Archive for July, 2010

New Crater Suggests Our Looming Death From Above Could Be Larger, Harder

Monday, July 26th, 2010

_Fresh_ Crater Found in Egypt; Changes Impact Risk?.jpg

A research team in Egypt has identified a “fresh” crater thought to be formed by a crashed iron meteor, could mean incoming space rocks would hit earth in bigger chunks than we once suspected.

The Italian-Egyptian team that found the crater in pictures recently visited and studied the 147-foot-wide (45-meter-wide), 52-foot-deep (16-meter-deep) hole. The team also collected thousands of pieces of the space rock that littered the surrounding desert.

Current impact models state that iron meteors around this size and mass should break into smaller chunks before impact. (Related: “Comet ‘Shower’ Killed Ice Age Mammals?”)

Instead, the existence of the newfound crater implies that up to 35 percent of these iron giants may actually survive whole—and thus have greater destructive power.

Hold on to your butts.

[Nat Geo]

An Ant’s Frat Initiation

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Start off your week with this video of an ant trying to chug a massive raindrop. He’s going to feel that in the morning!

Weird Things Book Club: Dawkins Sees A Double Rainbow

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

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Justin Robert Young: Issac Asimov’s Foundation (Foundation Novels)

Brian Brushwood: Peter F. Hamilton’s The Reality Dysfunction (The Night’s Dawn)

Andrew Mayne: Matthew Ridley’s The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves

Karen Stollznow: Benjamin Radford’s Scientific Paranormal Investigation

Purchasing from the above Amazon links helps support Weird Things. We thank you.

Octopus Found With Sub-Zero Venom

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

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File this under “Things We Didn’t Know Were Super Cool Until We Heard It Was Real”:

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Researchers have discovered four new species of octopus in Antarctica with venom that works at sub-zero temperatures.

They hope to analyze the venom to see if it has medical uses, said one of the researchers, Bryan Fry, of the University of Melbourne. Their discovery, during a six-week expedition to Antarctica in 2007, was published in the journal Toxicon.

Experts have long known there were octopuses in Antarctica, but what surprised Fry and his colleagues was the sheer biodiversity and how natural selection changed the way they hunted and the nature of their venom.

The question now, does Sub-Zero Venom make a name for a band, album or song?

[Reuters]

Stonehenge 1.0 Found Near Ancient Site

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

A wooden version of Stonehenge was found less than a kilometer away from the original landmark Thursday. Using sophisticated equipment researchers have uncovered a very similar structure buried in the earth.

The new site is thought to be a complementary site to the original Stonehenge. While they have only just begun to analyze the data and have no plans of actually digging up the new find it is believed that the two structures were built around the same time.

Whether this new structure has anything to do with the wooden Stonehenge in Cincinnati we reported on yesterday remains to be seen.

[Reuters]

Death From Above! [Weirdest Disasters]

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

Everyday this week…Brett Rounsaville brings us the Weirdest Disasters ever to strike down man or beast.

In 1986 in Bangladesh death quite literally rained from above (…well, no…I guess that is figurative too since it was actually death, it was hailstones, and it didn’t actually rain so much as, y’know…hail).

Bottomline: These Bangladeshian iceballs measured almost seven inches across and weighed in at 2.2 pounds. They fell with such force that the storm killed 92 people and leveled entire homes.

Can you even imagine being smacked in the face by a 2.2 pound object falling at terminal velocity from the sky?! Oh, right…you probably cant. Let me help put this in terms I’m sure everyone is intimately familiar with:

That’s like being shot in the face with an iPad duct taped to a loaf of bread moving at over 100 miles per hour and being hit with the significantly less squishy iPad side so that the loaf of bread doesn’t add any padding, just weight. Better?

This is not the kind of hail where you put on a bike helmet and run around outside like an idiot taunting nature as it bounces off your Styrofoam and fiberglass covered noggin. This is the kind of hail where you hope to Science (this blog has a bit of a skeptic bent in case you haven’t noticed) that you’re near a bomb shelter and/or a giant hairdryer pointed at the sky.

Even larger hail fell in Nebraska in 2003…but apparently Nebraskans are better at staying indoors than Bangladeshians (probably because there’s nothing to do outside there anyway if you’re not growing corn…).

That’s it gang! Time for the Weird Off! How would you rank this week’s Weirdest Disasters? We have:

1. The Boston Molassacre!

2. World’s Laziest Volcano!

3. Dark Ages 2.0! (Coming soon to an Earth near you.)

4. World’s Most Homicidal Lake!

5. All Hail…um…Hail.

What do you think, gang? Sound off!

Darth Vader Robs Long Island Bank

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

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Darth Vader robbed a bank in Long Island.

Don’t you know it’s hard out here for a Sith?

Hustle & Force.

Point Bespin.

I’ll stop now. Thanks to Weird Things friends Katy and Lawrence for making sure this came our way.

[Daily Mail]

How we plan to protect you from all the wicked evil demonic ghosts we’re going to capture

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

Wicked Woods

So Justin Robert Young and I have been scoping out murder scenes, ancient burial grounds and sites of all out massacres in research for our Weird Things Live project (where we investigate paranormal phenomena in front of a live internet audience). On a recent moonlit night standing in the middle of a mass killing field I had an epiphany. What are we going to do when we make contact with some kind of demonic spirit that may have caused people to go on murderous rampages and infect the scene with some kind of contagious inter-dimensional gloom? We need protocols and stuff.

Sure, we’re skeptics and we don’t actually believe in ghosts and spirits, but to be scientific about it, we have to accept the possibility that our premise could be wrong and this stuff is pure concentrated wickedness. We have a moral imperative to do something when we come face to face with wicked evil supernatural forces. So I decided to develop a plan and protocol for capturing and containing all that evil we’re going to encounter for your entertainment pleasure. I’ll describe our method for the capturing process in a later post. Here I’ll describe how we plan to contain it for transport and permanent confinement.

Level 1: Ghosts aren’t real Our first level of protection is based upon the virtual scientific fact that ghosts aren’t real. While we’re confident this should protect us and you, it’s only our first defense.

Level 2: Physical confinement We’re going to use airtight glass jars to physically contain the malevolent spirits. If there is some unknown physical property to dark spirits (like some kind of intelligent airborne bacteria) this should help confine them inside a physical medium.

Level 3: Sacred ground Inside each jar we plan on putting dirt from some kind of sacred holy ground where spirits are able to chill out peacefully. Our plan is that this should contain the spirit long enough to transport it to our final containment area.

Level 4: Sacred seal Using the Egyptians as a guide, we’re going to seal the jar with some kind of inscription designed to keep evil spirits inside. As we know from movies, breaking sacred seals are a bad thing, so we’re going to get some and put them on our jars. So don’t break them.

Level 5: Super Evil Super Max We’ve staked out a couple of remote plots of land located near burial grounds. We plan to bury these jars of tortured souls in this resting spot that will then be festooned with a variety of religious artifacts. We plan on bringing in some kind of Holy Man (under blindfold) to consecrate the grounds. We also plan on creating a ring of powder and pouring holy water everywhere.

That’s just the starting point. Your suggestions are welcome. Our goal is to keep adding to our final resting spot of evil as we capture more spirits. For it to work we’re going to have to keep the actual location a very closely held secret. We don’t want some interlopers to stumble in there and unleash what may be the greatest concentration of evil ever.

If this sounds silly to you, ask yourself this: Would you want these jars filled with the presumed spirits of serial killers and maniacs under your bed at night? When asked if they’d briefly wear a sweater that belonged to a serial killer (dry cleaned no less) most people flat out refuse. I’m sure they’d be even less happy to have our jars buried in their garden.

Our Best Defense Against Chinese UFOs Revealed! [WeirdThingsTV]

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

Podcast: Dawkins sees a Double Rainbow

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

weird things podcast SM

Special guest Dr. Karen Stollznow helps the gang plan a heist for a sacred Yeti paw. Brian and Justin get enormous glee from watching Andrew get corrected. The ethics of eating canned whale meat is debated. We also find out how ready and willing we are to be corrupted by the dark side.

Then a super secret plan (shhhh!) is hatched to get prominent skeptics tripped out on psychoactives so we can see what happens when they have their own double rainbow experience.

Subscribe to the Weird Things podcast on iTunes
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Download url: http://www.itricks.com/upload/WeirdThings072110.mp3

Dr. Karen Stollznow’s website

Listen now

 

World’s Most Homicidal Lake! [Weirdest Disasters]

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Everyday this week…Brett Rounsaville brings us the Weirdest Disasters ever to strike down man or beast.

Here’s a little lesson in the history of Brett. I grew up in a little valley in the mountains surrounded by several lakes. Naturally we spent quite a bit of time out in the water during the summers and as such I had water safety drilled into me just about every weekend. How does that affect a kid?

Well…actually, for most kids it probably makes them safer around water. Unfortunately, for me, it mostly meant I had recurring nightmares about drowning at least once a week.

Dreaming about drowning in a lake is one thing, but the second I finished reading about today’s “Weirdest Disaster” all I could think about was how glad I was that I hadn’t heard this story when I was eight.

Those white dots are lake-murdered cattle...

How the hell is an eight year old supposed to cope with nightmares about a lake ACTIVELY TRYING TO KILL HIM?!

To the point (finally): In 1986, 1.6 MILLION metric tons of carbon dioxide that had, up to then, been sitting safely beneath the weight of Lake Nyos in Cameroon got churned up by a volcanic eruption.

The result? An enormous cloud of deadly gas swept through valley villages at 30 miles per hour killing 1,700 people and 3,500 livestock up to 14 miles from the lake before finally dissipating to not-going-to-kill-you-instantly levels!

From a survivor (…and wikipedia):

I managed to go over to my neighbors’ houses. They were all dead . . . I decided to leave . . . . (because) most of my family was in Wum . . . I got my motorcycle . . . A friend whose father had died left with me (for) Wum . . . As I rode . . . through Nyos I didn’t see any sign of any living thing . . .

Crazy, right?!

Got a weirder disaster story you want to share? No? How about a recurring childhood nightmare?

The Mysterious Wooden Stonehenge… Of Cincinnati?

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

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A ceremonial ground designed by a long-gone culture to mark and celebrate the lunar cycles… just over the river from modern-day Kentucky.

This year archaeologists began using computer models to analyze Moorehead Circle’s layout and found that Ohio’s Woodhenge may have even more in common with the United Kingdom’s Stonehenge than thought—specifically, an apparently intentional astronomical alignment.

The software “allows us to stitch together various kinds of geographical data, including aerial photographs and excavation plans and even digital photographs,” explained excavation leader Robert Riordan, an archaeologist at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio.

If this isn’t somehow referenced in a Chad Ochocinco touchdown celebration this season, we will be very disappointed. Child please.

[Nat Geo]

UFO Spotted In Fresno

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Check out this UFO spotted in the skies over Fresno, CA over the 4th of July weekend. The news station covering the story got several confirmations  of the lights in the sky, and even some amateur video. So, what do you think? UFO, airplanes flying in formation, or sparklers tied to balloons? Let us know in the comments!

500 Dead Penguins Wash Ashore In Brazil

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

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Maybe it’s the summer time, but weird beach stories are just dominating the news lately. Yesterday we had a couple of Russian jackasses strapping a mule to a parachute for publicity and today we get news that 500 penguins washed ashore in Brazil, dead as Dillinger.

About 500 of the black-and-white birds have been found just in the last 10 days on Peruibe, Praia Grande and Itanhaem beaches in Sao Paulo state, said Thiago do Nascimento, a biologist at the Peruibe Aquarium.

Most were Magellan penguins migrating north from Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands in search of food in warmer waters.

Many are not finding it: Autopsies done on several birds revealed their stomachs were entirely empty — indicating they likely starved to death, Nascimento said.

Don’t you hate it when you leave the house to get something to eat and nothing you like is open? Thanks to Mike Beam for sending this in.

[MSNBC]

Whale!

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

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Real picture. Thanks to Weird Things reader Mike Beam.

[Telegraph]

Always Sunny in the Dark Ages [Weirdest Disasters]

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Everyday this week…Brett Rounsaville brings us the Weirdest Disasters ever to strike down man or beast.

Monday and Tuesday we talked with the Ghost of Disasters Past, today we’re going to have words with the Ghost of Disasters Future. Strap in folks, it’s going to be a dickens of a ride.

NASA says come 2013 the sun will be “waking up from a deep slumber,” resulting in crazy solar storms. How crazy? 20 times the economic damage of Hurricane Katrina crazy! (Why the sun has been such a lazy narcoleptic hydrogen ball for the past many millennia was not discussed.)

The point is this: It is entirely possible that the resulting solar flares could disable satellites, explode transformers and cause widespread EMP related power outages. (In other words, it could be the catalyst for…BUM BUM BAAAA, The Night of a Million Conceptions!)

(Anti-baby) policymakers, researchers, legislators and reporters have gathered in Washington DC to share ideas about space weather and how to mitigate the coming disaster for the last 4 years in a row. That means AT LEAST 96 hours has been dedicated to solving this crisis, so everything should be fine everyone. Just go on about buying your soon-to-be-bricked-by-solar-radiation Apple products and stop trying to ruin the economy with your money-saving antics.

Seriously though, how much would it suck to be tossed back into the dark ages by the sun. (Someone with a lesser grasp of English, like say, Alanis Morissette, might even call that ironic.) All I have to say is, NASA better figure this one out. I don’t want to have to learn how to plow a field or ride a horse…and I sure as heck don’t like the sound of the word fiefdom.

What do you think? How would you handle life without electronics? Are you a hole-up-in-a-bunker kind of person or an organic gardener/Ted Nuggent fan?