Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Mammoth meat was never served at 1950s New York dinner, says researcher


Woolly mammoth was never served at a lavish 1950s New York dinner where rare and extinct species were trumpeted as being on the menu, a researcher has said after putting leftover meat through DNA analysis.

The Explorers Club soiree became folklore after it was said to have included 250,000-year-old extinct mammoth. Meat from a giant ground sloth was also promised.

But a DNA analysis from a fist-sized piece of meat kept as a souvenir showed something more mundane: sea turtle.

“I’m sure people wanted to believe it. They had no idea that many years later a PhD student would come along and figure this out with DNA sequencing techniques,” said Jessica Glass, a Yale graduate student and co-lead author of a study published in the journal PLOS ONE.

Rainforest regrowth boosts carbon capture, study shows

Via by Mark Kinver

Newly grown rainforests can absorb 11 times as much carbon from the atmosphere as old-growth forests, a study has shown.

The researchers have produced a map showing regions in Latin America where regrowing rainforests would deliver the greatest benefits.

However, they added that old-growth forests still needed to be protected as they locked away vast amount of carbon.

Details of the study have been published in the journal Nature.

The international team of scientists compiled data from almost 1,500 plots at 45 sites across the Neotropics, which covers southern and central America, allowing them to produce map highlighting the carbon sequestration potential of areas across the Neotropics.

The Woman Who Stayed Awake for 30 Years…Or Did She?

Via by Martin J. Clemens

Have you ever had insomnia? Sure, most people have at some point in their lives. It’s one of those things that gets generalised and used to mean “I didn’t sleep so well last night.” And while that’s technically an example of insomnia, those of us who truly suffer from extended bouts of sleeplessness have little patience for that diminishing attitude.

I suffer from chronic insomnia. I have to take a sedative to get any sleep at all, and that usually works fairly well, though there are times when I curse my defective brain. Actually, I do that often, but usually for different reasons.

My current record for being awake – and I mean totally, completely, unmistakably awake – is just over 90 hours. It wasn’t a fun experience, I assure you. Luckily, my daily schedule isn’t so demanding that I couldn’t cope with the blurred vision, constant headache, and lack of focus, not to mention a deeply unpleasant disposition. I really can’t imagine what might have happened had I not finally found relief in medication. Though imagination isn’t really necessary to find out.

Sometimes (incorrectly) called total insomnia, there is an extremely rare disease that causes those who suffer through it to stop sleeping…forever. That’s a little misleading though, since for those poor people, forever is only about 18 months. That’s because Fatal Familial Insomnia (FFI) is terminal and there’s no known cure or remedy.

Before we get to an explanation of what this is, just take a moment to think about that. No sleep, ever again. Conscious, aware, awake; twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Monotonous is a word that comes to mind, though it’s wholly inadequate to describe such an experience. Tortuous might work better.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Man sells bottles of air to smog-hit China

Via by Harriet Sinclair

A businessman is raking in thousands of pounds selling jars of ‘fresh air’ to people in China for £80 each.

Leo De Watts, 27, sells air collected in the British countryside and ships it over to polluted cities Shanghai and Beijing, where the wealthy elite pay a hefty sum for a few seconds of inhalation.

The Aethaer products include air from Somerset, Wales and Dorset, with each area said to create air with different qualities.

Watts’ website boasts: “Aethaer is filtered organically by nature as it flows between the leaves of woodland trees, absorbs pristine water as it passes over babbling brooks and forest streams, and is lovingly caressed as it rolls over and between mineral rich rock formations, after which it is blown up over vistas of untouched beauty to where the Aethaer is collected and bottled.”

New building in Japan to be over a mile high

Via by Matt Payton

Plans for a mile high skyscraper in Tokyo could be twice as tall as the current tallest building in the world, Dubai's Burj Khalifa.

This super-tall building is set to reach a height of 5,577ft and host up to 55,000 people in Tokyo bay, an inlet southeast of the Japanese capital.

If the plans are accepted - the 'Sky Mile Tower' would be surrounded by a series of man-made hexagonal islands, Architectural Digest reports.

These islands are designed to protect Tokyo from flooding and act as foundation for homes for around half a million people.

The skyscraper is set to be completed by 2045.

Apollo astronaut Ed Mitchell dies aged 85


The Apollo 14 astronaut became the sixth man ever to set foot on the surface of the moon back in 1971. One of only twelve men ever to walk on the moon, Mitchell was a keen aviator and had logged over 5,000 hours of flight time (including 2,000 in jets) before being selected to be an astronaut in 1966.

His experiences as a naval officer and test pilot, as well as his qualifications as an Aeronautical Engineer, made him the perfect man to pilot the Lunar Module.

He was joined on the Apollo 14 mission by Command Module Pilot Stuart Roosa and Commander Alan Shepard, the latter of whom would accompany him on to the lunar surface.

The First Robotic Farm Could Mean the End of Farmers

Via by Nancy Loyan Schuemann

There are automotive factories and plants for most goods, but a plant factory? Spread, a Japanese lettuce production company is expanding to create the Vegetable Factory™, the world’s first fully automated robotic farm. The new Vegetable Factory™ will be able to produce 30,000 heads of lettuce per day. That’s a lot of green!

Since 2007, Spread has had a farm located in Kameoka City, Kyoto Prefecture, using robots instead of humans (migrant workers) to harvest crops. Robots are more productive, being able to harvest 20,000 heads of lettuce every day. Labor costs are cut over 50% since only a human staff of sixty is needed.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Did Count Dracula originally come from Devon?


A new book alleges that the world famous vampire might not have come from Transylvania after all. It has long been believed that the blood-sucking antagonist of Bram Stoker's famous 1897 novel 'Dracula' was inspired by Vlad the Impaler - the 15th century Prince of Wallachia - but now author Andy Struthers has thrown a spanner in the works by suggesting that the infamous vampire was actually based, not on Vlad, but on the works of priest and novelist Sabine Baring-Gould.

According to Struthers, Broker came up with the character of Dracula after reading the book ''Lycanthropy: the study of Werewolves" as well as the vampire story "Margery of Quether".

He also maintains that Broker's reference to Johnathan Harker leaving from Exeter's Cathedral Close was a deliberate reference to Sabine Baring-Gould's work.

The Strange Case of Orangutans Murdering One of Their Own

Via by Paul Seaburn

A female angry at another female about a male gets the male to help her overpower her rival and murder her in cold blood. Happens every day … unless the killers and the victim are orangutans. Researchers in Borneo report witnessing the first-ever killing of this kind by these great apes and they’re trying to determine the cause.

According to a report in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, the incident occurred in Indonesia’s Mawas Reserve where researchers had been following Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus wurmbill) since 2003. During that time, they had seen only six cases of female-female attacks and none had caused injuries – confirming the non-violent and non-killing nature of female orangutans.

10 Horrifying Prom Murders

Via by Robert Grimminck

Proms are often touted as magical nights that signify the end of high school and the start of adulthood. Of course, if you’ve ever seen horror movies like Carrie, Prom Night, or The Loved Ones, you know that proms can be downright nightmarish.

Sadly, these nightmares aren’t just relegated to the movie screen. Sometimes, they happen in real life.
10. Eddie M. Herrera
On May 10, 2014, 17-year-old Jacqueline Gomez and her date, 18-year-old Eddie Herrera, attended their prom at a hotel in Houston, Texas. After the prom, the couple went to a hotel room where they drank whiskey and took hydrocodone pills before engaging in what Herrera said was consensual rough sex.

While having sex, Herrera admitted that he strangled Gomez, whom he had been dating for three weeks. But he said that she was alive when he went to sleep. The next morning, he woke up and found Gomez dead.

He called his mother, who had gotten them the hotel room, the alcohol, and the pills. She arrived and dressed Gomez. Then she called the front desk, asking if there was a hospital doctor. Since there wasn’t, the hotel staff called 911. Personnel from the fire department arrived on-site and pronounced the girl dead.

After an extensive investigation, Herrera was arrested on January 15, 2015, and charged with aggravated assault. Herrera’s mother, Melissa Ann Martinez, was arrested one month later and charged with buying Herrera and Gomez alcohol. As of early 2016, both are awaiting trial.
9. Adam Sapikowski

On the weekend of his prom in April 2005, 16-year-old Adam Sapikowski of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, got into an argument with his parents, James and Alison Sapikowski, over Adam’s grades and his girlfriend. Outraged, Adam grabbed a single-shot shotgun (which had to be reloaded each time it was fired) and shot his father three times and his mother twice.

After killing his parents, Adam dragged their bodies behind a barricaded door in the family’s house and cleaned up the mess. Then he went to the prom and even had friends back to his house for an after-party.

His friends didn’t know about the murders or the dead bodies that were still in the house. When people asked about the awful smell that lingered in the house, Adam said that some food in the refrigerator had spoiled.

Over the next two weeks, Adam alternated between staying at a hotel room and at his house. By this point, people were wondering what had happened to James and Alison.

When the police went to the house, they found the couple’s bodies wrapped in blankets behind the barricaded door. Adam was arrested and made a plea deal with prosecutors. His prison sentence was up to 24.5 years for his father’s murder. When Adam completes that prison term, he will serve up to 25 years for killing his mother.

The Bizarre Mystery of Cursed Phone Numbers

Via by Brent Swancer

It seems that as we progress and evolve, so do our strange phenomena and the dark, little understood powers that exist around us, even if only in our minds. The persistent notion of cursed places and items has also followed this trend, being shaped by our ever expanding push into new frontiers of development. Rather than disappearing into the realm of myth and fantasy, the ancient belief in curses seems to have followed us into the modern era, merely changing its form instead of fading away and being erased by science. Whereas in ancient times there were cursed places or objects, in modern times we have our technology, which if looked at in times past may have appeared to be magic itself, and it is this very technology that at times has become infused with tales of sinister forces. Perhaps this is just our inherit fear of the unknown undergoing a metamorphosis to adapt to the world around us and extend to our modern devices, or maybe it is truly mysterious powers that are shaping themselves to us. Whatever the case may be, one of the oddest alleged types of curses is that which seem to revolve around phones and phone numbers. It is a bizarre phenomena which is either evidence that our innate fears of the unknown extend to our modern trappings, or that there are forces out there that are weirder than we can imagine.

We as a civilization have come far in just the past few decades, technologically speaking, and this can be seen very dramatically in our media devices. There was a time when the idea of phones itself was an impossible notion, yet they were invented and moved on to handheld versions. Even when the first handheld mobile cell phone was demonstrated by Motorola in 1973, weighing in at a blocky, unwieldy 4.4 lbs. (2 kg), it is unlikely anyone could have imagined that we would be calling, e-mailing, and playing video games on thin, sleek devices that weigh next to nothing and barely take up any space at all. We have subsequently become so dependent on these devices that it is sometimes hard for many to imagine how we could get through life without them. It is this dependence that perhaps contributes to our fears that this technology can somehow fail us at important times or even turn against us. Perhaps it is this ever changing, rapid technological progress and the subsequent fear it evokes that has led to some of the stranger tales of technology running amok, and indeed transformed the landscape of our myths and legends. In one such case we have the story of a cursed cell phone number which has been blamed on several rather brutal deaths, and no, that is not the plot of a bad horror movie but rather an allegedly real thing. An urban legend that is the product of our times, our fears, and our dependence on technology, or something else? Let’s take a look.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Mysterious People Who Appeared from Nowhere

Via by Brent Swancer

History is rife with strange tales of people who have mysteriously vanished from the face of the earth without a trace, but one area that seems to get decidedly less coverage is the various accounts of those who did just the opposite, appearing out of nowhere cloaked in mystery and emanating questions and puzzles around them that have never been satisfactorily answered. Here we have strangers who have stepped out of thin air from another place, perhaps even another time or plane of existence, and have gone on to leave impenetrable mysteries in their wake to this day. Stepping out of blue and into our imagination, these baffling appearances represent a phenomena every bit as perplexing as strange disappearances. Let us journey into the bizarre world of mysterious individuals who seemingly appeared from nowhere.

One of the earliest, most well-known, and indeed bizarre cases of people appearing out of nowhere occurred in the mid-12th century, when two children mysteriously appeared in the sleepy village of Woolpit, in the English county of Suffolk, and went on to become an enduring mystery known as the Green Children of Woolpit. Allegedly one day, two young children, a boy and a girl, suddenly and inexplicably emerged from a deep pit used for trapping the wolves that terrorized the region in those days. If this wasn’t already odd enough, it immediately became apparent that these were no ordinary children, as they both reportedly had skin that was tinted green, and were dressed in strange, unfamiliar clothing made from an unusual fabric that no one recognized. The children seemed to be more or less healthy but somewhat dazed and confused, and when villagers tried to speak to them they spoke a strange, unintelligible language that no one had ever heard before. Not knowing what to do with these enigmatic children, the locals presented them to a wealthy landowner by the name of Sir Richard de Calne, who took them into his care. Things would only get stranger from there.