“Aliens will begin to show themselves in the year 2010, they will not harm us, they simply want to see what we are doing to this planet. They will teach us how to use anti-gravity devices again, such as they did for the pyramids”
(ALLEGED PSYCHIC SYLVIA BROWNE–FROM SYLVIA BROWNE.COM)
World renowned and self-proclaimed psychic Sylvia Browne probably thought we would forget about this nutty prediction she made on “Montel” in 2006. The world watched our countdown clock dwindle to all zeros as the biggest prediction of Sylvia’s career went unrealized–a prediction I would love to have come true.
Seeing flickering black dots is an illusion. Only white dots appear in this photo. The sensation of black dots is an expectation created by the adjacent–and more voluminous–black squares. Your brain fills in the color black into the small white dots.
Designed for a special gathering honoring Martin Gardner, mathematical game and puzzle genious. The paper dragon is completely stationary and the head never moves–even though you’ll think it does.
May. 23, 2010
Scientific American Columnist Martin Gardner, Prolific Math And Science Writer, Dies At 95
(AP) NORMAN, Okla. (AP) – Prolific mathematics and science writer Martin Gardner, known for popularizing recreational mathematics and debunking paranormal claims, died Saturday. He was 95.
Gardner died Saturday after a brief illness at Norman Regional Hospital, said his son James Gardner. He had been living at an assisted living facility in Norman.
Martin Gardner was born in 1914 in Tulsa, Okla., and earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy at the University of Chicago.
He became a freelance writer, and in the 1950s wrote features and stories for several children’s magazines. His creation of paper-folding puzzles led to his publication in Scientific American magazine, where he wrote his “Mathematical Games” column for 25 years.
The column introduced the public to puzzles and concepts such as fractals and Chinese tangram puzzles, as well as the work of artist M.C. Escher.
Allyn Jackson, deputy editor of Notices, a journal of the American Mathematical Society, wrote in 2005 that Gardner “opened the eyes of the general public to the beauty and fascination of mathematics and inspired many to go on to make the subject their life’s work.”
Jackson said Gardner’s “crystalline prose, always enlightening, never pedantic, set a new standard for high quality mathematical popularization.”
The mathematics society awarded him its Steele Prize for Mathematical Exposition in 1987 for his work on math, particularly his Scientific American column.
“He was a renaissance man who built new ideas through words, numbers and puzzles,” his son, a professor of special education at the University of Oklahoma, told The Associated Press.
Gardner also became known as a skeptic of the paranormal and wrote columns for Skeptical Inquirer magazine. He wrote works debunking public figures such as psychic Uri Geller, who gained fame for claiming to bend spoons with his mind.
Most recently he wrote a feature published in Skeptical Inquirer’s March/April on Oprah Winfrey’s New Age interests.
Former magician James Randi, now a writer and investigator of paranormal claims, paid tribute to Gardner on his website Saturday, calling his colleague and longtime friend “a very bright spot in my firmament.”
He ended his Scientific American column in 1981 and retired to Hendersonville, N.C. Gardner continued to write, and in 2002 moved to Norman, where his son lives.
Gardner wrote more than 50 books.
Gardner was preceded in death by his wife, Charlotte. Besides James Gardner, he is survived by another son, Tom, of Asheville, N.C.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
[I'm glad my nephew, Cole, was able to meet this amazing person] – thank you, Amy…..
Hira Ratan Manek
Wikepedia defines “breatharians” as those who ….”claim food and possibly water are not necessary, and that humans can be sustained solely by prana (the vital life force in Hinduism), or according to some, by the energy in sunlight.” This story has been perplexing many experts–including some NASA scientists–because the space agency apparently confirmed the 64 year-old mechanical engineer went 130 days without food. But his wife purports that Manek also consumes buttermilk–a food source perfectly capable of sustaining a person for extended periods of time. It has a whopping 460 calories per cup.
From the New York Daily News (online version):
For two days, several players had trouble sleeping because they were convinced that their downtown hotel is haunted.
“I definitely believe it,” Jared Jeffries said. “The place is haunted. It’s scary.”
Eddy Curry claims he slept for only two hours Sunday night because he couldn’t stop thinking about ghosts roaming the hotel.
For years, guests staying at the Skirvin Hilton have reported ghost sightings and strange noises. Legend has it that sometime in the 1930s, a woman jumped to her death while holding her baby in her hands.
“They said it happened on the 10th floor and I’m the only one staying on the 10th floor,” Curry said. “That’s why I spent most of my time in (Nate Robinson‘s) room. I definitely believe there are ghosts in that hotel.”
Assistant coach Herb Williams teased Jeffries and Curry for believing that the Skirvin is haunted, but Curry wasn’t laughing.
“There are too many stories,” Curry said. “Something is going on there.” [END]
[excerpt from 1-2-13 John Rhode piece]
The haunts of the Skirvin are alive with this offering from Suns beat writer Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic:
“The legend of the Skirvin Hilton Hotel being haunted has grown ever since the NBA moved to Oklahoma City and visiting teams began staying at the 101-year-old hotel. The list of ghost sightings and tales of strange noises has grown with NBA players who have become believers. On Sunday night, two Suns players swore to odd incidents. One said he woke to a few inches of water in his bathtub behind an open bathroom door that he closed. Another said he awoke to a bathroom sink running with both faucets on.”
Gimme an ever-loving break. Is this all it takes to get into the heads of one of professional sports’ most storied franchises? Let’s look at some key statements:
* “…they were convinced that their downtown hotel is haunted.” With what evidence?
* “I definitely believe it” (Jared Jeffries)–based on what?
* “I definitely believe there are ghosts in that hotel” (Eddie Curry)–what happened?
Then the truth comes out. “There are too many stories” (Eddie Curry). Oh, so the legend, stories, and suggestion have convinced Eddie that the Skirvin Hotel is haunted. That’s how it happens for almost everyone, Eddie. I hope all NBA visiting teams stay at the Skirvin and feel the exact same way. If that happens, look for the Thunder to have come up with the perfect prescription to win an NBA championship. With this formula, the Lakers, Celtics, Spurs, Cavs, and all the rest, don’t stand a chance. File this one under “GIMME A BREAK.”
On Christmas day, a terrorist attempted to explode 80 grams of the explosive PETN on an airliner while it was landing at the Detroit airport; the explosive had been hidden in the terrorist’s underwear – specifically, the crotch of his underpants. SEE ABC NEWS STORY.
Not surprisingly, this incident has generated a considerable amount of political debate during this holiday week, along with new rules for passenger behavior during airline flights. One aspect that has not been discussed is ‘could 80 grams of PETN in a person’s crotch have caused an airliner crash?’
Before answering this question, I should mention that while I am not an explosives expert, I do teach Chemistry and a Weapons of Mass Destruction course that includes a very basic discussion of explosives.
One issue is that 80 grams (about 45 cc, or 1.6 ounces by volume) of PETN isn’t a lot of explosive. As demonstrated by the show Mythbusters, considerably more than 1.6 (volume) ounces of a powerful explosive (such as PETN) is required for a highly damaging explosion (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKZZLw5kTJk); the 3 cc of the high explosives (possibly PETN) in the video blew a grapefruit sized hole in a foam board. The terrorist had 45 cc of PETN, which would blow a larger hole in a foam board.
Another issue is the location of the PETN – specifically that it was inside the crotch area of the terrorist’s clothing. Had the PETN exploded, it would have seriously damaged his legs and crotch area – the only possibly fatality would have been to the terrorist, as his body would have absorbed the blast and, ironically, protected the other passengers.
Could the terrorist have caused the plane to crash? The answer is: highly unlikely, as 80 grams of PETN does not have enough explosive energy to have seriously damaged the plane fuselage or damage the controls.
At worse, the terrorist could have blown a hole in the fuselage, which would have caused the plane to depressurize. It is highly unlikely that this would have lead to any fatalities as the passengers would have the emergency breathing masks. However, for 80 grams of PETN in a person’s crotch to be able to blow a hole in the plane fuselage, the terrorists would have needed to be in a window seat and had his crotch pressed against the fuselage during the explosion. Even had this happened, the explosive shockwave would have taken the ‘path of least resistance’ which is through the terrorist’s body and not the fuselage wall. Once again, the terrorist would have fared much worse than the passengers, crew or plane.
While we often want absolute safety, we need to admit that this is impossible. It is unreasonable and impractical to find every hidden small packet of a substance that may be incorporated into a person’s clothing. The only way to ensure that another underwear bomb incident cannot occur would be to have all airline passengers remove all of their clothing prior to boarding; presumably, everyone would either fly naked or would be issued secure clothing for the flight. This wouldn’t ensure absolute safety either as a terrorist could always have an explosive surgically inserted in his or her body.
One problem with terrorism is that while we can try to guess at every method that might be used to attack us, however, we can never know what the terrorists have conceived but we haven’t. Consequently, they act and we react. As with all risk management issues, we must keep things in perspective; time and time again, we become overly concerned with unlikely risks and ignore those that are more likely to harm us.
JOHN NAIL, Ph.D., is Chair of the Chemistry Department at Oklahoma City University