Archive for March, 2011

Podcast: Quarks Vs. Space Bums

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

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What’s more surprising, that we’ve radically reshaped our understanding of physics or that it happened by way of a violent message board flame war? Brian longs (via a series of increasingly complicated metaphors) for the day when we can find life under the frozen waves of a far away planet. Justin joins the Nation of Islam in their belief that a Wheel In The Sky keeps on turning. Andrew wrestles with an email which credits him for inventing a device that opens up a line of communication to the great beyond.

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2010: The Year We Make Contact

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2012

Alphaville

Angels In The Goal Crease? Supernatural Save By NHL Goalie

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

We aren’t out and out saying this is definitive video proof that a ghost came down from heaven and blocked this goal from going in so the LA Kings could secure a better seeding in the NHL playoffs, but consider the similarities between this and the 1994 family comedy Angels In The Outfield.

First, both took place in the greater Los Angeles area.

Okay, that’s pretty much it. Unless Christopher Lloyd is dead and turned into a ghost so he could replay his role as Al the mischievous head angel in reality. But Christopher Lloyd isn’t dead.

Is he?

[YouTube]

Rogue Squirrel Terrorizes Vermont Neighborhood

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011
In the town of Bennington, Vt., a squirrel has attacked three humans in the course of a week, biting and scratching the peaceful residents without provocation. The Bennington game warden is on the hunt for this angry squirrel, but it continues to elude the authorities. “It is just wildlife being wild”, says the game warden.

“[It] just latched on to my shoulder, and I went back and it’s a gray squirrel,” victim Kevin McDonald told the TV station.

McDonald was shoveling snow outside his home when the sneak attack began. “He was holding on. He wouldn’t let go. I was finally able to get him off, and as soon as I got him off, he just jumped right at me again.”

[AOL News]

New Evidence: El Chupacabra Story Started With Natasha Henstridge?

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Species 1995 jpeg

Did the Chupacabra mythos start as fan art for the 1995 Sci Fi thriller Species?

That is the assertion of Benjamin Radford who tracked the legend to it’s roots on the island protectorate of Puerto Rico. According to new research, all Chupacabra references can be traced back to a newspaper article in the second week of August in 1995. The alleged eye witness Madelyne Tolentino who provided the illustration depicted a lanky bobble headed creature with spikes jutting from the spine area.

Radford’s theory is that the creature might have been inspired by the 1995 erotic, science fiction thriller Species. In that film, a shape-shifting alien Natasha Henstridge attempts to mate with a human male. Her true form most notably bares resemblance to Tolentino’s drawing in the spikes and boney hands.

Which might be no coincidence, since according to Radford, Tolentino admits that she saw the film before penning her illustration and confesses that it might have inspired her final product. Species was released in theaters on July 7th, only a month and a half before the original newspaper report.

[Live Science]

The Mystery Behind China’s Two Suns

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

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It’s pretty apparent the sky is going effing bananas. Moon’s are going super and now the sun is frigging multiplying. Or, at least is seemed like it was. This shot from Chinese television appears to show a pair of suns shining down like this was a contemplative shot from the sands of Tatooine.

As it turns out, it was just an optical illusion. Although, no one is quite sure what that illusion is exactly:

What’s going on? Life’s Little Mysteries, a sister site to Space.com, asked Jim Kaler, the University of Illinois astronomer who squelched the excitement over the aforementioned exploding Betelgeuse and who has written books on the day and night sky.

The double sun image is an effect of optical refraction, Kaler said, but it’s a “pretty darn rare” one, and one not fully explained by science.

“I doubt it’s been computer modeled,” he said. “There must have been some blob of atmosphere somewhere that caused this truly spectacular phenomenon, which in a sense is a mirage.”

In short, we cannot be sure that the sun has not, in fact, multiplied and is preparing to bleach all of our bones with their combined heat beam.

[MSNBC]

Iran Builds Unmanned Flying Saucer

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Iran decided that they needed a spy drone that looks like something from a bad 1950s movie. Released at an exhibition, the machine is named “Zohal” and at least it has some modern characteristics.

The flying machine is equipped with an auto-pilot system, GPS (Global Positioning System) and two separate imaging systems with full HD 10 mega-pixel picture quality and is able to take and send images simultaneously.

Zohal uses a small, portable navigation and monitoring center for transmission of data and images and can fly in both outdoor and indoor spaces.

[Fars News Agency]

Horrific Truth Behind The Cosmonaut Who Crashed To Earth

Monday, March 21st, 2011

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You’re in space. But not for long.

The capsule you was unfit to leave Earth and you knew it before you left. Power failed and your orbit trajectory is about to send you screaming to your death. Atmospheric reentry will turn your body to goo before you hit the ground.

With your last moments of radio communication you make sure that those with your blood on their hands know it. You curse the officials who sent you up in this death trap. You begin to weep in anger. Unsaid is why you went up knowing full well that you’d not come back alive: to protect a national hero who happens to be a drinking buddy.

These were the last moments of Vladimir Komarov. His extraordinary story of bravery, friendship and barbaric bureaucracy behind the Iron Curtain are told in the book Starman.

The mission was to stage a mid-space meeting between two Russian vessels where the crews would exchange one passenger each and come back to earth. It was to be a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Communist revolution, a very important moment for current head of the Soviet Union Leonid Brezhnev.

The problem was the Soyuz 1 capsule meant to carry Komarov was found to have 203 structural problems before it even left the ground. When it became clear that Brezhnev’s desire to see the mission take place would overrule any kind of safety concern, Komarov insisted on completing his mission because his back-up pilot was Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space and an icon of the Soviet space program. Not to mention a friend.

So Komarov went up and his legend reverberates to this day.

[NPR]

Target Practice, Helicopters, and Bigfoot

Friday, March 18th, 2011

A family out for a nice day target shooting with shotguns is disturbed by a helicopter that won’t go away. Oh, and yeah, the helicopter is probably chasing Bigfoot.
“My husband and I took our kids target shooting. A helicopter was over our heads the entire time annoying us. We thought at first they were curious of why and what we were shooting. Later when we watched the video we noticed something that looked like bigfoot running in the trees. We assume now the helicopter was hunting the bigfoot. Scary!”

[GhostTheory]

Podcast: Weird Things All Together

Friday, March 18th, 2011

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Thanks to a bizarre clerical error by the government, the boys all find themselves in the same place at the same time during South By Southwest 2011 in Austin, Texas. Would Brian and his lovely wife purchase a house that was allegedly built by goblins? Can the fabric of the trio’s friendship survive a screaming match over the merits of Jurassic Park?

Make sure you listen to this completely LIVE edition of the podcast featuring no edits and all a cappella sound effects.

Try out the brand new PODCASTR player, featuring wireless syncing between desktop browsers and iOS devices, by clicking on the image:

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Man Tries To Burn Out Satan, Fails

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

Apparently the devil has hit the skids because, according to one man, he has been staying at a Days Inn just north of Seattle. Claiming that Satan was sharing his hotel room (and probably not going halfsies) a month long resident of the hotel set the room on fire. The fire department was called in Friday when smoke began billowing out of his room and they were able to confine the damage to six rooms. According to hotel staff, the man had repeatedly called them the “anti-Christ” and “spawns of Satan.” I am not sure how using fire against Satan works out as a valid strategy, but hey, I guess you need to use the tools you have. No word yet on whether hotel staff was able to relocate Satan to a new room.

The man told police that he set the room on fire because Satan was in there, according to the affidavit. He reportedly said he wanted to protect “the good people” by setting the fire.

[HeraldNet]

NASA Considers Moving Space Debris With Lasers

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Remember all those pieces of space debris just floating around the Earth with nowhere to go and all day to get there? Remember when we were introduced to the term Zombiesat? Well now NASA is researching new ideas for using lasers to prevent space debris from colliding and making even more space debris. Unlike previous plans that involved military grade lasers for vaporizing debris, this new idea focuses on using commercially available industrial lasers to slightly move debris pieces that are about to impact. While this will not work on the biggest pieces of debris, it is estimated that it could eliminate up to half of all collisions.

“There’s not a lot of argument that this is going to screw us if we don’t do something,” said NASA engineer Creon Levit. “Right now it’s at the tipping point… and it just keeps getting worse.”

[WIRED]

Ghost Forces School Closing

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

A school in India is shuttered after the children of Lady Haleema Begum Urdu School fled in panic last Monday due to supernatural activity and have yet to return. Children have reported random death threats in their notebooks and an egg-shaped ghost coming out of the blackboard. The children have told their parents that they are too scared to return. Brilliant!

“Parvika Khan, the teacher who was conducting an Urdu class for Class 5 last Monday, asked a boy to read the text on the blackboard. But the boy said the blackboard was blank, and ran away screaming that he saw an “egg-shaped ghost” coming out of the blackboard.”

[Indian Express]

How Do Humans Respond To Being Touched By A Robot?

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Spoiler Alert: Yeah they don’t really seem to like it that much. They like it even less when the robot warns them it is about to touch them ahead of time.

[Geekologie]

Man Sues New Hampshire For Right To Dress As Bigfoot In State Park

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Back in September of 2009, Jonathan Doyle ran around Monadnock State Park dressed as Bigfoot scaring and amusing hikers while his friends filmed the encounters. He then returned to human form and interviewed the bystanders. The park rangers did not appreciate this stunt and when Doyle returned later that month for a follow up, he was barred from filming. And now Doyle is suing:

Backed by the American Civil Liberties Union, Jonathan Doyle is suing the state, arguing that the requirement to pay $100 for a special use permit 30 days in advance and get a $2 million insurance bond violates his free speech rights.

Doyle’s attorneys say no one complained to the state park service after Doyle first dressed as Bigfoot, ran around the rocky top of Mount Monadnock, returned to human form and interviewed bystanders about what they saw Sept. 6, 2009.

[Yahoo! News]

Were Roman Soldiers Victims Of Ancient Chemical Weapon?

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011

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No one wants to be the first person to die from anything. No one wants to choke to death while the smoke you’ve just inhaled in your lungs turns to acid. So can you have to be double cheesed off if you were among the Roman soldiers who were the first to die from chemical warfare in 256 A. freaking D.

Almost 2,000 years ago, 19 Roman soldiers rushed into a cramped underground tunnel, prepared to defend the Roman-held Syrian city of Dura-Europos from an army of Persians digging to undermine the city’s mudbrick walls. But instead of Persian soldiers, the Romans met with a wall of noxious black smoke that turned to acid in their lungs. Their crystal-pommeled swords were no match for this weapon; the Romans choked and died in moments, many with their last pay of coins still slung in purses on their belts.

It’s an awesome story which you should read right now.

[LiveScience]

Tattoo Roulette

Monday, March 7th, 2011

Landing squarely in the corner of questionable ideas, please introduce yourself to the robotic tattoo machine Auto Ink. Not only is it a robot that gives you a tattoo, but it randomly picks what it will draw as well. Strap in and start it up and it will randomly chooses a religion and its corresponding symbol to brand you with.

Auto Ink is a three axis numerically controlled sculpture. Once the main switch is triggered, the operator is assigned a religion and its corresponding symbol is tattooed onto the person’s arm. The operator does not have control over the assigned symbol. It is assigned either randomly or through divine intervention, depending on your personal beliefs.

[Make via Geekologie]