; Phantoms and Monsters: Pulse of the Paranormal

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Just the Facts?: Another Illinois/Missouri January 2000 Triangular UFO Report -- Wanna Hear a Nuclear Blast?

Triangular Craft - January 2000 - may be part of mass sightings in Illinois

The witness, who was an Assistant Fire Chief at the time, was prompted to contact MUFON after seeing a TV program on the Illinois sightings in the year 2000. He stated that he was returning from a house fire in St. Clair, Missouri at approximately 3:00 AM and was on I-44 Highway approaching Union, Missouri when he heard law enforcement on the county police band radio discussing an unidentified object. The dispatcher said “Oh its this Roswell stuff again.” and that police were chasing the object.

As the witness approached 50 hwy and 47 hwy he saw a large triangular craft with lights pointing down over the Wal-Mart that was traveling at approximately 25-30 MPH. The witness said that the very bright lights on the object pointed downward, but did not light up the ground, seeming to stop approximately 100 feet up. The craft was approximately 500 above the ground.

The witness joined up with an officer from Union, Missouri and an officer from the County, and the three of them followed the object in their separate cars for approximately one hour as the object headed towards Washington, Missouri, north of the original position. The object was always in front of them or above them. At one point, the county officer attempted to tilt his dash cam up in order to get pictures, but it would not move into the needed position.

None of the men had a camera with them. The object stopped and hovered several times and moved very slowly. They were unable to use the radio for communication while the craft was above them. After an hour, the officers needed to turn back to get back to other calls, so this witness left as well. By this time, the object had moved into an area SE of Washington, MO over farmland where there were no roads, and it was impossible to follow.

The witness surmises that the object from Illinois continued into Missouri and officers picked up its trail after it crossed the state line. - MUFON CMS


UFOs in Missouri: True Tales of Extraterrestrial and Related Phenomena

Missouri UFO's & Extraterrestrials!: A Look at the Sightings & Science in Our State! (Carole Marsh Missouri Books)


Online Course: An Introduction to Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life

The truth is out there – and now budding alien hunters are being given the chance to sign up for a crash course in close encounters.

Edinburgh University is to offer a new course exploring how to detect alien life on Earth-like planets, and the implications if contact is made.

An Introduction to Astrobiology and the Search for Extra-terrestrial Life will begin this autumn and is expected to be widely subscribed to.

The lectures, part of a major new drive in online teaching, will be free and run for five weeks with students from across the globe expected to be attracted to the subject.

Today, Edinburgh was announced as the first university in the UK to join the Coursera consortium, an organisation set up by senior academics at Stanford University to provide free online undergraduate level courses to anyone who wants to access them.

The institution will use the network to deliver its own tailored 
Massive Open Online Courses, with the five-week courses starting this autumn.

The Search for Extra-
terrestrial Life – which is “fully academic” with students being awarded a certificate for passing – is among six courses initially being offered.

It will be led by Professor Charles Cockell, a former research associate at the NASA Ames Research Centre in California and now professor of Astrobiology at University of Edinburgh.

The first two weeks of the course explore the origins of life and how beings survive in extreme environments, with the focus in the third week moving to the possibility of life being discovered on other planets.

The final week includes asking how contact with an extraterrestrial intelligence would be dealt with and what would be the impact on society. It concludes with the question “who would represent Earth?” in the event of first contact.

The six courses, which also include Artificial Intelligence Planning and another titled Equine Nutrition, have no entry requirements or fees but university dons said students will have to work hard to complete the assessments and receive a pass certificate.

Professor Jeff Haywood, vice principal of University of Edinburgh, told the Evening News: “This course is based on Professor Charles Cockell’s research with NASA and covers what is a seriously interesting and important area of study.

“While you might have 100 students on campus, or 1000 on a distance learning course, here we’re talking about potentially 100,000 students.” - scotsman

Contact with Alien Civilizations: Our Hopes and Fears about Encountering Extraterrestrials

If the Universe Is Teeming with Aliens ... WHERE IS EVERYBODY?: Fifty Solutions to the Fermi Paradox and the Problem of Extraterrestrial Life

Searching for Extraterrestrial Intelligence: SETI Past, Present, and Future (The Frontiers Collection)


Wanna hear a nuclear blast?

They are surely the most horrifying offshoot of modern technology - nuclear warheads which can smite hundreds of thousands of people dead within seconds, and leave lasting scars on a landscape for generations.

And while most of us will have seen archive footage of nuclear explosions before, one thing we are unlikely to have heard is their sound.

For, according to one expert, most films we see of a nuclear blast use stock 'explosion' sound effects for the bang - and audio footage is few and far between.

But Alex Wellerstein, an historian of science at the American Institute of Physics, has shared a unigue video of a blast during America's testing of nukes in the Yucca Mountain area of Nevada during the 1950s.

The historian was sent the video below from a Russian colleague, and has now shared it on his blog.

Wellerstein wrote: 'Most films of nuclear explosions are dubbed. If they do contain an actual audio recording of the test blast itself (something I’m often suspicious of - I suspect many were filmed silently and have a stock blast sound effect), it’s almost always shifted in time so that the explosion and the sound of the blast wave are simultaneous.

'This is, of course, quite false: the speed of light is much faster than the speed of sound, and the cameras are kept a very healthy distance from the test itself, so in reality the blast wave comes half a minute or so after the explosion. Basic physics that even a non-technical guy like me can understand.

'It’s rare to find footage where the sound has not been monkeyed with in post-processing. So I was pleased when a Russian correspondent sent me a link to footage digitized by the National Archives of a 1953 nuclear test. The footage is very raw: it hasn’t been edited much, and is a bit washed out, but the audio is still in “correct,” original sync.'

Hear the blast here - Video and sound of a nuclear explosion

Civilians were allowed to watch this blast from 11 miles away, partly an attempt by the government to allay public fears about the dangers of nuclear fallout.

Wellerstein adds: 'The audio is what makes this great. Put on some headphones and listen to it all the way through - it’s much more intimate than any other test film I’ve seen. Troops were also on hand, and they can be heard shouting ''Whoa' and 'Jeez!' at the end of the video.

'You get a much better sense of what these things must have been like, on the ground, as an observer, than from your standard montage of blasts.

'Murmurs in anticipation; the slow countdown over a megaphone; the reaction at the flash of the bomb; and finally - a sharp bang, followed by a long, thundering growl. That’s the sound of the bomb.

'There were U.S. troops there as well, as part of Operation Desert Rock V. They provide a huge amount of ambient noise.' - dailymail

Under the Cloud: The Decades of Nuclear Testing

Fallout: An American Nuclear Tragedy

Idaho Falls: The Untold Story of America's First Nuclear Accident


FDA approves first drug to prevent HIV Infection

For the first time ever, the US Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug proven to reduce the risk of HIV infection. Called Truvada, the drug's approval marks a watershed in the fight to stem the continued spread of AIDS.

"It really marks a new era in HIV prevention because in adding Truvada as a prevention strategy, what comes with it is expanded access to HIV testing, condoms and prevention counseling and support," said James Deluca, vice president of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation, in an interview with the Associated Press.

It's worth pointing out that Truvada is not a new drug. First approved in 2004, it's been used for years to treat people already infected with HIV, and is actually a combination of two other drugs commonly prescribed to slow the replication of the virus.

It wasn't until clinical trials, beginning in 2010, that scientists had the evidence they needed to show the treatment could work as a prevention tool, as well. In one study, daily doses of Truvada were shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection by 42 percent among HIV-negative individuals who regularly engaged in unprotected sex with more than one partner. A second trial involving heterosexual couples with one infected parter showed that daily treatment reduced risk of HIV infection by 75 percent when combined with condom use.

Not surprisingly, the FDA has made it clear that Truvada will be prescribed as part of a prevention plan that includes risk reduction counseling, HIV testing every three months, and regular condom use.

"It is exciting to consider the potential impact of this new HIV prevention tool, which could contribute to significantly reducing new HIV infections as part of a combination HIV prevention strategy," said Dr. Connie Celum, who led the trial involving heterosexual couples, in a statement.

But HIV prevention doesn't come cheap. At its current price, a year's worth of pills will set you back at least $13,900 — that's close to 40 dollars a pill. At that price, it's no wonder Truvada has become a blockbuster drug for pharmaceutical company Gilead, which markets the treatment.

Experts say 40 bucks a pill may be steep — but it's still likely cheaper than the alternative, especially for people whose regular sexual partners are HIV-positive:

"It is expensive," notes John's Hopkins University's Joel Gallant, "but on the other hand it's far cheaper than a lifetime of HIV treatment."

"If there are people who will not use condoms but are willing to use this, then for those people it's cost effective." - io9

Johns Hopkins HIV Guide 2012


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