; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Fortean / Alternative News: Jesus' First Portrait, 169 Executed Witches Pardoned and Human Curry

Is this the first ever portrait of Jesus?

The image is eerily familiar: a bearded young man with flowing curly hair. After lying for nearly 2,000 years hidden in a cave in the Holy Land, the fine detail is difficult to determine. But in a certain light it is not difficult to interpret the marks around the figure’s brow as a crown of thorns.

The extraordinary picture of one of the recently discovered hoard of up to 70 lead codices – booklets – found in a cave in the hills overlooking the Sea of Galilee is one reason Bible historians are clamouring to get their hands on the ancient artefacts.

If genuine, this could be the first-ever portrait of Jesus Christ, possibly even created in the lifetime of those who knew him. Continue reading at Is this the first ever portrait of Jesus? The incredible story of 70 ancient books hidden in a cave for nearly 2,000 years


German state issues posthumous pardons for 169 executed 'witches'

mirror - Scores of people executed for witchcraft have been given a posthumous pardon – thanks to lobbying by schoolchildren.

The victims – 169 men, women and ­children – were boiled and burned alive, hacked to death, hanged and stabbed in a religious frenzy lasting from 1573 to 1660.

The move by the local justice authority in the North Rhine-Westphalia state in Germany came after demands from pupils of Friedrich-Spee-School in the town of Ruethen.

They submitted a petition saying that if the accused were cleared, they would “regain their human dignity”. The pupils said when someone was accused of being a witch, they had “virtually no chance of surviving”.


Pissing off the Taliban...All-female team launches historic mission over Afghanistan

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (AFNS) -- A team of female Airmen made history here March 30 when the F-15E Strike Eagles of "Dudette 07" blazed down the runway to provide close air support for coalition and Afghan ground forces.

The two-ship formation consisted of all females, two pilots and two weapons system officers, but more importantly, it marked the first combat mission flown from Bagram to be planned, maintained and flown entirely by females.

This mission represents the first combat sortie on record to involve only female Airmen from the pilots and weapons officers to the mission planners and maintainers, said Lt. Col. Kenneth Tilley, the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing historian.

Although the call sign for the mission may have been lighthearted, the sortie was all business calling for the pilots to travel to the Kunar Valley just west of the Pakistan border in support of a large Army operation that was underway.

"I have flown with female pilots before, but this was the first time I have flown in an all female flight," said Maj. Christine Mau, a 455th AEW executive officer. "This wasn't a possibility when I started flying 11-years ago."

While planning of the mission required support from women at all levels such as Capt. Kristen Wehle, the F-15 liaison officer at the combined air operations center, those involved evoked memories of legendary Women's Army Corps pilots and others for inspiration.

"Women's history means a celebration of the equality we have today in the military," said Capt. Jennifer Morton, a 389th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron weapons officer. "It makes me think back and find inspiration from heroes like Col. Jeannie Flynn."

In 1993, then 2nd Lt. Jeannie Flynn became the first female F-15E pilot. Although the Air Force permitted female pilots to enter pilot training in 1976, Lieutenant Flynn went on to become the first female fighter pilot to graduate from the U.S. Air Force Weapons School.

"Since 1993 we have had Air Force female pilots in combat positions, and because of that today I feel as a woman I can have whatever job I want," Morton said.

While Dudette 07 was set up to as an all female mission in honor of Women's History Month, Major Mau said inspiration for today's Airmen aspiring to great heights can come from many different places.

"I think I get a great deal of inspiration from my grandmother (who was a mother seven kids), but many of my role models today are males," she said.

In addition, the pilots never forget the contributions of the maintainers on the ground, maintainers like Airmen 1st Class Casiana Curry, who enlisted Sept. 11, 2009, and enables the continued support of the warfighters on the ground.

"The four women officers represents only a portion of the women who supported this mission making it the first all female from tasking to completion combat sortie to date," said Capt. Leigh Larkin, 389th EFS weapons systems officer.

"I thought it was kind of cool and something that I have never seen before," said Staff Sgt. Tamara Rhone, a 455th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief. "The women throughout time have paved the way for us today and they made it possible for us to be equal as well as respected as individuals. Females are a rare breed on the flight line. It is my hope that more females step up and join the maintenance career field."


China's National Radio-Astronomy Observatory Announces Monitoring of 'Dark' Satellite in Orbit Around Saturn -"Transmitting the Universal Genetic Code"

China's Xinhua News Agency, the official press agency of the government of the People's Republic of China (PRC) announced Thursday that the National Radio Astronomy Observatory has been monitoring signals from a previously unknown "dark" satellite in orbit around Saturn for the past 90 days. According to government officials, the signals appear to be the first verified transmission from an alien civilization.

China's leading astrobiologist, Dr. Xi Chang, a graduate of MIT, told Xinhua that "the sigal repeats itself continuosly in 2 minute long sequences and appears to be the four bases of the genetic code A,G, U and C that ribosomes must convert mRNA sequences into proteins and the twenty different amino acids that proteins are comprised of."

Dr. Rosie Redfield, the newly appointed director of the Astrobiology Program at NASA Headquarters, Washington, confirmed China's dicovery this morning. In a press release Redfield said that "China's discovery has monumental consequences, and has been shared with the world's premier sciemtific instituions for vetting and peer review. If confirmed this will be the first proof of extraterrestrial life in the universe and confirmation that our DNA basis for life may be universal throughout the known universe."

Mary+Voytek+_SXv1RXz-87m "The genetic code," Redfield (left), explained, "allows an organism to translate the genetic information found in its chromosomes into usable proteins . Stretches of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) are built from four different nucleotide bases, while proteins are made from twenty unique subunits called amino acids . This numerical disparity presents an interesting problem: How does the cell translate the genetic information in the four-letter alphabet of DNA into the twenty-letter alphabet of protein? The conversion code is called the genetic code.

"The information transfer from DNA to protein, called gene expression , occurs in two steps. In the first step, called transcription , a DNA sequence is copied to make a template for protein synthesis called messenger ribonucleic acid -messenger RNA, or mRNA. During protein synthesis, ribosomes and transfer RNA (tRNA) use the genetic code to convert genetic information contained in mRNA into functional protein. Formally speaking, the genetic code refers to the RNA-amino acid conversion code and not to DNA, though usage has expanded to refer more broadly to DNA.

Biol_02_img0198 "Mathematics reveals the minimum requirements for a genetic code. The ribosome must convert mRNA sequences that are written in four bases—A, G, U, and C—into proteins, which are made up of twenty different amino acids. A one base to one amino acid correspondence would code for only four amino acids (4 1 ). Similarly, all combinations of a two-base code -for example, AA, AU, AG, AC, etc.- will provide for only sixteen amino acids (4 2 ). However, blocks of three RNA bases allow sixty-four (4 3 ) combinations of the four nucleotides, which is more than enough combinations to correspond to the twenty distinct amino acids. So, the genetic code must use blocks of at least three RNA bases to specify each amino acid. This reasoning assumes that each amino acid is encoded by the same size block of RNA."

Redfield added that NASA expects a more detailed press conference to be held at the White House later today or tomorrow, pending announcement from the Obama administration.

Dr. Dimitri Kardashev of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics told The Daily Galaxy that "This discovery comes as no surprise to me. It was always just a matter of time. The Earth is only some four billion years old. Our universe is some 14 billion years old. There may be millions of advanced technological civilizations that are billions of years older than ours. Keep in my that the radio was only invented 120 years ago. Quantum computers and singularity are at most two or three gereration distant. The technologies of ET civilizations a million years old and older are beyond our comprehension."

Sir Martin Rees, a leading Cambridge University cosmologist and astrophysicist who is the president of Britain’s Royal Society and astronomer to the Queen of England, said: “I suspect there could be life and intelligence out there in forms we can’t conceive. Just as a chimpanzee can’t understand quantum theory, it could be there are aspects of reality that are beyond the capacity of our brains.”

If verified, China's startling annoucement means you don't need a miracle to arrive at the chemical cocktail for early life, just a decently large asteroid with the right components. That's all. The entire universe could be stuffed with life, from the earliest prebiotic protein-a-likes to fully DNAed descendants. The path from one to the other is long, but we've had thirteen and a half billion years so far and it's happened at least once.

The other ten amino acids aren't as easy to form, but they'll still turn up - and the process of "stepwise evolution" means that once the simpler systems work, they can grab the rarer "epic drops" of more sophisticated chemicals as they occur - kind of a World of Lifecraft except you literally get a life when you play. And once even the most sophisticated structure is part of a replicating organism, there's plenty to go round.

It's no accident that we see stars in the sky, says famed Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins: they are a vital part of any universe capable of generating us. But, as Dawkins emphasizes, that does not mean that stars exists in order to make us."It is just that without stars there would be no atoms heavier than lithium in the periodic table," Dawkins writes in The Ancestors Tale -A Pilgramage to the Dawn of Evolution, "and a chemistry of only three elements is too impoverished to support life. Seeing is the kind of activity that can go on only in the kind of universe where what you see is stars."

China's discovery puts an end to the questions of whether DNA is inevitable as the foundation for the coding of life, or has life started with DNA in only one place in the solar system and then spread among the livable habitats through panspermia. Microbial life can land on and seed another planet, thereby not requiring that you have to create life from scratch multiple times and in multiple places.

It is the relentless shifting and mutating of DNA, says Dennis Overbye of The New York Times, that generates the raw material for evolution to act on and ensures the success of life on Earth and beyond. Dr.Paul Davies co-director of the Arizona State University Cosmology Initiative "that some sections of junk DNA seem to be markedly resistant to change, and have remained identical in humans, rats, mice, chickens and dogs for at least 300 million years."

China's epic announcement may shows that DNA the cosmic code for life in the universe, or is it possible that there's are alien, unknown foundations? At the Galaxy, we place our chips on DNA.

Case6 The Daily Galaxy staff assumes that China is using supercomputers similar to those at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) in the USA where Sukanya Chakrabarti has developed a mathematical method uncover “dark” satellites. When she applied this method on a more vast scale to our Milky Way galaxy, Chakrabarti discovered a faint satellite might be lurking on the opposite side of the galaxy from Earth, approximately 300,000 light-years from the galactic center.

The technique involves an analysis of the cold atomic hydrogen gas that comprise the outskirts of a large spiral galaxy’s disk. This cold gas is gravitationally confined to the galactic disk and extends much further out than the visible stars—sometimes up to five times the diameter of the visible spiral. This gas can be mapped by radio telescopes.

With the help of NERSC systems, she successfully validated her method by analyzing the radio observations of the Whirlpool Galaxy, which has a visible satellite one-third of its size, and NGC 1512, which has a satellite one-hundredth its size. Her calculations correctly predicted the mass and location of both of the known satellite galaxies.

The headquarters of China's NAOC are situated in the northern suburbs of Beijing on the site of the former Beijing Astronomical Observatory.

The National Astronomy Observatory of China (NAOC, the acronym was officially claimed as standing for National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences) was founded on April 25, 2001 through the merging of four CAS observatories, three CAS observing stations and one CAS research centre.

NOTE: Apparently, a remnant from April Fools Day...Lon


Pakistani brothers 'dug up corpse and made it into curry'

guardian - Police in Pakistan have arrested two men for allegedly digging up a newly buried corpse and eating its flesh in a curry. The two brothers are said to have cut the legs from the body of a 24-year-old woman and cooked the flesh in a steel pot. Some of the gruesome dish had already been eaten when police raided the brothers' home in a remote part of Punjab province.

A senior police officer, Malik Abdul Rehman, said the brothers had been eating corpses for at least a year, but some local media reports alleged that they had been human flesh eaters for a decade. Rehman said that the brothers, Muhammad Arif, 40, and Farman Ali, 37, seemed to have taken up cannibalism as an act of "revenge" after their mother died and their wives left them. "It became an addiction for them," Rehman claimed. "They boiled the flesh first, then cooked it in a curry", he said.

The investigation that led to their arrest was launched after the family of a 24-year-old cancer victim, Saira Parveen, visited her tomb on Sunday, a day after her funeral, to find the grave dug up and her body missing. A police probe led to the brothers' house, where they found the remains of Parveen's body in one room, along with shovels, knives and other equipment, and the macabre meal. Previous victims include the body of a four-year-old girl, also taken from a local graveyard, the investigation found.

One problem for police and prosecutors is that cannibalism is so unusual that there is no specific punishment under Pakistani law. The brothers will be charged with digging up and desecrating a grave, which carries a punishment of only six months. Local TV footage showed the men being led away by police and the remains of the body, wrapped in a shroud, carried off on a bed to be re-buried. The men's sister was also initially arrested but she is not thought to be involved.