Friday, November 05, 2010

Fortean / Oddball News: Rendlesham UFO Tapes, Vatican Warning and 'Living Skin' Printer

Rendlesham UFO Tapes Released

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thesun - Tape recordings of US military men investigating a UFO in British woodland 30 years ago have finally been released.

The airmen tramped through Rendlesham Forest in search of the source of mysterious night-time lights that looked like an alien spacecraft.

It became one of the world's most famous UFO sightings - and has never been explained.

The tape begins with an American noting that local farm animals were behaving strangely.

He says: "They're very, very active, making a lot of noise.

"Straight ahead. There it is again. Straight ahead. What is it? A strange, small red light.

"It looks maybe half a mile further ahead. There is no doubt about it, it is a strange flashing red light ahead."

He continues: "I saw a yellow tinge in it too. Weird. It's coming this way. It's definitely coming this way.

"There is no doubt about it - this is weird."

The servicemen were led by Colonel Charles Halt, of the local US Air Force Bentwaters base.

He reported the December 1980 incident to the Ministry of Defence.

Damage to trees was later found 18ft high.

Theories range from an accident cover-up to lighthouse beams.

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'Skin Printer' Could Help Heal Battlefield Wounds

technologyreview - In a recent presentation at the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress, researchers from the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine showed off the results of a unique experiment involving a printer that uses living cells as its "ink."

The system, which lays down cells with the same fluid-based inkjet technology used in many printers, could print large swathes of living tissue directly onto the injuries of soldiers wounded on the battlefield. Covering burns and related wounds is of critical importance because, the scientists note, "any loss of full-thickness skin of more than 4 cm in diameter will not heal by itself."

Tests on mice revealed advanced healing by both the second and third week of recovery, with complete closure and formation of scar tissue by week three in treated (but not untreated) subjects. The printer has two heads, one of which ejects skin cells mixed with fibrinogen (a blood coagulant) and type I collagen (the main component of the connective tissue in scars). The other head ejects thrombin (another coagulant).

Like the components of quick-setting resins which must be kept separate until mixing causes a chemical reaction that hardens the resin, the products of the two print heads mix to immediately form fibrin, yet a third protein involved in the clotting of blood. The whole confection is topped by a layer of keratinocytes (i.e. skin cells), which are also printed.

Future iterations of the research will be conducted on pigs (which have skin that more closely resembles that of humans), and it's not clear when, if ever, such a device might appear in a field hospital in Afghanistan, not to mention your local burn center.

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Scientist with rare condition collapses 100 times a day every time she gets giggles

dailymail - A scientist has revealed she suffers from a rare neurological condition which causes her to collapse up to 100 times a day simply by laughing.

Claire Allen, 35, suffers from bouts of 'cataplexy' triggered by feelings such as fear, surprise or happiness.

The attacks, a rare symptom of the sleeping disorder narcolepsy, cause her to lose control of her body and collapse - although she remains conscious throughout.

Claire Allen, 35, from Cambridge, collapses every time she feels a strong emotion. Each episode can last anywhere between 30 seconds to five minutes.

Each collapse lasts between 30 seconds to five minutes and at its worst Claire endured up to 100 attacks each day.

A 'surprise' as simple as a chair in a room having moved to a different place or giggling at a shared joke could spark an attack and leave her helpless on the floor.

But Claire has found a new lease of life after taking a new drug developed for narcoleptics called Xyrem. She now suffers a few attacks each month rather than several a day.

Claire, from Cambridge, described how she first loses her speech and vision before her body buckles - but she remains completely 'awake'.

She said: 'Laughter is definitely the strongest trigger.

'The very first symptoms were my head nodding like a child trying to stay awake and after six months I was having full collapses where my body would go from under me.

'A few years ago I stopped all my medications for a trial and I discovered the true extent of my symptoms - around 100 collapses a day.

'I find that they happen more often during social contact with other people, perhaps because I'm more self-conscious.

'There is no pain at all, but my speech will go first so I can't communicate what is happening, followed by my vision and then my body crumples beneath me.

'It doesn't feel any different to being awake, except that I can't see or move at all as I'm in a total state of paralysis.

'It's very odd for people around me to see me go down and then come round in a few minutes and be absolutely fine.'

Narcolepsy causes severe disruption to sleep patterns and Claire, who works as a research scientist with the British Antarctic Survey, wakes up around 20 to 30 times each night.

But the new drug Xyrem puts Claire into a deep sleep for three-and-a-half hours so she must take a second dose in the middle of the the night to get a full seven hours sleep.

She said: 'For the last five years I hadn't slept for more than an hour at a time so the first time I slept for more than three hours it was incredible.

'All of the things that your body normally does at night - like repairing your skin and your nails and hair growing - just weren't happening for me.

'Now I am much better at managing my lifestyle and getting plenty of rest to cut down on the cataplexic attacks.'

Researchers have found that narcolepsy may be caused by an irregularity to the brain cells which control the sleep hormone hypocretin.

An estimated 25,000 people in the UK suffer from narcolepsy but many remain undiagnosed due to the varying nature of the symptoms.

Dr John Shneerson, an expert at Papworth Hospital's Sleep Centre in Cambridge, said that narcoleptics can wait for more than a decade for diagnosis.

He said: 'Quality of life can be badly hit if untreated. Their studies suffer. They avoid driving. They are afraid to look after young children on their own and take baths.

'They don't get into relationships, get promoted or do physical exercise.

'A great many lives would be improved if narcolepsy were better recognised. People are surprised by how well it's possible to manage.'

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Vatican warns of 'wayward' Opus Angelorum sect

BBC - The Vatican has warned Catholic bishops around the world to monitor carefully a secretive traditionalist sect which prays to angels to combat demons.

Opus Angelorum, which means "the work of angels" in Latin, was founded by an Austrian housewife who died in 1978.

She claimed to have identified the angels and demons who were battling for the control of human beings.

The Church said some members of the sect were carrying out "activities that disturb the ecclesiastical community".

'Possessed'

The BBC's David Willey in Rome says Opus Angelorum first attracted the attention of the Vatican 30 years ago, after the death of its founder, a woman from the Austrian Tyrol called Gabriele Bitterlich.

Bitterlich claimed to have been in contact with an archangel and to have written down the names of hundreds of angels and demons, our correspondent says.

The sect - which operates mainly in German-speaking Europe, Brazil and India - claims that women who have had abortions are possessed by the devil.

The activities of Bitterlich's followers, including dozens of Catholic priests and nuns, eventually attracted the attention of the Vatican which ordered an investigation, our correspondent adds.

According to a letter sent by the head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in 1992 members of Opus Angelorum agreed to follow the doctrine of the Church in return for official recognition.

"In particular, [its] members were not to make use of the 'names' of angels derived from the alleged private revelations attributed to Mrs Gabriele Bitterlich and they were not to teach, spread or make use of the theories originating from these alleged revelations," Cardinal William Levada said.

"Furthermore, they were reminded of the duty to follow strictly all liturgical laws, in particular those relating to the Holy Eucharist."

However, several members of the sect, including some priests, "have not accepted the norms given by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and seek to restore what, according to them, would be the 'authentic Opus Angelorum'", the letter warned.

"The Congregation has learned that very discreet propaganda in favour of this wayward movement, which is outside of any ecclesiastical control, is taking place, aimed at presenting it as if it were in full communion with the Catholic Church."

NOTE: sounds like a Dan Brown literary 'wet dream'...Lon

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