; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Monday, August 01, 2011

Just the Facts? - Monster Albino Catfish, Father 'Honor Kills' Six Daughters and Witness To Roswell

Biggest albino catfish ever caught by an angler

Chris Grimmer shows off the biggest albino catfish ever caught by an angler - 8ft long and 194lbs.

The 35-year-old needed two pals to help him pose with the 13st 12lb monster, which beats the previous record by 2lbs.

Chris, of Sheffield, had battled for 30 minutes to land it in Spain's River Ebro, near Tarragona. He said: "It was like trying to reel in a bus. I could hardly walk afterwards, but it was worth it."

A third of the world's freshwater fish species are at risk of being wiped out, scientists have revealed.

Over-fishing, pollution and construction have pushed many to the brink of extinction.

About 36 per cent of 5,685 species studied by the International Union for Conservation of Nature are said to be critically endangered.

Among them are types of sturgeon that produce the world's most expensive caviar.

Dr William Darwall of IUCN said: "Freshwater ecosystems are among the world's most threatened.

"Sadly, it is not going to get better, as human need for fresh water, power and food continues to grow."

Species in Britain at risk of extinction include the European eel, Shetland charr and the salmon-like gwyniad - found in just one Welsh lake. - thesun


London's Metropolitan Police declare Anarchism a thoughtcrime

What should you do if you discover an anarchist living next door? Dust off your old Sex Pistols albums and hang out a black and red flag to make them feel at home? Invite them round to debate the merits of Peter Kropotkin's anarchist communism versus the individualist anarchism of Emile Armand? No – the answer, according to an official counter-terrorism notice circulated in London last week, is that you must report them to police immediately.

This was the surprising injunction from the Metropolitan Police issued to businesses and members of the public in Westminster last week. There was no warning about other political groups, but next to an image of the anarchist emblem, the City of Westminster police's "counter terrorist focus desk" called for anti-anarchist whistleblowers stating: "Anarchism is a political philosophy which considers the state undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, and instead promotes a stateless society, or anarchy. Any information relating to anarchists should be reported to your local police."

The move angered some anarchists who complained that being an anarchist should not imply criminal behaviour. They said they feel unfairly criminalised for holding a set of political beliefs.

The feeling of disproportion was compounded by the briefing note author making a similar request about Islamist terrorists a few lines further down. Under an image of flag with a gold dot beneath some Arabic script it added: "Often seen used by al-Qaida in Iraq. Any sightings of these images should be reported to your local police."

"It unfairly implies that anyone involved in anarchism should be known to the police and is involved in an dangerous activity," said Jason Sands, an anarchist from South London. "There is nothing inherently criminal about political philosophy whatever it is. The police work under the convention on human rights which disallows discrimination against people because of their political beliefs and even the request for information would seem to be in breach of that. It also seems to be a bit useless as a way of gathering intelligence. It isn't focused on anything specific and they are just asking for general information. Imagine calling up and saying 'there's an anarchist in my building. What should I do?' It doesn't make sense."

The note was issued from Belgravia Police Station as part of Project Griffin which aims to "advise and familiarise managers, security officers and employees of large public and private sector organisations across the capital on security, counter-terrorism and crime prevention issues".

Sean Smith, external relations officer for Solfed, the British section of the anarcho-syndicalist International Workers' Association, said of the call for whistleblowers: "It's pretty absurd, but not surprising, when the state seeks to criminalise ideas it deems to be dangerous to its own survival".

"We are a revolutionary union initiative," he explained. "Members of our organisation believe in bringing about radical social change through workplace and community organising, not acts of terrorism. We have made extensive information about our ideas and strategy freely available online."

Small groups of anarchists masked and dressed in black did cause some damage to shop windows in central London during anti-cuts demonstrations in the Spring, but there has been little activity of late. The next big anarchist event in London appears hardly likely to concern the police. It is a book fair in October with "all-day cabaret starring assorted ranters, poets, singers and comics; all-day film showings and two kids' spaces". - guardian


Father kills six daughters in Pakistan for having relationships with boys

A man in Faisalabad gunned down six of his daughters on suspicion that two of them were in relationships with boys in the neighbourhood. On Tuesday morning, Arif Mubashir called his teenage daughters to his room and shot them while the rest of the family, including their mother, watched.

His wife, Musarrat, called the police after the incident. Mubashir shot the girls after their brother said two of them were in a relationship. He told police officials that he had killed his daughters because they were both “without honour”.

The man said his daughters Sameena, 14, and Razia, 16, were in a relationship with college boys from the neighbourhood and the sisters had helped each other. “I should have been told immediately but the girls sided with each other. They were both corrupt,” Mubashir told Tandlianwala Police Inspector Javed Sial.

Police officials have taken Mubashir into custody and filed a case against him. “He does not regret what he did. He boasted that he would do it all over again if he had to,” Sial said. Pakistan has repeatedly been termed as one of the least women-friendly countries. In June, the Thompson Reuters Foundation ranked Pakistan as the world’s third most dangerous country for women.


Air Force vet not buying UFO stories - except the Roswell thing

Tom Carey thinks the Bermuda Triangle is hogwash and the moon landing was real. Elvis did leave the building, and 9/11 was an act of terror, not our own Reichstag fire.

But creatures from outer space? That's another story altogether.

I'm not sure what I was expecting when I dropped by his Huntingdon Valley house the other day to learn why a man would spend 20 years investigating the 1947 UFO incident known simply as Roswell, for the New Mexico community where an alien craft and its crew of little humanoids did or didn't crash.

What I didn't count on was a conservative, cautious silver-haired Air Force vet retired from the insurance industry after searching for fraud and writing payout formulas.

"Most of the UFO phenomena don't interest me," Carey, 70, said last week. "I'm not big on lights in the sky or crop circles or stories of abductions. They lead nowhere."

But the facts of Roswell led him to believe we are not alone.

"This was a nuts-and-bolts craft that apparently crashed in the New Mexico desert with humanoid beings on board. On top of that, you had a cover-up by the Army Air Force that continues today."

We sat in the living room of his split-level home, which he and his wife of 43 years have just moved back into after it mysteriously filled with steam - a mishap, it turns out, of plumbing, not the paranormal.

Carey, who grew up in Mayfair, seems extra-normal himself, a former Temple shortstop who dropped out of a Ph.D. program in human paleontology at the University of Toronto, having wasted too much time watching hockey games.

He's long been taken by the notion of another world, ever since he was 8 and his older brother showed him a newspaper article about a UFO said to have crashed in Aztec, N.M.

"As I got older, I started reading magazines about UFOs. And soon I wanted to do more than read - I wanted to investigate. Are they real or aren't they?"

The July 8, 1947, ABC radio bulletin lasts only 20 seconds, but it raised a possibility that few open to the idea of alien life have been able to ignore ever since:

"The Army Air Forces have announced that a flying disk has been found and is now in possession of the Army. Army officers say the missile, found sometime last week, has been inspected at Roswell, N.M., and sent to Wright's Field, Ohio, for further inspection."

Within hours, the Army Air Force backed hard off its original report, explaining that a weather balloon had crashed. Many witnesses clammed up or changed their stories. Many others did not. The military has since come up with three more theories as to what happened, none involving alien life.

Carey teamed up with a postal worker from Wisconsin, Donald R. Schmitt, to write Witness to Roswell in 2007. The book created a stir in the fractious community of ufologists by containing an affidavit released after the death of the Roswell Air Army Base's former public information officer, who issued the original news release about the flying saucer.

In Carey's book, First Lt. Walter G. Haut went far beyond any of his previous statements, swearing that not only were the razor-thin, superstrong metallic strips recovered from the crash something otherworldly, but that he'd also seen an egg-shaped craft in a hangar and a couple of tarp-covered alien bodies.

Only their heads stuck out - larger than human heads, and too big for their bodies, which were about the size of a 10-year-old child's.

To this day, none of this extraterrestrial metal has been found. All Carey has to go on are the similar statements of hundreds of witnesses, none more compelling than that of Haut.

Carey will talk about his work Wednesday night in Doylestown. You can read about it here: www.susanduvalseminars.com.

I arrived skeptical and I left spinning, but not before he offered to sign one of his books. In the car, I cracked its cover to find he'd written, "It's all true."

But not the part about Elvis. - philly


Giant fungus discovered in China

The most massive fruiting body of any fungus yet documented has been discovered growing on the underside of a tree in China.

The fruiting body, which is equivalent to the mushrooms produced by other fungi species, is up to 10m long, 80cm wide and weighs half a tonne.

That shatters the record held previously by a fungus growing in Kew Gardens in the UK.

The new giant fungus is thought to be at least 20 years old.

The first example of the new giant fungus was recorded by scientists in 2008 in Fujian Province, China, by Professor Yu-Cheng Dai of the Herbarium of biology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shenyang and his assistant Dr Cui.

"But the type collection was not huge," Prof Dai told BBC Nature.

However, "we found [the] giant one in Hainan Province in 2010."

The researchers were in the field studying wood-decaying fungi when they happened upon the specimen, which they describe in the journal Fungal Biology.

"We were not specifically looking for this fungus; we did not know the fungus can grow so huge," he said.

"We were surprised when we found it, and we did not recognise it in the forest because it is too large."

The fungus, F. ellipsoidea, is what mycologists call a perennial polypore - otherise known as a bracket fungus.

Being a perennial, it can live for a number of years, which may have enabled it to grow to such large size.

By colonising the underside of the large fallen tree, the fungus also had a huge amount of dead and decaying wood to feed on, helping to fuel its growth.

Fruiting bodies, such as mushrooms and toadstools, are the sexual stages of a many higher types of fungi, producing seeds or spores that produce further generations.

The giant fruiting body of F. ellipsoidea forms a long, brown shape up to 10.85m long, 82-88cm wide, and 4.6-5.5cm thick.

Tests on the density of the fruiting body suggest the whole thing weighs 400-500kg; it is also estimated to hold some 450 million spores.

"A small piece of the fruiting body is almost like my size," said Prof Dai.

The previous record holder was a specimen of Rigidoporus ulmarius, a polypore with a pileate fruiting body found in Kew Gardens in the UK in 2003.

It measured approximately 150cm in diameter with a circumference of 425cm.

After their initial encounter with the new record-breaking fungus, the scientists took samples of it back to the lab where to be analysed.

These tests revealed that the fungus was the species Fomitiporia ellipsoidea, and the researchers made two subsequent trips to study the specimen further. - BBC


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