Hi, everybody...I truly appreciate the 'get well' messages you forwarded. After a full 36 hours of rest I am feeling better, though my voice is still weak. BTW, I will not be presenting my radio segment on Sunday night. I may be well enough to post tomorrow...we'll see. Thanks again for your concern...Lon
stv - Staff at the New Lanark Mill Hotel are convinced the image of a ghost has been caught on CCTV.
A number of sightings have been reported over the years at the New Lanark World Heritage site in the Clyde Valley, but there has so far been no evidence to back up witnesses' claims.
But CCTV footage of the hotel’s rear car park captures an image that staff are convinced is in fact a ghost.
General Manager John Stirrat said: "We were routinely reviewing CCTV footage taken in the early hours of May 12 in our rear car park, an area that was formerly stables. Between 0130 and 0300 in the morning, we were startled to see, quite clearly, a mysterious ghostly shape in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen which came and went.
"At one point it disappears through a door, without opening it, and reappears. No staff, guests or members of the public were outside at the time, so it is definitely not human nor a trick of the light.”
The camera is looking downwards from the top right corner of the hotel and shows a small bright figure, about four feet high, possibly a child. Dressed in luminous white, it is seen bending and nodding before becoming motionless for a while. It then becomes more agitated and appears to change position by jumping onto a higher level. During the footage a number of bright surreal flashes can be seen.
Mr Stirrat added: "It is the strangest, eeriest thing I have ever seen,"
"It makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up.
"We were very fortunate to capture it on screen and it has caused considerable debate here in the village. Originally I was sceptical about ghosts but now, after reviewing the footage again and again, I’m not so sure."
New Lanark is a restored cotton mill village on the River Clyde. It was founded in 1785 and is now a World Heritage site. Once Britain’s largest cotton manufacturing centre, the village rose to fame as a model community under social reformer and philanthropist Robert Owen.
The mill operated until the late 1960s and was restored in subsequent years and is now a major tourist attraction and is one of only five UNESCO World Heritage sites in Scotland. As well as a visitor centre and hotel, the village is home to around 200 people.
NOTE: well, I just don't see a ghost. Maybe some moisture on the lens being moved by the wind...but not a spiritual apparition. Take a look and tell me what you think...Lon
theinquirer - Lib-Dem Leader Nick Clegg has performed an about face on the Government's power to stop the US from extraditing accused UK hacker Gary McKinnon.
The Deputy Prime Minister has thrown the prospect of a Home Office tribunal for McKinnon into doubt after suggesting that neither he nor anyone else in the coalition can save the UFO hunter from a US show trial.
While out of the government Clegg was a long time supporter of McKinnon, believing extradition would be a contravention of human rights. He sharply criticised Alan Johnson, the previous Home Secretary, for claiming he was powerless to intervene.
"It's simply not good enough for Alan Johnson to shrug his shoulders and claim that nothing can be done," Clegg wrote in the Daily Mail back in 2009.
"It's completely within his power to enact amendments from the Police and Justice Act, which would allow Gary McKinnon to be tried over here," Clegg protested at the time.
Then, on a BBC radio interview yesterday, Clegg completely reversed his position. The powers he had claimed were possessed by Johnson apparently had somehow vanished once Clegg himself joined the Government.
"What I haven't got power to do, neither has the Home Secretary neither has even the Prime Minister, is to completely reverse and undo certain legal aspects of this," he whinnied.
Clegg continued, "That of course you wouldn't want politicians to do. That's what we are looking at at the moment. It's legally very complex. But on the sort of morality and principle of it, I haven't changed my view one bit."
What's going on? The new coalition government is already rolling over under US pressure to take McKinnon away for trial and likely a very long prison term overseas. Clegg's protestations that his moral view hasn't changed apparently will be worth nothing for McKinnon.
The US wants to get its claws on McKinnnon after it claimed he caused $800,000 in damages during his searches for UFO coverups on US military and NASA networks. The US is still reeling from "the biggest military hack of all time" after being badly embarrassed by the autistic McKinnon.
A self-confessed bumbling computer nerd who suffers from Asperger syndrome wrote a simple Perl script that tied together other people's programs and searched for blank passwords, circumventing what should have been some of the world's most secure computer systems. Now the US government wants to make a severe example of him out of a desire for revenge. And the lame UK Government won't prevent it.
NOTE: I'm still under the impression that McKinnon knew what he was doing and probably accessed information that is more sensitive then we're being lead to believe. It also seems to me that the new coalition government in Great Britain doesn't want to 'mix it up' with the U.S. when it comes to intelligence...Lon
puggal - Foxconn opened the gates of their plant following by media pressure on Wednesday. Foxconn Technology Group’s Chairman Terry Gou led the media tour at the Foxconn complex in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen. But it was not an informative group or Foxconn had invited reporters for briefing them about their upcoming product. The main news is Foxconn has lost as many as 10 workers this year, and making the situation even worse. All of these deaths came through suicides. Recently, on Tuesday another employee Li Hai, 19, committed suicide and finished his life by his own hands. Li jumped from the building of his own company. The queer thing about this case is that he had just 42 days of working with this organization.
The media is paying a lot of attention in this case and they are asking questions about the company employees that why are all of these people killing themselves. The purpose of inviting media in the company was they wanted to make sure that there were no paranormal activities going in the company and committing suicides was the personal decision of the employees. Foxconn Technology has business relations with giants like Apple, Dell and Nokia phones.
More than 300,000 people work at Shenzhen plant and reportedly it was the 9th death in the list of suicides by comply employees. Two other workers also tried to kill them by jumping from the building but they survived. Only one suicide that occurred outside Shenzhen plant was in northern Hebei province in the month of January this year.
The chairman says media interest can make situation even worse because unintentionally they are provoking other employees for more suicides. _____________________ Foxconn Suicide Report: Deaths Prompt Independent Investigations By Apple And HP
devicemag - After a growing number of suicidal deaths of Foxconn employees, the tech manufacturer has caught the attention of two of its biggest clients: Apple and Hewelett Packard. Nine suicides have occurred at Foxconn, so Apple and HP have decided to take action.
Foxconn is one of the largest manufacturers of high technology in the world- producing gadgets like the iPhone, among countless others. So it’s no surprise that the recent slew of suicides has caught the attention of both Foxconn’s clients and the mass media.
Foxconn is considered by many to be a borderline sweatshop- working conditions are harsh, but always voluntary. Most employees sign waivers so the company can schedule them for more overtime than would otherwise be legal. In addition, wages are low, and working conditions are cramped, so it comes as no surprise that the suicides have become contagious.
Apple is taking the lead in looking into the recent deaths:
“We’re in direct contact with Foxconn senior management and we believe they are taking this matter very seriously,” he said in an official statement. “A team from Apple is independently evaluating the steps they are taking to address these tragic events and we will continue our ongoing inspections of the facilities where our products are made.”
While there are numerous cases of worker mistreatment, and suicides related to terrible work conditions in China, this one is certainly the farthest reaching- Foxconn is responsible for the majority of Apple and HP products- among a number of other companies, so any significant changes to their business will almost certainly have a significant impact on the world economy, and the tech industry.
Ardi got his first taste for tobacco when his father Mohammed, a 30-year-old fishmonger, gave him a cigarette when he was a year and a half old - and now he throws tantrums if he can't doesn't get his 40 cigarettes a day.
Ardi, from Musi Banyuasin in Sumatra, Indonesia, will smoke only one brand and his habit costs his parents £3.78 a day - in a province where the minimum wage is around £69 a month.
The two-year-old now weighs 4 stone, and trundles round on a toy truck blowing smoke rings as he is too unfit to run with the other children.
His 26-year-old mother Diana, who has been trying to get him to quit but with little success, said: 'He's totally addicted. If he doesn't get cigarettes, he gets angry and screams and batters his head against the wall. He tells me he feels dizzy and sick.'
Officials have offered to buy the family a car if he quits, but his father said: 'He looks pretty healthy to me. I don't see the problem.' NOTE: Words cannot express my feeling on this one. I don't know what brand he smokes but that company should quickly attempt to get a handle on this...but, then again, it's Indonesia. This kid may very well be a marketer's wet dream over there...Lon
THESSALONIKI, Greece — Greek officials say a horde of frogs has forced the closure of a key northern highway for two hours.
Thessaloniki traffic police chief Giorgos Thanoglou says "millions" of the amphibians covered the tarmac Wednesday near the town of Langadas, some 12 miles east of Thessaloniki.
"There was a carpet of frogs," he said.
Authorities closed the highway after three car drivers skidded off the road trying to dodge the frogs. No human injuries were reported.
Thanoglou said the amphibians probably left a nearby lake to look for food.
NOTE: Remember the frog migration previous to the major earthquake in Sichuan Province, China? Lon _____________________
Frog Migration: Omen to China Earthquake Disaster
On May 5, 2008, many Chinese locals noticed thousands of frogs on the move. They were seen traveling without fear of traffic as they crossed streets in mass floods.
Many Chinese sensed the migration as a bad omen of a coming natural disaster, but the Chinese government told them that it was just a natural migration for the purpose of propagation. This calmed the people and no one took the omen very seriously.
On Monday, 12th of May, at about 2:45pm, central China region recorded a 7.8-magnitude quake which occured near Wenchuan County, Sichuan province, that killed nearly 10,000 people.
Many civilian houses and roads were collapsed and damaged. In one Dujiangyan city middle school, 900 students and teachers were buried in the collapsed building, at least 50 were killed.
The quake was the largest the region has seen for over a generation. It was so strong, even countries like Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong felt the shake.
Many people are now calling the Chinese Earthquake Test Centers “useless”, as they were unable to even detect the earthquake before it happened. When they finally announced the earthquake had occurred, it was 12 minutes after the disaster, and 2 minutes after the US had announced a large earthquake in China.
As for the frogs and their omen, Chinese scientists stated animals have much better sense than human on detecting the natural disasters like this.
I received the following email from Heather this morning:
It's getting close to summer and we (living at our 1902 farmhouse) are expecting the brothers to start arguing again.
We moved into the house in July, 2007, but before we did, our new neighbors told us the place was haunted. The sellers did not disclose this information to us. I don't know if the "heavy" atmosphere in the house can be attributed to the warning or if it felt "funny" because of the big old empty spaces, but I went upstairs one day and said, in one of the bedrooms to no one in particular: "If there's anyone here, you are welcome to stay. Just no parlor tricks. You know, things levitating or apparitions popping up in the dead of night or behind you when you're looking at a mirror."
At first we heard voices, as if there was a family gathering. Then, the porch light going off, then coming back on. Then my husband reported a bag of homemade cookies fell off a shelf and into his lap, which would have taken some force since he was sitting a few feet away. A library book flying off the center island, which might have been knocked off from vibrations of us walking around it, though we haven't been able to reproduce it. There's been humming and more talking. And one night, while we were both trying to sleep, I was just about to say something about a woman talking when my husband asked, "Do you hear that? Sounds like a--"...."Female", I answered.
The next year my husband mentioned hearing two male voices outside, discussing business in an intense way. Our neighbors aren't close and they're not night owls, and my husband heard them mention doing something "after death." My daughter reported the same conversation.
It was last year when I heard the voices, apparently right outside the family room, where we keep our computer. I wasn't frightened, but was skeptical. A few nights later, I returned home after work. I work late into the evenings, so I returned about 2 am I heard two male voices yelling at each other. I couldn't make out what they were saying, and the first thing I thought was some kids were arguing. Outside. At 2 am in the morning. And none of my neighbors were disturbed by the sound of it as no lights popped on or police cars entered my drive.
With a cold chill I realized that these arguing men could be the same heard by my husband and daughter. I did not hesitate in getting into the house.
There could be a reasonable explanation. A sound arc. Two people arguing in the middle of the night, outside on a warm evening.
However, earlier this year, my husband went into the hardware store to get something to fix an old doorknob. In conversation with an elderly shopper, my husband mentioned the difficulty in finding the right items to fix something in an old house.
The man asked him some particulars, where he lived, how old the place is, etc. My husband told him....the man's reply gave me chills.
"I know the place," my husband reported to me. "Are those brothers still arguing?"
Thomas White is the University Archivist and Curator of Special Collections in the Gumberg Library at Duquesne University. He is also an Adjunct Lecturer in Duquesne’s History Department and an Adjunct Professor of History at La Roche College. White received his Master’s Degree in Public History from Duquesne University. His areas of interest include folklore, Pennsylvania history, public history and American cultural history. He is the author of Legends and Lore of Western Pennsylvania, Forgotten Tales of Pennsylvania, and the soon to be released Ghosts of Southwestern Pennsylvania, all published by the History Press.
* * * * * *
Weekly Segment Hosts: Lon Strickler - Strickly Paranormal: For Those Seeking the Truth&James Baker - "The Bake Shop"
fb.com - Hunting for the elusive Sasquatch is difficult enough, but rain makes it even harder.
Billy Willard, 41, the director of the Manassas-based Sasquatch Watch of Virginia, said the din of rain makes it impossible to hear anything else.
And the rain keeps animals--even Bigfoots--under shelter.
On Saturday, Willard and four other Sasquatch researchers were on 96 acres in the Lake Anna area, connected to 3,000 acres of mostly forests. Willard said there have been a lot of sightings in this region, especially in Culpeper County.
Ever since Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin released the famous film of a Sasquatch in Bluff Creek, Calif., on Oct. 20, 1962, people have argued its validity and that of thousands of other sightings across the country.
In Spotsylvania County, a man, a woman and a teenager reported spotting what appeared to be a Sasquatch in May 2009. They were about 300 yards away before it ran--fast.
"When I say running, well, all I can explain is it looked like it was on ice skates," said the woman. She asked that her name and exact location not be revealed because too often ridicule follows those who say they've seen Bigfoot; she also wants to protect adjoining property owners.
"If he lives here, and I think he does, it is smarter than a dog and dogs are smart animals," said the man who also reported seeing the creature that day.
Don't even try telling them that it was a bear.
"I've been in the woods since I was 5 years old; I know what a bear looks like," the woman said.
Her suspicions rose again in January when she heard a crazy noise in the woods that sounded like recordings she has heard on Bigfoot Internet sites.
"To me, the sound of hearing this thing was scarier than seeing it," she said. "It started with a low rumble and ended in a high-pitch scream."
The woman said she found Willard's website and invited him to the property. He's come back a half-dozen times.
Last month, he directed a weeklong Bigfoot expedition at the Spotsylvania site with five separate research groups.
The group heard strange Bigfoot-like sounds and filmed with a night-vision camera something very tall with red eyes. Two other researchers reported something shook their Jeep. A footprint impression behind the vehicle was cast.
"The eyes on the videotape, that was pretty impressive," Willard said.
But last weekend, the rain caused problems and it stopped the hunt early. The group got there at about 4 p.m. Saturday and stayed past midnight.
The only discovery that day was what appeared to be a large footprint near a pond.
Researchers like Willard often do their work with little fanfare. The full-time environmental engineer does not get paid for his Bigfoot research. He often gets tips and invitations through his website. He has been to at least nine states and has returned with plaster casts of a few different footprints.
His most frightening experience was in Paris, Texas, in 2007. The experience was so surreal that Willard thought it was a nightmare. He felt something grab him and he tussled with the creature for a few minutes while in his tent.
"I could feel nothing but thick hair on whatever this was," he said. "My hand didn't fit around the limb and I balled up my fist and hit it."
Not much high-tech equipment is necessary for expeditions. Researchers use night-vision game cameras and goggles and PA systems to broadcast Bigfoot calls and babies crying, which apparently creates a lot of action in the forest when played. There is also a lot of waiting, which leads to researchers sharing stories over a campfire about favorite trips, that often end up fruitless.
But not finding any evidence has little effect on their hope that someday one of them might get the evidence needed to prove Bigfoot does exist.
"There's no certification for this except a mental institution and an empty checkbook," Willard joked.
dailymail - An extraordinary crop circle based on the 'world's most beautiful maths theorem' has appeared in a field next to a windmill in Wiltshire.
The complex disc, which measures 300ft across, appeared to the east of Wilton Windmill near Marlborough in a blazing yellow rape seed field.
It appeared on Saturday just 25miles from another circle that popped up a fortnight ago by the Iron Age hill fort of Old Sarum.
Lucy Pringle, a renowned crop circle researcher was puzzled by what appears to be a hidden code based on complex numbers within the shape.
She said: 'I believe it contains binary, a numeral system, or base-2 number system that represents numeric values using two symbols, 0 and 1.
'Working from the centre outwards, people are suggesting it has a connection to Leonhard Euler's theorem e^(i)pi+1=0 which is thought to be one of the most beautiful theorems in mathematics.'
She added that it could even contain a hidden tune.
'Historically over the years, crop circles have been associated with diatonic scales (white notes on the piano),' she said.
'These diatonic scale frequencies are encoded in each segment of the crop circle and can be played on the piano.
'This is a unique formation incorporating both music and mathematics and is similar in importance to the famous 2008 Barbury Castle Pi event.'
Another crop circle expert said everyone can draw their own conclusions from the circles, adding: 'The thing about maths and the circles is that you are dealing with something which isn't an exact science so one person may decode the circles as having diatonic ratios, the other may find meaning in binary numbers or astrological cycles.
There is speculation that the circle represents Leonhard Euler's complex theorem e^(i)pi+1=0
'The only possible explanation which covers all areas would be humans, however this can only be a problematic relationship shared by creaters and researchers since the [UFO] researchers hate the idea that a sense of wonder and optimism is quoshed by the admittance of human involvement.'
Carved out in a barley field, the Barbury Castle crop circle was a pictorial representation of the first ten digits of Pi, one of the most fundamental symbols in mathematics. The image was an example of what is known as a fractal, or geometric pattern.
It was solved by astrophysicist Mike Reed who saw a picture of the crop circle and made the mathematical link.
Crop circle designs have developed from simple circles in the 1970s to pictorial designs in the late 1980s and binary number designers from 2001.
newsday - The real estate listing for the house that went on the market Monday at 108 Ocean Ave. refers to it as a "legendary home," but most people would know the sideways Dutch Colonial on the canal as the so-called Amityville Horror house.
Listed for $1.15 million, the picturesque and pristine home looks very different from the home where Ronald DeFeo Jr. murdered six family members as they slept in 1974. The 28 supposedly haunted days in the house experienced by subsequent owners George and Kathleen Lutz spawned the 1977 bestselling Jay Anson book "The Amityville Horror: A True Story" and a series of scary movies about alleged supernatural happenings at the house starting in 1979.
Even the address is different. Previous owners James and Barbara Cromarty, who own the Riverhead Raceway, said they had it changed from 112 Ocean Ave. to protect their privacy.
James Cromarty, 77, bought the house in 1977. By that point, a bank had foreclosed on the house from the Lutzes, who have since died. DeFeo is at the upstate Green Haven Correctional Facility, serving 25 years to life for the murders.
"Nothing weird ever happened, except for people coming by because of the book and the movie," said Cromarty, who lived a decade in the house.
He and his wife, Barbara, sold the house in 1987 to Peter and Jeanne O'Neill. Reached Monday, Jeanne O'Neill said, "I loved it. It was a beautiful home." They sold the house in 1997 for $310,000 to the current owner, which records identify as Brian Wilson.
"It's one of the more beautifully redone houses in the neighborhood," said listing agent Laura Zambratto of Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty.
Jerry O'Neill of Coldwell Banker Harbor Light, who has been selling Amityville real estate for 38 years and whose brother, Peter, used to own the house, said he thinks the price is fair. "It's a gorgeous, big center hall Colonial with a finished basement," said O'Neill, with "nothing spooky about it." Neighbors said that there are occasional gawkers, mostly on Halloween.
It's not the only notorious Long Island house on the market. Recently, the East Meadow expanded ranch where serial killer Joel Rifkin used to live, sometimes bringing victims back to the house, was listed for $424,500. _____________________
AMITYVILLE HORROR: THE REAL STORY
Ronald DeFeo, Jr. and his siblings
Thousands of sightseers flock to the small, quiet town of Amityville, Long Island each year in search of demons and ghosts. Its rich history and beauty are overshadowed by the story of George and Kathy Lutz, the previous residents of 112 Ocean Avenue, who claimed that shortly after moving into the house they “fled in terror,” driven out by paranormal activity. The best selling novel and popular movie have marked the town as the site of the most famous haunted house in history, yet many are unaware that the true history of this house is much darker than “The Amityville Horror’s” icy drafts and bleeding walls. Six members of the DeFeo family were murdered at 112 Ocean Avenue one year before the Lutz family moved in and their tragedy haunts the citizens of Amityville to this day.
In June of 1965, a man by the name of Ronald DeFeo Sr. purchased the 2 ½ story Dutch Colonial home at 112 Ocean Avenue, equipped with a boathouse on the Amityville River and plenty of rooms for his wife and four children. It seemed like the American dream: beautiful house, happy family, and money to spare. DeFeo even placed a sign in the front yard that read “High Hopes” as a symbol of the family’s good fortune. But there is a much darker side to this fairy tale, for his oldest son Ronald DeFeo Jr. wasn’t so content. His temper was as hot as his father’s was, and when he reached adolescence they often succumbed to fist fighting matches. By the age of 17 Ronald, or “Butch” as he was called by his friends, was using serious drugs and dabbling in petty thievery. Even though he was well taken care of by his family - landing a “cush” job at his grandfather’s car dealership where he received a weekly allowance whether he showed up to work or not - Butch was growing more angry and resentful with his father’s supposedly stingy ways. He planned a fake robbery with a friend while he was on the way to the bank to deposit $20,000 from the dealership, splitting the “stolen” cash with his friend. When Ronald Sr. exposed his sham, Butch wanted revenge.
It has been reported that in the early morning hours of November 13, 1974, Butch left the second floor TV room and grabbed his .35 Marlin Rifle. While his parents and four younger brothers and sisters were sleeping he methodically shot and killed each one of them. He entered his parent’s bedroom first, instantly killing his father Ronald DeFeo with two shots to the lower back. His mother Louise was awakened by the gunfire but before she had a chance to react Butch proceeded to fire two bullets into her chest. Since the bodies of his four younger brothers and sisters were all found in their beds, it appeared that they were not awakened by the shots. His two younger brothers, John and Mark, were his next victims. Standing between their beds in the room the two young boys shared, he fired one shot at close range into each of their bodies. Finally, he entered the room of his sisters Dawn and Allison. Dawn was the closest in age to Butch, and Allison was in grade school with John and Mark. Butch did not hesitate when he fired two shots into their heads, killing them instantly. The police reported that all six victims were found on their stomachs with their heads resting on their arms.
Butch tried to point the blame on a Mafia hit man whom he claimed had a vendetta against him, but the detectives grew suspicious when they found an empty gun box in his bedroom that matched the murder weapon. His story fell apart and after hours of interrogation. “It all started so fast. Once I started, I just couldn’t stop. It went so fast,” he confessed. When asked during his trial why he had done such a thing Butch replied, “As far as I’m concerned, if I didn’t kill my family, they were going to kill me. And as far as I’m concerned, what I did was self-defense and there was nothing wrong with it. When I got a gun in my hand, there’s no doubt in my mind who I am. I am God.”
Even though Butch was found guilty of six counts of second-degree murder, many questions still remain about what really happened on that tragic night in November. Why didn’t the children run after hearing the first shots? Why were the victims all found lying on their stomachs? Were they told to stay in bed by someone they knew? Why didn’t the neighbors hear the shots? Speculations surfaced that the DeFeo family was drugged at dinner, yet autopsies discredited this theory. The police believed that the house muffled the sound of the shots, however, many people who have been in the house reported that street noise could be heard from inside. According to gun experts, the sound of a .35 Marlin Rifle can be heard from a mile away, yet neighbors claim that the only sound they heard was the barking of the DeFeo family dog. To this day Butch continues to change his story. Being a habitual liar, it is still unclear what role he played in the murders and whether he acted alone. For many, the truth remains to be told and investigations are in progress that may shed light on the validity of his story.
Butch DeFeo, 58, is currently serving six consecutive life sentences at Greenhaven Penitentiary in Stormville, New York. The parole board has rejected all of his requests for parole since 1999.
Families have lived happily in the Amityville house (its address now changed to deter the flocks of curious sightseers) since the Lutzes moved out without being bothered by a single demon or ghost. The citizens of Amityville often tell tourists that the house has been torn down, frustrated that a ghost story has overshadowed a tragedy – the brutal murders of six members of the DeFeo family, the true horror of Amityville.
NatGeo - Newly described as its own species, the Ziebell's handfish typically has yellow fins, as seen above in a file photo, but the species can also appear with a mottled purplish coloration. Ziebell's handfish is found only in small, isolated populations off Tasmania and is listed as vulnerable in Australia.
Today all handfish are found only around southeastern Australia. But about 50 million years ago the animals likely inhabited regions around the world, the CSIRO scientists note. Fossils of the curious creatures have been discovered in the Mediterranean, for example.
A news report out of San Antonio about teen werewolves who have fangs and see their leader as someone named, Wolfie Blackheart. It’s not emo, it’s not goth, it’s more animal than that. (NOTE: my father was a 'Wolfman' and horror movie fan in the 50's and 60's. Thus, I was named after Lon Chaney, Jr....Lon)
mainichi - Foreign species of fish including angelfish and piranhas are being found in large numbers in the Tama River between Tokyo and Kanagawa prefectures, resulting in some dubbing it the "Tamazon River" after South America's Amazon.
People are apparently releasing fish that have become too difficult to look after into the river, and the fish are surviving winter near water treatment areas, where the water temperature is higher.
To combat the problem of foreign species of fish being dumped in the river, local residents have set up a drop-off area for unwanted fish. Mitsuaki Yamasaki, 51, the head of a local river fish association, established the "fish postbox" in part of the association's fish preserve in Inada Park, Kawasaki, in 2005.
The "postbox" measures 7 meters by 4 meters. Reaching his hand into a container, Yamasaki pulls out a long-nosed fish measuring about 1 meter, which thrashes against the surface of the water. It is a longnose garpike. One longnose garpike was caught in a net in February, and another one was left by a visitor. The fish's sharp teeth can easily bite through a nylon net.
"The Tama River is like a department store for foreign species of fish. People sometimes called it the 'Tamazon,' after the Amazon River," Yamasaki says.
During Japan's period of rapid growth, home wastewater was discharged directly into the Tama River, polluting it. After water treatment facilities were set up, the quality of the water improved, and from about 10 years ago, sweetfish have been observed making their way upstream. At the same time, tropical fish and other foreign species have also been spotted in the river. Most treated water in the river was originally warm water discharged from homes, and it has raised the river's overall temperature.
Yamasaki has caught some 200 species of foreign fish in the Tama River, ranging from typical aquarium fish such as guppies and angelfish to piranhas and arowanas. Some of them have bred, and it is believed they pass the winter near water treatment facilities, where the water is warmer.
The fish postbox at Inada Park receives about 10,000 fish a year. Yamasaki temporarily looks after fish at his home, then has postbox members or schools take care of them.
Still, cases of people releasing fish into the river continue. A pair of garpikes was spotted swimming in the river and sweetfish were found inside them. Diseases that had been rare in Japan are also being detected.
"I'm worried that gars will start breeding in large numbers," Yamasaki says.
In the Machiya district of Tokyo's Arakawa Ward stands Tropiland, one of the biggest shops for aquarium fish in Tokyo with several hundred varieties imported from all over the world. Inside one tank at the shop is a pair of alligator garpikes priced at 1,980 yen. Now the fish are only about 10 centimeters long, but a label warns that they will get bigger: "These fish easily grow larger than one meter, so please allow room for them and keep them in a large tank," the sign says.
A 35-year-old worker says the store tells customers that some fish are difficult to keep, but he adds that customers often don't have a strong sense of responsibility.
"Many people think of the fish as part of their home interior or as accessories. They're like paintings," he says, shrugging.
So what happens when people give up on keeping their fish? People with experience in the business say that some are flushed down the toilet, and others are thrown out with raw garbage, but some owners secretly release them into rivers.
But this is not always the case. Around 7 p.m. on May 8, Yamasaki's mobile phone rings.
"I've got a fish I can't look after any more -- can you take it?" the caller asks. About three hours later, Yamasaki arrives at a station in Kawasaki to meet the caller. The young man, who looks like a student, is carrying a polystyrene box. Inside is a foreign species of catfish measuring about 30 centimeters in length.
"My fish tank is too small for it, and I have to move to a new place," he says, his voice trailing off.
"Don't worry," Yamasaki says in a friendly tone, as tears well up in the owner's eyes.
Yamasaki says that recently, more people are using the fish postbox in Kawasaki after being forced to move homes amid harsh economic conditions that sometimes are accompanied by lay-offs.
"Even though people might be feeling sorry for their pets, releasing them into the river is an example of ignorant good intentions," Yamasaki says. The 51-year-old played in the Tama River as a child, and is happy to see sweetfish swimming upstream again.
The fish drop-off spot is free to use, but tropical fish can die if they are dropped straight in, so Yamasaki advises people to phone in advance.
A boom in tropical fish was seen in Japan in the 1990s, and interest was sparked further by the 2003 hit animation "Finding Nemo." Recently children have started buying tropical fish with money they traditionally receive at New Year's, say workers in the industry.
The Japan Aquarium Fish Association started accepting discarded fish in 2007, but it has not received full cooperation from fish retailers. And since commercial aquarium fish are not designated as "invasive alien species" which can damage the environment, there are no legal restrictions on keeping them or releasing them. The Ministry of the Environment has not conducted surveys on aquarium fish in rivers on the grounds that there have been "hardly any reports of actual harm" caused by the fish.
Takashi Maruyama, an assistant professor at Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology who is familiar with the issue, criticizes the release of such fish.
"Keeping fish requires ethical responsibility, but now people who never before had any interest in living things have joined the aquarium fish boom," he says. "Releasing such fish is just a way of evading reality."
Maruyama says a system is needed to improve the situation.
"There is no binding power in the work companies are doing to collect such fish, and the system isn't working. We need to establish a system with cooperation from administrative bodies."
A report of a fireball in the sky and a veiled threat from a mysterious man in a dark suit could aid a lawyer's dogged quest to prove a former Weber State ROTC instructor was infamous skyjacker D.B. Cooper.
yahoo - It has been the subject of novels, a reference in movies and the topic of speculation ever since it became an animal disease lab in the infancy of the Cold War.
Now, the public is being asked for its input on what should become of the mysterious island a mile and a half off Long Island's north fork. The federal government is moving its research operations to a new lab in Manhattan, Kan., and putting up a "For Sale" sign at Plum Island.
Representatives from several environmental groups spoke out against the planned sale Thursday night at a meeting held by the General Services Administration, which has responsibility for selling the property. The agency held the community meeting in a school gymnasium eight miles from the island, kicking off an environmental review process that is expected to be completed by the fall.
"The island has a remarkable environmental and ecological value," said John Turner, who said he represented a coalition of civic groups calling themselves "Preserve Plum Island."
Randy Parsons of the Nature Conservancy drew applause from the estimated 50 people at the meeting when he suggested, "If we didn't already own it, wouldn't we want to buy it?"
Besides the laboratory, the island is home to a defunct U.S. Army base and a charming little lighthouse that looks out onto Long Island Sound. And, as fictional FBI Agent Clarice Starling told "Silence of the Lambs" villain Hannibal Lecter: "There's a very, very nice beach."
Author Nelson DeMille, whose 1997 book "Plum Island" featured a fictional detective investigating the murders of island biologists, told The Associated Press this week he wants the government to retain ownership.
"The most obvious thing to do would be to make it into a federal park and nature preserve," he said. "You could turn the lab into a visitors center."
Several speakers at the hearing also said they preferred the island be retained as a nature preserve, including a representative of the Audubon Society, who urged a thorough study of the bird population.
DeMille noted a long-repeated fear that the lab could be "a terrorist target waiting to happen."
The U.S. Government Accountability Office told Congress in 2007 that Plum Island's vulnerability was apparent after the 9/11 terror attacks, and that security had been tightened to help protect animal health and reduce the possibility of bioterrorism.
Plum Island scientists research pathogens like foot-and-mouth disease, which is highly contagious to livestock and could cause catastrophic economic losses and imperil the nation's food supply.
"Other pathogens known to have been maintained at Plum Island could also cause illness and death in humans," the GAO said.
Security on the island consists of security patrols, checkpoints, cameras, radar, locks and fences, said Amy Kudwa, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security.
Ret. Col. David Huxsoll, a veterinarian who served as the lab's director from 2000 to 2003, said anthrax was among the diseases studied at Plum Island. "It was done in containment," he said, adding there were concerns anthrax could be used as a weapon to target the livestock industry.
"If it ever broke out in the cattle industry in this country, it would be disastrous," he said.
Before any discussions about development at Plum Island can proceed, officials must first determine the extent of any damage to the soil and water, environmentalist Adrienne Esposito said.
"Government facilities operate cloaked in secrecy," said Esposito, executive director of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment. The group successfully lobbied in 2008 to kill a proposed Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal in Long Island Sound.
U.S. Rep. Timothy Bishop, whose district includes Plum Island, is not convinced moving is a good idea. He said in a letter to a House homeland security subcommittee this week that the sale of Plum Island could fetch $50 million to $80 million — not counting cleanup costs. Bishop said that would hardly cover the costs of building a new $650 million lab.
"Rather than pour hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars down a sinkhole in Kansas and open the Pandora's Box of decommissioning Plum Island, we should ... make use of existing facilities that continue to serve this nation well," Bishop said.
Last year, Congress appropriated $32 million for a new 520,000-square-foot National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Kansas, most of it for planning and design. It will allow research on diseases that can be passed from animals to humans, something currently not done at Plum Island.
A safety study of the new site is under way after some questioned the wisdom of opening an animal disease lab in the so-called Beef Belt.
Gary DePersia, a top real estate broker in the Hamptons on Long Island's south fork, said the possibilities for the island are nearly unlimited. "It could make an awesome resort, with condos and room for a golf course," DePersia said.
The Army ran the site as Fort Terry from 1897 until after World War II. The U.S. Army Chemical Corps had jurisdiction from 1951 to 1954, when it was officially deactivated.
In the book, "Deadly Cultures: Biological Weapons Since 1945," Piers Millett wrote in a chapter on anti-animal biological weapons that Fort Terry's mission was "to establish and pursue a program of research and development of certain anti-animal (BW) agents."
John van Courtland Moon, an author and history professor emeritus at Fitchburg State College in Massachusetts, said his research has found that animal testing for germ warfare was conducted at Plum Island in the 1950s.
"Exactly what took place? I would imagine sheep, I would imagine goats and rats and rabbits" had been tested, he said.
A spokesman for the U.S. Army at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, where the U.S. Army Chemical Corps is based, said officials there were looking into the historical record but had no immediate comment.
Esposito said the government's timetable to complete an Environmental Impact Statement by the fall was "somewhat delusional."
"This is a rush job instead of a thoughtful, meaningful process," she said. "That's a shame and we're not going to let it happen."