Phenomenal view of Atlas V launch

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News driblet: A United Launch Alliance Atlas V blasted into space Wednesday morning carrying a Navy communications satellite and creating a spectacular light show that had some people wrongly worried that the rocket had blown up. Source: Atlas V liftoff creates cloud of confusion across Florida – Orlando Sentinel The launch was very bright across Florida,…

Muller talks in jail, while FBI listens – Vaccine isn’t a good excuse

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A strange and bogus excuse of vaccines side-effect will not wash in this criminal case. But several media outlets have choses the “vaccine” bit as their headline. Such use will promote misunderstanding regardless if people see that there is no basis for it. The man charged in a California kidnapping that police initially dismissed as a…

Curiosity spots another curiosity on Mars

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The parade of weird things on Mars continues. Today, a floating spoon. A floating spoon? Discovery has a good writeup on it. This latest Mars oddity was spotted by members of the UnmannedSpaceflight.com forum in an image captured by Curiosity’s Mastcam on sol 1089 of the mission (Aug. 30). Once you spot it,it becomes obvious;…

Psychic fraud in Russia busted

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News snippet: Moscow police say they have busted a group of dubious folk healers and psychics who made at least €680 000 through various frauds, including selling a farmer a “dagger of power” to help his crop. Source: Moscow cops bust €680 000 ‘psychic’ scammers

Ordovician extinctions may have been caused by metals poisoning in oceans

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Science news driblet: Toxic metals such as iron, lead and arsenic may have helped cause mass extinctions in the world’s oceans millions of years ago, according to recent research from the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Center for Scientific Research, France; and Ghent University, Belgium. These findings largely came from studying “teratological” or malformed fossil…

Lovely lilac surf in Oregon

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It’s a lovely purple color but that’s not normal. Purple tinted waves have been spotted on the Oregon coast for the last month. It’s not unusual for the purple sails jellies (Velella velella) to be in bloom but this was something different. Testing showed it was salps (sea squirts or tunicates). Oregon Coast Mystery of…

Wayne Dyer, self-help guru and advocate of positive thinking, dies at 75

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Dr. Wayne Dyer, a self-help guru whose wrote the best-seller “Your Erroneous Zones” as a guide to better living, has died at 75. Dyer was promoted by Oprah Winfrey and several other celebrities. While self-help advice is typically harmless and may be advantageous to some people, the disturbing role of Dyer was to suggest that…

Dangerous times in India as another rationalist is killed

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Scholar and academic, Malleshappa Madivalappa Kalburgi, has been assassinated in what appears to be retaliation against his outspoken views of Hinduism and his denouncing of superstition. He was 77. His murder is reminiscent of that of Narendra Dabholkar in August of 2013. Renowned Indian scholar and rationalist, M M Kalburgi, has been killed after being shot by unidentified…

Dr. Oliver Sacks Dies at 82

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News brief: Oliver Sacks, the neurologist and acclaimed author who explored some of the brain’s strangest pathways in best-selling case histories like “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat,” using his patients’ disorders as starting points for eloquent meditations on consciousness and the human condition, died Sunday at his home in New York…

Convicted “psychics” admit it was all a scam

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Several psychics that are in jail admit that they were scamming people. In other news, water is wet. But, there are several more interesting threads to this story that I encourage everyone to read in its entirety. Source: The Secret to the Psychic Trade? It’s in the Parole Board Transcripts – The New York Times Celia…

Don’t eat toad

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Folk remedies can go terribly wrong. A 70-year-old man in Shanghai was sent to hospital after eating three boiled toads believing it to be a folk remedy for his skin disease, Jiefang Daily said yesterday. The man, surnamed Gao, had a skin disease for many years. He was told eating toads could help clear toxins…

Recovery water healing claim sounds like snake oil

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NFL player makes claim regarding the healing properties of fancy, “sciencey” nano-bubble water. Russell Wilson Says Recovery Water Healed His Head Injury from NFC Title Game  At one point in the story, Rodrick mentions a moment where Wilson claimed Reliant Recovery Water—a sports recovery drink in which he is a personal investor—helped him recover from…

A solution to the information paradox? We need the information first.

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News blip: Physicist Stephen Hawking made a splash this week when he announced that he had solved a vexing conundrum that had puzzled generations of leading physicists — including the 73-year-old scientific superstar himself — for the better part of a half-century. During an eight-minute speech at a scientific meeting in Sweden, Hawking said that…

“She was screaming for help” inside the coffin (UPDATE: Likely was not alive)

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Here is an extremely strange story out of Honduras. Neysi Perez, 16, had been buried, but her family heard her screaming, alive in the coffin. She had been buried the previous day.When they opened the coffin, Perez was dead. But according to relatives, she was still warm and had bruises on her fingertips. The glass viewing pane…

Popular “medium” Colin Fry passes away

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TV medium Colin Fry dies aged 53 Fry appeared on several British TV shows, notably Most Haunted, one of the most influential shows in the “reality paranormal” genre. Fry died of lung cancer. He was one of the rare physical mediums in the 1990s. That is, the “Spirit operators” use their psychic energy to produce manifestations such as noises, objects…

Photos of mystery person in black cloak sparks spooky speculation (UPDATE: Solved)

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See UPDATE below. An admittedly creepy photo of a hooded mysterious figure has sparked some speculation on the Internet. A picture of a cloaked person posted online sparked a Facebook frenzy Monday. And the speculation followed. Was she a witch performing a ritual, or was he a guy playing a prank? Source: Photo of cloaked…

Norwegian psychic claims to know what happened to Madeleine McCann

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Recall little Madeleine McCann? Back in 2007, she disappeared while on vacation with her parents in Portugal. 8 years later, the case is still unsolved. Norwegian clairvoyant and psychic Michael Winger, who we’ve talked about before, claims to know what happened to her. According to Winger, Madeleine was abducted by an unknown man who was trying…

Horrific “exorcisms” in Pakistan and Argentina in the news

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It’s awful to have to report more exorcism stories. Today we have limited information (as usual) of reports on two deaths in Pakistan and a horrific assault that left a young woman in critical condition and severely handicapped for life in Argentina. Both involved religious-backed actions. Police Hunt ‘Exorcist’ Whose Ritual Killed Two Women The killings…

Alaskan whales mass mortality event

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News snippet: Mystery Surrounds ‘Unusual’ Death of 30 Large Whales in Alaska Thirty large whales have died in the western Gulf of Alaska since May, now deemed an “unusual mortality event” by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The historical average for this time-frame is eight deaths, said Julie Speegle, a spokeswoman for NOAA…

Let’s nit-pick this ‘mutant’ lice story

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Lice have mutated into some kind of super-bug that’s immune to regular insecticide treatments? Not quite. At least 25 U.S. states harbor lice with genetic mutations associated with resistance to over-the-counter insecticide treatments, according to an ongoing study by Kyong Yoon, PhD, of Southern Illinois University. Yoon and colleagues studied multiple populations of lice collected…

Portrait of a telepathic Yeti

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Good for a laugh. A Russian artist and sculptor has claimed that he met the mysterious and elusive Yeti in eastern Russia, and that the mythological creature even posed for a sketch. Andrey Lyubchenko, from Tashtagol, says that he had a close encounter with the Abominable Snowman when he was in the Kemerovo region… Source:…