Archive for February, 2012

King of the World to Challenge Neptune for Lord of the Sea!

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012
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In one corner we have serial entrepreneur, self-admitted wife swapper and daredevil explorer Richard Branson. In the other, the man who leap frogged his own film as the high grossing in box office history, James Cameron.

Their shared mission, to make it to Challenger Deep. The lowest point in the Mariana Trench. Deeper into the ocean than Mount Everest is tall.

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Only once has a manned vessel briefly touched the sea bed. But the 1960 exploration only lasted 15 minutes before beginning the ascent back to the surface.

Now, two of the world’s most visible men are ready to return to the bottom of the ocean.

And it looks like Cameron is going to win. Which is freaking awesome.

Not like, kind of cool. Amazing. To use a cliche, it’s so awesome if we saw it in a movie, we’d think it was too cliche. That’s how awesome this is.

What’s more, he’s going to go it alone. In a one man submersible. Since the 1960 mission kicked up such a silt storm it brought visibility down to zero, if successful, he will become the first person to see the Challenger Deep.

Allow me to rephrase that, the director of Terminator 2 will likely become the only person in the entire history of humanity to see this. Hundreds of people have seen our Earth from space. Challenger Deep? The guy who directed Aquaman on Entourage.

I cannot put into words how happy this makes me. It’s the triumph of creativity and will. The world is better for James Cameron being in it.

He plans to spend six hours on the floor, collecting samples before coming back to the surface. Also, he is equipping several 3D cameras for the adventure the footage for which he hopes to burn on national television while he laughs in our faces turn into a feature film.



Majestic Light Beam Erupts from Mayan Temple in iPhone Photo

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Is this final proof of the dire Mayan 2012 prophecy? Most likely not.

But it is a totally sweet light beam shooting out of the top of the Mayan city of Chichen Itza. It was taken by a tourist who was trying to capture a lightning strike in the distance. Two picture were fine, the third, is what you see in the video.

Experts say it’s clearly an artifact in the picture. Which is probably right. And boring.


Andrew Mayne’s Hit Debut Science Fiction Novel Public Enemy Zero Only 99¢

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Public Enemy Zero-2.jpgListeners of the Weird Things podcast may only know Andrew Mayne as the learned, science loving host of a funny audio program. But many others now know him for his fiction writing. His debut novel Public Enemy Zero has lived in the Top 10 in it’s Science Fiction category with a 5 star average from readers.

So what is is about?

The world is out to kill Mitchell Roberts. A strange virus is on the loose sending everyone he comes in contact with into a homicidal rage. From narrowly avoiding getting murdered at his ex-girlfriend’s front door, to a crowded shopping mall turned one-man zombie apocalypse, he’s got to stay a step ahead of everyone around him if he doesn’t want to get ripped apart alive.

He’ll need to use every resource he has, from the advice of a paranoid late night radio host, to his Twitter account and find out why he’s become Public Enemy Zero.

A full-length 90,000 word novel.

Give it a try for only 99¢ at the Amazon Kindle store. You can download and read it on your desktop, Kindle or any smartphone using the Kindle app including iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows 7. Tablets including iPads are also supported.



Okay, Don’t Look Now But An Asteroid Might Kill All Of Us in 2040

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

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Seriously guys. Don’t panic.

The space rock, which is called 2011 AG5, is about 460 feet (140 meters) wide. It may come close enough to Earth in 2040 that some researchers are calling for a discussion about how to deflect it.

Time to talk to some oil drillers who don’t want to pay taxes again… ever.


The Legend of the Brown Mountain Lights

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

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It’s one of our favorite phenomenons. An etherial happening that captures the hearts and minds of those who see it.

Are the Brown Mountain Lights alien? A reflection? A natural gas formation radiating ambient echoes from the world around it?

Take your pick.

If verifiable science ever pins down an explanation for the orbs which have becomes a fixture of the North Carolina area, it’s going to be awesome. Which is just how we like it.

And we are not alone.

Earlier this month, a sellout crowd of 120 paid $20 a head to attend a symposium on the lights at Morganton City Hall, and there was a crowd outside the door hoping to get in at the last minute.
“It’s a good problem to have,” Phillips said. “I could have sold 500 tickets.”

Our favorite part about this is that eye witnesses to the phenomenon are very reticent to call it anything other than a very unique site to see.

“I didn’t feel anything spooky or look around for Martians or anything like that,” Woody said. “It was just a unique situation. It’s just as vivid now as when I was 12 years old.”

An unexplained happening that reminds you of fond childhood memories. This might be the most heart warming Fortean occurrence in history.

[Associated Press]

You Can’t Be Something You’re Not [Walking Dead Dissection]

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012
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There is a flaw with AMC’s The Walking Dead. It’s an unfortunate one.


With a lot of shows, this isn’t all that important. Comedy, episodic drama or stories that take regular time jumps of weeks or months between installments (a la Mad Men) can sometimes stretch things.

Characters don’t have to carry every little wound with them.

The problem with The Walking Dead is that it’s central theme is about a new, suffocating reality that all of our characters have to adjust to. The sum total of their changes matters. Consistence in the action and decisions of each character create human decisions we either agree or disagree with.

This is how we decide to root for or agains the characters.

What’s disappointing is that even in an episode that is supposed to bring back into play decisions certain characters have made in the past, it rings hollow. They’ve changed their minds so many times, why should we think that this time it holds any weight?

Full review AFTER THE JUMP… (more…)

Why You Should Get Excited About Walking Dead Casting The Governor

Saturday, February 25th, 2012
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David Morrissey will play The Governor in The Walking Dead’s third season. Doctor Who fans will recognize him as the confused Victorian era faux-ctor from the 2008 Christmas special The Next Doctor.

Although certainly memorable, we didn’t see many of the beats one might assume would be worked into TWD’s chief baddie.

Let’s roll a clip!

Why is this a big deal?

In the source material, The Governor represents the high point for quality in the series. Without spoilers, the character is brutal (like Uday Hussein brutal) while showing a troubling knack for keeping his citizens safe and happy. As his name implies, there is a strong commentary on governments in crisis and the myth of the benevolent dictator.

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These are themes that elevated TWD from a story about zombie survivors into something you tell your friends about. The Governor has been a character ripe with fan speculation fodder since the original AMC pilot. Even more so when original character Merle Dixon chopped off his own limb (The Gov only has one arm) and ran away.

It’s a meaty role. Or at least it could be one if written correctly.

I’ve written a bit about how much I’ve enjoyed the series as it has strayed from the roots of the comic. Where as I thought it was a great idea to keep Shane alive longer to milk his dramatic tension possibilities, The Governor is a character so strongly written he could be played closer to his original incarnation.

As for Morrissey? Who knows.

He is not an fan-pander (Fander? Can that be a word?) stunt cast like Tom Savini. Then again, he’s also not an immediate home run like John Hawkes.

I hope Morrissey does the character justice and more specifically, I hope the show is on a tear by the time it’s most compelling character welcomes our survivors into Woodbury.

The 21 Best Trail Cam Images The Internet Has To Offer

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

We recently covered the release of a reported image of Bigfoot captured by a trail cam and my subsequent research Google search on trail cam images led me down a rabbit-hole from which I am just now emerging. At times the Internet begins to tarnish around the edges, so I am happy to report that I have found some of the magic that makes it such a freakishly wonderful place. I have collected for our readers 21 of the best and strangest trail cam pictures the Internet has to offer. None of these are new, many of these you may have seen before, many of them are obviously staged or fake, but they are all lovingly collected here for you to enjoy in no particular order.

Hit the jump for trail cam greatness!


New Trail Cam Bigfoot Picture Released

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

The American Bigfoot Society has released what is being called the “clearest photo since Patterson-Gimlin”. Taken in 2008, it has only just been released, you can read about all the details at the source.

[Bigfoot Evidence]


Palestinian Baby Eats a Snake’s Head

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

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Kids do the darndest things.

It can be a full time job trying to keep foreign, sometimes disgusting objects out of their mouths. But what if you could use the disturbing habit to your benefit? What if your infant could be used to safe guard the rest of family.

Who needs a dog when you can count on your child to murder snakes and eat their heads?

Here is the testimony from Palestinian mother Ghadeer Aylan…

“I was tending to a bottle of milk for my child Adhmad in the kitchen. I found in his hand the body of a small snake, its head in his mouth. I didn’t believe my eyes, and nearly died from shock and horror and almost fainted. I screamed at him, but he didn’t understand. Neighbors came over and carried on removing the body from my son’s mouth.”

Young Admad was rushed to a hospital and was found to be totally healthy. And the most hardcore baby on Earth.

Huge thank you to Weird Things reader Josh Souliere for finding and translating this story.

[Daral Hayat]

Vampire Pterosaur?

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

In 2002, scientists published the discovery of a new pterosaur from Inner Mongolia named Jeholopterus ninchengensis. The wingspan was less than three feet and it probably weighed between 5 and 10 lbs. In 2003, David Peters published The Chinese vampire and other overlooked pterosaur ptreasures in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology where he posited the physiological attributes of Jeholopterus made it a prime candidate for drinking blood from the backs of sauropods.

“In this analysis, Peters reconstructed the skull, observing elongated teeth akin to like pliers, a fortified palate able Jeholopterus to deliver a swift blow and powerful blow, a possible mechanism by which the teeth could be locked into place after a strike. Additionally, Peters observed a horse-like tail possibly used to swat away small insects.

The pterosaur seemed to have the ability to deliver a strong blow, plus it had fangs — and a method to lock the fangs into another animal after striking. All these features led Peters to suggest Jeholopterus latched onto the backs of sauropods and lapped up blood from fang wounds. Peters doesn’t offer any reasons for vampiric behavior — he simply offers it as a physiological possibility.”

Many paleontologists are not fans of this theory based on many reasons, but I think a vampire pterosaur would be awesome.


Great News For People Who Hate Fun! Error Found in Neutrino Results

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

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Much was made over the last few months about the apparent discovery of faster than light neutrinos at the CERN laboratories. The neutrinos appeared to travel at 60 seconds faster than the speed of light. Of course, this would stand in contrast to Einstein’s theory of relativity.

Now, those results seem to be attributed to an error in the process.

This will certainly be seen as a reason to celebrate for those professional frowners who did nothing but rain “we should wait and see…” negativity on the parade of interest in this particular scientific breakthrough.

Those people, are terrible.

Allow me to qualify, this is not about respecting the scientific process. Of course, we shouldn’t rush off and proclaim the preliminary research on neutrinos scientific fact, damaging a fundamental physics concept in the process. But it is it wrong to hope that it could change everything? Isn’t hope and enthusiasm for a better understanding of our natural world tempered with rigorous and constant verification the backbone of why science is awesome?

So the neutrino test turns out to be flawed. Fine. It was going to wind up here no matter which road we travelled. I am happy that a large population of folks who only kind of care about science got to take a route that included a possibility of Earth shattering realizations about time, space and our relation to it.

Japan Seeks to Build Space Elevator by 2050

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012
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We’ve talked, a lot about space elevators on the Weird Things podcast. For good reason. We are in an exciting period of engineering evolution where our drive to get things into space cheaper and cheaper is merging with stronger and cheaper components.

The future or is now.

Or 2050 if you are the Obayashi Corp., a Tokyo based company which hopes to use carbon nanotubes to built an elevator to freaking space.

In Obayashi’s project, a cable would be stretched up to 96,000 kilometers, or about one-fourth of the distance between the Earth and the moon. One end of the cable would be anchored at a spaceport on the ground, while the other would be fitted with a counterweight.

The terminal station would house laboratories and living space. The car could carry up to 30 people to the station at 200 kilometers per hour, which would mean a 7-1/2 day trip to reach the station. Magnetic linear motors are one possible means of propulsion for the car, according to Obayashi.

The problem? Right now there is no estimated budget for the project and Obayashi brass simply hope to make incremental progress until… boom… space elevator. We aren’t sure how a project this big and this ambitious can survive a 40 year construction cycle with no solid budget. Hopefully, when I am 68 years old you can call a Double Dumbass on me during our seven day trip to outer space.

[Yumiori via Gizmodo]

Chronological Man: The Martian Emperor Book Trailer Available!

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012


The thrilling second Chronological Man Adventure!

Who is the Martian Emperor?

When a giant airship descends on New York City in 1892 and threatens destruction if the world doesn’t submit to the Martian flag, it’s up to the mysterious Smith, inventor and adventurer to find out what forces are at work.

From the dangerous basement fan-tan parlors of Chinatown to the top of the Statue of Liberty’s torch, Smith and his brilliant assistant, April Malone, will have to unravel the clues and avoid danger lurking behind every corner. To stop the menace they’ll need they enlist the help of Theodore Roosevelt and other early twentieth-century heroes.

The second book in The Chronological Man series, The Martian Emperor combines mystery, airship battles and backroom Tammany Hall politics against the backdrop of a world on the verge of war.

53,000 words – approximately 160 pages.



The Dale Face [Walking Dead Dissection]

Monday, February 20th, 2012

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After an episode that left my expectations for this episode in the same shape as Lori’s car. I was ready to quit. Done writing recaps. I don’t like crapping on TV that other people like.

Unless it’s Heroes. Because, seriously, f— Heroes.

But with that said, last Sunday’s installment was… good? Yeah, it was good. It was definitely good. In fact, it is only the proximity to the previous week’s poop storm which qualifies my praise.

Like a beaten dog, I can’t help but flinch even when given a treat. I digest this snausage AFTER THE JUMP (more…)

First Test-Tube Hamburger to be Produced in 2012

Monday, February 20th, 2012
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It’s a revolution best served with pickles and onions on a sesame seed bun.

The first test-tube grown hamburger will be produced this fall. Although still in the laboratory phase as of now, the experiment will eventually produces thousands of small tissues recreated from a cow’s stem cells. This proof of concept could be a very powerful one, reshaping agriculture as we know it.

Could meat grown in a lab and not from a slaughtered animal be considered vegan?

Only time and possibly some Bar-B-Q sauce will tell…

[Fox News]

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