July 2011

Is Earth's "Trojan Asteroid" Nibiru?

NASA recently announced that Earth has a "Trojan asteroid." This newly discovered celestial body is naturally being fingered as Nibiru by many people. But is it really?
First, some science. Each orbiting planet has up to five possible "Lagrange points." These are points along the planet's orbit in which some other object can also orbit, without getting in anyone's way or falling in or out of orbit. Think of them as balance points, balancing the gravity of the main planet, the sun, and any neighboring planets.

The United States' Haunted Places Part 2


I started writing about haunted places in the United States the other day.  It’s funny how when you start thinking about ghosts, your certainty that they are all around you just grows and grows.  And manifests itself everywhere.  Late at night, the towel hanging on the back of the door can be an otherworldly creature or the footsteps from upstairs aren’t your neighbors, but a foe coming to haunt you.  Just late at night. You know you agree.  Join in the ghostly hysteria and let’s visit some more of the most haunted places in the United States: 

The United States' Haunted Places Part 1

Pike Place Market, Bell Witch, Winchester Mystery House


I’ve gone on Seattle’s Ghost Tours twice recently so, needless to say, I’m getting into paranormal  activity.  I never thought of myself as a believer in ghosts, never really thought about it much at all, really.  But certainly some of the stories we learned on the tour and some of the famous ghost stories across the United States are hard to dispute.  Here is a ghost story from Seattle area and a bit about a few of the most haunted places in the United States.  Do you believe in ghosts?  See if you can prove some of these scary tales false: 

Dead Man Wakes Up

A 50 year-old man who suffers from asthma passed out in South Africa on Sunday. His family, assuming the worst, decided not to phone the police or take him to the hospital. Instead, they phoned the private mortuary directly.
I'm guessing that either there was a conversational SNAFU, or the mortuaries in South Africa aren't so good with the follow-up. They picked up the man's body and transported it back to their cooler without question.
24 hours later, the man woke up in the cold, dark, sealed morgue.

He began screaming, and I'm sure you can't blame him. The morgue attendants fled in terror, but eventually "put on their brave faces" and returned to find, not a screaming ghost (as they had first assumed) but a disoriented and cold middle-aged man.

The victim was taken to the nearest hospital for hypothermia treatment. I can only imagine the conversation with his family members when he returns.
Before "The Serpent and the Rainbow" became a rather bad 1998 Wes Craven movie starring Bill Pullman, it was a fascinating non-fiction book by anthropologist Wade Davis on the possible origins of the zombie myth. Davis included a long and fascinating chapter on the topic of the "waking death" phenomena, and how difficult it can be to pronounce a body actually dead.
This theme was revisited in the also-very-excellent book Stiff by Mary Roach.

What is the Big Deal About Inception?

Everyone and their ex-babysitter has been raving about the blockbuster film Inception, so my husband and I finally decided to check it out during our date last weekend. I don’t know if it’s because we had been watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 only hours prior, or if it was because we were sleepy, or because it was simply a crap movie, but we really were left feeling like it was, well, a crap movie. I really wish we’d have watched something else instead, or perhaps simply slept.

“Oh, it makes you think!” people raved. Really? Do you really think this movie called for that much thinking? Because when I was in college, one of the number one rules when writing fiction was to NEVER write “and then I woke up!” You don’t write “Everything Was Just a Dream” stories or movies. That’s why that horrible movie, Next, was so awful. I don’t care if you wake up from said dream or not; if it’s not happening, it’s really not worth telling about. You can write about it in your journal or you can call up a psychic to have it analyzed; just don’t bore us to pieces by making a movie about it.

And that’s exactly how my husband and I felt—bored out of our minds. There was too much snow, too many slow-mo scenes, too many parts that dragged on and on and on… And we’re not even DiCaprio haters! (I’ve found that most people who don’t like the movie claim it’s because they don’t like Leo.)

The acting was, ah, so-so. I liked Cillian Murphy, oddly enough, the most; the rest of the cast seemed very one-dimensional, which is no surprise, since it was all a damn dream, and nobody mattered. In fact, if anyone complains about people being one-dimensional, the creators could easily just say, “Hey, they’re supposed to be; it’s all a dream!”

Canada's Lethal "Highway of Tears"

Highway 16 stretches more than 800 miles across Canada, from Prince Rupert on the coast east through the Rockies to the border with Alberta. Since the 1970s, as many as four dozen people (mostly young women) have gone missing along this stretch of isolated wilderness highway. Some of them were later found dead, but most have simply vanished.
Many Canadians are calling this another series of botched RCMP investigations. Most damning, the RCMP didn't get involved until recently, when a white woman went missing. However, according to tribal leaders, 43 aboriginal women had already gone missing by that point. Did media and police interest only awaken when a white woman's life was lost? It certainly seems that way.

The Return of the Dust Bowl?

How the immense dust storm that hit Phoenix, AZ last week could become the new norm.


Last week a dust storm a 100 miles wide and nearly a mile high hit Phoenix, Arizona; the result of thunderstorm cooled air plummeting into the ground. Wired Science explained it like mist pouring out of an open freezer, "only exponentially more powerful." The extreme drought in the area allowed these powerful winds to kick up cubic tons of dust that rolled over the Phoenix area; the biggest, meteorologists say, in at least 30 years. Many have compared it to the bizarre dust storms in Sydney,  Australia and China's Gobi Desert.  Others call it a return to the devastating Dust Bowl storms that decimated agriculture land and livelihoods.

New Gonorrhea Super-Strain Immune to Treatment

A super-STD capable of resisting all available antibiotics found in Sweden and Japan.


Swedish and Japanese researchers have isolated a strain of Gonorrhea that is resistant to all antibiotics, identifying it from the throat swab of a sex-worker in Japan. The strain of bacteria, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, is particularly troubling because it is able to pass its resistance on to other strains of Gonorrhea within the same host. Researchers say that this makes other strains up to 500 times more resistant to antibiotics simply by the different strains of bacteria coming into contact. Dr. Magnus Unemo of the Swedish Reference Laboratory for Pathogenic Neisseria calls it a, "potentially huge public health risk."

Japanese Debris Headed for U.S.

After the earthquake in Japan last month, the subsequent tsunami wiped huge sections of Japan's coastline clean. As the tsunami receded, it sucked all of the debris off the land and into the sea. Where it began slowly drifting into the Pacific Ocean's circulation, heading first for Hawaii and eventually to make landfall on the continental U.S.
"Can you imagine San Francisco put through a shredder?" oceanographer Curtis Ebbsmeyer asks.

Comet Elenin: End of Days?

Comets, those occasional wanderers through our solar system, often get people all hot and panicked. Need we remember the arrival of the comet Hale-Bopp, which kicked off the mass suicide at the Heaven's Gate cult?
Heaven's Gate cultists killed themselves because they believed that Nibiru - which is a UFO or a mobile planet or both - was trailing along behind the comet Hale-Bopp, hiding in its brilliant tail. This October, a comet named Elenin will enter our solar system. So I suppose it is not surprising that some people believe that Elenin actually is Nibiru, and that, to coin a phrase, the end of the world is nigh.

Heaven's Gate committed mass suicide in Nikes with 5-dollar bills

Yesterday, I went on a ghost tour of Seattle’s Pike Place market.  I got a perspective of the market I’ve never had before.  For example, our tour guide told us about how in the mid-eighties, the city let people purchase tiles for the market’s floor as a fundraiser to renovate the building.  Nothing ghostly about this--I’d seen these tiles plenty of times, but I’d never noticed one that said “Heaven’s Gate 6-8-85.”  I’d never heard of Heaven’s Gate before, but, according to our tour guides, it turns out that they were a pseudo-Christian cult that thought they could hitch a ride to space on the Hale-Bopp comet. They were recruiting members in Seattle in the ‘80s.

Heaven’s Gate was the third of three cult organizations started by Marshall Herff Applewhite. In 1975, Applewhite and his co-founder Bonnie Lu Trundle Nettles, Applewhite’s nurse following his heart attack, created the group Human Individual Metamorphosis and travelled to Colorado to await the arrival of a UFO. Applewhite and Nettles called themselves “The Two.” Undeterred after the space ship’s absence and Nettles’ death, Applewhite founded a group called Total Overcomers Anonymous in 1993.   

Heaven’s Gate believed that a group of UFO’s from the Kingdom of Heaven came to earth about 2000 years ago.  The leader of the group, “Do,” was given instructions from his female companion “Ti” to leave his extraterrestrial body behind and move into the human body of Jesus Christ.  If this sounds a bit like Star Wars meets the Bible, that’s because it was.  

The Old Man of the Lake

Crater Lake is a pretty amazing place. It is a lake which exists inside a collapsed volcanic caldera. It is not fed by streams, but strictly from rainfall and snow melt. As such, its water is unbelievably - even impossibly - clear. So clear that mosses are able to grow and photosynthesize even under 350 feet of water.
The sides of the lake's caldera are suicidally steep, and lead straight down into the water in many places. This may be partly responsible for the lake's most famous resident, the Old Man of the Lake.



I think someone is trying to influence and damage you through me. Please be careful to protect yourself against negative influences and mental imagery. Any mental projections coming your way, should be regarded with a high level of skepticism (they are not coming from me). If I die suddenly, it is due to assassination not suicide. I've been under psychic attack for the last month.

p.s. James, this goes for you too.

Siberia Sets Up Yeti Institute

So what if most people don’t believe in a yeti monster? That is no excuse to not set up a research institute on an animal that could be fake. Siberian scientists at Kemerovo University are planning on doing just that. Their goal in setting up a so-called Yeti Institute is to prove that the yeti does, in fact, exist—something that cryptozoologists have been trying to accomplish for decades, if not longer.

Is it a waste of money? I would say yes, unless it ends up being more of a tourist attraction for the area than anything else. As much fun as cryptozoology is, resources are becoming scarcer everywhere these days—from fuel to food to even funds—and I don’t think this is really the best way to spend them, whether the college has them or not.

All of that said, it sounds like the biggest endeavor to really discover who or what bigfoot is, if it exists in the first place, and if something is discovered, it would definitely be one of the most amazing things we’ve seen in a few hundred years. So good luck, Kemerovo researchers; I hope your efforts will not be wasted in vain.