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Old 12-22-2008, 11:15 AM   #1276
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http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/12...d_at_risk_wmd/

Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/12...d_at_risk_wmd/
Censored scenes from the Congress WMD report

Last minute bioterror rewrites?

By George Smith, Dick Destiny

Posted in Government, 17th December 2008 12:52 GMT

Free Download - Comparing Data Center Batteries, Flywheels and Ultracapacitors

World at Risk, the final report (http://www.preventwmd.org/) of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, received a good build-up. Its publicity stretched from reports outlining a draft of it (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...901921_pf.html) in the Washington Post over the Thanksgiving Day weekend, with more news and private and public briefings the following week. We are, the general consensus went, in deadly danger.

This overriding message from the released copy was given in one sentence from the preface: "[Unless] the world community acts decisively and with great urgency, it is more likely than not that a weapon of mass destruction will be used in a terrorist attack somewhere in the world by the end of 2013 ... The Commission further believes that terrorists are more likely to be able to obtain and use a biological weapon than a nuclear weapon."
Five years till doomsday?

The Houston Chronicle was one newspaper which took the grim pronouncement and made it worse, amplifying the fear and claiming, (http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/...n/6142214.html) a little imprecisely, that the commission's message was "The United States can expect a terrorist attack using nuclear or more likely biological weapons before 2013 ..."

But while many newspapers jumped on the story, it did not have quite the jolt announcements of this nature have had in the past. Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman of California, Chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence & Terrorism Risk Assessment, immediately issued a blunt press release. (http://www.house.gov/apps/list/press.../12_2WMB.shtml) "Much in the report ... is important," it read. "However, it's time to retire the fear card." The American people needed to be educated about the threat, not terrified, it continued.

Even two years ago, such a statement would probably have been unheard of coming from a Congressional leader. Congress had done a lot to mitigate the threat, Harman wrote. And now it was "time for the rhetoric about the threat to calm..."

This writer hopes therefore that the rhetoric of imminent and catastrophic bioterrorism will be given quietus. During the election campaign, one of Barack Obama's chief policy advisors on the threat of bioterrorism was Richard Danzig, an assistant secretary of defense during the Clinton administration well known for his belief that the bioterror threat is unprecedented. And the World at Risk report uses a Danzig quote that speaks for itself: "Only a thin wall of terrorist ignorance and inexperience now protect us."

Over the past few years, The Register has written about the subject quite a bit, and readers know opinion is strongly divided on the subject. Generally speaking, there are reasonable critics who have been excluded from the press when reports are delivered, their input not sought.

In the report's introduction, the Commission claims it gathered the thoughts of two hundred experts. That's a big number, so this writer emailed Milton Leitenberg, an expert on bioterrorism and one of the well-known reasonable critics mentioned above. Since Leitenberg has written widely on the subject, the question was, had he been consulted by the commission? (Full disclosure: This writer has, in the past, collaborated with Leitenberg and exchanged findings with him.)

Leitenberg replied in email that he hadn't, nor had two other experts he contacted. But a staffer on the Commission had everything that he had written. Further email discussion followed in an informal trading of comments on aspects of the Commission report, the fruits of which are discussed.

It has not been widely pointed out that the Washington Post's November 30 story on a pre-release draft of the Commission report showed differences between it and the edition released the following Wednesday.

"The biodefense research industry that sprang up after 2001 offers potential solutions to a future attack, but also numerous new opportunities for theft or diversion of deadly germs, the report says," wrote Joby Warrick for the Post.

The final report deals with the first part of the assertion in some detail; the second part gets somewhat less attention. "The rapid growth in [biodefense] facilities and people handling select agents has increased the risk of accidents or intentional misuse by insiders," it states somewhat blandly.

More problematical is the draft's conclusion, as reported by the Post, on the result of attempts for a new Biological Weapons Convention accord under the Bush administration. "Efforts to strengthen the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention were dealt a symbolic blow in 2001 when the Bush administration withdrew its support for a new accord that had been under negotiation for six years," it said.

But in the Commission's final report, this has been turned around. While mentioning that the Bush administration's decision resulted in "widespread international criticism," the US government's primary objection - that "acquiescing to an international control regime [would] potentially jeopardize sensitive US information" - along with two others, were valid. The Commission seems to conclude the opposite of what had been reported by the Post - that since "verifying compliance to the BWC" has only become more difficult, the decision to walk away from it was seemingly justified.
Biodefense's internationalization

"Meanwhile, the growth in biodefense research seen in the United States has spread to dozens of countries, including developing nations such as Malaysia and Cuba that are investing heavily to develop world-class biotech industries," Warrick wrote of the draft report copy's findings. While the assertion that expansion has spread to "dozens" may be a bit of a stretch, the gist of this was apparently excluded from the final report.

(Backgrounder: "There are a sizeable number of countries that have maintained biodefense labs since the 1970's," emailed Leitenberg. In the 1980's: "UK, Germany, Sweden, Australia, Norway, Netherlands, of course the USSR/Russia, Israel - the latter two probably offensive rather than 'defense' - Poland, Czechoslovakia, and the CIS states after the dissolution of the USSR in 1992. In more recent years India, Taiwan, Singapore and some others have joined, but probably the most significant aspect is that these newcomers enlarged their programs substantially since the mid 1990's.")

In any case, if accurate, such things point to a final published position at odds in major ways with the original draft. One implication is that staff analysis was inverted, "[Presumably] by the politicians making up the Commission," emailed Leitenberg.

Currently, no state-less organizations (like al Qaeda or associated jihadi groups) possess the materials or means to produce biological weapons. Over the past few years, The Reg has written of the phenomenon in which government officials and experts have asserted the opposite or claimed it was only a matter of time before they acquired them.

"We accept the validity of intelligence estimates about the current rudimentary nature of terrorist capabilities in the area..." reads the Commission's report. But it then considers that this does not preclude them from recruitment of real scientists who will not find the technical obstacles to making such weapons insurmountable. And, the argument continues, there is a new threat posed by synthetic genomics. The reconstitution of the Spanish flu is given as one example. For Newsweek magazine, Commission chair Bob Graham mentioned that one of his worst nightmares was "Should that fall into the hands of evil people with the appropriate capability for organization and technical dissemination, it could exceed the lethality of 90 years ago." But it is also worth mentioning that it has been US science and government money which brought the 1918 flu virus back.

Even prior to the Commission report, the impression has been given that the US biodefense effort has escaped from oversight. The report mentions $60 billion dollars being spent on new facility construction. Problems have cropped up - infections occurred - "exacerbated by the unbridled growth in the number of high-containment laboratories since 2001..."

"The government has recommended a site in Kansas for a new $450 million laboratory to study biological threats such as anthrax and foot-and-mouth disease," read a newspaper report on December 4.

"The Homeland Security Department’s choice of Manhattan, in central Kansas, (http://www.journalgazette.net/apps/p...25/1005/NEWS10) beat out intense competition from sites in Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas." ®

George Smith is a senior fellow at GlobalSecurity.org, a defense affairs think tank and public information group. At Dick Destiny (http://www.dickdestiny.com/blog/dickdestiny.html), he blogs his way through chemical, biological, and nuclear terror hysteria, often by way of the contents of neighbourhood hardware stores.
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Old 12-22-2008, 11:16 AM   #1277
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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sciencean...-thoughts.html


Elderly 'use rose tinted spectacles to overcome negative thoughts'
Elderly people are able to look at the world through rose-tinted spectacles because negative memories fade more quickly as we age, scientists have found.
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Old 12-22-2008, 11:16 AM   #1278
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http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisf...edicalresearch


The cleverness pill
Scientists are proposing we consider using more 'cognitive enhancers'. If you could pop a pill to raise your IQ, would you?
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Old 12-22-2008, 11:17 AM   #1279
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/...ds/7791419.stm

Woman injured in 'big cat' attack

An elderly woman has reported being attacked by a large cat in the Highlands.

Pat MacLeod, 74, from Ardross Road in Alness, told police she was injured by a 3ft-long cat while putting out her bins earlier this week.


Mrs MacLeod, who suffered deep cuts to her legs and cuts and scratches on her hands, needed stitches in hospital.

Police and Scottish Natural Heritage are trying to trace the cat, which has been described as grey coloured.

Mrs MacLeod said it was the second time she had been attacked by a cat outside her home and on this occasion the animal sprang at her as soon as she made eye contact.

'Shockingly strong'

She said the "shockingly strong" cat managed to drag her some distance and expressed concern about what might happen if a child encountered the animal.

Northern Constabulary said an unprovoked attack would be very uncharacteristic of a Scottish wildcat and suggested that the animal may be a hybrid of a domestic and feral cat.

A force spokesman said there had previously been sightings of big cats in the area, but no reports of attacks.

Police have advised anyone who sees a "unusually large" cat not to approach it or feed it.




http://www.bigcatmonitors.co.uk/
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Old 12-22-2008, 11:19 AM   #1280
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http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/com...cle5324234.ece

The living dead
The afterlife has long been an article of religious faith. And now scientists are finally putting the idea to the test
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Old 12-22-2008, 11:20 AM   #1281
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http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/16/sc...16prof.html?em

Specializing in Problems That Only Seem Impossible to Solve
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Old 12-22-2008, 11:20 AM   #1282
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http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008...inter-solstice


Thousands mark winter solstice and Yule festival across UK
Gatherings at Stonehenge and other ancient British landmarks mark start of longer days and shorter nights


http://www.speroforum.com/site/artic...ith+full+moons

Stone Age graves align with full moons
In the period from 3,300 to 3,100 BC there was an over frequency of 50 percent in the number of lunar eclipses that could be seen in Denmark
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Old 12-22-2008, 11:21 AM   #1283
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http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au...013571,00.html


Stains on Leonardo da Vinci panel turn out to be sketches



PARIS: The mystery is set in the Louvre and the clues are hidden behind a 16th-century masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci. Remind you of anything?

Lovers of Dan Brown novels will be salivating at the discovery of three previously unknown drawings on the back of one of Leonardo's major works. A curator spotted the sketches on the back of The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne when it was taken down in September for restoration.

Sylvain Laveissiere pointed out grey marks that had previously been dismissed as stains. To him they resembled a horse's head and a human skull.

When the painting was photographed with an infra-red camera at the Centre for Research and Restoration of the Museums of France, he was proved right.

On the wood on which the work was mounted was an 18cm by 10cm equine head and a 16.5cm by 10cm skull, complete with orbital and nasal cavities, jaw and teeth. The camera detected a third drawing, a 15cm-high infant Jesus with a lamb, which was invisible to the naked eye.

A spokeswoman for the Louvre said the discovery was "amusing and moving". It is also mysterious, because the drawings appear to have gone unnoticed for 500 years. "They were not meant to be kept," said Bruno Mottin, from the Louvre's art laboratory. "They had been largely wiped out, which explains why no one had spotted them until now."

The Louvre said there was evidence to suggest the sketches - in black stone or charcoal - were indeed by da Vinci.

"We're being very careful," said Vincent Pomarede, head of paintings at the Louvre. "But what is troubling is thesimilarity with drawings that are already known."

The skull resembles those in Leonardo's other sketches, and the horse's head is reminiscent of those in The Battle of Anghiari - a lost masterpiece known only because it was copied.

The baby Jesus appears to be a draft for the figure in The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne.

Jill Burke, an Italian Renaissance specialist at Edinburgh University, said: "It would be quite typical of his working style for him quickly to sketch out ideas that came into his head on whatever paper - or, in this case, panel - was tohand."

The Louvre will carry out tests to try to confirm the identity of the author.

The Times
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Old 12-23-2008, 07:14 AM   #1284
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http://www.disinfo.com/content/story...cebook-Profile

Rod Blagojevich's Deleted Facebook Profile



Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich's Facebook profile was deleted immediately following his arrest by the FBI. Luckily, Gawker has some screen shots of Blago's recent activity, and it's pretty hilarious: hamming-it-up photos and posted notes in which he discusses his humble approach to the task of picking a successor for Obama's vacated Senate seat. ("To give you a low-down, I'm looking for a candidate that will prioritize the average Illinoisan who is too burdened by taxes and economic hardship.") Unfortunately, in recent days, the comments from his constituent "friends" turned vicious: "Rot in hell you scum bag." "Is that a toupee?" "Just wanted to say goodbye. I'm glad you've been arrested."
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Old 12-23-2008, 07:15 AM   #1285
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Couple to Have Britain's First Baby Genetically Modified to be Free of Breast Cancer Gene

Fiona Macrae, Daily Mail: The first British baby designed to be free of breast cancer is due to be born next week.

The child's parents opted for genetic screening tests in the hope of freeing their children from the disease which has blighted the lives of their relatives for generations. Without screening, any girl they had would have been likely to develop a fast spreading, hard-to-treat form of breast cancer.

Doctors at University College Hospital, London, created embryos through IVF then screened them for the deadly gene before transferring only healthy ones into the womb. The sex of the baby is not known.

Paul Serhal, medical director of the hospital's assisted conception unit, said the pioneering treatment, which was carried out on the NHS, allowed the parents the chance of a healthy family. Many more couples could benefit from pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, or PGD.


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/ar...ncer-gene.html
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Old 12-23-2008, 07:19 AM   #1286
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http://www.chycho.com/?q=node/1935

Eight major undersea Internet communication cables cut in 2008: We most definitely do live in interesting times

In early February 2008 at least five major underwater Internet cables were cut in just a few days, sending large portions of the Middle East into communication blackout.

Two days ago, on 19 December 2008, we learned that three of the four internet sub-cables that run from Asia to North America were damaged ... "Industry experts told The Times that two sub-sea cables went down just off Alexandra, causing the mass disruption. It happens to a single cable typically once a year, and companies have developed the fail-safe of redirecting traffic to a second cable should this occur."...

I found this last statement by “Industry experts” to be the most telling bit of information from the above news. What are the odds of eight Internet cables accidentally being severed in one year when it “happens to a single cable typically once a year”? Extremely unlikely would be an intelligent guess.
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Old 12-23-2008, 07:20 AM   #1287
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http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...1215121559.htm

ScienceDaily (Dec. 19, 2008) — A person's unconscious attitudes toward science and God may be fundamentally opposed, researchers report, depending on how religion and science are used to answer "ultimate" questions such as how the universe began or the origin of life.


_


DUH!
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Old 12-23-2008, 07:24 AM   #1288
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http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2...chemistry.html

Science Behind Mysterious ‘Fifth Taste’ Revealed



It’s appetizing news for anyone who’s ever wanted the savory taste of meats and cheeses without actually having to eat them: chemists have identified molecular mechanisms underlying the sensation of umami, also known as the fifth taste.

The much-loved but historically unappreciated taste is produced by two interacting sets of molecules, each of which is needed to trigger cellular receptors on a tongue’s surface.

“This opens the door to designing better, more potent and more selective umami enhancers,” said Xiaodong Li, a chemist at San Diego-based food-additive company Senomyx. Li co-authored the study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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Old 12-23-2008, 07:26 AM   #1289
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http://www.harrisinteractive.com/har...ex.asp?PID=982

More Americans Believe in the Devil, Hell and Angels than in Darwin’s Theory of Evolution
December 23rd, 2008 by Klintron

That very large majorities of the American public believe in God, miracles, the survival of the soul after death, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the Virgin birth will come as no great surprise. What may be more surprising is that substantial minorities believe in ghosts, UFOs, witches, astrology, and the belief that they themselves were once other people. Overall, more people believe in the devil, hell and angels than believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll®, a new nationwide survey of 2,126 U.S. adults surveyed online between November 10 and 17, 2008 by Harris Interactive®.
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Old 12-23-2008, 07:27 AM   #1290
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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencete....html?ITO=1490

Bionic ’sex chip’ that stimulates pleasure centre in brain developed by scientists
December 23rd, 2008 by Klintron

Scientists are developing an electronic ’sex chip’ that works by stimulating the pleasure centres in the brain.

The technology, which creates tiny shocks deep in the brain, has already been used in America to treat Parkinson’s disease.

Now researchers are focusing on the orbitofrontal cortex, which is associated with feelings of pleasure caused by eating and sex.
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Old 12-23-2008, 07:29 AM   #1291
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http://thinkprogress.org/2008/12/22/...emocrats-indy/

Limbaugh: Democrats Started The Economic Crisis To Help Elect Obama
December 22nd, 2008 by Klintron

Today, the New York Times had an article about how right-wing talk radio is gearing up to aggressively go after President-elect Obama over the next four years. Rush Limbaugh demonstrated his commitment to this crusade today on his radio show by blaming Democrats — especially Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) — for starting the current economic crisis.

Here’s how Limbaugh’s conspiracy theory goes: Schumer caused on run on IndyMac bank in California this summer, in order to create a feeling of financial panic amongst the public. Democrats then capitalized on this panic with electoral wins in the White House and Congress. The purpose of gaining this power, according to Limbaugh, was to nationalize U.S. industries:

LIMBAUGH: Who’s benefiting? Aside from the people being bailed out. The Democrat party and Barack Obama are benefiting.
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Old 12-23-2008, 07:33 AM   #1292
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http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/lif...cle5332469.ece

Smart kids more likely to be heavy drinkers
December 22nd, 2008 by Klintron

The Colony Club in Soho has been a watering hole for hard-drinking creative types since it was founded by Muriel Belcher in the late 1940s. It is a reasonable bet that her confidants - Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Jeffrey and Bruce Bernard, Michael Andrews, Eduardo Paolozzi and other regulars from the art and entertainment world - would have had high IQs. Some members may have been nightmare clients for their bank managers, exasperating husbands, wives or lovers, but no one would doubt their talents, originality and intellectual ability.

Research has now shown a link between high childhood IQ and an adult enthusiasm for alcohol that leads in some cases to problem drinking.

Parents may be aware that the easiest children to have around the house, and those who are also the most likely to have a predictable, comfortable lifestyle when adults, are those with a slightly aboveaverage intelligence, neither too clever, nor stupid.
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Old 12-23-2008, 07:57 AM   #1293
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http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...1217124200.htm

ScienceDaily (Dec. 19, 2008) — An evolutionary geneticist from the Université de Montréal, together with researchers from the French cities of Lyon and Montpellier, have published a ground-breaking study that characterizes the common ancestor of all life on earth, LUCA (Last Universal Common Ancestor).

Their findings, presented in a recent issue of Nature, show that the 3.8-billion-year-old organism was not the creature usually imagined.

The study changes ideas of early life on Earth. "It is generally believed that LUCA was a heat-loving or hyperthermophilic organism. A bit like one of those weird organisms living in the hot vents along the continental ridges deep in the oceans today (above 90 degrees Celsius)," says Nicolas Lartillot, the study's co-author and a bio-informatics professor at the Université de Montréal. "However, our data suggests that LUCA was actually sensitive to warmer temperatures and lived in a climate below 50 degrees."
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Old 12-23-2008, 07:58 AM   #1294
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http://www.hyper.net/ufo/physics.html

Resources about possible UFO physics / propulsion / technology

Summary: If we are to explain UFOs in terms of physics we understand to some degree, yet still conform to witness observations, it seems essential to assume UFOs are capable of generating artificial gravity fields (in GR terms, to manipulate the curvature of the fabric of space-time), much as we produce magnetism with electric currents. An approximation -probably oversimplified- of overall UFO behaviour is via accepting such a (hypothetical, or at least not known to or acknowledged by "white-world" Physics) gravity-like repulsive force-field. The glow / luminescence in various colours around the UFO (apparently shape depends on UFO's shape as well as its current maneuver, so the UFO's outline as seen by external observer can change), is thought to be due to ionization of surrounding air (atmosphere around the UFO "lights up", much like what happens in neon-lamps), referred to as "UFO plasma sheath". Brightness/color changes of the "UFO plasma sheath" seem to be related with thrust/acceleration. The air ionization seems to be caused by the EM radiation emitted by the UFO, and is thought to be a secondary effect of the propulsion system. This includes UV (suggested by many cases of sunburn-like effects and eye and skin irritation) and soft X-rays (suggested by "burn ring" traces on ground where UFOs landed). Considering the difficulty of creating plasma in normal atmospheric conditions, in combination with other observations, like the luminosity of submarine UFOs, the sudden appearance of condensation / mist when starting up in high humidity conditions and noise patterns, it all suggests an envelope of lower atmospheric density near the UFO's surface. A near vacuum, i.e. the air/water is "pushed away" from the skin of the craft (confirmed by observations when UFOs rise from water), which minimizes friction and heating issues. Plasmas can interact strongly with electromagnetic radiation, "Plasma Stealth" is a proposed process that uses ionized gas (plasma) to reduce the radar cross section (RCS) of an aircraft. This may explain why sometimes UFOs are seen visually, but not tracked on radar. Often UFOs have a very strong magnetic field. Also, in several cases, light (e.g. from car headlights or beaming spotlights) is reported to "bend" in front of the UFO, an effect which some suggest is related with the most controversial aspect of UFO reports: the apparent ability to disappear / "blink out" or seem to "implode" (diminish in angular size) [miniature-scale "gravitational lensing"-type phenomenon?]. Physiological effects on humans include: sunburn-type effect and eye irritation, extreme dryness of the nasal area and of the throat, color changes in vision, extreme headaches and a heating/burning sensation. Witnesses and animals have become sick and even died, with symptoms similar to radiation poisoning, after close approach to a UFO. Given the tremendous amount of energy UFOs seem to be expending, their power source is a big mystery. Many ideas have been proposed, including that UFOs are storing energy in a very concentrated form, or converting gravity to usable energy (H.Oberth 1950s), or utilising ambient energy (speculations about being able to tap the so-called Zero-Point-Energy) or utilize remote transmission of power (wireless energy transfer).

It seems that UFOs defy our currently accepted Physics, e.g. the conservation of momentum (UFOs accelerate without throwing any material out the backside). Both Newton's gravity and General Relativity (Einstein's theory of gravitation), require the existence of "negative mass" (or energy) for antigravity to be possible. This has been a major hurdle to the study of UFOs by many "mainstream" physicists in previous decades (e.g. read Markowitz, W., "The Physics and Metaphysics of Unidentified Flying Objects", Science, Vol. 157, 1967).
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Old 12-23-2008, 07:59 AM   #1295
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http://www.ucl.ac.uk/media/library/imagination

Our grip on reality is slim, says UCL scientist

24 June 2006

The neurological basis for poor witness statements and hallucinations has been found by scientists at UCL (University College London). In over a fifth of cases, people wrongly remembered whether they actually witnessed an event or just imagined it, according to a paper published in NeuroImage this week.

Dr Jon Simons and Dr Paul Burgess led the study at the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. Dr Burgess said: “In our tests volunteers either thought they had imagined words which they had actually been shown or said they had seen words which in fact they had just imagined - in over 20 per cent of cases. That is quite a lot of mistakes to be making, and shows how fallible our memory is - or perhaps, how slim our grip on reality is!

“Our work has implications for the validity of witness statements and agrees with other studies that show that our mind sometimes fills in memory gaps for us, and we confuse what we imagined occurred in a situation - which is related to what we expect to happen or what usually happens - with what actually happened.

“Most of us, though, have a critical reality monitoring function so that we are able to distinguish well enough between what is real and what is imagined and our imagination does not have too great an impact on our lives - unless the reality check system breaks down such as after stroke or in cases of schizophrenia.”

The study found that the areas that were activated while remembering whether an event really happened or was imagined in healthy subjects are the very same areas that are dysfunctional in people who experience hallucinations.

Dr Burgess said: “We believe that hallucinations are caused by a difficulty in discriminating information present in the outside world from information that is imagined. In schizophrenia the difficulty you have in separating reality from imagined events becomes exaggerated so some people have hallucinations and hear voices that simply aren’t there.” These results indicate a link between the brain areas implicated in schizophrenia and the regions that support the ability to discriminate between perceived and imagined information.

In the tests, healthy subjects were shown 96 well-known word pairs from pop culture such as ‘Laurel and Hardy’, ‘bacon and eggs’, and ‘rock and roll’. The participants were asked to count the number of letters in the second word of the pair. Often the second word wasn’t actually shown and the subject had to imagine the word – such as ‘Laurel and ?’.

Participants were then asked which of the second words they had actually seen on screen and which ones they had only imagined. The subjects’ brain activity was observed using fMRI scans while they remembered whether words had been imagined or seen on screen.

When people accurately remembered whether they had actually seen a word or just imagined it brain activity in the key areas increased – many of which are found in brain area 10, which is involved in imagination and reality checking, develops last in the brain and is twice as big in humans as in other animals. In the people who did not remember correctly, activation in brain area 10 was reduced.

Notes for Editors:

1. The paper ‘Discriminating imagined from perceived information engages brain areas implicated in schizophrenia’ was published online in NeuroImage on 21 June.

2. The list of authors is: Dr Jon S Simons, (ICN, Dept of Psychology, UCL, now at the Brain Mapping Unit, University of Cambridge) Professor Chris Frith (Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience, Institute of Neurology, UCL) and Simon W Davies, Sam J Gilbert, Dr Paul Burgess (ICN, Dept of Psychology, UCL)

3. The work was supported by a Wellcome Trust grant.

4. For further information please contact Alex Brew at UCL press office on 020 7679 9726 or a.brew@ucl.ac.uk. Out-of-hours contact 07747 565 056
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Old 12-23-2008, 07:59 AM   #1296
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http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...1217124156.htm

ScienceDaily (Dec. 22, 2008) — All spiritual experiences are based in the brain. That statement is truer than ever before, according to a University of Missouri neuropsychologist. An MU study has data to support a neuropsychological model that proposes spiritual experiences associated with selflessness are related to decreased activity in the right parietal lobe of the brain.
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Old 12-23-2008, 08:00 AM   #1297
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Friday, December 19, 2008
New facts surface in Stephenville UFO incidents
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Old 12-23-2008, 08:00 AM   #1298
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http://paranormal.about.com/od/paran...vents-2008.htm

Top Paranormal Events of 2008

From ghosts and monsters to psychic phenomena and demonic possession, 2008 was another year with no shortage of paranormal activity and unexplained strangeness. Here is a look back at the news stories that tend to make us wonder just what kind of reality we're living in -- the most unusual, intriguing and fascinating events of 2008.
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Old 12-23-2008, 08:01 AM   #1299
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http://news.nationalgeographic.com/n...s-fossils.html

TOP TEN DINOSAUR & FOSSIL FINDS: Most Read of 2008

Bizarre prehistoric creatures—sea monsters, gargantuan rodents, a redheaded Neanderthal—are among the stars of the most read stories on dinosaurs and fossils covered by National Geographic News in 2008.
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Old 12-23-2008, 08:02 AM   #1300
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http://www.latimes.com/news/science/...tory?track=rss


The year in weird science and myth-busting

Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias are not toxic to people or animals, suicides do not increase over the Christmas holidays, and sugar does not make kids hyperactive. Also, Wales winning the rugby grand slam does not influence the death of popes, and douching with Coca-Cola is not an effective contraceptive method.

Those are some of the conclusions of reports in the British Medical Journal's annual Christmas issue, a compilation of the weird and lighthearted papers its editors accumulate over the year. In a related vein, a report in the journal Lancet details the curious case of a woman who fainted every time she ate a sandwich.
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