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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 70599 times)
WingsofCrystal
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« Reply #5370 on: Oct 30th, 2011, 12:18pm »

New Kerala (India)

Posh spots 'UFO' hovering over Beverly Hills family home

London, Oct 30 2011

Victoria Beckham has joined the league of stars who have reported seeing UFO's.

Following in the steps of her pals, Robbie Williams and Billy Ray Cyrus, the 37-year-old wife of English footballer David Beckham was shocked to see what she thought was a UFO hovering over their Beverly Hills Home, the Daily Mail reported.

At first glance, what Posh actually saw appears to a luminous full moon, but the conclusion is ruled out, as it is new moon at the moment, meaning the moon is not visible as the dark side is closest to the earth.

Los Angeles is strongly associated with UFO sightings, but the Beckhams' Beverly Hills home isn't in an area where any have been reported in the past and the most obvious explanation is a helicopter, as they are a regular sighting in the area.

--ANI

http://www.newkerala.com/news/2011/worldnews-97014.html

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« Reply #5371 on: Oct 30th, 2011, 12:22pm »

Scientific American

Are birds’ tweets grammatical?
By Danielle Perszyk
October 28, 2011


Are humans the only species with enough smarts to craft a language? Most of us believe that we are. Although many animals have their own form of communication, none has the depth or versatility heard in human speech. We are able to express almost anything on our mind by uttering a few sounds in a particular order. Human language has a flexibility and complexity that seems to be universally shared across cultures and, in turn, contributes to the variation and richness we find among human cultures.

But are the rules of grammar unique to human language? Perhaps not, according to a recent study, which showed that songbirds may also communicate using a sophisticated grammar—a feature absent in even our closest relatives, the nonhuman primates.

Kentaro Abe and Dai Watanabe of Kyoto University performed a series of experiments (http://www.nature.com/neuro/journal/v14/n8/full/nn.2869.html)
to determine whether Bengalese finches expect the notes of their tunes to follow a certain order. To test this possibility, Abe and Watanabe took advantage of a behavioral response called habituation, where animals zone-out when exposed to the same stimulus over and over again.

In each experiment, the birds were presented with the same songs until they became familiarized with the tune. The researchers then created novel songs by shuffling the notes around. But not every new song caught the birds’ attention; rather, the finches increased response calls only to songs with notes arranged in a particular order, suggesting that the birds used common rules when forming the syntax of that song. When the researchers created novel songs with even more complicated artificial grammar—for example, songs that mimicked a specific feature found in human (Japanese) language—the birds still only responded to songs that followed the rules.

Because the birds responded strongly to tunes ordered with certain structure, even when this structure was artificially constructed, the research team determined that the finches were able to spontaneously learn new grammar. This ability, though, seemed to be dependent upon their social context.

Birds isolated as babies from other birds were still able to learn artificial rules of grammar, but they failed to respond to songs with modified syntax—that is, normal Bengalese finch songs with the notes shuffled. However, after being reintroduced to other birds, it took them only two weeks to learn to respond to the shuffled songs, indicating that the birds needed to hear other birds’ songs to absorb the precise rules of Bengalese finch grammar.

While birdsong has long been known to share similarities with human language, the ability to convey different bits of information by simply rearranging word order was thought to be exclusively human.

This study revealed that Bengalese finches can learn grammar and, furthermore, that their grammatical abilities involve a specific part of the brain region distinct from other brain regions involved in singing. This is similar to what neuroscientists understand about human language processing.

If the tweets of birds can be roughly likened to strings of human words, and if birdbrains process songs in a way similar to how human brains process language, future research may tackle whether these animals possess other cognitive abilities once thought to be singularly characteristic of human intelligence. The next time you hear a bird chirping outside your window, you might think twice about what’s going on inside his little birdbrain.

http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2011/10/28/are-birds-tweets-grammatical/

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« Reply #5372 on: Oct 30th, 2011, 1:23pm »

Surprise!

http://video.foxnews.com/v/1247763639001/soldier-serves-up-special-surprise
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« Reply #5373 on: Oct 30th, 2011, 1:28pm »

Crystal, this one's gettin' up in your part of the world......

Mufon UFO Stalker

Case Number:
32948
Log Number: US-10302011-0001
Submitted Date: 2011-10-30 01:15 GMT
Event Date: 2011-10-29 21:00 GMT
Status: Assigned
City: Yachats
Region: Oregon
Country: US
Longitude: -124.1048418
Latitude: 44.3112312
Shape: Circle, Fireball, Sphere
Distance: Unknown

Description: On Saturday October 29th around 9:00 P.M. I and 3 other co-workers were leaving the restaurant when one of us spotted something SW in the sky over a one story building, either above or in the fog cover. It was brighter than a halogen street light across the two lane road, glowing a bright orange-yellow color.

We watched it for minute or two rise and fall and continue on a northern flight path. then as quickly as it appeared it faded out. After it disappeared, we stood around trying to figure out what we just saw.

2 of the people went back in the restaurant to finish locking up and I and my friend made our way across the street to my car, when it appeared again in the same spot in the sky. It appeared to change direction and head right for us so we made our way across half the street and over to the restaurant and alerted the other to who had seen it previously.

When we got next to the restaurant, it appeared to change direction and head on a northern flight path when it faded out again.

The 4 of us stood there awe struck when on of the witnesses got on their cell phone and called their mother who was at home 8 miles away and said they had seen something matching the description over a town 14 miles north.

While the person was on the phone it appears in the same place in the sky again changed direction as it did the 2 times prior and blinked out.

When it flew by at it's closest I saw what looked like 3 round white-yellow lights on the bottom with a ring of oscillating lights above. I HAVE NEVER IN 25 YEARS OF LIVING IN THIS AREA, SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THIS.

Media:

http://www.mufoncms.com/files/32948_submitter_file1__308412_2580757686691_1486899335_2909957_394299847_n.jpg


http://www.ufostalker.com/?mufon=true
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5374 on: Oct 30th, 2011, 7:05pm »

on Oct 30th, 2011, 1:28pm, Swamprat wrote:
Crystal, this one's gettin' up in your part of the world......

Mufon UFO Stalker

Case Number:
32948
Log Number: US-10302011-0001
Submitted Date: 2011-10-30 01:15 GMT
Event Date: 2011-10-29 21:00 GMT
Status: Assigned
City: Yachats
Region: Oregon
Country: US
Longitude: -124.1048418
Latitude: 44.3112312
Shape: Circle, Fireball, Sphere
Distance: Unknown

Description: On Saturday October 29th around 9:00 P.M. I and 3 other co-workers were leaving the restaurant when one of us spotted something SW in the sky over a one story building, either above or in the fog cover. It was brighter than a halogen street light across the two lane road, glowing a bright orange-yellow color.

We watched it for minute or two rise and fall and continue on a northern flight path. then as quickly as it appeared it faded out. After it disappeared, we stood around trying to figure out what we just saw.

2 of the people went back in the restaurant to finish locking up and I and my friend made our way across the street to my car, when it appeared again in the same spot in the sky. It appeared to change direction and head right for us so we made our way across half the street and over to the restaurant and alerted the other to who had seen it previously.

When we got next to the restaurant, it appeared to change direction and head on a northern flight path when it faded out again.

The 4 of us stood there awe struck when on of the witnesses got on their cell phone and called their mother who was at home 8 miles away and said they had seen something matching the description over a town 14 miles north.

While the person was on the phone it appears in the same place in the sky again changed direction as it did the 2 times prior and blinked out.

When it flew by at it's closest I saw what looked like 3 round white-yellow lights on the bottom with a ring of oscillating lights above. I HAVE NEVER IN 25 YEARS OF LIVING IN THIS AREA, SEEN ANYTHING LIKE THIS.

Media:

http://www.mufoncms.com/files/32948_submitter_file1__308412_2580757686691_1486899335_2909957_394299847_n.jpg


http://www.ufostalker.com/?mufon=true


Good find Swamprat, thank you.

This light was active!

Crystal
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« Reply #5375 on: Oct 30th, 2011, 7:08pm »

.


Happy Halloween!



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« Reply #5376 on: Oct 31st, 2011, 08:28am »

Skeptic's own study finds climate change real, but says scientists should be more critical

Oct 31, 4:09 AM EDT
By SETH BORENSTEIN
AP Science Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A prominent physicist and skeptic of global warming spent two years trying to find out if mainstream climate scientists were wrong. In the end, he determined they were right: Temperatures really are rising rapidly.

The study of the world's surface temperatures by Richard Muller was partially bankrolled by a foundation connected to global warming deniers. He pursued long-held skeptic theories in analyzing the data. He was spurred to action because of "Climategate," a British scandal involving hacked emails of scientists.

Yet he found that the land is 1.6 degrees warmer than in the 1950s. Those numbers from Muller, who works at the University of California, Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, match those by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA.

He said he went even further back, studying readings from Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson. His ultimate finding of a warming world, to be presented at a conference Monday, is no different from what mainstream climate scientists have been saying for decades.

What's different, and why everyone from opinion columnists to "The Daily Show" is paying attention is who is behind the study.

One-quarter of the $600,000 to do the research came from the Charles Koch Foundation, whose founder is a major funder of skeptic groups and the tea party. The Koch brothers, Charles and David, run a large privately held company involved in oil and other industries, producing sizable greenhouse gas emissions.

Muller's research team carefully examined two chief criticisms by skeptics. One is that weather stations are unreliable; the other is that cities, which create heat islands, were skewing the temperature analysis.

"The skeptics raised valid points and everybody should have been a skeptic two years ago," Muller said in a telephone interview. "And now we have confidence that the temperature rise that had previously been reported had been done without bias."

Muller said that he came into the study "with a proper skepticism," something scientists "should always have. I was somewhat bothered by the fact that there was not enough skepticism" before.

There is no reason now to be a skeptic about steadily increasing temperatures, Muller wrote recently in The Wall Street Journal's editorial pages, a place friendly to skeptics.

Muller did not address in his research the cause of global warming. The overwhelming majority of climate scientists say it's man-made from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and oil. Nor did his study look at ocean warming, future warming and how much of a threat to mankind climate change might be.

Still, Muller said it makes sense to reduce the carbon dioxide created by fossil fuels.

"Greenhouse gases could have a disastrous impact on the world," he said. Still, he contends that threat is not as proven as the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says it is.

On Monday, Muller was taking his results - four separate papers that are not yet published or peer-reviewed, but will be, he says - to a conference in Santa Fe, N.M., expected to include many prominent skeptics as well as mainstream scientists.

"Of course he'll be welcome," said Petr Chylek of Los Alamos National Lab, a noted skeptic and the conference organizer. "The purpose of our conference is to bring people with different views on climate together, so they can talk and clarify things."

Shawn Lawrence Otto, author of the book "Fool Me Twice" that criticizes science skeptics, said Muller should expect to be harshly treated by global warming deniers. "Now he's considered a traitor. For the skeptic community, this isn't about data or fact. It's about team sports. He's been traded to the Indians. He's playing for the wrong team now."

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_SCI_CLIMATE_SKEPTIC?SITE=MABED&ECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT
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« Reply #5377 on: Oct 31st, 2011, 08:41am »

Good morning Swamprat. Happy Halloween!

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« Reply #5378 on: Oct 31st, 2011, 08:44am »

LA Times

World population hits 7 billion on Oct. 31, or thereabouts

Though it's impossible to say exactly when it will happen, demographers have chosen the date to mark the milestone. Humanity remains on a steep growth curve.

By Kenneth R. Weiss, Los Angeles Times
October 31, 2011

It took only a dozen years for humanity to add another billion people to the planet, reaching the milestone of 7 billion Monday — give or take a few months.

Demographers at the United Nations Population Division set Oct. 31, 2011, as the "symbolic" date for hitting 7 billion, while acknowledging that it's impossible to know for sure the specific time or day. Using slightly different calculations, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates the 7-billion threshold will not be reached until March.

Under any methodology, demographers agree that humanity remains on a steep growth curve, which is likely to keep climbing through the rest of this century. The U.N.'s best estimate is that population will march past 9.3 billion by 2050 and exceed 10.1 billion by the end of the century. It could be far more, if birthrates do not continue to drop as they have in the last half-century.

Nearly all the projected growth this century is expected to occur in developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, while the combined populations in Europe, North America and other wealthy industrialized nations will remain relatively flat. Some countries, such as Germany, Russia and Japan, are poised to edge downward, their loss made up mostly by ongoing growth in the United States, which is bolstered by waves of immigrants.

The buildup to Monday's milestone has briefly turned up the flame on long-simmering debates about growth on a finite planet: Whether a growing population or growing consumption remains the biggest environmental challenge, how best to help lift a billion people out of poverty and misery, whether governments should provide contraception for those who cannot afford it.

The new leader of the United Nations Population Fund, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, a Nigerian obstetrician-gynecologist, stepped gingerly into the fray. His agency remains a favorite punching bag of antiabortion activists in the United States for its role in supporting family planning clinics in developing countries.

"Instead of asking questions like, 'Are we too many?' we should instead be asking, 'What can I do to make our world better?' " wrote Osotimehin in the annual State of the World Population report. The report chronicles disparities between rich nations and poor ones. Poor countries continue to have low education levels and startlingly high rates of teenage pregnancy and maternal and child deaths due to complications from childbirth.

"In many parts of the developing world, where population growth is outpacing economic growth, the need for reproductive health services, especially family planning, remains great," Osotimehin concluded.

Some have used the occasion to celebrate the unrivaled success of the human species. Population grows when births exceed deaths. The 7-billion mark was reached because people are living longer and the number of infant deaths has dropped, because of a more secure food supply and because of advances in sanitation and medicine.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will hold a news conference Monday to mark the date and talk about challenges ahead, particularly how to reduce poverty, invest in the world's 1.8 billion youth and help countries develop in a sustainable way.

In 1999, his predecessor, Kofi Annan, designated a boy born to refugee parents in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, as Baby 6 Billion. He had been plucked from the hundreds of thousands of babies born that day to put a face on global population growth. Adnan Mevic, now 12, has become something of a celebrity.

None of the estimated 382,000 babies born Monday will have such an honor.

There is no word yet on how the United Nations will handle the next milestone, when the globe's population hits 8 billion — about 14 years from now.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-seven-billionth-baby-20111031,0,455314.story

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« Reply #5379 on: Oct 31st, 2011, 08:52am »

Wired

Oct. 31, 1951: We’ll Cross That Street When We Come to It
By Randy Alfred
October 31, 2011 | 6:30 am
Categories: 20th century, Inventions, Transportation

1951: The first official zebra crossing starts protecting pedestrians at Slough, just west of London.

Postwar Britain had only 10 percent of its current road traffic, but fatalities were mounting. The typical pedestrian crossing was marked with nothing more than metal studs in the road: easy for pedestrians to see, but difficult for the motorist. By the time a driver felt the bumps under his tires, it was usually too late to stop or slow down.

The government’s Transport Research Laboratory ran visibility experiments on new types of crossings, using model roads at 1/24 scale (a half-inch to the foot). The lab then tested a variety of designs at a thousand locations starting in 1949. Broad black and white stripes had the most visual impact.

The new striped crossings were made the legal standard in Britain and widely introduced in late 1951, starting at Slough (The name rhymes with cow, not slow, and the borough is the putative location of the original BBC version of the TV comedy The Office.)

Pedestrian deaths dropped 11 percent in the first year.

Jim Callaghan, Member of Parliament (and later prime minister), visited the lab in 1948 and is sometimes credited with first noting the crossing’s resemblance to a zebra. Despite Callaghan’s saying in 1951 that he didn’t remember doing that, no one else has ever claimed credit, and the name zebra crossing caught on.

Enamored of the moniker, Britain’s Ministry of Transport called forth animal cognates for subsequent improvements:

•The panda crossing used interlocking black and white triangles instead of stripes.
•The pelican (pedestrian light-controlled) crossing combined traffic lights and conventional, rectangular stripes.
•The puffin (pedestrian user-friendly intelligent) crossing uses sensors to detect pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
•The toucan (two can cross) is shared by pedestrians and bicycles.
•The pegasus is a pelican crossing with a control panel high enough for horse riders to push the button.
It’s a bleedin’ roadside zoo.

Cities around the world have been gradually adopting the crosswalk of a different stripe. The old-fashioned, two-stripe crosswalk (with only its borders marked by full-length stripes perpendicular to the direction of traffic) cannot be seen by motorists from farther than 100 feet or so away. At 30 mph, that’s about 2 seconds.

Zebra-striped crosswalks can be seen from greater distances. An empty crosswalk informs drivers that pedestrians might enter there. And pedestrians who are crossing the street are highly visible as they move against the striped background.

The Beatles brought international fame to the zebra crossing in 1969 with the album cover for Abbey Road. The much-parodied image also brought wide renown to Abbey Road Studios, where the album was recorded.

Beatles producer Sir George Martin has a heraldic badge of a zebra carrying an abbot’s crozier. His coat of arms features a crest of a martin holding a recorder under its left wing, a Latin motto that could be translated as “Love is all you need,” and a shield with three beetles. Go figure.

http://www.wired.com/thisdayintech/2011/10/1031first-pedestrian-zebra-crossing/

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« Reply #5380 on: Oct 31st, 2011, 08:53am »

Reuters

Japan intervenes to tame soaring yen ahead of G20

By Tetsushi Kajimoto and Antoni Slodkowski
TOKYO | Mon Oct 31, 2011 7:52am EDT

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan sold the yen for the second time in less than three months after it hit another record high against the dollar Monday, saying it intervened to counter excessive speculation that was hurting the world's No. 3 economy.

The intervention vaulted the dollar more than 4 percent higher, which would mark its biggest one-day gain in three years, and Finance Minister Jun Azumi said Tokyo would continue to step into the market until it was satisfied with the results.

Indeed, his deputy later said the intervention was not over yet, when asked to assess its effects as the dollar began slipping from the day's high.

"I don't think intervention has ceased yet," Fumihiko Igarashi told reporters.

Many market players voiced doubts the impact would last given that previous intervention since September 2010 had failed to prevent the yen from resuming its rally and setting a series of all-time highs against the dollar.

Tokyo's latest foray followed repeated warnings that its patience with the yen's strength was wearing thin, and came just days before the Group of 20 leaders' summit in Cannes, France.

The summit will focus on Europe's efforts to contain its sovereign debt crisis and avoid a repeat of the financial shock that roiled markets after the Lehman Brothers collapse in 2008.

But Tokyo is keen to win G20 understanding that a strong yen is one challenge too many for an economy grappling with a nuclear crisis, a $250 billion rebuilding effort from a March earthquake and tsunami and ballooning public debt.

Japan also says investors buy the yen as a safe haven from the euro zone debt crisis and stuttering U.S. growth. It argues such demand has nothing to do with the fragile health of the Japanese economy.

"We started currency intervention this morning in order to take every measure against speculative and disorderly moves and to prevent risks to the Japanese economy from materializing," Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told parliament.

The intervention came after the dollar touched a record low of 75.31 yen and pushed the world's main reserve currency up past 79 yen. The dollar, however, slipped below 78 in European trade.

Japan's economy has been recovering from its post-quake recession with companies swiftly restoring production and supply chains and Tokyo has counted on reconstruction spending and robust emerging markets demand to sustain the momentum.

But the yen's climb has spurred policymakers to act.

MORE TO COME?

Noda, who took over as Japan's sixth premier in five years last month, served as finance minister in the previous cabinet and led three past interventions between September 2010 and August, including joint action with G7 partners in March 2011. The September 2010 intervention was Japan's first in six years.

Azumi said that while Japan acted solo Monday, he remained in close contact with his international counterparts.

Several G20 nations, including Japan's exports rival South Korea, have intervened frequently in markets. But Japan is under more scrutiny as an issuer of one of three global currencies and does not want to be labeled as a currency manipulator.

Azumi has indicated after his past meetings with Group of Seven and G20 partners that they appreciated Japan's special circumstances.

Still, many voiced doubts about how long the impact of the intervention would last, including Honda Motor Chief Financial Officer Fumihiko Ike.

"Frankly, my reaction was: 'finally, they intervened.' But I'm also aware that a solo intervention has a limited impact," he said. "Will we be able to keep these levels" I'm not at all hopeful."[ID:nT9E7LD01M]

Stock market investors showed a similar reaction, Koichi Ogawa, chief portfolio manager at Daiwa SB Investments, said.

The intervention initially boosted shares in exporters, helping push the Nikkei average to a three-month intraday high. However, the market closed down 0.7 percent. [ID:nL4E7LV1C3]

"The Nikkei was still unable to hold any gains, showing that investors are not confident that the yen will remain down," Ogawa said.

Takuji Okubo, chief economist at Societe Generale in Tokyo, was equally skeptical. "I do think this is one of many interventions to come," Okubo told Reuters Insider.

Some, however, said Monday's action that followed Bank Of Japan's monetary easing last week, could keep the yen away from its peaks for quite some time.

"It was very good timing. The BOJ has prepared the ground by easing last week. Speculators' yen-buying position has piled up, and intervention is most effective in such cases," said Yunosuke Ikeda, senior FX strategist at Nomura Securities.

BOJ Governor Masaaki Shirakawa was also hopeful the intervention -- conducted by the central bank on behalf of the finance ministry -- would have an impact.

"The BOJ strongly hopes that such moves will lead to currency market stability," he said in a speech.

Azumi would not comment on the size of the intervention, but one trader said the authorities were intervening "quite persistently."

The amount of intervention could match the 4.5 trillion yen ($59 billion) Tokyo sold on August 4 in its biggest single-day intervention so far, said Mitul Kotecha, head of global currency strategy at Credit Agricole.

Even though the yen's exchange rate measured against a trade-weighted currency basket and adjusted for inflation is not far from its 30-year average, its dollar rate is much stronger than that used by exporters in their earnings projections.

That has led to a flurry of warnings from car makers and electronic firms that they might be forced to move more production abroad to cope.

Chipmaker Elpida warned it might have to move production overseas and Honda's chief executive said earlier this month that the company would half exports from Japan over the next decade because of the strong yen.

Last Thursday, acting in part out of concern that such "hollowing out" of the industry could stunt Japan's recovery, the BOJ eased its monetary policy by boosting government bond purchases.

($1=75.76 yen)

(Additional reporting by Kaori Kaneko, Hideyuki Sano and Chang-Ran Kim in Tokyo, Masayuki Kitano in Singapore; Writing by Tomasz Janowski; Editing by Neil Fullick and Alex Richardson)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/31/us-japan-economy-yen-idUSTRE79U09Q20111031

Crystal
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« Reply #5381 on: Oct 31st, 2011, 12:11pm »

Since I grew up at the foot of the Superstition mountains in Arizona I thought this story would be fun for Halloween.

Crystal


© Copyright 2000-2008 by Troy Taylor

What strange secrets lie hidden near Superstition Mountain in Arizona? Did a lone miner really discover a fortune in lost gold here? And what strange force has caused a number of adventurers to die brutal deaths and vanish without a trace in this rugged region?

Located just east of Phoenix, Arizona is a rough, mountainous region where people sometimes go... only to never be seen again. It is a place of mystery, of legend and lore and it is called Superstition Mountain. According to history, both hidden and recorded, there exists a fantastic gold mine here like no other that has ever been seen. It has been dubbed the “Lost Dutchman Mine” over the years and thanks to its mysterious location, it has been the quest of many an adventurer... and a place of doom to luckless others.

What strange energy lingers here? What has caused dozens of people who seek the mine to vanish without a trace? Is the answer really as the Apache Indians say? Does the “Thunder God” protect this mine... bringing death to those who attempt to pillage it? Or can the deaths be linked to other causes? Are they caused, as some have claimed, by the spirits of those who have died seeking the mine before?

Let’s explore all of these questions and journey back into the haunted history of the Lost Dutchman Mine... and uncover the numerous deaths and the violence that surrounds it.

Superstition Mountain

Superstition Mountain is actually a collection of rough terrain that has gained the name of a single mountain. The contour of the region takes in thousands of cliffs, peaks, plateaus and mesas and even today, much of it remains largely unexplored. Despite the tendency by many to call this a range of mountains, it is in reality, only one. It is certainly not the highest mountain in the region, but it has the reputation of being the deadliest. Over the course of several centuries, it has taken the lives of many men and women and has perhaps caused a madness in them that has encouraged them to kill each other.

The Apache Indians were probably the first to set eyes on the mountain, followed by the Spanish conquistadors, the first of which was Francisco Vasquez de Coronado. He came north from Mexico in 1540 seeking the legendary “Seven Golden Cities of Cibola”. When he reached the region, the local Indians told him that the mountain held much gold, although they refused to help the Spaniard explore it. They were in too much fear of the “Thunder God”, who was said to dwell there, and who would destroy them if they dared to trespass upon his sacred ground.

When the Spaniards tried to explore the mountain on their own, they discovered that men began to vanish mysteriously. It was said that if one of them strayed more than a few feet from his companions, he was never seen alive again. The bodies of the men who were found were discovered to be mutilated and with their heads cut off. The terrified survivors refused to return to the mountain and so Coronado dubbed the collection of peaks, Monte Superstition, which explains the origin of the infamous name.

The mountain became a legendary spot to the Spanish explorers who followed.... and was regarded as an evil place.

The Spanish Mine

The first man to discover the gold of the Indians on Superstition Mountain was Don Miguel Peralta, a member of a prominent family who owned a ranch near Sonora, Mexico. He discovered a vein of rich gold here in 1845 while searching for the treasure described to Coronado.

Before he returned to Mexico for men and supplies with which to excavate the gold, he memorized the surrounding territory. He described the mountain’s most outstanding landmark as looking like a “sombrero”; thus he named the mine the “Sombrero Mine”.

To others, the peak, or spire, looking more like a finger pointing upwards and it has also been referred to as the “Finger of God”... except to early white explorer Pauline Weaver. He used the rock as a place to etch his name with a knife and subsequent prospectors discovered the etching and dubbed the landmark “Weaver’s Needle”. The name stuck and nearly every reference to the lost mine uses the Needle as a point of origin.

Peralta returned to Mexico and gathered men and material to work the mine. Soon, he was shipping millions of pesos in pure gold back to Sonora. It was obvious that this was a gold strike like no other.

Meanwhile, the Apache were angry over the Spanish presence on the mountain and in 1848, raised a large force to drive Peralta and his men from the area. Peralta soon got word of the impending fight and withdrew his men from the mine. They would pack up all of the available burros and wagons with the already mined ore and return home. Because he planned to return someday, Peralta took elaborate precautions to conceal the entrance to the mine and to wipe out any trace that they had ever worked there.

Early the next day, he assembled his men and prepared to move out.... but they never had a chance. Taken by surprise, the Apache warriors attacked and massacred the entire company of Spaniards. The pack mules were scattered in all directions, spilling the gold and taking it with them as they plunged over cliffs and into ravines. For years after, prospectors and soldiers discovered the remains of the burros and the rotted leather packs that were still brimming with raw gold.

The area, dubbed “Gold Field” became a favorite place for outlaws and get-rich-quick schemers, who spent days and months searching for the lost gold. The last case of anyone finding the bones of a Peralta mule was in 1914. A man named C.H. Silverlocke showed up in Phoenix one day with a few piece of badly decayed leather, some pieces of Spanish saddle silver and about $18,000 in gold concentrate.

The Blind-folded Doctor

The next discoverer of the Peralta mine was a man named Dr. Abraham Thorne. He was born in East St. Louis, Illinois and all of his life, longed to be a doctor to the Indians in the western states. Early in his life, he was befriended by the frontier legend, Kit Carson, and when Fort McDowell was founded in Arizona in 1865, he arranged for Thorne to become an army doctor with an officer’s rank.

At this time, fighting between the whites and the Apache was often fierce. The Indians were being besieged by the Army but it would not be long before cooler heads would prevail and President Abraham Lincoln would create a compromise in the area. He proposed a reservation along the Verde River, near Fort McDowell, which could serve as a sanctuary for the Apache. It was here, in an area known unofficially as the “Strip”, where Thorne came to live and work amongst the Indians. He soon made many friends and earned respect from the tribal leaders, caring for the sick and injured, delivering babies and teaching hygiene and waste disposal.

In 1870, a strange incident would take place in Dr. Thorne’s career. Several of the elders in the tribe came to him with a proposal. Because he was considered a good man and a friend of the Apache, they would take him to a place where he could find gold. The only condition would be that he was to be blindfolded during the journey of roughly 20 miles.

Dr. Thorne agreed and the Indians placed a cloth around his head and over his eyes. They led him away on horseback and at the end of the journey, the cloth was removed and he found himself in an unknown canyon. He would later write that he saw a sharp pinnacle of rock about a mile to the south of him. Treasure hunters believe this was most likely Weaver’s Needle. There was no sign of a mine, but piled near the base of the canyon wall (as if placed there for him) was a stack of almost pure gold nuggets. He picked up as much of it as he could carry and returned home. He later sold the ore for $6,000 and became another strange link in the mystery of the mine’s location.

The Dutchman

First of all, I guess we should clear up one popular misconception about Jacob Walz (or Waltz depending on the story you hear) and it’s that he was not a “Dutchman”. He was actually from Germany and born there in the early 1800’s. He came to America in 1845 and soon heard about the riches and adventure that were waiting in the frontier beyond New York. His first gold seeking took him to a strike in North Carolina and from there he traveled to Mississippi, California and Nevada... always looking for his elusive fortune.

Walz worked the gold field of the Sierra Nevada foothills for more than ten years, never getting rich, but turning up enough gold to get along. By 1868, he was in his fifties and wondering if he was ever going to find his proverbial “mother lode”. The Indians had nick-named him “Snowbeard” because of his long, white whiskers and it isn’t hard to picture him as one of those grizzled old prospectors who were so common in western films.

That same year, Walz began homesteading in the Rio Satillo Valley, which is on the northern side of Superstition Mountain. Soon after he arrived, he began to hear stories from the local Indians about supernatural doings around the mountain, about a fierce god... and about vast deposits of gold.

Most stories about Jacob Walz say that he spent the next 20 years of so prospecting for gold around the Arizona Territory. He often worked for wages in other men’s mines while he searched from his own fortune. It was during one of these jobs that he met Jacob Weiser, most likely while he was working at the Vulture Mine in 1870.

One version of the legend claims that Walz was fired from the mine for stealing gold and soon, the two “Dutchman” struck out on their own and vanished into the land around Superstition Mountain.

the rest of the story after the jump
http://www.prairieghosts.com/dutchman.html

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« Reply #5382 on: Nov 1st, 2011, 08:33am »

UPI.com

Science News

NASA working to create tractor beams


Published: Oct. 31, 2011

GREENBELT, Md., Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Tractor beams, a staple of science fiction, may someday become a technology for collecting extraterrestrial particle samples, U.S. space agency scientists say.

The NASA Office of the Chief Technologist has awarded a $100,000 to a research team at the agency's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., to study three experimental methods of gathering particles and transporting them via laser light to an instrument, in the manner of a vacuum cleaner using suction to collect and transport dirt to a canister or bag, a NASA release said Monday.

"Though a mainstay in science fiction, and Star Trek in particular, laser-based trapping isn't fanciful or beyond current technological know-how," lead researcher Paul Stysley said.

The team will investigate three different laser-based approaches for transporting particles, as well as single molecules, viruses, ribonucleic acid and fully functioning cells.

"An optical-trapping system ... could grab desired molecules from the upper atmosphere on an orbiting spacecraft or trap them from the ground or lower atmosphere from a lander," Stysley said.

The team will study different methods before selecting one as a candidate for a possible next level of development.

"We're at the starting gate on this," researcher Barry Coyle said. "This is a new application that no one has claimed yet."

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2011/10/31/NASA-working-to-create-tractor-beams/UPI-43091320103907/#ixzz1cSZTScl0
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« Reply #5383 on: Nov 1st, 2011, 08:41am »

on Nov 1st, 2011, 08:33am, Swamprat wrote:
UPI.com

Science News

NASA working to create tractor beams


Published: Oct. 31, 2011

GREENBELT, Md., Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Tractor beams, a staple of science fiction, may someday become a technology for collecting extraterrestrial particle samples, U.S. space agency scientists say.

The NASA Office of the Chief Technologist has awarded a $100,000 to a research team at the agency's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., to study three experimental methods of gathering particles and transporting them via laser light to an instrument, in the manner of a vacuum cleaner using suction to collect and transport dirt to a canister or bag, a NASA release said Monday.

"Though a mainstay in science fiction, and Star Trek in particular, laser-based trapping isn't fanciful or beyond current technological know-how," lead researcher Paul Stysley said.

The team will investigate three different laser-based approaches for transporting particles, as well as single molecules, viruses, ribonucleic acid and fully functioning cells.

"An optical-trapping system ... could grab desired molecules from the upper atmosphere on an orbiting spacecraft or trap them from the ground or lower atmosphere from a lander," Stysley said.

The team will study different methods before selecting one as a candidate for a possible next level of development.

"We're at the starting gate on this," researcher Barry Coyle said. "This is a new application that no one has claimed yet."

© 2011 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2011/10/31/NASA-working-to-create-tractor-beams/UPI-43091320103907/#ixzz1cSZTScl0


Wow! Star Trek comes alive. That is wild. Thanks Swamprat. And good morning to you.

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« Reply #5384 on: Nov 1st, 2011, 08:44am »

New York Times

October 31, 2011, 6:57 pm
Regulators Investigating MF Global for Missing Money
By BEN PROTESS, MICHAEL J. DE LA MERCED and SUSANNE CRAIG

Federal regulators have discovered that hundreds of millions of dollars in customer money has gone missing from MF Global in recent days, prompting an investigation into the brokerage firm, which is run by Jon S. Corzine, the former New Jersey governor, several people briefed on the matter said on Monday.

The recognition that money was missing scuttled at the 11th hour an agreement to sell a major part of MF Global to a rival brokerage firm. MF Global had staked its survival on completing the deal. Instead, the New York-based firm filed for bankruptcy on Monday.

Regulators are examining whether MF Global diverted some customer funds to support its own trades as the firm teetered on the brink of collapse.

The discovery that money could not be located might simply reflect sloppy internal controls at MF Global. It is still unclear where the money went. At first, as much as $950 million was believed to be missing, but as the firm sorted through its bankruptcy, that figure fell to less than $700 million by late Monday, the people briefed on the matter said. Additional funds are expected to trickle in over the coming days.

But the investigation, which is in its earliest stages, may uncover something more intentional and troubling.

In any case, what led to the unaccounted-for cash could violate a tenet of Wall Street regulation: Customers’ funds must be kept separate from company money. One of the basic duties of any brokerage firm is to keep track of customer accounts on a daily basis.

Neither MF Global nor Mr. Corzine has been accused of any wrongdoing. Lawyers for MF Global did not respond to requests for comment.

Now, the inquiry threatens to tarnish further the reputation of Mr. Corzine, the former Goldman Sachs executive who had sought to revive his Wall Street career last year just a few months after being defeated for re-election as New Jersey’s governor.

When he arrived at MF Global — after more than a decade in politics, including serving as a Democratic United States senator from New Jersey — Mr. Corzine sought to bolster profits by increasing the number of bets the firm made using its own capital. It was a strategy born of his own experience at Goldman, where he rose through the ranks by building out the investment bank’s formidable United States government bond trading arm.

One of his hallmark traits, according to the 1999 book “Goldman Sachs: The Culture of Success,” by Lisa Endlich, was his willingness to tolerate losses if the theory behind the trades was well thought out.

He made a similar wager at MF Global in buying up big holdings of debt from Spain, Italy, Portugal, Belgium and Ireland at a discount. Once Europe had solved its fiscal problems, those bonds would be very profitable.

But when that bet came to light in a regulatory filing, it set off alarms on Wall Street. While the bonds themselves have lost little value and mature in less than a year, MF Global was seen as having taken on an enormous amount of risk with little room for error given its size. By Friday evening, MF Global was under pressure to put up more money to support its trading positions, threatening to drain the firm’s remaining cash.

The collapse of MF Global underscores the extent of investor anxiety over Europe’s debt crisis. Other financial institutions have been buffeted in recent months because of their holdings of debt issued by weak European countries. The concerns about MF Global’s exposure to Europe prompted two ratings agencies to cut their ratings on the firm to junk last week.

The firm played down the effect of the ratings, saying, “We believe that it bears no implications for our clients or the strategic direction of MF Global.”

Even by Sunday evening, MF Global thought it had averted its demise after a disastrous week. Over five days, the firm lost more than 67 percent of its market value and was downgraded to junk status, which prompted investor desertions and raised borrowing costs.

Mr. Corzine and his advisers frantically called nearly every major Wall Street player, hoping to sell at least some of the firm in a bid for survival.

On Friday, the asset manager BlackRock was hired to help MF Global wind down its balance sheet, which included efforts to sell its holdings of European debt. BlackRock was able to value the portfolio, but did not have time to find a buyer for it given the other obstacles MF Global faced, according to people close to the talks.

By Saturday, Jefferies & Company became the lead bidder to buy large portions of MF Global, before backing out late in the day.

On Sunday, a rival firm, Interactive Brokers, emerged as the new favorite. But the Connecticut-based firm coveted only MF Global’s futures and securities customers.

While MF Global was resigned to putting its parent company into bankruptcy, Interactive Brokers was also willing to help prop up other MF Global units, including a British affiliate.

By late Sunday evening, an embattled MF Global had all but signed a deal with Interactive Brokers. The acquisition would have mirrored what Lehman Brothers did in 2008, when its parent filed for bankruptcy but Barclays of Britain bought some of its assets.

But in the middle of the night, as Interactive Brokers investigated MF Global’s customer accounts, the potential buyer discovered a serious obstacle: Some of the customer money was missing, according to people close to the discussions. The realization alarmed Interactive Brokers, which then abandoned the deal.

Later on Monday, when explaining to regulators why the deal had fallen apart, MF Global disclosed the concerns over the missing money, according to a joint statement issued by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Regulators, however, first suspected a potential shortfall days ago as they gathered at MF Global’s Midtown Manhattan headquarters, the people briefed on the matter said. It is not uncommon for some funds to be unaccounted for when a financial firm fails, but the magnitude in the case of MF Global was unnerving.

For now, there is confusion surrounding the missing MF Global funds. It is likely, one person briefed on the matter said, that some of the money may be “stuck in the system” as banks holding the customer funds hesitated last week to send MF Global the money.

But the firm has yet to produce evidence that all of the $600 million or $700 million outstanding is deposited with the banks, according to the people briefed on the matter. Regulators are looking into whether the customer funds were misallocated.

With the deal with Interactive Brokers dashed, MF Global was hanging in limbo for several hours before it filed for bankruptcy. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York and a number of exchanges said they had suspended MF Global from doing new business with them.

It was not the first time regulators expressed concerns about MF Global.

MF Global confirmed on Monday that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the S.E.C. — had “expressed their grave concerns” about the firm’s viability.

By midmorning on Monday, the firm filed for bankruptcy.

Azam Ahmed contributed reporting.

http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/10/31/regulators-investigating-mf-global/?hp

Crystal
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