Archive for the The Unexplained Category

MSNBC reports: Even the Maya are Getting Sick of 2012 Hype

Posted in Nature gone amok, Objects in Space, The Unexplained on July 2, 2010 by Eric S.

A Google search for 2012 yields 367 million results. For frame of reference, Jesus turns up 202 million, while The Beatles wrack up scant more than 35 million (intoallthat, interestingly enough, pulls up an impressive 914 results). Apparently, nobody learned their lesson last time we had a calendar-related fear fest in the final six months of 1999. Good times, good times. But much like summer blockbuster season or commercials for cellphone service providers, the hype may be more than the masses are willing to put up with.

Apolinario Chile Pixtun, courtesy of MSNBC

MSNBC tracked down Mayan elder Apolinario Chile Pixtun, who they report to be “tired of being bombarded with frantic questions about the Mayan calendar supposedly ‘running out’ on Dec. 21, 2012.” Says the article:

But most archaeologists, astronomers and Maya Indians say the only thing likely to hit Earth is a meteor shower of New Age philosophy, pop astronomy, Internet doomsday rumors and TV specials — such as one on the History Channel that mixes predictions from Nostradamus and the Maya and asks: “Is 2012 the year the cosmic clock finally winds down to zero days, zero hope?”

I have to confess that I’m a little behind on 2012 paranoia, but I’m trying to catch up as I type. On the one hand, there seems to be a general fear of the end of the Mayan long cycle calendar. I’m having trouble chalking the End of Times up to the Mayans planning a calendar without a next page to flip forward to, so let’s just agree that this hold about as much water as fears that the Y2K bug was going to cause elevators to start dropping people to their deaths at midnight on 12/31/99. Next, there’s some sort of hooha with the transverse of Venus and a solar eclipse happening at even ‘Mayan month’ intervals leading up to 12/21/12. Admittedly, that’s pretty nifty. But where does the End of Times aspect come into play? Seems it could just as easily indicate a good day for a White Sale at JC Penney. And lastly, it seems that on that exact day the solstice sun will align with the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy, thusly reversing the planet’s magnetic field. Which would also be really nifty, if it weren’t for the fact that the alignment with the galactic center tactually took place back in 1998 when everyone was too worried about Y2K to give this Mayan calendar business a second glance.

Still, if we’ve learned one thing from the TSA, it’s that we’re better off scared than sorry. Just because there’s nothing logical to be afraid of, it never hurts to be a little scared just as an insurance policy, right? Says the MSNBC article:

At Cornell University, Ann Martin, who runs the “Ask an Astronomer” Web site, says people are scared.

“It’s too bad that we’re getting e-mails from fourth-graders who are saying that they’re too young to die,” Martin said. “We had a mother of two young children who was afraid she wouldn’t live to see them grow up.”

It’s a big scary world out there, so it’s probably a good thing these fourth graders are learning that lesson early. But long can you possibly be scared? Seems like it would wear off after a while. You know, like our collective fear of skin cancer, coronary artery disease and/or global warming.

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Two Faced Cat Born in Perth

Posted in Nature gone amok, Roadside attractions, The Unexplained, Travesties of nature with tags , , , on November 21, 2008 by Eric S.

Courtesy of eagle-eyed Australian correspondent and scourge of diabetics, Joey Ledlie:


(photo appropriated from the Sydney Morning Herald)

Where to begin, where to begin? A joke about Siamese twins? Copy cats? Yeah, no: those weren’t funny the last time this happened. Maybe a ponderance on whether stripes clash with calico, or if the litter box flushes the other way around in the Southern Hemisphere? Okay, I’ll shut up now.

Many may take the surprising increase in two-headed animal births as a sign of, if not the End of Times, at least something creepy and sinister. According to the Herald, even hardened firsthand eyewitness Louisa Burgess was taken aback:

Louisa Burgess, a veterinary nurse who helped deliver the kitten, told InMyCommunity.com.au that she had never seen such an unusual animal in her 12-year career.

“I have seen cats with two tails and extra legs, but not this,” she said.

I don’t know about the End of Times, but prudence might suggest checking the shelf life of the peanut butter in panic room and stocking up on Bat(tm) Two-Faced Adversary Repellent.

York, PA ice mystery begins to unfold

Posted in Evidence!, Fact Checking, Hysteria, Mysterious origins, Nature gone amok, The Unexplained with tags , , on October 22, 2008 by Eric S.

“Ice?” I hear old timers, raised in the days before global warming kicked into high gear, “Falling from the sky, you say? T’aint news. That’s what we old timers used to call snow.” Yeah, I threw in that “T’aint” bit because it sounded vaguely like the guy from the old Pepper Ridge Farms cookie commercials. Alas, it’s not the composition that makes this story a story in the news reporting sense of the word, so much as the girth of the invading particle and it’s mysterious origins:


(external video link)

Comet? Hailstone? So called ‘blue ice’? Sure, any of those *could* be the explanation. But come on, folks. How many comets, hailstones and hunks of frozen airline waste merit not only a full 2:10 news story, but demand the attention of a 4-person, multidisciplinary team of scientists including an earth scientist (e.g., code for ‘guy who knows how hunks of rock in outer space (not necessarily just Earth) are put together) and three (3!) biologists?? I’m not prone to alarmism, but this reeks of cover up. If the next thing you hear about this is reported by Tom Biscardi, I suggest you make sure all the supplies in your End of the World shelter are fresh.

South African Explorers Discover the Oldest Man-made Structure on Earth

Posted in Destinations, Mysterious origins, Roadside attractions, The Unexplained with tags , , , on September 20, 2008 by Eric S.

At least, that’s what the author of makomati.com purport. At first glance, the findings of pilot Johan Heine and the MaKomati foundation give that electric crackle of discovery armchair archeologists get once or maybe twice in a lifetime (maybe three, if you’re really old) when some intrepid explorer stumbles across a cave full of scrolls or tomb full of mummies.

A series of heavily weathered ruins stretching from South Africa to Kenya largely regarded as the remains of watering holes along Wadi trade routes (i.e., those of a number of indigenous south African peoples) include what appears to be a functioning calendar that could be among the oldest man-made structures on the planet:

That was enough to get me to add their book to my Amazon list, read the whole site, and even toss the question of the theory’s validity to the braintrust over at the Straight Dope message boards. Sure there are a couple of facts that seem far fetched at first glance – the estimate of the ruins’ age from 75,000 (or twice as old as cave paintings at Chauvet) to 250,000 years old, that include a network of sites connected by roads comparable in size to the Egyptian empire – but one has resist the natural impulses of the chronological superiority complex.

Fact is, I’d love for this these guys to be on to something, and not just out to make R250 selling me their book. But their science seems to be only slightly better than those bigfoot guys.

Two-headed turtle turns up in Brooklyn

Posted in Evidence!, Nature gone amok, Roadside attractions, The Unexplained, Travesties of nature, True Story with tags , , , , on August 18, 2008 by Eric S.

Dear esteemed owners of Bigfoot Global LLC,

After the ribbing you’ve taken in the national and global media for your recent announcement that you are in posession of the corpse of what you believe to be a Bigfoot, I thought you could use some pointers on how to go about presenting a strange or unusual biological specimen to the public by way of the media. Just, you know, in case you ever find yourselves in this situation again. I cite as a case study this story about a two-headed turtle that has turned up at Sean Casey Animal Rescue in Brooklyn, as reported today in the New York Daily News.

  1. Good photo = good story. See that one up there by News photographer(Mr.? Ms.?) Cairo)? It’s well cropped. Well lit. Hell, it’s even got a tricky little shallow plane of focus that not only directs your attention at the important bits (i.e., the two heads), it goes a long way toward ruling out forgery. Now, you don’t need to go all Annie Liebovitz like the Daily News, but at least look like you gave a damn.
  2. Good video = even better story. Anyone dubious of the unmessed around with origins of the above photo can, after sitting through a commercial for an Atlantic City casino, see a well shot (like the still photo, it’s well lit, in focus and by all indications undoctored), well edited video shot on location, featuring credible-albeit-uncredentialled witnesses. UFO documentarians following along, please note the use of a steadily held camera.
  3. A little self promotion is fine. Sean Casey, is clearly exploiting this situation for his own personal interests (in this case, drawing support for his nonprofit animal rescue in the Kensington neighborhood in Brooklyn, which invite you to learn more about and consider making a donation to, if that’s your charitable bent). Note the fact that he hasn’t had a special hat made for the interview.
  4. Draw people in to the story. Sure, you found Bigfoot, which is arguably big news already. But why should people care, beyond their own morbid curiosity about who would go to such pains to hide such an amazing discovery? There’s really nothing in it for them. But that Sean Casey (again, of Sean Casey’s Animal Rescue, a nonprofit rescuer of exotic pets in Brooklyn), really knows how to build buzz: with a contest. I’ll bet you guys didn’t even think of having a ‘Name the Bigfoot’ contest, did you? Watch and learn as Intie the Intoallthat Turtle launch themselves (and possibly an undisclosed blogger) into international stardom.

Gentlemen, I hope you find these tips helpful and useful. And best of luck with your future endeavors.

Regards,

Eric S.

Even breakingier news on the Bigfoot front

Posted in Evidence!, Mysterious origins, Sighting!, The Unexplained, Travesties of nature with tags , , , on August 13, 2008 by Eric S.


Among other reputable news sources, Fox News and local station KTVU report that a crack team of Bigfoot researchers, including Tom “Ain’t Never Seen a Bear Skeleton” Biscardi, claims to have recovered a genuine Bigfoot carcass. And in the interest of both setting the scientific record straight and shutting the yapps of know-it-all bloggers, they’ll be hosting a press conference this Friday in Palo Alto. Here’s details for anyone in the area, courtesy of SearchingForBigfoot.com:

Date: Friday, August 15, 2008
Time: From 12Noon-1:00pm
Place: Cabana Hotel-Palo Alto, 4290 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, California 94306
(A Crown Plaza Resort)

Purporting to present DNA and photographic evidence, this press conference will summarize the Bigfoot learnings of body-discoverer Matthew Whittington (for unreported reasons also known as Gary Parker), his bigfoottracker.com co-founder and Georgia resident Rick Dyer, and aforementioned ursine mortality skeptic Tom Biscardi. What can we expect? I have to tell you, I’m more anxious to find out than I am to watch Olympic Women’s Beach Volleyball. Stay tuned for details as they emerge.

Video of high-speed chupacabra pursuit leaves sheriff baffled

Posted in Hysteria, Sighting!, The Unexplained, True Story with tags , , , on August 12, 2008 by Eric S.

First, special thanks to field correspondent David for tracking down this video of Dewitt (TX) County lawman Brandon Riedel’s pursuit of what may be a chupacabra:

Second, a special commendation to Corporal Riedel and partner for having the presence of mind to do what seems to have escaped all but the fewest of witness of strange and unusual occurances, and remembering to turn on the camera. Yes, yes, everyone thinks they’re remember to do it if it ever happens to them, but it takes a special presence of mind to remember mundane things like removing lens caps and pushing power buttons when you’re face to face with a mythical beastie, extraterestrial being or, say, killer robot. Koods to you, Corporal.

And third, jeers to CNN for being unable to resist using the word “baffled” in describing the reaction of a rural Texas sheriff to this incident. Sure, I appreciate the compulsion. A small, podunkesque town on the Texas/Mexico border? A C-list X-files premise? An authority figure on top enough of his jurisdiction’s law enforcement needs that he can probably spend a good amount of time with his boots on his desk (which, in the video, is suspiciously clear of heel marks) spinning yarns about the old days when things weren’t quite so peachy? Honestly, I’d have a tough time not takinga few Dukes of Hazzard jabs at him myself. But you, CNN? Come on… that’s the sort of crap we expect from Fox News.