Wednesday, December 25, 2019

A version of the old WBT page preserved by Gerardus Grist


Weird But True: The world is weirder than science
compiled and edited by jamal munshi
all rights reserved

planetary spin
the theory of gravity can explain planetary orbit but not spin. no one knows for sure why the planets spin or why the spin rate and spin axis vary so much from one planet to the next. (link) nov 2000

nature's pollution
a giant sub-surface seam of coal in northern china, about half the size of the united states, is on fire, [photo], [photo], and has been burning out of control for over a decade. the burn rate is somewhere between 10 to 200 million tons per year - more than the human consumption of fossil fuels per month. no one knows what to do about it. scientists at itc are trying to figure it out.(photos courtesy of itc.) (september 2000).

nature's hackers
the larva that hatches from the egg that the parasitic wasp attached to her body a week ago reprograms the spider to weave a hammock where the larva may cocoon and pupate. The larva can tell when the hammock is ready and it is only then that it administers a lethal injection and eats its hammock weaver, nutrition being her only remaining utility. (william eberhard, university of costa rica, nov 2000, link)

it's all in the mind
if you are right handed and your left-handed penmanship is gibberish it will also be gibberish if you close your eyes and simply imagine yourself writing with your left hand. practice in your head until you get it right with your left, then write. voila! you can. but why? (misty hyman, the gold medalist in the 100-meter breaststroke at sidney, practiced for the event by lying in bed with a stop watch and swimming the race in her mind stroke for stroke until she got her time down to where she wanted it. the next day she repeated her performance in water - exactly.) (october 2000).

fufu the cat
right after the family dog died, fufu returned to her home in sicily with a new mate and three kittens eight years after she had disappeared when the dog had first arrived.(latimes, oct 2000)

sleep on it
when you sleep, the electrical activity of your brain does not decrease, it increases. according to robert stickgold, we don't sleep to rest but to figure out stuff that our conscious awake-mind could not. to work smarter, take more naps. ([link]. [copy of robert's paper]) (october 2000)

mini nukes
the pentagon, reaching for straws in the post cold war world, has come up with a nuke "small enough to use" in a small war about the size of kosovo or iraq. these guys could use a nap.(september 2000)

particle wars
according to physicists, all matter is made up of elementary particles. the problem is that matter has mass but none of their particles do. so where does mass come from? from yet another particle that is yet to be discovered, say the physicists. they've even given it a name. they are sure they can find the "boson". all they need is more money and we have to hurry because the europeans might beat us to it. (link) (september 2000)

neuron regeneration
did your science textbook teach you that after a certain age the brain can no longer regenerate? they've changed their minds about that. the brain not only manufactures new neurons all the time but these neurons are able to migrate to different parts of the brain and assume the needed functional form. (elizabeth gould, princeton university) (1999)

reach out and cut someone
robots with enough arms, tools, and a video camera can carry out minimally invasive surgery while the surgeon watches the video and directs the robot from a computer; and given secure internet connections it can be done remotely. the technology is awaiting fda approval. (btw: only robots can hold a scalpel with no tremor.) (intuitive surgical systems, 2000)

doggie science
in rohnert park, california, around 3:30pm on wed 9/22/99 the caller's german shepherd ran full speed from the yard into the glass panel of his sliding door - something he had never done before. when allowed in, he hid under the bed. about 2 minutes later, the earth shook, buildings shuddered and groaned, and their surprised and terrified occupants ran out to safety. scientific earthquake prediction has been a complete failure (link). doggie science is better than ours in that respect. (ksro radio talk show caller, 1999).

medecins avec frontiers
when doctors prescribe "bed rest" in america it is not because they believe it will help you heal but because they believe it will help them in case of a lawsuit. what our healers do for us may have more to do with legal defense than healing. (dean edell, kgo radio, 1999)

fossil fuels r us
the 100 billion tons or so of petroleum that we have burned so far have been transformed back into 100 billion tons of plants, animals, and even humans. some of your body weight used to be oil. (1999) (btw: when we burn fossil fuels we return to the atmosphere the carbon that was removed from it by geologic formations; only things like volcanic eruptions can introduce new carbon into the system.)

dictyostelium discoideum
these normally single celled creatures can gather together and form a multicelled creature when the going gets tough. and the new creature is a creature in every way complete with cell specialization, a reproductive system, and even self-awareness. apply this concept to yourself; and to bee hives, schools of fish, flocks of birds, mobs, society, and the stock market. and what do you make of those textbook theories that it took millions of years for single celled organisms to evolve into multicelled organisms? (uc san diego, 1999)

the mouse that remembered
dope a mouse embryo with the gene nr2b and the mouse that you get will be smarter with better long term memory than other mice. (joe tsien, princeton university, 1999)

but will it fly?
apply all the physics and aerodynamics that we know to the weight, shape, wing design, and power transmission and control technology of a housefly and you will conclude that it won't fly. we know how to put a man on the moon but we don't know what makes a fly fly. michael is working on it. (michael dickinson) 1999

he-she mice
more than a third of the field mice in the kesterson national wildlife refuge near los banos, california have both male and female reproductive organs. our scientists can't figure out how they got that way. (u.s. bureau of reclamation, 1999)

following orders
during the second war a german pilot returned to his base after a dogfight over england and landed safely. the ground crew opened the cockpit to find the pilot stone dead with half his head blown off from what must have been a direct hit. according to jonn, if we really want to do something, we don't let biological death get in the way. (jonn mumford, 1999)

the otomac indians who live along the orinoco river in venezuela hunt for fish with bows and arrows when the water is low but for two or three months of the year when the water is too high and rapid they survive on a diet of mud balls. the mud does not contain any nutrient that we can recognize and yet these indians remain healthy and strong thru the dirt eating season. (alexander von humboldt, 1828) (geophagy link) 1999

patient pam
in july 1991, a female aneurysm patient code-named "pam reynolds" underwent an 8-hour surgery in phoenix arizona during which she was clinically dead for an hour. during the dead hour an electric saw was brought into the operating room in a case and this saw was used to cut open her skull. after the operation she said that she saw the procedure from "above" and she accurately described the saw which she had never seen in life. she also accurately related the conversation that took place in the room at that time although her ear canals were packed with test equipment which showed no response from the brain stem to repeated audible clicks. (michael sabom, 1999)

deinococcus radiodurans
we know that this bacterium can withstand 3000 times the radioactivity that would kill a human but we don't know the how or why of it. when radiation causes dna damage it instantly and mysteriously effects repairs. (link) our preconditions for the existence of life are way off the mark. (btw: maybe it was designed to survive space travel. if so it supports the theory that life was incubated in mars and transported here by interplanetary debris. (normal sleep, stanford.)) (btw2: if you believe that we evolved from simpler critters by virtue of random dna damage then this critter is the victim of its own success. it is impossoble for it to evolve.) 1999

african america
as the sahara desert expands southward, dust storms like this (photo) carry a billion tons per year of african topsoil to the new world in plumes of red-brown clouds across the atlantic (photo, photo). the dust is deposited in the s.e. united states, the caribbean, and the amazon basin. this photo shows dust settling on the bahamas where agriculture depends on african soil. the dust is rich in nutrients but also contains live insects, microorganisms, and fungi. red sunsets in florida, usually in july, signal the arrival of african dust. there is a lot of africa in america. (wind erosion research unit, kansas state university, 1999)

the stuff of life
there is more to inheritance than dna. simple protein molecules in yeast cells can change their shape in response to an environmental change and then pass this trait on to succeeding generations of yeast without any intervention by dna. protein molecules mimic life in mysterious ways. (susan lindquist, university of chicago, 1999)

giant spheres
in the diquis delta in southern costa rica are a large number of ancient granite spheres up to 6 feet in diameter with no apparent clues to their origin or purpose. ivar thinks they may be the remnants of a lost civilization. (ivar zapp, 1998)

do you believe in telepathy? no? then what are you doing when you pray? (the reverand charles moore, monterey, ca: 1998)

darwinism debunked
if the origin of species lies in random mutations over millions and millions of years then why does the fossil record show sudden explosions of new species usually following cataclysmic events? maybe it's not so random. maybe we possess the genetic codes in dormant form to grow tails or feathers or whatever we need in response to climactic changes and it is these changes and not random mutation that drives evolution. (stephen jay gould) (in a controlled laboratory experiment of simulated climactic changes susan lindquist of the university of chicago was able to cause fruit flies to undergo such changes within a few generations.) 1998

the tunguska puzzle
a picture taken by leonid kulik in 1927 shows that in a 30-mile circle of piney forest in the tunguska region of siberia the trees appear to have committed mass suicide jonestown style. the center is occupied by standing but dead and limbless trees and they are surrounded by similar trees lying on the ground and pointing radially away from the center. whatever devastation may have created this strange art form left us no other clues. the dominant theories link this picture with a fireball and explosion that was reported nearby on june 30 1908 and conclude that it must have been a meteor or a comet which became vaporized in the atmosphere and therefore did not leave a trace except possibly for some microscopic dust in the resin of some of the trees. (there are a few problems with the meteor theory)

giant sucking sound
imagine a sea-serpent with tentacles so large they could tear out both goalposts of a football field from the 50-yard line. none has seen a live giant squid and lived to tell about it but we have seen the evidence in disgorged stomachs of whales and the scars left on these whales from the battle of behemoths in the deep. (richard ellis in the search for the giant squid)

in 1997 we did not even know they existed but they have been right under our noses all along. they form more than half the living matter of our oceans and there are millions of them in our blood. these bacteria are even smaller than viruses but they are alive and they reproduce on their own. there is no known lower limit to the size of life.(ovi kajander, finland: ed weiler, nasa: 1998)

them ants
red harvester ants and fruit flies at the hanford nuclear complex in richland, washington are radioactive and they are spreading the radioactivity around. (associated press, 1998) (btw: hanford is where we produce plutonium for our nuclear bombs.)

subliminal messages
provocative words hidden among banal text will raise your pulse and blood pressure even though you don't know what these words were.(sean draine, university of washington, 1998)

the human interface
write a little program so that when the cursor moves to a different part of the screen the computer says a different word or makes a unique sound. now wire your brain to the mouse port with a neurotrophic electrode so that your brain's electrical activity moves the cursor. at first the motion will be a frenetic mess but soon you will gain control of the cursor and you will know how to make the computer make the sound you want but you won't know how you do that. (roy bakay, emory university, 1998)

vanishing amphibians
frogs and toads are dying off at an alarming rate and we can't figure out why. it could be pollution, or the ozone hole, or a fungus called chytrid, or all of these or none of these. (david wake, berkeley)

the oldest profession
after becoming pregnant with their true love female adelie penguins on ross island in the antarctic prostitute themselves to other males in exchange for rocks which they need to build their nests. rocks are hard to find because horny males hoard them. (nigel barley, british airways inflight magazine, june 1998)

the pioneer anomaly
to make the speed and trajectory of the pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft fit the data john had to assume a force that is slowing them down as they leave the solar system; and unlike gravity this mystery force does not diminish with distance; it exerts a constant force but it does not exist in any physics that we know. (john anderson, jpl)

the capture of the orca "namu" in 1965 would not have been possible without his cooperation. namu was an intelligent and willing participant in his own capture. (Randall Eaton) (btw: according to randall the orcas are actually sentient beings just like us; and they are not only aware of us but actively trying to make contact to form a joint stewardship of the planet.)

cosmic rays
we know that all of space exists in a continuous shower of protons travelling at almost the speed of light but we don't know where these things come from, how they got to travelling so fast, and what effect they might have on genetic material. they might turn out to be the mechanism that causes aging and the random mutations subsumed by darwin. (john walker, uchicago hep, papers)

old age
we are a superorganism consisting of living cells that divide and die but why does the superorganism die? leonard thinks it is because a chemical counter called telomeres that is necessary for cell division depletes each time our cells divide. the cells eventually run out of this stuff and die and take us with them. in the limit we simply die of old age. (btw: doctors invent medically acceptable causes of death in such cases.) (leonard hayflick)

life after the hayflick limit
h lee sweeney isolated the gene that produces the hormone that normally maintains muscle tissue, wrapped it into a benign virus and injected it into the muscle of laboratory mice whose muscles were wasting away either with age or muscular dystrophy and the muscles returned to youthful health and vigor. (pennsylvania muscle institute, 1998)

it's all in the mind
just as we are conditioned to survive and mate, so we are also programmed to age and die. it's software. you don't have to do it. (deepak chopra, 1999)

the five weirdnesses
according to charles hundreds of carefully designed experiments have shown that humans use telepathy, clairvoyance, pre-cognition, psychokinesis, and faith-healing but we don't know how they do these things because they are inconsistent with the universe described by science. (charles tart)

the human subject
wearing t-shirt and jeans take the subject to a windowless room with a panic button and tell him that this is an experiment and if he gets bored to press the button. he will sit there for hours without pushing the panic button and without any ill effects. but if you wear a lab coat and have the subject sign a release; then take him to the same room and inform him that this is a sensory deprivation experiment and if it starts to go wrong he must push the panic button he will do so within an hour and display symptoms normally associated with sensory deprivation experiments. (john lilly)

the power of prayer?
grow mold in two identical petri dishes 1 and 2 and pray for dish-1 and don't pray for dish-2. the mold in dish-1 will grow bigger. 1998. (the national institute of health office of alternative medicine) (btw: in a similar experiment in 1986 at ucsf, 24 heart patients were randomly assigned to two groups of 12 and the group receiving prayers did better.)

faith heals
reproducible scientific experiments carried out by harold koenig of duke university show that people who have a religion, any religion, are healthier, are more disease resistant, and live longer than those who don't. (see also the book by dale matthews, 1998)

the human's perspective
according to human beings only they are capable of intelligence, design, choice, mirth, anger, anguish, love, compassion, and kindness and the other critters just carry out nature's programming. but what was the program that drove a hippopotamus to rescue an impala from the jaws of a crocodile and then try to resuscitate her? and what would you have made of it had it been a human instead of a hippo? (stephanie leland in "peaceful kingdom", 1998)

laughing rats
young lab rats laugh in ultrasound when tickled and when engaging in horseplay in what appears to be evidence of mirth in the animal kingdom. (Jaak Panksepp, Bowling Green State University, 1998)

the prince of snakes
boonruang buachan of thailand communicates and makes friends with snakes and insects. he has been seen hanging out with king cobras and scorpions and even kissing them. (the press democrat)

when we need to, some of us can grow our own heart-bypass blood vessels; and now tom says that anyone can if injected with a growth hormone that he has genetically engineered. (thomas-joseph stegmann, fulda medical center, germany)

urine heals
to build up your immune system or to fight off aids, cancer, or anemia, drink the urine of a pregnant woman. (robert gallo in nature medicine.)

we are constantly communicating with each other by discharging into the air colorless and odorless chemicals that form our social glue and determine how we interact and mate. (martha mcclintock, university of chicago)

big bang busted
red shift measurements indicate that the universe is falling apart against the force of gravity. therefore there must have been a big bang and the resultant expansion should be slowing down over time due to gravity. but it isn't. it's speeding up. (robert kirshner, harvard-smithsonian center for astrophysics)

gender wars
witch burnings and misogyny are left over embers from a war fought in 3500 bc in which a goddess-worshipping matriarchal culture that ruled europe peacefully for thousands of years was defeated and subjugated by a patriarchal warrior culture from the east that worshipped male dieties. (marija gimbutas) (the book)

infants sometimes check out of their incarnation without a medical reason or clues to the cause of their death. medical science once thought they understood sudden infant death syndrome but their "congenital disease" theory was debunked because their data set was tainted. several crib death cases in a family turned out to be infanticide. when you take that family out of the sample, the family correlation disappears; but for 25 years the theory stood as text book science and was taught as fact. (philip hilts, ap wire)

don't worry, be happy
the single strongest predicter of heart disease has nothing to do with diet, exercise, obesity, or smoking and everything to do with your attitude. when it comes to healthy hearts the don't-worry-be-happy crowd has the edge over the angry or the depressed.(hillel cohen, albert einstein college of medicine)

don't worry, be pregnant
alice domar taught stress reduction to 174 infertile women and 77 of them became pregnant and another 68 eventually conceived. (alice domar, harvard university infertility program, 1998)

history we will never know
in the 1550s in mexico franciscan bishop fray diego de landa torched the entire collection of mayan writings because they contradicted the bible. the collection consisted of thousands of volumes and it took fray diego many years to complete the job. the mayans also left mountains of hieroglyphic sculptures but these were mined for gravel and destroyed. most of history has left no trace. our account of it is biased by the availability of data.

the dead sea scrolls
boys playing in a desert cave near qumran in judea in 1947 came upon thousands of bottles containing papyrus scrolls (link) dating back more than 2000 years. as we re-write our version of the past from these scrolls we find that jesus christ was not the only charismatic and messianic cult leader that preached apocalypse and a second coming in that period but he was the only one that did not set a specific date for armageddon. the others failed when the world did not end when it was supposed to. (michael wise, 1999)

in 1868 european explorers in easter island discovered hundreds of wooden tablets of hieroglyphs called rongorongo which the natives could not interpret and which must have been left over from a previous more literate civilization. twenty one of these tablets have survived. an intense and enduring international effort to decipher these tablets has been waged since 1892 with many scholarly articles in the journal of polynesian society, scientific american, nature, and american anthropologist but to no avail. upon scrutiny all the rongorongo theories turn out to be wrongowrongo. we have in our hands an intricate message from a previous civilization but we don't know what it says and we will probably never know. (jacques guy) (the fischer theory) 1999

the jainist universe
it is not possible for the universe to be limited in either space or time; therefore it is infinitely large and has no beginning and no end; therefore it could not have been created; therefore it has no creator. (mahavira, 500 bc)

catch prey and avoid predators
if you no longer see the paintings on your wall, re-arrange them and you will. the information processing mechanism of your conscious mind is designed for survival in the wild where only the unusual contains useful information. once your mind decides that some pattern is familiar the pattern will be classified as background noise and discarded as a source of information. (lyall watson)

the missing link
if we evolved from foreheadless knuckle dragging bipedal apes then where is the evidence of the in-between variety, like an ape with a developed brain, that must have existed at some time? so compelling were the darwinian scenario and the bipedal connection that scientific theory went ahead of the data being certain the evidence would turn up any day. but it hasn't yet. maybe it doesn't exist. (james burke) (btw: according to lloyd pye the ape lineage begot bigfoot not us. we are space bastards. 250,000 years ago man-like space creatures from an advanced civilization came to earth to dig for gold in south africa and genetically engineered some miners by using genetic material from themselves and from apes; and we are the darwinian descendents of those gold diggers.)

spiral galaxies
we know that space is full of rotating elliptical disks with spiral arms that consist of billions of stars and star-like gaseous substances spinning around as if they are draining out of a cosmic sink. but we don't know what makes them spin. so we invented imaginary and "invisible" point masses weighing more than a billion suns called "black holes" just to make sense out of it all. it's how we make the universe conform to our equations. (washington state university, astronomy lecture)

expanding earth
ever notice how all the continents fit together like a jigsaw puzzle? maybe they were all stuck together once into one large landmass and then got pried apart. karl thinks it's because the earth was smaller once and all land and then it expanded like a balloon and ripped the continents apart. (karl luckert)

coronal mass ejection
every once in a while the sun burps up a 10 billion ton ball of fire and magentism and spits it out in photon torpedo fashion at over 2 millions miles per hour. ([orlando] [nasa]) (btw: according to charles cagle if we get hit with one of these things we will be fried or drowned in biblical fashion)

dark matter
we cannot make the motion of the galaxies fit our theory of gravity without filling 99% of the universe with imaginary stuff that exerts gravitational force but is not detectable by any other means; not unlike the angels that once carried the heavenly bodies across the heavens.

exotic matter
scientists believe in the principle of conservation of mass and energy according to which things don't just pop out of nothing. but particles do pop out of nothing even if for a fleeting moment. to preserve their conservation principle scientists have invented 'exotic matter' which has negative mass, claiming that a gram of negative mass is created for every gram of particle that pops out of nothing giving god a net gain of zero which is nothing. (jean cavelos, 1999)

circular science
the religion of a society tells us a lot about their culture and nothing about god. and so science tells us a lot about ourselves and nothing about the universe. what we "discover" about the universe is simply our perception of our own conception. we perceive what we conceive. "when science has progressed the furthest the mind has regained from nature what the mind has put into nature." (sir arthur stanley eddington) (an eddington reading list)

the magic of garlic
to avoid illness eat lots of garlic. it contains a chemical called allicin that kills bugs even if they are resistant to antibiotics. garlic is our last hope against the tough new resistant strains of bacteria. (meir wilchek, weizmann institute of science)

the magic of music
don campbell had a 1-inch blood clot in an artery that led to his brain. so he hummed until the clot shrank. don calls it "the mozart effect". he has written a book about it. (btw: at uc irvine mozart's sonata for two pianos in d major increased s.a.t scores of students by 51 points. at st.agnes hospital, bach, debussy, haydn, mendelssohn, and mozart are substitutes for sedatives for the critically ill. in washington state mexican immigrants learn english faster when listening to bach. and georgi lozanov of bulgaria found that vivaldi makes it easier to memorize poetry.) (from usa weekend magazine)

muscular resonance
muscles consist of elastic tissue stretched tight by tendons attached to bones - not unlike stringed instruments - and the sympathetic vibration of these muscle strings define our individual response to music. the music that you find relaxing does indeed physically relax your muscles. (lm boyd, 1999)

the magic of stem cells
inject stem cells from a mouse embryo into the brain of a mouse suffering from a brain defect such as parkinson's disease, epilepsy, or huntington's disease and the stem cells will: 1. fan out throughout the brain; 2. find defective cells; 3. change into the type of cell needed to fix the defect; and 4. fix the defect. (jeff macklis, 1999). see also (eurek alert,

herding humans
if the muzak is french, supermarket shoppers in britain buy more french wines but if it is german they prefer german wines. (adrian north, 1997, university of leicester)

feral humans
darwin said man is an animal and now jeff holland has proof. mountain men, hippies, and hermits who go back to nature sometimes go too far and in their solitude become one with nature. at some point, they revert to an animal state and in fact become animals. these creatures have been observed in the red river gorge of kentucky. there is an animal in us all and all it takes is a jungle to bring it out. (btw: at the turn of the century two little girls were found in an animal state living with wolves in india.)

gamma ray bursts
about twice a day on average the universe lights up in a flash that lasts anywhere from 1 second to a minute in a form of energy one billion times more intense than light and no one has the faintest idea why. (nasa compton observatory). (btw: not even black holes or anti-matter can bail us out here because the energy in each burst is detected simultaneously in every direction.) (btw2: the apparent source of an intense 40-second flash on dec 14, 1997 was a galaxy 12 billion light years away and for that to have been the source about 5 billion stars would have had to blow up in a few seconds. either that is an impossibility or our physics is all wrong. it's a paradox. caltech)

composite humans
in what appears to be life after death for organ donors, recepients of organ transplants assume some of the characteristics of the donor including personality, tastes, and cravings. (abc tv) (something to think about before we start harvesting organs from baboons and farm animals.) (btw: something else to think about is that pig genes contain previously unknown aids-like viruses. (fritz bach, harvard)

sexist science
science has a gender bias. anthropological data are interpreted in terms of the strong dominant male hunter-provider model. in a circular logic, scientists often find support for the hunter-provider model in data whose interpretation was tainted by the hunter-provider assumption. "lucy" could be male; there is not sufficient detail to determine gender but it was assumed to be female because of its diminutive size in comparison with larger bones found nearby. humans may have become bipedal and tools may have been invented not so men could hunt but so pregnant women could dig for roots. (adrienne zihlman,

the virginian
during the great depression, an honest, hard-working, god-fearing, bonhomme from virginia beach, virginia, found that he could slip into a sleep-like state in which he was simultaneously aware of all time and space. while in this state he exhibited healing powers and he could describe distant events as well as past and future events. his name was edgar cayce.

the figure head
7,686,369,774,870 times 2,465,099,745,779 is 18,947,668,177,995,426,773,730 and the 43rd root of 18,947,668,177,995,426,773,730 is 3.871240336. results like these come to shakuntala devi of india upon a moment's reflection and without the aid of any computational device. she can figure in her head. (india current affairs)

flying machine
one day in 1970 when an air force pilot flying an f106a jet fighter over montana went into an "uncontrollable flat spin", the aircraft took over and 1. ejected the pilot, 2. recovered from the spin, and 3. landed safely all by itself. the craft is on permanent display at the (united states air force museum in dayton ohio)

space plane
a new jumbo jet airliner that is part plane part spaceship will travel at speeds of 6,700 miles per hour and at an elevation of 130,000 feet. (preston carter, lawrence livermore labs, 1998) (btw: these are the things that h-bomb engineers can come up with when they run out of bombs to design.)

tiny flying machines
if darpa has its way future wars will be fought not with few large aircraft built for survival but with swarms of pocket-sized kamikaze flying machines called micro air vehicles. our children will fight these wars away from the battlefield and on a computer screen as if it were a video game.

photon torpedoes
lightning sometimes forms a ball of charge that does not disperse. the ball floats around until it makes contact with great destructive force. the dod, not one to miss an opportunity for mayhem, has figured out how to make these things. they call them electromagnetic weapon systems or localized packets of energy. residents of pine gap, australia, where there is a usaf base, report seeing such balls of light that knocked off their power supply and dimmed auto headlights. (linda moulton howe)

weird weather
does it appear to you that weather is getting more extreme? statistics agree. kevin trenbreth of the national center for atmospheric research thinks that global warming is to blame. since 1979 the mean temperature of the earth has fluctuated more in sync with solar activity than with a rising trend of greenhouse gases. burning fossil fuels only returns dead fossils to life in the carbon cycle. it does not create environmental disasters. (arthur anderson, oregon institute of science) (ap, feb, 1999)

hot tropical weather makes ice
non-uniform heating of the earth by the sun generates a water pump that transfers heat and water from the equator to the poles. water evaporates in the tropics (absorbing heat) and the vapor is carried to the polar regions where it condenses into ice (giving up the heat it had absorbed in the tropics); and the hotter the tropics the faster this pump runs. (

a desert flower
the northern continents are covered with ice most of the time. there are brief inter-glacial periods of warm weather. the ice persists for 100,000 years or so and the interglacial periods about 10,000 to 20,000 years but often with violent temperature swings over one or more decades. the ice periods too have volatile weather with large chunks of ice sliding out to sea and the ice thinning for a while and then getting thicker again. the current interglacial period has lasted ten thousand years. it has been unusally calm and it is this spell of rare balmy weather that has made possible agriculture and therefore human settlements and therefore civilization and therefore the current explosion in human population. we are a desert flower. just another biological flash in the climactic pan.
(btw: we don't know what causes these ice cycles. the theories are full of holes. the milankovitch wobble theory does not work because the earth's precession has a fixed period and the ice age cycle does not. and heinrich's warm earth theory cannot explain why the glacier flows happen at the same time all over the planet. the glaciation cycle could turn out to be nothing more than deterministic chaos.)

mind over machine
suppose that you want to see picture 1 and you don't want to see picture 2. if your computer produces a random mixture of the pixels from pictures 1 and 2 your mind will force the result to be more like picture 1 than picture 2. and it's not just in your head because the picture will actually contain more picture 1 elements than is its random share. what's weirder is that without your attention it goes back to random. try it for yourself. the software is downloadable. (john haaland)
(incidentally, the resultant picture is a fingerprint. no two persons produce the same picture. this could explain, among other things, why some individuals win more than average and others lose more than average at slot machines and why some slot machines more than others work better for you.)

the alyson o'mahoney puzzle
when alyson uses a computer it is more likely to fail than when it is used by someone else. in general computers crashes occur more frequently for some individuals than for others all other things being equal and we can't figure out the why of this. (ny times, may 25, 1998)

spitting camels
camels spit, usually at a target, with great force and accuracy. the spitball is 200 grams of disgusting phlegm. if your camel is making weird sounds and moving his mouth around a lot get at last 5 meters away. (ellen hess)

the ronald opus story
in march 1994 ronald opus left a suicide note and jumped from the 10th floor and as he passed his parents' apartment his father fired what he thought was an unloaded shotgun at his wife but she slipped and fell and the shot killed ronald instead. ronald had secretly loaded the gun to arrange his father to accidentally kill his mother and jumped when he became despondent over the apparent failure of his plot; he did not know that window washers had erected a safety net and that he could not have died from the fall.(don harper, the american association of forensic sciences) (david dixon says this story is a fabrication. he cites a 1996 la times story.)

the gloria ramirez story
on feb 19 1994 a woman in cardiac arrest was brought to riverside general hospital. when a nurse drew blood it released a powerful stench. the nurse passed out and the rest of the medical team began to collapse. pathologists who conducted the autopsy also became sick even though they wore space age 'toxic suits'. (the los angeles times)

et's r us
we once believed that the universe was a vast arrangement of dead rocks and that life on earth was an oddity. but now we live in a different universe described by john hayes of the woods hole oceanographic institution. life is everywhere in the universe even in apparently dead rocks where it exists in a dormant form. in fact life on earth was seeded by these rocks. and that's who we are.
(btw: nasa astronomer dale cruikshank thinks that the trillion balls of ice in the outer solar system that ocassionally visit the sun as comets contain the ingredients of life and they too could be the johnny appleseeds that are sowing life all over the galaxy; and according to the eurpoean space agency, if you look at the universe with visible-light eyes you see dead rocks but if you look with infrared eyes you see water everywhere.)

cosmic rain
all our water came from space. the outer solar system is swarming with house-sized ice cubes and over 40,000 of these things fall into earth and disintegrate in the atmosphere each day. this has been going on for billions of years. and that is why we have oceans and life on earth. it's still going on and not just here but on the other planets as well. we water creatures are not as much a planetary phenomenon as we are a planetary system phenomenon. (louis frank of the university of iowa)

our search for extra-terrestrial life widened its possibilities when we discovered micro-organisms right here on earth that live, no thrive, in boiling springs, subterranean rock formations, under the deepest ocean, and on active volcanoes. these extremophiles have shattered our previous notions about what it takes to sustain life. (john baross, university of washington). (university of bath)
(btw: john delaney of washington and thomas gold of cornell think that life on earth began with extremophiles either under the ocean or in volcanoes.)

the cosmos is us
not just pulsars and comets but we too are made of the stuff of the universe. understanding comes not from externalizing the universe but from internalizing the questions. "all that we are arises from our thoughts. with our thoughts we make the world.", gautama buddha)

odd chirality
of the many amino acids possible, life on earth is composed of only 20 and all of them are of the left sided variety. equal amounts of left and right mirror images of these molecules form in the laboratory but not in living things. molecular leftness is part of a cosmic pattern of life. (john cronin, arizona state university)

mind reading plants
plants generate electrical impulses that may be measured. cleve backster measured these voltages. he found that the plant became agitated when he injured it with a knife or a match; or if he even just thought about causing such an injury. (in "the secret life of plants", by peter tompkins and christopher bird) (btw: according to robert stone not just plants but individual cells in your body show the same behavior and they seem to be able to recognize you.) (btw2: since plants respond electrically to human presence couldn't we wire them up as burglar detectors? yes, says hal philipp whose company, quantum research markets just such a device. hal thinks that the plant is just a giant capacitor and nothing more.(new scientist, 25 april 98)

mutual synchronization
all critters tend to synchronize their rhythmic activities. women living together synchronize their menstrual cycles, crickets chirp together, and the pacemaker cells trigger your heart in unison. but the most spectacular example is that of fireflies in thailand. they completely cover a tree and at first flash in random patterns but soon synchronize their flashing so that the whole tree flashes on and off at about 1.5 hz. (h.m. smith, science, v82 1935)

la cucaracha la cucaracha
behead cockroach 1 and cut the legs off cockroach 2. now mount roach 2 on top of roach 1 with a tiny tube that allows their bodily fluids to comingle; and watch as headless roach 1 now walks around navigating with the eyes and head of his buddy. roach 1 also knows night from day and only comes out to feed at night as is the roachian custom. (janet harker in 'nature', 1954)

spiritual signature
if you showered with red dye you would leave tell-tale red marks everywhere you went, on clothes you wore, and every object you used. this is what your trail looks like to a dog's nose and to a psychic's mind. the objects and places of your life not only contain your odoriferous signature but your spiritual signature as well. you recognize your own spiritual trail; it is why you feel at home at home; and why that old hat or glove or t-shirt feels so good. they all contain traces of your essence. (lyall watson)

perverse statistics
statistics released in 1996 show that we are murdering less in america. but it's not for the lack of trying. we are gunning our fellow citizens down more than ever but high tech trauma centers are bringing them back to life. it's not that we are killing less but that medical advances are making it harder to keep them dead. (spencer hughes, ksfo radio, san francisco)

mysterious bones
what we actually know: some very large bones have been found in sedimentation layers that were formed between 220 million years ago and 65 million years ago; none before and none afterwards. and these bones don't fit any creature we see today. what we made up: dinosaurs; and since they aren't around, their mass extinction. (the mass extinction theory, the case against mass extinctions)

the fossil record
sedimentary rock going back hundreds of millions of years come in alternating layers of fossil counts. layers containing lots of fossils are followed abruptly by layers containing hardly any and then lots again. this is all we really know. "mass extinctions" and "life explosions" are things we made up. we have no independent evidence that they actually occurred let alone how they occurred. there are some believable mass extinction scenarios but they do no good unless they can also explain how fossil counts suddenly reverted to normal levels right after the supposedly dead period.

it contains 90% of the world's ice but it was once a balmy temperate forest teeming with life. on the trans-antarctic mountain there is a petrified forest; and there are fosslizied remains of animals anywhere you look. some are 250 million years old. william hammer of augustana college thinks that a cataclysmic climate change event froze antarctica. (jamal's note: maybe the continent used to be elsewhere and simply drifted into the cold.)

perverse justice
larry singleton raped a young girl then hacked her arms off with a butcher knife and left her to die but was paroled after 8 years whereupon he murdered a young woman also with a butcher knife. he was paroled because the prisons are overcrowded with people serving mandatory sentences for drug offenses prescribed by our 'war on drugs'. when the cops were taking singleton from one outraged community to another to find him a home they were protecting us from drug dealers. if the war on drugs continues much longer our prisons will be full of drug addicts and our streets full of criminals. (christine kraft, kgo radio, sf) (btw:in 1997, 1.7 million of us are in jail and it costs the rest of us $30 billion dollars a year to keep them there.)

the mystery of birth order
of the siblings were you born first? or second? or last? it has a lot to do with who you are. not just nature and nurture but also birth order plays a role in shaping our personalities and our lives. frank sulloway of mit has written a book about this phenomenon.

the mystery of birth date
could birthdate have anything to do with who and what you are? yes, says dennis ownby of the henry ford health system. statistics show that children born in fall face twice the risk of developing asthma than children born in summer. so far researchers have not come up with a rational explanation of these findings. (btw: asthma inflames and narrows air passages and causes difficulty in breathing.)

where's jimmy?
does the fbi always find their man? on july 30, 1975 jimmy hoffa disappeared without a trace from the parking lot of the machus red fox restaurant in bloomfield. after the most intensive manhunt in history the fbi is stumped. and shed a tear on thanksgiving for dan "db" cooper who jumped from a 727 with a parachute and $200,000 over the columbia river in oregon on november 24, 1971 and simply vanished into thin air. the fbi is clueless.

a thanksgiving story
after thanksgiving dinner in 1984 in the small town of pedley, california shannon prock, 13, was attacked by a rapist. cousin danny ostenowski, 11, came to her aid and she broke free and ran into the street begging for help from passing motorists. they just drove on by as the rapist brutally murdered danny on the sidewalk shooting him three times while he begged for his life. (archive of news stories, la times)

amelia earhart
on june 1 1936 pilot amelia earhart and navigator fred noonan took off from miami on a lockheed 10e 'electra' to fly 29000 miles around the world. they flew 22000 miles and reached lae, new guinea on june 29, 1937. at midnight between july 1 and july 2 1937 they took off from lae for Howland Island 800 miles away. they maintained radio contact with u.s. coast guard cutter 'itasca' for 6 hours and then vanished. (naval historical center)
(btw: accordiing to joe klaas, amelia was actually on a spying mission. she was captured by the japanese in the marshall islands and later returned. she lived incognito as irene bolam in new jersey until her death in 1982.)

the bermuda triangle
more ships and aircraft have vanished without a trace in the waters between miami, bermuda, and puerto rico than anywhere else of equal area. the phenomenon has been extensively studied but it remains a mystery. among its victims are the ship "marine sulphur queen" and a squadron of tbm avengers, (naval historical center)
(btw: in the 16th century the sea in this triangle was thought to be evil and bermuda was called devil's island. shakespeare's "tempest" is about the bermuda triangle.) (gerald dickens of james cook university thinks that there are frozen deposits of methane under the sea there that are responsible for sudden release of gas.)

teenagers from hell
teenagers these days are out of control. they eat like pigs, they are disrespectful of adults, they interrupt and contradict their parents, and they terrorize their teachers. (aristotle, circa 350 bc.)

immigrants from hell
immigrants of today just don't measure up to those that came before them. they are not well educated. they don't bother to learn english. and at the rate they multiply there will soon be more of them than there are of us. (benjamin franklin, 1753)

loopholes in time
if ghosts are souls of our dear departed ancestors then why do inanimate objects have ghosts? aircraft, ships, and even buildings have ghosts. according to richard senate the ghost phenomenon reveals a property of time that we don't understand. when we see ghosts we are actually seeing through time.

what we are really saying
to find out, tape it and play it backwards. you will hear things the person did not say forwards. according to david john oates our subconscious mind put those messages there. the conscious mind decides what to say but the subconscious decides how to say it and that is how the backward messages are placed into speech. the listener's subconscious picks up these messages which constitute the intuitive component of the communication. if the person is lying the backward speech will reveal the truth, if the person is speaking the truth it will confirm it, and if the person is hiding information it will reveal it. (btw: baby babble is rich in reverse speech. according to david we learn reverse speech first, even before we can talk normally.)
(btw2: kourosh saberi of caltech took digitized speech and chopped the sentences up into segments and then played them back. subjects could understand these sentences even when he ran the segments in reverse order. (reported by ap and sent in by luis reis, 1999)

baby grammar
children not only learn vocabulary from their parents but can "infer" grammar and then use that grammar to construct sentences they have never heard before. noam chomsky thinks we may be born with an innate universal grammar. language acquisition by children remains a paradox. (ray jackendoff)

baby talk
a 6-month old baby has already learned the sounds of its native language. the number of words an infant hears each day is the single most important predictor of future intelligence. (patricia kuhl, university of washington).
(jamal's note: maybe smarter infants are better at engaging adults in 'conversation'. without controlled experiments it's hard to tell whether x causes y or y causes x or whether a third unobserved variable z causes both x and y.)

another way you unwittingly reveal yourself is by writing. no matter what language, the way you make the marks on paper captures your personality and even hidden intentions. even things about you that you do not wish to reveal may be deduced from the way you write.

it's the sound, stupid
according to the vedic rishis of india the essence of it all is sound; and sound is geometry and geometry is sound. we can now see this in a device invented by ernst chladni. spread sand on a metal plate and cause it to vibrate with different notes and sounds and the sand will arrange itself into geometrical shapes of great complexity but familiar to us because they resemble shapes found in nature like the annual rings of trees, the stripes of a zebra, cells in a honeycomb, canals in a jellyfish, and turrets in shellfish. maybe the rishis were right. nature is not random mr. c. darwin. it is the way it is because of cosmic vibrations and the way they are. (lyall watson) (hindu scriptures)
(btw: doug ruby studied the geometry of crop circles by cutting out cardboard models and spinning them. his insight is that 'geometry equals frequency equals energy'. he describes it in his book, 'the gift'.)

what is gravity?
we are born into it, we live in it all our lives, and we die in it but we don't know it. newton and einstein thought they knew but they didn't. and now physicists at the max planck institute say that a disk of super conducting material can produce a 'weak shielding' of gravity and that this phenomenon has no explanation that they know of. a prototype of the device has been built at the tampere university of technology in finland by eugene podkletnov. he found that things weigh less above a super conducting disc than anywhere else. he described his findings in the journal physica c.

what is life?
science does not recognize what must be an essential nature of the universe, the ability of matter to spontaneously form self-sustaining and self-replicating organizations that consume energy from the environment to produce localized order out of disorder and to attain identity and awareness. everything in the world of science is dead. life is an impossibility because it cannot be experimentally verified. in the problem of life the dead universe model of truth has found its dead end. (btw: animal life consists only of transmutations of organic matter along the food chain. the source of it all is the chemical magic plants use to capture solar radiation and assemble simple inorganic substances into the stuff of life. the secret of life is contained in photosynthesis.)

the saturnic verses
one time nasa scientist dr. bergrun has written a book about saturn in which he says that nasa has evidence of a spacecraft about the size of earth orbiting saturn. the craft is described in the feb. 96 issue of 'science news' and also by ufologist rich boylan.

it slices it dices
during their invasion of panama in 1989 our forces left some cars neatly cut in half with some new weapon they were testing but won't tell us about. when asked the pentagon spokesman pete williams said with a straight face, "we know of no cars cut in half in panama".(the panama deception)

mission impossible
colombia would not sign the canal treaty with us so we arranged an insurrection in 1903 and invented panama; and its leaders that we installed did sign just the treaty that we wanted. the country's leaders even now take their marching orders from the cia. if they don't we get rid of them. (the panama deception)(btw: another thing weird about panama is that their currency is the u.s. dollar.)

psychic spying
edward dames offers psychic spying services. dames was spying for the military in 1981 when he was frustrated by his inability to crack into the russian biological warfare program and resorted to psychics. the military eventually developed the psychic technology called remote viewing or 'rv'. the program became discredited and ed left to start psitech. most recently he helped the military during the persian gulf war. he can train people in remote viewing. courtney brown is his student. he agrees with courtney that there is some kind of intelligent life on mars but it is underneath the surface. (btw: mars orbiters sent by the u.s. and russia mysteriously vanished. the last picture taken by the russian craft shows an object approaching the satellite. edward used rv to learn that the satellite was destroyed by a robot-like device sent from underneath the martian surface.

war is killing us
in 1975 the dod's biological warfare crew developed a "synthetic agent" that attacks the immune system of the victim. between 1982 and 1989 we shipped this and other "biologicals" to saddam hussein who used them in the gulf war. when the allied troops went home they took this illness with them to over 20 countries around the world. the symptoms are aids-like. the illness is mysterious, without treatment, fatal, and communicable. it is spreading through blood transfusions, sex, and perspiration, and by contact with equipment and clothing that were exposed. the human race today stands at a precipice. (joyce riley) (btw: joyce says that the gulf war records will prove her right. according to the baltimore sun the military has lost the records.) (btw2: aids may be another byproduct of the 1975 "synthetic agent" project.)( btw3: but read this assessment of the gulf war syndrome by the nih.)

doctors are killing us
researchers at harvard have found evidence that doctors overprescribe medication and surgery. could be why mortality rates drop when doctors go on strike. (noted by (henry jankowski, 1998) (see also al carney's letter in surg neurol, 46(2):191 aug 1996) (btw: the leading cause of death in the usa is not cancer or aids or automobile mishaps; it's health care. the bozo factor in medicine kills more than 90,000 per year with miscalculated dosage, misprescribed drugs, and misdiagnosis. washington post 1999)

during the manhattan project circa 1945, the military subjected soldiers to deadly radioactivity experiments without their knowledge. they were injected with plutonium and otherwise exposed to harmful levels of radioactivity. then for fifty years the military flatly denied that these experiments took place. recently declassified govt records show that they did.

agent orange
a 1984 air force study showed high rates of birth defects and infant deaths among children of vietnam vets and that these effects could be causally linked to the use of agent orange in vietnam; so the air force altered the data until the effect disappeared and then made the report public. (san diego union-tribune, november, 1998) (vietnam vets)

we have over a billion pounds of depleted uranium, a toxic waste product of the nuclear weapons industry. so, intelligent minds in our military have found a way to recycle this stuff into artillery shells to pierce tank armor; and the dust from exploded shells poisoned the environment and sickened our soldiers in the gulf war. (dan fahey)

fun with thermonuclear devices
during the fifties the u.s. military exploded hundreds of nuclear bombs in nevada to see (1) what would happen to our soldiers' vision if they observed the flash without goggles, (2) if they could be fired from a cannon, (3) if they could damage bunker walls from a mile away, (3) what they would do to a steel bridge at ground zero, (4) what they would do to jeeps, armored personnel carriers, airplanes, diesel locomotives, a glass house, an underground garage full of cars, and a pine forest, (5) whether a walk-in bank vault could take a direct hit, (6) what would happen to cattle, dogs, donkeys, naked pigs, and pigs dressed in human attire at ground zero, (7) whether a hill would deflect the blast, (8) whether they could be used to build harbors, reservoirs, and canals, (9) what damage it would do to a typical suburban housing development built in the desert just to be blown up. (1999)

backyard physicists
is there room for the little guy in science anymore? while corporations spend billions in failed 3-d research elizabeth downing, a graduate student at stanford quietly built the world's first prototype on a shoestring with borrowed equipment. ramar pillai of india has devised a process to extract gasoline from a herbs that grow wild near his village. (another ramar pillai site). school kids in minnesota have discovered the most frightening ecological changes of our time. they found that about a third of the frogs in a pond had grotesque frankenstein-like birth defects including missing limbs and extra limbs. a follow-up survey found these defects to be widespread throughout the midwest. the cause is a mystery. (btw: female fish in north florida's fenholloway river are developing male sex organs.)

scary algae
there is an algae called pfiesteria piscida. they can smell fish and when they do they change into an active amoeba-like creature which attacks and eats the fish multiplying rapidly. then they go back to their dormant algal state. infected fish and shellfish are toxic to humans. eating or even breathing these toxins may cause memory loss and personality changes in addition to pain, nausea, and vomiting. when the feeding and reproducing are good piscida can form coastal swarms known as red tides. (btw: p. pscida is responsible for giant fish kills in the estuaries of north carolina. rodney barker has written a book about it. he thinks that the creature has been around for millions of years and was awakened by pollution from swine and turkey farms. fish "bearing lesions and swimming in a disoriented manner" are also observed in the chicamacomico and pocomoke rivers in maryland.)

gene therapy
dr. jack roth of the m.d. anderson cancer center injected the tumors of lung cancer patients with a gene that he designed. the tumors shrank.

the salton sea
something, maybe pollutants, is killing off the fish and birds in california's largest inland sea. it is on the verge of total ecological collapse. (see this eyewitness account by eve mallett)

penelope smith of point reyes california can communicate with animals. she uses a technique called interspecies telepathic communication. she has written a book about it. recently she had a long conversation with a runaway alligator in san francisco. the alligator told her his name was fred, he was lonely and scared, and he was eating ducklings but he prefers chicken. penelope runs a training program in itc. she is not alone. there are many others like her.

a normal teenager
i guess i am a normal teenager, but i have dreams that come true, i can predict a person's actions just by talking to them, i see lights that others don't, and i have walked away from two bad accidents that should have killed me. i was born on the first day of the zodiac calendar (march 21,1980). i was conceived even though my parents were using birth control. i have birth marks that need explanation. (shaun

death to death
before you were formed in your mom's womb you were dead. so you do know what it is like to be dead. you just can't remember. but some children can and their stories of white lights and light beings are not unlike nde accounts.. apparently we see these things coming and going. (tamara long) (btw: nde = near death experience, obe = out of body experience, rv = remote viewing, pk = psychokinesis)

privacy lost
when the feds first issued social security numbers they told us that the numbers will not be used for any purpose other than ss record keeping.(andre bacard)(btw: according to andre if you pay for anything with your atm or credit card the transaction record becomes public information. eg your insurance company will know if you bought cigarettes or booze and how much.)

shamanism and botany
the amazon indians may look like savages but they have medical technology that is at least 50,000 years old and it is in many ways superior to ours. our 'discovery' of a cure for herpes consisted in learning from them what they have known for a thousand years. shaman medicine consists of plant material drawn from the rain forest. both the shamans, that carry this knowledge, and the rain forest, that carries the medicine, will become extinct in the next thirty years at the current rate of encroachment by cattle ranchers and well meaning christian missionaries. (mark plotkin, ethnobiologist) (btw: we think of the soil as containing nutrients and the stuff of life so we clear forests to reclaim land. but the life of the amazon is in the canopy and not in the soil. so in 'clearing the forest' we are throwing the baby out with the bath water.)

sangre de draga
the blood red sap of this amazon tree can arrest bleeding faster than anythting else. other strange health effects are claimed. (,1998) (submitted by leon paredes)

group memory
we carry with us our individual memories. we are conscious of that. but we also carry with us a subliminal group memory of our tribe, culture, race, species and of all living things and maybe even of the cosmos. some more than others are in touch with this source of information perhaps even without being conscious of this connection. they share this information with us through great works of art, literature, science, and teachings of a spiritual nature. (richard c. hoagland) (jamal's corollary: if group memory is not equally received maybe it is not equally generated either; i.e. the caesars, napoleons, shapespeares, tolstoys, and cleopatras of the world exert more than their pro-rata share of influence. this might explain why people who undergo past life regression find themselves as historical figures and why mediums seem to contact historical figures so much of the time. they are recalling group memory.)

homing cats
a family in florida left their cat with the neighbor and moved to california. the cat ran away from the neighbor's house and two years later showed up at the family home in california. and a cat in portugal named camilla became lost and walked home from a campsite 125 miles away.

homing spermatazoa
spermatazoa have a sense of smell and the ovum secretes a distinctive scent that is their siren call.

homing piegons
2,200 homing piegons competing in a race in october 1998 near philadelphia became lost and disoriented and never made it back home. the weather was fine.(the press democrat)

we sleep to dream?
there is no evidence that the body needs rest. even if it did it wouldn't get it from sleeping. there is no evidence that sleep provides rest. in sleep deprivation experiments subjects function normally. in the limit they begin to dream on their feet. (but read this note from tone)

does the soul have mass?
duncan weighed the almost dead and the dead and he found a consistent difference of about an ounce between these weights. (duncan macdougall)

"we are from the constellation known to you as ..."
a word of caution about ufo accounts that include constellation names. constellations are not star groupings. they only appear so when viewed from earth.

a drug addiction
falling in love is phenylethylamine addiction, heartbreak is phenylethylamine withdrawal. the person you are in love with is only an artifice in the ritual you use to cause your brain to manufacture this drug. (gary spink, monash university)

it's all in the mind
if you think you are beaten, you are
if you think you'll lose, you're lost
it's all in the state of mind
life's battles don't always go to stronger or the faster
... the man who wins is the man who thinks he can
(from the victor by cw longnecker)

olaf johnson
olaf has been subjected to many controlled tests and experiments by scientists and skeptics and no one denies that he can materialize and dematerialize objects; he can also move objects as large as an end table with his mind; and he can control other people's minds to make them say things they don't want to say.(brad steiger)

the rat and the miner
a miner befriended a rat which one day convinced the miner, by running and squealing, to leave the mine shaft moments before it collapsed. a pet frog jumped up and down on its owner's face to wake him when the house was on fire. brad steiger explores the strange and mysterious world of human-animal relationships in his new book on this topic.(brad steiger)

the rat and the information superhighway
judy reavis of hermes systems has trained her rat "rattle" to pull cable thru conduit. she knocks at the other end and rewards rat with gummi bears.

loopholes in space?
in south africa one night a drunken man walked out of a tavern and into ohio. this case has been well documented but never solved. (brad steiger)

what astrophysicists know
not much. according to them some parts of the universe are older than the universe. more than 90% of the universe is something called dark matter but they can't tell you what that is; in other words they haven't a clue what most of the universe is made of. and the universe got started when a small immensely dense baseball containing all the mass in the universe exploded but they don't know what made it explode; or how all the mass in the universe got into a baseball in the first place.
(btw: michael feast of the university of capetown has a solution to the age paradox and thinks the answer is that the universe is a lot older, probably 11 to 14 billion years old. hopefully 14 rather than 11 because if it is 11 we still have a problem. he is working on it.)

what scientists know
not much. when the movie the china syndrome was released scientists and experts all agreed that the meltdown of the core of a nuclear power generator is a scenario based on fuzzy thinking and pseudo science. then three mile island happened.

what economists know
not much. according to them the combination of full employment and economic growth necessarily causes inflation and recession. but it hasn't (1998). (btw: they think we are fools for not behaving according to their equations and that our 'foolish exuberance' will be punished either with inflation because we are running out of workers or with deflation because we are making too much of everything; and, with any luck, a stock market crash.)

the world according to zecharia
there is another planet. it is in a very oblique orbit. it visits the inner solar system once every 3500 years. it is inhabited by advanced critters. 450,000 years ago these critters visited earth and found early hominids. they used genetic engineering to implant some of their genes into one of the female hominids. that's how we got started. she of course was eve. since then we have had many cycles of civilization triggered by visitations from our extra planetary fathers. all of this information can be found in sumerian writings. the aliens are described by the sumerians as having large eyes, leathery skin, and non-specific gender definition.(zecharia sitchin in his new book "the beginning of time")( sumerian religion)

exploding planets
the conventional theory is that the solar system started out as a disk of rotating gas and smoke and the sun and the planets formed out of this mess. the asteroids and comets are leftover junk from the rotating gas days. but the orbital paths of comets are inconsistent with this theory and they are better explained by the existence of at least one other planet which exploded or which was caused to explode. the comets and meteors are the debris of the explosion.(tom)

fat contains 9 calories per gram while protein and carbohydrates contain only 4.
all meat contains cholesterol; vegetable proteins contain no cholesterol
meat contains no dietary fiber. none. zip. the average man on a meat based diet has a 50% chance of dying from a heart attack; the average vegetarian? 4%. it takes 15 pounds of plant protein to grow one pound of meat. to supply the yearly food of one vegetarian requires 1/6 of an acre; to supply the yearly food for a meat eater requires 3 acres. a day's production of food for one meat eater requires 4000 gallons of water; the vegetarian uses only 300 gallons. 10,000 acres of forest is being cut down per day to make beef pastures. soybean products provide a complete protein that contains all the amino acids. the combination of brown rice and beans also provides a complete protein meal
(excerpted from eisenberg and williams' column 'doctor doctor')

note to meat eaters
sausages: be particularly wary of sausages and ground meat. if you like ground meat have it ground for you in your presence. things that have been found in sausages, hot dogs, and ground meat include human body parts, rodent body parts, hair, feces from various sources, and metallic and plastic materials.
chicken: if a chicken has cancerous tumors, and many do, the law allows the butcher to remove the cancerous portion of the bird and sell the rest. to protect yourself from this law always buy your chicken whole and not cut.
note to strict vegetarians: find an alternate source of vitamin b12. you can't get that from a purely vegetarian diet.

anti cancer diet
eat large quantities of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. particularly good anti cancer foods are broccoli, garlic, tomatoes, berries, and soybeans. they contain chemicals that neutralize free radicals and remove them from the body. these chemicals are fragile and easily destroyed or removed by cooking. (national cancer institute)( btw: according to larry clark of the university of arizona cancer center the mystery ingredient of anti cancer foods is selenium. the best dietary source of selenium is brazil nuts. one small caveat: larry's study was partially funded by a supplier of selenium capsules.)(btw2: as a cancer buster, 3-day-old broccoli sprouts are 20 times as potent as mature broccoli and they taste better according to paul talalay of john hopkins university school of medicine.)

red wine
red wine not only lowers cholesterol and prevents heart disease but also contains a cancer inhibitor. a substance called resveratrol (rsv) is responsible. the vine produces rsv to fight fungus. since rsv is found in the skin of the grape red wine contains more rsv than white wine. and vines grown in moist regions, which are more susceptible to fungal attacks, produce more rsv than those grown in drier regions. (university of burgundy dept of enology) (resveratrol data from the american journal of enology and viticulture (ajev))
more on anti cancer foods (noted by jean carper of 'eat smart')
soybeans contain a chemical called genistein that prevents prostate and breast cancer. (stephen barnes, university of alabama cancer center)
the humble onion is an elixir. it contains something called quercetin which is antioxidant, anti cancer, antifungus, antibacteria, antivirus, and anti blood clots. quercetin is a cousin of the chemicals in wine that have similar healthful effects. (thorne research)
what's magic about tomatoes is lycopene which can prevent prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer. (harvard university medical web)
a substance called lutein found in collard greens, spinach, and kale helps ward off macular degeneration of the eyes. (fred khachik, u.s. dept of agriculture)
what makes garlic fight flu and other diseases is a substance called allicin which also lowers blood cholesterol. crushed and cooked garlic have different and complementary functions and they should both be included in your diet. (larry lawson, nature's way products)
hot chili peppers contain a chemical that attacks h. pylori, the ulcer bug. (jean carper, usa weekend)
if you are depressed it may be that you are low on folic acid. eat some spinach. (jean carper)
cough no more
cloves are a powerful anaesthetic. to stop coughing just hold a stick of it between your cheek and gums.

unusual liquid
glass is actually a liquid and it flows but very slowly. this means that all glass windows will eventually open from the top and that very old windows are fatter at the bottom. (from ask marylin)
(comments by lemmin, frye, jennings, and others are posted here)

cut off the head of an attacking rattlesnake and it will continue to attack with its headless stump which can apparently see. if you move the stump will follow and will actually attempt to bite. (observed by jamal at his ranch in penngrove)

gently hold a toad flat between the palms of your hands; turn it over on its back and hold it there for a minute. now slowly remove your upper hand. and the toad will lie still with its feet in the air. although it is now free to run away from captivity, it is apparently in a state of catatonia induced by captivity. (excerpted from supernature by lyall watson)

chicken too
lay a 2-week chick on her side and then push her head to the ground. while it is thus restrained draw an imaginary line on the ground across its field of vision. now let go. it will remain in that catatonic state transfixed on the imaginary line until moved. (tage andersen, chicken rancher, denmark)

herbal medicine
aloe vera is used to treat burns and skin abrasions and also is used to keep skin soft and beautiful
cayenne stimulates the digestive and circulatory system
chamomile can be used as a sedative to combat mild insomnia, indigestion, and flatulence
cranberry may be used to acidify the urine and prevent some types of kidney stones. it also prevents kidney infections by e. coli.
echinacea stimulates the immune system and can be used to fight off colds and sore throats as well as to treat wounds.
eucalyptus oil clears sinuses and soothes the mucus membranes
garlic can be used to prevent colds and flus and other infections diseases and to lower cholesterol
gingko dilates blood vessels and increases circulation. it has been used to increase alertness and memory functions. take this before your quiz.
ginseng is used in asia as a tonic and to fight the effects of aging.
(from eisenberg and williams, 'doctor doctor')
apple cider vinegar can be used to treat: cough, sore throat, nausea, varicose veins, arthritis, headache, burns, aching feet, sunburn, welts and hives, hiccups, bee stings, corns and calluses, allergies (the vinegar book)
medical research
sodium is bad for you but it could be good for you. caffeine is bad for you but it could be good for you. alcohol is bad for you but it could be good for you. nicotine is bad for you but it could be good for you. cholesterol is bad for you but it could be good for you. (jean carper, in usa weekend, and philip hilts, ap) (jamal's copy of the usa weekend article, feb99)

when you feel that your body is fighting off a disease you know that if it loses you will be sick. you can help your body win the battle by abstaining from alcohol and sugar. sugar weakens our immune system. (btw: norwegian fishermen have known for a long time the magical healing powers of shark liver oil which works by turbo charging the immune system.)

a hawaii sun tan
according to christopher lowe and gwen goodman of the university of hawaii, you can get a shark to tan but you can't give it melanoma. humans tan but humans also get melanoma when their dna becomes damaged by high energy solar radiation. so what do sharks have that we don't?

no calories
there is a plant native to south america called stevia rebaudiana. it's leaves are intensely sweet. a tiny pinch will sweeten your coffee with no more calories than a morning kiss. it is awaiting fda approval.

it's the magical new fat that isn't. but what is it really? the clinical descriptions boil down to this: it's 30-weight motor oil. and it can make you just as sick. the molecules are too big to be absorbed thru the walls of the intestines so they go right on thru to the other orifice carrying with them oil soluble vitamins and nutrients that become hopelessly entangled in their complex molecular tree.(eisenberg and williams) (btw: if you lube your xxx won't your yyy leak out? oui. it is one of the known side effects of olestra.)

kinky fish
a tropical fish found off okinawa normally live in groups of one dominant male and several submissive females. if a larger male comes along, the dominant male changes into a subservient female by restructuring its brain and genitalia. if the bigger male leaves or dies, the once dominant male will change back to a male. the restructuring process takes four days. (discovered by matt grover, univ of idaho)

livin on tulsa time
european fresh water eels found in mountain streams and lakes as high as 10,000 feet above sea level begin and end their lives in the ocean. here is their incredible story. they begin life in the sargaso sea (equatorial atlantic ocean) where the larvae are carried by the gulf stream to europe. during this journey the larvae grow into little cylindrical fish. once they get to the mouth of a river they swim upstream relentlessly even wriggling up waterfalls and crawling across meadows until they get to the lakes. there they live asexually for 14 to 20 years and then some other hormonal program kicks in. they grow big and fat and their sex organs get large; but instead of mating, they begin another epic journey apparently to return to the sargaso sea for mating. but they don't make it back. down to the last eel, they all die trying and therefore never mate. (the population is replenished by their american cousins who do make it back). these eels are apparently carrying out a life cycle program that must have worked once millions of years ago before the continents drifted apart. (lyall watson)

photograph a live sponge and then grind it into a slurry. press the slurry through a micropore strainer and you will get what appears to be muddy water. all the individual cells of the sponge have been separated from each other. let it sit for a few days and the sponge will rise like a phoenix from the muddy water. compare this sponge with your photograph. it's the same sponge.

mouse brains
this also works with mouse brains. you can tease apart the individual cells of the brain of a laboratory mouse. if you let this soup stand in a favorable environment the brain will reform and even restructure its synapses. somehow each cell knows how to build the whole. (many thanks to the mouse who donated his brain to john hopkins university school of medicine.
(btw: brain damaged lab mice injected with a hormone that martin developed grow new nerve tissue and the mice are once again able to remove sticky tape from their paws. proof that adult animals can regenerate nerve cells. martin schwab, university of zurich, dept of neuromorphology, 1998.

quail brains
48 hours after fertilization replace cells in the brainstem of a chicken embryo with those from a quail embryo and the chicken you get will bob its head like a quail. (evan balaban, neurosciences institute, san diego)

a nose for science
blindfolded and with arms spread eagle bend one arm and touch the tip of your nose. everything we think we know about how our nerves and muscles work together says you can't do that, but you can. you are a mystery to neuroscience.

mouse welfare
fred gage of the salk institute for biological studies separated 24 'teenage' mice into two groups. group 1 mice had to run thru tricky obstacle courses to find food while group 2 mice lived in regular cages with food trays so that they could eat whenever they wanted. group 1 mice developed bigger brains and did better in a test of learning. 1997.

you are what you eat
teach mouse-a to run a maze but don't teach mouse-b or mouse-c. now kill and grind up mouse-a and feed it to mouse-b and not to mouse-c. mouse-b will run the maze better than mouse-c. (reported by art bell, 1998)

star wars
to catch moths, bats use sonar. they whistle a note above the audible range and listen for the echo. from the patterns in the reflected sound they can recognize and locate a moth. in response moths developed a sort of stealth technology - covering their body and wings with soft, non-reflective material. bats responded by changing the sound frequency to detect the soft stuff. to counter this advance, moths developed sonar hearing and jamming devices. with these they can pick up the sonar of an approaching bat, identify its location and speed, and take evasive action and generate sound waves that will confuse the bat. (high speed photography show that it takes the moth about 1/10th of a second to do all of that. is there a computer that fast? ). in response bats developed an erratic flight pattern to overwhelm the moth's locator and jamming system. it must work to some degree because bats still catch moths. (lyall watson)

freaking moths
when you see a bunch of moths in your garage or barn turn on your shop vac. it makes ultrasound in the frequency range of bat sonar and drives the moths into a spectacular frenzy. (observed by jamal at his ranch in penngrove.)

konstantin raudive
tune a radio to a frequency where there is no station. you will get white noise. tape the white noise and play it back. what will you hear? when raudive does that the tape contains hundreds of voices saying clearly discernible things many of which are relevant to raudive's circumstance. this has been checked out in many well designed experiments. it only works with raudive and not with other people and it works anywhere on the dial as long as the radio produces white noise. raudive is somehow putting those voices on the tape. but how? (bill modlin's comments about raudive)

a white noise experiment
drown yourself in pure white noise and concentrate on a single note, say f-sharp. you will actually hear a tone in that note because it actually exists in the white noise. your brain picked it out of the babble because you told it to. (btw: if you practice you will be able to hold a note for a long time and eventually do voices and even songs. it's good exercise in concentration and meditation.)

mouse crime
you can remove the component of the genetic code that is responsible for producing nitric oxide. laboratory mice bred in this way are violent criminals. they rape screaming females and pick fights with normal males often killing their rivals in a gruesome manner. (john hopkins university school of medicine)

breed like rabbits
human females ovulate once a month. the menstrual cycle often makes conception a difficult game of musical chairs. female rabbits do not have a menstrual cycle. they ovulate on demand. if the male is rough with her during sex a follicle in her ovary will rupture and release an egg.

your cheatin' heart will tell on you
birds are monogomous but they cheat; and they do it secretly behind the bushes. genetic studies exposed their little cheatin' hearts. (david hanych, colorado college) (btw: the same scientists that once extolled the darwinistic virtues of birdie monogamy are now extolling the survival value of birdie adultery.)

the visible spectrum
our eyes were designed by our atmosphere. of the spectrum of electromagnetic energy bombarding our atmosphere most are either deflected, reflected, or absorbed. the energy that gets thru to the surface is mostly in the 400 to 700 nanometer range. this frequency range contains more information about our immediate environment and the cosmos than any other. it is no accident that we developed eyes to respond to this specific frequency range. incidentally, what's called 'optical fiber' isn't. optical fiber transmits data in 850, 1300, or 1550 nanometers. these frequencies are below the visible range. you can't see them.

kill joy
dissolve a tablespoon of joy dish detergent into a cup of water and place this soapy solution into a spray bottle. now spray a fly with it (or any other insect like a mosquito or a yellow jacket). the soapy solution dissolves the oil in the insect's exoskeleton. the skeleton loses its rigidity and collapses. the insect falls to the ground and makes a desperate attempt to breathe. within seconds it dies of asphyxiation. (discovered by jamal)

fly vision
glass is opaque to flies. corollary: their visible range must be ultra violet or higher. (discovered by jamal in his tireless effort to find the truth about flies.)

ted serios
place a camera near ted serios and he will place a picture of an object on the film just by thinking about it. for example, if he is thinking about the sears tower you will get a photograph of the sears tower. hundreds of experiments with serios have failed to find an explanation that fits our current version of the universe.(jule eisenbud). jamal's corollary and conjecture: have you seen really great photography? maybe a great work of art made with the camera does not consist solely of finding the right subject and getting the light and exposure right. maybe this process is not so mechanical and objective. maybe the photographer plays a subconscious and artistic role in what actually comes out on the film. 

olber's paradox
if there are an infinity of stars out there why is the night sky not wall to wall stars? why is the night not lit up like a christmas tree? nobody knows for sure. it's a paradox. 'they are too far and too dim' is not an answer because the farther out the more stars there ought to be in the same angular displacement. marylin savant (of 'ask marylin) thinks that the light from the other stars just hasn't gotten here yet. but read this note from dennis mattison.
(btw: are there an infinity of stars? in our own galaxy there are at least 100 billion stars and in the universe there are billyuns and billyuns of galaxies. that's about as infinite as anything gets. besides, how can the universe be finite? what lies beyond?)

lumpy universe
the distribution of mass in the universe is not uniform but lumpy. even in our galaxy stars come in clusters. no one knows why. lumpiness is not consistent with big bang or other conventional theories. dirac conjectured that it is because gravity is not constant over time but oscillates over billions of years. the lumps are formed when gravitational forces peak.

the reincarnation of time
the universe started with a big bang and is expanding but will soon collapse again and then expand again as it has done billions of times before and as it will do billions of times again. time is not linear but cyclical. there is nothing new under the sun. it has all happened before and will happen again and again. (stephen hawking) (see also the hindu scriptures and jnan saha's note on the mathematical impossibility of the big bang.)

india and america
in the late 18th century the british, fighting george washington in america and hyder ali in india, decided that they could not win both wars and must choose one. they chose india and diverted all their naval resources there. george won a war that the british had decided to lose. we have not just the french but the indians to thank for our freedom.

australia and america
you know that australia started out as a penal colony; but you may not know that it's our fault. the british sent their criminals to australia after the american colonies seceded from the empire; and after they could no longer send their criminals here.

mexico and america
in 1846 mexico was bigger than the usa. then they fought a war with us. we won and forced them to sell us california, nevada, arizona, utah, new mexico, and parts of wyoming and colorado for $15 million. we already had texas which we occupied after it seceded from mexico. the usa doubled in size and mexico halved. (btw: the war directly led us to the civil war and the abolition of slavery in america. it is also where westpoint grads robert e. lee, ulysses s. grant, thomas "stonewall" jackson, and william t. sherman cut their teeth in warfare. and it is how tennessee came to be known as the volunteer state.) (btw2: the deal was cleverly structured as a 'sale' so that we could not be accused of an illegal occupation.) (steve butler)

japan and america
on july 18th the americans came to tokyo with some very tough negotiators and arm twisted japan to open its markets to american products and its ports to american ships. under great pressure, the japanese caved in and signed the trade agreement. it was july 18th 1853 and the tough negotiator was commodore matthew perry. only now you know-ho the wrrrest of the story. (naval historical center)

egypt and america
if it was in 1492 that columbus sailed the ocean blue and linked the old world to the new then why do ancient egyptian mummies have nicotine in their tissue? there are other weird connections between the egyptians and the mayans. pyramids, for instance. (the discovery channel) (btw: according to yuri korosov mayan hieroglyphs are strangely similar to those from ancient egypt.)

china and america
mr. hays is concerned that the europeans are edging their way into china, which could be the world's largest market and investment opportunity. he wants an aggressive u.s. policy in china that would leverage american firms into the chinese bonanza. mr. hays is the secretary of state of the united states. his boss is president mckinley. it is 1896.

war in the balkans
civilized nations could no longer stand by and watch the atrocities as the central govermnent brutally suppressed and persecuted ethnic minorities in the balkan provinces. a multinational european force was dispatched and in the ensuing battle of navarino of 1827 the european allies liberated greece from the turks. (link), 1999

he put bangladesh on the map
bangladesh was born in 1971 out of civil war but its borders were actually drawn by lord curzon in 1905, then the colonial governor of india.

how financial failure created an empire
the east india company was bankrupt in 1773. the crown bailed it out but in the process seized control of the firm and its indian operations. what was a trading company in bengal soon turned into empire.

how the printing press changed religion
what martin luther had that huss and wycliffe did not was the printing press. it was easier for luther to attack indulgences because the church was using the printing press to mass produce and mass market these things. and it was easier for luther to get the word out by using the printing press, literally, to leaflet all of europe. (btw, an indulgence is an official certificate of forgiveness issued by the church. for a fee. huss and wycliffe were reformers that predated luther. they failed and became heretics.)

how a computational error made chris a hero
the argument between columbus and the nay sayers was not about the shape of the earth but about its radius. the nay sayers correctly estimated the radius at around 4000 miles and argued correctly that the voyage would be too long. chris thought the earth was a lot smaller. or maybe he knew about america from viking logs but figured china was a better sell. (btw: in those days the turks controlled the land route to china and the portugese controlled the horn of africa. spain was thus forced to go west to go east.)

thinking globally
when maritime powers spain and portugal could not decide which one of them owned the world pope alexander the 6th brokered a deal in 1494 giving the new world to spain and asia and africa to portugal. 48 degrees longitude was set as the line of demarcation because the new world was thought to lie entirely to the west of it. (btw: later discoveries showed that a big chunk of south america lies to the east of 48 and that is how brazil went to portugal.)

bread and roses
in pre-industrial england the number of marriages per year was almost perfectly negatively correlated with the prevailing price of bread. (paul samuelson) (btw: the phrase 'bread and roses' comes from a labor movement in post industrial-revolution england. workers wanted more than mere subsistence and demanded a better quality of life.)

death and taxes
for centuries after the fall of the roman empire europeans continued to pay taxes to rome. it was in the form of tithes to the vatican.

complete knowledge
in 1895 the royal society (in england) passed a resolution to the effect that man's knowledge of the universe was complete and that everything worthwhile had been invented.

bald no more
mix together a cup of nettles (u can buy this at your natural good store), half a cup of chopped onions, and three cups of isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and let this concoction sit for a few days until the alcohol is green. massage a tablespoon of the green liquid into your scalp each day if you are balding. balding will cease. the recession will be over. (judy miller read this in the sf chronicle)(jamal's note: not only has my recession stopped but i am actually growing hair right in the middle of my bald spot.)

holy water?
a bunch of barley seeds were randomly assigned to plot a and plot b. two bottles of water were drawn from the same tap each day. bottle a was blessed by a healer and bottle b was not. plot a received water from bottle a and plot b received its water from bottle b. the plants in plot a all grew faster, got taller, and produced more barley than those in plot b. (bernard grad)

musical plants
plants grow faster and healthier if subjected to a daily dose of bach's brandenburg concertos. try it.

the golden mean
in many many statistical tests it has been found that we humans prefer one rectangle to all others; that whose sides are in the ratio of 1 to 1.618. why do you suppose? could have implications for marketing majors. (btw: the golden mean is the convergence of the ratio of the fibonacci series and can be approximated by 0.5*(1+sqrt(5)). this ratio apparently occurs in nature more frequently than pure chance can explain.) (btw2: start with 0,1, and then generate new numbers by adding the previous two to get 0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13, and so on. this is the fibonacci series. the ratios of adjacent numbers, 5/3, 8/5, 13/8, etc converges to 1.618... if you go out far enough. it has a weird mathematical property: 1.618*1.618 = 1.618+1, and si ja points out that 1/1.618 = 1.618-1).

heat and temperature
hold a metallic and a wooden object both at room temperature. the metallic object will feel colder. condensing steam will feel hotter and burn more severely than water at the same temperature. we cannot sense temperature; only the rate of heat transfer.

antelopes and wild boar have horns and tusks that are similar in shape to the dowser's forked twig. both of these species are very successful in finding hidden water sources. (lyall watson)

lady luck
if you toss a coin many times about half of them should come up heads, right? wrong. it depends on who is calling them. some people can make the coin come up heads (or tails) more often than that. this has been checked out with statistics and p-values of less than .0001 have been observed with some people. this also works with dice. (j. b. rhine)

the five senses
if you connect the nerves in your tongue to the part of the brain responsible for hearing and place a drop of vinegar on your tongue, you will hear a loud sound. hallucinogens induce this sort of cross-sensory perception. colors have texture and taste. taste has sound and color. sound has color whose hue and intensity changes with frequency and loudness. some people naturally have cross-sensory abilities. myra allen, a montana artist, paints pictures of what wines taste like. when she looks at these paintings she can 'taste' the wine again.

to touch you is to see you
in blind people the part of the brain responsible for vision does not atrophy. instead it tunes in to other sensory signals. the sense of touch for instance. (the bowman gray school of medicine)

do you realize that all the while that we were building steam engines, cars, buildings, and other large euclidean things, right under our noses nature has been building stuff of incomparable complexity one atom at a time? maybe we can learn to do that too. try to imagine the implications.

you can get lenses that invert images so that everything appears upside down. for a while. if you wear these glasses for a couple of days things appear right side up again. if you take the glasses off things appear upside down again for a while. then they right themselves again. ever see the hollow face optical illusion? it looks like a face until you stick your hand into it. then you can see that it is hollow. hollow faces don't exist in your experience so your brain makes the image fit your version of reality. in other words, "we perceive only what we can conceive". kind of makes you wonder what's really out there.

put a blind chameleon in a cage. drive it to a place where it has never been and let it out of the cage. it still changes its colors and stripes to form a perfect camouflage with its new surroundings which it has never seen.

sleepy flies
flies sleep at night. usually on the ceiling. and they sleep so soundly that you can get 'em all with a shop vac. (btw: according to makstarn, flies are unable to initiate flight while walking. if it walks swat it.)

jailer give me water
within 26 days of freedom, on average, criminals who escape from danish jails return and ask to be let back in. 

doggie diagnosis
according to the santa rosa press democrat dogs can be trained to sniff out cancerous tissue.

doggie scientists
pavlov's dogs were scientists that concluded from their observations that bell chimes cause food. in a similar experiment pigeons whose feedings were randomized tried to find correlations in nature often repeating motions made prior to being fed to determine if it was that motion that caused food. (the pigeon experiment was quoted by tom landauer of colorado to the ny times.)

the mind is a terrible thing
lab mice were randomly assigned to cages marked 'smart' and 'dumb' and taken to mouse maze researchers. on average the 'smart' cage mice did better. the results were statistically significant even when, unknown to the researchers, the same mice were re-tested with the cage labels secretly switched. (lyall watson reports this in his book 'supernature' from which many of these wbt items are drawn. lyall is a biologist. supernature was published in the '70s and is out of print. incidentally it was lyall who is credited with the now debunked theory of the hundredth monkey phenomenon. this does not necessarily discredit lyall. read the hundredth monkey essay carefully.)

pyramid power
build a cardboard pyramid to exact egyptian specifications and place a used razor blade where the crypt would be and it will be sharpened. a dead animal will become mummified. this is also from lyall watson. 

space invaders
(from usenet) in lifetide by lyall watson (simon and schuster, new york,1979) one finds mention of carbonaceous chondrite meteorites --they contain organic matter. it is claimed that roughly 0.1% of all matter that has fallen on our planet from space is organic. jai maharaj

pesky mosquitoes?
here's how you can get them back. the next time you see one on the back of your hand, make a fist and she will become hopelessly stuck in your tightened skin unable to feed or break free. on other parts of the body simply pull the skin tight for the same effect.

urban legends
do you buy the bob lazar story?. a guy with a junior college education runs a photo shop in las vegas and gets hired to work as a scientist in area 51 to reverse engineer the space-time-distortion propulsion engine of an alien craft and then goes public with this information? or a troubled photo developer with a broken marriage that seeks the limelight? and perhaps to profit from our ufo curiosity? then there is the the legend of the philadelphia experiment aka project rainbow aka the maontauk project. in 1943 the u.s. navy conducted an experiment in which it rendered the destroyer uss eldridge invisible by generating a magnetic field around it that was so intense that the electromagnetic spectrum from radio to visible became bent. in the process the ship actually de-materialized and became teleported from philadelphia to norfolk, va. and back again. some of the crew died, some disappeared, and the rest became disoriented and were rendered 'mentally unfit for duty'. al bielek is one of these survivors and he claims that the navy's super magnet technology goes far beyond invisibility and teleportation; they can shuttle people back and forth between the here and the hereafter and between different individual identities that may be separated by time. the u.s. navy denies that such an experiment ever took place or that any such technology exists.

slow movin'
the data transmission rate in our nervous system is relatively slow. there is a noticeable delay between the time something touches your foot and your awareness of it. and the bigger you are the longer it takes. could be why you don't see too many tall jittery folks. in a giraffe it takes 300 milliseconds for a message to get from the foot to the brain. in the same interval a tcp packet can make the round trip from penngrove, california to reading, england and back.

weightlessly falling
astronauts in the shuttle appear weightless not because they have escaped earth's gravity (if they had they would not be in orbit) but because they are in free fall into earth's gravitational pull. this is elementary and you probably knew this i but meet a lot of people that think otherwise.

stereo broadcasting
mono receivers are able to receive stereo broadcasts even though the complete message is in two different frequencies because broadcasters send the sum and the difference of the two signals. mono receivers are tuned to the sum. stereo receives both frequencies and computes the left and right signals by addition and subtraction.

as the world turns
the earth has two motions relative to the sun, it rotates on its axis and it revolves around the sun. but how many times does it rotate during one revolution? if you said 365.25 you are off by one. it has to rotate one more time to undo the rotational effect of the revolution. if it did not rotate at all the sun would rise once a year. relative to the earth, our moon has to rotate once per revolution to keep the same face toward us. btw, why is the land distribution on our planet so lopsidedly northern?

it wobbles
we measure time according to the rhythmic cycles in the movements of our planet relative to the sun. in addition to the rotation (which measures days) and revolution (which measures years) there is actually a third movement. the earth wobbles on a precise 26,000-year cycle called an epoch. within each epoch you can tell what 'time' it is by the shape and relative position of the constellations; and what 'age' it is by the constellation of the zodiac that is directly behind the sun at sunrise on the spring equinox. the age now is aquarius.

astronomical time stamping
the relative sizes and the geometrical arrangement of the great pyramids of giza form a representation of the belt of the constellation orion; not as it is today but what it looked like in 10,500 bc (see 'wobble' above). then it was the age of orion, which means that orion rose exactly due east at sunrise on the spring equinox. and that is what the sphinx is staring at. these structures are not tombs and monuments to the ego of kufku or any other pharoah and they were not built in the time of kufku (2500 bc) as we have been led to believe. they were built in 10,500 bc as an astronomical message from a forgotten civilization. the egyptian markings are mere graffiti. (bauval and hancock) (some consider these arguments to be intellectual chicanery)

it hums
if you listen very carefully with the right kind of instruments you will find that the earth emits a mysterious hum in a symphony of 50 notes ranging from 2 to 7 millihertz. (naoki suda and kaqunari nawa in the new scientist, 1999)

it's slowing down
according to our atomic clock in colorado the earth took one second longer than it should have to make all the turns it made from 1966 to 1996.

talking heads
it is a matter of historical record that many severed heads in european guillotines have moved their eyes and their lips for half a minute. could they actually see? were they aware of what had happened? can we ever find out?

shu di shu di huang huang
the chinese herb shu di huang (radix rehmanniae) touted to help your kidneys may actually induce acute renal failure.

don't hold your breath
our breathing action is on automatic control. it is triggered by the co2 level in our blood. yet we are able to seize manual control and hold our breath; or we can breathe on purpose. we can similarly take control of other automatic processes. all we need is feedback. we can raise or lower our pulse, blood pressure, body temperature, and so on if we are given some kind of sensory cue on what's going on. check for yourself the power of feedback. write with your eyes closed. or listen to your favorite song thru your stereo headphones and sing along into a tape recorder. now play it back. the horror. the horror.

night of the living dead
how would you define 'living'? are living things self sustaining and self replicating? are they things that consume nutrients from the environment and generate energy and manufacture protein? because the virus is none of these. a virus consists only of some genetic material encased in protein. it exists because it was manufactured by a living cell in a process that must be life chemistry gone haywire. once produced the virus can attach itself to another cell, chemically weaken the cell wall, and inject its genetic material into the cell. the cell manufactures many copies of the virus and the copies then proceed to weaken the cell wall from the inside and bust out ready to attack other cells. it's tough to fight these things. you can't kill them because they are already dead. all you can hope for is to interfere with the two things they know how to do and these are 1. attach to cell walls and 2. weaken cell walls.

excuse him
did jesus christ's physical body ascend to heaven? at what speed? since it is matter and has mass perhaps not faster than the speed of light? then he is no more than 2000 light years away right now. and where is heaven exactly? is it beyond our galaxy? in that case he has yet to reach his destination... excuse me ... excuse me ...(the reverend bernie ward, kgo radio, sf)(btw: one story has it that jesus was not in his grave because roman soldiers fed his remains to wild dogs. this story comes to us from dr frederick niedner, professor of theology, valparaiso university.)

for more than a thousand years of christianity there was no nativity - no child in manger, no star, no wise men, none of it; until 1223 ad when st. francis of assisi concocted the elaborate lie which we now celebrate as christmas. (donald soto in the hidden jesus)

the free will paradox
if god knows all then he already knew when you were born whether you would go to heaven or hell and therefore there was no reason to give you the earth test. earthly free will is inconsistent with heavenly omnipotence. (the reverend bernie ward, kgo radio)

scientific experiments
in pre-copernican astronomy scientists took data only to refine the aristotelian system. the kind of experiment we design, the data we take, and the way we interpret the data are all pre-determined by our version of reality. we may seem more refined and scientific relative to older realities but relative to our current reality we are in the same mess. for example in all of fisher's crop yield experiments the gardener was not a variable because green thumbs are not part of our reality.

mystical shapes
how well bugs work depend on the shape of the container they are in. if you age burgundy wines in bordeaux bottles or bordeaux wines in burgundy bottles they will not taste the same. barrel aging of wine in any shape other than a barrel-shape produces inferior wine. the french have determined an optimal container shape for making yogurt. beer made in angular vessels is not as good. and laboratory mice with identical wounds heal faster in round cages. (lyall watson)

eternal shrimp
freeze live freshwater shrimp or crayfish in a bowl of water. when you thaw them out again weeks later the shrimp will come back to life. 

gruesome shrimp
warning: this is fairly gruesome. a dead man found frozen in ice in a lake in northern alberta was brought to edmonton for examination. as the pathologist waited in the next room for the giant ice cube to melt she heard chewing sounds. some of the ice had melted and the crayfish were feasting. (dr. srishti nigam, edmonton)

mystical places
a san francisco baker gets everything he needs to make two loaves of sourdough bread then divides them in half. he makes one loaf in san francisco and the other he makes in los angeles. the two loaves taste different. apparently it's in the rising. the yeast bugs know where they are and they prefer sf.

symmetrical darwinism
if we evolved from random mutations then where are all the asymmetric varieties? if none then what is the survival value of symmetry? (btw: the mating behavior of human females includes seeking out males who are symmetrical; and as a result symmetrical males are able to mate more often and with more females according to randy thronhill, university of new mexico.)

the fine line between insanity and greatness
charles darwin suffered from panic disorder and agoraphobia that left him a socially crippled recluse; and it was this condition that made it possible for the 'origin of species' to become his all consuming passion. we owe the theory of evolution to his illness. (russ noyes, university of iowa college of medicine). the great canadian pianist glenn gould was not only agoraphobic but a hypochondriac and unable to form personal relationships or express emotion except in music. (peter otswald in "glenn gould: the ecstasy and tragedy"). according to bruce miller of ucsf some individuals suffering from dementia suddenly develop artistic talents they never had before. (1998). sir isaac newton was a paranoid anti-social recluse who spent most of his 35 years at trinity college alone in his study even refusing to have dinner in the great hall; and if it were not for sir edmund halley, philosophae naturalis principia mathematica might have just collected dust as it had for 20 years before halley discovered it and caused it to be published. what would you think if a gaunt pale-skinned loner next door were obsessed with your ten-year-old daughter; stared at her from his window as she played, drew nude pictures of her, wrote letters and poems to her, took her on picnics, and spent hours sitting on his couch with her? charles dodgson did all of that with little alice liddell whom he eventually immortalized in his now famous book about "wonderland" using the pseudonym "lewis carroll".

is this normal?
from a russian soldier fighting in chechnya: "everyone is trading ammunition for bread, pickles, and vodka. one hand grenade is worth a bottle of vodka. tell me, is this normal?" (los angeles times)

you light up my life
fires, explosions, and your car engine are strangely similar to our own metabolic process. the source of their energy is an exothermic chemical reaction that combines oxygen with hydrocarbons to produce water, carbon dioxide, and energy. if something goes wrong our metabolism can turn to fire and consume us in what is known as spontaneous human combustion or shc. many cases of shc have been documented and no explanation from mainstream science has been offered. the most well known case is that of dr john bentley who was suddenly reduced to a little pile of ashes. shc normally reduces the victims to about 5% of their weight. larry arnold describes this and other shc cases in his new book 'ablaze'. (btw: could shc be inflicted by one person on another perhaps with some voodoo-like technique? or perhaps even on oneself perhaps in a powerful suicidal moment? if shc is purely biological then where are the animal cases?)

head shrinking
another weird thing about shc is that the skull is not normally consumed in the inferno but shrunken proportionately into a miniature head. also, there appears to be a sphere of influence with a diameter of about one meter within which everything is consumed as if by fire and outside of which there is no evidence of fire. body parts of the victim outside this sphere survive intact.

ufo explained
according to persinger's tst theory the earth is playing tricks on us. stresses in the earth's crust produce an electromagnetic discharge which causes a luminosity which appears to dim witted peasants as space ships. chris rutkowski of manitoba offers a more scientific explanation of tst.

spontaneous conception
an ovum can be tricked into conception by the mere prick of a pin. the blessed process may also be begun by injecting daddy's dna material directly into the ovum.

you remember but you can't recall
after you drive to work i ask you to give me a count of the number of red cars you saw on the road. yes, you do know, and under hypnosis you will recall the exact number. the clutter and background noise of life are filtered out of our consciousness but inexplicably stored. (btw: memory is unreliable both ways. we forget things that happened and remember things that did not. (henry l. roediger iii, washington university, st. louis). under the right conditions and with some coaxing we can be made to 'remember' total fiction. (elizabeth loftus, university of washington, seattle)

eat like pigs
when you castrate a pig, it will turn around and while still squealing with pain, devour its own testicles. (observed by jamal at his ranch) (btw, words such as test, testament, testimony, and testify have testicle as their root. in roman times apparently they reached under the tunic with a firm grip to discourage lying.)

coffee vs milk
subjects were randomly assigned to two groups. one group received a glass of milk before bed and the other group received a cup of coffee. the milk drinkers slept better even though the milk was laced with caffeine.

the magic of math
to make a circle of radius r inches with a string you will need 2*pi*r inches of string. to make a circle of radius (r+1) inches you will need 2*pi*(r+1) inches of string. the difference is 2*pi inches or about 6.3 inches of string regardless of r, whether a tennis ball, or the earth, the solar system, or even the galaxy.

underwater insects
lobsters are related to spiders and insects. they have a common worm-like ancestor. 

infra sound
we can't hear vibrations at 7hz but this infra sound can cause heart palpitation, dizziness, loss of balance, nausea, depression, fear, and mood changes. the usual source of infra sound in office buildings is the hvac system. if you suspect infra sound touch the wall. if you can feel a vibration you probably have infra sound. (lyall watson)

low sperm count
our sperm count worldwide is going downhill

the chan gang
the most popular family name on earth is chan. you knew that but it's even more popular than you thought. the millions of 'khan's of south asia too are chans. the connection is genghis khan or genghis chan who did not have a low sperm count.

crime thrills
does punishment deter crime? at least for some criminals it works in reverse. it is the risk that makes it worth doing. and the bigger the risk the bigger the thrill (john pine, penngrove, calif)

crime pays
there is no strong evidence that expenditure on police reduces crime. in fact there is no evidence that an additional dollar spent on policing results in at least a dollar of marginal social benefit. (steven levitt, national bureau of economic research)

the tube is back
an antibiotic-resistant strain of the tubercle bacillus is loose and on the prowl. if the guy in the next seat is coughing up blood get off the train.

tough staph
antibiotics kill bacteria but not all the bacteria; and their continued use is only a way of breeding resistant super bugs. in this way we have bred a staphylocuccus that we can't kill. you can pick them up at your local hospital  where they tend to congregate. (center for disease control)

the once benign bacterium has mutated into a killer that is resistant to all forms of antibiotic including vancomycin. it hangs out in hospitals where it was hatched with excessive antibiotic use. in 1993 3% of hospitals had enterococcus. in 1997, 95% do. (jon rosenberg, california department of health services)

normally they hang out in your throat and cause minor irritations until you zap them with antibiotics; but they can mutate into a strain that travels thru your blood to other parts of your body where they go on a feeding frenzy chowing down your blood vessels and muscle tissue. left unchecked you may face amputation or worse. (nih)

designer virus
a virus designed to kill rabbits in ebola fashion is mutating and out of control in australia.

emerging viruses
the notion that we are at the top of the food chain is comforting but inaccurate. microbes are our predators and we are now engaged in a desperate darwinian battle for survival with them. antibiotic usage only creates new resistant strains. aside from that new varieties of microbes are emerging faster than we can cope. the ebola virus and the hantavirus are examples. (alison jacobson)

from dust to dust
household dust consists largely of biological debris from our skin and hair and this debris supports a sizable population of mites

the spermatazoa know
the electrical activity in a vial of semen responds to the presence of humans in the same room and goes wild if the donor is near.

a farce?
physics consists of a bunch of internally consistent principles whose relevance to reality is an assumption. some go so far as to call it a farce. there is a growing movement of dissident physicists who describe mainstream physics as "lies and false formalism".

about nelya
and what about nelya mikhailova? she and others like her have been the subject of many carefully designed experiments by physicists. no one doubts that nelya can move objects just by thinking but we don't know how she does it. is psychokinesis a glimpse of a different physics?

barbecued feet
you can make your body do seemingly impossible things if you put your mind to it. in nepal semi naked monks bathe in icy lakes without any apparent discomfort. in india sadhus chant themselves into walking on red hot coals or lying on incredibly sharp thorns.

firewalking explained
a scientific explanation of fire walking: the feet absorb the heat and cool off the coals.

in controlled experiments not only do placebo takers get better but they actually develop the same side effects as the experimental group. (btw: in medical experiments the placebo effect is considered a random background noise and a nuisance because it is not medicine as our doctors understand it although it is just as effective in most cases. it may turn out to be the very essence of healing that has always been there right under our arrogant statistical noses. (dr. weil 1998)

give them space
our bodies extend beyond their physical outline. if a stranger stands very close you will feel uncomfortable. he has entered your space. we carry around us a space that is ours. the extent of this space can be measured. violent individuals carry a larger space. and the discomfort they feel is more intense.

safe sex
in the south pacific there is a deep water fish that mates near the surface. to avoid being eaten during mating they send only their genitals to the surface where boy genital meets girl genital and they make baby fish. during the mating season so many of these things come up that the sea turns red. the islanders harvest them in great quantities for a feast.

the womb that jack built
the baby decides when to be born. it is also the embryo that builds the womb. it does so by sending out chemical commands to re-structure the surrounding tissue to its specifications. not unlike a parasitic larva. and it can do this elsewhere in the body. of either gender.

womb reservations
many mothers report that their future children appear to them during dream like states; in some cases before they have conceived or even before they have met the father. so apparently it is the child that selects the mother.(teri danna)

don't do me any favors
burning a woman to death used to be a perfectly rational and socially acceptable thing to do. witch burners thought they were doing the woman a favor and that she was grateful for what they did because the fire freed her from the devil. (btw, pennsylvania was the first colony to legalize witchcraft. in the words of william penn, "if she can ride on a broomstick she has every right to do so.")

exactly what do we believe?
was jesus descended from david or not? did jesus carry his own cross or did simon carry it for him? did jesus ascend to heaven or stay put in his grave? if he ascended how long was he buried? did he ascend to heaven one day or one week after the resurrection? did god make the animals first or did he make man first? the bible is full of weird contradictions (btw: according to the jesus seminar of sonoma county, if you systematically remove all controversial statements in the gospels you will be left with three statements you can make for sure: jesus was born, jesus died, and he said "give to caesar what is caesar's". another curiosity of the gospels is the missing years. where was jesus between birth and the preaching? india?)

early christians
miracles did not cease after jesus. the early christians are credited with various supernatural acts and many of them lived for over two centuries.

survivors survive
ever wonder why we have this insane desire to keep on living and to form sexual reproduction  partnerships? if you didn't your characteristics would not survive into succeeding generations. after many generations of such selection we would cultivate a population consisting mostly of the insane. and that is who we are. we are not the most interesting creatures that could have been. just the survival freaks. 

border disputes
between denmark and sweden is an island that has been the subject of a territorial dispute between them. each claims that it belongs to the other. on the other side of europe greece and turkey are ready to go to war over a 10-acre pile of uninhabited rocks in the aegean sea. each claims ownership of the island. 

obscene obscenity
consider two scenes in a movie. in one scene a couple is together nude. there is love and passion between them. their genitals are visible as they consummate their love. in another scene they are together fully clothed. there is hatred and anger between them. he draws a knife and attacks her in a gruesome manner. she falls screaming and dies in a pool of blood. in america we would find this movie to be obscene because of the first scene. you can kill and maim on the screen as long as you have your clothes on while you are doing it.

the origin of species by c darwin
while darwin was still figuring it out a guy named wallace already had but instead of sending his thesis to the publisher he sent it to darwin. 'origin of species' was not a volcanic work in isolation. darwin simply dotted the eyes and crossed the tees. i admire darwin not for his genius but for his courage. that man is an animal was a heretical idea. still is.

non-terminal velocity
a three year old boy fell out of a third floor window onto a concrete sidewalk and suffered nothing more than some minor cuts and bruises. (orange county register)

the lead trap
wine has lead. so does milk. and lettuce. and so on. it got there from the soil. it got to the soil from tetraethyllead we used to put into our gasoline for years and it is trapped in the food chain. lead in soil goes to grass, cow eats grass. we eat burgers, we die, lead back in soil. (btw, children with higher lead levels in their blood are more violent. could lead have something to do with our ability to produce nitric oxide?)

all fresh water on earth contains tiny wheel-like creatures called rotifera which are bizarre and unearthly. if you take them out of the water they dry up into a speck of dust that can survive indefinitely in any condition including outer space. if the dust lands on fresh water it turns right back into rotifera. (lyall watson)

whether witchcraft, voodoo, church, or temple, rituals provide the visual and sensory cues that help us to achieve powerful mental states just like those from your lover allow you to experience a mental state of sexual release. in one such mental state some individuals can cause people to have a choking fit simply by telepathically suggesting suffocation. (milan ryzl)

when it is time, mama swallow just abandons the nest. the young eventually fly the coop. another weird thing about swallows. when they sit on a wire all in a line there is exactly six inches between them. 

poker face
pick a playing card and stare at it while the subject guesses. random guesses should generate 1 correct answer out of 52 on average. but many individuals consistently score significantly higher. and their score drops if you don't see the card. when you look at the card, you somehow transmit the information to the subject. what's really weird is that this also works on the telephone even long distance. (b. yakolev)

famine parenting
in the famine of 1877 in china parents sold their daughters for the equivalent of $2 to $6 each. in the famine of 1790 in india parents killed their children and ate them.

male masturbation
old wives' tales have grains of truth. vitamin a is used to manufacture semen as well as retinene, a precursor to the photosensitive substance in our eyes and its deficiency can indeed cause blindness.

sneaky comet
a new comet that entered our solar system was undetected by billions of dollars of observational equipment on earth and in space that constantly scan the heavens. it was picked up by a guy with a pair of binoculars. (yuji hyakutake)

reality check
albert hoffman, the sandoz scientist who discovered lsd was a very straight laced journeyman chemist in white lab coat. after taking lsd he was moved to write "what we commonly take as 'the' reality is by no means the only reality. there are many realities each as real as the others".

super organism
pesky little blackbirds in large numbers can form a giant flying ball in the air and this super organism harrasses large birds of prey that might otherwise have blackbirds for lunch. (could this be the theoretical basis of the 'efficient market hypothesis'? maybe the stock market is a super organism. kahneman, tversky, and thaler have argued that individual investors are not rational. but maybe the super organism is.)

mother india
in that vestry of spirituality many a husband having collected the dowry sets his wife afire after dousing her with kerosene. 

contrary to popular belief most of our photosynthetic co2 absorption does not occur in forests but in the ocean. the total mass of phytoplankton grows or shrinks to regulate the co2 cycle. john martin of the moss landing marine laboratories found that if you give these critters a little bit of iron their population can explode by as much as fortyfold.

leaving hangchow
as the japanese invasion force neared the city of hangchow the chinese moved it 500 miles upstream. the whole town was taken apart brick by brick, moved upstream by boat, and re-assembled. 

out of africa
protein molecules produced in parallel evolutionary paths have exactly the same structure although other structures are possible. we are part of a cosmic pattern not random mutations. if we rewound evolution and ran it again we would end up with us. (lyall watson). (btw, this hypothesis could free anthropologists from the 'out of africa' model in describing human origins. the out-of-africa model is favored by those who believe that once a hominid appears the only way for others to appear is by transfer of genetic material from the predecessor. according to them h. sapiens evolved in africa and then migrated to the other continents. but if lyall is right then homo erectus could have evolved independently in africa and java and homo sapiens could have evolved independently in europe and africa. the weird and improbable migration stories needed to support out-of-africa are less likely than parallel evolution according to lyall. 

skim milk
if you drink skim milk to keep from gaining weight you should know that farmers use skim milk to fatten hogs.

big mouth
bull frogs can, and often do, swallow each other whole.

rainy day tennis
if the courts too wet to practice your backhand or your spin serve do it in your mind. imagine yourself in a perfect serve motion again and again. your serve will improve as if you had physically practiced.

the zone of tennis
in tennis, and in other sports, players sometimes find themselves in a mental state called a zone. in this state their play is effortless and perfect. unfortunately no one knows how to induce this supernatural state of mind at will.

phantom limbs
electron discharge photography, also called kirlian photography reveals an extra-body extension of ourselves some call the 'aura'. in kp of those that have recently lost a limb the missing part of the limb appears as a ghostly image. (btw, the light intensity in the kp aura is not uniform but has bright spots and these spots exactly correspond to the chinese acupuncture chart.)

light torture
a light flashing at the same frequency as your brain rhythm will drive you crazy. in some it can induce an epileptic seizure especially if the flashing light is triggered by the subject's own brain waves.

sick of tv
if you broadcast a tv signal that flashes between red and blue at a certain frequency you can cause the viewers to have convulsions and seizures. this effect was discovered by a japanese cartoon show called pokemon.

killer earthquakes
in the days following an earthquake the incidence of heart attacks rises to several times the normal rate.

brain waves
the brain constantly produces a complex electromagnetic rhythm. spectral analysis of this signal shows four main frequencies called alpha, beta, delta, and theta. the relative energy level of these frequencies depends on the state of the individual. delta is prominent in deep sleep, theta is associated with moodiness, alpha with relaxation, and beta with analytical thinking. if you are shown a dynamic image whose shape corresponds to your brain wave pattern you can deliberately change its shape (and your wave pattern).

britta and alice
alice and britta are identical teenage twins. without any communication between them they bought identical dresses in two different cities in denmark and wore them to their sister's graduation in copenhagen. a year ago they went on separate summer vacations one to spain and the other to slovakia. each returned to denmark with a bottle of rum and wearing a black blouse with white stripes. the blouses were acquired in spain and slovakia. their signatures are identical. they carry only one bank account and one credit card account between them. (hanne birgitte andersen) btw: does anyone have a clue about the physics of twinism? are they really two people? is there necessarily a one-to-one mapping cardinality between bodies and persons?

alice and britta update
(march 96) this winter alice and britta bought exactly the same boots in different cities on the same day and around the same time. after they got home each called the other to tell her about the new boots. they had never discussed needing new boots or that they would go shopping that day. (btw: when they were born not even their mom could tell them apart so they were labeled 'a' and 'b' and that is how they got their names.) (hanne birgitte andersen)

gamma ray burst
an enormous gamma-ray burst and magnetic storm hit the earth on august 27 and knocked out communication satellites but it was kept a secret by nasa because it hit earth on the night side and therefore was not of solar origin and they did not know what it was. (nasa) (btw: the current theory is that it was the work of something called a 'magnetar' whose job it is to produce otherwise unexplainable gamma rays.)

solar storm
in march 1989 a solar storm knocked out electrical power in eastern canada for nine hours and caused garage doors in san francisco to open and shut at random. (knight ridder newspapers, 1989)

evil's number
a hydra-like seven-headed monster with horns rose from the sea. one of its heads had been killed with a sword but it healed. it performed scary miracles. it could shoot fire from the sky. another monster, this one goat-like also with horns, came out of the ground and was just as horrible. what they were after was people that would worship them. they would be nice to their devotees and mean to the others. to tell them apart the beast would put its name on the right hand and forehead of the devotees. the beast had a name; and the name could be converted to a number. the number is 666. (this is from revelation chapter 13. even the chapter number is scary. btw, 666 decimal is 1232 octal. in binary it is 1010011010. you can play this by clapping on ones and not clapping on zeroes. you will get a haunting beat not unlike the ancient indian tabla rhythm called jhaptal. the binary complement of the beast's number, 0101100101, is 357 decimal and 545 octal. (biblical references, the bible)

according to ray fowler alien abductions (close encounters of the fourth kind) are similar to near death experiences and to out of the body experiences. he postulates that they are the same underlying phenomenon. death is the final abduction. humans are the larval form of the aliens and death is our metamorphosis to butterfly. we are them and they are us. he bases his theory on data obtained from abductees under hypnosis. (btw: sanderson's 1969 book 'uninvited visitors' also describes this larva model.)

magnetic navigation
you know that many animals make seasonal and carnal migrations across thousands of miles to precise locations. there is evidence that they do this with magnetic navigation. these critters are magnetically aware and use geomagnetism to locate precise positions on the globe.

apparently our military is experimenting with some fanciful schemes in its new push into 'non lethal warfare'. the high frequency active auroral research program or haarp will use a 33-acre array of antennas in alaska to shoot a 3.6 megawatt focused beam of 2.8 to 10 mhz radio waves straight up into our ionosphere. weird military applications of haarp include earth penetrating tomography (to 'x-ray' the earth). the tethered satellite system may be a part of the haarp experiment with the tether as a giant resonating antenna in the sky for extremely low frequency radio waves.

there is a strange new virus (here is a mug shot) that is spreading in africa. apparently you get it from eating chimpanzees. blood comes out of your pores and you die a horrible death. the disease is highly contagious. they thought that they had it contained in zaire. but it has broken out anew in gabon (feb96).

ufo sighting?
a giant whirlwind with a bright light came from the north. it held an amber colored object. four humanoids came out of this object. each humanoid had four faces, four wings, two arms and legs, and hooves for feet. their bodies were like light. they could be instantly at any point in space without turning and without any detectable motion. they had something with them that looked like wheels. (ezekiel chapter 1) (btw: these are the good guys and they too have hooves.)

a sickening thought
you know that placebo can make sick people healthy. it also works the other way around. sickly thoughts can make healthy people sick. for example if children of patients are told that they are at risk of a congenital disease they get sick with it even in cases where the genetic connection is later found to be false. graphic depictions of the symptoms and pathology of illness by advertisers of their remedies may actually be making us sick. flip the channel to stay healthy.

doctors make you sick
25% of hypertension patients on medication don't need the medication after all because their blood pressure is just fine except when they go to the doctor. 

scientific discovery
has anyone actually seen a star where a black hole is now? before it collapsed? or is the invisible point mass of fantastic density an artifact we need to force the data to fit our model of the universe? we once thought that the heavenly bodies were carried across the sky by rotating crystal spheres. you couldn't see the spheres because they were invisible and some planets at times appeared to go backwards because they were attached to the crystal sphere with invisible swivel arms. there was no other evidence of the existence of these artifacts other than their usefulness in the crystal sphere theory of the universe. the backward motion of mars constituted "discovery" of its swivel arm and measurements of martian motion constituted "measurements" of its size and rotational speed.

man see man do
subconsciously we are constantly imitating each other. it's natures algorithm that builds homogeneous and cohesive societies and cultures.

upwards and forwards
we are a progressive society. today we expect that tomorrow will be better and it will bring us more technology and more information. yesterday's knowledge is old and stale and the older the staler. but it wasn't always this way. in medieval europe all knowledge and technology came from the ancients. civilization went backwards. knowledge contracted. scribes scoured ancient texts for knowledge. few could read these texts and fewer could understand them. "everything they knew was old". (james burke) (btw: atlantis theorists hold that civilization is a lot older than we think it is because it is not linear but cyclical and what we think of as history is only the linear portion of this cycle.)

do you think in words?
once we could think of anything but could not communicate the thought. then we invented language. now we can only think what language will let us think but we can communicate the thought. (we use music and art to overcome this limitation. also there is evidence that we use direct thought transfer with telepathy although these thoughts may or may not be constructed with language. we of course also communicate with scent and body language in ways that are sublime as they are mysterious.)

train wrecks
in train wrecks the number of passengers in damaged cars is less than average by so much and so often that it cannot be a chance occurrence. somehow we know not to get on them. (work done by william cox and reported by lyall watson)

spacey boxers
many boxers cannot recall all the rounds of a bout just completed. many a winning fighter has no memory at all that he fought the round in which he knocked out his opponent.

spacey reader
has this happened to you? you are reading a book but thinking about something else. you read page after page. you did read those pages. all those sentences. but you have no memory of what you read. how is this possible?

smelly people
you know that you have a unique fingerprint. there is no other that is exactly like yours. you also have a unique smell. in scent too, there is only one of you. (btw: wherever you go, whatever you do, you leave little traces of your unique smell and that is how dogs can track you down. some say you also leave a unique psychic imprint and that is how one is able to tell so much about you by simply holding a t-shirt you once wore or a pencil you once used.)

blind vision
some blind people can describe an object by holding their hand above it and without touching it.

chariots of the gods
an ancient map in turkey shows the earth as it would look from space; there is an ancient iron pillar in india that does not rust; there are patterns in the plains of peru that are not discernible except from an aircraft; ancient texts describe chariots with wheels of fire descending from the sky; there are pre-historic paintings of space helmets. (erich von daniken)

the value of information
laboratory mice are given a choice of path 1 or path 2. in either case the probability that food exists at the end of the path is 50% but once they commit to path 1 they get advance information about the existence of food. path 2 contains no information. all mice eventually choose path 1 although on average their chances of finding food is equal down either path.

magnetic plants
if you place a very powerful electromagnet over some germinating corn seeds they will sprout with the roots going upward and the leaves digging into the ground. (dave krider)

mcdino burgers?
anthropologists think that our predecessors, homo habilus and erectus, appeared 2.5 million years ago and we, homo sapiens, have been around only a couple of hundred thousand years give or take. but they could be way off. new evidence shows that we co-existed with dinos which disappeared 65 million years ago. we may have been around here for 150 million years and undergone many boom and bust cycles of civilization prior to this one. (btw: 1998: s. blair hedges of penn state used a genetic dating technique to determine that mammals have been around for over 100 million years, not just since the dinos.)

aquatic mammals
fish crawled out of the water, evolved into mammals, and then crawled back into the water. it took land living to develop mammals because land living is harsh. ocean living is too easy to evolve into anything more complex than fish. this is the weird malthusian irony of evolution. if you solve all your problems you reach an evolutionary dead end.

the jellyfish mystery
a population explosion of craspedacusta sowerbii, a fresh water jellyfish, can completely take over a lake in one day and just as completely disappear the next day leaving no trace. it did that on october 7 1998 in spring lake, santa rosa, CA. (the press democrat)

iguanas on vacation
in september 1995, iguanas, dinosaur like land reptiles found in south america, somehow managed to suddenly appear in the caribbean island of anguilla in large numbers. they can't swim. (ny times) (btw: the theory is that a hurricane blew down the trees they were in and the trees floated hundreds of miles in the ocean to take them to their island destination.)

what did he know and when did he know it?
was the michelson-morley experiment an independent verification of einstein's special relativity or was special relativity a theory built around the mm results? the mm result was well known in europe in 1905 when einstein published his special relativity paper. einstein claimed he did not know about mm when he wrote his paper but there is evidence he did. (btw: einstein studied physics at zurich polytechnic college or eidgenoessische technische hochschule, as they call it in switzerland. it's still there. from zurich main station take the number 6 tram. it's the same tram that einstein used to take and legend has it that it was on this tram that he spaced out and imagined himself riding on a beam of light and came up with the idea that the speed of electromagnetic waves was independent of the observer.)

trimming and cooking
these are activities of some empirical researchers in science. trimming = modifying the data to create a false sense of precision. cooking = getting rid of data that don't fit the theory to be proven. a famous example is the shift measurements taken during the 1922 eclipse to support einstein's general relativity. 

lost in ether
there is no ether and therefore no universal frame of reference, say the physicists. any frame of reference is as good as any other. therefore the earth is as good a frame of reference as any. we cannot know or even care whether the planets are going around the sun or if everything is going around the earth. (btw: the still earth model actually has an advantage over other frames of reference. it renders the michelson-morley results consistent with the existence of the ether. another btw: the initial reaction of the church to copernicus, that the moving earth was a mere computational convenience and not reality is consistent with special relativity.)

life on mars and peace on earth
pictures taken of the martian surface by the viking orbiters in 1976 show ruins of an ancient civilization in a plain called cydonia. these people just vanished or they went underground (literally) or 'we' left mars to colonize earth when it got too cold there. we know they looked like us because part of these ruins is a human face. reagan and gorbachev knew about this and it is this knowledge that brought about the end of the cold war. another secret the govt is keeping from us is that there are glass domes and grecian temples on the moon that were photographed by apollo 12 and 14 astronauts. richard says they are evidence of an ancient civilization. these structures and the ones on mars are somehow related to stonehenge and to 'hyper dimensional physics'.(richard c hoagland) (btw: exercise caution when interpreting richard for his is a commercial enterprise.)(btw2: here is a copy of richard's picture of the moon.)

hyper dimensional plants
bruce depalma planted grass on two identical platters, one fixed and one rotating at 78 rpm. the grass on the rotating platter grew taller. richard hoagland says that this experiment validates his hyper dimensional physics but he doesn't say how. when asked he talks about james clerk maxwell, edwin land, bob lazar, john wheeler, and a conspiracy by the government to bamboozle us into thinking that einstein and planck were right and richard is wrong.

mars and creation
in 1989 the russian phobos craft arrived in martian orbit and took pictures and made measurements and then mysteriously died. orthodox russian priests were invited to the phobos control center to see pictures of mars and discuss creation. (richard c hoagland)

hoaglandian physics
richard hoagland has invented a new physics which he says is derived from maxwell's equations. he calls it 'hyper dimensional physics'. maxwell was the guy that said that electricity and magnetism are two manifestations of the same underlying phenomenon. if you move a wire across a magnet you will get electricity in the wire. if you move a wire carrying an electric current you will get a magnetic field. the hoagland extension is that if a wire and a magnet are both moving in a gravitational field you will get a current without relative motion between the wire and magnet.

the religion of relativity
does anyone actually understand the theory of relativity? even einstein was not sure. for example is relativity an ether theory or a no-ether theory? einstein waffled on this. in the end he wrote "i consider it quite possible that physics cannot be based on field concepts; in which case nothing remains of relativity and gravitation and nothing remains of modern physics". (btw: descartes is turning over in his grave. his idea was to use math to model the observed universe. but now the math has taken over and we are asked to accept palpably absurd notions about the universe because they fit the math.)(btw2: also read this description of relativity weirdness by mirza abdullah baig. his books are available in online versions. 

like sheep
if scotsmen could clone would they clone sheep? they can and they have. we can now mass produce identical genetically engineered farm animals. it is the dawning of a new age. (btw suppose they made a clone of you. would it be you? would you then watch yourself grow up all over again?)(btw2: here's how to do it. 1. take the yet unspecialized cells from a 9-day old embryo and grow them in a petri dish. 2. from an unfertilized ovum remove the genetic material. 3. fuse ovum and embryo cell together with an electric current. 4. place the 'fertilized' ovum in a surrogate mother.)(a note from juan compos.)

headless clones
if you needed a spare organ you could grow a little clone of yourself and then harvest it for organs except that it would be cruel and inhumane unless, apparently, the clone had no head. the push is on therefore to produce headless clones. (university of bath)

geological holocaust
imagine this. utah and texas have seceded from the union and california, devastated by 9.0 earthquakes, has physically receded from the continent. all over the world volcanoes belch clouds of dust and sulfurous gases. there are giant storms everywhere with winds up to 250 miles per hour. this is our future as seen by gordon michael scallion. he says he is an 'intuitive'. he has visions. and lately his visions have been of 'earth changes' of holocaust proportions.(btw: ed dames used technical remote viewing to visit our future and found that an ecological holocaust is imminent. it will wipe out 80% of us.)

in the 1950s jeane dixon predicted that we would go to war with the soviets in 1958 over some islands near china, that the soviets would land the first man on the moon, and that (labor leader) walter reuther would be president in 1964. but she was revered by the nation as a prophet because she also predicted that we would assassinate jfk.

the oracle of delphi
thousands of years ago atop mt. parnassus by the sea in greece there was a giant temple of marble where they imprisoned a virginal young girl they called 'the oracle' and burned a hallucinogenic incense that made the girl insane. when asked questions she babbled incoherently and this babble was interpreted into prophecy by the priests. within a few years the girl died from the toxins and was replaced. the prophecy business brought power and fortune to the priests. (btw: their predictions were lousy but cleverly stated in riddles so that any outcome would be defensible. for example, a north african king who wanted to know whether to go to war was told that "there would be a great victory". feeling assured of victory he went to war and lost. the great victory turned to be for the other guy.)

liver damage
chinese herbal medicine (chm) normally prescribed for skin ailments is thought to cause liver damage. analysis did not reveal any known toxins. it did reveal 40 different plant species, animal parts, fungus, and inorganic material. the common herbal ingredients in all skin ailment preparations are dictamnus dasycarpus, paeonia sp, and rehmannia glutinosa. (st thomas hospital, london, uk) (btw: other oriental herbs also known to cause liver damage are kinshigan (ikeda et al) and sho-saiko-to (kubo et al)).

frank edwards
on 9/23/1880 a farmer named david lang vanished into thin air in front of several witnesses in gallatin, tn, and was never heard from again. in 'stranger than science' frank edwards supplies a large list of documented but unexplained weirdness

budget travel
robert monroe of the monroe institute of virginia often finds himself outside of his physical body. in that state robert can see his own physical body in a motionless sleep state. he is also able to travel instantly to any point in space or time but is invisible to others except as a wisp of gray smoke. he says he can teach anyone to do it using a training system consisting of numerous focus levels. a necessary first step is focus 10, a state where the body is asleep and the mind is awake and alert. this state can be induced with a sound harmonic that results when you play a 100 hz tone in one ear and a 104 hz tone in the other ear. with training and practice one can reach focus 23, the state in which the out-of-body-experience (obe) can occur. (btw: how much of our technological progress do you suppose consists of clever solutions to imagined problems?)(btw2: there are at least two web docs that describe obe techniques: one of them is referred to by its author as the visualization method and the other is allegedly a summary of the monroe technique.)

remote viewing and space exploration
according to courtney brown of the farsight institute human beings can be trained to project their awareness of things thru space and time. both the cia and the u.s. military have used this technique for spying. now courtney is using it for space exploration and for historical and geographical research. he has adapted the military's methodology to a 'scientific' method of rv research or 'srv' in which multiple individuals independently corroborate a known object (the control) as well as the unknown object. he used srv to study mars, ufo's, et's, and ancient history. (courtney brown, in his book, "cosmic voyages")

the information theory of obe
according to apollo 14 astronaut edgar mitchell all the information about the universe is everywhere in the universe. obe (out of body experiences) and rv (remote viewing) are really one and the same. in obe, astral projection or soul travel the person does not 'travel' but becomes aware of the information. descriptions of the surfaces of planets by psychics have been confirmed by pictures taken later by spacecraft. as an alternate to data communication and transportation technology we could just log on to the cosmic database. the connection happens in a flash of insight which edgar calls 'a moment of knowing'. it happened to edgar while in outer space.(btw: both the cia and the dod dabble in rv)
(jamal's corollary: edgar's information theory of rv complement's lyall's theory of information. according to lyall, our information gathering system, which is designed primarily to catch prey and avoid predators, filters out background noise and presents only unusual events to us as information. this means that if we were born with god standing in front of us saying 'hi i am god' continually this event would soon be classified as noise and discarded as a source of information. we would no longer see or hear him except possibly in an idle moment when our filtration system is out of gear. it is then that we might experience edgar's moment of knowing.)

the mongolian myth
those mongols, the "barbarous nomadic hordes" known to us for their killing and plundering ways were buddhists who practiced religious tolerance, chose their "khan" in free and fair elections, had a sophisticated social and legal system, and were also superior to the europeans of their time in terms of cleanliness and personal hygine; but they did not get to write your history book or influence hollywood.

the isaac newton myth
a quaint notion in physics is that of sir isaac newton contemplating a falling apple to come up with the theory of gravity. in fact he stole the idea from his buddy robert hooke. hooke analyzed kepler's 'equal area in equal time' hypothesis of orbital paths and realized that a force of attraction between the bodies that is inversely proportional to distance could be used to cartesianly reproduce kepler's orbits. he explained this to newton in a letter. (btw: woolsthorpe manor where newton was born and where he supposedly saw the famous apple is still there and preserved as a historical monument. take the intercity train from kings cross station to grantham.)

the marco polo myth
old marco probably only made it as far as constantinople, then (1271 ad) the western frontier of kublai khan's great empire. there he came upon arab writings about the great kingdom. marco's stories are strangely similar to these accounts. also he uses the persian rather than the chinese names for cities and makes no mention of tea drinking or foot binding. it turns out old kublai kept a guest book and marco is not on it. (frances wood) (btw: according to david selbourne of oxford, another italian named jacob visited the chinese city of zaitun in 1271 and recorded his visit in a document which he kept secret. it describes a large, wealthy, and cosmopolitan merchant city with thousands of travellers and traders from europe, asia, and africa.)

the charles dickens myth
the industrial revolution did not start child labor, it ended child labor and it did that by increasing the wealth of households and making it possible for families to survive without child labor which had always existed in pre-industrial england. (robert hessen, in capitalism, the unknown ideal) (btw: the peasant class was trapped into peasantdom because the kids had to work and could not go to school. the industrial revolution broke that cycle and created social mobility.)

the william shakespeare myth
isn't it odd that he wrote all those plays but wrote nothing else in his entire life not even a grocery list? also how come he wrote in oxford english and not in his native stratford english? and how come he ran out of plays to "write" so soon after the death of the earl of oxford? eh? charlton ogburn, 1999)

epidemiology for dummies
their parliament has identified the cause of the aids epidemic in swaziland. the problem is that there is too much sex between male teachers and schoolgirls. the teachers cant help themselves because the schoolgirls wear miniskirts. to fight the aids epidemic parliament has passed a law that prohibits schoolgirls from wearing miniskirts. (dec 2000) (link)

the "dark ages" myth
the raids on rome by the huns, the vandals, and the germanic tribes did not destroy the empire nor plunge europe into darkness. these were power struggles within the context of the empire whose light continued to shine in constantinople for centuries afterwards having yet to reach its apogee under justinian. (link)

the injun myth
if columbus had thought that america was india he would have been the first to call the natives "indians" but he was not. he called them "indigenas", spainsh for indigeneous people; and that is the more likely etymology of "injuns".

it's about money
did you follow the botched coup in fiji in 2000? if you thought that it was a struggle between races -that the fijian natives resented the political power of the indian minority, you got it all wrong. it was a struggle between individuals for a share in the millions in profits from the mahogany trade. (ny times). oct 2000

the power of visualization
weird mental tennis tricks that actually work. (i) before each point visualize how the point will be played out. (ii) also before each point imagine what the score will be after the next point. say this score to yourself. (iii) during shot preparation visualize (without looking) where your shot will land. (iv) after a good serve or stroke do a pantomime imitation of yourself. (also works for golf)

the side blotched lizard
the sexuality of these lizards goes like this. there are three kinds of males. in descending order of aggressiveness and ascending order of intelligence they are orange males, blue males, and yellow males. oranges keep large harems. blues keep small harems. and yellows impersonate females to sneak into the harems for a quickie. the dumb oranges fall for this trick but the blues don't. so the population cycle goes like this. oranges predominate and have most of the females. yellows impregnate the orange harems. orange population declines and blues predominate and build harems that are protected from yellows. oranges muscle in and take over females from blues. orange predominates. and so on.(curt lively, indiana university, bloomington

the common western fence lizard
if a sick tick bites you it passes the bacterium borreila burgdorferi to you and you too get sick with lyme disease; but if a sick tick bites a common western fence lizard, the tick is cured of the disease. where there are a lot of fence lizards there aren't a lot of sick ticks. something in lizard blood cures lyme disease but we don't know what. bob is working on it. (robert lane, uc berkeley)

mad cow disease
bovine spongiform encephalopathy (bse) turns a cow's brain to sponge. the cow becomes disoriented, foams at the mouth, and dies within days. it is feared that the virus has jumped species and has developed a taste for human brains. the disease is currently contained in the british isles. (btw: sheep get a similar disease known in scotland as 'scrapies'. it is possible that cows got the virus from the sheep. (more on bse) there have been 12 confirmed cases of cjd in britain (20jan97).there could be a human epidemic. millions were exposed in the 80's when cattle with bse were slaughtered and made into cheap processed food. cjd has a possible 20 year incubation period. a time bomb is ticking. cjd has existed in humans for centuries but the 12 cases mentioned above show new characteristics which have much in common with bse and the number of cases is in excess of what one would expect. the human symptoms are memory loss, a loss of personality, loss of co-ordination and muscle control, hallucinations, and certain death. anybody who ate infected meat is at risk.(jimmy topham).

dog eat dog
in "advanced" economies these days dead and destroyed animals including roadkill get processed into feed for other animals. a stray dog "put to sleep" by the animal shelter may end up as pelletized dog food. we have turned our animals, including naturally herbivorous farm animals, into cannibals. it is one of the ways that scrapies spread from sheep to cows (as bse) and to humans (as cjd).

scared shitless
if you bring laboratory mice out of the lab into an unfamiliar surrounding some of them will scurry around to investigate. others will freeze and 'defecate copiously'. it's genetic. three segments of the dna are responsible. (jonathan flint, john radcliffe hospital, oxford

celestial pollution
much of the outer solar system is not empty but smoky. in some parts of its journey galileo encountered 20,000 smoke particles per day. the smoke might be from volcanic eruptions in jupiter's moons but we aren't really sure. (eberhard grun, max planck institute of physics

the world according to lyall
life is an open thermodynamic system. it works by constant communication of materials and information with other living things. every critter is part of an intricate web and this web is a self-maintaining system that is inseparable from cosmic forces and rhythms. (lyall watson in supernature)

nde (near death experience)
dannion brinkley of south carolina was struck by lightning so hard that his shoes became welded to the floor. he was dead for 28 minutes and then was alive again. while dead he saw light creatures and crystal cities. he also saw his whole life pass before him in a replay of every detail. he says we are really light beings and that we are more real there than here. death is a return to our original form. his nde left him with spiritual powers. he wrote a book about it. (another nde account)

specie jumping
microbes that normally infect certain species will sometimes mutate and migrate to other species as a means of survival. what's really scary is that we don't understand how they do it. ebola migrated from monkeys to humans. encephalitis and lyme disease have also successfully migrated from wild animals and established themselves in human hosts. recently a rat virus began to infect humans in arizona and southern california. and of course bse has made the leap from cattle to humans. something to think about before engineering microbes for pest control. designing bugs is different from designing cars. cars don't mutate.

american pigs
the epidemic that killed the most humans was not the bubonic plague nor cholera but a flu that broke out in 1918 and killed 20 million of us. the virus originated in american swine but the pigs fought back so viciously that the creature was forced to mutate and jump species in order to survive. (jeffery taubenberger, armed forces institute of pathology.)

the economics of dying
are cigarette smokers a net cost to society? maybe. when they get sick they are unproductive and they consume medical costs. but they do us all a favor by dying early and not collecting as much of their social security benefits as they would otherwise.

how to bribe god
burn dollar bills in a furnace with a tall chimney. the smoke will rise all the way to heaven and god does not mind receiving these funds in smoke form. this ritual is widely practiced in various parts of asia except that they don't use real money. (domingo tavella)

beyond weird and into absurd
according to judi pope zion the french nuclear tests have opened up a crack in the bottom of the pacific ocean and the ocean is leaking into the belly of the planet. she also claims that the scallion-type earth changes will selectively drown the most polluted parts of the earth so that the ocean can heal them. she regularly communicates with pleaidians and andromedans and knows that a staged ufo landing will be made on or before november 30 1996 by aliens who want to enslave us. and if that does not happen then we will be enslaved by the debit card and the 'one world government'. (i suppose the wbt part of this item is judi herself.)

college graduates
many of our college graduates are unable to perform simple arithmetic or to write or think coherently. some survey results: 50% could not interpret a bus schedule. 44% could not identify the contrast between two opposing views in a newspaper article. 87% could not compute the cost of carpeting a room even with a calculator. 84% could not name the u.s. president at the start of the korean war. 92% could not identify the source of the quote 'government of the people by the people and for the people'. (jeffrey wallin)

mathematically challenged
we are a nation of mathematical morons. our kids come in dead last in international competitions. an obscure investment club earned 9% returns on their portfolio but because of a computational error thought they earned 24% so they wrote a book on portfolio selection. and a citizens' anti-tax group mis-computed the so called "tax freedom day" which it promotes. the date falls in march not may.

biased sampling
if you feel that flies prefer white surfaces and mosquitoes like to buzz your ear it is because it is more difficult for you to observe the other flies and mosquitoes. we are not random samplers. our perception of the universe is biased.

the logarithm of time
our perception of time is not linear but logarithmic. recent time intervals are exaggerated while distant intervals are compressed. no matter how long we have lived, we live mostly in the present.

free will
if we have free will why do we so freely make predictable choices? eugene stanley of boston university thinks that human behavior in stock markets can be modeled with scaling theory. he claims that short term price volatility in stock markets is an unbiased predictor of long term volatility.

psychic dogs
your dog knows you are coming home before you get there. it's not just a time of day thing. test dogs anticipated their owner's arrival even when the arrival times were randomized. but even if it were a time thing, how does a dog tell time?

a time to die
statistics show that the distribution of deaths over the seasons is not uniform. europeans tend to wait for winter to make their exit to club mud and in india calls from the horizontal phone booth are more likely in summer.

the power of love
is there a co-worker, neighbor, relative, or customer that is a mean inconsiderate moron or asshole that you hate? love this person. love all such persons and wish them well until you are rid of all hatred, acrimony, and envy. you will experience a spiritual transformation that will have a profound and positive impact on every facet of your life. we don't understand the mechanism of this process but there is considerable evidence of a causal connection between love and spirituality. (judith allyn miller, berkeley, california)

psychic valentina
in july 1996 i visited russia where i met a woman named valentina. we became friends and spent many many hours together talking constantly; we effortlessly communicated many thoughts and complex ideas. yet neither speaks or understands the other's language. when she speaks i don't understand the words but if i stop trying to understand the words i understand her.

rube goldberg pen
in the late '60s we spent over a million dollars developing a zero gravity pen that works in space. the russians use pencils.

the pits
in downtown butte montana is an abandoned mine called the berkeley pit that once supplied copper to wire up the country for telephones and electricity. today it is a 28 billion gallon cesspit so poisonous that birds that accidentally land there die within minutes. it can only be viewed at a distance wearing protective gear.

weird economics
in 1965 you could fly from san francisco to india round trip for $1250. you still can in 1997. but since then the price of cars has increased and that of computers has decreased by an order of magnitude. it is possible to compute just about any value for inflation by changing the mix of goods to price.

chicken little economics
it got started around 1975 and it continues unabated in 1997. economists are lining up to publish their particular version of the coming decline of america. the decline is supposed to be caused by one or more of these: the japanese, the european union, asia, china, the end of the cold war, nafta, giant sucking sounds, depletion of natural resources, environmental disasters, budget deficits, trade deficits, or just plain dry rot within. meanwhile back at the ranch america is quietly marching ahead and extending its considerable economic, technological, and military lead over all of the above.

the human race is in a pathetic condition. it all started with the industrial revolution. technology is to blame. what makes us tick is the existence of attainable goals that require effort. technology has taken that away; and we have sunk into an emotional abyss. leftism and political correctness are symptomatic of our condition. (unabomber) (btw: if you see a moth struggling to get out of the cocoon thru a tiny hole don't help it; without the struggle it would be a fat, helpless, and flightless creature. (alisha lehman, 1999))

too black to sing
legendary operatic star marian anderson was barred from performing at constitution hall by the dar (daughters of the american revolution) because she was black. (btw: this is why eleanor roosevelt resigned from the dar.)

close encounter
in 1989 a rock half a mile in diameter intersected the earth's orbit but missed us by 6 hours. we did not know about it until it had passed. it's hard to see rocks in space because they are non radiative. if it had slammed into us the total energy release would have exceeded that of all the nuclear weapons on earth.

fart fatale
michael franklin farted up a cloud of methane while he slept. the gas killed michael and sickened rescuers. and in moscow, russia, a drunken security guard asked his buddy to stab him with a knife just to see if his bullet-proof vest would protect him. it didn't. more weird deaths

the big bang theory of god
at first there was only god and nothing else so she was lonely. in her torment she blew herself up into bits. we are those bids. (courtney brown)

old hippies don't die
our health, sexuality, and longevity may get a big boost if dhea does to humans what it has done to laboratory mice. (btw: james michael howard compared dhea in humans and chimps and came up with a theory that dhea is actually responsible for human evolution.)

the devil and mrs chung
mrs chung of los angeles was possessed by a demon so that she would "at times refuse to obey her husband"; so exorcists drove the demon out by beating upon her body. she died in the process. (l.a. times, april 7, 1997)

rube goldberg cutting boards
trees manufacture chemicals to fight bacteria. so wood kills bacteria. use wooden cutting boards instead of plastic impgregnated with antibacterial chemicals. (bill wattenburg, kgo radio)

he is now popular with the refined and cultured but in his time his was theater for the masses.

a vest made of fabric woven from spun spider webs is bullet proof. (paul harvey, abc radio)

murder capital of the world
the distinction belongs to colombia where the murder rate is an order of magnitude higher than that in the united states. less than 2% of the murders there are ever investigated and a miniscule portion of those result in convictions. (pacifica radio, berkeley)

bureaucratic boondoggle
in the 1970s nasa made two funding requests to nixon, a space station and a new winged spacecraft to 'shuttle' crew and material for building the space station. nixon refused to fund both and funded only the shuttle portion. so nasa built it anyway to continue their existence although, without a space station to construct, they had no idea what to do with it. if some of the missions seemed contrived, this is why. remember the tadpoles in space? (timothy ferris) (btw: according to tim, nasa's space program is based on a blueprint sketched out in 1952 by german rocket scientist wernher von braun, who incidentally also designed the shuttle way back when.) (btw2: what's really scary about nasa is that they are spending our money on projects whose only apparent purpose is to titillate us into giving them more money...)

die laughing
it is not just an expression. laughing is a form of pulmonary failure and if it persists it can kill by asphyxiation. (why do we do it?)

price distortions
in bangladesh today (1997) for $5 you can have a beer or travel by train clear across the country in first class.

living on thin ice
put a t-shirt on your basketball. if the basketball were the earth the shirt would be the atmosphere that sustains life on earth and protects us all from instant annihilation.

logic 101
(1) the problem is that hundreds of forest fires have engulfed se asia in smoke. the solution is to prevent scientists from studying the health effects of the smoke and the media from reporting about the smoke so as to preserve the area's image. (mahatir mohamed, 1997), (2) the u.s.a will join the u.s.s.r in the ash heap of history because we are too powerful to have a credible enemy. (professor samuel huntington, harvard university), (3) china is more democratic than the united states because more people vote in china than do in the united states. (dianne feinstein), (4) tiananmen square is morally indistinguishable from kent state (dianne feinstein), (5) tiananmen square is morally indistinguishable from the rodney king incident (phillip condit, boeing corp), (6) slavery is better than working for wages because slaves are better off than many wage earners. (anonymous, circa 1850)
(from the weekly standard)

let them eat cake
if the stock of the company you founded goes thru the roof you can have your cake and eat it too by depositing your shares with a broker as collateral and then shorting the stock. you can enjoy your money, pay no capital gains tax, and retain voting control of the firm. this contract is called "short-against-the-box". 

if you feel aggressive do this. sit comfortably with your back straight and look straight ahead. now place your hands on your lap with the palm up and slightly cupped; and then, without moving your head, drop your line of vision about 15 degrees from the horizontal and breathe deeply. you will feel peaceful and your aggressiveness will vanish. try this at meetings for consensus building. (discovered by gautama buddha)

what we do with our body changes what we can do with the brain. gesturing is a way we cause just the right neural linkages to occur so we can remember something that we otherwise can't. (robert krauss, columbia university, 1998)

monkey art
we know that monkeys can draw (and they like to draw) but we thought that their art was gibberish until we taught them american sign language. now they can tell us what they draw; and there is a consistent relationship between the patterns and the objects they supposedly represent.

pole reversals
undersea rocks solidify so quickly that they retain their magnetism and record earth's magnetic history. the record shows 14 magnetic pole reversals in the last 5 million years. but nobody knows why the magnetic poles flip around like that; or what makes the earth a magnet in the first place. (btw: gregg braden thinks that the pole reversals imply that the magnet weakens and goes through a "zero point" in between reversals and that we are approaching such a condition now (1997). if true it could explain why so many migratory birds, with navigational magnets in their heads, have been getting lost lately.)

do you know the way to san jose?
a bunch of migrating siberian dusky warblers (birds) were headed for india in the fall of 1997 but lost their way and ended up near san jose, california. (santa rosa press democrat on oct 18, 1997.)

does this sentence mean anything to you? "on the other hand, the incorporation of additional mission constraints must utilize and be interwoven with the philosophy of commonality and standardization." thousands of sentences like this are easily generated by random arrangements of these sentence fragments.

it backfired
what the tobacco plant had in mind when it decided to impregnate its leaves with the toxin nicotine was to keep us from eating them. (jack henningfield, john hopkins university, department of psychopharmacology) (btw: according to jack, low nicotine cigarettes are bad for smokers. a high nicotine cigarette delivers the dosage demanded with fewer of the other harmful components of cigarette smoke.)

the time travel paradox
if you could travel backwards in time and shoot your dad while he played in his sandbox you would split time into two and create a new parallel universe. you exist in one of them but not in the other. (michio kaku)

smell kills
15th century slave ships that brought our black ancestors here from africa were so overcrowded and filthy that many of the captives died simply from the smell. (hugh thomas)

tastes like chocolate and cures cancer
the benefits of chocolate include the following: antioxidants combat cell damage, endorphins make you feel good, helps with lactose intolerance, helps reduce alcohol intake, chromium controls blood sugar, and it actually fights tooth decay. (usa weekend, 1998)

according to mike weiford a duck's quack does not have an echo but nick simicich says that's an urban legend and it has been debunked by cecil adams. (1998)

a gust of wind
on dec 6 1998 lisa reider of penngrove, california heard what sounded like a howling gust of wind and found that her 12x18 barn had been thrown forty feet but the woodpile, goats, and goat food dish next to it were untouched. (jody kleinberg, the press democrat)

the absent minded waiter goes to med school
rolando sanchez amputated the wrong leg of his patient in 1995. he was suspended and, when re-instated in 1997, he implanted a catheter in the wrong patient. he was suspended again. at last report he was reinstated again in 1999 and is on duty ready to provide medical services to patients at vencor hospital central tampa. (ap, feb, 1999)

clueless in yangon
myanmar's 4-point economic development program includes the following: point number 2: become a developed country through liberalization, reform, privatization, and a move to a market economy. point number 4: the people through its legitimate government should maintain ownership and control of its economic resources. (government of myanmar, 1997)

it is really annoying that white people think of themselves as better than the other races but what's really really annoying is that that if you count their achievements in the last 300 years - from the printing press to celestial navigation to the modern world in which we live, they have no equal. 



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Pablo de Córdoba said...

Back in 1998 I printed the "Weird but True" text and read it all along on vacations. I still have it, I'm glad it still exists on the web

Regards and greetings from Argentina

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