Thursday, July 30, 2009

I Find This Somewhat Interesting...

A seven year old boy stowed away on a train, riding 52 miles on the coupling between the railcars. Meanwhile, his parents and police were conducting a manhunt for the missing child. It seems he really, really, liked trains and decided to ride one.

It also seems before he liked trains, he really, really, liked TORNADOS!


I am glad he didn't decide to hitch a ride on one of them.

Here is the link to the news story...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Cruise Ship Docks with Whale Stuck to it...

Early Saturday morning, a cruise ship docked in the Port of Vancouver, CA. It was not an ordinary cruise ship mind you, but a super special one that comes with a dead whale stuck to the front. Two for the price of one, eh?

It is really not uncommon for a ship to strike a whale. It is just fairly unknown to the seagoing public. I can say this, for I have been to sea myself, and have seen it quite a bit. The whale in question was a rare Fin Whale. It is believed to have been struck in Alaskan waters. These ships have a bulbous "wave buster" that rides on the bow just below the water line. It can be very hard for a slow moving sea animal like a whale to escape from this bulbous monstrosity coming at them at 35 knots (a knot being 1 1/4 mile per hour). It is a lot like being run down on the freeway.

Read more about it at BBC...

Image courtesy of BBC.

The Oddity of Renfield Syndrome

A little known and rare mental disorder, Renfield's Syndrome, is manifested in an obsession with drinking blood. The afflicted are pre-dominately male, and believe they will acquire power and life energy from the blood they ingest. This mental disorder is named after Dracula's assistant, Renfield, who consumed small animals and bugs to obtain their life energy. This illness typical forms during childhood, and progresses from ingesting one's own blood to ingesting the blood of others. Eventually it becomes a matter of sexual arousal.

This mental disorder is sometimes evident in crime scenes. One of the earliest recorded cases in modern times was the unsolved Vampire Murder in Stockholm, 1932, in which the victim had her skull crushed and her blood drunk by the assailant. Other famous cases include the strange case of John Brennan Crutchley, the Vampire Rapist, who would drain the blood of his victims and let them linger near the point of death while he plied his evil upon them.

Renfield Syndrome remains a very peculiar and little understood mental disorder. Nor is it very well known outside of the fringes of Mental Health.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Cursed Rifle of Lincoln County

Sitting in a museum in Alamogordo New Mexico, there exists a most curious weapon with a jaded history. It is an old Winchester 30-40 lever action rifle; a type best known for its use in the old west days. This rifle was bought by an unspecified "Mexican" man in Lincoln County in 1915. He used it to kill his wife and her lover one night when he caught them together. It lay in lock-up for a few years after his trial. Then the real story begins...

The rifle was given to a man named Howard Beacham by Judge Edward Mecham as a gift when he was elected Sheriff. He lent it to a man named William Rutherford to go hunting, who ended up cracking the stock. Rutherford was elected Sheriff a few months later, but six weeks into his term in January of 1923, he was gunned down by two fugitives in a stolen car.

In 1925, Chesley Thomason, a member of the State Legislature borrowed the rifle from Mr. Beacham. This time he broke the stock beyond repair, having to replace it entirely. He was hit by a train and killed the next spring.

A man named Bob Lee then borrowed the rifle for a hunting trip. Again the stock was damaged. He was killed in an explosion a few months later. By this time, the rifle had developed a sound reputation for being cursed. The only person to escape its curse was Mr. Beacham. He used it for many years while serving as a prohibition agent in the American Southwest.

He was also the only person who was known to have never damaged the vengeful jinxed weapon.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Mystery of the Disappearing Y Chromosome

The Chromosome that makes human males what they are, is apparently being phased out by evolution. The Y Chromosome, is consistently losing genetic code, researches have discovered. They surmise this chromosome will eventually disappear entirely. Not to worry though, it will take thousands of years. The Y Chromosome is carrying less and less genetic material as the years go by. By contrast, the X (female) Chromosome carries 1100 gene pairs compared to the 200 of the male Y Chromosome.

What evolution is up to is anybodies guess. Will the male disappear completely? Probably not, another chromosome will probably take its place. However, nobody really knows...

Here is the link to Science Daily about this topic.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New Military Robot Feeds on the Dead...

Like something out of a bad Terminator spin-off, the military is now developing a combat robot that feeds off organic material - including dead bodies. The Robot, named EATR, can harvest organic materials to fire it's steam powered engine. It is designed for long term self-sustaining field operations.

Maybe self-sustaining is too light a description.

Here is a link about them.

Here is what the Huffington Post says...

Here is the company webpage.

I for one, welcome our new robotic overlords...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Scientific Illiteracy Running Rampant...

It seems strange that barely 40 years after man walked on the moon, there are still people that believe the Earth is 5000 years old and flat, or that humans and dinosaurs existed together. The old predictions of the 1960's, with visions of George Jetson and Flying Cars, seem to have been forgotten. It has been replaced with a sort of stolid illiteracy for all things scientific, among large segments of the population. Why is this so? Politicians debate climate change as if it is some whim someone made up, while educated scientists have 30 years or more worth of data on record. The science sections in newspapers and the media have been reduced or totally eliminated, and science in the classroom is almost completely gone at the ages where it makes a difference on youth. America used to be the most advanced scientific nation on Earth. What has happened? Why hasn't the pace of advancement kept up? As we go into the the early years of the 21st century, it seems with the exception of military hardware, we have slipped back a few notches on the development scale. Technological development appears to have stagnated somewhere near the end of the last century. Anti-intellectualism is rampant. Please tell me I am wrong.

Is this a backlash of the old religion, against the new religion of science? Is it because our capitalist system reduces everything to the lowest, non-threatening denominator in order to make a quick buck, with everything else ignored or shunned? What if the old adage about the Soviet Union stifling creativity and innovation was true in reverse, and that unbridled Capitalism stifles scientific progression?

This could not be a good thing.

Those who truly understand science, real science, will be the ones who prevail in the future. Real science is not afraid to challenge long held beliefs or assumptions, and owes nothing to anybody. It is it's very nature that makes it unpopular in this country. If America is not willing to devote itself to scientific understanding, then it deserves what it gets.

"One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. The latter procedure, however, is disagreeable, and therefore, not popular."

- Carl Jung

First Ever Free-Climber Falls to his Death...

John Bachar, the inventor of the extreme sport of free Rock-climbing, fell to his death on July 5th, 2009. He was climbing at Dike Wall, near Mammoth Lakes, California. It was a location close to his home which he regularly climbed.

John Bachar was well known for climbing stuff that even seasoned climbers using rope gear and belays would not attempt, and he did it all with no gear other than a small bag of chalk powder. Many movies, videos, and photos were taken of him during his climbs, and he very nearly reached "Rock Star" status among climbers. He did much to popularize Rock Climbing into the sport it is today. He was an active climber for 33 years, and was THE first to climb with no rope belay, or "Soloing" as it is known in the sport.

John Bachar was 52.
Note: Photo by John McDonald

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Did you know...

...that if the entire population of earth was reduced to exactly 100 people,50% of the world's currency would be held by 6 people.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Halton Arp and the Anomalous Quasars

Do galaxies bud into Quasars? Astronomer Halton Arp thinks they do. This flies in the face of accepted physics, which states that quasars are very distant objects from the known galaxies. Mr. Arp has published years of observational records which seem to indicate quasars are aligned with nearby spiral galaxies and seem to be interacting with them. Specifically, they seem to be ejected from them. Without going off the deep end in technical jargon, this is completely against the accepted laws of physics. The image of NGC 4139 above shows a quasar connected by a bridge to a larger galaxy, seemingly at odds with physics.

This is also something I have experience in. I take images of deep space objects, sort of a hobby of mine. A few years back, I took an image of a nearby galaxy, NGC-7331. Several collegues pointed out that I had captured an image of a bridge of material linking this large galaxy to one of the smaller satellite galaxies. These two galaxies are not known to have any connections recognized by science. The smaller galaxy having long been considered an outsider, and not a part of the group I imaged.
This anomaly remains a mystery which is not accepted by mainstream physics.

Stars - Are they Electrically Powered?

It has pretty much been accepted by most in the science world that our sun, and in fact all stars, are powered by nuclear fusion. What if the fusion reaction we are witnessing is a result of a totally separate set of processes from outside the star? Farfetched? Physicist Wal Thornhill does not think so. He has proposed a separate theory of star dynamics that ties the photosphere of the sun interactively with the surrounding stars in our galactic neighborhood. He believes that the plasma shell which surrounds all stars, the Photosphere, transmits electric and dynamic energies from the surrounding star field (much like static electricity in a thunderstorm). This photosphere extends a great distance from our sun, and in fact reaches to the nearest stars. He feels this is the source of the energy that sustains the continuous fusion process we witness in the core of the sun.

Very unusual hypothesis. It is likely world shattering if true.

Here is a fairly technical article about it.

Here is another, not so technical.

The Portents of Disappearing Seagrass

It seems that seagrass, the natural filter system of the seas, is disappearing at an amazing rate. It is estimated somewhere around 3 football field sized areas of seagrass disappears each hour. 58% of the world's seagrass meadows are said to be in decline. How this will affect the seas is not known, but does not seem to be a good sign.

Here is a link to a ScienceDaily article on it.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Dire Sign of Climate Change or Something Else...

More and more we are seeing reports of unusual animals showing up in places where they are not expected. For example, an alligator was seen at a Minnesota Fourth of July BBQ this weekend. Alligators, as we all know, are not known for living in the wilds of Minnesota. They are more commonly found in places like Texas and Florida.

But there's more...

Other critters, such as the sharks of the Atchafalaya Basin Swamp, seem to be moving in to areas where they are normally not found. A few years back when I lived in Alaska, it was common knowledge that fish species from warmer regions were starting to be found in the coastal waters of Alaska. These waters normally only harbor cold water species. Whether this is due to climate change, or human interference in nature, it is currently unknown.

CryptoMundo has a good article over it here.

The Pirate Bay

The Pirate Bay selling out? Long the bastion of free trade, the torrent share site Pirate Bay has announced it is considering selling it's operation to Swedish company, Global Gaming Factory X. They are exploring a new business model which might actually pay the users for uploading and sharing files, and also pay the copyright holder too. Whether this is selling out remains to be seen. The deal has not yet finalised, and very well might not materialize.

See more on BBC.

Here is what TorrentFreak has to say.

A Special Trip to The Creation Museum...

Some people believe the Earth is only 5000 years old, and man lived with dinosaurs. I think they are retarded. So does this man.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Staggering Images of our Public Mass Consumption

See the images at Chris Jordan's website. Their are truly eye opening. The amount of "stuff" produced by our consumer culture is perverse. His images place it all in perspective.

Stop the Insanity! Bottled water is nuts!

It is crazy that we keep producing bottled water, when it is free for the taking from the tap. The amount of oil going into non-biodegradable bottles is just mind-boggling. It has to end. We are going to find ourselves living on a heap of plastic bottles instead of a continent.

Read more HERE.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Good Old Days...

Here are a few pics I found of myself and my friends back in the punk days. I am the guy in the white shirt standing by the sitting girl with half a face. And the band below is the "Agitators", a group of guys I hung out and jammed with occasionally. All this was way back in 1985 or 1986 I think. It is really funny looking back, because I now know what has become of many of these people. They are respectable members of society now, but I know what lurks inside.