Friday, April 22, 2011

Fortean / Alternative News: Congressional UFO Hearing, Slimey Black Fungus Attacks and Smell Like Blood

University Prof Calls for Congressional UFO Hearing

aolnews - Lee Speigel - Congress has a full plate of hearings coming up. Everything from medical liability reform, creating and promoting jobs and investigating Internet child pornography to assessing China's behavior and making immigration work for American minorities.

Do you think the House or Senate will have any extra time to discuss UFOs? While it sometimes might seem as though our lawmakers are from outer space, this hasn't stopped one college professor from urging Congress to take a serious look at unidentified flying objects.

Citing findings from a 12-year-old groundbreaking French UFO study, University of Missouri-Columbia psychologist and adjunct professor of peace studies Bill Wickersham has issued a call for congressional leaders to boldly go where their predecessors wouldn't.

In 1999, a special 13-member committee in France, made up of retired generals, scientists and space experts, created the COMETA Report, a study of 500 worldwide UFO sightings. The investigation narrowed down the reports to those that included radar and visual cases and previously undisclosed accounts from commercial and military pilots.

In a letter written in the Columbia Missourian, a news organization staffed by the Missouri School of Journalism, Wickersham cited the fact that the COMETA Report considered some UFO cases as possibly having an otherworldly source.

Even 12 years after that report, Wickersham, co-author of "Confronting Nuclear War: The Role of Education, Religion and the Community" (CreateSpace), feels it's important enough to warrant Congress' opening new, secrecy-free hearings into UFOs.

The name COMETA, in English, means Committee for In-Depth Studies, and the title of the 1999 French report was "UFOs and Defense: What Should We Prepare For?" The three-year study concluded that approximately 5 percent of the UFO cases examined "could be the work of craft of extraterrestrial origin."

The first part of the report described the various sections of the study, including:

-Radar detection in France
-Astronomers' sightings
-Life in the universe
-The long history of the UFO phenomenon
-Reflections on various psychological, sociological and political aspects of the UFO phenomenon

Part 2 of COMETA outlines the study group's conclusions and recommendations based on their in-depth look into the UFO phenomenon.

They indicate that there are clearly some "unknown flying objects with remarkable flight performances and noiselessness, apparently operated by intelligent [beings]. With their maneuvers, these flying objects considerably impress civilian and military pilots, who hesitate to speak [about them].

"The fear of appearing ridiculous, alienated or simply gullible is the principal reason for this reserve."

It's worth repeating here that while the COMETA Report wasn't an official French government study, those who created it were very high-level officials, including ex-generals of the French Institute of Higher Studies for National Defense.

That said, here are more of the group's conclusions (mind you, from 12 years ago):

"A single hypothesis sufficiently takes into account the facts and, for the most part, only calls for present-day science. It is the hypothesis of extraterrestrial visitors. Advanced as of 1947 by certain military personnel, today it is popular worldwide.

"The extraterrestrial hypothesis is far from the best scientific hypothesis. It certainly has not been categorically proven, but strong presumptions exist in its favor and if it is correct, it is loaded with consequences."

Indeed. And remember, it's been 12 years since this report came to light. There don't seem to have been any hearings on Capitol Hill about UFOs since then -- or at least any that we're being told about.

"When I found the COMETA Report, I had a lot of friends in veterans' organizations -- I'm in Veterans for Peace," Wickersham told AOL News. "All of these people hold military folks in very high regard, but most of them won't pay any attention to UFOs, so I thought it would be a good idea to use the military angle [to call for hearings]."

This is actually not the first time that Congress has been called upon to consider a discussion of UFOs. In 1966, House Minority Leader Gerald R. Ford, R-Mich., instigated an official UFO investigation after UFO reports in his home state.

"I believe Congress should thoroughly investigate the rash of reported sightings of unidentified flying objects in Southern Michigan and other parts of the country," Ford said in a radio broadcast.

"I feel a congressional inquiry would be most worthwhile because the American people are intensely interested in the UFO stories, and some people are alarmed by them.

"I think the American people would feel better if there was a full-blown investigation of these mysterious flying objects," Ford added.

The future president got his hearings, but the result, in 1969, was the government's proclamation -- amid severe criticism and internal debates -- that no evidence existed to warrant any further scientific study of UFOs. Case closed.

So does Wickersham think there's a real chance that a new congressional hearing on UFOs might actually come to pass in the current political climate?

"Not right now," he said. "And what's more, look at what happened to [2008 Ohio Democratic presidential candidate] Dennis Kucinich. The giggle factor, the ridicule, the ignorance, the apathy, denial -- all these things that surround this issue. It takes a lot of guts for a politician [to speak out on UFOs]. Most politicians run from it."


Police call in doctor to tell them headless man is dead

dailymail - When police pulled a headless body from a river, you would not have thought it needed a doctor to confirm the person was dead.

But there are rules and procedures to follow. And a medic was duly called in to declare that the man in question was actually ‘life extinct’.

Yesterday a coroner expressed surprise at why a doctor was summoned.

‘Even though there was no head, and the maggots, you had to call him in?’ Dr Shirley Radcliffe asked Det Insp Chuk Gwams.

The officer replied: ‘Yes Ma’am. They are the experts, we are not.’

The inquest heard that police were called to the River Wandle in Wimbledon, South-West London, last June.

Two Environment Agency contractors clearing Japanese knotweed from the bank had discovered the headless corpse floating in the water.

It was so badly decomposed, it was impossible to establish how the person had died.

And it was only through DNA tests that police identified him as Polish national Waldemar Drobig, 32, a former baker who slept rough and had previously been arrested for petty theft.

Mr Drobig was born in Sunechow, Poland, and was married with one son, although at the time of his death he had lost contact with his family.

'The area he was found in, a ledge under a bridge, in summer time is where the local street drinkers tend to congregate,' Det Insp Gwams said.

Recording an open verdict at Westminster coroner’s court yesterday, Dr Radcliffe said: ‘The cause of death in uncertain.

‘It is not possible to rule out foul play one hundred per cent.’


Army, Navy add citizenship option to boot camp

Military service has long been one route to U.S. citizenship. Now the Army and Navy, in need of specialists and language skills in wartime, are speeding things up by allowing recruits to wrap up the process while they're still in basic training.

It means a change in a no-visitors policy during boot camp, to allow federal immigration officers access to the recruits. But military officials say it's a well-deserved break for volunteers who otherwise would have to slog through the bureaucratic ordeal during deployments around the world, often far from U.S. embassies.

The military route is not a short-cut for foreigners abroad to get into the U.S. Only legal immigrants can apply, officials stress, and they must complete five years of honorable service or chance having their citizenship revoked. Continue reading at WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE?


Scottish village in the grip of slimy black fungus

dailyrecord - A scots village is covered in slimy back fungus - and the locals are sick of having to wash it off their homes and cars.

Villagers in Tullibody, Clackmannanshire, have had to fork out hundreds of pounds on power hoses and spend hours on end cleaning up the goo.

But every time they get rid of the slime, it comes back.

As well as houses, paths and cars, it covers signs, public buildings and anything else in its path.

The muck has been blamed on fumes from the local whisky warehouse, run by booze giants Diageo. Bosses at the multi-billion pound firm deny being responsible.

Dad-of-two Neil Docherty, 39, told last night how it takes him all day to clean the slime off his conservatory.

He said: "It's horrible sitting in there with this black stuff over the roof all the time. It really blocks out the light."

Neil uses washing powder and an extendable mop in his struggle to keep the glass clean.

Neighbour Fraser McLachlan, also 39, bought a £300 pressure washer to try to beat the slime and uses a credit card to scrape the fungus off the roof of his car.

Fraser, dad of Megan, seven, said: "It's horrendous. We've been told the fungus is harmless but it's costing me a fortune to clean.

"If you ask anybody locally they've all said the same thing - it's coming from the distillery."

The fungus is also a pain for Clackmannanshire Council. The road signs in Tullibody need the most cleaning in the county.

But there's no solution in sight.

And Diageo and the Scotch Whisky Association have washed their hands of the problem.

The association say the slime is also found in areas with no whisky industry, and Diageo say research found "no direct link" between whisky fumes and the fungus.


Blood-Inspired Perfume

A new blood-inspired perfume may soon have an ideal group of early adopters: vampires.

Last week, a pair of Italian entrepreneurs, Antonio Zuddas and Giovanni Castelli, debuted Blood Concept, a provocative fragrance line based on the four major human blood types: A, B, AB and O.

While the line forgoes incorporating actual blood, the Italian duo nonetheless claim that each scent is evocative of the blood type it represents.

"Blood Concept is just a celebration of human life through an interpretation of its evolutionary process," Zuddas told AOL News. "To be more accurate, it's an interpretation of the evolution of our most important element, the blood in our veins."

In keeping with the hematic theme, the four scents come in 1.35-ounce vials with red droppers, and the website includes background images of swirling blood.

While the Milan-based designers concede that Blood Concept may make some squeamish, they maintain that their perfumes have nothing to do with blood lust.

"No splatter, no vampires ..." Zuddas said.

Not so fast.

Merticus, a 32-year-old Atlanta man who self-identifies as a vampire, intends to sample the fragrance line.

A founding member of the Atlanta Vampire Alliance and Vampire Community News, Merticus favors O-positive as his drink of choice. As for which scent he'd prefer to wear -- or detect on a donor -- he's keeping an open mind.

"I find the black cherry, pomegranate and patchouli infusions of B and the raspberry, rose hips, and birch infusions of O equally intriguing," Merticus said via e-mail. "Hopefully I'll be able to sample them in the flesh soon."

An antique dealer by daylight, he plans to travel to Italy in September, where, he told AOL News, he may drop by the Blood Concept offices and pick up a few vials.

Meredith Woerner, a New York City vampirist and author of "Vampire Taxonomy," is less sanguine. She has a hard time believing that vampires would go for such a gimmick.

"It's cheesy. It's chintzy," she said in a phone interview. "It's not their style. I can't imagine a real vampire would be that enticed by fake blood. In fact, if they detected the scent of it, it might make you more of a target for a mercy killing."

Woerner admitted, though, that Blood Concept was a "brilliant" idea, adding that, according to the mythology of the HBO vampire series "True Blood," vampires turn to synthetic blood when there's none of the real stuff.

"True Blood," of course, is fiction, and Merticus chaffs at the way vampires are portrayed in the media.

"The difficulty we encounter from these mass-marketed books and films occurs when individuals unwittingly stumble across the real vampire community," said Merticus, who organizes an Atlanta vampire meet-up. "They wrongly assume we consider ourselves immortal vampires who must sleep in coffins and avoid sunlight at all costs."

Wearing a designer scent like Blood Concept, however, could help soften a vampire's image and add a little primal vigor at the same time.

Fragrance O, Zuddas said, hearkens back to the beginnings of humankind, when we were all "lonely hunters" and had blood type O. It has a leathery base note to match.

Fragrance AB, meanwhile, represents the newest of the blood types and is redolent of -- according to the Blood Concept website -- aluminum, slate and pebbles.

Whether or not the blood-inspired perfume meets Merticus' expectations, he can at least take comfort that the fragrances eschew one particular ingredient: garlic. - AOLnews - Larry Knowles