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Triangular UFO Spotted!

Trnava Slovakia October 16, 2002 (Slovak Spectator) - A three-sided UFO was recently spotted by a woman in the western Slovak town of Jaslovské Bohunice. The woman said she was awakened by strange sounds at 01:30, according to Miroslav Karlík, a member of a UFO club in Trnava.

When she looked out of her window, she spotted a lit triangular object moving above the town.

"It was moving east and west, stopping from time to time, and was visible from her window," Karlík said.

UFO Glimpse Sparks Dark Documentary

Gisborne Australia October 9, 2002 (Gisborne Telegraph) - Jason Groves was only 15 when he said he first sighted an unidentified flying object (UFO). He was riding home on a school bus from Warrnambool to Wangoom when, at 4.15pm, he witnessed an out-of-this-world phenomenon.

"I saw a saucer go into a cloud. It popped out and went back in. It was silver, definitely silver and made from some sort of steel substance. It was glittering," he said.

Now 24 and living in Gisborne, Mr. Groves has decided to dedicate his life to UFO research. He heads the UFO research organization Dark Matters Investigations, which collects information for the Australian UFO Research Network. He is also a writer for UFO magazines.

His latest project is a documentary examining the evidence available on UFO reports in Australia compared to the US. The objective of the documentary - UFOs: The Australian Connection - is to prove that UFOs are a worldwide phenomena and of alien origin.

Mr. Groves said he was seeking information from anyone in the Sunbury and Macedon Ranges region that may have seen a UFO or strange light in the region. He admitted that the idea of life beyond earth and flying saucers seemed far-fetched to most people, but said that he was convinced the flying object he saw in 1987 was a UFO.

"I had an interest in space (prior to 1987), but didn't really believe in UFOs until I saw one. I looked into the subject and started to contact a few groups and went from there.

"I have seen a few strange lights since then, but not recently," he said.

Mr. Groves said UFOs could be distinguished from other flying objects because of their distinctive saucer shape. He said there had also been reports of triangular-shaped UFOs.

The Australian UFO Research Network said it hadn't received any reports of UFOs in Sunbury and the Macedon Ranges but that they had received reports of "strange lights".

"Strange lights are different from other lights in the sky because of the way they move. The cases we received reports on mainly moved in zigzags. They were in one place at one moment and jumped distances to another place the next," Mr. Groves said. He said only 10% of cases reported would be of interest, but all unexplained phenomena was worth reporting for investigation purposes.

Mr. Groves believes space and military organizations have evidence to prove that UFOs exist.

"In 1938 CBS screened Orson Welles' War of the Worlds. It was a mock story and America nearly self-disintegrated. Everyone thought it was for real and started to panic. Why would we be the only living intelligent creatures?" he asked.

If you have seen a UFO or strange light contact the Australian UFO Research Network on 1800772288.

Mr. Groves hopes to have completed his documentary by March.

Wow! Heavenly Light Widens Eyes 

By Jody Genessy
Deseret News

Utah October 7, 2002 (Deseret News) - Goodness gracious! A great ball of fire sure raised a ruckus in northern Utah Sunday night.

Emergency dispatch operators, news organizations and space-related businesses along the Wasatch Front were flooded with phone calls from the curious and concerned. People reported seeing a forest fire above Olympus Cove, an unusually bright light in the sky from Ogden to Santaquin, a colorful fireball above Morgan and Summit counties, even explosions in the heavens.

The unidentified flying object streaked in a north-to-south direction over Utah at 7:30 p.m.

"I'm looking to welcome the guys to Utah," said one police dispatcher, joking about a possible E.T. sighting.

No such luck. This UFO was determined to be a meteor. It was spotted anywhere from Bear Lake to Denver to Sevier County.

One person "saw a green ball of fire with a blue tail," said a dispatcher who took at least 15 phone calls from inquisitive Summit County residents.

Salt Lake County police were dispatched to the possible Olympus Cove fire, but there wasn't one. Other people "were calling in about the bright lights," said a dispatcher. "It's been rather interesting."

Peter Wilensky, a National Weather Service meteorologist (that's meteorologist, not meteor-ologist) based in Salt Lake, called it a random event. It wasn't part of an "organized shower" nor was it "a piece of space junk."

"All of a sudden we got lots of calls . . . from all sorts of places," he said. "So it was a bona fide event."

Seth Jarvis, director of the Hansen Planetarium, believes the meteor was rather small and was rapidly zipping along. An official American Meteor Society report at  hadn't been posted as of Monday morning.

"What really could've lit up the skies," he said, "was a rock the size of a softball entering the atmosphere at 100,000 miles an hour." Some meteors we see are only dust-size particles smacking the atmosphere. "It doesn't take much," Wilensky said.

Though some reported seeing it land, that was probably an optical illusion. Jarvis speculates the meteor was 60 miles overhead. No sonic booms were heard, a sign it wasn't low. "It's unlikely anything actually landed," he said.

Chunks from outer space such as this one are so visible because they create great heat when entering the upper atmosphere, Jarvis explained. They vaporize into atoms from friction and that vapor then causes a brilliant streak.

Which, in turn, causes a lot of curiosity on Earth.

Denise Jarvis of Clinton (in western Davis County) looked out her living room window and noticed "a huge flame" darting in the still blue sky.

"You could see the fireball and a big streak clearly as could be," she said. "It was very visible, very vivid and distinct. It looked like a meteor that was going to bounce into the mountain. It was just right there."

Jarvis was convinced it hit a peak. "But I guess people in Coalville thought the same thing. It was great. It was a fun thing to look at."

Family Spots UFO!

Derbyshire UK October 4, 2002 (Evening Telegraph) - A cigar-shaped UFO drifted over Ilkeston - and then did an encore. A family from Kirk Hallam say it appeared to head for the village of West Hallam before returning from whence it came at about 7.45pm on Monday.

The mother, father and son, who do not want to be named, have lodged a detailed report with the Derby-based Phenomena Research Association. They also called Derbyshire police, who did not receive any other reports.

Although looking like a cigar, they say it flew sideways and had a series of lights. The mother watched the object through binoculars from the family home.

She said: "I have never seen anything like it. There's no aeroplane like that. It seemed to float across and there was this hum coming from it."

Her son first saw the UFO while he was looking towards Little Hallam Hill, and alerted his parents. The object had two rows of white lights near each end. Underneath were two yellow lights - and a red pulsating beam. The centre of the craft was dark and it was difficult to gauge its size. But the mother held a biro at arm's length and said it appeared as long as that.

The UFO came from the direction of the Stanton Works and later headed back that way.

Omar Fowler, Phenomena Research Association spokesman, said: "The family said that it made a low-pitched droning noise and that is typical of a large UFO craft. It is a major sighting and points to an increase in activity in the Ilkeston area."

Spiders Spark UFO Scare!

SANTA CRUZ October 9, 2002 (AP) — No, the UFOs haven't landed. Nor is Santa Cruz, California, being attacked by some kind of secret weapon. 

Authorities in the coastal community are reassuring citizens that shimmery sky webs are perfectly natural. They're long, floating spider webs that have been spotted bobbing across the sky. 

Some people called police worried about biological weapons. Others thought they could be the work of space aliens. 

But one biology professor says gossamer webs are made by young spiders, which use them like natural parachutes to float on the wind.

How To Fake Your Own UFO!

Hollywood October 16, 2002 (eXoNews) - Like our picture of the UFO hovering around President Bush? Want to make your own UFO pictures? It's easy! Here's how:

1. Take a picture of an object that looks like a UFO. Use a cheap camera. The object doesn't have to be anything fancy - just something that is vaguely saucer-shaped. We used an old lava lamp we found in the basement. If you're not sure about your object, try squinting at it or look at it through the bottom of a whisky bottle before you take the picture.

2. Pick out a background picture for your fake UFO. This can be any snapshot you have around the house taken against the sky. No big time camera requirements here either. (Just look at the other UFO pictures we have here.) Most UFO shots are snapped in a hurry - like those photos of Great Aunt Lucie you took in front of her house in Oregon.

3. Cut out the picture of the saucer- shaped object and position it on the background. You can cut it out with any kind of scissors. Toenail scissors will do. Move the saucer around against your background until it looks "natural".

4. Scan the finished composition into your computer.

There you have it! Now you can email your Aunt Lucie Meets the UFO shot to UFO clubs around the world. You can also submit the story of how you witnessed your Oregon UFO to any number of gullible foreign newspapers. Maybe you can write a book about your experience! Make a documentary for The Learning Channel! Produce your own series on Sci Fi right after Bill Shatner's Fright Night!

Hey! Maybe the truth is REALLY out there! Feel free to submit real UFO pix and stories to eXoNews.

UFOs to 

Greenpeace Blasts Whaling Body Over Iceland Entry
By Gideon Long 

LONDON October 15, 2002 (Reuters) - Environmental group Greenpeace hit out at the International Whaling Commission (news - web sites) (IWC) Tuesday for readmitting Iceland despite the country's refusal to rule out a resumption of commercial hunting. 

The British-based commission voted Monday to allow Iceland back in as a full member for the first time in 10 years. 

Iceland joins Norway as one of only two countries in the world which have negotiated the right to hunt whales for commercial purposes while still being IWC members. 

"The commission's decision is thoroughly disappointing and defies all common sense," Greenpeace oceans campaigner Richard Page told Reuters. "Iceland's stance, in joining the commission while having a reservation about the moratorium on commercial whaling, is an act of bad faith," he added, saying the lives of minke and fin whales in the North Atlantic were in danger. 

The vote was extremely tight. Of the IWC's 50 members, 19 voted in favor and 18 against. The other member countries were either absent or ineligible to vote. Several key players, including Britain and the United States, opposed the decision. 

Norway, which has long-standing objections to the worldwide moratorium on whale hunting, and Japan, which hunts whales for scientific purposes, backed Iceland. 

Iceland left the IWC in 1992 in anger over the worldwide moratorium on commercial whale hunting, agreed in 1986 and implemented by the vast majority of IWC members. Later, it tried to renegotiate its way back in but was rebuffed several times in the 1990s. Each time, Iceland made further concessions in an attempt to be reaccepted. 

This time, its bid succeeded after it agreed it would not resume commercial whaling until 2006 at the earliest, and only then under strict regulations. 

"Under no circumstances will whaling for commercial purposes be authorized in Iceland without a sound scientific basis and an effective management and enforcement scheme," the Icelandic delegation said in its statement of adherence to the IWC. 

But Greenpeace said all commercial whaling was wrong, regardless of how it is regulated, and warned Iceland it would endanger its own tourist industry if it started whaling again. 

"Since the early 1990s they've had this truly sustainable industry grow up, namely whale-watching," Page said. "It seems to me extraordinary that they would want to jeopardize that by starting whaling again." 

In a separate move, the IWC also voted Monday to allow indigenous people in Alaska to kill a limited number of bowhead whales as part of so-called subsistence hunting. They will be allowed to hunt 280 bowhead whales -- at a maximum of 67 per calendar year -- in the period between 2003 and 2006. The whales will be hunted in the Bering Strait, between Russia and the United States.

Visit Greenpeace at 
Rich Should Save Elephants
By Alex Kirby 
BBC News Environment Correspondent 

Kenya October 14, 2002 (BBC) - The Kenyan conservationist Richard Leakey says the developed countries have a responsibility to save the world's elephants. Dr Leakey told BBC News Online it was unfair to leave the job to the poor countries where the elephants live.

He urged a continuing ban on the sale of all ivory, including tusks obtained legally. He said poachers in central Africa were causing mayhem, while Asia's elephants were critically threatened. 

Dr Leakey was speaking before a meeting of the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) from 3 to 15 November in Santiago, Chile. Five southern African countries - Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe - want permission from Cites to sell stockpiled ivory. 

This means moving elephants from Cites' Appendix I to Appendix II. Appendix I includes species threatened with extinction, and trade is allowed only exceptionally. Appendix II includes species not necessarily threatened with extinction, but where trade needs controlling to help their survival. 

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) says all elephants should be put on Appendix I. In a poll conducted in the UK, it says nine Britons in 10 support protecting them. The five countries say they have too many elephants and the money from ivory sales could help conservation. 

Their opponents say there is no way to distinguish between ivory from legal sources and tusks which have been poached. So any legal trade would inevitably fuel a demand which only the poachers could satisfy. An experimental legal stockpile sale in 1999 is said to have prompted a clear surge in illegal trade and poaching.

Dr Leakey told BBC News Online: "All the evidence points to the world's elephants facing a huge threat. Ivory is flowing out to south-east Asia, where there's a big demand for it, and poaching in central Africa is causing havoc. For God's sake, let's not open up the ivory trade just now. I don't have a problem with the principle of selling ivory, but if you restart legal sales now, you'll drive the illegal trade too. If the trade restarts, we're heading down the slippery slope. I know these states say they have too many elephants, and we have exactly the same problem in some Kenyan parks. All I'm saying is that we mustn't put the ivory on the market."

Asked if the developed world was doing enough, Dr Leakey said: "I'm absolutely sure more could be done. Leaving the burden on developing countries is very unfair. The G8 countries, the most developed economies, should do more to help the third world." 

Africa's elephant population is thought to have more than halved, to about 600,000 animals, between the late 1970s and 1989. Some experts believe it has continued its precipitous decline, leaving barely 300,000 elephants today. 

Asia is thought to have fewer than 50,000 wild elephants: Ifaw puts the total at about 35,000. Dr Leakey said Asia's elephants were facing "a terrible crisis, with India's situation deplorable. And most of it has happened in the last 10 years." 

From 1 January 2000 to 21 May 2002, 965 African elephants were reported killed by poachers, and 39 Asian elephants. 

The ivory poachers are not the elephants' only enemy. Recent reports from the Central African Republic describe elephant carcasses stripped of their flesh but with the tusks still in place, suggesting the bushmeat trade is worth more than the ivory. 

Only male Asian elephants have tusks, though both sexes do in Africa. Zoologists now recognize at least two distinct African species, the savannah and the forest elephant, with a possible third species, the western African elephant.


Iran Arrests Dogs in Anti-Corruption Drive
TEHRAN October 14, 2002 (Reuters) - Dogs and their owners could become the latest target of a clampdown on moral corruption in Iran after a hardline cleric called for canines of all shapes to be arrested.

"I call on the judiciary to arrest all long-legged, medium- legged and short-legged dogs along with their long-legged owners," the newspaper quoted Gholamreza Hassani, Friday prayer leader in the northwestern city of Urumiyeh, as saying.

"Otherwise I'll do it myself," the Etemad newspaper on Sunday quoted the cleric as saying.

While canines are reviled by strict Muslims for being "unclean," dog-ownership has increased in Iran in recent years especially among well-to-do, Westernized Iranians.

"In our country there is freedom of speech, but not freedom for corruption," said Hassani, famous for his often eccentric outbursts. "Some evil people interpret freedom to promote un- Islamic and corrupt behavior."

Police and hard-line judiciary agents have carried out sporadic clampdowns on dogs in Iran, fining owners and confiscating their pets in streets and public parks.

In his latest comments, Hassani appeared to be widening the net of his anti-canine campaign since last year when he thanked police for confiscating short-legged dogs in Urumiyeh.
UN Population Chief Warns of Catastrophic War
By Alex Kirby 
BBC News Environment Correspondent 

Canterbury UK October 9, 2002 (BBC) - The head of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Dr Thoraya Obaid, says war on Iraq would be catastrophic. She said a recent warning that a conflict would "open the gates of hell" was absolutely right. 

Dr Obaid said the only way to fight terrorism was to tackle the causes of injustice. She said the US decision to withhold funding from UNFPA would worsen the HIV/Aids crisis. Dr Obaid was speaking in a BBC News Online interview after taking part in a two-day meeting in Canterbury, UK, of the World Faiths Development Dialogue (WFDD). 

The meeting, chaired by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, and the World Bank president, James Wolfensohn, involved participants from many religions, including Muslims, Jews, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Hindus and Bahais. 

Dr Obaid, UNFPA's executive director, was born in Baghdad, but is a Saudi citizen. 

She told BBC News Online: "Amr Moussa, the head of the Arab League, said last month that war against Iraq would 'open the gates of hell' in the Middle East, with instability across the region. He was right. Nobody wants war, and I pray that this one will be averted, because if it breaks out it will destroy people, lives and futures. To fight terrorism you have to fight the root causes of injustice - poverty, disease, joblessness. Nobody can live without hope. If by 2015 we can realize the Millennium Development Goals, which aim to halve global poverty, then we'll be turning our faces against injustice." 

Earlier this year the US announced that it was withholding $34m in funding for UNFPA, because, it claimed, the agency was helping China to enforce a one-child policy and encouraging abortions among Chinese women. 

Dr Obaid told BBC News Online: "That's 12% of our total funding. It really is a crisis for us. We have nothing to do with abortion at all. So our other programs are now going to suffer because of an issue we don't even touch. What the US decision will do is increase maternal mortality and worsen the HIV/Aids crisis. We're still hoping to find a way around it, and we're talking to the State Department in Washington. But so far we haven't succeeded." 

Dr Obaid said the Canterbury meeting had been "a very harmonious and elevating experience. I felt both spiritually and intellectually elevated by it. In many communities, 50-60% of health and education services are provided by faith-based organizations, so there's great potential there. Life-and-death issues sometimes force change upon you - look at what the Christian churches are doing in Africa about HIV/Aids." 

The Canterbury agenda devoted one session to discussing how to tackle HIV/Aids, which the agenda described as "the critical development challenge in today's world".
Famous Shipwreck Tale Proves True
By Robin McKie

London October 13, 2002 (Observer UK) - An eighteenth-century adventure story involving slavery on a desert island, violent death and escape became the literary sensation of its day and has been pronounced by experts since as exciting stuff but utter fiction. 

Now a British archaeologist has discovered the startling truth about Robert Drury and the story of his escape from Madagascar. The experts were wrong. His fantastic, graphic tale of torture, enslavement, battles between rival tribes and shipwreck was true and has opened an unexpected new window on a lost period of history. 

Drury's captain and crewmates were indeed slaughtered by violent islanders, while he survived only after enduring years of slavery before escaping, a tale that Drury detailed in his 1729 book, Madagascar: or Robert Drury's Journal During 15 Years' Captivity on that Island. 

The truth of Drury's encounter, which he called a plain, honest narrative of matters of fact', has been pieced together by British archaeologist Mike Parker Pearson, who last year uncovered the wreckage of the East India Company ship Degrave in which the young midshipman sailed to the island. On the same field trip, Pearson, of Sheffield University, dug up the remains of the village in which Drury was a captive. 

It is a remarkable piece of detective work, in which Pearson - in keeping with the Boys' Own nature of his material - was himself captured by local people and freed only after complex negotiations. 'Today white people are suspected by locals of being head-hunters who want their brains to find cures for Aids,' said Pearson, whose account of his expeditions, In Search of the Red Slave, was published last week. 'Once we convinced them we were no such thing, they let us get on.'

Drury's original story was published several years after Daniel Defoe achieved widespread success with Robinson Crusoe, the fictionalized account of the adventures of the Fife sailor Alexander Selkirk. Selkirk's tale, though, was relatively benign. By contrast, Drury had a very different, far more violent story to tell, as Pearson outlines in the current issue of British Archaeology. 

In 1703 Drury and his 180 shipmates were washed up on the southern shore of Madagascar after the Degrave was wrecked. They were captured by the warlike Tandroy people who still inhabit much of the island, conscripted into the local army, and ordered to join the Tandroys in battles with local tribes. 

The captive crew decided to escape. They seized the Tandroys' king and held him hostage while they fled in the hope of finding a part of Madagascar more sympathetic to their plight.

Pursued by 2,000 enraged warriors, the sailors headed eastwards but were eventually caught. Only a handful escaped. All except four boys were slaughtered. Drury was one of the four youngsters. He was kept as a slave of the Tandroys in a village for eight years. Again he tried to escape, this time fleeing to the west. There he was recaptured, this time by the army of the neighboring Sakalava people. Again he was enslaved, and released only when an English ship arrived. Drury returned home on it. 

He later returned to Madagascar as, of all things, a slave trader, but spent his final years frequenting Old Tom's Coffee House in Birchin Lane, London, where he would tell of his adventures to anyone prepared to listen. 

'We only learnt the truth about Drury a few years ago, when an American academic found proof of his birth and death, and of his record as a midshipman,' said Pearson. 'Before that, a lot of people thought he was merely a figment of an unnamed fiction writer's imagination.' 

The fact that Drury was real did not mean his tale was true, of course, but Pearson was convinced. 'I'd become fascinated with his story, and when I joined an archaeological project in Madagascar I decided to prove Drury was telling the truth.' 

The team was aided by lavish detail Drury had included in his book, both of local practices - eating the local tubers, called Faungidge, and making beehives out of hollow trunks - and of the geography, including the names and positions of settlements. 

After several trips to the area, Pearson has found the sites of both the ancient capital Fennoarevo, and of Mionjona, where Drury spent eight years as a slave to the Tandroy king's grandson.

'We have also found the site of the wreck of the Degrave,' said Pearson. 'Two iron cannon of the period lie on the reef and lobster divers report seeing several others and an anchor on the seabed.' 

The discovery that Drury's adventures are largely true is intriguing for several reasons. Apart from validating a highly dramatic narrative, it shows the importance of maintaining good historical records and knowing how to explore them. It has shed critical light on how Madagascar was settled and ruled in a long-forgotten period of its history. 

'It has also been an adventure into the formation of the modern world, understanding how the period around 1700 was the moment at which the world "went global", with London the beating heart at its centre,' adds Pearson. 

Now the archaeologist is planning to arrange for the reprinting of Drury's book, which was last published in this country in the 1890s. 

One mystery remains about the work remains, however. Who wrote it? While Drury obviously supplied the facts, it is unlikely that an unschooled sailor actually provided the prose. Pearson believes he has also found the answer to this puzzle. 

'In its introduction we are told that Drury's manuscript was "put in a more agreeable method" by an anonymous editor. The text reveals that the editor was a Dissenter, a political commentator, and a verbose scribbler - almost certainly Defoe!'

Dinosaur Mummy Is 77 Million Years Old
By Hillary Mayell
National Geographic News

Montana October 10, 2002 (National Geographic) - Leonardo, a mummified, 77-million-year-old duck-billed dinosaur was only about three or four years old when he died, but he's proving to be a bonanza for paleontologists today. 

His fossilized skeleton is covered in soft tissue—skin, scales, muscle, foot pads—and even his last meal is in his stomach. 

"For paleontologists, if you can find one complete specimen in a lifetime, you've hit the jackpot," said Nate Murphy, curator of paleontology at the Phillips County Museum, Montana, where Leonardo makes his home.

"To find one with so much external detail available, it's like going from a horse and buggy to a steam combustion engine. It will advance our science a quantum leap." 

Leonardo is one of the most complete brachylophosaurus dinosaur fossils uncovered to date, and the first sub-adult. He is also only the fourth dinosaur fossil in the world to be classified as a "mummy" because of the soft tissue that is preserved. 

The other three mummies were uncovered in the early 20th century, when excavation and preservation techniques were not as advanced as they are today. 

"Paleontologists back then didn't have the techniques we have today to coax out the secrets these fossils are holding," said Murphy. "This specimen gives us a chance to apply modern scientific techniques to answer old questions." 

The mummified fossil was named Leonardo because graffiti near its burial site in northern Montana read "Leonard Webb and Geneva Jordan, 1917." Leonardo made his debut to the scientific community today at the 62nd Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology, taking place October 9-12, in Norman, Oklahoma. 

Remarkable State of Preservation 

When he died, Leonardo was a 22-foot-long (seven meters) teenager, weighing between 1.5 to 2 tons. He sported polygonal, five-sided scales that ranged from the size of a BB (airgun pellet) to the size of a dime, and soft-tissue structures on his back suggest that he had a little sail frill running up it. 

Scales and tissue parts have been found on less than one-tenth of one percent of all dinosaurs excavated. Leonardo's fossilized skeleton is about 90 percent covered in soft tissue, including skin, muscle, nail material, and a beak. 

Skin impressions have been found on the underside of the skull and all along the neck, ribcage, legs, and left arm. 

"When the animal was alive, the skin was almost as soft as your earlobe," said Murphy. 

A three-dimensional rock-cast of the right shoulder muscle and throat tissue, and the pads on the bottom of the three-toed foot were also preserved. 

Leonardo's stomach contents are so well-preserved that researchers can tell what he had for his last supper; a salad of ferns, conifers, and magnolias. The stomach also contained the pollen of more than 40 different plants. 

All of these qualities should go a long way to providing concrete information about the diet, range of movement, methods of locomotion, and paleo-environment dinosaurs during the late Cretaceous (89 to 65 million years ago) experienced. 

"We have the shoulder muscle to look at, so we can see how much range of motion he had," said Murphy. "We should be able to tell the size of his average step, how his chest muscles worked, and if he was truly a quadruped or if he was bipedal." 

"Paleontology is not an exact science," he said. "All we have are bones, and from there we develop theories about what the animals looked like, how they moved, and what they ate. A specimen like Leonardo will take a lot of guess work out and really tell us if Steven Spielberg's getting it right." 

Discovery and Excavation 

Dan Stephenson, of Minot, North Dakota, discovered Leonardo during the last hour of the last day of a summer expedition in 2000 sponsored by the Judith River Dinosaur Institute. 

"He had the wisdom to not mess with it," chuckles Murphy. "He went and got me and I knew right away we had a complete skeleton. Looking at the geology, I told the team that this was a great scenario for skin fossilization." 

Excavation began in the summer of 2001, when a demolition expert, using low-impact charges, cleared away the huge boulders on the top of the hillside. A road to the site was cut, and a bulldozer was called in to scrape off the hilltop. Team members dug a six-foot -deep (two meters) trench around the fossil's perimeter, and then went in with hand tools—the scalpels, brushes, and dental picks that are a paleontologist's tools of trade. 

Leonardo was disinterred from his cement-like grave as a single 6.5-ton block to preserve the skeleton. "He's in the record books as the largest dinosaur taken out in one chunk; it was a monumental undertaking," said Murphy. 

The scientific work on Leonardo will keep paleontologists occupied for years. 

"It's like looking through a frosted glass window. With bones you get an idea of what the animal looked like, but with soft tissue you get to see how the animal is put together—it goes a long way to clearing the frost," said Murphy.

Judith River Dinosaur Institute - 

National Geographic - 

New Inca Tomb Found in Peru Ruins
LIMA, Peru October 14, 2002 (AP) - Archaeologists at the famed Machu Picchu ruins uncovered an intact Incan tomb, one of the best preserved burial sites found at the ancient citadel, officials said Monday. 

Sabino Hancco, an archaeologist who is leading the dig, said the tomb apparently contained the remains of three people buried with traditional funeral "dowries" containing at least two ceramic vases and seven bronze objects, including brooches and pins. 

Archaeologists have been excavating the site since it was found last week about 30 inches underground in a crevasse beneath a large boulder in the stone-block citadel, Machu Picchu park director Fernando Astete said. 

In 1911, American Hiram Bingham became the first western explorer to locate the Machu Picchu ruins, perched on a mountaintop surrounded by jungle-shrouded peaks in Peru's southern Cuzco province. 

In the following four years, archaeologists unearthed tombs containing 172 bodies as they cleared away vegetation and excavated the sprawling stone city, Astete said. 

Another 30 have been found since then but those were poorly preserved and did not contain many artifacts, he said. 

"This one, however, is in a very good state," Astete said. "It has an entire funerary dowry," he said. 

The Incas ruled Peru from the 1430s until the arrival of the Spaniards in 1532, constructing stone-block cities and roads and developing a highly organized and militarized society. 

Hancco said the find last week was made during routine excavations that his team carries out at Machu Picchu every year. He said it was still unclear how old or what gender the buried bodies were, although Astete said the first remains unearthed appeared to be of a young woman. 

Machu Picchu, 310 miles southeast of Lima, Peru's capital, attracts 300,000 foreign visitors a year.
New Nasca Geoglyphs Identified
By Gonzalo Castillero 

Peru October 8, 2002 (EFE) - Human and animal likenesses, a knife, and a sundial are among the "geoglyphs," or giant figures etched into the earth and discernible from the sky, most recently discovered in the Peruvian desert. 

Peruvian archaeologist Johny Islas and German colleague Markus Reindel have identified new etchings made by the ancient Nasca people in the desert valleys of Palpa, about 460 kilometers (290 miles) south of Lima. 

After five years of work, the scientists were able to identify more than 1,000 new geoglyphs. 

The Nasca, whose culture flourished from around 200 B.C. to the middle of the seventh century A.D., made many of their etchings near the city of Nazca. 

But the glyphs identified by the two archaeologists in Palpa, 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of the city, predate the geoglyphs previously discovered and appear to mark the beginning of that civilization. 

Thanks to aerial photographs, the researchers were able to identify 650 archaeological sites as well as thousands of geoglyphs, petroglyphs, and cemeteries left by the Nasca people. 

Islas and Reindel also found planks with etchings similar to the enormous drawings previously discovered in the desert sands. 

"The technique is simple," Islas said. "The straight lines are traced with stakes attached with a string. The difficult part is translating the figures to the large scale while maintaining the correct proportions." The Nasca people created more than 1,000 figures of varying sizes, from a sundial 150 meters (500 feet) long to whales, foxes, and pelicans of 40 meters (130 feet) in length. They also etched human figures, apparently representing a family, each measuring 30 meters (100 feet) long. 

The Nasca created these immense figures in an effort to differentiate themselves from their predecessors, the Paracas, whose art was on a much smaller scale. 

The geoglyphs in the Palpa valley provide evidence that a new culture emerged in the region near the start of the Christian era, bringing with it new methods of building settlements and a new ideology. 

The etchings in the desert make up a sacred landscape honoring water and fertility. 

The cultural changes evident from the geoglyphs have also been noted by scientists studying the more than 600 archaeological sites in the region. 

"We searched some tombs and in each we found funeral shrouds, vessels, shells, and necklaces made of semi-precious stones, but more importantly we found gold objects" similar to the giant whale figures etched in the desert, Islas said. 

"The valleys of the south are not like those in the north. The south was a very dry region, almost an oasis. They only had water in the summer, and the accumulation of wealth was difficult," he explained. 

"But the Nasca managed to organize a society and take advantage of resources from the ocean and the mountains. They were truly an advanced society," he added. 

The tombs, located in two sites that were large administrative centers during the first four centuries of the Christian era, have revealed important information about the environment, lifestyle, and religion of the Nasca. 

Each tomb is composed of several rectangular chambers with a labyrinthine structure of walls and passageways dedicated to the cult of the dead, where people left offerings and prepared food to sustain the deceased in the afterlife. 

The buildings were adapted to the topography of the region, creating a large complex of terraces.
Folding Proteins
LOS ALAMOS October 14, 2002 (Los Alamos Press Release) - Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of California, San Diego, have created the first computer simulation of full-system protein folding thermodynamics at the atomic-level. Understanding the basic physics of protein folding could solve one of the grand mysteries of computational biology. 

Proteins are the basic building blocks of life and protein folding, the process by which proteins reconfigure themselves - the actions that result in structural change - are the foundation of cellular growth and the health of a biological system. When proteins incorrectly fold the malfunction can give rise to a variety of diseases. The fact that proteins fold has been known since the 1960s, but an understanding of the chemical and physical properties of folding continues to elude scientists. 

Understanding how proteins undergo the folding process has largely been studied from a biologist's point of view, probing actual proteins and studying them with high-powered microscopy techniques.

Now, Los Alamos theoretical biophysicist Angel Garcia, along with colleague Jose N. Onuchic of UC San Diego, have created a computer model of protein folding that focuses on the physics of the protein folding, specifically looking at the temperature changes that occur in the process. 

Findings were presented at the Rocky Mountain regional meeting of the American Chemical Society, Albuquerque. Protein complexes can be very large molecules containing millions of atoms, and protein folding is chemically and physically complex. Folding occurs very rapidly as well, with small protein molecules folding in millionths of seconds. 

"We have chosen to first look at a comparatively simple protein in water system consisting of about 18,000 atoms, called a 3-heilx bundle, that folds in a fairly simple way and relatively slowly, in about 10 microseconds," said Garcia. "Our calculation is based on Onuchic's 'funneling theory' of protein folding that looks at the 'energy landscape' of folding and finds that as the protein gets closer and closer to it's folded state it's energy gets lower and lower." 

Garcia implemented an algorithm that relies on exhaustive sampling of protein configurations and utilizes massively parallel computing combined with molecular dynamics and a random-sampling Monte Carlo simulation of the thermodynamics. The result is a computer model of the basic physical properties in a simple system that, if correct, should be applicable to even the most complex proteins. "In principle," said Garcia, "it should work for all proteins." 

The protein folding problem is complex computationally because a protein can adopt many shapes and configurations that grow exponentially based on the number of amino acids in a chain, called a polypeptide. A typical protein has between 60 and 150 amino acids. A typical amino acid, like glutamine, consists of 20 carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen atoms. 

Garcia's 18,000-atom computation was completed on 82 parallel processors over about a six-month time frame, translating to more than 34 years of Central Processing Unit time. 

Garcia plans to continue working on protein folding physics, creating more complex models that mimic the physics beyond the thermodynamic, with the eventual goal of better understanding the folding process for even the most complex protein structures. 

Los Alamos Site - 

Redheads Resist Anesthesia

WASHINGTON October 14, 2002 (AP) - The genetic quirk that makes red hair red may also make carrot-tops harder to knock out - in the operating room, that is.

A new study suggests people with naturally red hair need about 20 percent more anesthesia than patients with other hair colors.

It's a small study that will need confirmation. But it marks the first time scientists have linked a visible genetic trait to anesthesia doses, said Dr. Daniel Sessler of the University of Louisville, whose study will be presented Tuesday at a meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

Inadequate doses of general anesthesia can allow people to recall surgery, or even wake up during it, problems that occur in 1 percent of cases, Sessler said.

"If redheads require more anesthesia and are not given more, their chances of having recall during surgeries increase," he said.

Determining a patient is properly anesthetized is a partly an art: Physicians must watch for sometimes subtle signs of an underdose, like slight movements or sweating, as well as overdose warnings such as low blood pressure or heart rate. So knowing if a particular group of people is more likely to need a higher- or lower-than-standard dose could be very useful.

Anesthesiologists have long grumbled that redheads can be a little harder to put under, but no one had ever studied if that was real or folklore, said Dr. Andrea Kurz of Washington University in St. Louis, who praised the new research.

It's likely the first of many yet-to-be-discovered genetic factors that will allow anesthesia to be fine-tuned for increased safety, added Dr. James Cottrell, president of the anesthesiology society. "It's a very exciting area."

But why would hair color possibly matter? The theory hinges on melanin, a pigment responsible for skin and hair color.

The sun triggers a hormone that in turn triggers the production of melanin to form a tan. Redheads seldom tan easily because they have a defective receptor for that hormone - a quirk with this "melanocortin-1 receptor" that also leaves their hair red. Without its intended receptor to dock in, the melanin-producing hormone may cross-react with a related receptor on brain cells that influences pain sensitivity, Sessler explained.

That's still a theory. Here's what Sessler can say for certain: He and colleagues gave 10 healthy women with naturally red hair and 10 with dark hair the common inhaled anesthetic desflurane. Then they administered electric shocks - not enough to do damage but enough to cause pain - and inched the desflurane dose up or down according to the pain response until each patient was judged to be at the optimum anesthetic dose. The redheads required a 20 percent higher dose.

Sessler said his lab first tested a few blondes and found they reacted the same as brunettes. That was expected since only redheads have the melanocortin-1 defect.

The study doesn't address if men would react similarly - there are gender differences for many drugs - or if redheads would be similarly affected by non-inhaled types of anesthesia.

Still, the research "gives us a window into what determines anesthetic requirements," said Sessler, whose lab is beginning more studies to see if the melanin theory is right.
Genre News: Scoobie Returns, Maxtrix Sequels, Push Popped, Daredevil and More!
Warners Sets 'Scooby 3' 
By Zorianna Kit

Hollywood October 15, 2002 (Hollywood Reporter) - With a sequel to Warner Bros. Pictures' "Scooby-Doo" on the fast track, the studio is already moving forward on a third installment, hiring scribes Dan Forman and Paul Foley to write a script, tentatively titled "Scooby-Doo 3."

The duo recently turned in a rewrite on Warners' "The Jetsons," another animated television property being conceived for the big screen. Sources say the studio was happy with the "Jetsons" draft and was therefore prompted to hire Forman and Foley to pen "Scooby 3."

The first "Scooby-Doo" film, directed by Raja Gosnell and released June 16 in the United States, was expected to launch a franchise if it performed at the boxoffice, which it did, opening at $54.1 million and going on to gross more than $153 million domestically.

Official Warners Scoobie Site - 

Matrix Sequels to Come Out Only Months Apart Next Year

LOS ANGELES October 14, 2002 ( - Joel Silver, producer of the next two "Matrix" movies, says that the cliffhanger between the first and second parts of the next installments is so compelling that people will be desperate to see the next film. 

"I think we won't even have to advertise the third film, we'll just tell people the date, and they'll come," Silver tells Zap2it in an interview over the weekend. "The story is so fantastic."

Silver says "The Matrix Reloaded" is set for release next May 15, and the third part, "The Matrix Revolutions" will be out in October.

"You're not going to want to wait for the next movie, so we want to release them as close as we can together," says Silver. "The cliffhanger is so substantial you will want to see it soon, and we're aware of that." 

Originally the films were supposed to be spread out over two years, the first screened in 2002 and the third installment in 2003. But, the special effects needed on both movies delayed the project until 2003. 

Directors Larry and Andy Wachowski originally conceived the movies starring Keanu Reeves, Lawrence Fishburne and Carrie-Anne Moss, as one, and filmed them together in Australia. When seeing the nearly-completed projects, they realized that they couldn't wait a year between releases of the films. 

"The boys (the Wachowski's) wanted to release both of them in the same summer, but we won't have them both ready," Silver explains. "So, we'll have one in May and the next a few months later." 

They would release the films closer together, but the effects team may not be ready for the third part until later in the year. 

Silver, who's out promoting his latest Dark Castle Film "Ghost Ship," starring Julianna Marguelies and Gabriel Byrne, also for Warner Bros. release around Halloween, says that fall of 2003 will be a good year because another Warner Bros. franchise won't be scheduled. 

"There won't be a 'Harry Potter' that season, so it's a good time for our movie to come out," Silver says, smiling.

ABC Cancels Push, Nevada
By Steve Gorman 

LOS ANGELES October 11, 2002 (Reuters) - Suffering the first prime-time casualties of the fledgling fall television season, struggling ABC has canceled two new shows: time travel drama "That Was Then" and quirky interactive mystery "Push, Nevada." 

The Walt Disney Co.-owned broadcaster, fighting to shake off the worst ratings slump of any network in recent years, announced the cancellations Thursday, saying both shows failed to draw big enough audiences to keep them on the air. 

"Push, Nevada," a heavily promoted series from actor Ben Affleck's production company, has taken a beating in the ratings against stiff competition Thursday nights from TV's top-rated drama, "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" on CBS. 

The show, about an Internal Revenue Service (news - web sites) agent searching for lost treasure, may ultimately have been a victim of its own surrealistic, "Twin Peaks"-like style, which left many viewers scratching their heads during its first four episodes. 

But because of a play-at-home element offering viewers the chance to win more than $1 million by following clues to the mystery, ABC is airing three more episodes, weaving in enough additional tips to allow someone to claim the prize money. 

"That Was Then," about a man who travels back in time to his high school days, is being dumped immediately after just two broadcasts, to be replaced this Friday and for the next two weeks by extra editions of "America's Funniest Home Videos." 

The cancellations, though not so unusual just 2 1/2 weeks into the season, pose fresh challenges to ABC is it struggles to find its footing, forcing the network to juggle shows while trying to familiarize viewers with its prime-time lineup.

Jolie Bites Bitten? 

Hollywood October 15, 2002 (Sci Fi Wire) - Warner Brothers has optioned the film rights to Kelley Armstrong's supernatural novel Bitten, with Tomb Raider's Angelina Jolie attached to star as a female werewolf, Variety reported.

Alexander Stuart (The War Zone) will adapt the book for the screen, the trade paper reported.

Jolie will play a woman who turns into a werewolf after she gets bitten and lives among a clandestine wolf pack in Canada.

She finally decides to suppress her animalistic tendencies for a normal human life, becomes a journalist and falls in love, but is drawn back to her pack when a rogue band of werewolves begins drafting criminals into its pack, the trade paper reported.

ABC Eyes Starman Show 

Hollywood October 14, 2002 (Sci Fi Wire) - ABC has ordered a script for a proposed TV series based on the DC Comics series Starman, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The network has given a script commitment to Tollin/Robbins Productions, the company behind The WB's hit DC Comics-based Smallville and Birds of Prey, and Warner Brothers Television, the trade paper reported.

Like the comic, Starman will center on a 25-year-old former slacker who is forced to become a superhero after his brother, the former Starman, is mysteriously killed. John Gatins (Hardball) is writing the script for the show and is executive producing with Tollin/Robins' Joe Davola, Mike Tollin and Brian Robbins, the trade paper reported.

Marvel’s Quarter Comics 

New York October 14, 2002 (Cinescape) - Marvel Comics on Thursday announced a Quarter Comics program that will see the price of selected titles cut to 25 cents several times during 2003. 

According to Marvel, the program will focus retailers' and readers' attention on the company's finest characters, creators and titles through crucial jump-on points.

The program, initiated by Marvel's chief information officer Gui Karyo, will kick off in January with the publication of DAREDEVIL #41, the first chapter of “Lowlife,” the next story arc by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Alex Maleev. 

“The most effective way to attract new readers to our best books is to simply lower the price point on entry-point issues,” Karyo said. We're confident that once they sample our top titles they'll be back for more the very next month. 

“Those of us in the know realize that DAREDEVIL is one of the best titles on the stands today,” editor-in-chief Joe Quesada said. 

“What Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev are creating now is the stuff that classic runs are made of. We feel that with the 'Quarter Comics' program, retailers will be able to hook fans right at the beginning of the next great story arc. 

“Timing wise, this 25-cent issue couldn't come at a more appropriate moment, with the DAREDEVIL movie set to open on Feb. 14. I can't think of a better Valentine's Day gift to fans and retailers alike. Oh, and speaking of Valentine's Day, I hear that Matt Murdock may be bumping into his next great love in this one as well, so it's sure to be a landmark issue.” 

“I couldn't be happier that this issue is getting this extra push,” Bendis said. “I know a lot of people have heard that Daredevil's secret identity has been 'outed' in the New York City tabloids, and starting with this issue everyone will get a look at what it is we're doing with the premise and why we're all excited about the direction of the series.” 

DAREDEVIL #41 will go on sale on January 8th.

Marvel Comics - 

First Close-in Binary Star Planet
MCDONALD OBSERVATORY NEWS RELEASE October 10, 2002 - Astronomers with the McDonald Observatory Planet Search project have discovered the first planet orbiting a star in a close-in binary star system. The discovery has implications for the number of possible planets in our galaxy, because unlike the Sun, most stars are in binary systems.

The team announced their finding in a news conference at the American Astronomical Society's Division of Planetary Sciences meeting. 

Artie Hatzes (Thueringer Landessternwarte Tautenburg), Bill Cochran (UT-Austin McDonald Observatory), and colleagues found that the planet orbits the larger star of the binary system Gamma Cephei, about 45 light-years away in the constellation Cepheus. The primary star is 1.59 times as massive as the Sun.

The planet is 1.76 times as massive as Jupiter.

It orbits the star at about 2 Astronomical Units (A.U.), a little further than Mars's distance from the Sun. (An A.U. is the distance from Earth to the Sun.)

The second, relatively small star is only 25 to 30 A.U. from the primary star -- about Uranus' distance from the Sun. Astronomers have found planets orbiting stars in binary systems before, but the stars in those binary systems were a hundred times farther apart than those of Gamma Cephei, Cochran said.

"The stars were far enough apart to be essentially acting totally independently," he said.

Cochran's team began observing Gamma Cephei with the 2.7-meter Harlan J. Smith Telescope at McDonald Observatory in 1988. Prior to that, a Canadian team of astronomers used the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) to study Gamma Cephei. Together, the observations total 20 years. 

In the past, some astronomers thought that the 2.5-year variation in light output from the binary star could be caused by physical processes in the stars. 

"We think this is a planet because the variation has been nice and steady for eight complete cycles," Cochran said. "The star itself would not be varying that nicely for eight cycles over 20 years. Our observing techniques include several good indicators of stellar variability, and we see no variations that we can attribute to the star itself. The only logical thing that's left is a planet." 

A third-magnitude star, Gamma Cephei can be seen with the unaided eye. But even powerful telescopes cannot split the light from the system into two individual pinpoints. 

The McDonald Observatory Planet Search began in 1987. The team uses the 2.7-meter Harlan J. Smith Telescope to monitor about 180 nearby Sun-like stars for Jupiter-sized planets. In addition to Gamma Cephei, the team has found planets orbiting the stars 16 Cygni B and Epsilon Eridani.

The program is supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA.

Cat's Eye Images of Jupiter's North Pole
October 8, 2002 (NASA) - Jupiter has a cold vortex in the upper atmosphere over its north pole resembling the vortex over Earth's south pole that enables depletion of Earth's stratospheric ozone, images from two NASA telescopes show. 

Composite versions of the images, which resemble cats' eyes, are available online at  with an explanatory description. Dr. Glenn Orton, an astronomer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., presented them today at the annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society's Division of Planetary Sciences, in Birmingham, Ala. 

A cold air mass, that maintains a roughly hexagonal shape, extends vertically from Jupiter's stratosphere down into the next-lower layer of the atmosphere and rotates at a rate that takes about 300 days to complete a full circle. Scientists can refine models of how Earth's atmosphere works by comparisons with atmospheric dynamics on other planets, such as Jupiter. 

Orton and other researchers obtained the images with the JPL-built Wide Field and Planetary Camera on NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and with JPL's Mid-Infrared Large-Well Imager on NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility.
Radio Waves in Outer Space
By Bennett Daviss 

Georgia October 14, 2002 (New Scientist) - Huge buildings could be conjured up in space using nothing more than focused radio waves to push individual components into place. Radio-controlled construction would get around one of the obstacles to colonizing space- the need to ferry heavy construction equipment into orbit and support the people who will operate it.

Narayanan Komerath, an aeronautical engineer from the Georgia Institute of Technology, got the idea from a technique called "acoustic shaping", in which sound waves are used to build solid objects in weightless environments (New Scientist, 1 September 2001, p 32). Speakers in a closed chamber transmit sound waves that can push, say, plastic beads around.

The beads come to rest in acoustic dead spots called "nodes", which they can't easily escape from because the air pressure at all surrounding points is higher. 

The arrangement of the speakers determines the position of the nodes, precisely controlling the shape and size of the resulting object. Once the nodes are filled, the object can be solidified with a hardener such as epoxy resin. 

Of course, using sound waves would be impossible in the airless vacuum of space. But Komerath reasoned that electromagnetic waves should also be able to create a force field that can push objects around. He and his students have calculated that it would be feasible to use waves to move objects with diameters smaller than five per cent of the radiation's wavelength. Light can move nanoparticles for example, while microwaves - and audible sound waves - can shift objects millimeters or centimeters across. 

But the heavy lifting would be left to radio waves. Given a few months to do the job, Komerath says they should be able to assemble rocks, brick-sized or bigger, into any given shape. Later this month he will discuss his idea at a conference in Atlanta for NASA's Institute of Advanced Concepts- a think tank of the 88-member Universities Space Research Association.

As a demonstration, he suggests sending a squad of solar-powered radio transmitters to the Earth's asteroid belt and blasting one of the rocks into small pieces. Radio waves from the transmitters would then shape the resulting debris into any desired structure. Individual parts could be fused together using focused sunlight or a more conventional adhesive, forming a space where astronauts could live and work shielded from radiation.

Komerath hasn't yet calculated how much power you would need to run the satellite dishes, although he says "it will probably be huge". But he points out that arrays of solar cells in space could easily be kilometers across. And because such a project probably won't be feasible for several decades, solar cells may be much more efficient than they are now.

The scale doesn't daunt NIAC director Robert Cassanova. "We see the idea as a way to build very large structures in space economically and with a minimum of manual labor," he says. "If you're able to move materials using waves, you could eliminate the need for large numbers of astronauts and the infrastructure to support them."

If Komerath gets more funding from NIAC, he expects to have a scaled-down version using microwaves ready to fly on the space shuttle by 2009. 

New Scientist issue: 12 October 2002 - 

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