Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Just the Facts? New CGI May Increase Hoaxing -- Argentina Crop Circles -- Blame The Trees

New CGI software bound to cause rise in the paranormal hoaxing

Researchers have lit up the world of 3D design with a new method for inserting computer-generated objects into a photograph in a way that makes the CGI renders seem part of the original snap.

Kevin Karsch, Varsha Hedau, David Forsyth and Derek Hoiem, all students from the University of Illinois, have come up with a method that maps the lighting characteristics of any photo and applies it to a 3D model that is to be composited into the shot.

You can add any item, even "objects with diffuse, specular and... glowing materials". The system correctly mixes the object's own lighting with that of its photo-sourced environment.

It also deals with complex shadows already present within in the scene, and ensures the objects themselves correctly cast shadows.

The group claims its method doesn't require extra information about the scene into which the object is to be place than other such insertion methods do.

The technique would have applications in the movie and gaming industry, as well as home decoration and user content creation, they say. - reghardware


WTF? Trees blamed for lack of air

A day after 136 students collapsed at a Kompong Cham high school while standing at attention as punishment for not showing deference to the national flag, the local police chief offered a unique explanation for the mass fainting – trees.

“According to the hospital’s analysis, the reason why the students fainted is [because of] the huge tree in the school compound and the farmland surrounding the school, which absorbed the oxygen,” said Heng Meng, police chief of Chamkar Leu district, adding that the punishment could not be blamed as one of the teachers “also [had difficulty breathing] and felt dizzy”.

Heng Phal Rith, school director of Bosknor high school in Chamkar Leu district, also cited the hospital’s report in blaming the incident on a lack of oxygen, adding that he “did not punish the students. It is just a rumour”.

A doctor from the local hospital, Iv Then, said that based on his examination, the lack of oxygen was due to an abundance of trees, which trapped the oxygen, adding that the first four or five students fainted because they were standing under the school’s large medicinal oil tree.

World Health Organization representative Dr Pieter van Maaren said that while he was not a biologist by trade, the explanation admittedly sounded a bit odd.

“Dating back to my own biology classes, green plants and trees actually produce oxygen rather than capture it, so I’m a bit puzzled by [the explanation],” he said, adding that if they had said that the trees were producing a certain smell that affected the students’ composure, it might be more plausible.

Chamkar Leu District governor Ith Dara said he does not have any plans to charge the school director, because the incident was caused by nature. - phnompenhpost

Cambodia - Culture Smart!: the essential guide to customs & culture

Encyclopedia of Asian American Folklore and Folklife [3 volumes]


'Himalayan Viagra' earns Bhutan's yak herders a fortune

Yak herders in Bhutan are growing rich from trading a rare aphrodisiacal mushroom found only in the high Himalayas.

The herders can earn more in a month from collecting the wild, parasitic Cordyceps sinensis fungus - dubbed "Himalayan Viagra" - than they can in a year from yaks, thanks to recent tales of its aphrodisiacal and medical properties.

It sells for as much as $80,000 a kilogram in Hong Kong after a Chinese running coach credited it with the success of his record-breaking athletes.

With a licensed household collecting as much as a kilogram of the fungus in a season, the archery-loving herders even started importing expensive bows from the US.

Aphrodisiacs and Antiaphrodisiacs

Dophu Dukpa, a Cordyceps auctioneer, said, "You can see the effects everywhere, in the new clothes and shoes. They are slaughtering far fewer yaks and spend a lot more time on their archery. But instead of the traditional bows, they are importing these fancy bows from the US."

Nigel Hywel-Jones, a British mycologist researching whether the trade is sustainable, said, "For one thing, it is very hard to find. It looks like a brown twig in a landscape of brown twigs. Secondly, an area that might be full of Cordyceps one year will have almost none the next. Those cycles, and the fact that pickers always miss a fair proportion, probably allow populations to recover."

The mushroom, which feeds on and then grows out of the body of the ghost moth caterpillar, is the subject of widespread pharmaceutical research.

One possible explanation for its effectiveness is that it contains an acid that closely mirrors one of the constituent elements of DNA. -

Bhutan: Land of the Thunder Dragon


Hooker 'turns into donkey', court hears

A man caught having sex with a donkey stunned a court on Monday by claiming that the animal was in fact a hooker he pulled from a nightclub.

Sunday Moyo, 28, from Mandava township in Zvishavane, was charged with bestiality on Monday.

Zvishavane magistrate Mildred Matuvi heard how Moyo was found by police officers on routine patrol performing a sex act on the animal inside his yard just after 4AM last Sunday.

The donkey, which had been tied by the neck to a tree, was lying on the ground.

Although he was not formally asked to enter a plea, Moyo admitted committing the crime but told the magistrate an enthralling tale which had the court in stitches.
“Your worship, I only came to know that I was being intimate with a donkey when I got arrested,” he began.

“I had hired a prostitute and paid US$20 for the service at Down Town night club and I don’t know how she then became a donkey.”

The magistrate remanded Moyo in custody to October 27 and also ordered that he be examined by two government psychiatrists. - newzimbabwe


New Crop Circles at Chicoana Argentina!

Scott Corrales: Inexplicata-The Journal of Hispanic Ufology

Source: Grupo GABIE
Date: 10.22.11

Several days ago, circles and other geometric shapes appeared in the wheat fields. Today, there are claims that a strange circular object flew over the area -- sometimes at very low altitude.

Several residents of the town of Chicoana in Salta -- where circles and geometric figures appeared only days ago -- claimed having seen a strange circular object flying over the area at very low altitude.

The alleged UFO was described by the witnesses -- some were even able to take photos and record video -- as a round object that changed color constantly. "The object was very odd. It changed colors at every instant from red to green before losing itself in the mountains after being visible for several seconds," said José Morales, a witness to the aerial phenomenon over Route 33 last Thursday.

In an interview with Diario El Tribuno, the man said that the UFO "was round and not very large. Many were able to see it. After returning a few times, it vanished to the south of Chicoana."

Olga Chocobar and her nephew were also able to see it on Wednesday and Thursday from Barrio la Rotonda.

"There was a very bright light moving from one side to another at low altitude and in the same area. Two days in a row. At times it floated and moved quickly at others. It changed colors, dimmed and then reappeared somewhere else," said the local resident. Last weekend, the fields of Chicoana, 35 kilometers from the capital city of Salta, also witnessed the appearance of strange shapes in the wheat, as occurred three years ago in other rural areas of the region.

This time, circles measuring some ten meters in diameter were added to the figures, similar to the Crop Circles that appeared in England in the late '70s ane were later found in various parts of the world, causing speculation that ranges from ufology to fraud and outright pranks.

The Heck Hypothesis: Crop Circle Insight - NOTE: I highly recommend this book...Lon

Secrets in the Fields: The Science and Mysticism of Crop Circles

Vital Signs: A Complete Guide to the Crop Circle Mystery and Why It is Not a Hoax