Friday, December 09, 2011
The first clear pictures of Iran’s nuclear site near Isfahan have been published and analyzed following an explosion at or near the site on Nov. 28, and they provide another piece of the puzzle. But what happened there remains a mystery.
Iran’s uranium conversion facility sits outside Isfahan. It is there that yellowcake is turned into uranium hexafluoride gas (UF6), which is then fed into centrifuges and turned into enriched uranium. The enriched uranium then can be made into fuel for power stations, or it can be highly enriched for a nuclear bomb.
Fox News obtained satellite pictures of the Isfahan nuclear site between Dec. 3 and 5, less than a week after reports of explosions in the area were heard. Analysts at the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), which employs some of the most widely respected experts on Iran’s nuclear sites, scrutinized the images and said there is no evidence of an explosion -- but there wouldn’t be clear evidence several days after an event.
Click here to view the ISIS report.
Iranian officials have issued conflicting comments about the blast, which, if it occurred at the uranium conversion facility, could be very damaging to the nation’s nuclear program.
A report of the explosion was first mentioned in the semi-official Fars News website. Then the report was removed. Then it was finally described as an explosion deriving from a military exercise by Isfahan’s governor, Alireza Zaker-Isfahani.
Israeli sources have suggested that the blast occurred at the nuclear facility; Iran, in turn, has denied that any sort of blast happened there.
But others find Iran’s denials suspicious, given that there have been numerous acts of sabotage against its nuclear and military sites and scientists in the last few years. Just last month, an explosion occurred at a sensitive missile site, killing 20 people, including the father of Iran’s Shahab 3 missile. It is not clear what caused that blast, or whether it was accidental, but many believe it was no coincidence.
ISIS analysts who looked at the images from Isfahan said there had been a dramatic change in the landscape around a tunnel leading down to a storage facility on the periphery of the uranium conversion site. Several structures above that storage facility, which had been there for 15 years and stood intact as recently as August, are gone. There now is evidence of bulldozing around the old structures.
It is not clear what is stored in that facility, which used to be a salt mine, or whether the underground storage was damaged. But Iran has been known to store UF6 underground, ISIS says, so it is possible that converted yellowcake was in that facility. According to ISIS, there is no evidence of an explosion, but there wouldn’t be clear evidence several days after an event.
“After five to seven days, that’s what you would be looking at anyway — clean-up,” ISIS senior analyst Paul Brannan told Fox News.
“The pictures we have seen were dramatic insofar as the buildings were there for at least 15 years,” he said. “On Dec. 5, they were gone. Whether or not that is circumstantial is not clear, but it warrants further scrutiny.”
Brannan says much of Iran’s yellowcake has been converted to UF6, but the Iranians still have some stock. Beyond that, however, the nation’s ability to mine and mill yellowcake is limited.
“There is something strange going on,” he said. “It is not clear what it is. There was the recent blast at the missile facility with people killed. There was a report of a blast at Isfahan’s uranium conversion site. A U.S. drone has been downed.
“Something is going on. It’s not clear what it is.” - foxnews
"Terrain altered near Iran nuclear site"
Satellite images show buildings have been razed and bulldozers were at work at an underground structure near a site where Iran processes uranium, a US-based think tank said on Friday, without offering an explanation.
The Institute for Science and International Security said it had studied satellite photographs of a nuclear site near the Iranian city of Isfahan, after reports two weeks ago that an explosion could be heard in the city.
It found no evidence of damage from an explosion at the nuclear site, but signs of construction work at a site 400 metres away that showed a "significant transformation."
Western countries pay close attention to Iran's uranium processing because they believe it could be used to produce material for an atomic bomb.
The Isfahan site produces uranium gas which can be fed into centrifuges elsewhere to produce the purified uranium needed to run a power plant or make a bomb. Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful.
Attention has been focused on the Isfahan site since Nov. 28, when Iranian media reported an explosion could be heard in the nearby city.
In conflicting reports, the head of the provincial judiciary was quoted as saying a blast could be heard, but the deputy governor denied there had been a big explosion.
ISIS said it had acquired satellite imagery of the Isfahan nuclear site taken in early December.
"There does not appear to be any visible evidence of an explosion, such as building damage or debris, on the grounds of the known nuclear facilities or at the tunnel facility directly north of the Uranium Conversion Facility," it said.
It said, however, it had identified a facility about 400 metres from the perimeter of the nuclear site that "underwent a significant transformation recently."
An Aug. 27 satellite image showed that it consisted of a ramp leading underground with several buildings along the surface. But in a Dec. 5 image the buildings were gone, heavy equipment could be seen around the site and there was evidence of bulldozing activity, ISIS said.
"It is unclear how and why the buildings are no longer present at the site," it added.
ISIS said the underground facility was originally a salt mine dating back to at least the 1980s. It was lately used for storage, although it was unclear what was kept there, ISIS said.
The Nov. 28 report of the sound of a blast in Isfahan came less than three weeks after a massive explosion at a military base near Tehran that killed more than a dozen members of the Revolutionary Guard including the head of its missile forces.
Iran said that explosion, which could be heard as far away as the capital, was caused by an accident while weapons were being moved. - jpost
NOTE: Are we destined for war against Iran because of it's nuclear program? Could these tensions set off a worldwide firestorm that would involve non-terrestrial influence? Could covert warnings of direct intervention by non-earthly forces, that a multitude of people have predicted, actually become a reality? Lon
The Rise of Nuclear Iran: How Tehran Defies the West
NASA's Voyager 1 in 'cosmic purgatory' on verge of entering Milky Way
The spacecraft is close to leaving the Solar System and into the uncharted territory of the Milky Way after more than three decades in space.
Voyager 1 was launched with its twin, Voyager 2, by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) in 1977.
Voyager 1 is travelling at just under 11 miles per second and sending information from nearly 11 billion miles away from the sun.
It is about to become the first man-made object to leave the Solar System, although Nasa expects it to take between several months and years before it completely enters interstellar space. Voyager 2 will follow later.
Ed Stone, the Voyager project scientist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, said: "Voyager tells us now that we're in a stagnation region in the outermost layer of the bubble around our solar system. Voyager is showing that what is outside is pushing back.
"We shouldn't have long to wait to find out what the space between stars is really like."
The primary mission for the spacecrafts was the exploration of Jupiter and Saturn.
After uncovering important findings the mission was extended, with the radio contact with mission control lasting longer than had been expected.
Rob Decker, a Voyager Low-Energy Charged Particle Instrument co-investigator from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, said: "We've been using the flow of energetic charged particles at Voyager 1 as a kind of wind sock to estimate the solar wind velocity. We've found that the wind speeds are low in this region and gust erratically. For the first time, the wind even blows back at us. We are evidently traveling in completely new territory. Scientists had suggested previously that there might be a stagnation layer, but we weren't sure it existed until now."
Voyager 1 and 2 both hold a a gold-coated copper phonograph record.
The record contains over 100 photographs of earth, a selection of greetings from languages around the world and a variety of sounds from the Earth.
Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan wrote in an introduction to a CD version of the record that "billion years from now, when everything on Earth we've ever made has crumbled into dust, when the continents have changed beyond recognition and our species is unimaginably altered or extinct, the Voyager record will speak for us."
The Voyagers have enough power and fuel to operate until at least 2020.
It is predicted by that point that Voyager 1 will be 12.4 billion miles from the Sun, whilst Voyager 2 will be 10.5 billion miles away. - telegraph
NASA's Voyager Missions: Exploring the Outer Solar System and Beyond (Springer Praxis Books / Space Exploration)
Japan’s Hotel for the Dead
A hotel for the dead, now that’s something. This one is for real, actual corpses. And it’s pretty luxurious, going from the pictures. It’s a place where your folks check you in, and you wait it out until it’s time for you to be cremated. Also, it’s pretty luxurious.
The hotel Lastel run by Hisayoshi Teramura in Japan’s Yokohama suburbs, looks like any other building from the outside. In fact, young couples mistake it for a regular hotel and come asking for accommodation. But the place is not meant for lovers, or for weary travelers. Only for those who have already made their final exit from this world. The need for such a hotel very much exists in Japan, where there is a wait time of at least four days for a crematorium. With a total of 1.2 million deaths in the country in 2010, the annual death rate is at 0.95%, while the global average is only 0.84%. The Japanese also apparently tend to splurge on funerals, on the cost of flowers, coffins and memorial services. Mr. Teramura seems to have found a business opportunity in the area of death.
The corpses stored at the hotel are placed in refrigerated coffins that cost about 12,000 yen (approx. $157). They lay there until an opening is available at one of the overworked crematoriums in the city. Apparently, entry into the business is not all that difficult with the absence of mandatory qualifications or licenses. An office and a telephone will suffice to get started. Mr. Teramura has plans to expand. His second branch will be a bigger space, able to hold up to 40 corpses. His neighbors however, have not even the slightest inkling that they sleep every night next to a group of dead bodies. - odditycentral
Lincolnshire Popular with Demons, Witches and Zombies
Lincolnshire is regarded as a paranormal hotspot in the UK and even has its own team of 'ghostbusters' and it needs it, according to recently uncovered police statistics.
Every year, police have to deal with a number of reports of incidents dealing with a wide range of topics.
Some are clearly of critical importance, whereas as others can be best described as 'non-emergencies.' But if you are convinced there is a vampire living across the street or a hoard of zombies coming through your door, surely that deserves a 999 call?
But there can't be that many people who have rang the police to complain that the neighbours are actually witches cooking up a spell or that that strange light in the sky is definitely an UFO. Well apparently in Lincolnshire - which is considered a 'paranormal hotspot'- there has.
Member of the public and possible X-Files fan Alexis Davey wanted to find out the actually figures for himself. Using the Freedom of Information Act of 2000, where public authorities must respond to any question, he asked to ask just how many paranormal activities had been reported to Lincolnshire police in the last five years.
The information released after the FOI revealed some quite surprising results. They showed that in the past five years there has been a total of:
171 reports of witches
2 reports of werewolves
5 reports of vampires
10 UFO sightings
152 reports of ghosts
9 reports of zombies
627 reports of demons
20 reports of wizards
These figures show that there has been nearly 1000 'paranormal' activities reported to Lincolnshire Police over the past five years, with nearly two-thirds of these cases listed reports of 'demons.'
Lincolnshire police were unable to comment on what the actually reasons for these reports were and how they were eventually resolved. Maybe the demons and wizards left Lincolnshire before a full investigation could take place.
The response did insist that the incidents shown are ones in which the key words were included in the summary of the original FOI, meaning that not all incidents could be classified as "paranormal activity." So whether this means the werewolves were actually big dogs, the ghosts were just the wind or zombies were just morning commuters is still a mystery. Most telling was a statement by the police that: "the sightings include incidents where the person could have a mental health problem."
The city of Lincoln does pride itself on having many areas which they claim are haunted by ghosts or other paranormal beings.
Buildings like the Black Horse restaurant in Nettleham and the County Assembly Rooms in Bailgate has reported mysterious sightings in the past such as strange noises, phantom figures appearing and poltergeist behaviour, according to the paranormal database website. - ibtimes
Ghosts and Legends of Lincolnshire and the Fen Country (Ghosts & Legends)
Close encounter of the 'bowing' kind
Florida - 12/7/2011 - unedited: I went outside to smoke a cigerette around 11:30 at night. I then saw a black object hovering in the sky and I rushed to grab my cell phone to try to record it. For some strange reason my cell phone wouldnt work. I looked up and noticed a beam of light shooting out with orbs straight to the ground with theses tall skinny beings. I wanted to go inside but something was prohibiting me too. Now the orbs were what I would think to be scanning the area while the beings seemed to be instructing them with some black device. Then they made their way towards me and I was beside myself. Now there was one that was slightly taller and seemed to be in charge and somehow communicated with me telipathicall, saying that they mean no harm and that they have been studying man for centuries. Now one of the orbs scanned what I can explained as a scanner like you would see in a science fiction movie. They were examining me for about 5 to 10 minutes and wanted to go inside but pleaded with the one I was talking to not to go in to protect my family. The strangest thing happened! He seemed to do a slight bow of respect and slowly walked off my porch and left! - MUFON CMS
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Two-Disc 30th Anniversary Ultimate Edition) [Blu-ray]
Thursday, December 08, 2011
Just the Facts?: 'Mythbusters' Cannonball Mishap -- SW Riverside Co. UFO Flap -- Jerusalem Carvings Mystery
'Mythbusters' cannonball mishap
A cast iron cannonball rocketed through two homes and landed inside a minivan in Dublin, California on Tuesday when a “Mythbusters” TV experiment went wrong. Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage are hosts of the scientific experimentation show, which airs on The Discovery Channel. The pair was reportedly trying to figure out how fast a cannonball would travel, when it misfired and shot hundreds of feet in the air.
“This cannonball was supposed to go through several barrels of water and through a cinder block, and then ultimately into the side of the hill,” said J.D. Nelson of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department. Instead the cannonball flew over the foothills surrounding Camp Parks Military Firing Reservation, before spiraling back toward Dublin like a cruise missile.
It flew straight though the front door of a home on Cassata Place, and bounced around like a pinball, flying up to the second floor before blasting through a back bedroom wall. The wayward cannonball then blasted across a busy road and through a second home some 50 yards away, demolishing roof tiles. The homeowner’s mother was frightened.
“It was a very loud boom; she thought a tree fell, maybe a meteor,” said Ming Jiang. “It wasn’t clear that it was a cannonball landing on the roof.” The out of control cannonball finally came to a stop inside Jasper Gill’s minivan. “It hit the dash, through the passenger window,” said Gill, who had gotten out of the vehicle just 10 minutes before the ball struck. “I’m lucky I’m alive.” Incredibly, no one was injured in the mishap. - cbslocal
Mythbusters: Big Blasts Collection - DVD
UFO sightings in SW Riverside County, CA starting a buzz
I received the following from a reader, who had received it from an associate
I don't know about you but in the past 2 months out here in SW Riverside County, (CA) We have suddenly been seeing many UFOs. At first people started asking me if i saw anything because they know i'm a trained aircraft spotter and so is my dad who lives in Lake Elsinore and we have trained a few other people, even my cousin Nick in Riverside...which all 3 of us are avid members of the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino. So we know aircraft very well, enough to be credible witnesses to what we are seeing.
2 weeks ago on Sunday night around 5 pm my sister and i were going to dinner in Hemet and the moon was a sliver in the west and we could see a bright star...but then we also could see something else. Very big and shining from the sunlight hitting it and another on its side...strobing red and orange. Then my dad called me 5 mins later from Elsinore asking if we could see it because at that point it had moved directly overhead of Elsinore. Then my cousin in Riverside called me asking about it from Riverside. Then when we got home neighbors started asking me if i had seen it, That was the start of a bunch of sightings since then...but what we are doing is using our cellphones from place to place to alert everyone so we can get eyes and cameras on them hoping to get the lucky shot. I'm hoping with your help to spread the word and set up a cellphone network of UFO watchers to start tracking from everywhere and get people aware.
I've had a weird feeling for the past year that with all the uptake in sightings and fleet sightings from all around the world, not to mention the ones that look like wormholes opening with craft going through them, that something big is coming to us soon. In the past 20 years i've now seen 15 of them and now its getting to be almost every week with others seeing them too. The usual things the 45 dg turns, bullet takeoffs, etc. So its time we all band together and track them via eyes on and with cellphones and cameras and if possible keep it quiet from gov't eyes but with the help of the UFO community at large. What do you think??
UFOs Over California: A True History Of Extraterrestrial Encounters In The Golden State (Schiffer Books)
Mysterious stone carvings found in Jerusalem...experts stumped
Mysterious stone carvings made thousands of years ago and recently uncovered in an excavation underneath Jerusalem have archaeologists stumped.
Israeli diggers who uncovered a complex of rooms carved into the bedrock in the oldest section of the city recently found the markings: Three "V'' shapes cut next to each other into the limestone floor of one of the rooms, about 2 inches (5 centimeters) deep and 20 inches (50 centimeters) long. There were no finds to offer any clues pointing to the identity of who made them or what purpose they served.
The archaeologists in charge of the dig know so little that they have been unable even to posit a theory about their nature, said Eli Shukron, one of the two directors of the dig.
"The markings are very strange, and very intriguing. I've never seen anything like them," Shukron said.
The shapes were found in a dig known as the City of David, a politically sensitive excavation conducted by Israeli government archaeologists and funded by a nationalist Jewish group under the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in east Jerusalem. The rooms were unearthed as part of the excavation of fortifications around the ancient city's only natural water source, the Gihon spring.
It is possible, the dig's archaeologists say, that when the markings were made at least 2,800 years ago the shapes might have accommodated some kind of wooden structure that stood inside them, or they might have served some other purpose on their own. They might have had a ritual function or one that was entirely mundane. Archaeologists faced by a curious artifact can usually at least venture a guess about its nature, but in this case no one, including outside experts consulted by Shukron and the dig's co-director, archaeologists with decades of experience between them, has any idea.
There appears to be at least one other ancient marking of the same type at the site. A century-old map of an expedition led by the British explorer Montague Parker, who searched for the lost treasures of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem between 1909 and 1911, includes the shape of a "V'' drawn in an underground channel not far away. Modern archaeologists haven't excavated that area yet.
Ceramic shards found in the rooms indicate they were last used around 800 B.C., with Jerusalem under the rule of Judean kings, the dig's archaeologists say. At around that time, the rooms appear to have been filled with rubble to support the construction of a defensive wall.
It is unclear, however, whether they were built in the time of those kings or centuries earlier by the Canaanite residents who predated them.
The purpose of the complex is part of the riddle. The straight lines of its walls and level floors are evidence of careful engineering, and it was located close to the most important site in the city, the spring, suggesting it might have had an important function.
A unique find in a room beside the one with the markings — a stone like a modern grave marker, which was left upright when the room was filled in — might offer a clue. Such stones were used in the ancient Middle East as a focal point for ritual or a memorial for dead ancestors, the archaeologists say, and it is likely a remnant of the pagan religions which the city's Israelite prophets tried to eradicate. It is the first such stone to be found intact in Jerusalem excavations.
But the ritual stone does not necessarily mean the whole complex was a temple. It might simply have marked a corner devoted to religious practice in a building whose purpose was commonplace.
With the experts unable to come up with a theory about the markings, the City of David dig posted a photo on its Facebook page and solicited suggestions. The results ranged from the thought-provoking — "a system for wood panels that held some other item," or molds into which molten metal would could have been poured — to the fanciful: ancient Hebrew or Egyptian characters, or a "symbol for water, particularly as it was near a spring."
The City of David dig, where the carvings were found, is the most high-profile and politically contentious excavation in the Holy Land. Named for the biblical monarch thought to have ruled from the spot 3,000 years ago, the dig is located in what today is east Jerusalem, which was captured by Israel in 1967. Palestinians claim that part of the city as the capital of a future state.
The dig is funded by Elad, an organization affiliated with the Israeli settlement movement. The group also moves Jewish families into the neighborhood and elsewhere in east Jerusalem in an attempt to render impossible any division of the city in a future peace deal.
Palestinians and some Israeli archaeologists have criticized the dig for what they say is an excessive focus on Jewish remains. The dig's archaeologists, who work under the auspices of the government's Israel Antiquities Authority, deny that charge. - yahoo
The Archaeology of the Jerusalem Area
The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts
Dead scuba diver had been missing 26 years
It had been 26 years since anyone last laid eyes on well-known wheelchair scuba diver Peter Devoe, who failed to resurface after a 1985 family dive at Cates Park in North Vancouver.
Devoe, who was 29 when he disappeared, was finally recovered in the Burrard Inlet by a pair of commercial fishers in October.
Coroners said Wednesday they identified his remains by the jewelry he wore and telltale marks on his bones from a car accident.
His body was surprisingly well-preserved within his full-body scuba suit, despite floating in the inlet for almost three decades. His remains were found just west of where he vanished during a dive with his brother on March 13, 1985.
His body never floated out of the bay, and was anchored down in the calm waters by his weighty equipment, Coroner Stephen Fonseca said.
Speaking from her home, Robin Devoe recalled the day her brother-in-law went missing after heading out for a dive with her husband.
“Peter just never came up,” she said. “It hasn’t hit home yet. He was a great person, he competed in wheelchair sports, was really concerned about other people in wheelchairs.”
She said Devoe founded a 20-member wheelchair scuba diving club in 1983, and helped others with disabilities discover a new way to enjoy life.
“For somebody with spinal cord injuries, it’s the freedom of being away from a wheelchair,” she said.
Kathy Newman, executive director of the B.C. Wheelchair Sports Association, recalled her first meeting with the athlete three decades ago.
“He was like a role model for other people that wanted to get involved in wheelchair sports,” she said, adding Devoe was admired for his endless support to sports for youth with disabilities.
“That’s why we decided naming the Peter Devoe Memorial Award after him,” Newman said of the scholarship fund that was established the same year Devoe went missing.
“He was a fantastic person.” - lfpress
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
John Sabol is an archaeologist, cultural anthropologist, actor, and “ghost excavator”. He has many years of experience in all of these fields. In each, he has unearthed and engaged the manifestations of past presence that still continue to percolate in the contemporary environment of archaeological sites, in the belief systems of non-Western cultures, in his characters portrayed in film and on TV, and at haunted locations he has investigated.
As an archaeologist, he has unearthed past material remains in excavations and site surveys in England, Mexico, and at various sites in the United States (including Eastern South Dakota, the Tennessee River Valleys, and in Pennsylvania). His anthropological fieldwork includes the studies of “ghosts” and native cultural beliefs in the afterlife among various groups in Mexico (Mixtec, Zapotec, Lacandon, Nahuatl, and Otomi). His acting career includes “ghosting” performances of various characters and scenarios in more than 35 movies, TV shows, and documentaries. He has conducted“ghost excavations” (an archaeological ethnographic-theatrical approach embodied in the P.O.P. Theory) in England (Winchester), Germany (Frankfort), Mexico (Mexico City), at various sites throughout Pennsylvania (including Gettysburg, Ft. Mifflin, and Eastern State Penitentiary), New York, Virginia, Maryland, and in the cities of Knoxville (Tennessee), San Antonio (Texas), Santa Fe (New Mexico), New Orleans (Louisiana), and at abandoned sites in eastern South Dakota.
Books written by John G. Sabol at Amazon.com
Join Eric Altman and Lon Strickler each Sunday at 8 PM ET as we go
Beyond the Edge!
SETI back on track
After being shut down for over six months due to financial problems, The Allen Telescope Array (ATA) is once again searching other planetary systems for radio signals, looking for evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence.
Some of the first targets in SETI’s renewed search will be a selection of recently discovered exoplanet candidates by NASA’s Kepler mission.
“This is a superb opportunity for SETI observations,” said Dr. Jill Tarter, the Director of the Center for SETI Research at the SETI Institute. “For the first time, we can point our telescopes at stars, and know that those stars actually host planetary systems – including at least one that begins to approximate an Earth analog in the habitable zone around its host star. That’s the type of world that might be home to a civilization capable of building radio transmitters.”
What other studies will SETI be performing with the array, and how were they able to restart the Allen Telescope Array?
This past April, SETI was forced to place the ATA into hibernation mode, due to budget cuts of SETI’s former partner, U.C Berkeley. Since Berkeley operated Hat Creek Observatory where the ATA is located, their withdrawal from the program left SETI without a way to operate the ATA.
SETI has since acquired new funding to operate the ATA and can now resume observations where they left off – examining planetary candidates detected by the Kepler mission. The planetary candidates SETI will examine first will be those that are thought to be in their star’s habitable zone (the range of orbital distance from a planet’s host star which may allow for surface water). Many astrobiologists theorize that liquid water is essential for life to exist on a planet.
“In SETI, as with all research, preconceived notions such as habitable zones could be barriers to discovery.” Tarter added. “So, with sufficient future funding from our donors, it’s our intention to examine all of the planetary systems found by Kepler.”
SETI will spend the next two years observing the planetary systems detected by Kepler in the naturally-quiet 1 to 10 GHz terrestrial microwave window. Part of what makes this comprehensive study possible is that the ATA can provide ready access to tens of millions of channels at any one time.
Resuming ATA operations was made possible due to tremendous public support via SETI’s www.SETIStars.org web site. In addition to the funds raised by the public, the United States Air Force has also provided funding to SETI in order to assess the ATA’s capabilities for space situational awareness.
Tarter notes, “Kepler’s success has created an amazing opportunity to focus SETI research. While discovery of new exoplanets via Kepler is backed with government monies, the search for evidence that some of these worlds might be home to intelligence falls to SETI alone. And our SETI exploration depends entirely on private donations, for which we are deeply grateful to our donors.”
“The year-in and year-out fundraising challenge we tackle in order to conduct SETI research is an absolute human and organizational struggle,” said Tom Pierson, CEO of the SETI Institute, “yet it is well worth the hard work to help Jill’s team address what is one of humanity’s most profound research questions.” - universetoday
Contact [Blu-ray] - Jodie Foster
....more from Matt Moneymaker
BTW, I would bet a whole lot of money that Justin Smeja is lying and did not shoot a bigfoot at all. In my opinion his story is totally ludicrous, if you know the details he initially described.
He claimed he found the pieces of hide after returning to the area of the “shooting” after a snow storm. He says he didn’t know if the hide was related to what he claimed he shot. To me that sounds like he’s structuring the story so he can remain blameless when the hide is shown to be from a known animal. On top of that, he mentioned that he’s got a freezer full of dead coyote parts (he hunts those too). I do suspect he cut a piece of hide from one of those dead coyotes and provided that to the people who bought into his shooting story. Here’s the red flag for that: Some folks I know spent a lot of time questioning the dude in person … One of them says that when he heard Ketchum “confirmed” that his samples came from a sasquatch, he said he thought SHE was a hustler … which seemed strange to the person he said that to. It doesn’t puzzle me at all. He would have good reason to say that if he knew the hide came from a coyote. And that’s exactly what it looked like. I saw a photo of the hide piece. I was a roughly rectangular piece of fur and skin which looked like it was cut from a larger hide. The piece in question looked like it came from the belly of a coyote. Supposedly Meldrum also said it looked like it could have come from a coyote.
- Matt Moneymaker
Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science - Jeff Meldrum
...just spit on your iPhone
Handheld gadgets could one day diagnose infections at the push of a button by using the supersensitive touchscreens in today's smartphones.
Many believe that in the future collecting samples of saliva, urine or blood could be performed using a cheap, USB-stick-sized throwaway device called a lab-on-a-chip. The user would inject a droplet of the fluid in the chip, and micropumps inside it would send the fluid to internal vessels containing reagents that extract target disease biomarker molecules. The whole device would then be sent to a lab for analysis.
But Hyun Gyu Park and Byoung Yeon Won at the Korea Advanced Institute for Science and Technology in Daejeon think touchscreens could improve the process by letting your phone replace the lab work. Park suggests the lab-on-a-chip could present a tiny droplet of the sample to be pressed against a phone's touchscreen for analysis, where an app would work out whether you have food poisoning, strep throat or flu, for example.
The idea depends on a method the pair have devised to harness the way a touchscreen senses a fingertip's ability to store electric charge - known as its capacitance. The capacitive sensitivity of touchscreens is far higher than what is needed to sense our fingers as we play games or tap out tweets. "Since these touchscreens can detect very small capacitance changes we thought they could serve as highly sensitive detection platforms for disease biomarkers," says Park.
So the pair began proof-of-concept tests to see if the touchscreens in our pockets could play a role in diagnosing our ailments. First they took three solutions containing differing concentrations of DNA from the bacteria that causes chlamydia and applied droplets from each to an iPhone-sized multitouch display. They found that the output from the screen's array of crisscrossed touch-sensing electrodes could distinguish between the capacitances caused by each concentration using droplets of only 10 microlitres (Angewandte Chemie International Edition, DOI: 10.1002/anie201105986).
The technology is not yet able to identify individual pathogens but Park sees the display's ability to differentiate between concentrations as a first step towards this.
However, before the idea can be rolled out the built-in software on touchscreens that eliminates false-touch signals caused by moisture or sweat would need modifying. Park also plans to develop a film that can be stuck on a touchscreen to which the biomarkers will attach. "Nobody wants direct application of bio-samples onto their phone," he says.
"This is potentially possible," says Harpal Minhas, editor of the journal Lab On A Chip. "But any changes to current production-line touchscreens would need to demonstrate huge financial benefits before they are implemented." And DNA sequencing, rather than concentration measurement, is more likely to be necessary for disease diagnosis, he adds. - newscientist
The Complete Manual of Things That Might Kill You: A Guide to Self-Diagnosis for Hypochondriacs
Teenager 'dies jumping into piranha-infested river'
The 18-year-old man was drunk when he jumped out of a canoe in the Bolivian town of Rosario del Yata, 400 miles (640 kilometres) north of the capital of La Paz, police official Daniel Cayaya said.
The man bled to death after the attack, which occurred last Thursday, Mr Cayaya said. First word of the incident emerged on Tuesday, when it was reported by the local Erbol radio station.
Police suspect that the man had committed suicide because he was a fisherman in the region who knew the Yata river well.
Despite their fearsome reputation, fatal attacks by piranhas on humans are rare.
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
|Three of the witnesses to the incident. In the middle is Elmer "Lucky" Sutton discussing how the craft landed. (credit: UFOs Northwest)|
E.T. Started Out As Dark Alien Attack Movie I wanted to go back and look at the encounter in order to get an idea of how the original script may have read.
Repost from 10/9/2010 - On the night of August 21, 1955, two Kentucky families claimed to have fought unknown beings. In a rural area of Kentucky, near Hopkinsville and Kelly, two families contend they battled extraterrestrial creatures. The event happened around the Sutton farmhouse, where the Suttons and the Taylors gathered for dinner. At some point during the evening, Billy Ray Taylor went outside to draw water from the well.
Taylor witnessed a huge, bright object land in the woods about a quarter of a mile from the house. He started towards the house with the water when he saw a strange creature approaching. Billy Ray dropped the bucket and ran into the house. Both he and Lucky Sutton picked up firearms and ran back outside. Taylor fired his .22 caliber rifle and Lucky fired his shotgun but neither weapon had any effect on the creature.
Sutton and Taylor described the aliens as three feet tall, with pointed ears, thin limbs, long arms and claw-like hands. They said the creatures looked like gremlins, hence they became known as the Hopkinsville Goblins. The beings were either silvery in color or were wearing something metallic. The strangest aspect of these creature was their movements.
The aliens movements seemed to defy gravity as they floated above ground and walked with a swaying motion like they were walking through water.
The two men returned to the house. However, another creature appeared at the window...the two families realized they were up against something extraordinary. They ran from the house, got in their cars and headed to Hopkinsville. There they sought help from police who followed them to the farmhouse and searched the area.
Although they found no evidence of the creatures, they did find that the farmhouse had been shot up by the humans during the battle. The police left shortly after, but the aliens returned and the battle resumed. The defenders' guns continued to have no effect. The Air Force investigated the event but could not find solid evidence.
At first, the public reaction was that the incident was a hoax. However, the Suttons and the Taylors never profited from the encounter and there were dozens of eyewitnesses to the event. In addition to the families at the farmhouse, there were law enforcement officers who saw strange lights in the sky.
In 1957, Air Force Major John E. Albert concluded that the case resulted from the witnesses observing a monkey painted with silver that had escaped from a circus. French UFO researcher Renaud Leclet opined that a pair of Great Horned Owls may have been misidentified as aliens. However, Dr. J. Allen Hynek believed the incident was real. UFO researcher Allan Hendry wrote "...this case is distinguished by its duration and also by the number of witnesses involved." Jerome Clark writes that "...investigations by police, Air Force officers from nearby Fort Campbell, and civilian ufologists found no evidence of a hoax". Although they never formally investigated the case, Blue Book confessed to being stumped. So was Isabel Davis, one of the most skeptical of UFO investigators.
Many of famed film director Steven Spielberg's projects, like Night Skies, E.T. and Gremlins, were directly inspired by the Kelly-Hopkinsville events.
|Illustrations by Pfc. Gary F. Hodson of the 101st Airborne Division stationed at nearby Fort Campbell, who was sent to interview the witnesses of the Hopkinsville incidents|
The Kelly-Hopkinsville Case: An Overview
August 21 - 22, 1955
Half an hour later the family dog began barking violently and eventually put its tail between its legs and hid under the house. The two men, Billy Ray Taylor and Lucky Sutton, went to the back door to see what was bothering the dog and noticed a strange glow approaching the farmhouse from the fields. When the light came nearer, they resolved what caused it: a glowing three-and-a-half-foot tall creature with a round, oversized head. The eyes were large and glowed with a yellowish light; the arms were long, extended nearly to the ground, and ended in large hands with talons. The entire creature seemed made of silver metal. As the creature approached, its hands were raised over its head as if it were being held up.
Understandably startled, the two men reacted by grabbing their guns: a 20-gauge shotgun and a .22 rifle. Withdrawing slightly into the house, the men waited until the creature was within twenty feet of the back door and then fired; the entity flipped over backward and then scurried off into the darkness. After a few minutes, when it did not reappear, they returned to the living room only to see another (or the same) creature at a side window. They fired through the window screen at it, and again the creature flipped and disappeared. Sure that they had hit and disabled the creature, the two men went outside to find the body. As they started out the front door Billy Ray, who was in the lead, paused for a moment underneath an overhanging roof. Just as he was about to step into the yard, those in the hallway behind him saw one of the creatures on the roof reach down a taloned hand and touch his hair from above. The people indoors screamed and pulled him back inside. Lucky Sutton rushed out into the yard, turned and fired pointblank at the creature, knocking it off the roof. There was another creature in the maple tree close-by. Both Lucky and Billy Ray fired at this one and knocked it off the limb; it floated to the ground and then ran off quickly into the darkness. Immediately, another entity (or perhaps the one that had been knocked off the roof) came around the side of the house almost directly in front of the group. Lucky fired his shotgun at point-blank range and the result was the same: no effect. A sound was heard as the bullets struck, as if a metal bucket lead been hit, but the creature scurried off unhurt.
Understandably concerned that their guns were apparently useless, the men returned to the house to join the frightened women and children.
The creatures generally moved in a peculiar fashion. The legs appeared to be inflexible and when they ran, movement was accomplished almost totally by "hip motions." Usually totally erect, when they ran off they bent over and moved with long arms almost touching the ground. The entities' ability to float was particularly evident when one was knocked off the kitchen roof and floated a distance of about forty feet to a fence, where it was knocked off again by a shot. While they did not appear to have an aura of luminescence, their "skin" glowed in the dark with the glow becoming brighter when they were shot at or shouted at.
Mrs. Lankford, the mother of the family, counseled an end to the hostilities. Despite the fact that they had been shot at a number of times, no aggressive action was ever proffered by the creatures. However, the children were becoming hysterical and the creatures kept returning to peer in the windows at intervals; by 11 PM the family's patience had worn thin and they all got into two automobiles and headed at top speed to the nearby Hopkinsville police department
After a half hour's travel time, the police arrived back at the farmhouse with the still-frightened family. The Hopkinsville police, the state police, and a staff photographer arrived to investigate the situation. A thorough search was made of the house, the yard, and the outbuildings. Nothing was found, and the tension ran high: When someone accidentally stepped on a cat's tail and it yowled, "you never saw so many pistols unholstered so fast in your life!" The searchers checked out the woods area but found nothing. One unusual item that was found was a luminous patch where one of the creatures had been knocked off and fallen to the ground. However, when nothing really extraordinary appeared, the searchers began to leave and by 2:15 AM., the Sutton family was alone.
The family had been reassured enough to go to bed and shut off the few lights. Mrs. Lankford was lying in bed watching the window when she noticed a weird glow; the glow was one of the creatures staring inward with its hands on the window screen. Calling quietly to the rest of the family, she remained perfectly calm. Lucky Sutton, however, grabbed his gun and again shot at the creature through the screen. No effect. The creatures continued to make their appearance throughout the rest of the night, never doing anything overtly hostile and only seeming to show curiosity. The last creature was seen at half an hour before sunrise, at about 5:15 AM
The next morning, investigators came back to search the farmlands during the daytime. Nothing was found even though some even climbed to the roof of the house to look for footprints. The press got hold of the story; besides the reporter who had accompanied the police out during the night, the local radio station and many reporters from other papers in Kentucky, Indiana, and Tennessee arrived at the Sutton house. As the news spread, the general public began to show up and cars were backed up for a considerable distance down the road from the Sutton farmhouse. Sightseers stopped their cars, walked through the property, in and out of the house, annoyed the family with requests for pictures and, in general, created a carnival atmosphere the upshot of which was to generally ridicule the family for having seen "little green men from space."
However, on that same morning, Andrew Ledwith, an engineer with the local radio station, decided to stop into the station for a talk with the chief engineer (it was Ledwith's day off). He learned of the happenings at the Sutton farm the night before and because of his interest in UFOs and his previous experience as an artist, he decided to go out and interview the family. It is fortunate that he did. The publicity became so obnoxious to the Sutton family that they later simply avoided telling the story and refused to cooperate (one notable exception was with Isabel Davis, who prepared the Kelly report for CUFOS). The drawings that Mr. Ledwith created on the afternoon following the sighting are illustrated above.
How can such a tale be accepted at face value? one asks. After all, the family itself was considered of "low social status" by the townspeople. Two of the men had worked for a carnival; it could be argued that they were familiar with the art of the trickster.
The most telling criticism of the incident, however, is that there is absolutely no physical evidence whatsoever that the incident actually occurred. Skeptics point out that no footprints were found (the ground was extremely hard), no marks were on the roof (although the creatures seemed nearly weightless and may not have left marks), there was no blood on then, the bullets did no apparent damage), et cetera. One could thus conclude that the family "faked" the entire incident.
However, investigators who interviewed the Suttons afterward painted a picture of them that is quite different from the sort of people who could fabricate an elaborate hoax: They were uneducated, simple farm folk with no apparent interest in exploiting the rather considerable publicity that they engendered.
Did "creatures" really visit the farmhouse in Kentucky on that night of August 21, 1955? Or did the many witnesses, mostly adults, excite themselves to the point of exaggerating some lesser stimulus? The Kelly/Hopkinsville case still stands as one of the more provocative CE III events to date. - Allan Hendry, CUFOS
Project Blue Book - case number 10073
Kevin D. Randle:
Kevin D. Randle, ufologist, USAF retired, radio interview quote:
"What specific example of an entity case would you cite as fairly credible and why?"
"Well, naturally, I would elect the Roswell case, but the aspect of it from the military end. Edwin Easley, Patrick Saunders, et. al. because of their credibility. If we go beyond that I kind of like the Kelly-Hopkinsville report from 1955, but only because of the number of witnesses and the physical evidence involved. That is, the number of holes that Kelly (sic) and friends shot in the house in their attempt to repel the alien creatures. The Air Force excuse that they didn't investigate the case, though Air Force officers did go to interview the witnesses is fairly weak. It is an interesting case."
Dr. Gregory L. Little:
"In UFO Abductions Through The Ages", by Dr. Gregory L. Little, 1994:
"As my eyes fell on the demon drawings in Plancy's Dictionaire infernal (1863), I was struck by their similarity to the famous 1955 Kelly-Hopkinsville UFO case. Imagine the demons as gray in color, and they would also fit the description of the ubiquitous grays in recent abductions."
"There are many in the UFO field (as well as various religious leaders) who believe that the creatures associated with UFOs are demons. The similarity of some demons to the grays of UFO reports are probably no coincidence."
Karal Ayn Barnett:
In "The Kelly-Hopkinsville Incident - An Historical Review", 1998:
"Based on my experience of the region, I would testify to the fact that no one in that area would consider making up anything remotely like what the Suttons and Taylor said they saw. The residents of southwestern Kentucky are people who even now are largely religious, and (I mean on disparagement) conformists. To make up a story like this, one would run the risk of being branded as insane or a congenital liar with a pox on their family to boot. The ridicule, the contempt, the ostracism, the media circus - no one wold risk it. It just wouldn't happen. Unless it really happened."
"Not to put too fine a point on it, but small town Southerners are cloistered away, and in a sense, protected from other cultures, not just alien ones. Southerners don't venture far from their homes, usually, and the constant interaction among the townsfolk tends to reinforce certain ideas. One idea that is profoundly reinforced is that there are no such things as aliens, and anyone who says that they are either bedeviled, bewitched or terminally bewildered. We need not wonder why the Suttons and Billy Ray Taylor moved from the area soon after the incident."
Martin S. Kottmeyer:
Excerpts from "Pencil-Neck Aliens" by Martin S. Kottmeyer.
"Aliens with long, thin necks are currently "in." Reports and drawings of these pencil-neck Greys seem to be everywhere. They've turned up on T-shirts, made for TV films - Intruders (1992) - and in dozens of magazines and books. The proliferation of this trait among contemporary aliens may be a telling indication that our taste in aliens is as subject to fadism as our taste in clothing styles.
One has to grant that pencil necks have more aesthetic logic than biologic sense. The slenderness of these necks undeniably lend elegance to present-day aliens and enhance their overall anorexic appearance. Propping oversized craniums on top of such skinny supports however raises concerns this species is whiplash bait. What business have such aliens in vehicles which legend has it have a benchant for bone-bending right angle turns and ultra-air-brake stops?
The pencil-neck is a strikingly recent innovation. Early studies of ufonauts Coral and Jim Lorenzens's Flying Saucer Occupants (1967), Charles Bowen's The Humanoids (1969), and James McCampbell's Ufology (1973) - say nothing about aliens with long thin necks. They certainly weren't common. I'm doubtful there was a single unambiguous instance of a pencil-neck alien prior to the Eighties. I've rummaged through the drawings of all the major cases - the Flatwoods monster, Kelly-Hopkinsville, Barny and Betty Hill, Herb Schirmer, Pascagoula, Charles Moody, Travis Walton - and they are nowhere to be seen. (...) They seem to arrive en masse in 1987 with no less than five drawings of pencil- necks in Budd Hopkins' Intruders and the very prominent example staring out from the cover the Whitley Strieber's Communion. These works were popular and influential to the degree that it is now part of the stereotype of the Grey as noted by David Jacobs in his abductee study, Secret Life."
August 22, 1955 article in the Kentucky New Era:
Kelly Farmhouse Scene Of Alleged Raid By Strange Crew Last Night; Reports Say Bullets Failed To Affect Visitors
All kinds of investigations were going on today in connection with the bizarre story of how a space-ship carrying 12 to 15 little men landed in the Kelly community early last night and battled occupants of a farmhouse.
Most official of the probes was reportedly being staged by the air force.
More than a dozen state, county, and city officers from Christian and Hopkins counties went to the scene between 11 p.m. and midnight and remained until after 2 a.m. without seeing anything either to prove or disprove the story about the ship and its occupants.
The farmhouse is located on the Old Madisonville Road about eight miles north of Hopkinsville. The property is occupied by Cecil (Lucky) Sutton, one of those who reported experiencing last night's phenomena.
There were some 10 or 12 persons at the house, including several children, but investigating officers were not able to determine exactly how many of those present actually clamed to have seen any of the little men from the space ship. Only other person who officers quoted directly was identified as Billy Ray Taylor. One account said Taylor is a visitor from Pennsylvania, which recently had a similar report of a space ship. Neither Sutton nor Taylor was at home when officers returned to the scene this morning.
The story broke around 11 o'clock last night when two cars, one bearing a Pennsylvania license drove up to Hopkinsville's police headquarters. Officers then at the station said the two autos contained at least five adults and several children. All appeared highly excited.
Spokesmen for the crowd told of how something resembling a space ship or flying saucer had landed at the back of their house near Kelly and 12 or 15 men, who appeared to be about 4 feet tall, had got out of ship and come up to the house and done battle with the occupants.
"We need help," one of the men said, "we've been fighting them for nearly four hours."
Four city police, Chief Russell Greenwell, T.C. Gross, Dorris Francis, and Gray Salter, drove to the scene to see about the "little men". By radio, contact was made with State Troopers R.N. Ferguson Jr. and G.W. Riley and Deputy Sheriff George Batts, all of whom joined the motorcade to Kelly in their own vehicles. Four MP's also went.
The radio discussions also brought two Hopkins County deputy sheriffs and at least three state troopers from the station at Madisonville.
First arrivers found the scene deserted. The two cars which had brought the report to Hopkinsville did not return to the Kelly farm until after officers had arrived and looked the situation over.
Officers reported they found no tracks of "little men," nor was there any mark indicating anything had landed at the described sport behind the house. There was a hole in the screen at the window through which occupants said a shot had been fired at one of the strange little men.
Both Chief Greenwell and Deputy Sheriff Batts said they got approximately this story from the still-terrified and excited Sutton and Taylor families:
About 7 p.m. one of the men went out of the house to get a bucket of water. He saw what looked like a flying saucer come over the trees and land in a field at a point about a city block behind the house. There was no explosion, only a semi-hissing sound, and the watcher returned to the house with the bucket of water.
A short time later somebody reported some little men with big heads and long arms were approaching the house. The men were described as having huge eyes and hands out of proportion to their small bodies. The visitors were wearing what looked to be metal plate.
The men got their guns, a shotgun for Sutton and a .22 caliber target pistol for Taylor. By and by, one of the little men pressed his face against the window and the shotgun was fired through the window. The face disappeared.
The men decided to go outside and see if the visitor had been hit. Taylor was in front and when he emerged from the front door, a huge hand reached down from the low roof above the door and grabbed him by the hair. He pulled away and the two men went on out of the house.
One of the strange little men was in a nearby tree, another on top of the house. A blast from Sutton's shotgun knocked another one of the men down but he did not appear hurt. He disappeared in the darkness.
Taylor reportedly opened fire on other member of the invading party, also with little effect. The battle went on for some time. When the occupants of the house saw their chance, they jumped into their cars and drove to Hopkinsville for help.
Deputy Sheriff Batts said the men told him that in all they fired up about four boxes of .22 pistol shells. The officer quoted a neighbor saying he heard shooting at the Suttons but distinguished only about four shots and mistook them for fire-crackers. Most of the officers remained at the site for more than two hours. During that period, there were approximately 25 person at the scene.
Only excitement during the period the officers were there came when an MP happened to step on a cat's tail while walking in the darkness near the house. The cat let out a squawl and for a few seconds there was much activity and scurrying around on the part of those present.
Two officers who returned to the Kelly area early this morning reported hearing that the "little men" had reappeared around the Sutton home about 3:30 a.m.
Other investigators who went to Kelly later during the morning said they were told Sutton and Taylor had gone to Evansville today.
Officers who visited the scene during last night's excitement were reluctant to express any opinion today in regard to the reported invasion of Kelly. All officials appeared to agree that there was no drinking involved.
Only outspoken comment came from Frank Dudas, city police desk sergeant, who was not on duty last night and has not visited the scene so far. He said, "I think the whole story is entirely possible."
Sergeant Dudas was one of two city policemen who reported seeing three flying saucers early one morning last summer. He said, "I know I saw them. If I saw them, the Kelly story certainly could be true."
NOTE: One of the most intriguing UFO / extraterrestrial encounters ever reported. In fact, it is mostly likely one of the first UFO cases I read...possibly in comic book form in the early 60's. Lon
Click for video
Hendry, Allan (1980), "The Encyclopedia of UFOs"
True Alien Invasion of the Sutton Farm - A Documented Case (Invasion of Farm By Real Space Aliens)
The UFO Experience: A Scientific Inquiry
Mystery company buying up U.S. gun manufacturers
Lined up in a gun rack beneath mounted deer heads is a Bushmaster Carbon 15, a matte-black semiautomatic rifle that looks as if it belongs to a SWAT team. On another rack rests a Teflon-coated Prairie Panther from DPMS Firearms, a supplier to the U.S. Border Patrol and security agencies in Iraq. On a third is a Remington 750 Woodsmaster, a popular hunting rifle.
The variety of rifles and shotguns on sale here at Cabela's, the national sporting goods chain, is a testament to America's enduring gun culture. But, to a surprising degree, it is also a testament to something else: Wall Street deal-making.
In recent years, many top-selling brands - including the 195-year-old Remington Arms, as well as Bushmaster Firearms and DPMS, leading makers of military-style semiautomatics - have quietly passed into the hands of a single private company. It is called the Freedom Group - and it is the most powerful and mysterious force in the U.S. commercial gun industry today.
Never heard of it?
You're not alone. Even within gun circles, the Freedom Group is something of an enigma. Its rise has been so swift that it has become the subject of wild speculation and grassy-knoll conspiracy theories. In the realm of consumer rifles and shotguns - long guns, in the trade - it is unrivaled in its size and reach. By its own count, the Freedom Group sold 1.2 million long guns and 2.6 billion rounds of ammunition in the 12 months ended March 2010, the most recent year for which figures are publicly available.
Behind this giant is Cerberus Capital Management, the private investment company that first came to widespread attention when it acquired Chrysler in 2007. (Chrysler later had to be rescued by taxpayers). With far less fanfare, Cerberus, through the Freedom Group, has been buying big names in guns and ammo.
From its headquarters in Manhattan, Cerberus has assembled a remarkable arsenal. It began with Bushmaster, which until recently was based here in Maine. Unlike military counterparts like automatic M-16s, rifles like those from Bushmaster don't spray bullets with one trigger pull. But, with gas-powered mechanisms, semiautomatics can fire rapid follow-up shots as fast as the trigger can be squeezed. They are often called "black guns" because of their color. The police tied a Bushmaster XM15 rifle to shootings in the Washington sniper case in 2002.
After Bushmaster, the Freedom Group moved in on Remington, which traces its history to the days of flintlocks and today is supplying M24 sniper rifles to the government of Afghanistan and making handguns for the first time in decades. The group has also acquired Marlin Firearms, which turned out a special model for Annie Oakley, as well as Dakota Arms, a maker of high-end big-game rifles. It has bought DPMS Firearms, another maker of semiautomatic, military-style rifles, as well as manufacturers of ammunition and tactical clothing.
"We believe our scale and product breadth are unmatched within the industry," the Freedom Group said in a filing last year with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Some gun enthusiasts have claimed that the power behind the company is actually George Soros, the hedge-fund billionaire and liberal activist. Soros, these people have warned, is buying U.S. gun companies so he can dismantle the industry, Second Amendment be damned.
The chatter grew so loud that the National Rifle Association issued a statement in October denying the rumors.
"NRA has had contact with officials from Cerberus and Freedom Group for some time," the NRA assured its members. "The owners and investors involved are strong supporters of the Second Amendment and are avid hunters and shooters."
Soros isn't behind the Freedom Group, but, ultimately, another financier is: Stephen Feinberg, the chief executive of Cerberus.
Cerberus is part of one of the signature Wall Street businesses of the past decade: private equity. Buyout kings like Feinberg, 51, try to acquire undervalued companies, often with borrowed money, fix them up and either take them public or sell at a profit to someone else.
Before the financial crisis of 2008, scores of well-known U.S. companies, from Chrysler down, passed into the hands of private-equity firms. For the financiers, the rewards were often enormous. But some companies that they acquired later ran into trouble, in part because they were burdened with debt from the takeovers.
Feinberg, a Princeton graduate who began his Wall Street career at Drexel Burnham Lambert, the junk bond powerhouse of Michael Milken fame, got into private equity in 1992. That year, he and William Richter founded Cerberus, which takes its name from the three-headed dog in Greek mythology that guards the gates of Hades.
Today, Feinberg presides over a private empire that rivals some of the mightiest public companies in the land. Cerberus manages more than $20 billion in capital. Together, the companies it owns generate annual revenue of about $40 billion - more than either Amazon or Coca-Cola last year.
Why Cerberus went after gun companies isn't clear. Many private investment firms shy away from such industries to avoid scaring off big investors like pension funds.
Yet, in many ways, the move is classic Cerberus. Feinberg has a history of investing in companies that other people may not want, but that Cerberus believes it can turn around. When Cerberus embarked on its acquisition spree in guns, it essentially had the field to itself.
"There's much less competition for buying these companies," says Steven N. Kaplan, a professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a private equity expert. "They must have decided there is an opportunity to make money by investing in the firearms industry and trying to build a big company."
Whatever the reason, Cerberus, through the Freedom Group, is now a major player.
It has sold weapons to the governments of Afghanistan, Thailand, Mexico and Malaysia, among others, and obtained new business from the U.S. Army, including a contract worth up to $28.2 million to upgrade the M24 sniper weapon system.
Cerberus brings connections to the table. The longtime chairman of its global investments group is Dan Quayle, the former vice president. The Freedom Group, meantime, has added two retired generals to its board. One is George Joulwan, who retired from the Army after serving as Supreme Allied Commander of Europe. The other is Michael Hagee, formerly commandant of the Marine Corps.
Jessica Kallam, a spokeswoman at the Freedom Group, said executives there declined to comment for this article. Timothy Price, a managing director of Cerberus, also declined to comment.
The old Bushmaster factory in Windham, Maine, doesn't look like much. With a facade of brick and gray aluminum siding, it squats in an unassuming office park on the Roosevelt Trail.
But Cerberus representatives who arrived here in 2005 clearly saw potential. Inside, several dozen gunsmiths, working by hand, were fitting together 6,000 to 7,000 weapons a month. At the time, Bushmaster was thriving, although it had been stung by bad publicity stemming from the Beltway sniper shootings. (In a 2004 settlement with victims of the shootings and their families, Bull's Eye Shooter Supply, the store where the gun was acquired, agreed to pay $2 million, and Bushmaster agreed to pay $568,000, but they did not admit liability.)
Richard Dyke, then the principal owner and chairman of Bushmaster, welcomed the visitors from New York. A blunt-spoken Korean War veteran and Republican fundraiser, he had made a fortune himself by buying companies in trouble, including one that made poker chips. In 1976, he bought a bankrupt gun-maker in Bangor, Maine, for $241,000, moved it to Windham and later changed its name to Bushmaster. The company that Dyke bought had patents on semiautomatic weapons designed for the military and police. But he was drawn to the nascent market in military-style firearms for civilians. He saw as his customers precision target shooters, including current and former military personnel, police officers and, well, military wannabes, he says.
A Bushmaster Carbon 15 .223 semiautomatic is about 3 feet long. But, weighing in at just under 6 pounds, it is surprisingly easy to maneuver, even for a novice. It doesn't have to be recocked after it's fired: You just squeeze the trigger over and over.
"At 25 meters, if you are a decent shot," Dyke says, "you can put it into a bull's-eye that is the size of a quarter."
The Bushmaster brand began to grow in the 1980s after the company started supplying its semiautomatics to police departments. It won a much larger consumer following in the 1990s, after it landed several small military contracts.
Bushmaster was among the first to sell ordinary people on weapons that look and feel like the ones carried by soldiers. Today many gunmakers have embraced military-style weapons, a major but controversial source of growth for the commercial gun market, says Tom Diaz, a senior policy analyst at the Violence Policy Center, a research group that backs gun control.
"It's clear that the militarized stuff is the stuff that sells and is defining the industry," Diaz says.
Dyke says he's not sure why Bushmaster caught the eye of Cerberus. Whatever the case, when Cerberus came calling, Dyke, then past 70, was ready to sell. At the time, Bushmaster had $85 million in annual sales and several million dollars in debt, he says. In April 2006, he sold the company to Cerberus for about $76 million, he says, and Cerberus rented the Bushmaster plant here for five years.
The next year, Cerberus formed the Freedom Group.
Now Bushmaster is gone from Maine. Earlier this year, Dyke says, the Freedom Group notified him it was closing Bushmaster's operation in the state and moving it to a bigger plant owned by Remington, a typical consolidation play for a private investment firm looking to cut costs and increase efficiency. Remington, for its part, announced earlier this year that it was expanding its manufacturing capacity and hiring new employees to make Bushmasters.
Several months ago, Dyke started a new company, Windham Weaponry, at the old Bushmaster site and has rehired most of his former employees. But he's not planning to go head-to-head with the Freedom Group.
"It's the big gorilla in the room," he says, adding: "We don't have to do $100 million. We'd have hopes of doing $20 million."
Remington has been producing guns since 1816, when, according to lore, a young man named Eliphalet Remington made a flintlock rifle in his father's forge in Ilion Gulch, in upstate New York. By the 1870s, the brand was so popular that the company diversified into typewriters. In 2007, the Freedom Group swooped in and bought Remington for $370 million, including $252 million in assumed debt. In one stroke, the Freedom Group gained one of the most famous names in U.S. firearms, the largest domestic maker of shotguns and rifles and a major manufacturer of ammunition.
"That caused a lot of stir in the industry," says Dean J. Lockwood, a weapons systems analyst at Forecast International, a market research firm.
Next, the Freedom Group in rapid succession went after other firearms companies: DPMS; Marlin Firearms, a classic maker that came with two niche shotgun brands, Harrington & Richardson and L.C. Smith; and Dakota Arms. The Freedom Group also bought S&K industries, which supplies wood and laminate for gun stocks, as well as the Advanced Armament Corp., which makes silencers. It acquired Barnes Bullets, which makes copper-jacketed bullets popular with precision shooters and police departments.
The more the company diversifies its portfolio, analysts say, the more it has to offer to firearms distributors and leading retailers like Wal-Mart and Cabela's. - sfgate
E.T. Started Out As Dark Alien Attack Movie
Classic family film E.T. The Extra Terrestrial started out life as a creepy alien abduction movie about a farm family who are visited by "spindly grey aliens".
Movie mogul Steven Spielberg admits the beloved 1982 film was initially based on real Ufo encounter stories in Kentucky, and it only became a family film when Harrison Ford's then-girlfriend Melissa Mathison agreed to rewrite the screenplay.
He says, "It was going to be called Night Skies, based on a piece of Ufo mythology... where a farm family reported little spindly grey aliens attacking their farm, even riding cows in the farmyard. This farm family basically huddled together for survival... It's a story that's well-known in the world of ufology, and we based our script on that story."
Spielberg tells Entertainment Weekly magazine he even commissioned celebrated effects designer Rick Baker to create the aliens, but everything changed when Mathison agreed to come on-board.
He recalls, "Melissa didn't want to write it. I needed Harrison and all of us to talk her into it." - contactmusic
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial [Blu-ray]
Psychic: 'Natalie Wood Was Killed By Mystery Lover'
A longtime pal and ex-boyfriend of tragic actress Natalie Wood has added a new twist to the star's ongoing 1981 drowning death investigation - he believes she was killed by a mystery former lover.
Celebrity seer John Cohan, who wrote about his friendship with Wood in his book "Catch a Falling Star", was planning to reveal the truth about what he thinks happened to the actress on the last night of her life in a sequel.
However, he is so upset about the latest round of allegations following the re-opening of his friend's death investigation he is speaking out now.
Cohan claims Wood's former lover, who she called Stinger, had threatened to tell her husband Robert Wagner about their affair - and he was "close by" on the night she died.
When the case was initially closed, it was ruled that Wood accidentally fell overboard from her husband's boat miles out to sea off the coast of California after a boozy night with Wagner and the couple's guest, actor Christopher Walken.
But Cohan tells WENN, "Anyone can clamber onboard a boat and then leave. I believe Stinger came onboard and he confronted Natalie and he is responsible for her death."
The psychic claims Wood had been madly in love with the "blue-eyed, blond-haired" hunk but he turned on her towards the end of a year-long romance and threatened to go public with the affair if Wood didn't pay him a small fortune.
Cohan adds, "Stinger was someone very important to Natalie. Our mutual friend, Roddy MCDowell, told me he had died of Aids many years after she did. That's all I know. I never asked for his identity. I didn't want or need to know. of his death.
"I am coming forward now because I feel I have a mission of love. I'd like to let people know the mindset of my Nat. She was so together in the end, a very bright woman. She did not slip overboard to her death or take her own life even though she wasn't happy with R.J. (Wagner).
"And all this talk about an argument between R.J. and Natalie over a romance with Christopher Walken is nonsense. There's no way they were involved. I stake my reputation on it. Natalie thought of Chris Walken as a buddy, which she firmly told me."
Cohan is convinced he has the story of his friend's death spot on, because he claims Wood has confirmed his theory during visitations from beyond the grave.
He adds, "Natalie's visitations confirmed what Roddy always said to me too - Stinger went both ways in the latter years, women and men.
"I am hoping that this revelation takes the investigation to another point and helps to clear Robert Wagner's name. He was not a saint but he did not kill Natalie, as has been suggested. They're making him into something he's not.
"Someone came onboard the boat in the middle of the night when Christopher Walken and R.J. were out of it. There were no eyewitnesses. So much has been made of an argument earlier in the evening. That had nothing to do with Natalie Wood's death." - contactmusic
Organic Entity - Kingston, Ontario
7/10/2009 - unedited: I was at a cottage in the 1000 islands region near Kingston, Ontario and experienced seeing something very abnormal in the sky. I was sitting on a dock over looking a lake when the object appeared from across the lake and moved towards the dock. The object can only be described as an organic looking connected formation of lights that hovered about 100 feet above the lake. The object moved towards my location initially then moved to the right slowly, while at the same time it changed shape and colour. I remember seeing red, purple, green ,orange and blue. The object's reflection could clearly be seen in the dark lake. At one point the object even seemed to form a face and arms. It was not a craft or ship of any time was certainly not man made. But it was clearly glowing and and a defined image. It kept moving right before it dropped below the tree line and disappeared. There were two other witnesses with me, and one of my friends was able to capture several photos.
I have attached one of the photos that I have, and if you think that this is something interesting I can get the other photos by contacting my friend.
It was nothing like I have seen or heard of before. It was not a fire work because it hovered for several minutes before vanishing. I was a little bit frightened when viewing the objects but my friends were laughing and kept saying, "It's not going to hurt us." They didn't seem to be afraid at all.
Any information of this sighting would be greatly appreciated. - MUFON CMS
The Canadian UFO Report: The Best Cases Revealed
Smoking is hazardous to your nipples
Anthony Youn, M.D., is a plastic surgeon in Metro Detroit. He is the author of "In Stitches",a humorous memoir about growing up Asian American and becoming a doctor.
I cringe every time I see a patient for a breast lift who is a smoker. I’m deathly afraid that despite my warnings, she will smoke before or after surgery and cause her nipples to turn black and fall off.
Yes. Smokers who undergo breast lifts are at great risk of losing their nipples.
I’ve seen it before.
The nicotine in cigarettes and the carbon monoxide contained in cigarette smoke can diminish blood flow to various parts of the body. These toxins act as a virtual tourniquet. If the blood flow to a particular body part becomes greatly reduced or halted, that body part dies.
In my memoir “In Stitches,” I told the story of a smoker whose nipples turned purple while undergoing a breast lift surgery. Purple is the precursor to black. Black is the precursor to falling off. To save the patient—and her nipples - we turned to the only treatment available.
We went medieval.
We used leeches.
Because of the mechanics of blood flow, when the blood supply is inadequate, which occurs with smoking, the tiniest veins often fail. This insufficiency results in a backup of old (venous) blood in the body part, causing it to turn purple. If the backup of old blood is serious enough, the purple color may eventually turn black. That’s when we know the body part - toe, finger, or nipple - is dead.
We use leeches to literally suck out the excess venous blood from the body part, acting as an attachable vein. The leech drains the old blood, causing it to turn from unhealthy purple back to healthy pink. We place leeches intermittently until the body part grows new blood vessels to do the leeches’ work. This can take several days.
Not long ago, during a consultation for a breast lift, a patient, Susan, admitted to being a pack-a-day smoker. I informed her that smoking can cause difficulty in healing and instructed her to quit smoking at least one month before surgery and to stay off cigarettes for at least a month afterward. Several months later, when she arrived at the hospital for her breast lift, she smelled like an ashtray.
“Susan, I thought you quit smoking.”
“I did. OK. For a while. It’s really hard to quit, Dr. Youn.”
“I know,” I said. “But this is a big deal. There could be major healing problems if you smoke before or after surgery.”
“I understand. But I want to go ahead with the surgery anyway. It’ll be fine.”
She wasn’t hearing me. I needed to get through to her. “Susan, listen to me. If I operate on you, your nipples could turn black and fall off.”
Her eyes widened. “You mean… I’d have no nipples?”
“No nipples. That’s what smoking can do.”
Susan flushed. She raised her voice. “Dr. Youn, I took a week off work for this surgery. I had to put my whole life on hold for an entire week. If you told me I’d lose my nipples from smoking, I would’ve quit for good. This is your fault.”
Yes. Seriously. Susan blamed me for the inconvenience.
Thanks to her, I’ve changed my policy. In addition to the Surgeon General’s Warning that appears on cigarette packages, I now offer the Plastic Surgeon’s Warning to all my patients who smoke: If you are having a breast lift or reduction and you smoke, your nipples could turn black and fall off. If you are having a tummy tuck and you smoke, you may get an infection resulting in a big gross open wound that will take three months to heal. If you are having a facelift and you smoke, the skin of your cheek could turn black and slough off, leaving exposed fat.
Imagine yourself looking like “Two-Face” from “Batman: The Dark Knight.”
And do you really want me to reach for the jar of leeches?
Smokers, you have been warned. - thecharts