Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Goat Woman

Chinese grandmother, 101, grows mystery horn on forehead

An elderly Chinese woman has stunned her family and fellow villagers by growing from her forehead a horn than resembles a goat’s.

Grandmother Zhang Ruifang, 101, of Linlou village, Henan province, began developing the mysterious protrusion last year.

Since then it has grown 2.4in in length and another now appears to emerging on the other side of the mother of seven’s forehead.

The condition has left her family baffled and worried.

Her youngest of six sons, Zhang Guozheng, 60, said when a patch of rough skin formed on her forehead last year ‘we didn't pay too much attention to it’.

‘But as time went on a horn grew out of her head and it is now 6cm long,' added Mr Zhang, whose eldest brother and sibling is 82 years old.

‘Now something is also growing on the right side of her forehead. It’s quite possible that it’s another horn.’

Although, it is unknown what the protrusion is on Mrs Zhang’s head, it resembles a cutaneous horn.

This is a funnel-shaped growth and although most are only a few millimetres in length, some can extend a number of inches from the skin.

Cutaneous horns are made up of compacted keratin, which is the same protein we have in our hair and nails, and forms horns, wool and feathers in animals.

They usually develop in fair-skinned elderly adults who have a history of significant sun exposure but it is extremely unusual to see it form protrusions of this size.

The growths are most common in elderly people, aged between 60 and the mid-70s. They can sometimes be cancerous but more than half of cases are benign.

Common underlying causes of cutaneous horns are common warts, skin cancer and actinic keratoses, patches of scaly skin that develop on skin exposed to the sun, such as your face, scalp or forearms.

Cutaneous horns can be removed surgically but this does not treat the underlying cause.

Article Link


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Strange News - March 27, 2010

Police report attempt to revive flattened opossum

CNN- A Pennsylvania man attempted to resuscitate "a road-killed opossum," state police say.

But this was one possum who wasn't playing possum -- the ugly creature remained dead.

Troopers responding to the scene in Oliver Township on Thursday determined that Donald J. Wolfe, 55, of Brookville, was drunk, according to the police report.

Several witnesses observed Wolfe's failed resurrection of the flattened marsupial, police said. It was not immediately clear how he endeavored to restore the possum's life.

The arresting officer in the incident was unavailable for comment Friday. Attempts to reach Wolfe were also unsuccessful.

Wolfe will be charged with one charge of public drunkenness, police said.


'Mystery Monkey' Remains at Large

abcnews- Known as the "Mystery Monkey of Tampa Bay," a rhesus macaque has run amok in the Tampa Bay area for nearly a year, eluding state wildlife officials and capturing the hearts of locals.

Home video shot by Tampa residents and broadcast on local TV stations shows the macaque rummaging through trash bins, scaling walls in a single bound, even hanging out poolside and swiping fruit.

On at least a dozen occasions Florida Fish and Wildlife officials shot the plucky primate with tranquilizer darts. Increasingly large doses barely fazed him. One professional trapper, hunting the monkey, wondered whether the monkey had become a "drug addict."

Buoyed by his successive escapes fans have championed the 20 pound monkey as a local hero. A Facebook fan page "Mystery Monkey of Tampa Bay," already boasts 43,000 fans and is growing by 15,000 fans a day. His location has been listed as "all over."

You can even buy a "Mystery Monkey" T-shirt for $18.00.

Gary Morse, a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, understands the humor, but warns the rhesus macaque is dangerous.

Depicting him as the Rambo of primates he told ABC News "That animal is so much quicker and more powerful than people perceive."

Untrained professionals trying to capture him could be seriously hurt he added, since "he's perfectly capable of doing damage to a human."

And his germs may be even more potent than his bite: Morse said the monkey could infect a potential fan/captor with Hepatitis B or Simeon Herpes.

No one is certain of the ape's origin, but Morse believes he may be an outcast from a troop of rhesus macaque's living on a preserve near Ocala Florida, about 100 miles away. He said that troop is a relic of the half dozen Tarzan flicks shot there in the 1930s and 1940s.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Stepping into the future with AI (Artificial Intelligence)

Everyone dreams of a robot helper but one that can lie? I found the "Nao" to be quite cute but rather a bit too human in the thought department.
Let's hope those lies extend only to other robots.

Link to Video


Here's a robot that is considered the number 1 humanoid robot.

Asimo- Honda

Link to Video

More about Asimo


Partner Robot - Toyota

Link to Video


QRIO- Sony

Link to Video


Though Sony terminated it's QRIO project, Honda and Toyota continue to improve their robots.

One day we may all interact with totally autonomous, human-like robots (androids), such as "Jules", a conversational robot that was developed by Hanson Robotics.

Jules- A conversational robot

Link to Video

Now for the newest addition, Albert (Einstein) Hubo. "Albert Hubo" a robot created by Hanson and the KAIST Hubo group.

Link to Video

David Hanson, Ph.D is founder/CEO of Hanson Robotics. He is regarded by IEEE, NYTimes, Science, etc. as a pioneer in robotics. He is a former Walt Disney Imagineer.

Hanson has been called a genius by PC Magazine and 'Wired' and has won AAAI 1st place, NASA, NSF, Innovator of the Year, and Cooper Hewitt Design awards.

About David Hanson- Robot designer

Learn more about Hanson Robotics

One day we may be faced with situations such as in "I, Robot" by Isaac Asimov, "The Terminator", or even 'Data' the android of Star Trek-The Next Generation. Unlike books, movies and television shows, Asimo, Jules and others of their kind are real.

How will we handle robots that can surpass us in almost every respect? Will they one day up-rise against their human masters, or will they always be the helpmates they were intended?

What constitutes life and will these humanoid robots some day have a soul? Will they one day be our equals? Though improbable, I would have to say possibly so.

As we make strides in "cybernetics" as well as robotics, will we someday 'be them'?

These are some of the questions that must be faced, as we step into the future on mechanical feet. Are we prepared?


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Online EVP Research

Take part in EVP Research

The Furzey Hill Cirlce is currently investigating the EVP phenomenon. As part of their research they have created an on-line survey. This is what they say about their research:

"As part of the research its important to know that our interpretations of voice clips are as accurate as possible. This can be very difficult, when one person may hear something clearly that the second is unable to hear with repeated playing. The only way to determine a common understanding is by asking as many people as possible, to listen to and interpret a clip. Obviously we can not do this for every clip, but we have isolated 8 that illustrate the diversity of the voices.

When you have listened to the clips below and written down an interpretation for each, please click the following link to enter the online submission of your results. If you are unable to understand one or more of the clips, please enter "unknown" in the free text field. You can remain anonymous if you wish and it should only take a few minutes to complete."

To listen to the recordings and submit results, please click on this link-
Investigating Discarnate Intelligence

About EVP

EVP (Electronic voice phenomena) are electronically captured sounds that seem to resemble human speech, but occur in parts of a recording where no human speech should exist. Usually, EVP sounds are short, only a word or two, but longer EVPs have been recorded in recent years.

Earlier generations of ghost hunters simply ignored the “static and background noise” and usually assumed that the more obvious EVP were caused by equipment malfunctions. However, better microphones and digital recording equipment and digital editing programs, such as Pro Tools and Final Cut Pro, have made it possible for ghost hunters to more closely examine these sounds and have opened up the world of EVP recording to serious ghost hunters.

Most paranormal investigators assume that EVPs are a form of communication from ghosts or other entities existing beyond the physical realm of existence, usually as a form of post death communication. However, sometimes, particularly in the case of shadow men and demons these EVP recordings are not so friendly.

Some people claim there are natural explanations for EVP recordings such as apophenia (finding significance in insignificant phenomena), auditory pareidolia (interpreting random sounds as voices in their own language), equipment artifacts, and simple hoaxes.

Recordings of electronic voice phenomena are often created from background sound by increasing the gain (i.e. sensitivity) of the recording equipment. Seeking out EVP recordings is probably the most technically challenging area of ghost hunting, because many, perhaps most, EVPs are recorded when the investigators heard and saw nothing out of the ordinary. Your equipment needs to be good quality and you need to really understand you equipments strengths and weaknesses to get good results. Also, it really takes patience.

Take part in EVP Research


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Attack of the Blob! Antarctica's Blood Falls

atlasobscura.com- This five-story, blood-red waterfall pours very slowly out of the Taylor Glacier in Antarctica's McMurdo Dry Valleys. When geologists first discovered the frozen waterfall in 1911, they thought the red color came from algae, but its true nature turned out to be much more spectacular.

Roughly 2 million years ago, the Taylor Glacier sealed beneath it a small body of water which contained an ancient community of microbes. Trapped below a thick layer of ice, they have remained there ever since, isolated inside a natural time capsule. Evolving independently of the rest of the living world, these microbes exist in a world with no light or free oxygen and little heat, and are essentially the definition of "primordial ooze." The trapped lake has very high salinity and is rich in iron, which gives the waterfall its red color. A fissure in the glacier allows the subglacial lake to flow out, forming the falls without contaminating the ecosystem within.

The existence of the Blood Falls ecosystem shows that life is indeed possible in the most extreme of conditions. Life could perhaps exist on other planets with similar environments and similar bodies of frozen water - notably Mars and Jupiter's moon Europa. But regardless of extraterrestrial life, the earth's Blood Falls are a wonder to behold both visually, and scientifically.

Video Link


Leaf-like Light Eating Sea Slug

cbc.ca- A green sea slug found off North America's east coast not only looks like a leaf, but can also make food out of sunlight, just like a plant.

Only three centimeters long, the solar-powered sea slug Elysia chlorotica can live entirely from energy from the sun. (PNAS)

U.S. researchers have found that the sea slug Elysia chlorotica can photosynthesize, using energy from light to convert carbon dioxide into sugars.

"If you shine light on these slugs, they fix carbon dioxide and make oxygen just like a plant," Sidney Pierce of the University of South Florida told CBC Radio's Quirks & Quarks.

Pierce reported his findings Jan. 7 at the annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, and has submitted his research to the journal Symbiosis.

The slugs look just like a leaf, green and about three centimetres long, and are found off the east coast of North America from Nova Scotia to Florida.

They acquire the ability to photosynthesize by eating algae and incorporating the plants' tiny chlorophyll-containing structures, called chloroplasts, into their own cells.

"Certain cells that line the walls of [the slugs'] digestive tubules are able to actually take up the chloroplasts from the algae, and they sequester them in the cells for very long periods of time," said Pierce.

Pierce said the chloroplasts can live inside the slugs' cells for nine or 10 months, nearly the entire lifetime of the slug, and can provide the animal with all the energy it needs.

"It can complete its entire life cycle, including reproduction, just on photosynthesis," he said.

With the help of radioactive trackers, Pierce found that the slugs are using the chloroplasts to make new chlorophyll, the green pigment that makes photosynthesis possible.
Gene transfer a revelation

The chloroplasts from algae aren't enough in themselves to allow the slugs to live off the sun. The process of photosynthesis requires enzymes and other proteins to keep the chloroplasts working.

"That requires a lot of genes that are present in the algal cell, and so those have been transferred as well," said Pierce.

At some point in the evolution of these sea slugs, genes from the algae transferred over and now reside in the genome of the slug.

"We found 14 or 15 algal genes so far and I'm pretty confident that we're going to find dozens more," said Pierce.

Gene transfers are common in single-celled organisms, but Pierce said this is the first time it has been described in multicellular organisms.

Exactly how the genes got from the algae to the slug isn't clear, but Pierce said research into this mechanism could lead to advances in gene therapy and genetic engineering.

Pierce said gene therapists are "trying to insert genes from one organism to another to fix genetically based diseases, and honestly that doesn't work very well yet, but these slugs have figured that out."

The mechanism could also be important in the study of evolution, giving biologists a new way to explain how organisms acquired certain genes.

"You don't have to sit around waiting for a random mutation to occur. You can take a gene or a group of genes, as is the case with the slugs, and really give yourself a real evolutionary boost," said Pierce.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Black-eyed Beings- Aliens or Demons?

Have you ever met someone that you just felt was not entirely human, maybe not human at all? Well that's how people say they feel when they have met up with black-eyed people.

A sense of evil, dread, or some aura of alien presence is felt by anyone confronted by a black-eyed being. So just what are they, these coal-orbed creatures and what do they want?

One thing is for certain, do not let them into your home, your car, office or wherever you are! It seems they must obtain permission to enter your "personal space", so just don't give it.

I've personally never seen a black-eyed being, such as the witnesses in the stories below. I can't say that I'd ever want to.

The Coffee Shop

Missy will never forget the black aura of the stranger at Starbucks. It was a cold November day when she stopped at the coffee shop for a hot tea. She ordered her drink and was reorganizing her purse when she felt someone staring at her.

"I turned around to give 'whatever' to the perv that I assumed was watching me, and the smart aleck remark died in my mouth as I caught sight of him," Missy remembers. "I did not see anything unusual in his manner of dress. It was the eyes and the aura coming off of him that scared me. The eyes, blacker than black, no white at all, wall-to-wall black, and I just felt a darkness around him, an evil. As I looked in his eyes, I somehow knew that was not a human soul occupying that body… and I felt that he knew that I knew that he was not human."

The Apartment

Tee is a 47-year-old apartment manager in Portland, Oregon. After 20 years on the job she's used to meeting people of every description, however, you won't soon convince her that the young man who came to her door one day was normal.

"He was young boy of about 17 or 18, approximately," Tee says. "He asked me about an open apartment for rent. I remember feeling very scared and shaken by his appearance. He did not look weird by his dress or such. It was his eyes. I remember feeling the hair on my neck stand up, and I was shaking just from looking in his eyes."

Like Chris, Tee also felt that deep sense of malevolence. "I could not look him straight in the eyes," she says. "I felt like I was about to die. Now, some people may think that I was just over-reacting or something, but the eyes were completely black – like there was no real pupil. He spoke normally to me, but I had to just shut the door in his face and get as far from him as I could. I felt like I was in extreme danger."

At Home Comes 'A Knocking'

Adele was in her home when she had an experience with black-eyed beings that appearerd to be small children.

"I was sitting in my bedroom reading a book," Adele says, "when at about 11:00 p.m. I heard a knocking… a slow, constant one. I got up out of bed to see what it was. I looked out of the window and to my surprise saw two children. I opened the window and asked them what they wanted at this time of night. They replied by saying simply, 'Let us in.' I said no and asked what for. 'We want to use your bathroom.'

"I was quite shocked that children of about 10 years old wanted to use a stranger's bathroom at this time of night. I told them no, closed the window, but looked at them through the glass. I glanced at their eyes... and I have never ever seen eyes like them. They were black, completely black. I got the feeling of evil and unhappiness. It surrounded me. It was horrible."

True Story- Black-eyed Waitress
by E. Forster

First, I just want to say that I have never been a believer in the supernatural, paranormal, etc. I think that everything has a logical explanation that maybe only seems "bizarre" because of a certain kind of over excitement that many people have about "an experience from the other side," or what have you. There is absolutely no explanation for what I'm about to share with you, and it absolutely scares the crap out of me. Just recounting this is giving me a really creepy feeling that I don't think I'll be able to shake, maybe ever.

About three years ago, I was sitting in a local coffee shop in upstate New York during a little road trip. The restaurant was empty except for me and the night waitress. She was really pleasant and talked a lot; she was offering places to check out while I was in town and seemed amazingly astute. In fact, she seemed almost prescient, even guessing my age almost to the day and month and even certain things that I was actually planning to do the next day. It was so light-hearted, I thought I really lucked out by meeting a easy-going, smart young lady quite out my my normal way.

At closing time, she went to the back to, I guess, put some cash in the safe or something. As I was sitting there wondering what time I wanted to get up and hit the road again the next day, I momentarily thought I might even invite her for a few hours of "R&R." I decided instead to just remember the store and next time I passed through the area, to remember to stick my head in a say "hi" (no reason, I just wanted to play it cool and not seem overanxious at very first).

So, I got up and knocked on the door in the back of the coffee shop where she went in. At this time, there were only two dim lights in the main eating area, and barely any lights in the back room where she was. I opened the door. This woman who I just finished talking to was standing facing me, JUST STANDING THERE in the back of this dark room when I opened the door. Her skin was suddenly a clammy, cracked olive color, and her eyes were just BLACK. I mean, no white at all. Her eyes and mouth was open really wide, and she was screaming in the most spine-chilling sounds, something I couldn't understand, but it definitely wasn't sounds of goodwill.

I literally SCREAMED myself, and she started moving from one spot to the other through the room. Not running, just MOVING. Her clothes now looked all old, and she moved so fast; the back of the room must have been 15 feet or so back, and she just DARTED from one side of the back of the room, still facing me, to the other side, at an IMPOSSIBLE speed. Then she ran directly straight at me as I was now standing away from the door in the middle of the restaurant.

I got the hell out of there, and jumped in my car still seeing her nightmarish face in the restaurant, darting it seemed to every window at this impossible velocity. The worst thing was, as I tore out of the parking lot ... I looked in my rear view mirror ... and she was SITTING IN THE BACK SEAT, still with that nightmarish expression, still screaming. Then she just vanished as I was panicking around. Just gone. I don't know what that was that spoke to me in the restaurant that day, but I know that it wasn't a prank. I swear at night sometimes I see her shadow moving in the dark in my room, just grinning a really ugly, evil grin. I haven't slept properly since.

The Marine and the black-eyed kids

There isn't much that's tougher than a U.S. Marine, trained in combat, survival and able to face the threat of imminent bodily harm or death. That said, maybe they aren't quite as prepared, when it comes to encounters with the unknown. Using the name Reaper 3-1, this is a Marine's account of an unexpected and unnerving experience with black-eyed people. To make it even more harrowing, these black-eyed entities appeared to be small children.

I'M A MARINE stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. I live in the infantry barracks off of River Road. I recently had a rather strange encounter with a pair of black-eyed kids.

I live on the third floor of the barracks that have open walkways on the outside and the rooms on the inside. This happened on a weekend back in November, 2009. It was a weekend, so almost every Marine was out, either home, drinking or sleeping; only a handful were left in the barracks awake. I'd stayed in that weekend because I was broke and had no money to go out.

I was watching a movie when I heard a knock at my door. Figuring it was my roommate who'd lost his key again, I went and opened it. Instead of a drunken roommate, I found two little kids standing on the walkway - only these kids freaked the hell out of me. I don't know what it was about them, but as a Marine we're always told to listen to that little voice in your head, because it just might save your life from an IED (improvised explosive device). Right then that voice was screaming at me to shut the door and lock it.


There was also the fact that these kids had absolutely pitch-black eyes. I mean no white or any other color to them whatsoever - just black. But I pushed those things aside and asked them what they were doing there so late. They responded by saying that it was really cold out and they wanted to come in and read. I was confused as hell, because I've never met a kid that wants to read. Also, there was no mention of any parents or anything else you'd expect a lost couple of kids to say.

I couldn't take my eyes of their pitch-black eyes; it was like they were sucking me in. I felt horrible and was suddenly frightened for my life, like I needed to immediately take cover. They just stared at me, with those goddam eyes.

I took a quick look up and down the walkway to see if any other Marines were out, but there was nobody in site. I turned back to the kids who I noticed had taken a step forward toward me. I got the feeling like I was being hunted, like these kids where predators and out for their next meal or something. Instinct gave way to reason and I decided to listen to that voice and shut the door and locked it.

I heard soft constant knocking for the next five minutes before I heard my window rattle and then nothing. I went down to the officer on duty the next morning and asked him about it and he said he hadn't heard of or seen any kids in the area at all, and dismissed it saying that I'd probably had too much to drink last night. Only I hadn't been drinking at all or anything like that that night. I don't know what or who those kids were, but I doubt any of the families here would let their kids wander around at night on a military base.

These are but a few of the eerie stories of encounters with black-eyed beings. There are many more, from around the world.

Some of the common characteristics of black-eyed beings are as follows:

* Some of the adult or child-like black-eyed beings dress in a manner that attracts attention, be it clothing that is either extremely neat, appearing from a by-gone era, strange color combinations, or wearing all black or dark clothing.

* Contact with these beings often take place at night, or inside buildings.

* The black-eyed children do not act shy but may be forceful about what they want. They may try to intimidate or persuade, demanding entry into a home, or a vehicle. However, they do not seem to act physical.

* A common theme among the children with black eyes, is to ask for permission to enter a home or a car. Could there be certain laws these beings must follow, such as being invited in? This is much like the legendary vampire, or a demon that waits to be invited in before it can accomplish it's evil deeds.

* Witnesses sometimes claim that both black-eyed children and adult beings are evil, or that they note an evilness abouit them.

* After making eye contact with these beings, most people will shy away from them, even in public places.

* These beings have been reported by people world-wide. Where they come from is not known.

* Black-eyed beings appear to have solid form, unlike ghosts and they can and do communicate.

* By some accounts, at least some of these beings have olive colored skin.

List source



It's been suggested that these black-eyed beings are really hybrid aliens, or "Men in Black", those MIBs that show up after a Close Encounter with a "UFO". Well, I've witnessed a black helicopter up close but can't say as I have ever seen an MIB, so I'll have to leave those speculations to someone else.

What might have happened to these witnesses had they stayed around, or allowed these beings to enter their homes? No one knows.

Could these stories of encounters with black-eyed strangers be true? Well, the universe is vast and there are so many unknowns. Stories like these are just a small part of what makes up our Phantom Universe.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

City in the middle of the sea

Built in 1947 as an exercise of Soviet and Azeri ambition and known as "Oil Rocks" (a.k.a. 'Oil Stones'), this secret Russian city rises up out of the Caspian Sea, 28–31 miles (45–50 km) from the nearest shore.

After WWII, Russia needed more oil, so a whole city was built on the surface of the Caspian Sea and oil was pumped from the shallow water portion of the Absheron geological trend.

All together, the streets of this one-of-a-kind town exceeded 350 km (200 miles). There were nine shops, schools, industry complexes, a library and working fountains. There were even lawns with green grass and children playing ball.

Now decaying, with many of it's streets and roads under water, 'Oil Rocks' still produces over half of the total crude oil output of Azerbaijan.

Coordinates: 40°19′N 50°35′E

Read more here and here.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Giant meat-eating plants prefer tree shrew poo

Giant meat-eating plants prefer to eat tree shrew poo

By Matt Walker Editor,
Earth News

Botanists have discovered that the giant montane pitcher plant of Borneo has a pitcher the exact same size as a tree shrew's body.

But it is not this big to swallow up mammals such as tree shrews or rats.

Instead, the pitcher uses tasty nectar to attract tree shrews, then ensures its pitcher is big enough to collect the feeding mammal's droppings.

Details of the discovery are published in the journal New Phytologist.

Big reputation

Pitcher plants have elaborate structures which entice creatures such as ants or spiders into a precarious position, from which they fall into a fluid-filled trap, where they drown and are ingested.

These arthropods are thought to provide the plant with vital nitrogen and phosphorus, which it cannot obtain any other way.

Pitchers are the largest carnivorous plants, and the largest pitchers grow in Borneo.

One, known as Nepenthes rajah, is believed to be the largest meat-eating plant in the world, growing pitchers that can hold two litres of water if filled to the brim.

This plant's pitcher is so big that they are reputed to catch vertebrates.

"This species has always been famous for its ability to trap rodents, but I've been looking at the pitchers of this species on and off since 1987, and I've never seen a trapped rat inside," says Dr Charles Clarke, an expert on carnivorous plants based at Monash University's Sunway Campus in Selangor, Malaysia.

"This made me wonder: if it is large enough to trap rats, but it only traps them very rarely, it is likely that the pitchers are large because of some other reason?"

To find out, Dr Clarke and colleagues Ms Lijin Chin of Monash University and Dr Jonathan Moran of Royal Roads University in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada turned their attention to tree shrews, which inhabit the same forest as N. rajah.

They did so after noticing that tree shrews, which are a similar size to rodents but most closely related to primates, sometimes left faeces in the traps of large pitchers.

"All of a sudden we realised that there may be some relationship between big pitchers and tree shrews," says Dr Clarke.

"So we decided to look at the pitcher geometry."

What they found "totally blew us away", says Dr Clarke.

Precise dimensions

N. rapah pitchers have huge orifices, but they also grow large concave lids held at an angle of about 90 degrees away from the orifice.

The inside of these lids are covered with glands that exude huge amounts of nectar.

Most importantly, the distance from the front of the pitcher's mouth to the glands corresponds exactly to the head to body length of mountain tree shrews.

The same is true for two other species of large meat-eating pitcher plant, N. lowii and N. macrophylla that are also visited by tree shrews.

However, the pattern does not hold for other pitcher species not associated with the small mammals.

"In order for the tree shrews to reach the exudates, they must climb onto the pitchers and orient themselves in such a way that their backsides are located over the pitcher mouths," explains Dr Clarke.

The tree shrews then appear to defecate as a way of marking their feeding territory.

That suggests these supposedly "meat-eating" plants have evolved a mutualistic relationship with tree shrews.

The tree shrews get nectar, a valuable food source, and in return, the plants get to catch and absorb the tree shrew's faeces which likely supplies the majority of nitrogen required by the plant.

These particular species of pitcher also live in the highlands where insects and other arthropods are more scarce.

Such creatures would normally provide the nitrogen needed by the pitcher, forcing it to evolve its huge size to attract tree shrews instead.

Radical rethink

"150 years after the discovery of N. rajah, we finally have an explanation for why the largest carnivorous plant in the world produces such big pitchers," says Dr Clarke.

Dr Clarke says it is the "neatest" discovery he has made in more than 20 years of studying Nepenthes meat-eating plants.

"The findings should radically alter how we look at these plants," he says.

He believes there is much we still have to learn about the true habits of carnivorous plants.

They suspect another highland species, N. ephippiata, likely feeds on faeces too, as may a huge meat-eating plant called N. attenboroughii which was only discovered last year.

In the lowlands of Borneo, bats roost in the pitchers of yet more Nepenthes species, suggesting these plants may too feed off the faeces of other small mammals.


Giant 'meat-eating' plant found

Matt Walker Editor,
Earth News

A new species of giant carnivorous plant has been discovered in the highlands of the central Philippines.

The pitcher plant is among the largest of all pitchers and is so big that it can catch rats as well as insects in its leafy trap.

During the same expedition, botanists also came across strange pink ferns and blue mushrooms they could not identify.

The botanists have named the pitcher plant after British natural history broadcaster David Attenborough.

They published details of the discovery in the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society earlier this year.

Word that this new species of pitcher plant existed initially came from two Christian missionaries who in 2000 attempted to scale Mount Victoria, a rarely visited peak in central Palawan in the Philippines.

With little preparation, the missionaries attempted to climb the mountain but became lost for 13 days before being rescued from the slopes.

On their return, they described seeing a large carnivorous pitcher plant.

That pricked the interest of natural history explorer Stewart McPherson of Red Fern Natural History Productions based in Poole, Dorset, UK and independent botanist Alastair Robinson, formerly of the University of Cambridge, UK and Volker Heinrich, of Bukidnon Province, the Philippines.

All three are pitcher plant experts, having travelled to remote locations in the search for new species.

So in 2007, they set off on a two-month expedition to the Philippines, which included an attempt at scaling Mount Victoria to find this exotic new plant.

Accompanied by three guides, the team hiked through lowland forest, finding large stands of a pitcher plant known to science called Nepenthes philippinensis, as well as strange pink ferns and blue mushrooms which they could not identify.

As they closed in on the summit, the forest thinned until eventually they were walking among scrub and large boulders

"At around 1,600 metres above sea level, we suddenly saw one great pitcher plant, then a second, then many more," McPherson recounts.

"It was immediately apparent that the plant we had found was not a known species."

Pitcher plants are carnivorous. Carnivorous plants come in many forms, and are known to have independently evolved at least six separate times. While some have sticky surfaces that act like flypaper, others like the Venus fly trap are snap traps, closing their leaves around their prey.

Pitchers create tube-like leaf structures into which insects and other small animals tumble and become trapped.

The team has placed type specimens of the new species in the herbarium of the Palawan State University, and have named the plant Nepenthes attenboroughii after broadcaster and natural historian David Attenborough.

"The plant is among the largest of all carnivorous plant species and produces spectacular traps as large as other species which catch not only insects, but also rodents as large as rats," says McPherson.

The pitcher plant does not appear to grow in large numbers, but McPherson hopes the remote, inaccessible mountain-top location, which has only been climbed a handful of times, will help prevent poachers from reaching it.

During the expedition, the team also encountered another pitcher, Nepenthes deaniana, which had not been seen in the wild for 100 years. The only known existing specimens of the species were lost in a herbarium fire in 1945.

On the way down the mountain, the team also came across a striking new species of sundew, a type of sticky trap plant, which they are in the process of formally describing.

Thought to be a member of the genus Drosera, the sundew produces striking large, semi-erect leaves which form a globe of blood red foliage.


Note: When you wonder if life exists on other planets, just take a look at the diversity of life on our own world, Earth. That should be your first clue.



Wednesday, March 10, 2010

From UFOs to Ghosts- Unexplained and in the News: 3/10/2010

Welcome to the Phantom Universe.

Today we offer up some tasty morsels from the stranger side of the news room, with a few of my 'maybe not so witty' remarks. Enjoy!


A man and his dog become terrified, when they see an alien craft land, then a spooky white shape emerges and glides towards them. The man and dog run like mad!
Can't say as I blame them, so would I.
Read the story here-


Is this the best UFO photo of the decade? Out of Argentina comes another UFO photo.
Is it just me, or does that look like a worn out house-shoe?
Read the story here-


An unexplained light show has appeared in the skies over Lake Erie for six nights, so Fox 8 News ran with it.
See the story, video and photos here-


A glowing green UFO is spotted (in photo) hovering over last working windmill in Norfolk.
Some say it's a green Chinese lantern. Yeah, right.
See photos and story here-


Skywatchers over Eureka, California believe they saw a "jalopy UFO", belching fire and smoke.
Read the story and see the photo here-



Religion and Cryptozoology. Now there's a combo.
The story is here-

The Chupacabra legend lives on with new sighting... in Oklahoma.
OK, so it was a raccoon with a severe case of mange but the monster still lives!
Read the tale and see the video here-

Something big is prowling in East Texas neighborhood.
It ain't the teenagers...
See story and photos here-

A recent Bigfoot sighting in Leeds.
Hey, isn't that a hot-spot for UFOs?

Read the story here-


New Zealander auctions off two "ghosts" in a bottle. An electronic cigarette company amde the top bid and is now looking for ideas on what to do with the ghosts.
I say, "Set them free!"
See the story here-


Monday, March 1, 2010

8.8 Earthquake Hits Chile- A UFO Connection?

Video Link

If true, this is stunning footage by American Missionaries, of a glowing disc-like object that was video taped the night before the 8.8 magnitude earthquake, which struck Chile on February 27, 2010.

Could this be a UFO, an example of a phenomena known to seismologists as “the Hessdalen Phenomenon” or “Luminous Plasmoid (LP).”, or could it be a repercussion of HAARP?

_ _ _

A devastating magnitude-8.8 earthquake struck Chile early Saturday, February 27, 2010, toppling homes and buildings, collapsing bridges and spawning a tsunami that rolled menacingly across the Pacific.

As of Monday, March 1, 2010, the death toll had reached 723, marking the strongest earthquake to hit Chile in 50 years and one of the strongest ever measured anywhere.

The jolt triggered a tsunami, which began a race across the Pacific, setting off alarm sirens in Hawaii, Polynesia and Tonga. On the islands, traffic was banned on roads less than 1,600 feet from the sea. People in low-lying island nations were urged to find higher ground.

This is not the first, nor will it be the last earthquake in Chile. It isn't even the biggest earthquake ever recorded there. In May of 1960, a 9.5 magnitude earthquake struck along the same fault zone, taking 1,665 lives in Chile, then moving across the ocean as a Tsunami, killing 61 people in Hawaii, Japan and the Philippines.

"The Chilean earthquake occurred at the boundary between the Nazca and South American tectonic plates. These rocky slabs are converging at a rate of 3 inches (80 mm) per year, according to the USGS. This huge jolt happened as the Nazca plate moved down and landward below the South American plate. This is called a subduction zone when one plate subducts beneath another.

(Over time, the overriding South American Plate gets lifted up, creating the towering Andes Mountains.)

The plate movement explains why coastal Chile has such a history of powerful earthquakes . Since 1973, 13 temblors of magnitude 7.0 or greater have occurred there, according to the USGS."

The UFO Connection

So what is the connection between UFOs and disasters such as earthquakes in Chile, or elsewhere? That's the $64k question.

I rather doubt that UFOs are causing the quakes but then who knows for sure? With all the underground bases that are supposed to exist, even in Chile, all that digging is bound to stir up seismic activity.
From all the UFO sightings reports coming from Chileans lately, it's evident that UFOs (their occupants) could at the very least, be observing, possibly anticipating seismic disturbances.

According to several well known websites, The media in Chile have blamed UFOs for the disappearance of a large lake in that country. The disappearance was discovered on May 27, 2009.

Is it possible that fractures in the bottom of the lake allowed the water to drain away, or did UFOs suck it dry? My money is on the 'drain factor', Earth movements opening fissures, allowing water to drain into underground caverns.

I suspect that alen activity does seem to increase just before a major disaster, as so many have reported sseing UFOs before, during and after a major calamity.

Are aliens attempting to warn us, are they the cause, or are they just observing our 'living earth' and the response of it's inhabitants, to the ensuing catastrophe?


* * *

Big lake disappears overnight in Chile

Video Link

Here is a video of a lake in Brazil that reportedly disappeared in one hour.

Video Link

Video of a fleet of UFOs over Chile suposedly recorded in December, 2009.

Video Link

Supposed UFO over Chile- November, 2009

Video Link

This last video is said to have been filmed on live TV in Chile. Real, or CGI?

Video Link

* * *