The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'fortean'
The Flake Equation, or XKCD's (quite plausible) explanation of why alien sightings are to be expected.
In South Africa, a group of self-described "electrosensitives" living near a packet radio tower have been demanding that the tower be moved, and claiming that the radio transmissions were causing health problems, including headaches, rashes, insomnia and nausea. Some of the residents reported the health effects subsiding whenever they left the vicinity of the tower, and recurring when they returned, seemingly proving that the tower was the cause of their health problems. The company's claims that the tower emitted less electromagnetic radiation than (less obtrusive-looking) mobile phone cell towers did nothing to sway them. In fact, the residents continued reporting the ill health effects for more than six weeks after the company secretly switched off the transmitter.
At the meeting Van Zyl agreed to turn off the tower with immediate effect to assess whether the health problems described by some of the residents subsided. What Craigavon residents were unaware of is that the tower had already been switched off in early October – six weeks before the November meeting where residents confirmed the continued ailments they experienced.
“At the meeting in mid-November residents claimed that full recovery of skin conditions could take as long as 6 weeks. Yet, the tower was switched off for more than 6 weeks by this time,” said Van Zyl. “At this point it became apparent that the tower can, in no way, be the cause of the symptoms, as it was already switched off for many weeks, yet the residents still saw symptoms that come and go according to their proximity to the area.”It appears that some of the residents were adversely affected by the sight of a large, imposing, potentially radiation-emitting tower, and others swayed by the corroborating evidence of their reactions, became convinced that they were affected as well, triggering an epidemic of psychosomatic illness. In any case, the residents' groups, unswayed by anything as mundane as reason, have vowed to continue their legal action.
Among recent proposals for keeping one step ahead of the terrorists is the use of formerly secret Russian mind-control and mind-reading technology, such as testing airline passengers' subconscious responses to scrambled images with terrorist-related themes:
SSRM Tek is presented to a subject as an innocent computer game that flashes subliminal images across the screen -- like pictures of Osama bin Laden or the World Trade Center. The "player" -- a traveler at an airport screening line, for example -- presses a button in response to the images, without consciously registering what he or she is looking at. The terrorist's response to the scrambled image involuntarily differs from the innocent person's, according to the theory.
Despite Smirnov's death, Rusalkina predicts an "arms race" in psychotronic weapons. Such weapons, she asserts, are far more dangerous than nuclear weapons. She pointed, for example, to a spate of Russian news reports about "zombies" -- innocent people whose memories had been allegedly wiped out by mind control weapons.Meanwhile, some are sceptical about whether or not one can actually deduce terrorist intent from such cues.
The problem, he said, is that there is no science he is aware of that can produce the specificity or sensitivity to pick out a terrorist, let alone influence behavior. "We're still working at the level of how rats learn that light predicts food," he explained. "That's the level of modern neuroscience."
(via Boing Boing)
The Sussex Police are deploying extra officers in Brighton on nights where there is a full moon after the force's research showed a correlation between full moons and the frequency of violent incidents. No corresponding increase in lycanthropy has been reported, though an increase in violence has been found to occur on paydays (presumably because of people drinking portions of their paycheques).
Toads in Altona, an area of northern Germany, are spontaneously swelling up and exploding. Thousands of the hapless amphibians have mysteriously swollen up like balloons, growing to three and a half times normal size before bursting and splattering the area (and, presumably, any unlucky bystanders) with toad guts. The cause of this bizarre phenomenon remains unknown, though some are speculating that it is a virus or a fungus.
Police hunt "dinosaur" in Papua New Guinea, after sightings of the mysterious creature. It was described as 3 metres tall, grey, with a head like a dog, a tail like a crocodile, and was "as fat as a 900-litre water tank". It was reported to have eaten three dogs. Maybe it's a bunyip that got lost?
Children in a nursery in Weston-super-Mare were shocked to see a three-headed, six-legged frog.
All the creature's eyes and legs appear to function normally, but it is not known whether it eats using all three of its mouths.
Unfortunately, not much more is known about this amphibian Cerberus, which eluded its captors and hopped away as nursery staff were showing it to curious parents.
Deadly piranha found in Thames, a river formerly declared biologically dead. Mind you, the killer fish was likely to have been (illegally) released by a private collector (or their vengeful ex-lover or young child who just saw Finding Nemo or something), rather than being a manifestation of global climate havoc:
Piranhas have taste buds which cover their bodies so that they can deduce whether any passing fish is worth eating. It doesn't bear thinking about what such sensitivity must have made of the polluted Thames.
Researchers in Manchester have shown that infrasound can induce anxiety, sorrow and chills, as well as other weird sensations. Extreme subsonic vibrations and their effects on the human nervous system may be behind the phenomena of "haunted" locations. Could this be a hint of what's on at the next What Is Music? festival.
Two books by Charles Fort (after whom the term "Fortean phenomena" was coined), Book of the Damned and New Lands, are now online, in HTML format. (Btw, anybody know whether there's a way to convert HTML to PalmReader documents with formatting?) (via New World Disorder)
9yo Russian boy shoots fireballs from his eyes, setting fire to clothes, furniture and domestic appliances. Whatever's in the vodka over there must be good. (via New World Disorder)
A European skeptic investigates the strange case of Rudolph Fentz, a man attired in 19th-century clothing who mysteriously appeared in Times Square in 1950 and was killed by a car; when his body was examined, police found a letter addressed to Fentz, who had disappeared in 1876. Or had he? (via rotten.com)
Cattle mutilations are up. The US cattle industry is facing a wave of mutilation. Could Al-Qaeda be responsible? (via rotten.com)
2001: the consensus was that it was an awful year, an annus horribilis, mostly because of That Thing. But it was also an uncommonly weird year; the Fortean Times' Weirdness Index went off the scale, with everything from religious cults to frogfalls to weird creature sightings going up. Hail Eris!
A London woman got a surprise when she found a live frog in a bag of supermarket salad.