; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Just the Facts? Soylent Green is People, Haunted Car and Hackensack Close Encounter

Soylent Green is People!!

Reports last week that researchers could be just six months away from producing the world’s first artificial meat, using thousands of stem cells bred in a laboratory, sent a wave of fascination around the world. Yet there is an even more ghoulish prospect ahead: the idea of eating artificial food made from humans.

This may sound like science fiction, yet a new technique for making gelatin from human DNA is attracting “increasing interest from research and industrial circles”, according to a new study by scientists from the Beijing University of Chemical Technology. The paper, published recently in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, revealed that successful experiments had been carried out in which human genes were inserted into a strain of yeast to “grow” large amounts of recombinant (genetically engineered) human gelatin.

Gelatin has a long history of use as a gelling agent by the food industry – and, according to the journal’s publisher, the American Chemical Society, human-derived gelatin “could become a substitute for some of the 300,000 tons of animal-based gelatin produced annually for desserts, marshmallows, candy and innumerable other products”.

There would be safety issues to consider. When an ice-cream parlour in London began selling flavours derived from human breast milk earlier this year, it was soon withdrawn for hygiene reasons. The Food Standards Agency said: “There would be a restriction on the sale or import of this type of product, because it would require a pre-market safety assessment.”

However, scientists do not believe that the new gelatin product would pose any risk. “There’s a very high degree of similarity between gelatin that comes from a cow, a pig, and a human,” explains Dr David Olsen, senior scientist at FibroGen, which specialises in recombinant gelatins. “So due to their similarities, I can’t see why there would be a health risk to it. It’s a very similar protein to what people have been ingesting for many years.”

In fact, human-derived gelatin is already in use by the pharmaceutical industry in the manufacture of certain pills and vaccines. The highly controlled production techniques of the laboratory offer a more consistent product than “traditional” gelatin, which is made from the bones and skin of pigs and cows. More broadly, human genes are used by pharmaceutical firms in the production of insulin for diabetics, human growth hormone, and erythropoietin, which is used to treat anaemia.

In fact, the Beijing University scientists believe their method offers many health advantages over animal-derived gelatin. Researchers from the Sapporo Medical University of Japan have reported an increase in allergic reactions to animal-derived gelatin in vaccines, but such a response to human material is less likely. Moreover, the risk of gelatin transmitting animal-borne diseases such as BSE would be eliminated.

It remains to be seen, however, whether there is an appetite for human protein among the wider public. Dr Gregory Kaebnick, of the US-based Hastings Center for bioethics and public policy, says the idea of human-derived gelatin “appears to raise the question of cannibalism”, even though such concerns may be misplaced. “The gelatin is not derived from human tissue in the same way that animal gelatin is,” he says. “It’s really derived from yeast – yeast that have been modified with genetic sequences found in human beings.”

This difference may help remove the taboo borne by human-derived food products. “You really wouldn’t see it or recognise it,” says Dr Olsen. “It would almost be part of whatever the food is, and you wouldn’t notice the difference.”

Either way, it won’t appear in the organic aisle any time soon. - telegraph

NOTE: Soylent Green - for those who have no idea what the hell I'm talking about...Lon :)


Haunted Car

Dear Lon,

I have been reading with great interest the stories of the driverless cars. It reminded me very much of the 1967 red Mustang that my brother once owned. This cardid not drive by itself, but it certainly had a mind of its own and it seemed to be bent on trying to kill my brother. I wrote about the story in my very first book many years ago, and since then I have to confess I've often wondered exactly what had been going on with that car.

In 1981 my brother, Terry, purchased an old red Mustang that had caught his eye the local dealership. It was certainly not a practical car for he had five children, but something about the car appealed to him and he bought it. The car handled well enough in the beginning. My sister, who was 15 years old, was also fascinated with the vehicle. It was built in the same year that she was born. At first my brother used to tease her and tell her that when he was done with the car he would give it to her, but then he began to hedge when she asked about the vehicle.

One night Terry and I were sitting in the kitchen talking and he confided to me that there was something terribly wrong with the car. It seemed that about a month earlier the Township the been doing roadwork and had rerouted traffic so that it ran along a highway that actually ran through a local cemetery. There were retaining walls on both sides of the highway to hold back the graves. When they built the road they actually had to move graves further up the hill and it was those graves that threatened to slide down from time to time. Terry told me that each time he drove through the cemetery the car seemed to try and swerve into the retaining wall. He said it was as though someone else grabbed the wheel and stomped their foot down on the gas. He had to wrestle for control of the steering wheel on several time and he had come within inches of striking that retaining wall. Our older brother, Jerry, was known for his mechanical ability and he pulled the braking system apart several times but could find nothing wrong with it. He replaced the steering column and checked every conceivable possibility, but could find nothing wrong with the vehicle. Furthermore, as long as you stayed away from that road that ran through the cemetery, the car did not seem to have any problems. But as soon as they took the car onto the cemetery road, it again tried to strike the retaining wall. It was as if someone else had control the car-- or the car had a mind of its own.

Eventually Terry parked the car because he was afraid to drive it. He put the car in a storage shed and left it there for several years. I know that on several occasions he got the car out and tried to drive it through the cemetery, but each time the car reacted as though someone else wanted him to run into the that wall. Finally, Terry made arrangements for the car to be crashed at a local junkyard. He was afraid that the pretty little car would be spared by someone in the junkyard in its last moments, and so he actually made arrangements to watch the car get crashed. For a man who loved vintage cars, this had to be difficult, but Terry believed that there was something significantly wrong with that vehicle. Any time I hear stories of vehicles that drive themselves, or of cursed or haunted cars, I remember riding in that little red Mustang-- and I remember the fear my brother's face when he told me why the car had to be destroyed.

Patty Wilson
author: "Haunted Pennsylvania"


Close Encounter in Hackensack, NJ

On the morning of 10/22/82 7:30 a.m. I awoke to a real sighting of an unknown object which was over my floor in front of my bed to the left. It was approx. 10"w x 18"h cyclinder shaped, rotating its mass of small round, different sized shapes at an extremely fast speed in a clock wise direction, colored in blues and greens, creating a loud humming sound. This was a starting experience to come in contact with while I was awake and watching it from my bed in total amazement. I almost could not believe this was happening, before my very eyes and ears. I was looking at something that was spinning with centrifugal force that I could not explain. After viewing it for some time I gave myself a reality check and pinched myself. After I realized it was real, beautiful and bizarre I did not know what it was there for or what to do so I walked along the right wall into the next room, the bathroom and I could still hear the humming loud sound it was making so I came out went into bed and watched some more until it disappeared. It did not scare me and it left me with tranquility and joy. - MUFON CMS

KEN'S NOTE: We have had many sightings and strange experiences from the Hackensack area in past years. Hackensack is on the Hudson river across from Manhattan New York. The above image is a rendering. - Ken Pfeifer - New Jersey State Section Director MUFON


Whitley Strieber, 'Communion' Author, Describes Bizarre Encounter With Mystery Man

Is there more than one physical universe? Why is Earth's climate changing so suddenly? At what point will intelligent machines pose a threat to the men and women who invent them, not to mention the rest of humanity?

Many forward-thinking writers have pondered these questions. But none has approached them quite like Whitley Strieber, who says many of his ideas were formed after a mysterious stranger visited him in a hotel room in the middle of the night in 1998.

Strieber is the internationally best-selling author of numerous books that have been made into feature films, including 1987's New York Times No. 1 non-fiction bestseller "Communion" (his account of a close encounter with what he calls intelligent non-humans), "The Wolfen" and "The Hunger." Continue reading at Whitley Strieber, 'Communion' Author, Describes Bizarre Encounter With Mystery Man


Who doesn't like the taste of Schweddy Balls?

That's a question Ben & Jerry of ice cream fame are hoping gets answered after they announced the new flavor will be added to their line-up of unusual labels in many of their stores and on supermarket shelves across the country.

Not familiar with the flavor? It's all a cosmic joke, in answer to one of the most popular, and funny, comedy skits played out on Saturday Night Live, with Alec Baldwin as the infamous Schweddy (Schwetty?).

Schweddy Balls ice cream.As part of a spoof on the decidedly laid-back programming on NPR, SNL pulled the goof on one of Baldwin's many hosting shows, poking fun at the innocence, or downright cluelessness, of some of NPR's radio hosts.

In the clip below, the radio hosts are oohing and ahhing over Alec's "Schweddy balls" which are actually a new holiday treat his fictional character is touting on the show. The skit has gone somewhat underground, due to the nature of the double entendre, but apparently Ben & Jerry never forgot it.

Now they're launching a new flavor, named after that infamous pastry, and will sell it in about 30% of their markets, both shops and for home consumption.

According to NPR itself, Pete's delicious Schweddy Balls are made of "vanilla ice cream with a hint of rum and is loaded with fudge covered rum balls and milk chocolate malt balls."

Mmmm... sounds delicious! But just in case the name doesn't ring a bell, have a look at this clip of the original skit.

Guaranteed to make the mouth water! - Alec Baldwin's 'Schweddy Balls' Come to Life Thanks to Ben & Jerry

Click for video