe existed  without time. This idea matches observations we have made in this Time-Universe such as: At the speed of light, time does not exist. And sub atomic particles move instantly from one place to another. And spooky action at a distance of particles that are joined (entangled).

Evidence for the age of the universe:
The earliest and most direct kinds of observational evidence are the Hubble-type expansion seen in the redshifts of galaxies, the detailed measurements of the cosmic microwave background, and the abundance of light elements (see Big Bang nucleosynthesis). These are sometimes called the three pillars of the big bang theory. Many other lines of evidence now support the picture, notably various properties of the large-scale structure of the cosmos[38] which are predicted to occur due to gravitational growth of structure in the standard Big Bang theory.  - wiki

If the Universe is only 13.73 billion years old, it seems still possible that some billion-year-old advanced intelligent alien civilizations exist out there. If we last long enough, we may be lucky enough to meet them and work on the bigger problem the entire universe faces: running out of energy.
After all the black holes have evaporated, (and after all the ordinary matter made of protons has disintegrated, if protons are unstable), the universe will be nearly empty. Photons, neutrinos, electrons and positrons will fly from place to place, hardly ever encountering each other. It will be cold, and dark, and there is no known process which will ever change things. -

In a googol years (10 to the power of 100) which is "ten billion, billion, billion, billion, billion, billion, billion, billion, billion, billion, billion" years, the entire universe will be dead.

So. There it is. The universe, birth to death. No observable parents. No children left to bury it.

Can we have your liver then?

Neighbourhood Watch catchs burglar with 1000 hidden Euros

eurosMembers of the Bedar Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) yesterday helped apprehend a burglar carrying very unpleasant “booty”.

Events began when a member of the NHW returned to his home in the El Curato area in the municipality of Bedar at around 17:00 to find a burglar on the premises.

The householder tried to apprehend the man, who reports indicate was of North African extraction, but he managed to climb over a wall and escape in his car.
NHW coordinator, Mike Chard, explained what happened next. He said: “There is a very active Neighbourhood Watch scheme operating in the area and the householder immediately rang around a number of resident members to alert them of what had happened.  “One of the residents who was contacted, a retired man named John Gibb, saw the burglar driving past and realised he was heading down a dead end, so he immediately got into his car and blocked the road off.”

Events took a dramatic turn when the burglar returned at high speed, flashing his lights in an attempt to intimidate the man into clearing the way. But Mr Gibb refused to back down and heaved a rock through the burglar’s windscreen, smashing it completely. The burglar drove away and subsequently abandoned the vehicle after turning into another dead end. He was finally apprehended by police on the Los Gallardos - Bedar road.

A subsequent cavity search revealed the burglar to be carrying 1000 Euros in cash placed within his anus.

- via es


World's smallest semiconductor laser heralds new era in optical science

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have reached a new milestone in laser physics by creating the world's smallest semiconductor laser, capable of generating visible light in a space smaller than a single protein molecule.

This breakthrough, described in an advanced online publication of the journal Nature on Sunday, Aug. 30, breaks new ground in the field of optics. The UC Berkeley team not only successfully squeezed light into such a tight space, but found a novel way to keep that light energy from dissipating as it moved along, thereby achieving laser action.

"This work shatters traditional notions of laser limits, and makes a major advance toward applications in the biomedical, communications and computing fields," said Xiang Zhang, professor of mechanical engineering and director of UC Berkeley's Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center, which is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and head of the research team behind this work.

The achievement helps enable the development of such innovations as nanolasers that can probe, manipulate and characterize DNA molecules; optics-based telecommunications many times faster than current technology; and optical computing in which light replaces electronic circuitry with a corresponding leap in speed and processing power.

While it is traditionally accepted that an electromagnetic wave - including laser light - cannot be focused beyond the size of half its wavelength, research teams around the world have found a way to compress light down to dozens of nanometers by binding it to the electrons that oscillate collectively at the surface of metals. This interaction between light and oscillating electrons is known as surface plasmons.

Scientists have been racing to construct surface plasmon lasers that can sustain and utilize these tiny optical excitations. However, the resistance inherent in metals causes these surface plasmons to dissipate almost immediately after being generated, posing a critical challenge to achieving the buildup of the electromagnetic field necessary for lasing.

Zhang and his research team took a novel approach to stem the loss of light energy by pairing a cadmium sulfide nanowire - 1,000 times thinner than a human hair - with a silver surface separated by an insulating gap of only 5 nanometers, the size of a single protein molecule. In this structure, the gap region stores light within an area 20 times smaller than its wavelength. Because light energy is largely stored in this tiny non-metallic gap, loss is significantly diminished.

With the loss finally under control through this unique "hybrid" design, the researchers could then work on amplifying the light.

"When you are working at such small scales, you do not have much space to play around with," said Rupert Oulton, the research associate in Zhang's lab who first theorized this approach last year and the study's co-lead author. "In our design, the nanowire acts as both a confinement mechanism and an amplifier. It's pulling double duty." ...

via World's smallest semiconductor laser heralds new era in optical science.

Caltech neuroscientists find brain region responsible for our sense of personal space

In a finding that sheds new light on the neural mechanisms involved in social behavior, neuroscientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have pinpointed the brain structure responsible for our sense of personal space.

The discovery, described in the August 30 issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience, could offer insight into autism and other disorders where social distance is an issue.

The structure, the amygdala—a pair of almond-shaped regions located in the medial temporal lobes—was previously known to process strong negative emotions, such as anger and fear, and is considered the seat of emotion in the brain. However, it had never been linked rigorously to real-life human social interaction.

The scientists, led by Ralph Adolphs, Bren Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience and professor of biology and postdoctoral scholar Daniel P. Kennedy, were able to make this link with the help of a unique patient, a 42-year-old woman known as SM, who has extensive damage to the amygdala on both sides of her brain.

"SM is unique, because she is one of only a handful of individuals in the world with such a clear bilateral lesion of the amygdala, which gives us an opportunity to study the role of the amygdala in humans," says Kennedy, the lead author of the new report.

SM has difficulty recognizing fear in the faces of others, and in judging the trustworthiness of someone, two consequences of amygdala lesions that Adolphs and colleagues published in prior studies.

During his years of studying her, Adolphs also noticed that the very outgoing SM is almost too friendly, to the point of "violating" what others might perceive as their own personal space. "She is extremely friendly, and she wants to approach people more than normal. It's something that immediately becomes apparent as you interact with her," says Kennedy.

Previous studies of humans never had revealed an association between the amygdala and personal space. From their knowledge of the literature, however, the researchers knew that monkeys with amygdala lesions preferred to stay in closer proximity to other monkeys and humans than did healthy monkeys.

via Caltech neuroscientists find brain region responsible for our sense of personal space.

Held In A Psychiatric Ward & Called “Delusional” For Saying 9/11 Was An Inside Job

I was wrongly diagnosed as delusional by the psychiatric staff of Ward 7 at Northland Base Hospital in Whangarei and held ... against my will for 11 days in mid-2006, because I maintained the attacks of 9/11 were orchestrated by criminal elements inside the US Administration.

A definition of delusional: relating to,  based on, or affected by delusions.  A delusion: a false belief strongly held in spite of invalidating evidence, especially as a symptom of mental illness.

In light of the definition, one of the most astounding aspects to the ordeal was that when I met with the chief psychiatrist, Dr Carlos Zubaran for two formal mental health assessments,  I held Issue 3 of Uncensored, which is shown in the picture above, and asked him to look at information related to the 9/11 attacks.  This magazine contained an article I’d written entitled: Why Does TVNZ Lie To Us About 9/11?, which cited evidence that proved the official fable was a lie – yet reminiscent of the fabled vampires afraid of the light of day, he refused to even cast his eyes over it, during both of the so-called “assessments.”

Another astounding aspect to what occurred was that Section 4 of the New Zealand Mental Health Act makes it clear that no one can be judged to be mentally ill solely on the basis of their political beliefs.   The District Inspector for Mental Health – Northland, barrister Julie Young; Bridget Westenra, the lawyer she appointed to assist me and the staff of Ward 7, including the chief psychiatrist, did not appear to know this.   As can be seen, it is written in layman’s language on page 33 of Chapter 2 of Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992,  which is on the Ministry of Health’s own website:  ‘You cannot be considered to have a mental disorder just because of your: political, religious or cultural beliefs…’.

As this Judgement shows, because of his reluctance to scrutinize the evidence related to 9/11 and apparent lack of awareness of  Section 4 of the Act,  nine days into my incarceration, Dr Zubaran still held the belief I suffered from a “delusional disorder” because of my political beliefs.

The evidence that shows the official story of 9/11 was indeed a lie is now overwhelming.  We now have what has been referred to as the “loaded gun” – this is the unignited nanothermite, a highly-advanced explosive substance, which was far too sophisticated a composite to have originated from a cave in Afghanistan. Think military.  Think US government.

The following article, which relates to what occurred in Ward 7, was published in Issue 8 of Uncensored.   Thankfully, since writing about what happened and making numerous phone calls, plus sending many letters, as well as supplying numerous DVDs to the staff of Ward 7 to show them the truth about 9/11 – and then finally threatening to protest outside the hospital,  the Clinical Director of Mental Health & Addiction Services in Northland sent an apology in August 2008, which can be viewed here. ...

By Clare Swinney, Member of Scholars For 9/11 Truth & Justice.

This on the nano-thermite angle:

Here is a reply to an obvious question:
BennyDACHO said, "how do we know the dust he got wasn't tempered with, and how do we even know if it's the right dust?"

4 different samples
4 different locations
collected by 4 different citizens of New York
Dust samples were sent to multiple scientists
All samples gave explosive results.

Owners of the dust have given video recorded testimonies of who are they, how they collected the dust and when.  If you are still in doubt, call the FBI, shut-up, or test the dust for yourself!

Video with a claim of "willful ignorance" by a NIST investigator.

Watch Battlestar Galactica Online

For BSG fans who might not know about this:

Comcast the Latest ISP To Try DNS Hijacking got hit with the "Comcast Domain Helper service" tonight.

I ended up on some annoying ad page  before I knew what hit me.

I go to great lengths (Firewall/Anti-Virus/Firefox/NoScript/Adblock, etc.) to avoid having to look at spam.

Comcast is irresponsible in subjecting customers to its ad laden "what you get if you type a typo" page, and is potentially damaging customer privacy if advertisers on that page track you. (Read: even more spam.)

DNS Hijacking is virus behavior (according to the Comcast rep I spoke to tonight, who hadn't even heard of the program, it seems, until I gave her the web address below.)

I must "Opt out" of being hijacked!?

How to opt out:

  1. Go here Opt out here:

  2. Figure out your Comcast email address. If you never use it, don't recall it, or don't know your email password, call customer support, they can help.

  3. They can also tell you the MAC address of your cable modem which you will need for the above form.

  4. Submit the form.

  5. GO to your Comcast email. Read the Opt out email

  6. Click the op out confirmation link

  7. Wait 2 freaking business days for the hijacking to take effect.

  8. Ask the rep how many people have complained about "Comcast Domain Helper service" so far, and then add your thumbs down vote.

"In the latest blow to DNS neutrality, Comcast is starting to redirect users to an ad-laden holding page when they try to connect to nonexistent domains. I have just received an email from them to that effect, tried it, and lo and behold, indeed there is the ugly DNS hijack page. The good news is that the opt-out is a more sensible registration based on cable modem MAC, rather than the deplorable 'cookie method' we just saw from Bell Canada. All you Comcast customers and friends of Comcast customers who want to get out of this, go here to opt out. Is there anything that can be done to stop (and reverse) this DNS breakage trend that the ISPs seem to be latching onto lately? Maybe the latest net neutrality bill will help."

via Slashdot Technology Story | Comcast the Latest ISP To Try DNS Hijacking.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Alcohol can make you forget it is depressing you.

278741134_aa53bfe889Abstaining from alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of depression according to a new study published in Addiction journal.

It has long been recognised that excessive alcohol consumption can lead to poor physical and mental health. However, there has been mounting evidence that low levels of alcohol consumption may also be associated with poor mental health possibly due to abstainers having other health problems or being reformed heavy drinkers.

The study utilised data from the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT Study) based in Norway. This provided information on the drinking habits and mental health of over 38,000 individuals. Using this data the authors were able to show that those individuals who reported drinking no alcohol over a two week period were more likely than moderate drinkers to report symptoms of depression. Those individuals who additionally labelled themselves as “abstainers” were at the highest risk of depression. Other factors, such as age, physical health problems and number of close friends could explain some, but not all of this increased risk. The authors also had access to reported levels of alcohol consumption 11 years prior to the main survey. This showed that fourteen percent of current abstainers had previously been heavy drinkers, but this did not explain all of the increased risk of depression amongst abstainers.

The authors conclude that in societies where some use of alcohol is the norm, abstinence may be associated with being socially marginalised or particular personality traits that may also be associated with mental illness.

It should also be noted that alcohol use is associated with many physical health problems, with excessive alcohol consumption being estimated to contribute to over 33,000 death in the UK each year and many more injuries. The current guidance is for men to drink no more than three to four units each day, and women to drink no more than two to three units.

via Addiction Journal.

This is very misleading. In other words, people not drinking had more self awareness of their depression (if they were depressed) than the people drinking. The thing to remember is that alcohol is a mood altering depressant drug. A depressed mind is less in touch with reality. So, don't make yourself more depressed with alcohol. Work on fixing the root of the problem for best long term results.

Scientist Warning of Health Hazards of "Roundup" Herbicide Receives Threats

212-020-Gazette-1-CMYK.jpg“I expected a reaction but not such a violent one”

In April 2009 Andrés Carrasco, an Argentinian embryologist, gave an interview to the leading Buenos Aires newspaper Página 12, in which he described the alarming results of a research project he is leading into the impact of the herbicide glyphosate on the foetuses of amphibians. Dr Carrasco, who works in the Ministry of Science’s Conicet (National Council of Scientific and Technical Investigations), said that their results suggested that the herbicide could cause brain, intestinal and heart defects in the foetuses. Glyphosate is the herbicide used in the cultivation of Monsanto’s genetically modified soya, which now covers some 18 million hectares, about half of Argentina’s arable land. [1]

Carrasco said that the doses of herbicide used in their study were “much lower than the levels used in the fumigations”. Indeed, as some weeds have become resistant to glyphosate, many farmers are greatly increasing the concentration of the herbicide. According to Página 12, this means that, in practice, the herbicide applied in the fields is between 50 and 1,540 times stronger than that used by Carrasco. The results in the study are confirming what peasant and indigenous communities – the people most affected by the spraying – have been denouncing for over a decade. The study also has profound consequences for the USA’s anti-narcotics strategy in Colombia, because the planes spray glyphosate, reinforced with additional chemicals, on the coca fields (and the peasants living among them).

Three days after the interview, the Association of Environmental Lawyers filed a petition with the Argentine Supreme Court, calling for a ban on the use and sale of glyphosate until its impact on health and on the environment had been investigated. Five days later the Ministry of Defense banned the planting of soya in its fields. This sparked a strong reaction from the multinational biotechnology companies and their supporters. Fearful that their most famous product, a symbol of the dominant farming model, would be banned, they mounted an unprecedented attack on Carrasco, ridiculing his research and even issuing personal threats. He was accused of inventing his whole investigation, as his results have not yet been peer-reviewed and published in a prestigious scientific journal.

According to an article in the Argentine press, after news about the study broke, Dr. Carrasco was the victim of an act of intimidation, when four men arrived at his laboratory in the Faculty of Medicine and acted extremely aggressively. ...

via Scientist Warning of Health Hazards of Monsanto's Herbicide Receives Threats.

True?  For those who don't know, glyphosate is also known as Roundup. Mother Earth News called it the world's most common pesticide.
Roundup is widely used in yards and gardens across North America, and U.S. farmers spray millions of acres of crops with it each year. ... A group of scientists from the University of Caen in France found that human placental cells are very sensitive to the herbicide at concentrations lower than the agricultural use, and that it disrupts human sex hormones. The scientists concluded that the herbicide could “induce reproduction problems” in humans.

Jesus of Siberia: Ex-traffic policeman who says he is the son of God leads thousands

Russian ex-traffic cop Sergei Torop VissarionThe beard and long hair are both present and correct.

And with his flowing linen robes and beatific smile he certainly does a fine impression of a holy man.But to his believers in this remote corner of Siberia, Sergei Torop, a former traffic policeman, is the literal reincarnation of none other than Jesus Christ

Torop, 48, is the spiritual leader of at least 5,000 devoted followers, among them intellectuals, artists and professionals who flock to worship him in the small isolated village of Petropavlovka - more than 2000 miles from Moscow.

Torop was ‘reborn’ as ‘Vissarion’ in 1991 just as Russia was facing a crisis of confidence following the collapse of the iron curtain.

He is just the latest example of Russia’s predilection for 'personality cults'  - a national obsession that leads back all the way to the days of Rasputin.

Both Lenin and Stalin tapped into the Russian people’s eagerness to embrace powerful figures and actively fostered the almost religious fervour with which they were worshipped.

After time spent in the Army, Torop had been working as a traffic policeman on the night shift in the small Siberia town of Minusinsk until he was made unemployed.

Suddenly something ‘awoke’ inside him, he says, and he instantly knew that he was the second coming of Christ - 2,000 years after he was first crucified.

Might make a good movie.

Crime expert backs calls for 'licence to compute''s leading criminologist thinks online scams have escalated to such a point that first-time users of computers should have to earn a licence to surf the web.

Russel Smith, principal criminologist at the Australian Institute of Criminology said the concept of a "computer drivers licence" should be taken seriously as an option for combating internet-related crime.

"There's been some discussion in Europe about the use of what's called a computer drivers licence - where you have a standard set of skills people should learn before they start using computers," Dr Smith told iTnews.

"At the moment we have drivers licences for cars, and cars are very dangerous machines. Computers are also quite dangerous in the way that they can make people vulnerable to fraud.

"In the future we might want to think about whether it's necessary there be some sort of compulsory education of people before they start using computers," he said.

The Australian Computer Society launched computer driver's licences in 1999. It aimed to give users a basic level of competency before they started using PCs. But the growth in cybercrime has led to IT security experts such as Eugene Kaspersky to call for more formalised recognition of a user's identity so they can travel the net safely.

Last week Dr Smith sat in front of a Federal Government Inquiry into cyber crime and advised Australia's senior politicians on initiatives in train to fight cybercrime.

He said that education was secondary to better technology solutions.

"I think at the starting point of it you need manufacturers of both hardware and software to devise technology that makes it difficult or impossible for people to be defrauded," Dr Smith said.

via Crime expert backs calls for 'licence to compute' - Security - Technology - News -

This is one of the absolute worst ideas ever. Shout this down. Too much potential for abuse, taxation, additional fraud, etc.

Gorilla breakfast break-in US policeman was reportedly caught breaking into a zoo to feed gorillas Pop-Tarts.

The unnamed officer is being investigated over claims he snuck into Como Zoo in St. Pauls, Minneapolis to feed the three animals - named Schroeder, Gordy and Togo - the Kellogg's breakfast treat.

Two security guards reportedly found the officer amongst a large group of people on the zoos grounds and spotted him feeding the animals on their CCTV (closed circuit television) cameras.

The zoo says the animals have not suffered any ill-effects from the experience, but have never eaten the sugary treat before.

via Gorilla breakfast break-in | Showbiz | STV Entertainment.

Scientists baffled as 'suicidal' cows throw themselves off cliff in Switzerland

Dozens of cows bodies litter the valley floor after they mysteriously fell from the alpine cliff many feet aboveIn the picturesque Swiss village of Lauterbrunnen, the locals are worried.

Dozens of alpine cows appear to be committing suicide by throwing themselves off a cliff near the small village in the Alps.

In the space of just three days, 28 cows and bulls have mysteriously died after they plunged hundreds of metres to rocks below where they were killed instantly.

In each case, local mountain rescue services using a helicopter had to be called in to remove the bodies because of the danger to the local groundwater of pollution.

A police spokesman said: 'There are no large carnivores living in the Alps anymore who would once have disposed of the bodies so they have to be moved.

via Scientists baffled as 'suicidal' cows throw themselves off cliff in Switzerland | Mail Online.

How about the large carnivore which is the most dangerous to cows world wide? Are there any crazy humans around driving these poor cows over the cliff? Other thought is mad cow disease.

Giant cockroach is world's heaviest insect? Naw.

Giant Cockroach...Australia's giants give birth to live young, look after them in a burrow, make "great pets" and dine on leaves.

"Native to western NSW and north Queensland, they can reach 30 to 35g and more than 85mm in length," Sydney University senior biology lecturer Nathan Lo said yesterday.

"They are the world's heaviest cockroach and if not the heaviest of all insects, they are certainly a contender.

"They are different to other insects in a lot of ways and are totally unrelated to the American or German cockroaches found in Australian households."Giants can live up to eight years, which is pretty amazing for an insect.

via Giant cockroach is world's heaviest insect | The Daily Telegraph.

Another site says:
The heaviest insect in the world is the Goliath Beetle. It is found most commonly in tropical African rainforests, but can also survive in many other areas of Africa. Their size does vary with species. The largest species is "Goliathus goliath", weighing on average, 3.5 ounces (nearly 100 grams).

Now THIS is probably the world's heaviest insect species:

Father's outrage over 'pornographic' candy wrappers

sweetA father-of-two has spoken of his disgust after spotting fruity cartoon characters appearing to have sex on SWEET wrappers.

Simon Simpkins was buying Haribo MAOAM sour candies for his children when he noticed the 'pornographic' illustrations of limes, lemons and cherries romping with each other.

Mr Simpkins, of Pontefract, West Yorkshire, said: 'The lemon and lime are locked in what appears to be a carnal encounter.

'The lime, whom I assume to be the gentleman in this coupling, has a particularly lurid expression on his face.'

He said: 'I demanded to see the shop manager and, during a heated exchange, my wife became quite distressed and had to sit down in the car park.'

A spokesman for Haribo said the 'fun' packaging of the sweets was introduced in Germany 2002 and added: 'This jovial MAOAM man is very popular with fans, both young and old.'

via Father's outrage over 'pornographic' Haribo MAOAM sweet wrappers | Mail Online.

Most popular comment:

Facebook 'London' Scam Picking Up In Intensity

A phishing scam that seems to have hooked and hacked many Facebook members' accounts since early this year appears to have picked up in intensity over the last month. Hackers are logging into users' accounts, but it's actually not the hacked member who falls victim to the lucrative scam. It's their friends.

It was a bit of a surprise when my friend Blaire sent me a chat message on Facebook earlier this week to tell me she was in London when she had just come up to Manhattan two days earlier and mentioned nothing of the upcoming trip. It was even more surprising when she told me she was mugged and robbed at gunpoint a night earlier, and needed me to send her nearly a thousand bucks so she could get back to the U.S.

Turns out Blaire wasn't even in London, she was at work in Baltimore, clueless to what was going on, and it didn't take me long to realize someone had hacked into her account and was fishing for sympathetic friends who would open their wallets to help a friend in trouble.

"I need your help," the fake Blaire asked me. "I want you to loan me."

Consider that the line that gave it away.

"I want you to loan me." Who says that?

I played along to get some more info so I could report the incident. They told me to wire them $975 and have it sent to 147, Cromwell Road, Kensington, London.

"The money will be sent to me via western union. I hope you have your credit card with you? Did you have it with you at the moment?" the hacker asked.

Yeah. I'm right on top of that. While I was quick to the punch line, a Google search turned up plenty of similar incidents, including ones about a few folks who weren't so Web savvy and lost a wad of cash in an effort to reach out to a desperate friend.

via Facebook 'London' Scam Picking Up In Intensity -

Returning to renting after owning a home? Know your rights, and get a good deal.

There are many places for rent in my town right now.

Home owners returning to renting: In my town at least, Owners/Managers are making deals left and right on rentals. Most 2 bedroom places list for around $1250, but ...  if you ask in the right way, the real going rate is about $1080. Some places give first month's rent free. Some let you paint. Some have pools that are open all night.

Good news: I've been up front with each apartment about my bad credit due to a pending short sale. I've had several comments that this is better than a foreclosure, and most importantly, they've all been very sympathetic. Everyone I've talked to is aware of the housing market disaster and I'm told they will not hold my lack of payments to the bank against me in determining my eligibility for renting. A few places don't even run credit checks. Most don't charge a fee or will waive the fee for the credit check they do.

Did I mention that my house sold for $170,000? The short sale is going forward.  Home inspection was today. No word from my CPA yet about the California tax consequences of $130,000 debt cancellation income in 2009, that's the looming question.

Watch for hidden fees! Apartments have started charging for:

  • Water Sewer and Garbage (this is new, they can and some do!)

  • Mandatory renter's insurance (seems to be legal? )

  • Parking (fully lame,  but legal, be sure to ask!)

  • Making you pay for paint and carpet cleaning when you move out, even for normal wear and tear. (often this is NOT legal!)

As far as I can tell, these rate sheets that apartments have with painting and carpet cleaning fees built in are not legal because California Civil Code Section 1950.5(b),(e) prohibit withholding security deposits for normal wear and tear.
For many years, landlords, tenants and courts used the "clean as it was when the tenant moved in" standard as the practical standard for determining whether the departing tenant left the rental unit clean. A new law has made this practical standard the legal standard as well. (Civil Code Section 1950.5(b)(3). The new legal standard applies to tenancies for which the tenant's right to occupy the unit began after January 1, 2003. ....

the tenant is not responsible for damages resulting from normal wear and tear (Civil Code Sections 1950.5(b),(e))

A landlord can withhold from the security deposit only those amounts that are reasonably necessary for these purposes. The security deposit cannot be used for repairing defects that existed in the unit before you moved in, for conditions caused by normal wear and tear during your tenancy or previous tenancies, or for cleaning a rental unit that is as clean as it was when you moved in.(Civil Code Sections 1950.5(b),(e).) A rental agreement or lease can never state that a security deposit is "nonrefundable."193 -

Friday, August 28, 2009

Space probes fly in tandem to search for lunar water

Last week, NASA's LRO (illustrated) and India's Chandrayaan-1 probes flew near each other to compare radar soundings of the moon. It may be the only time the two spacecraft perform such a joint measurement, since LRO will soon move to a lower orbit than Chandrayaan-1 in order to begin its main observing phase (Illustration: NASA)A delicate joint manoeuvre between US and Indian space probes orbiting the moon could turn up evidence for valuable lunar water.

Some scientists suspect water ice – which would be a precious resource for future explorers – may be trapped in permanently shadowed craters at the moon's poles.

Water ice can be distinguished from other materials by the way its radar echoes vary according to the position of the listener. In 1994, the US Clementine spacecraft bounced radar signals off the moon and found hints of the water-ice signature.

But it listened for the reflections jointly with a radio observatory on Earth, and getting unambiguous evidence for water requires more closely spaced listening posts. A recent joint experiment involving the US and Indian space agencies has provided a unique opportunity to get that data.

"It's a unique experiment that can only be conducted by two spacecraft in orbit at the same time," says Jason Crusan of NASA headquarters in Washington, DC.

On 20 August, NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and Chandrayaan-1 were manoeuvred to within a few dozen kilometres of each other, which required close communication and coordination between NASA and the Indian Space Research Organisation.

Once in proper formation, Chandrayaan-1 fired its radar beam at a crater near the moon's north pole, while both spacecraft listened for the echoes. On Monday, Crusan said scientists were still analysing the data to make sure the experiment worked, but added that both spacecraft were in the right positions at the right time for it to go as planned.

This is probably the only time the two spacecraft will perform this kind of joint radar measurement, since LRO will soon move to a lower orbit than Chandrayaan-1 in order to begin its main observing phase.

But last week's experiment marks a new level of space cooperation between the US and India. "I hope this is a sign of the future for how we will do cooperative exploration," Crusan says. "I think it's a good first step."

via Space probes fly in tandem to search for lunar water - space - 25 August 2009 - New Scientist.

Will they find some soon? Some water on the moon?

Germany unveils 2,000-yr-old statue of horse's head

horseheadGerman archaeologists on Thursday unveiled a bronze and gold horse's head they said was believed to be a remnant of a 2000-year-old Roman statue.

A team digging at a former Roman town near Waldgirmes in central Germany found the life-sized head along with the foot of a rider on August 12.

"This bronze sculpture counts among the best pieces to have ever been found from the area of the former Roman empire," said Eva Kuehne-Hoermann, Hesse's state minister for science, at the unveiling in Frankfurt.

Experts say the statue dates from around 3 or 4 BC when the Roman outpost near Waldgirmes was set up, and probably depicts the Emperor Augustus.

After defeating the Romans at the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in AD 9, German tribes broke up the statue and ritually disposed of the head in the well, the archaeologists said.

"Nowhere else is there a finding of this form or quality," said Kuehne-Hoermann.

The horse's bridle is embellished with images of Mars, god of War and Victoria, who personifies Victory.

via Germany unveils 2,000-yr-old statue of horse's head | Science | Reuters.

>Take head.
(Horse Head Statue) Taken.   *** Your score has just increased! ****

>Examine head.
(Horse Head Statue) Examining the horse head statue reveals a secret compartment in the nose.

>Open nose.

(Horse Head Statue Compartment) Opened.
A swarm of 2,000 year old Trojan killer bees is unleashed. They are hungry. They consume you in seconds.
*** You have died. ***

Human Ingredients T-Shirt


Physicist Proposes Solution to Arrow-of-Time Paradox

Physicist Proposes Solution to Arrow-of-Time ParadoxEntropy can decrease, according to a new proposal - but the process would destroy any evidence of its existence, and erase any memory an observer might have of it. It sounds like the plot to a weird sci-fi movie, but the idea has recently been suggested by theoretical physicist Lorenzo Maccone, currently a visiting scientist at MIT, in an attempt to solve a longstanding paradox in physics.

The laws of physics, which describe everything from electricity to moving objects to energy conservation, are time-invariant. That is, the laws still hold if time is reversed. However, this time reversal symmetry is in direct contrast with everyday phenomena, where it’s obvious that time moves forward and not backward. For example, when milk is spilt, it can’t flow back up into the glass, and when pots are broken, their pieces can’t shatter back together. This irreversibility is formalized through the second law of thermodynamics, which says that entropy always increases or stays the same, but never decreases.

This contrast has created a reversibility paradox, also called Loschmidt’s paradox, which scientists have been trying to understand since Johann Loschmidt began considering the problem in 1876. Scientists have proposed many solutions to the conundrum, from trying to embed irreversibility in physical laws to postulating low-entropy initial states.

Maccone’s idea, published in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters, is a completely new approach to the paradox, based on the assumption that quantum mechanics is valid at all scales. He theoretically shows that entropy can both increase and decrease, but that it must always increase for phenomena that leave a trail of information behind. Entropy can decrease for certain phenomena (when correlated with an observer), but these phenomena won’t leave any information of their having happened. For these situations, it’s like the phenomena never happened at all, since they leave no evidence. As Maccone explains, the second law of thermodynamics is then reduced to a mere tautology: physics cannot study processes where entropy has decreased, due to a complete absence of information. The solution allows for time-reversible phenomena to exist (in agreement with the laws of physics), but not be observable (in agreement with the second law of thermodynamics).

via Physicist Proposes Solution to Arrow-of-Time Paradox.

Single molecule's stunning image

Pentacene molecule image (IBM)The detailed chemical structure of a single molecule has been imaged for the first time, say researchers.

The physical shape of single carbon nanotubes has been outlined before, using similar techniques - but the new method even shows up chemical bonds.

Understanding structure on this scale could help in the design of many things on the molecular scale, particularly electronics or even drugs.

The IBM researchers report their findings in the journal Science.

It is the same group that in July reported the feat of measuring the charge on a single atom.

In both cases, a team from IBM Research Zurich used what is known as an atomic force microscope or AFM.

Atomic force microscope (SPL)Their version of the device acts like a tiny tuning fork, with one of the prongs of the fork passing incredibly close to the sample and the other farther away.

When the fork is set vibrating, the prong nearest the sample will experience a minuscule shift in the frequency of its vibration, simply because it is getting close to the molecule.

Comparing the frequencies of the two prongs gives a measure of just how close the nearer prong is, effectively mapping out the molecule's structure.

The measurement requires extremes of precision. In order to avoid the effects of stray gas molecules bounding around, or the general atomic-scale jiggling that room-temperature objects experience, the whole setup has to be kept under high vacuum and at blisteringly cold temperatures.

However, the tip of the AFM's prong is not well-defined and isn't necessarily sharp on the scale of single atoms. The effect of this bluntness is to blur the instrument's images.

The researchers have now hit on the idea of deliberately picking up just one small molecule - made of one atom of carbon and one of oxygen - with the AFM tip, forming the sharpest, most well-defined tip possible.

Their measurement of a pentacene molecule using this carbon monoxide tip shows the bonds between the carbon atoms in five linked rings, and even suggests the bonds to the hydrogen atoms at the molecule's periphery....

via BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Single molecule's stunning image.

Proof That the Loch Ness Monster Exists?

This amazing image on Google Earth could be the elusive proof that the Loch Ness Monster exists.

Sun reader Jason Cooke spotted "Nessie" while browsing the Web site's satellite photos.

The shape seen on the surface of the 22-mile Scottish loch is 65ft long and appears to have an oval body, a tail and four legs or flippers.

Some experts believe Nessie may be a Plesiosaur, an extinct marine reptile with a shape like the Google image.

"This is really intriguing. It needs further study," said researcher Adrian Shine, of the Loch Ness Project.

Sightings have been claimed for centuries.

To see the object, enter co-ordinates Latitude 57°12'52.13"N, Longitude 4°34'14.16"W in Google Earth.

via Proof That the Loch Ness Monster Exists? - Science News | Science & Technology | Technology News -

Looks like a squid, but I'd guess it is some debris.   Hard to say without seeing it moving. Anyone have the answer on this?

Dinosars really were ... purple?

0_61_082609_featherA team of paleontologists and ornithologists led by Yale University has discovered evidence of vivid iridescent colors in feather fossils more than 40 million years old.

The finding signifies the first evidence of a preserved color-producing nanostructure in a fossilized feather.

Iridescence is the quality of changing color depending on the angle of observation, such as the rainbow of colors seen in an oil slick.

The simplest iridescent feather colors are produced by light scattering off the feather’s surface and a smooth surface of melanin pigment granules within the feather protein.

Examining feather fossils from the Messel Shale in Germany with an electron microscope, scientists have documented this smooth layer of melanin structures, called melanosomes.“These feathers produced a black background with a metallic greenish, bluish or coppery color at certain angles-much like the colors we see in starlings and grackles today,” said Richard Prum, chair of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Yale and one of the research paper’s authors.

For more than 25 years, paleontologists have found microscopic tubular structures on fossilized feathers and hair.

These were long interpreted as bacteria that had digested the feathers at the time they were fossilized.

The team had previously discovered that these structures were in fact not bacteria but melanosomes, which then allowed them to document the original color patterns.

ollowing up on the new finding, they are racing to discover what additional coloration features may be found in fossil feathers.

“The discovery of ultra-structural detail in feather fossils opens up remarkable possibilities for the investigation of other features in soft-bodied fossils, like fur and even internal organs,” said Derek Briggs, Yale’s Frederick William Beinecke Professor of Geology and Geophysics, an author of the study.

The discovery could pave the way for determining color features of other ancient birds and even dinosaurs, according to the team.

“Of course, the ‘Holy Grail’ in this program is reconstructing the colors of the feathered dinosaurs,” said Yale graduate student and lead author Jakob Vinther. “We are working hard to determine if this will be possible,” he added.

via Scientists find evidence of vivid iridescent colors in 40 mln-yr-old feather fossil.

The purple one's would be rare but not impos...  Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Jaycee Lee Dugard alive after 18 years in captivity.

Kidnapped Girl Found 18-years later

dugard map

A woman who has been missing from her South Lake Tahoe home has reportedly surfaced in Concord, 18 years after she was kidnapped.

Jaycee Dugard, who would be 29 today, apparently walked into the Concord Police Department on Wednesday. Concord police have declined comment, referring inquiries to the El Dorado County sheriff’s office. A news conference is scheduled for today.

Dugard was last seen on June 10, 1991 as she was walking to a bus stop in South Lake Tahoe. Dugard, a blue-eyed, blond 11-year-old dressed in a pink top and pink pants, set out to catch the bus to her school near South Lake Tahoe. She never made it.

As her stepfather watched helplessly from the family’s driveway on a hill about two blocks away, a two- tone gray sedan pulled up and someone yanked the girl into the car and sped off. Even though officers responded within minutes, no trace of the car or girl was ever found.

Dugard was last seen on June 10, 1991 as she was walking to a bus stop in South Lake Tahoe.

via Jaycee Lee Dugard Pictures.

The nightmare 18-year ordeal of a woman who was kidnapped on her way to school when she was 11 was revealed last night after she was found alive. Jaycee Lee Dugard mothered two daughters, now aged eleven and fifteen, with monster Phillip Garrido - one of them when she was just fourteen. And she was forced to spend the last eighteen years living in sheds and tents in a hidden garden behind her captor’s family house in a suburban California street. Last night’s revelations showed shocking parallels with the case of Austrian Josef Fritzl, who fathered seven children with his daughter and kept them prisoner in an underground warren under his home.

Both of Jaycee’s children were born at the house and had never been to school or even seen a doctor. Now 29, Jaycee had an emotional reunion last night with her mother, Terry, who was shocked and ‘overjoyed’ to learn that her daughter was still alive. Terry told ABC News that her daughter had been held against her will all these years and ‘confined in a box’ in the back of the Garrido's house. Jaycee was dragged screaming and kicking off the street in South Lake Tahoe in northern California as she walked to the school bus stop in 1991. And her family heard nothing from her until her identity was discovered by police on Wednesday. ...

The police spokesman said a campus officer at the prestigious University of California at Berkeley, California, became suspicious of Garrido when he tried to give out religious leaflets to students on Tuesday. With him were the two daughters and when the guard checked Garrido’s background, she discovered he was a listed sex offender and was on parole for a vicious rape and kidnapping in Nevada. He was ordered to visit his parole officer the next day.

Police are confident that a woman who walked into a police station is Jaycee Lee Dugard (left), who went missing in 1991. Phillip Garrido (right) is one of two people who have been taken into custodyNancy GarridoWhen he arrived at the parole office in Concord, California, he brought with his wife, the two girls – and a woman he referred to as Allyssa. The parole officer immediately became suspicious because he had never seen Allyssa or the two girls during his visits to Garrido’s home. He called in police and officers quickly learned that Allyssa was, in fact, Jaycee Lee Dugard, the girl they had been searching for since 1991. The Garridos were arrested and a police raid on their home uncovered the secret compound where Jaycee and her daughters had lived. Police said Jaycee was ‘relatively co-operative and forthcoming’ and her remarks convinced them who she was.

Phillip Garrido - a registered sex offender - and his wife Nancy, pictured (right) yesterday, have been taken into custody. They had apparently gone into a police station in California with Miss Dugard to ask a question and were arrested when an officer became suspicious - dailymail

Image Left: Phillip Garrido's secret backyard at 1554 Walnut Ave., Antioch, Calif., where he kept Jaycee Lee Dugard and the two childern he fathered with her isolated from the world. (Google Maps)

A press conference on Thursday, shed light on the circumstances under which Jaycee Lee Dugard, kidnapped at age of 11 in 1991, was being held for 18 years. Authorities revealed that the residence of her kidnapper, Phillip Garrido, 58, and his wife Nancy, 55, contained a hidden backyard within a backyard, and could only be accessed by tarps.

Jaycee bore Garrido two children, now ages 11 and 15, in this makeshift campground, where her alleged captor kept her and her children isolated from the world. Law enforcement reported that the area had a rudimentary outhouse and shower, and one of the sheds in which Jaycee lived with her children was sound proofed.

The Google Maps image show's Garrido's address of 1554 Walnut Ave., Antioch, Calif., according to the Megan's Law registry, illustrating the multiple blue tarps he used to conceal his captives for so many years.

Reports indicate Garrido was out on parole for kidnapping at the time he abducted Jaycee.

via examiner

Look around you. Get to know your neighbors. Are any of them keeping secret human slaves? It is rare, but not impossible.

Update 9/3/09:
Antioch police say kidnapping suspect Phillip Garrido was arrested in 1972 on suspicion of raping a 14-year-old girl. Antioch police Lt. Leonard Orman said Thursday the girl and a friend met then-21-year-old Garrido and another man near the public library. Orman says Garrido gave the girl barbiturates and took her to a motel, where she was given more drugs. He says the girl awoke there and was repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted. Authorities say Garrido was set to be prosecuted in the case but the charges were later dropped when the victim refused to testify.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jaycee Dugard remembers her family and is enjoying getting to know her younger sister, who was a baby when Dugard was kidnapped 18 years ago, her aunt said Thursday. Tina Dugard spoke to reporters at the FBI's Los Angeles office, describing her niece's reunion with her mother and sister.

"The smile on my sister's face was as wide as the sea. Her oldest daughter is finally home," Tina Dugard said. Phillip and Nancy Garrido have pleaded not guilty to kidnap, rape and imprisonment charges related to Dugard's 1991 abduction from South Lake Tahoe. Police say Garrido fathered Dugard's two daughters and lived with them in a backyard encampment of tents and sheds in Antioch. Tina Dugard said her niece's daughters, ages 11 and 15, appeared to be bright and educated, even though they did not attend school.

"Jaycee did a truly amazing job with the limited resources and education that she herself had, and we are so proud of her," Dugard said. The family's location has been a closely guarded secret since the 29-year-old woman reappeared last week. She was 11 when she was allegedly kidnapped. Tina Dugard said the family has been spending time "in a secluded place," reconnecting and getting to know each other again.

"Not only have we laughed and cried together, but we've spent time sitting quietly, taking pleasure in each other's company," Dugard said. Tina Dugard took no questions from reporters and did not comment on the investigation into her niece's abduction. A spokeswoman for the Dugard family, Erika Price Schulte, said they would have no further public comment for now.