Archive for February, 2012

Man Accidentally Kidnapped On Illegal Antarctic Voyage

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

I don’t even know where to begin with this one, so lets just start with the opening paragraph:

“A New Zealand repair man is on his way to Antarctica after a renegade Norwegian yachtsman set sail unaware he was still on board.”

Apparently, a marine mechanic was still working on the 52 ft Nilaya in Auckland when Jarle Andhøy and crew hurriedly cast off  to avoid being served deportation papers. Andhøy, who has declared himself a “Viking“, and crew and bound for the Ross Sea without a permit and in defiance of both the New Zealand and Norwegian governments.

Mr Andhoy told the Norwegian public broadcasting service NRK that the presence on board of the unnamed New Zealander was not part of his plan, but was the result of “a hectic departure” from Auckland last week.

He said it was “a somewhat tricky situation” because the man did not have a passport or papers with him.

But Mr Andhoy insisted: “Everything is on schedule and the atmosphere is good on board.

“We are well prepared for what may befall us.”

In case you missed the subtle inference  – the mechanic is along for the ride. Returning him seems to not even be a consideration on the table.  At this point you may well be wondering what are they doing that is so important. Approximately a year ago, Andhøy lost another vessel, the Berserk, on another Antarctic exploration where three men died and he is attempting to locate the wreckage. New Zealand is “furious” because last year they coordinated the entire search and rescue operation and they do not want a repeat this year. Andhøy has an answer for that as well:

The broadcaster reported him as saying that the Nilaya was not carrying a locator beacon so it would not put rescue services at risk.

So, lets recap this if we can – A rogue Norwegian adventurer accidentally kidnaps an New Zealand mechanic on an unpermitted Antarctic expedition in search of his last sunken ship without the use of a rescue beacon. Somehow I do not think that this is the end of this story.

[The Telegraph]

We Found Tatooine!

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

There is no reason all newly discovered planets shouldn’t immediately be given science fiction inspired names. None at all. It would be easier for scientists to remember and reference, capture the imagination of those that find this kind of stuff awesome and create a cultural touchstone between us and our dreams for an exciting and adventurous future.

Take for example the newly discovered GJ 667Cc, it’s right in the middle of the “Goldilocks” zone making it a huge candidate to play host for liquid water and life as we know it.

Quote UC Santa Cruz astronomer Steven Vogt…

“The planet is around one star in a triple-star system,” Vogt explained. “The other stars are pretty far away, but they would look pretty nice in the sky.”

You mean like this?


Just think of it as a really convenient place to put our pod races and slave-owning racist caricatures. In 3D!

Then again, it might al still be a trap.

“Statistics tell us we shouldn’t have found something this quickly this soon unless there’s a lot of them out there,” Vogt said. “This tells us there must be an awful lot of these planets out there. It was almost too easy to find, and it happened too quickly.”

You’re right, it did happen too quickly. I’ve got a bad feeling about this. That’s no possibly habitable planet, it’s a space station!

[Scientific American]

Skunk Ape vs. Ape Kingdom in Florida Everglades

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

skunk ape.jpg

The picture you see at right is some kind of ape. It was seen running loose through the Florida Everglades in 2006 and successfully evaded capture.

Distribution of the pics inspired some to anoint them as photographic evidence of Florida’s premium cryptid, the Skunk Ape. A version of Bigfoot alleged to live in the swamps which dominate the southern, tropical wetlands of the Sunshine State.

But allow me to posit another theory. There is monkey kingdom in a swamp that also contains alligators, panthers and snakes so large they sometimes burst because they’ve attempted to eat an alligator. Also, Chris Cooper from Adaptation.

My question to the Weird Things readership, which is a cooler idea? A genuine cryptid albeit a lonely one OR an ecosystem of swamp monkeys that have learned to live amongst the rest of the Everglades buck wild natives.


Want to Make Color Changing Cereal? Better Avoid These Patents

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012
color changing cereal.jpg

Who doesn’t love a color changing cereal? It’s dumped into the bowl one color and boom, before you know it, your milk has changed your breakfast into a completely different hue. But it’s your milk itself that tells the tale true, as it is now tinted the original color of the previously dry crunchies.

That’s because the first shade was a powder applied to the cereal, since washed away to reveal the second stage.

But if you have any designs on making your own version of this fun breakfast classic, think again, the process is patented by Quaker Oats.

Their method is to create cereal pieces of one colour, then coat them with powder of a different hue. That leads to breakfast table magic: “The coating is of a second colour different from the first colour and is in a quantity sufficient to obscure the first colour … Upon mixing milk with the resulting cereal, the edible powdered surface is instantly dissolved or dispersed, revealing the specific colours of the individual pieces very quickly.”

What are the ingredients? Glad you asked. “The cereal base has a coating comprising cornstarch, powdered sugar, [and] food colouring.”

The patents in question were granted first to Hideo Tomomatsu of Crystal Lake, Illinois and then to the team of Joseph Farinella of Chicago, Illinois and Justin French of Cedars, Iowa through the late 80s and 90s.

[The Guardian]

That’s No Moon: Is this Video Proof of an A-Wing?

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Formation of Triangle-shaped Lights Videotaped over Rural Retreat, Virginia.jpg

A West Virginia Man caught this slowly moving aircraft above him. At first thinking it to be a refueling craft he realized as it got closer it was something different. It’s hard to get a great screen grab of it, but check out the video below for a flashes of the craft.

Kind of looks like an A-Wing to us.

[UFO Casebook]

Animatronic Dinosaurs Roam Australian Museum

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

If you don’t scare the children how will they learn?

[Yahoo! News]