; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fortean / Alternative News: Ukraine Yeti Video, Israel Moon Bound and Wonder Cure in Tanzania

Bigfoot / Yeti video from the Ukraine

This is a recently released video supposedly from the Ukraine. There have also been claims that it was from the Crimea area. The videos below are 'broke down', including a stabilized version.

Enhanced version

Click for video 1

Click for video 2


Israel going to the Moon?

If all goes according to plan, by December 2012 a team of three young Israeli scientists will have landed a tiny spacecraft on the moon, explored the lunar surface, and transmitted live video back to earth, thereby scooping up a $20 million prize (the Google Lunar X Prize), revolutionizing space exploration, and making the Jewish State the third nation (after the U.S. and Russia) to land a probe on the moon. And they’re doing it in their spare time.

The three engineers – Yariv Bash (electronics and computers), Kfir Damari (communication systems), and Yonatan Winetraub (satellite systems) all have high-level day jobs in the Israeli science and technology world, and also both teach and study. They all had heard of the Google Lunar X Prize independently, before being introduced by mutual friends who, as Yonatan puts it “thought we were all crazy enough to do it, so we should meet each other.”

By the end of November 2010 they had sketched together a novel plan to win the prize and submitted it to organizers. Only on December 21 (10 days before the December 31 deadline) did they set about raising the $50,000 entry fee. “Like good Israelis we left it to the last minute,” Yonatan laughs.

Since then they’ve recruited around 50 volunteers from across the Israeli science and technology community and have gained support from academic institutions, including the prestigious Weizmann Institute of Science (founded in 1933 by Chaim Weizmann, himself a successful chemist who went on to become Israel’s first president). They’re operating as a non-profit (“we’re looking for stakeholders,” says Project Coordinator Ronna Rubinstein), and any winnings will be invested in promoting science among Israeli youth.

The X Prize’s organizers say their competition is intended to attract “mavericks” who “take new approaches and think creatively about difficult problems, resulting in truly innovative breakthroughs.” They see the moon as a largely untapped resource, and believe that “inexpensive, regular access to the Moon is a critical stepping stone for further exploration.”

Maverick and creative thinkers the Israeli trio appear to be: According to the X Prize organizers, the 29 competing teams will spend between $15 million and $100 million on the project, with the earliest launch not scheduled until 2013. The Israelis aim to spend less than that (around $10 million) and to launch before 2013.

“One of reasons that we’re able to do this,” Kfir (who started programming aged six and wrote his first computer virus aged 11) explains, “is because of our different perspective. Most space missions aim to last many years and so have to be built in a certain way. Ours doesn’t have to last as long. This saves cost.”

Another way the team intends to keep costs down involves utilizing existing technology that just hasn’t previously been linked up for this purpose, rather than spending a new fortune. Naturally the team isn’t releasing specific details of the technology they’re using, but they’re confident that they’ve got what they need.

And once they’re on the moon? “The actual robot will be something the size of a coca-cola bottle,” says Yonatan. “Think about it – a cell phone has most of the capabilities necessary for communication and imaging, and to that we need to add a hopper” to move around the moon. “Simple” really. And the impact of this? “Once we do this it will break the glass ceiling,” Yonatan adds, “and show that space exploration doesn’t have to be expensive.”

As to why they got involved? “Three reasons,” say Yonatan, “Creating national pride, really putting Israel on the map as a start-up nation by doing something only the superpowers have done, and reigniting Israeli interest in science.” And it’s the third – rejuvenating interest among Israeli youth in science – that’s closest to these young scientists’ hearts.

In the 1960s and 1970s, they say, many young Israelis pursued careers in science, in part inspired by the American space program. Today that isn’t the case, and the number of high school seniors majoring in science is constantly declining. “We want to show that science isn’t just about sitting in a lab all day,” says Kfir.

In 1919 French hotelier Raymond Orteig offered $25,000 for the first non-stop flight between New York City and Paris. Eight years later Charles Lindbergh, considered an underdog, won the prize by making the crossing in his “Spirit of St. Louis.” That not only changed the way people saw flying, but how they saw the world.

The X Prize was inspired by the Orteig Prize, and if the “Spirit of Israel” is successful they can certainly count on changing how young Israelis see science and how others see Israel. They may also change how we all see the universe. - Forbes - Daniel Freedman


Fukushima radioactive fallout nears Chernobyl levels

Japan's damaged nuclear plant in Fukushima has been emitting radioactive iodine and caesium at levels approaching those seen in the aftermath of the Chernobyl accident in 1986. Austrian researchers have used a worldwide network of radiation detectors – designed to spot clandestine nuclear bomb tests – to show that iodine-131 is being released at daily levels 73 per cent of those seen after the 1986 disaster. The daily amount of caesium-137 released from Fukushima Daiichi is around 60 per cent of the amount released from Chernobyl.

The difference between this accident and Chernobyl, they say, is that at Chernobyl a huge fire released large amounts of many radioactive materials, including fuel particles, in smoke. At Fukushima Daiichi, only the volatile elements, such as iodine and caesium, are bubbling off the damaged fuel. But these substances could nevertheless pose a significant health risk outside the plant.

The organisation set up to verify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) has a global network of air samplers that monitor and trace the origin of around a dozen radionuclides, the radioactive elements released by atomic bomb blasts – and nuclear accidents. These measurements can be combined with wind observations to track where the radionuclides come from, and how much was released.

The level of radionuclides leaking from Fukushima Daiichi has been unclear, but the CTBT air samplers can shed some light, says Gerhard Wotawa of Austria's Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics in Vienna.

For the first two days after the accident, the wind blew east from Fukushima towards monitoring stations on the US west coast; on the third day it blew south-west over the Japanese monitoring station at Takasaki, then swung east again. Each day, readings for iodine-131 at Sacramento in California, or at Takasaki, both suggested the same amount of iodine was coming out of Fukushima, says Wotawa: 1.2 to 1.3 × 1017 becquerels per day.

The agreement between the two "makes us confident that this is accurate", he says. So do similar readings at CTBT stations in Alaska, Hawaii and Montreal, Canada – readings at the latter, at least, show that the emissions have continued.

In the 10 days it burned, Chernobyl put out 1.76 × 1018 becquerels of iodine-131, which amounts to only 50 per cent more per day than has been calculated for Fukushima Daiichi. It is not yet clear how long emissions from the Japanese plant will continue.

Similarly, says Wotawa, caesium-137 emissions are on the same order of magnitude as at Chernobyl. The Sacramento readings suggest it has emitted 5 × 1015 becquerels of caesium-137 per day; Chernobyl put out 8.5 × 1016 in total – around 70 per cent more per day.

"This is not surprising," says Wotawa. "When the fuel is damaged there is no reason for the volatile elements not to escape," and the measured caesium and iodine are in the right ratios for the fuel used by the Fukushima Daiichi reactors. Also, the Fukushima plant has around 1760 tonnes of fresh and used nuclear fuel on site, and an unknown amount has been damaged. The Chernobyl reactor had only 180 tonnes.

The amounts being released, he says, are "entirely consistent" with the relatively low amounts of caesium and iodine being measured in soil, plants and water in Japan, because so much has blown out to sea. The amounts crossing the Pacific to places like Sacramento are vanishingly small – they were detected there because the CTBT network is designed to sniff out the tiniest traces.

The Chernobyl accident emitted much more radioactivity and a wider diversity of radioactive elements than Fukushima Daiichi has so far, but it was iodine and caesium that caused most of the health risk – especially outside the immediate area of the Chernobyl plant, says Malcolm Crick, secretary of a United Nations body that has just reviewed the health effects of Chernobyl. Unlike other elements, he says, they were carried far and wide by the wind.

Moreover the human body absorbs iodine and caesium readily. "Essentially all the iodine or caesium inhaled or swallowed crosses into the blood," says Keith Baverstock, former head of radiation protection for the World Health Organization's European office, who has studied Chernobyl's health effects.

Iodine is rapidly absorbed by the thyroid, and leaves only as it decays radioactively, with a half-life of eight days. Caesium is absorbed by muscles, where its half-life of 30 years means that it remains until it is excreted by the body. It takes between 10 and 100 days to excrete half of what has been consumed.

While in the body the isotopes' radioactive emissions can do significant damage, mainly to DNA. Children who ingest iodine-131 can develop thyroid cancer 10 or more years later; adults seem relatively resistant. A study published in the US last week found that iodine-131 from Chernobyl is still causing new cases of thyroid cancer to appear at an undiminished rate in the most heavily affected regions of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.

Caesium-137 lingers in the environment because of its long half-life. Researchers are divided over how much damage environmental exposure to low doses has done since Chernobyl. Some researchers think it could still cause thousands of new cases of cancer across Europe. - New Scientist


Wonder cure sparks rush to Tanzanian village

standardmedia - The multitudes crossing river Engaresero in northern Tanzania is akin to the annual wildebeest migration at River Mara. The only difference is that the people in their thousands have no time to hang around the banks, waiting for the courageous one to cross over first because each second is precious.

Not even the bursting bank of the river that has swept several vehicles is a cause to worry.

And the mad rush is about a potent brew that has baffled science and yet said to cure all ailments, being dispensed by Ambilikile Masapile, 76, who is a retired pastor Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania.

People used whatever means necessary to and even drove across a swelling river to get to Loliondo village for a ‘dose’ of medicine.

The news of the supposed power of his brew has spread like wild bush fire and captured the imagination of Tanzanian and the rest of East Africa.

When we arrived at Dar es Salaam, the talk was all about ‘Loliondo wonder’. Despite a power blackout the last two weeks, nobody talks of the energy crisis. It is all about Loliondo wonder.

"Ushasikia bwana, hakuna maradhi yasiyotibiwa. Loliondo twaenda," this is the message in the streets as people prepare to travel north to the remote village of Samunge where Masapile serves the concoction.

Though the sojourn to the north started in the last two months, the past two weeks has seen unprecedented pilgrimage to the home of Masapile.

The journey is torturous as one navigates the rocky terrain of Sonjo plains to Ngorongoro where there is neither a mobile telephone network nor radio signals.

But this has not deterred thousands of people from all over the country from flocking the humble homestead of the soft-spoken old man with grey hair and bald patches. Getting to his homestead is not an easy task.

When we get there, there are two long queues leading to Masapile’s homestead stretching up to 20km and keep growing as more sick people arrive. There are over 2,000 vehicles with sick people while the rich fly in using choppers. The vehicles are in two files –– those from Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Dar-es-salaam and Nairobi and the other for the ones from the Lake Victoria regions –– Mwanza, Mara and Shinyanga.

Among the sick are people with terminal diseases, HIV/Aids and mental diseases while some go to partake the concoction to prevent illnesses.

Masapile’s treatment is puzzling given that the main ingredient of the wonder medicine is the highly poisonous arrow tree locally known as Mugariga.

The Sonjo tribe, which live in the Loliondo plains, use the sap from the tree to make poisoned arrows that kill in seconds.

The white liquid on the bark of the tree is said to be fatal when it comes into contact with blood and paralyses the respiratory system. Birds drop dead on sucking nectar from the flowers. Hunters in South America, Africa and Asia use the lethal weapons. It is the plant used to make arrow poison in traditional societies of Mara, Arusha and Singida.

So how did Masapile come up with the concoctions that have captured the imagination of the world? "In 1991, I had a dream which directed me to start using some herbal concoctions to treat my arthritis and cure other people’s chronic ailments," he says after taking a small break from serving the pale brownish liquid mixture in buckets in rusty cups that are distributed to the patients by his assistants.

"It was a directive from God Himself. In the dream, I saw a woman who looked very ill and a voice told me to treat her using the herbal mixture which by then had proven to be quite an effective remedy in treating my own ailments," he says.

He, however, says it was not until in 2009, yet another apparition of the sick woman in a recurrent dream prompted him to take action, rolling out a large cauldron and proceeding to brew what has now become a huge national phenomenon.

"It is God who has shown me how to do it and if anyone questions, they can see for themselves that it works. All those who have come here have been healed," he says.

But does the ‘magical’ brew work? One of the ‘patients’ John Mbavai says he and his wife were suffering from acute diabetic conditions but after taking the magical drink, their blood sugar normalised.

"This is our third week and our blood sugar is normal and we even went for medical check ups to prove it. We are healed," says Mbavai.

He adds that other ailments such as insomnia, fatigue and periodical fevers that used to torment him have also disappeared.

Joshua Thedeus from Kijenge claims his cousin has been healed of HIV infection after taking the brew.

"My cousin was diagnosed with HIV last year and he was among the first people to take Pastor Masapile’s magical mix last October. He then summoned up courage and went for HIV tests, guess what? He was found negative," he says.

He adds: "He used to look sick worn out and tired but now he has regained his health and he is not alone, I know lots of people who keep testifying that they have been healed by the Loliondo brew. I have not drank it, but there is no doubt that it can cure all deadly human ailments, that is a fact."

Among those who visited Masapile during our tour is former Prime Minister Edward Lowassa, his predecessor, Frederick Sumaye and Opposition Party leader Augustine Mrema, who openly smiled at the TV camera as they gulped Masapile’s concoction.

Masapile’s concoction seems to be winning the approval of even the church. The head of the Northern and Central Diocese of the Lutheran Church, Bishop Thomas Laizer maintained that a number of church officials got healed from their ailments but did not mention what type of diseases.

The Arusha Regional Medical Officer Dr Salash Toure said though Masapile has been issuing his magical cure since August 2010, there has been no case of someone with HIV turning up at any of the region’s health centres wanting to test whether they have been cured.

"It is difficult to prove now if the brew is potent because no patient who has gone there returns for a test. However, there was one case of a diabetic patient whom we tested after visiting the healer and was cured, but that is just one case," he says.

A mug costs only TSh500, which is cheap by any standard and according to Masapile, it is meant to be affordable for all and to cure everyone irrespective of financial status.

"God wants everybody to get cured regardless of their financial status," he explains.

He says he will donate the proceeds to the church and use others to pay his assistants. And like the Biblical Prophet Elisha, he refuses all types of gifts and advises the modern day ‘Naamans’ to take their presents to needy persons once they get back to their homes.

"I know you have come with various forms of gifts. Thank you, please give them to needy persons when you get back to your homes," he tells the crowd milling around his mud-walled house.

The drink may be cheap but getting to the remote Sonjo plains can cost one an arm and leg. Motorists have also been enjoying the windfall, charging desperate ‘miracle seekers’ an average of about TSh150,000 (Sh9,000) to take them to Loliondo. The ‘healer’ continues to live in his mud hut at the back of which firewood stoves, boil the barks and roots of the ‘Mugariga’ tree from which a pale brownish liquid is derived. It is not the testimonies from the ‘healed’ people that puzzle us but the fact that they consume highly poisonous tree with no intoxicating effect whatsoever.


Speculation that new-found books could impact Christianity

file22 - (excuse the translation - I searched for a better version without luck) - In a cave in Jordan found more than 70 ancient books that are about 2000 years, and is believed to make their contents could change the current way of understanding Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, and the manner in which Christianity has developed at all.

Books are the BBC, found in a remote cave in the northern part of Jordan, somewhere between the 2005th and 2007 year. According to one theory, all the ‘wrong’ after the floods, which were discovered in a cave two niches of which was engraved on a candlestick, an ancient symbol of the Jews. The book has found a Bedouin, a Jordanian government claims that they were smuggled into the country second Bedouin. But the Bedouin, who is currently in their possession to deny them of smuggling and says that in his family for 100 years.

Director of the Department of Antiquities in Jordan, Ziad al-Saad thinks the book might be written by Christ’s followers for several decades after the crucifixion. This is a document that could establish that they are much more important than the roll with the Black Sea. Initial information on the contents are very encouraging and we are the great discoveries, perhaps the most important in the history of archeology, said al-Saad.

Most of the encrypted books were originally carved into the lead and site were associated with lead rings. Results are the size of a credit card, the text is written in ancient Hebrew, and most of the ciphertext. The importance of the discovery is even greater if it is indeed the origin of Christianity, not Judaism. One of the few who saw the live book is ancient archeology professor who leads the British team in an effort to situate the book in the safety of Jordan’s Museum, David Elkington.

This could be the biggest discovery in the history of Christianity and the breathtaking fact that you have a hand held object that was once upon a time held a saint, said Elkington, who believes that the book really talks about the early beginnings of Christianity due to the image on the cover and the contents of the first few page. In fact, figures show the person who is supposed to be Jesus in the presence of God.

On the cover of a book appears sedmerokraki candlestick menorah, a symbol of Judaism, which in those days was allowed to run because it only allowed to reside in the temples in the presence of God. Due to this fact Elkington believes that the book describes the return of the Messiah. That the book is indeed associated with the Bible speaks the translation of a piece of content where the display menoraha says ‘I’ll walk the sublime’, a sentence that appears in the book of Genesis. Anyway, time will tell what really works, but whatever the outcome, really it’s one great discovery from the time of early Christianity.