Thursday, January 07, 2016

Daily 2 Cents: Vietnamese Defense Official Investigate 'Space Balls' -- Bizarre 'Ball Lightning' -- Hunting Skunk Apes

Vietnamese Defense Official Investigate 'Space Balls'

Defense officials in Vietnam are investigating the origin of three metal spheres which fell from the sky in the north of the country.

The largest object weighs about 45kg (99lb) and was found near a stream in Tuyen Quang province, the Thanh Nien News website reports. Another orb landed in local resident's garden in the neighboring Yen Bai region, while the lightest, weighing 250g (9oz), came down on a nearby roof before rolling onto the ground, the website says. Local people reported hearing what sounded like thunder in the minutes before the objects were found.

An initial investigation by Vietnam's defense ministry has so far determined that the objects are compressed-air tanks from an aircraft or rocket, and that - at least now they're no longer airborne - they aren't dangerous. It says the orbs were manufactured in Russia, but that its not clear if they were subsequently sold to another country for use.

Aerospace expert Prof Nguyen Khoa Son thinks they could belong to an old satellite that failed to burn up in the Earth's atmosphere. But he tells the Vietnam Bridge website that the objects don't appear to be damaged, so they may be the result of a failed satellite launch. Mysterious metal balls found in Vietnam may be space debris: officials


Ball lightning 'UFO' filmed over Canberra

The footage, which was originally uploaded on January 3, was initially labelled by the media as evidence of a UFO, but once weather experts had weighed in on the recording it became apparent that what the uploader had actually captured on film was a rare meteorological phenomenon.

"Normally lightning strikes up and down hitting the ground, but ball lightning is a weird thing where it appears as a ball explosion, sometimes it can even move around in the sky," said astronomer Brad Tucker from the Australian National University. "It’s always hard to discredit aliens, but I think they would probably visit somewhere more active than Canberra."

The video can be viewed here.


The last remaining copy of Bruce the shark, the great white predator from the movie "Jaws," is leaving the California junkyard that has owned it since it left Universal Studios decades ago.


Hunting Skunk Apes

Deep in the Everglades of south Florida, off a nondescript sun-bleached ribbon of highway and surrounded on all sides by lushly impenetrable greenery, toothy, man-eating lizards, and swarms of insects that loom like whining thunderheads in the thick air, sits a one-of-a-kind roadside attraction. Buildings along this highway look like either a ramshackle collaboration between a hoarder and a drunken structural engineer or a cinder-block bunker slung low and ready to withstand an invasion or bombing run. The Skunk Ape Headquarters is the former, shack-like, surrounded by ephemera that may be functional or, just as likely, be there for effect, such as a Jeep and rusty, fan-backed swamp boat.

You’d be forgiven for thinking it was just another tourist trap in a long run of tourist traps, sun-scorched locals doing their best to make it in a region that attracts decidedly fewer tourism dollars than the Kardashian-endorsed pastel and palms of Miami or theme parks of Orlando. T-shirts and shot glasses and hats bearing a bigfoot-like beast are for sale, as well as the regionally appropriate piles of preserved alligator parts. There’s a “petting zoo” of types out back, a fenced-off area containing snapping turtles and baby gators and spiders and snakes, some of which are captive and some of which come with the territory. In a giant Tupperware container a 21-plus-foot snake sleeps away a confined existence, though if you’re nice and marginally lucky the animal’s warden will show you that it’s alive by tickling it, sending shuddering twitches through the thick scaly coils. Read more at Hunting Skunk Apes, Florida’s Bigfoot



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