; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fortean / Alternative News: Tokyo's Yellow Rain Concerns, UFO Frenzy in Colorado and 'Knobby' Nonsense

Yellow Rain Falls In Tokyo? Pollen Excuse Exact Same As Chernobyl Yellow Rain Lie

theintelhub - While the Japanese government continues to say that the yellow rain seen in Japan was simply “pollen,” many have been reminded of a very similar occurrence after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Almost on que, the Japan Meteorological Agency has confirmed the rain to be pollen after receiving hundreds of calls from concerned citizens.

The ‘‘yellow rain’’ seen Wednesday in the Kanto region surrounding Tokyo was caused by pollen, not radioactive materials as many residents had worried, the Japan Meteorological Agency said Thursday, reported the Japan Times.

That’s right, according to so called experts, enough pollen to cause hundreds to report their findings, rained down on Tokyo at the same time as a devastating nuclear disaster has released high levels of radiation at least 20km from the nuclear plant.

This explanation has reminded many of the yellow rain that hit after the Chernobyl disaster.

Similar to the explanation in Japan, government officials claimed that the yellow radioactive rain that fell in Gomel, Belarus was merely pollen and nothing to worry about. We now know that was a bold faced lie.

Women and children actually played in the puddles of yellow rain after the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl. Remembering Chernobyl – Yellow Rain:

“We all jumped in the puddles with the yellow stuff. … You don’t see (it in) the air, it doesn’t materialize. But when you see the yellow dust, you see radiation,” Antonina Sergieff said.

The accident was originally caused by a small testing error that resulted in a chain reaction in which highly pressurized steam literally blew the top off of a nuclear reactor.

The result was the release of 100 more times radiation than the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, according to the United Nations issue brief on Chernobyl.

Among the unstable elements released were iodine-131, caesium-137, strontium-90 and plutonium-239. Scientists say that exposure to such elements, especially in such high doses, impairs critical cellular functions and damages DNA.

When these elements first reached Sergieff 20 years ago, they came in the form of yellow rain.

It was not long after that residents in her hometown knew it wasn’t simply “pollen” – which is what government officials assured them, she said.

Click for video

Suspected Pollen Fall Stokes Radiation Jitters in Kanto

blogs.wsj - As far as weather experts were concerned it was an unremarkable grayish morning in Tokyo and neighboring prefectures located in the crook of Japan’s biggest island. But the calm weather belied the storm of phone calls made to Japan’s Meteorological Agency this morning, as citizens made anxious by the crisis at the wrecked reactors at Fukushima remain on high alert for the slightest sign of news–or anything else–from the plant.

The day after Tokyo authorities warned against giving tapwater to infants on account of small doses of radioactive iodine in the water supply, residents in the surrounding Kanto region anxious about a mysterious yellow substance seen on back porches and sidewalks barraged the JMA’s help line Thursday morning, fearful that the powdery material might be radioactive remnants of rain from the previous night. But it wasn’t the dregs of black rain.

The JMA believes the yellow patches are pollen, but has yet to confirm this.

“Pollen is something people see all the time and ignore, said a JMA official. “But people are extra vigilant now because they are scared of radiation exposure” due to the caustic Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

At time of publication, over 280 inquiries concerning the yellow powder had been phoned into the JMA after the help lined opened at 9:00 am JST Thursday. The JMA said it is the first time the service has received this kind of volume, underlining the anonymous but evident way radiation fears have manifested in Japan, similar to how shoppers hoarded water and instant noodles in the immediate aftermath of the disasters two weeks ago. A JMA official said the help line typically gets a lot of traffic when a typhoon is on the horizon. But even then the number of calls rarely reaches 200.

The JMA said the pollen — flying about in especially concentrated amounts this year because of last summer’s record heat wave – fell down with the rain Wednesday night. While the pollen would usually be drained down gutters during heavier rain falls, the droplets don’t pool into puddles when it’s weak. Instead, the water left on the ground evaporates quickly leaving the caught pollen naked on the pavement.


Only in America: Get high, get mauled by a bear, get workers' comp

theweek - The story: The Montana Supreme Court this week decided that a nature park worker who was mauled by a grizzly bear in 2007 should get workers' compensation — even though he was high on marijuana at the time. The man, Brock Hopkins, admitted he smoked a joint before deciding to feed the animals at Great Bear Adventures, a privately run park where black bears and grizzlies roam outdoors. While Hopkins was in the bear enclosure, a grizzly named Red attacked and severely injured him. His initial workers' compensation claim was denied. The owner of the park, Russ Kilpatrick, said Hopkins doesn't even really work there, but was more of a helper he gave money to "out of his heart." The state Supreme Court disagreed, saying Hopkins was hurt while doing work for Kilpatrick, so he deserved to be compensated for his injuries. Hopkins' altered state, the court said, didn't matter, because grizzlies are "equal-opportunity maulers."

The reaction: "Smoke dope. Feed grizzlies. Get mauled. Collect worker's comp," says Gwen Florio at Cops and Courts. Is this a great country, or what? Well, the Montana Workers' Compensation Court did characterize Hopkins' actions as — in their words — "mind-bogglingly stupid," says Eric Schwartz at the Daily Inter Lake. The justices just decided that "marijuana use was not a major contributing cause of his injuries." Stoned or sober, when it's you vs. a grizzly, the grizzly wins. Every time.


Genetically Modified Cows Produce "Human" Milk

good.is - Earlier this month, China held an exhibition to showcase major technical achievements during its 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010). Among the wonders on display were photos of a herd of 200 cows that have been genetically modified to produce "human" milk.

Precise details of the bioengineering employed to adjust the composition of the milk these 200 cows produce are not available, nor is it clear exactly how closely the GM cow milk will resemble its human analog. According to the announcement in the state-run news outlet, China Daily, Li Ning, director of the State Key Laboratories for AgroBiotechnology at China Agricultural University, confirmed that the genetically modified herd's milk "contains the characteristics of human milk."

Li added that the cow-human milk "tastes stronger than normal milk" and explained that:

In ancient China, only the emperor and the empress could drink human milk throughout their lives, which was believed to be the height of opulence. Why not make that kind of milk more available for ordinary people?

Interestingly, human milk has low protein density compared with cow's milk, and many of its health benefits are to be found in so-called "non-nutritional factors" such as anti-microbials, anti-inflammatory substances, hormones, and digestive enzymes. Li is vague on the specifics, but promises that China's genetically modified cows will allow scientists to mass-produce ingredients "that can help improve the immune systems and the central nervous systems of children." "Within 10 years," he added, "people will be able to pick up these human-milk-like products at the supermarket."

The ingenuity involved in shifting the nutrient profile of milk produced by mammals is pretty remarkable—it can now only be a matter of time before we bypass the Nestlé factory altogether and squeeze chocolate-yumberry flavor cow's milk with brain-boosting Omega 3 direct from our pet goat's udders.

However, this development should be understood in the light of China's recent scares over melamine-tainted baby milk. The national scandal that followed the sickening of nearly 300,000 infants fed the tainted milk powder prompted an ongoing discussion about the country's declining breast-feeding rates, which, in turn, has been blamed on everything from aggressive marketing by formula producers, migrant working patterns, and the rise of body image concerns.

Still, in a country where up to 90 percent of adults are lactose intolerant, genetically modifying cows to produce human breast milk seems like an unnecessarily complicated solution to a problem that could instead be tackled through greater support for and awareness of the benefits of breast-feeding itself, not to mention rigorous enforcement of China's new food safety laws.


Knobby or his kin?

shelbystar - Tufts of bushy brown fur. Thick, powerful legs supporting a stocky frame. If it wasn't Knobby, Thomas Byers thinks the Cleveland County bigfoot has a close cousin.

The Shelby native says he saw an apelike creature dart across the road during a trip through the hills below South Mountains State Park Tuesday evening. Byers and friend Carolyn Wright had planned to watch for paranormal phenomena at an old church graveyard when the shrouded, shuffling figure crossed their path.

"She was hollering, 'What is it, what is it?' and I couldn't even speak," Byers said. "It was the most amazing thing I've ever seen. It looked like it was about 300 pounds and it was somewhere close to 7 feet tall. It came out of the field and came through the briars and bushes onto the road."

Byers snapped photographs and recorded a brief video of the sighting with a pocket digital camera. As is often the case with footage of the camera-shy sasquatch, Byers' film is blurry and indistinct. He said the darkening sky made clearer pictures impossible, but he's convinced the creature was genuine.

"I saw its private parts," he said. I don't think it was anybody in a suit or anything like that. It was definitely male."

Could it be Knobby?

Byers made his discovery on Golden Valley Church Road outside Bostic in northeastern Rutherford County, not far from the Cleveland County line. Cleveland has a history of bigfoot sightings dating back four decades.

In the late 1970s, residents reported more than a dozen sasquatch sightings near Carpenter's Knob north of Casar. A reporter dubbed the creature Knobby, and the legend lay dormant until June 2010, when Casar resident Timothy Peeler called 911 to report seeing an apelike creature.

There are several key discrepancies between the two recent sightings, however. Peeler said the sasquatch he saw was at least 10 feet tall with a white-gray beard. Byers' bigfoot stood 3 feet shorter and had darker hair.

"I've heard all the legends about Knobby," Byers said. "I've heard people talking about it. I don't know about a blond one, but I know there's a brown one. He was alive and well and in bad need of a bath."

Walks like a man

Byers believes the creature he saw scampering across the road was a new primate species. But an animal ecologist who analyzed his video said the blurry figure is likely more man than beast. Dr. James English, professor of zoology at Gardner-Webb University, said the "bigfoot" has the gait of a human.

"There's nothing about this that makes me believe that it's anything but a person," English said. "This isn't evidence that is in any way convincing. It's just a picture of something walking upright."

English said the figure in Byers' video has a limp that makes it appear as if its right leg is injured. Though the video is grainy and texture is difficult to determine, the professor said he didn't necessarily see hair.

"There's a shade of blue on his lower torso that looks like blue jeans," English said. "I'm not going to say it's obviously anything because it's such a poor picture."

Bigfoot sightings have persisted for generations, but most scientists say believers haven't met the burden of proof. Photos, videos and footprints can be faked, but a sasquatch corpse — or even bones — would provide credible evidence of existence.

"Just because you don't find one doesn't mean it doesn't exist," English said. "It would be pretty extraordinary. I couldn't say it's impossible; I would just say that it's extremely unlikely."

Up close and personal

While Byers' video may invite skepticism, the retired Navy petty officer first class said his face-to-face encounter with the creature left little room for doubt.

Smoke streamed from the mountaintops in the distance as a prescribed burn consumed dead brush. Byers said the fire was flushing wildlife out of the woods, and he and Wright had stopped along the roadside to see deer and rabbits running across the road when they saw the strange creature.

"It turned around, threw up its arms and snarled at me," Byers said. "It was real pissed off. I could see its teeth. I could see every detail of it."

Byers said he was 15 to 20 feet away from the bigfoot. Even from that distance, he noticed a pungent odor.

"There was a horrid smell like decay," he said. "It was a cross between roadkill and a skunk."

What the creature lacked in hygiene, however, it made up for in agility. Byers said the sasquatch scaled a hill on the other side of the road in mere seconds.

"It was a lot faster than any man," he said. "It was just as fast or faster than a deer."

He knows not everyone will believe his bigfoot encounter was genuine. But if the sighting was staged, Byers said he's not in on the joke.

"I have nothing to profit from for it to be a hoax," he said. "I'm open to the possibilities, but I think it was real."


UFO frenzy goes into overdrive as three red lights hover over Colorado town

dailymail - It's the latest internet sensation - amateur footage of three red lights in a triangular formation hovering in the night sky above the town of Lafayette in Colorado.

The video, shot last Monday, shows that the sky was clear and witnesses said they could not see anything connecting the lights.

Leroy Vandervegt, a 50-year-old who has lived in Lafayette for 16 years, shot the video Sunday evening after his 17-year-old son saw the glowing orbs move from south west to south east along the horizon.

'I had no idea what it is,' he said. 'It wasn't a satellite, it wasn't an airplane and it wasn't a helicopter.'

By Friday, five days after posting, more than 39,000 people had watched the video on YouTube, dailycamera.com reports.

Mr Vandervegt said the lights made no noise and did not blink.

The lights remained in a triangular shape as they moved forward, though the shape of the triangle changed.

Denver International Airport officials would not talk about the sighting but, intriguingly, Allen Kenitzer, the Federal Aviation Administration's spokesman for the Rocky Mountain region, said his staff didn't see anything out of the ordinary.

Mr Kenitzer said: 'To the best of our knowledge, radar returns showed no abnormal unidentified activity within our airspace in references to the three triangular formation red lights as being reported.'

Doug Wilson is the Colorado director for the Mutual UFO Network, an organization that strives to learn the origin of UFO phenomena through the collection and analysis of UFO data. He received four reports of the UFO sighting and is sending investigators to the scene.

'It's unusual for us to have a single event with multiple reports,' he said. 'It's not just somebody pulling our leg.'

He added that three red lights in a triangle is a common pattern for UFOs.

Astrophysicist Adam Frank, however, poured cold water on the reports, questioning why a planet-hopping spaceship would need headlights.

He said: 'Any civilization with technology capable of spanning light-years ought to be able to hide themselves well enough to avoid detection from hairy apes with jet-planes like us.

'Of course, the lights might be their engines but a species crossing trillions of kilometres of empty space is not going to be using rockets. Hopefully they have some other kind of "hyperdrive" or something cool.'