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Monday, April 16, 2012

Just the Facts?: Reptilians May Indeed Exist -- Pastries Stuffed With Human Flesh -- Superconductive Tube Travel

Advanced 'Dinosaurs' Rule Alien Worlds? Chemist Conjectures Reptilians

Imagine an alien world ruled by "advanced dinosaurs" as smart as humans—maybe even smarter.

Science fiction? Not necessarily, says the author of a provocative new study whose title--“Evidence for the Likely Origin of Homochirality in Amino Acids”—gives no hint of any worrisome extraterrestrial implications.

Published in the March 25 issue of the "Journal of the American Chemical Society," the study addresses the chemistry of amino acids here on Earth. But study author Dr. Ronald Breslow, a professor of chemistry at Columbia University in New York City, said in a written statement the work suggests that if life forms do exist on other planets, they “could well be advanced versions of dinosaurs."

It’s long been known that certain molecules, including DNA and amino acids, exist in two mirror-image forms—a phenomenon known as chirality. And with few exceptions, the amino acids that make up the proteins in life on Earth exist only in the L (left-handed) form. The question is how did this “homochirality” come to be?

Some scientists have speculated that the amino acids that predominate on Earth came to our planet via meteorites four billion years ago. And if that’s what happened on Earth, Dr. Breslow said in the statement, it’s possible that life that might exist on other planets could be based on D amino acids.

From there, Breslow makes the jump to advanced dinosaurs. But why might extraterrestrial life be in that form? “Because mammals survived and became us only because the dinosaurs were wiped out by an asteroid, so on a planet similar to ours without the asteroid collision it is unlikely that human types would be there, more probably advanced lizards (dinosaurs),” Dr. Breslow told The Huffington Post in an email.

Not everyone is convinced.

“Animal-like creatures that might evolve on other worlds will not be and cannot be dinosaurs,” Dr. Paul "PZ" Myers, associate professor of biology at the University of Minnesota Morris, wrote on his blog. “There is no reason to imaging that a saurian-mammalian transition is anything but a particular quirk of our particular planet’s evolutionary history—it is not a universal.” Dr. Myers termed the paper “badly written nonsense.”

Of course, if advanced dinosaurs could exist on other planets, we might want to rethink our efforts to make contact with extraterrestrial life. Says Breslow of the brainy dinos he imagines, “I just warn that they might well see us as food.” - THP


Monster catfish pulled boat for a mile

The anglers hooked the huge catfish on the River Po in Italy, but when the creature from the deep took their bait it started to ‘run’ with it.

The men leapt from the bank into a motorised dinghy, but were powerless to act as the Wels catfish pulled them along for an hour.

After taking them one mile the exhausted beast gave up and the fishermen — German anglers Stefan Seuss, 31, Uli Schuppler and Patrick Nimz — were able to guide it into the shallows.

After it was caught the fish weighed in at a mighty 218lbs and measured 7ft 8ins.

Tour guide Stefan said: “It was the hardest fight from a catfish I have ever witnessed.

“When a fish runs off like that we have no choice but to follow it. We followed it down the river in a little boat.

“It dragged us along for 1.5km and there was little we could do but hold on until it tired. It was quite a fight.”

The fish was more than 30lbs off the official world record for a Wels catfish.

That was caught in the same river in 2010 by Roberto Godi and weighed in at 250lbs 3ozs.

After capturing their catch on film the men returned it safe and well back to the water.

Stefan, from Birkenau near Frankfurt, works for Team Black Cat which runs fishing tours to the River Po. - thesun


Brazilian Women Murdered, Eaten And Made Into Human Pastries

Police have arrested three people for allegedly killing at least two women, eating parts of their bodies and using their flesh to make stuffed pastries known as empanadas that they sold to neighbors in their northeastern Brazil city.

The three suspects – a man, his wife and his mistress – belonged to a sect that preached "the purification of the world and the reduction of its population," police inspector Wesley Fernandes in the city of Garanhuns told the Globo TV network Friday.

The newspaper Estado de S.Paulo said the man, Jorge Beltrao Negromonte, wrote a 50-page book titled "Revelations of a Schizophrenic" in which he says he hears voices and is obsessed with the killing of women.

Fernandes said the three were arrested Wednesday and had confessed to the crimes.

The three allegedly lured women to their house by promising them a job as a nanny. They were tracked down after one of the arrested women used a credit card belonging to a victim who disappeared last month.

Police found the remains of the two women in the backyard of the suspects' house, which enraged neighbors burned to the ground Thursday.

Fernandes identified the three as Negromonte; his wife, Isabel Cristina Pires; and his mistress, Bruna Oliveira da Silva.

The three allegedly had plans for killing another woman living in the nearby city of Lagoa do Ouro, Fernandes said. - THP


Titanic and the Paranormal

It’s a sad and historic anniversary, yesterday was the the 15th of April, the 100th anniversary of sinking of the Titanic. Amid the 3d showings of the movie and the wild commercialism that seems endless, I wondered what else might be lurking in the Titanic story within my own field of interest. The Paranormal.

As it turns out, there’s quite alot.

Firstly are the prophetic circumstances surrounding the wreck itself. In 1898 an author named Morgan Robertson published a short story entitled ‘Futility’ that bore striking resemblances to the Titanic disaster of 1912. Everything from striking an iceberg on it’s maiden voyage, it’s home port of Southampton, claimed unsinkability due to watertight compartments and a lack of sufficient lifeboats were all eerily similar. Perhaps the most creepy aspect is that Morgan’s ship was named The Titan.

Another paranormal tidbit in Titanic lore are the artifacts. Owned more or less by a single company, and the whole lot coming up for auction soon, there are numerous accounts of the exhibit being haunted. Stories abound from people touring the exhibit seeing things, a famous television investigation team capturing EVP’s, and employees emphatically claiming paranormal activity. Claims range from an employee feeling hands in her hair, shadowy figures walking the corridors, and even an elderly woman haunting a replica of a cabin.

One famous story about Titanic is unfortunately not true. A legend has developed about a mummy shipped aboard the vessel, suggesting, as usual, that a mummy curse sank the Titanic. In fact, there was no mummy on the ship, and the mummified Egyptian in question never existed (except in Ancient times). The whole thing traces to the only extant artifact, a coffin lid in the British Museum, that’s still there to this day. The mummy story must be chalked up to a typical gilded age tall tale, a textbook one, as Tutankamun’s curse must also be. The simple fact is, the man that opened the tomb, Howard Carter… lived for years after his discovery. The curse story persisted, and the model seems to have been recycled into the Titanic saga.

Perhaps the most interesting paranormal phenomena associated with the Titanic is the Captain of the ship, Edward Smith, haunting his birthplace. Located in Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire England, the victorian era home has been claimed to be flagrantly haunted by Smith. He is reportedly seen in the bedroom of the home in anthropomorphic form, and cold chills (fitting, perhaps) are reported in other areas of the house. Disconcertingly, residents reported a mysterious kitchen flood that they suspect had something to do with the ghost. The house is on the market for what seems to be an unusually low price, should any Titanic aficionado wish to buy it and investigate further.

It should be no surprise that such a traumatic and emotional event as the Titanic disaster would create ghosts, or at least stories about them. 1500 people died that night under truly horrific circumstances, and if the paranormalists are to be believed these emotions imprinted on the artifacts and surely the ship itself. I could find no reliable reports of anything being seen on the wreck itself, but this is not surprising. Low light, explorers confined to submarines, murky water and the fact that most of the victims would have perished floating on the freezing surface of the ocean instead of miles down on the wreck would tend to explain that. But one must wonder if someday, some expedition might catch something unusual on it’s cameras. - Thanks to Terry G. at

Ghosts of the Titanic

Titanic: The Dead Survived, Lessons from the Afterlife


New York to Beijing in two hours without leaving the ground?

The Evacuated Tube Transport (ETT) system (U.S. Patent 5950543, assigned to, Inc.) would take passengers from New York to Beijing in just two hours. Advocates of Evacuated Tube Transport (ETT) claim it is silent, cheaper than planes, trains, or cars and faster than jets.

How it would work: put a superconducting maglev train in evacuated tubes, then accelerate using linear electric motors until the design velocity is attained. Passive superconductors allow the capsules to float in the tube, while eddy currents induced in conducting materials drive the capsules. Efficiency of such a system would be high, as the electric energy required to accelerate a capsule could largely be recaptured as it slows.

The maglev tubes are permanently maintained at near vacuum conditions, and the capsules are inserted into and removed from the tubes through airlocks at stations along the route. After the capsules are accelerated to the design velocity (some 4,000 mph or 6,500 km/h), they coast for the remainder of the trip.

While tubes could be networked like freeways, with capsules automatically routed along their trip, local and long-distance trips would require separate maglev tubes to avoid unreasonable scheduling delays.

Members of the ET3 consortium have worked with parties in China, where they say more than a dozen licenses for the company have been sold. - kurzweilai