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Old 12-30-2011, 07:35 AM   #3076
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A bid to bring a High Court challenge over the attorney general's refusal to give his consent for a new inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly has failed.
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Old 12-30-2011, 07:40 AM   #3077
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Originally Posted by alkemical View Post
was informed this link gave a 404 -

http://www.dangerousminds.net/commen..._weed_nsfw_ish

see if that works
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Old 12-31-2011, 10:45 AM   #3078
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Old 12-31-2011, 01:54 PM   #3079
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have a happy new year everyone!!!!

smoke a few beers for me!!
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:48 AM   #3080
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http://www.disinfo.com/2012/01/white...obama-to-mars/

White House Denies CIA Teleported Obama to Mars

Posted by James Curcio on January 4, 2012

MarsFrom Wired:

Forget Kenya. Never mind the secret madrassas. The sinister, shocking truth about Barack Obama’s past lies not in east Africa, but in outer space. As a young man in the early 1980s, Obama was part of a secret CIA project to explore Mars. The future president teleported there, along with the future head of Darpa.

That’s the assertion, at least, of a pair of self-proclaimed time-traveling, universe-exploring government agents. Andrew D. Basiago and William Stillings insist that they once served as “chrononauts” at Darpa’s behest, traversing the boundaries of time and space. They swear: A youthful Barack Obama was one of them.

Perhaps this all sounds fantastical, absurd, and more than a little nuts. We couldn’t agree more. That’s one of the reasons we love conspiracy theories — the more awesomely insane, the better. Each week during 2012, when the Mayans tell us to expect the apocalypse, Danger Room will peel back a new layer of crazy to expose those oh-so-cleverly hidden machinations powering this doomed plane of existence. Welcome — back — to Tinfoil Tuesday…
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:49 AM   #3081
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http://www.disinfo.com/2012/01/where...ood-come-from/

Where Does Your Food Come From?

Posted by majestic on January 3, 2012

Laurel Walmart Produce SectionFrom Food + Tech Connect:

Fueled by food recalls of everything from cantaloupe to ground beef, the public is now calling for more, and more easily accessible, information about the food they eat.

In fact, 86% of shoppers say the presence of local food – food they believe is healthier, safer and more easily traceable – is important to them when choosing where to shop. The global food safety testing market is also expected to grow into a $2.5 billion industry by in 2015.

In large part, the demand for traceability will be realized through technology. Initially led by industry leaders like IBM and Microsoft, the move to track more complex data and to make it accessible to consumers via the web and smart phones is now being pioneered by private companies and university groups alike.

Food+Tech Connect reflects on the tech advancements of the last year and will continue following this trend over the course of 2012.

Integrated vs Fragmented Chains
IBM announced several technology innovations now in use to track food as it travels through the food supply chain. In partnership with Cherry Central, the company now makes it easier to collect data as fruit travels from processing plant to store and restaurant. This data now contains more food quality and compliance information than was previously available. IBM also recently won a contract to work with Shandong Commercial in China to implement a food monitoring system for use in the pork industry.

But these systems are vertically integrated, while much of the food system is not.

The Whole Chain Traceability Consortium (WCTC) is working to allow “consumers to point a smart phone at a food product bar code, and retrieve a global sourcing map and reliable information about all the steps a product took from the farm to the store,” said Steve Holcombe of Pardalis, Inc. In an interview with Food+Tech Connect, Holcombe and Professors Dr. Brian Adam and Dr. Michael Buser of Oklahoma State, explained that much of the problem lies in fragmented food supply chains where many different companies are buying and selling the product…
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:51 AM   #3082
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http://www.disinfo.com/2012/01/40000...united-states/

40,000 New Laws For New Year Across United States

Posted by majestic on January 3, 2012

The libertarians are really onto something … From MSNBC:

About 40,000 state laws taking effect at the start of the new year will change rules about getting abortions in New Hampshire, learning about gays and lesbians in California, getting jobs in Alabama and even driving golf carts in Georgia.

Several federal rules change with the new year, too, including a Social Security increase amounting to $450 a year for the average recipients and stiff fines up to $2,700 per offense for truckers and bus drivers caught using hand-held cellphones while driving.
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:59 AM   #3083
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Originally Posted by alkemical View Post
http://www.disinfo.com/2012/01/white...obama-to-mars/

White House Denies CIA Teleported Obama to Mars

Posted by James Curcio on January 4, 2012

MarsFrom Wired:

Forget Kenya. Never mind the secret madrassas. The sinister, shocking truth about Barack Obama’s past lies not in east Africa, but in outer space. As a young man in the early 1980s, Obama was part of a secret CIA project to explore Mars. The future president teleported there, along with the future head of Darpa.

That’s the assertion, at least, of a pair of self-proclaimed time-traveling, universe-exploring government agents. Andrew D. Basiago and William Stillings insist that they once served as “chrononauts” at Darpa’s behest, traversing the boundaries of time and space. They swear: A youthful Barack Obama was one of them.

Perhaps this all sounds fantastical, absurd, and more than a little nuts. We couldn’t agree more. That’s one of the reasons we love conspiracy theories — the more awesomely insane, the better. Each week during 2012, when the Mayans tell us to expect the apocalypse, Danger Room will peel back a new layer of crazy to expose those oh-so-cleverly hidden machinations powering this doomed plane of existence. Welcome — back — to Tinfoil Tuesday…
Flashback:

http://www.examiner.com/exopolitics-...colony-project

Whistleblower Laura Magdalene Eisenhower, Ike's great-granddaughter, outs secret Mars colony project
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Old 01-05-2012, 06:16 AM   #3084
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http://www.disinfo.com/2012/01/why-placebos-work/

Shirley S. Wang reports on the increasing clinical use of placebos for the Wall Street Journal:

Say “placebo effect” and most people think of the boost they may get from a sugar pill simply because they believe it will work. But more and more research suggests there is more than a fleeting boost to be gained from placebos.

A particular mind-set or belief about one’s body or health may lead to improvements in disease symptoms as well as changes in appetite, brain chemicals and even vision, several recent studies have found, highlighting how fundamentally the mind and body are connected.

It doesn’t seem to matter whether people know they are getting a placebo and not a “real” treatment. One study demonstrated a strong placebo effect in subjects who were told they were getting a sugar pill with no active ingredient.

Placebo treatments are sometimes used in some clinical practices. In a 2008 survey of nearly 700 internists and rheumatologists published in the British Medical Journal, about half said they prescribe placebos on a regular basis. The most popular were over-the-counter painkillers and vitamins. Very few physicians said they relied on sugar pills or saline injections. The American Medical Association says a placebo can’t be given simply to soothe a difficult patient, and it can be used only if the patient is informed of and agrees to its use.

Researchers want to know more about how the placebo effect works, and how to increase and decrease it. A more powerful, longer-lasting placebo effect might be helpful in treating health conditions related to weight and metabolism…

[continues in the Wall Street Journal]
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Old 01-05-2012, 06:21 AM   #3085
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http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/1...ausation/all/1

Trials and Errors: Why Science Is Failing Us

from Boing Boing by Maggie Koerth-Baker

Science is the best method we have for understanding the world. That doesn't mean that everything scientists ever think they've figured out is correct. And it doesn't mean that we're doing science in the best way possible right now.

For a great illustration of this, I recommend reading Jonah Lehrer's new piece in WIRED, about the problems we run into as we learn more about individual parts of complex systems and then assume that we understand the big picture of how those parts work together. A lot of scientific research, particularly in medicine, operates off assumptions like this and it can lead to big mistakes. Case in point: Back pain. In this excerpt, Lehrer explains how MRI technology that allowed doctors to get a better look at the spines of people with back pain led them to make inaccurate conclusions about what was causing the back pain.

The lower back is an exquisitely complicated area of the body, full of small bones, ligaments, spinal discs, and minor muscles. Then there’s the spinal cord itself, a thick cable of nerves that can be easily disturbed. There are so many moving parts in the back that doctors had difficulty figuring out what, exactly, was causing a person’s pain. As a result, patients were typically sent home with a prescription for bed rest.

This treatment plan, though simple, was still extremely effective. Even when nothing was done to the lower back, about 90 percent of people with back pain got better within six weeks. The body healed itself, the inflammation subsided, the nerve relaxed.

Over the next few decades, this hands-off approach to back pain remained the standard medical treatment. That all changed, however, with the introduction of magnetic resonance imaging in the late 1970s. These diagnostic machines use powerful magnets to generate stunningly detailed images of the body’s interior. Within a few years, the MRI machine became a crucial diagnostic tool.

The view afforded by MRI led to a new causal story: Back pain was the result of abnormalities in the spinal discs, those supple buffers between the vertebrae. The MRIs certainly supplied bleak evidence: Back pain was strongly correlated with seriously degenerated discs, which were in turn thought to cause inflammation of the local nerves. Consequently, doctors began administering epidurals to quiet the pain, and if it persisted they would surgically remove the damaged disc tissue.

But the vivid images were misleading. It turns out that disc abnormalities are typically not the cause of chronic back pain. The presence of such abnormalities is just as likely to be correlated with the absence of back problems, as a 1994 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine showed. The researchers imaged the spinal regions of 98 people with no back pain. The results were shocking: Two-thirds of normal patients exhibited “serious problems” like bulging or protruding tissue. In 38 percent of these patients, the MRI revealed multiple damaged discs. Nevertheless, none of these people were in pain. The study concluded that, in most cases, “the discovery of a bulge or protrusion on an MRI scan in a patient with low back pain may frequently be coincidental.”

This is a complicated problem without a clear solution right now. But we definitely need to have discussions like this so that we can work toward making science and medicine better.
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:01 AM   #3086
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http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/...leblowers.html

Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Obama’s War on Whistleblowers

This is a chilling little speech by Jesselyn Radick, a Bush administration whistleblower who was harassed aggressively by the Department of Justice, on how matters have gotten much worse for government whistleblowers under Obama, both in numbers and the ferocity of the retaliation
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:03 AM   #3087
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http://feeds.boingboing.net/~r/boing...es-to-use.html

http://www2.journalnow.com/news/2011...e--ar-1765473/

Walmart shopper tries to use $1 million bill
from Boing Boing by David Pescovitz

Images One-Million-Dollars

A gentleman from Lexington, North Carolina was arrested for trying to pay for his purchases at Walmart with a $1 million bill. (No report whether it's a Reagan bill as seen above, Statue of Liberty, Grover Cleveland, Santa Claus, or any of the other bogus $1 million bills in circulation that I posted about in 2007.) From the Winston-Salem Journal:

Michael Anthony Fuller, 53, of 3 Parker St., walked into the Walmart on Lowes Boulevard in Lexington on Nov. 17. He shopped for a while, picking up a vacuum cleaner, a microwave oven and other merchandise, totaling $476, an arrest warrant says.

When he got to the register, Fuller gave the cashier the phony bill, saying that it was real.

Store staff called police.

Fuller was later charged with attempting to obtain property by false pretense and uttering a forged instrument, both felonies, court records show.
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Old 01-05-2012, 07:35 AM   #3088
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http://news.yahoo.com/pepsi-says-mou...213911576.html

Pepsi Says Mountain Dew Can Dissolve Mouse Carcasses

And they would know, wouldn’t they? In 2009, a man found a dead mouse in his can of Mountain Dew and sued the company. The company argued that the claim is impossible, as no mouse corpse could have survived the corrosive effects of that drink:

An Illinois man sued Pepsi in 2009 after he claims he “spat out the soda to reveal a dead mouse,” the Madison County Record reports. He claims he sent the mouse to Pepsi, which then “destroyed” the remains after he allowed them to test it, according to his complaint. Most shudder-worthy, however, is that Pepsi’s lawyers also found experts to testify, based on the state of the remains sent to them that, “the mouse would have dissolved in the soda had it been in the can from the time of its bottling until the day the plaintiff drank it,” according to the Record. (It would have become a “jelly-like substance,” according to Pepsi, adds LegalNewsline.) This seems like a winning-the-battle-while-surrendering-the-war kind of strategy that hinges on winning the argument that “our product is essentially a can of battery acid.”

Under this argument, if there had been a mouse corpse in the can of Mountain Dew that you’re holding right now, you’d never know.
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Old 01-05-2012, 11:38 AM   #3089
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If you like some hip hop - check out Humpasaur Jones (aka Wombaticus rex & the author of brainsturbator & skilluminati)

good stuff
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Old 01-06-2012, 06:56 AM   #3090
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http://www.physorg.com/news/2012-01-...oak-clock.html

Pentagon-backed 'time cloak' stops the clock (Update)

It’s one thing to make an object invisible, like Harry Potter’s mythical cloak. But scientists have made an entire event impossible to see. They have invented a time masker.



Think of it as an art heist that takes place before your eyes and surveillance cameras. You don’t see the thief strolling into the museum, taking the painting down or walking away, but he did. It’s not just that the thief is invisible – his whole activity is.

What scientists at Cornell University did was on a much smaller scale, both in terms of events and time. It happened so quickly that it’s not even a blink of an eye. Their time cloak lasts an incredibly tiny fraction of a fraction of a second. They hid an event for 40 picoseconds (trillionths of a second), according to a study appearing in Thursday’s edition of the journal Nature.

We see events happening as light from them reaches our eyes. Usually it’s a continuous flow of light. In the new research, however, scientists were able to interrupt that flow for just an instant…

[continues at AP via Physorg.
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Old 01-06-2012, 07:00 AM   #3091
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http://www.darkroastedblend.com/2012...e-imagery.html

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Old 01-06-2012, 07:06 AM   #3092
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http://www.engadget.com/2012/01/04/i...ares-soldiers/



A new simulation exercise is now in place for US troops at the Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center near Edinburgh, Indiana. Built primarily from off-the-shelf components, the system is designed to better prepare soldiers for the physical and psychological challenges of IED attacks, which are currently the number one threat to military personnel stationed in Afghanistan. Situated inside a mounted vehicle and positioned in front of a large screen, service members are exposed to jarring explosions, smoke, noise and poor visibility -- all common occurrences of IED assaults. The system records the entire nightmarish scenario, which allows participants to review their performance and learn from their mistakes.

For soldiers who've never been to Afghanistan, the simulator will also be used to familiarize troops with the war zone terrain and other situations they may encounter along the way. Just how realistic is the IED simulation? According to Spc. Darren J. Ganier-Slotterbeck, "I deployed in 2005, 2007 and 2008 with the Marines. I've been blown up multiple times, and it definitely brought back memories. I was a little shaky when I got out of that thing. I'm not going to lie." He went on to say, "If we'd had the ability to go through training like this at the time, those deployments would have been a lot different." Sounds scary. We're not going to lie.
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Old 01-06-2012, 07:07 AM   #3093
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http://www.engadget.com/2012/01/03/h...lite-internet/

Hackers planning homespun anti-censorship satellite internet

SOPA is making ordinary, decent internet users mad as hell, and they're not gonna take it anymore. Hacker attendees of Berlin's Chaos Communication Congress are cooking up a plan to launch a series of homemade satellites as the backbone of an "uncensorable (sic) internet in space." Like all good ideas, there's a few hurdles to overcome first: objects in lower-Earth orbit circle the earth every 90 minutes, useless for a broadband satellite that needs to remain geostationary. Instead, a terrestrial network of base stations will have to be installed in order to remain in constant contact as it spins past, at the cost of €100 ($130) per unit. The conference also stated a desire to get an amateur astronaut onto the moon within 23 years, which we'd love to see, assuming there's still a rocket fuel store on eBay.
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Old 01-06-2012, 07:35 AM   #3094
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http://www.blacklistednews.com/Plund...0/0/0/Y/M.html

Plundering the American Dream: College Students Demonstrate the Idiocy Of Our Education System
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Old 01-06-2012, 07:37 AM   #3095
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http://www.dangerousminds.net/commen...t_worth_saving

I haven't watched the video yet, but the comments intrigued me -


Jan 05, 2012
Phillip Dalriada says:

This should be marketed as “How to Raise a Porn Star, The Ultimate White Trash Method,” but that pageant juice and “belly genetics” might limit her options to the gonzo market.

Jan 05, 2012
Pedo Bear says:

I approve.
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Old 01-06-2012, 07:39 AM   #3096
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http://www.blacklistednews.com/Code%...0/0/0/Y/M.html


Code, scan, trade and profit. A new wave of computer enabled insider trading.
January 5, 2012
Print Version

By Max Keiser

A new Wall St. scam!

Rumors are circulating about a new Wall St. research service scam that goes like this…

Research reports are written with both recommendations and coded phraseology that enables pre-market manipulation.

The way it works – a report that gives recommendations also contains coded phraseology that programs trading bots on the exchange that ‘read’ the report and make various trades. Certain word, symbol and number combinations in the report are picked up by the bots who put on the trades based on the coded info.

In the following research report – the report spells out a recommendation – that will make the trades put on as the result of the previous report profitable.

Let’s say in January, the research says “We love tech. and big pharma” but hidden in the report is coded info that was picked up by trading bots who went long Co. X.

The following report recommends Co. X, making those pre-trades profitable (while containing new coded messages for the trading bots in anticipation of the next report).

This ‘research’ service is sold to traders for a hefty fee. It’s inside info that is virtually impossible to detect available to a firm’s best clients on a regular basis.

Simply buy the service and enable your computer software that ‘reads’ the research to pick up the code that will trigger what trades will be profitable when the next report is published.
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Old 01-06-2012, 07:43 AM   #3097
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"We know the depth (of the quake on Saturday) is two miles and that is different from a natural earthquake," said Kim, who is advising the state of Ohio.

Data collected from four seismographs set up in November in the area confirm a connection between the quakes and water pressure at the well, Kim said.

"There is circumstantial evidence to connect the two -- in the past we didn't have earthquakes in the area and the proximity in the time and space of the earthquakes matches operations at the well," he said.

A spokesman for Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich, a strong supporter of oil and gas exploration in the state, said Ohio could announce a preliminary decision whether to continue the suspension of the wells as early as Wednesday.

The state was already looking into the cause of earlier seismic activity from 10 previous earthquakes, beginning in March, 2011.

According to Kim, this is not the first time Ohio tremors have been linked to human activities. "We have several examples of earthquakes from deep well disposal in the past," Kim said.

A quake of 4.2 magnitude in Ashtabula, Ohio, on January 26, 2001, was believed to be due to deep-well injection, he said. And in 1987 there was an incident with a correlation to high pressure deep well injection, he said.

There are 177 so-called "class two" deep wells in Ohio, according to Tom Stewart, executive vice president of Ohio Oil and Gas Association. They all operate under federal guidelines spelled out by the Clean Water Act.

There is no evidence that the wells in Youngstown were operating at higher pressures than allowed, Stewart said.



http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/s...,6455763.story
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Old 01-06-2012, 10:09 AM   #3098
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http://eclectariumshuker.blogspot.co...dware-and.html

Somewhere out there is an unnerving diversity of treacherous technology that seems to possess (or be possessed by?) a veritable life of its own! Independently-minded machines boasting seemingly paranormal powers, or weird talents far beyond those implanted into them by their human creators, certainly appear to be much more widespread than we might otherwise suppose - and much too clever for our own good!


WORD PROCESSOR, DODLESTON, CHESHIRE - Spooked by a Ghost Writer, in Every Sense!

In the olden days, ghosts communicated with the living via such traditional media as ouija boards - but now, keeping abreast of modern technology, they utilise word processors!

During late 1984, Ken Webster was renovating an old cottage that he had purchased in Dodleston, Cheshire, when his word processor began displaying strange messages and poems that he had not placed there himself. Precisely the same thing happened when he used any of his other computers too. The only common link was the presence of his girlfriend, Debbie, because these unsolicited communications always appeared when she was close by. Yet they could not have originated from her, or from Ken, for one very good reason.

Linguist Peter Trinder, who made a detailed study of them, revealed that they were written in a Late Middle English dialect dating from around the 1500s. For instance:

"Wot strange wordes thou speke, although I muste confess that I hath also bene ill-schooled...thou art a goodly man who hath fanciful woman who dwel in myne home."

Similar messages even appeared on the cottage floor. Yet whereas Ken and Debbie had no knowledge of Middle English, some of the communications contained unfamiliar words that could only have been known to someone well-versed in this long-vanished dialect.

Greatly intrigued, Ken began answering them on his machines, and eventually he learnt that his computer-mediated contact was a veritable ghost writer. Namely, one Tomas Harden, who claimed to have lived on this same site over 400 years earlier.

Judging from some of Harden's messages, moreover, the reason why they appeared whenever Debbie was nearby seems simply to have been that he had taken a liking to her! A case, perhaps, of unrequited computer dating across the centuries?


COMPUTER CHESS - Check Mate...Forever!

For anyone who may deem it safe to dismiss machines as brainless, dispassionate morons, undeniably helpful but fundamentally harmless, the following cautionary, true-life tale should be made compulsory reading. In 1989, Soviet grand master Nikolai Gudkov had won two successive chess games against his opponent, a Russian M2-11 super-computer programmed to play at world-class level. At the precise moment that he reached out his hand and made the telling move that would have checkmated M2-11 for the third time, however, Gudkov dropped down dead. He had been instantly electrocuted by a sudden surge of power passing through the metal chessboard that his fingers touched as he placed the chesspiece down in his winning move. Just a coincidence...or a chilling demonstration of mechanical mentality?

Equally controversial was the famous Turkish chess player of Hungarian nobleman Baron Von Kempelen. Dating from 1769, and exhibited widely in Europe, it consisted of a slightly larger than lifesize robot-like automaton, in the form and attire of a Turkish man, seated at a wooden cabinet, which, when opened, seemed to contain complex machinery. A chessboard was present on top of the cabinet, and the Baron challenged onlookers to compete against his mechanised Turk. Many did - but all met their match. Eventually, the Turk was sold to an American showman called Maelzl, and during 1835 it was witnessed in action by Edgar Allan Poe - who revealed that its chess-playing talent owed more to conjuring skill than mechanical sophistication. In reality, one of its owner's servants hid inside the robot chess player, and whenever this servant was ill or absent, all displays featuring the Turk were cancelled.

Exposing the secret of Baron Van Kempelen's 'Mechanical' Chess Player


TELEVISIONS - Spectres on the Small Screen

In 1986, Mainz physicist Professor Ernst Senkowski announced that the first recognisable images of deceased persons had been taped from television. Supporting his claim is the research of electronics engineer J.P. Seyler from Luxemburg. By filming a TV screen tuned to an open channel, Seyler obtained a brief videotape that portrayed a recognisable image of Hanna Buschbeck, a German researcher of electronic voice phenomena (EVP), several years after she had died in 1978. Interestingly, the form in which she appeared on the videotape was as she had been in her youth, not as she had been when she died.

The alleged image of a youthful Hanna Buschbeck captured on videotape several years after her death

Not all spectres of the small screen can be identified, however, thereby making their unheralded manifestations all the more unnerving. One morning sometime prior to 1988, the three children of the Travis family had been watching television in their home at Blue Point, New York, when they suddenly observed a face materialising on the screen. Obscuring the programme that they had been viewing, it resembled a lady's profile in silhouette, as confirmed by the children's mother, who also saw it. Somewhat alarmed, she turned the television off - but the face could still be seen, and remained on screen for more than two days! Before it finally faded away, this ghostly image was filmed by several visiting media reporters, but no-one has ever provided a satisfactory explanation for its origin.


ELEVATOR, PALACE HOTEL, SOUTHPORT - The Lift With a Truly Elevated Sense of Survival!

The less technologically-minded among us may be forgiven for suspecting that machines have a life of their own. After all, the lift that refused to die is certainly a case in point.

This particular elevator was ensconced in Southport's Palace Hotel, which was demolished in 1969. All sources of electrical power were cut off before the demolition began, but three weeks later the lift mysteriously came to life! Without any warning, or any outside assistance either, it began soaring up and down its vertical chute, journeying from one floor to another and, as it did so, lighting up its floor-indication buttons as well as opening and closing its gates - just like it had always done during its 112 years of normal day-to-day operation.

The Palace Hotel, Southport, not long before it was demolished

A team of electrical engineers was called in to investigate, but all to no avail. They confirmed that the current had been cut off, and that there wasn't a single amp flowing anywhere inside the remains of the demolished hotel. Following their exhaustive examination, they remained wholly perplexed, conceding: "We can't find any electrical reason why the lift should work". But work it did, and with undiminished enthusiasm, even when the glare of television cameras and lights were trained upon it during a special BBC news item.

Faced with the inexplicable, the team did the inevitable. They bludgeoned the elevator to death with some hefty sledge hammers - a tragic end to a loyal if non-human employee that had apparently been unable to accept that its working life had finally come to an end.


AMSTRAD COMPUTER, STOCKTON - You've Been Talking in Your Sleep Again!

Do computers have nightmares, or talk in their sleep? If so, this may explain the nocturnal activity of an Amstrad computer installed during 1987 in a Stockton architect's office.

During working hours, it behaved impeccably. But on many occasions at night, when only the cleaners were present, its screen abruptly began to glow, meaningless sentences appeared on-screen for about 30 seconds, and then, just as abruptly, they vanished - after which the computer gave out a loud groan, and switched itself off. What makes all of this even more strange, however, is that it occurred even when the computer was unplugged!

Ken Hughes, editor of Personal Computer, examined this maladjusted machine, but despite stripping it down and inspecting every component, he could find nothing unusual. Yet a video camera, trained upon it for three months, confirmed the authenticity of its evenings' erratic outpourings. Ultimately, the mere presence of this eerie computer began to disturb some of its human workmates, who lost no sleep, therefore, over the decision to remove it. Whether the computer subsequently continued to lose sleep, conversely, is another matter entirely!


OBLIGING CARS AND LETHAL CARS - The Weird World of Mind Over Motor

Self-willed cars are not limited to the fictitious world of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or Herbie the Lovebug. Take, for instance, the vigorous Volvo owned by Jack Oates from Yorkshire.

One day in 1984, after Oates had left it parked in a village street, his car inexplicably started up and sped down the street in reverse, only to experience a decidedly close encounter with some parked cars further away. Yet it evidently remained unabashed, for when its distraught owner put the keys into its ignition and tried to turn it off, the recalcitrant runaway steadfastly refused to turn off - until the mechanics arrived, at which point it immediately complied...and then turned itself on again as soon as they had gone!

Rather more affable, yet no less anomalous, was the SAAB owned by David Warner, also from Yorkshire. One day in April 1981, it smoothly reversed across the garden lawn of a local rectory and then carefully parked itself in the corner. Bearing in mind that his car was driverless at the time, it is hardly surprising that Warner watched this extraordinary incident with open-mouthed astonishment.

And now, a warning for automobilophobes everywhere: Never take a dislike to your car - you may not live to regret it! In 1978, a lady from Florida came to a grim end under her car's wheels - all four of them. According to her colleagues, she had never liked that particular vehicle, and perhaps the feeling was mutual. One day, as she walked away after parking it at a supermarket and turning its engine off, the malevolent motor somehow started itself up, and ran over its disapproving owner. Not content with flattening her once, however, her four-wheeled assassin circled round, and ran over her again, then circled and did it again, then again, and again... Nor would it permit anyone from the large crowd of horrified spectators to retrieve her mangled body, but continued its frenzied, murderous circuit for another quarter of an hour or so before finally coming to a halt.


EERIE CLOCKS - When Death Holds Back the Hands of Time

There are many cases of eerie clocks or other fateful timepieces stopping at the precise instant when their owners die, reiterating in reality the song 'My Grandfather's Clock' (which also inspired a musical - see image below).



Professor Colin Gardner, author of Ghost Watch (1989), brought to attention a contemporary case from Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada, that actually featured a grandfather's clock. It had been owned for many years by a man referred to by Professor Gardner for confidentiality purposes merely as 'Stephen', who had always taken great joy in caring for it and keeping it in good working order. At the exact moment of Stephen's death, aged 72, his clock stopped, and for about a year its hands remained resolutely stationary.

Then one day, for no apparent reason, they suddenly moved again, and the clock began ticking as normal. At precisely the same moment, but at a location far away, its late owner's daughter, Lori, had given birth - to a son, Stephen's first male heir.

During her many years of research at the Duke University Parapsychology Laboratory, Dr Louisa Rhine amassed several similar reports. In one incident, a gold pocket watch given by a Canadian man to his brother stopped at the very instant that the man died several years later, even though it was almost fully-wound.

Perhaps the most famous example is the so-called 'clock of death', which allegedly marked the demise not only of its first owner, King Henry VIII, but also that of his son Edward VI, and Anne of Denmark (consort to James I). It still resides in Hampton Court Palace.

King Edward VI of England, painted by William Scrots


HAUNTED PHOTOCOPIER - Who's That Girl?

In early 1995, Mark Burgess revealed that a firm in Bury, Lancashire, owns what may be a paranormal photocopier. Every so often, when copying documents, it inserts within a batch of normal photocopied documents a single sheet depicting the image of a mysterious girl, whose identity does not appear to be known to anyone working at the firm.

However, it is possible that there is a conventional explanation to hand. In response to Burgess's account (published in Fortean Times), Alex Kashko revealed that the image may be a test image contained within an internal chip, and that a faulty connection was spasmodically sending the photocopier into test mode, thus reproducing the image. Such a possibility could be readily pursued via an inspection of the machine by its manufacturer's engineers, but what if an examination failed to confirm this? Yet another case of the spirit world modernising its means of communication with the living world?


PHANTOM FAX MESSAGE - A Timeslip Transmission?

During May 1993, corporate affairs consultant Anne Forrest, based in Hong Kong, received a very mystifying fax message. To begin with, it was not apparently intended for her, because it was addressed to a Phil Cundall of Mining Surveys Ltd, and had been sent by a Phil Cross from Dorset. Far stranger than this, however, was its date of transmission - 18 January 1972! In other words, it seemed to have been sent more than 21 years earlier! Substantiating this assumption was the fax's text, describing how fax machines work, for its terminology was so antiquated that it did indeed appear to date from the early 1970s.

Yet how could a fax message have been lost 'in transit' for over 21 years after leaving Cross's fax machine? Could there be, lurking undetected somewhere in the rarefied realms of electronic communication, a digitised black hole - inexorably engulfing media messages of every kind, and subsequently releasing (and misdirecting) them only after many years had elapsed since their initial transmission? In fact, investigations disclosed a much more prosaic solution. The strange fax message was merely a routine fax-test document, known as the SLEREXE letter, which has been utilised internationally for a number of years.


MECHANICAL SEA MONSTER - Biting the Hand That Built It!

Morgawr, which is Cornish for 'sea giant', is the name given to a mysterious Nessie-like sea monster sometimes reported off the coast of Falmouth and elsewhere in Cornwall. As such, it has become quite a cryptozoological celebrity, and in 1994 it inspired the creation of a spectacular mechanical version, dubbed 'Moghar'. Designed and constructed by George Thain, this dragonesque monster's dramatic features included hydraulic tentacles, and 3-ft-high computer-controlled jaws that could be opened and closed, and which were brimming with sharp teeth. When completed, it was ensconced inside a Land's End tourist attraction called the Last Labyrinth, where its role was to terrify the visitors - but harmlessly.

Moghar the mechanical sea monster from The Last Labyrinth, Land's End (Falmouth Packet)

Moghar, however, seemed to have other ideas. On 30 March, Thain arrived for a close inspection of his monster - a little too close for comfort, as it turned out. For in finest Frankensteinian tradition, Moghar attacked him! Abruptly seizing him in its toothy maw, it refused to let go, gripping him firmly and inflicting severe bruising before technicians were able to release its jaws and free its hapless creator. Computer error was blamed, but just to be safe, all subsequent visitors were distanced from Moghar by a 3-ft-wide no-go zone.


VERBAL VACUUM CLEANERS AND SINGING CHAIN-SAWS - Is Electromagnetic Interference the Answer?

In his fascinating book, The Nature of Things - The Secret Life of Inanimate Objects (1990), Dr Lyall Watson included a vast range of unaccountably talkative and tuneful gadgets and gizmos. Take, for instance, the eclectic examples that he cited in the following paragraph:

"In Norfolk Janet Barker's new cooker talks to her in Dutch. Office-cleaner Madge Gunn in London gets silly orders from her vacuum cleaner: "Proceed at once to Tooley Street." Doris Gibbons' electric meter is far more polite. "Hello," it says. "This is Geoffrey. Come in, please." The electric organ at a church in Bolton regularly interrupts the vicar's sermons with relays of the shipping forecast. And Harry Goodchild of Ipswich cut off his toe when his chain-saw suddenly broke into song."

It is very likely that cases such as these are nothing more than a bizarre by-product of electromagnetic interference - Madge Gunn's talking vacuum cleaner, for instance, is almost certainly picking up messages broadcast on the radio frequencies used by police patrols.

Nevertheless, not all such cases can be so readily resolved. After all, how can straying electronic signals explain why music and voices were heard whenever Virginia Kimmey of Midland, Texas, turned on her kitchen sink's water taps during November 1960?

The Nature of Things by Dr Lyall Watson


TELEPHONES OF TERROR - Dial 'D' For Death!
Telephones with an attitude problem are by no means an uncommon item in today's ever-expanding roll-call of troublesome technology, but in Nepal they have been revealing a far more sinister - and lethal - side to their nature.

Several people in this mountainous Asian kingdom were killed during the first few weeks of 1993 when, after hearing their telephones emit a long, insistent ringing tone, they picked up the receiver. For at the precise moment that they picked it up, they were instantaneously zapped with a deadly blast of electricity exceeding 600 volts. The official explanation offered by the Nepal Telecommunications Corporation was that a telephone line and a power line had accidentally become connected. Yet if this were indeed so, why had lethal line connections of this type only begun to occur now, after years of danger-free dialling? The telephone company was unable to provide an answer. Could it simply be that certain telephones have developed a diabolical sense of humour?








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