; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Just the Facts? - UFOs Over Washington DC, Viral Infection Cure Found and BTE LIVE / New Time!

UFOs fly over Washington DC says former AF1 engineer

Wilbur “Will” Allen, a former White House employee and Air Force One engineer under U.S. Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton and an expert photographer of interdimensional UFOs in the prohibited P56-A airspace over Washington, DC, has revealed in an exclusive August 7, 2011 ExopoliticsTV interview with Alfred Lambremont Webre that U.S. government agencies are continuing a public cover-up of continuing, recent documented interdimensional extraterrestrial UFOs that are creating interdimensional wormholes and flying over the U.S. Capitol and White House.

Mr. Allen indicates that some of these documented interdimensional UFO/ET events in prohibited airspace occurred as recently as July 4, 2011 over the Washington Monument, which is the center of P56-A prohibited airspace. The UFO events also include an October 13, 2010 broadcast of three spherical UFOs during a BBC TV report from the White House. - agoracosmopolitan


New drug could cure nearly any viral infection

Most bacterial infections can be treated with antibiotics such as penicillin, discovered decades ago. However, such drugs are useless against viral infections, including influenza, the common cold, and deadly hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola.

Now, in a development that could transform how viral infections are treated, a team of researchers at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory has designed a drug that can identify cells that have been infected by any type of virus, then kill those cells to terminate the infection.

In a paper published July 27 in the journal PLoS One, the researchers tested their drug against 15 viruses, and found it was effective against all of them — including rhinoviruses that cause the common cold, H1N1 influenza, a stomach virus, a polio virus, dengue fever and several other types of hemorrhagic fever.

The drug works by targeting a type of RNA produced only in cells that have been infected by viruses. “In theory, it should work against all viruses,” says Todd Rider, a senior staff scientist in Lincoln Laboratory’s Chemical, Biological, and Nanoscale Technologies Group who invented the new technology.

Because the technology is so broad-spectrum, it could potentially also be used to combat outbreaks of new viruses, such as the 2003 SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak, Rider says.

Other members of the research team are Lincoln Lab staff members Scott Wick, Christina Zook, Tara Boettcher, Jennifer Pancoast and Benjamin Zusman.

Few antivirals available

Rider had the idea to try developing a broad-spectrum antiviral therapy about 11 years ago, after inventing CANARY (Cellular Analysis and Notification of Antigen Risks and Yields), a biosensor that can rapidly identify pathogens. “If you detect a pathogenic bacterium in the environment, there is probably an antibiotic that could be used to treat someone exposed to that, but I realized there are very few treatments out there for viruses,” he says.

There are a handful of drugs that combat specific viruses, such as the protease inhibitors used to control HIV infection, but these are relatively few in number and susceptible to viral resistance.

Rider drew inspiration for his therapeutic agents, dubbed DRACOs (Double-stranded RNA Activated Caspase Oligomerizers), from living cells’ own defense systems.

When viruses infect a cell, they take over its cellular machinery for their own purpose — that is, creating more copies of the virus. During this process, the viruses create long strings of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), which is not found in human or other animal cells.

As part of their natural defenses against viral infection, human cells have proteins that latch onto dsRNA, setting off a cascade of reactions that prevents the virus from replicating itself. However, many viruses can outsmart that system by blocking one of the steps further down the cascade.

Rider had the idea to combine a dsRNA-binding protein with another protein that induces cells to undergo apoptosis (programmed cell suicide) — launched, for example, when a cell determines it is en route to becoming cancerous. Therefore, when one end of the DRACO binds to dsRNA, it signals the other end of the DRACO to initiate cell suicide.

Combining those two elements is a “great idea” and a very novel approach, says Karla Kirkegaard, professor of microbiology and immunology at Stanford University. “Viruses are pretty good at developing resistance to things we try against them, but in this case, it’s hard to think of a simple pathway to drug resistance,” she says.

Each DRACO also includes a “delivery tag,” taken from naturally occurring proteins, that allows it to cross cell membranes and enter any human or animal cell. However, if no dsRNA is present, DRACO leaves the cell unharmed.

Most of the tests reported in this study were done in human and animal cells cultured in the lab, but the researchers also tested DRACO in mice infected with the H1N1 influenza virus. When mice were treated with DRACO, they were completely cured of the infection. The tests also showed that DRACO itself is not toxic to mice.

The researchers are now testing DRACO against more viruses in mice and beginning to get promising results. Rider says he hopes to license the technology for trials in larger animals and for eventual human clinical trials.

This work is funded by a grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the New England Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases, with previous funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and Director of Defense Research & Engineering (now the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering). - MIT


One man's search for Ogopogo

In the parking lot outside Bill Steciuk’s Kelowna apartment building is a delivery van. It belongs to a dry cleaner, but on its side is painted a whimsical, childish sea serpent. Mr. Steciuk isn’t pleased at all, seeing cartoonish, comical depictions of a creature he’s dedicated his life to proving the existence of. But they’re everywhere.

Ogopogo was the second tourist blessing bestowed on British Columbia’s Okanagan region, after the great, sun-dappled lake dropped strategically between Vancouver and Calgary, drawing beach-seekers and boaters from B.C. and the prairies. (The wineries came third.) Some people, a lot of people, believe Ogopogo dwells in the waters here, skulking deep beneath the surface, poking a rump or a head up only briefly, and occasionally, enough to tease. Others just recognize a good commercial opportunity when they see one.

Of course Kelowna’s touring parade float features a smiling, frog-faced Ogopogo. Souvenir shops off the beach hock everything from T-shirts and teaspoons featuring the fabled lake monster to salt-and-pepper shakers, colouring books, beer cozies, stuffed dolls, and green jellybeans labeled Ogopogo Poop. Local amateur sports teams bear its name. Downtown, a car-sized sculpture of the scaly sea-dragon with the goat-like face has been clambered on by local and vacationing children for generations.

“I’m not happy with that statue,” says Mr. Steciuk, his brow slightly furrowing. He asks not to be photographed near it. “It is what it is. But it’s not a true replica of what the serpentine form [of Ogopogo] looks like.” Still, he says, “I certainly can’t blame the city of Kelowna for advertising it.”

Actually, it’s like this up and down the long Okanagan shore. From Penticton on the lake’s southern end, through the lush tourist magnets of Summerland, Peachland, and Vernon in the north, the beast moves merchandise. For a creature made famous by its very evasiveness, Ogopogo, in his kitschiest form, is impossible to avoid on shore.

“I’ve probably approached this more scientifically than most people have,” Mr. Steciuk says. He’s been researching the storied creature since he was captivated by it in 1978 when, driving past the lake one day, he spotted what he recognized as three humps in the water. He stopped his car, jumped out, and watched the great mass move through the water. Having left his car blocking traffic, he recalls, dozens more people stopped and joined him. “They all saw it,” he says. When the local newspaper ran his story the next day, asking the other witnesses to come forward, it didn’t get a single call.

“I think at that time in ’78 and the early 80s, the attitude was, ‘Hey, you saw Ogopogo? You must be on drugs, or you were drunk, or it was a goof,’” he says. Some people, it seems, are still reticent: Mr. Steciuk recently caught word that his next-door neighbours spotted Ogopogo just days ago from their lakefront balcony right next to his. They didn’t tell him about it then, and he says they’ve refused his questions about it ever since. Yet there are hundreds upon hundreds of reported sightings going back to the 19th century and the story has links to local aboriginal tales of a lake demon called N’ha-a-itk. Mr. Steciuk says many of them tell him they don’t much care for the commercial exploitation either.

“There have been so many people have come here to commercialize it to try and make money from it, and of course the First Nations get their back up,” he says. “They never liked that.”

Mr. Steciuk insists that Ogopogo—that name somehow migrated to the creature from a local vaudeville-era show—be taken far more seriously. He has launched, over the last 11 years, a series of major search expeditions to scour the lake for the creature, complete with divers, submersible cameras and sonar. It’s a daunting operation: Lake Okanagan stretches more than 90 miles, tip to tail. Its depths reach 800 feet before you hit sediment. The sediment drops in places another 2,000 feet to bedrock, which matters if you believe, as Mr. Steciuk does, that Ogopogo burrows in the silt.

There are underwater caves, too. And the species—and he is certain it must be a species, not a single monster—is clearly shy, he explains, which is why such scant evidence of the thing exists, particularly in a lake that, in nearly every hour of summer daylight, is almost everywhere churned by thousands of ski boat and Sea-Doo motors. There are blurry, indistinguishable photos, but even Mr. Steciuk acknowledges that they can’t always be trusted. Okanagan Lake can look as smooth as a mirror, and yet a rogue wave can suddenly come rolling along as if out of nowhere.

“We see them all the time,” Mr. Steciuk says. “If you’re close to the water and the light’s hitting them right, by God they look like humps, and they look like they’re moving in the water. And it’s very easy to mistake that. Especially if it’s somebody doesn’t live by the lake and doesn’t see it a lot.” His own first sighting was different, though: “I could actually see the ridges on the humps.”

Despite his certainty of the creature’s existence, Mr. Steciuk stops short of total credulity. He has copies of some cryptic photos, but only offers a shrug as to whether they’re legitimate proof or not. He won’t say for sure. He’s willing to admit that it is passing strange that no lake monster carcass has ever been found. “It’s a good point,” he says.

When divers on one of his searches found an small unidentified carcass on a rock ledge 60 feet below the lake’s surface near Rattlesnake Island, the rumoured home base of Ogopogo, Mr. Steciuk maintains he was the only one among the enraptured crew to dismiss it instantly as a shriveled Kokanee, the inland salmon of Okanagan Lake, rather than a baby Ogopogo. Lab tests later proved him right.

He does, however, keep a thermal printout of a sonar scan from one of his searches of something he spotted moving at high-speed off the boat’s bow. Its shape is not entirely unlike a plesiosaur, roughly 40 to 50 feet long. (Reports of sightings have the creature either looking like the ancient marine reptile, with a finned, whale-like body and long neck, or with a serpentine shape, featuring three distinct humps; Mr. Steciuk thinks it’s possible they’re two developmental stages of the same species.) Even this image he stops short of calling definitive proof, though it would seem, he suggests, to be as close as anything.

Despite the fact that legends just like this one persist in so many large lakes—obviously Nessie of Loch Ness, but just here in Canada there are stories of Manipogo in Lake Manitoba, Memphre in Lake Memphremagog, and Champie in Lake Champlain—and that Ogopogo’s reputation has been so sent up and distorted by all the merchandising around it, Mr. Steciuk reports that his work is taken more seriously today than ever. There was a time he’d have to tolerate the occasional tease, he says; “Not anymore.” He thinks people, generally, are far more open-minded today about the possibility of an undiscovered species in Lake Okanagan than when he reported his story 33 years ago.

“Science has gone just galloping every day. I think people are starting to think maybe there’s something else out there,” he says. “We’re finding new species of stuff all the time, all over the place: butterflies, frogs. I mean, it goes on and on. Why couldn’t there be something in the lake?”

Over the decades, TV crews from Japan, Canada and the U.S. have descended on Lake Okanagan to launch investigations into Ogopogo: A Current Affair, In Search Of…, Unsolved Mysteries. For a while locals lucky enough to capture a bizarre enough bit of footage did well: Hollywood producers might pay thousands for an exclusive shot of something sufficiently peculiar, and a cottage industry of local researchers sprung up, ready and willing to consult on the projects. The creature, for a time, seemed to fit well in a more anxious and wide-eyed culture, where we creeped out at stories about the Bermuda Triangle, killer bees and alien invasions. But while the gallop of science and information has since deflated a number of those popular canards, no one has yet proven the negative in Okanagan Lake: that Ogopogo doesn’t exist.

Mr. Steciuk, too, set up a production company to film his lake searches and market the videos. He’s not entirely immune to the commercial urge: his documentaries have a weakness for gratuitously suspenseful string music and, at the end of our interview, he asks if his website, ogopogoquest.com, might earn a mention in the story. But there is, he insists, no profit motive here. Maybe a cost recovery motive. For all he’s spent on his research—though he won’t reveal just how much—he doubts he’ll ever break even.

That, anyway, isn’t his goal. “My goal is to prove the existence of an aquatic creature in the lake,” he says. “Conclusively.” That probably means finding a DNA sample, he thinks. After Labour Day, the tourists will be gone, the lake and the souvenir shops will quiet down, and he’ll head out to find evidence of the real Ogopogo once more. - nationalpost


Texas man bites woman, ‘confesses’ to being 500-year-old vampire

A Texas man claiming to be a vampire faces felony charges after breaking into a woman's home and biting her early Saturday morning, the Galveston County Daily News reported.

"I'm a vampire and I've been alive for over 500 years," he told the the Galveston Police Department after being arrested.

The 19-year-old Lyle Monroe Bensley broke into the apartment of a woman he did not know wearing only boxer shorts and made his way to her bedroom. He reportedly made growling and hissing noises while biting and striking the woman in her bed.

He tried to drag the woman out of her apartment, but she escaped and contacted the police.

The tattoo-covered Bensley was arrested by police shortly after the incident. Police found him making shrieking and growling sounds in the apartment's parking lot.

"He was begging us to restrain him because he didn't want to kill us," Galveston Officer Daniel Erickson said. "He said he needed to feed."

Bensley has been charged with burglary with intent to commit assault. His bond was set at $40,000 and he is also being held for psychiatric observation.

The victim sustained minor injuries but refused treatment. - rawstory


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8:00pm to 10:00pm ET

We return LIVE Sunday nights at 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET - Join Eric Altman, Lon Strickler and the crew for the best in alternative talk radio that promises to take you... Beyond The Edge. Listen live by clicking on the 'listen live and chat' tab and click 'listen live' or visit www.jackaloperadio.com Come on and chat with us. This week's guest will be Pennsylvania MUFON Director John Ventre - a profile will be posted later in the week. See you there!