New Crop Circles?
Scottish UFOs, Uzbek Pyramids,
X-File Mutilations in Argentina!
Killer Jellyfish, Stonehenge & More!
New Crop Circles?
By FLAtRich

Hollywood June 26, 2002 (eXoNews) - Do you mean to tell me that crop circles are still happening? I thought that was all some sort of hoax, man. What are crop circles, exactly?

Well, according to details of a crop circle report filed with the Canadian Crop Circle Research Network on May 29, 2002, recent crop circles look like this:

"Irregular flattened areas of randomly downed hay, largest approximately 7.5 meters (25 feet) diameter, second approximately 3.6 meters (12 feet) and two smaller ones about 1.5 meters (5 feet) each. Found morning of May 29. Reportedly not seen there the day before.

"Hay approximately three feet tall. No tracks seen when first found. Clumps of 'swept-up' hay inside largest area and a small 'semi-circular swirl' in the next smaller one. While surface lay was messy and chaotic, plants underneath were flattened in a smoother layer at about an 85 degree angle to surface layer. Some nodes on stalks inside formation were stretched up to approximately four times normal length and some were ruptured.

"Clumps of dandelions inside the flattened areas were still standing upright with their white 'puffball' seed heads intact. Formation had unfortunately been quickly ruined by local children running and playing in the field, leaving tracks and paths everywhere. Other unusual experiences reported on the property, but these are being kept confidential by request."

There seems to be a large contingency of crop circle believers and an equally large number of debunkers out there (not to mention those of us who think it's all silly or just don't get close enough to a wheat field in our lives to even care.)

Check out the latest at Swirled News! Reporter Andy Thomas is concerned that M. Night Shyamalan's new movie Signs, starring Mel Gibson and due from Touchstone in August, may be leading folks astray.

Another story concerned the attempts of Wiltshire "planker" Matthew Williams to tell the "truth" about crop circles. A planker is somebody who makes human crop circles, as opposed to the kind of circles that supposedly just crop up by themselves. Anyway, Mary Bennett, the reporter at Mr. Williams' lecture got angry. She says:

"The results of biological research undertaken on crop circles informs us that something other than hoaxing  /diddling  /planking is going on in some formations. If the plankers of this world stood back, we would get a clearer picture. But that is precisely the point. They are not doing this for any artistic reasons or for any ‘paranormal jolly’ (which they could aspire to in an authentic circle). They are doing it to confuse and to slow down our ability to understand what is going on here..."

According to the Circlemakers web site "The UKs most recent formation has appeared at the epicenter of the phenomenon in Wiltshire opposite Silbury Hill. The axis of the formation actually points towards the hill. The formation was discovered on June 4th and is in immature barley. The design consists of circles and intersecting circles that create crescents and rings that form a cross."

This Circlemakers report seems a bit tongue in cheek when you read far enough into the site. Circlemakers also gives you detailed information on how "to become a circlemaker using our easy to follow 'Beginners Guide'. The guide promises to "give you all the information you will need to work with these plants, and eventually, with a little practice, produce genuine, dowsable, scientifically proven un-hoaxable circles patterns."

Circlemakers says Hampshire UK artists Doug Bower and Dave Chorley started the whole thing and that eventually "other artists began to emulate them, eventually superseding them, and continued a chain reaction - mutating from the UFO lore from which it still suckles and, in turn, nourishes - to become what is arguably the most mysterious 'tactile- paranormal' phenomenon this century."

So what exactly is going on here? Well the Canadian Crop Circle Research Network lists 55 other web sites devoted to the phenomena for one thing. The folks at have some really great, clear and undeniably amazing aerial photos of crop circles spanning the last few years.

Either the crop circle aliens are having a "tactile- paranormal" field day (pun intended) or there are some very talented earthwork artists out there who need to come out of the closet and fess up. Maybe Mr. Shyamalan's Signs will give them the encouragement they need.

If not, at least it's got Mel Gibson!

Check out these amazing aerial views of crop circles first! - http://www./temporarytemples/library/ccav98.html 

Canadian Crop Circle Research Network - 

Swirled News - 

Circlemakers - 

Official Touchstone Pictures Signs Site (very cool!) - 

Space Is Color of Latte

Associated Press Writer 

BALTIMORE June 22, 2002 (AP) - Good news for coffee lovers: Space, the final frontier, is the color of a latte. So say astronomers Karl Glazebrook and Ivan Baldry at Johns Hopkins University.

In January, the two determined that the universe was a sprightly pale turquoise, then after discovering a glitch in their software in March, they realized that the average color was actually a milky brown.

Not knowing what to call it, besides beige, they solicited suggestions, prompting nearly 300 e-mails with ideas including Big Bang Beige, Cappuccino Cosmico, Galactic Gold and Infinite Sand.

The winner? Cosmic Latte.

Baldry, a postdoctoral fellow, said he and Glazebrook both love coffee, which factored into the decision. Cosmic Latte is also appropriate because it's close to "latteo," which "means Milky Way in Galileo's native Italian," the pair wrote on their Web site. Glazebrook and Baldry discovered the milky coffee hue after gathering light from galaxies as far as several billion light years away. They processed the light, breaking it into its various colors — similar to the way a prism turns sunlight into a rainbow — and averaging the color values.

Reaction to the name was mixed among coffee drinkers.

"You've got to be kidding," said Steve Gibbons, a 24-year-old law clerk, while buying a large black coffee. "I think that's a sign that Starbucks will take over the universe. That means the end is near."

"That is too awesome," said Michael Egerton, manager of PJ's Coffee & Tea Co. in Baltimore. "That is coffee-rific. Definitely a huge victory for coffee lovers."

Coffee-drinker Greg Pollard, 26, was bemused.

"There's new meaning to the Milky Way," the consultant said while gulping a double latte between drags on a cigarette. "I see a whole slew of new marketing campaigns ... to justify $4 for a latte."

More than you ever wanted to know about the color of the universe - 

Art Gallery Can Satisfy Any Palette

Asbury Park Press

Bay Head NJ June 20, 2002 (APP) - For area artists, the place to be seen in Bay Head is Dick LaBonte's Anchor & Palette Gallery.

La Bonte can be called the Rembrandt of the Jersey Shore. A longtime summer resident, his paintings depicting scenes of turn-of-the-(last)-century beachgoers have gained international renown. But he is best known for his "Cocktails At The White House," in which all the U.S. presidents and first ladies are shown attending a party at the White House. A print of that painting hung in the private quarters of the White House during the Clinton years. 

LaBonte, now 81, used to run the gallery himself, but he's pretty much retired now and lives in Montclair. His work, including his newest painting -- "After The Church Social" -- covers a wall of the Anchor and Palette. A recently published coffee-table book of his work also is a big seller at the gallery.

For area artists, the LaBonte on duty these days is the artist's daughter, Anne LaBonte Neff. She's the one to see if you want to try and sell your artwork through the gallery.

"As you can see, I say 'yes' a lot. I try to be as supportive as I can to the local artists," says Neff, gesturing to the framed paintings and drawings lining the gallery's walls.

And area artists appreciate that openness, says Anthony Ventura, 75, a Neptune painter. Though his work hangs in several other area galleries, Ventura says he's always looking for new spaces.

"Word gets around about which places are looking for fine art, which ones like art by local artists and which ones are really more craft shops than fine art galleries," says Ventura, who has come to show his work to Neff.

"My problem is I like all of them," Neff tells Ventura as the two stand together to look at the seven paintings he's brought for her to consider.

Neff's fondness of bright, vivid colors and Ventura's paintings are a good match. She selects four of his seascapes and lake scenes. Since she took over the gallery from her dad 14 years ago, Neff, 53, Bay Head, says she has tried to build its reputation as a haven for local artists. In addition to selling art at the gallery, Neff also offers classes during the winter and heads Bay Head's annual Art in the Park exhibition and sale. This year's event was held earlier this month. She says her empathy for artists comes not only from having grown up around artists and dabbling in art herself, but also from being married to an artist at one point.

"I can really identify with them, so we have a really good rapport. And I'm familiar with the artistic temperament," she says, smiling. "It's a lot easier for me then I think for some gallery owners who may know the business side of it but have never really been there."

The Anchor and Palette can be found at or give them a call at 1-866-813-7627

Harry Houdini Reappears!

APPLETON, Wis. June 23, 2002 (AP) - A new stamp honoring Harry Houdini will be unveiled July 5 at the Houdini Historical Center in the magician's native Appleton, the U.S. Postal Service says. 

The 37-cent stamp will use Houdini's likeness from a 1911 lithographed poster from the collection of Gary H. Mandelblatt. 

The issuance of the stamp coincides with the 100th anniversary of the Society of American Magicians. Houdini was president of the society from 1917 until his death in 1926. 

Houdini Historical Center site - 

Giant Lake on Mars!

Washington DC June 22, 2002 (NASM NEWS RELEASE) - Geologists at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum have discovered a large former lake in the highlands of Mars that would cover an area the size of Texas and New Mexico combined, and which overflowed to carve one of that planet's largest valleys. The findings appear in the June 21 issue of the journal Science. 

The flood channel, Ma'adim Vallis, is more than 550 miles long and up to 6,900 feet deep, making it larger than Earth's Grand Canyon. 

"Imagine more than five times the volume of water in the Great Lakes being released in a single flood, and you'll have a sense of the scale of this event," said Ross Irwin, a geologist in the museum's Center for Earth and Planetary Studies (CEPS) and the paper's lead author. 

Mars is now a cold desert planet but its many dry valleys could indicate that water once flowed on its surface. Recent results from the Mars Odyssey spacecraft have found evidence of water trapped in the near surface of the polar regions. 

"The size of this lake-1,400 miles long-suggests Mars was warmer and wetter than previously thought," said Robert Craddock, a CEPS geologist and co-author of the paper. 

Former lakes are considered the most likely places to preserve the record of any past Martian life. Calm water would allow sediments to be deposited slowly, preventing small organisms from being destroyed. 

The source of water to carve the flood channel had long been a mystery to scientists, who had known very little about Mars' topography prior to the Mars Global Surveyor mission, which has been orbiting Mars since 1997. 

Detailed elevation data from the Mars Global Surveyor shows the large valley originated nearly full-size at a ridge, much like the spillway of a dam. Late in the lake's history, rising water levels overflowed the lake basin rim, releasing the huge flood as the river cut into this former dividing ridge. What remained was "some of the best geological evidence for a lake found to date on Mars, including clear indications of the former shoreline," Irwin says. 

Two other smaller lake basins were identified in the region by paper co-author Alan Howard, a geologist at the University of Virginia. All three lakes shared the same water level prior to the flood, indicating the possibility of an ancient water table and suggesting the locations of other dry lake basins on Mars. Such information could be important in determining where to land robotic probes in coming years. 

CEPS is the scientific research unit within the Collections and Research Department of the National Air and Space Museum. CEPS performs original research and outreach activities on topics covering planetary science, terrestrial geophysics, and the remote sensing of environmental change.

UFOs in Scotland?

LONDON June 24, 2002 (Reuters) - Want to see a flying saucer? Then come to Scotland. 

The country -- better known as the home of legendary Loch Ness monster -- has the highest concentration of UFO sightings on the planet, according to figures released Monday. 

Around 300 "Unidentified Flying Objects" are spotted in Scotland each year, the most per square kilometer and per head of population of anywhere in the world, figures compiled by Scotland's official tourist body found. 

VisitScotland said 0.004 UFOs were spotted for every square kilometer of Scotland -- a rate four times as high as in France or Italy, this planet's other UFO hotspots. The 2,000 UFOs are spotted every year in the United States represent just 0.0002 sightings per square kilometer. 

"This confirms that Scotland is the nearest thing there is to the Costa del Sol for aliens," a VisitScotland spokesman said, referring to the tourist mecca of southern Spain, which attracts tens of thousands of holidaymakers every year. 

There was one UFO sighting per 17,000 inhabitants in Scotland compared to one per 61,200 in Canada, and one per 136,450 in the United States. 

The Scots' favorite spot for extraterrestrial visitors is Bonnybridge, 50 km (30 miles) west of Edinburgh. One local councilor has even called for the town to be twinned with Roswell in New Mexico, the U.S. UFO capital.

"Traditionally Scotland has had a lot of odd incidents, right through history, from ghosts and poltergeists to supernatural beings and the Loch Ness monster. So, Scotland is well-known as a place where strange things happen, Ron Halliday, author of "UFO Scotland," said.

Others had a less dramatic explanation. 

"UFOs tend to be attracted to regions that are fairly remote. Plus if you have a remote area, look out for airbases; Scotland is littered with them," Graham Birdsall, editor of UFO magazine, said. "In 90 percent of UFO reports a bit of diligent research will produce a simple explanation." 

The figures' release coincided with what aficionados celebrate as International UFO day, the anniversary of June 24, 1947.

On that date, a U.S. air force pilot claimed to have spotted nine mysterious disc-shaped objects over the Cascade Mountains in Washington, leading to the term "flying saucer." 

Bonnybridge UFO Pix - 

BBC's Bonnybridge Web Cam - 

Earth Faces Ecological Bankruptcy
By Christopher Doering 

WASHINGTON June 24, 2002 (Reuters) - The consumption of forests, energy and land by humans is exceeding the rate at which Earth can replenish itself, according to research published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 

The study, conducted by California-based Redefining Progress, a nonprofit group concerned with environmental conservation and its economics, warned that a failure to rein in humanity's overuse of natural resources could send the planet into "ecological bankruptcy." 

Earth's resources "are like a pile of money anyone can grab while they all close their eyes, but then it's gone," said Mathis Wackernagel, lead author of the study and a program director at Redefining Progress. 

Scientists said humanity's demand for resources had soared during the past 40 years to a level where it would take the planet 1.2 years to regenerate what people remove each year. The impact by humans on the environment had inched higher since 1961 when public demand was 70 percent of the planet's regenerative capacity, the study showed. 

"If we don't live within the budget of nature, sustainability becomes futile," Wackernagel said. 

The study, which details the population's impact on the Earth with a quantitative number, measured the "ecological footprint" of human activities such as marine fishing, harvesting timber, building infrastructure and burning fossil fuel that emits carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. Researchers then used government data and various estimates to determine how much land would be required to meet human demand for those actions. 

For example, Wackernagel and his team found that in 1999, each person consumed an average of 5.7 acres (2.3 hectares). The global average was significantly lower than industrialized countries such as the United States and United Kingdom where 24 acres (9.6 hectares) and 13.3 acres (5.3 hectares), respectively, were consumed per person. 

In order to develop a formula that measured humanity's consumption with the Earth's regenerative capacity, the researchers were forced to reach several assumptions and omit the use of some resources because of insufficient data. The results, for example, excluded the impact of local freshwater use and the release of solid, liquid or gaseous pollutants other than CO2 into the environment. 

Even though the findings revealed that human use of resources was far outstripping Earth's supply, it stopped short of determining how long the process could continue without detrimental consequences. 

"Like any responsible business that keeps track of spending and income to protect financial assets, we need ecological accounts to protect our natural assets," Wackernagel said. "And if we don't ... we will prepare for ecological bankruptcy." 

Wackernagel said the study's results could be used to gauge the impact of new technologies and how they affect the environment. The use of an alternative technology, such as one that produces renewable energy or replaces natural biological processes, could allow society to live better without increasing consumption, he said. 

Governments could also determine the impact consumers and businesses were having on depleting area resources and evaluate potential ways to reduce consumption, Wackernagel said.
Pentagon Develops Sonic Weapons

Washington June 24, 2002 (The Scotsman) - A new sonic weapon being developed for the Pentagon makes use of one of the most fearsome sounds known to humans: a baby crying. 

Once aimed at the enemy, a focused beam of the familiar noise, played backwards, will be painful enough to make enemy soldiers run for their lives, according to its developers. They call it the "sonic bullet". 

There are 50 soundtracks to choose from, and they are played at 140 decibels. That is akin to standing beneath a passenger jet as it takes off. Hardly surprising, then, that the weapon causes an intense headache in its victim. 

For years armies have used sound, speech, or radio broadcasts as a propaganda weapon. US troops invading Panama blasted the besieged General Manuel Noriega with loud rock music. Nazi Germany used sound in torture. 

But the "hypersonic sound system" beams sound along two ultrasonic signals to produce noise only when they hit the target. The weapon’s user doesn’t hear a thing. It has been suggested for use in crowd-control, to clean al-Qaeda terrorists out of caves, or as a ship-to-ship device that goes one better than the shot across the bows. 

A hand-held version of the weapon - a thin tube about a yard long, dubbed a "directed stick radiator" - might in theory be used against hijackers in a plane cockpit, though the bouncing beams could deafen passengers as well. 

The firm which developed the system, American Technology Corporation, has won approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to market it. It also hopes to offer the device for use in drinks machines. Someone in front of one would hear the sound of a can opening with an enticing fizz.

(*) Toymakers already have a prototype at 

Pyramid News!

2700 Year-Old Pyramids in Uzbekistan

By Yelena Kiseleva 

Uzbekistan June 19, 2002 (Pravda) - A joint expedition of Russian and Uzbek archaeologists has discovered several ancient pyramids in Uzbekistan. 

According to the scientists, these 15-metre-high constructions concealed for human eyes may be at least 2,700 years old. The ancient pyramids were discovered in a remote mountains area, in Kashkadaryin and Samarkand regions, in the south of the country, BBC reports. 

Archaeologists state that the discovered pyramids are similar to that ones of Giza, Egypt, though in contrast of them, Uzbek pyramids they have a flat surface. 

According to the experts, thanks to their remoteness, the pyramids were not taken to pieces to serve as a building material for a later epoch. 

Though it is not obligatory, that the Uzbek pyramids had the same purpose as the Egyptian ones. That could be religious constructions, all the more that they are almost two times younger. Pyramids were also built in Northern America, in Africa, by ancient Ethiopians, while Mesopotamian pyramidal towers are also sometimes compared with Egyptian pyramids, however in scientific circles this considered to be incorrect. 

According to archaeologists, if the constructions are really pyramids, this is a very important discovery, taking into account that nothing of the kind was found in this area before. Now, the task of the scientist is to link the find with chronology and known local cults, to clear up what was the purpose of these constructions: tombs, temples, or something else.

Stolen Pharaoh's Head Lands Dealer in Prison

NEW YORK June 11, 2002 (Reuters) --A prominent Manhattan gallery owner was sentenced Tuesday to 33 months in prison for conspiring to receive stolen Egyptian antiquities including a mummified pharaoh's head that sold for $1.2 million.

Frederick Schultz, president of Frederick Schultz Ancient Art and the former president of the National Association of Dealers in Ancient, Oriental and Primitive Art, also was fined $50,000.

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff rejected Schultz's argument that he did not realize that he was violating U.S. law when he received the stolen treasures.

The judge said that Schultz knew he was stealing "in every sense of the word" and was no different than "an ordinary thief."

The judge said that the stolen antiquities that Schultz plotted to receive were worth more than $1.5 million and that some of them were of archeological and historical importance.

Schultz was convicted by a Manhattan federal jury in February after a two-week trial. The government's key witness was Jonathan Tokeley-Parry, a convicted art smuggler, who testified how he smuggled antiquities out of Egypt and sold them to Schultz. Tokeley-Parry testified that he had obtained some of the antiquities from corrupt members of the Egyptian antiquities police. He said he also had gotten some from local farmers and builders who had found them in the ground.

Tokeley-Parry, a British national, testified that in 1992 he managed to sneak out the 3,000-year-old head of Pharaoh Amenhotep III, who died in 1375 B.C. He said he had dipped the pharaoh's head in plaster and painted it black to make it look like a cheap souvenir.

Schultz bought the pharaoh's head in 1992 for $915,000, then sold it to a London art collector for $1.2 million.

Prosecutors said that the head was just one of a series of Egyptian antiquities Schultz agreed to receive and purchase from Tokeley-Parry, who served three years in prison in Britain after he was convicted of smuggling. According to the indictment, Schultz allegedly trafficked in antiquities illegally removed from Egypt from the early 1990s through May 1996.

In 1983, Egypt passed a law declaring that all antiquities were public property, but it did not cover items legally removed from Egypt before 1983. Accordingly, Schultz told prospective clients that the illegal antiquities had come from various old collections, the indictment charged.

4000-year Old Prehistoric Villages Found Near Tucson

PHOENIX June 23, 2002 (Arizona Republic) - Some people crouch on a vacant swath of land that skirts downtown Tucson. A stone's throw from Interstate 10, they scrape the dirt with garden trowels, sift rocks through screens with their bare hands. They sound like a scratchy jug band. This is the Sonoran Desert. And the stooped bodies are a band of archaeologists. 

Recently, field archaeologists at this site unearthed 2,500-year-old and 4,000- year-old pit-house villages. In comparison, more widely known prehistoric cultures such as the Hohokam, Anasazi and Mogollon are 500 to 1,500 years old. 

The elder village puts Tucson among the oldest, continuously inhabited communities in the United States, said research archaeologist Jonathan Mabry, 41, of Tucson. "I've claimed it in print, and it hasn't been disputed," he said. 

More archaeologists are flocking to fast-growing cities such as Tucson and Phoenix that have to comply with cultural laws protecting what may be hidden beneath development sites such as the Rio Nuevo project. Rio Nuevo will bring plazas, museums and gardens, new homes and renovated homes to the heart of Tucson. But before bulldozers dig the earth, the archaeologists get their turn. 

Arizona is a nirvana for nomadic archaeologists like Connecticut native Sara Plescia, who troll the New West for the abundant urban archaeology jobs. Once she started digging in Tucson for the privately owned Desert Archaeology Inc. three years ago, she stayed put. Hunched beneath a tarp, Plescia, 25, massages remnants of the 2,500-year-old village: a pestle, anvil and millstone.

"It's amazing," she said. "To know that I touched something that somebody else had once used thousands of years ago. Archaeology invades my dreams. It's my passion, so it's a part of me." 

It is a part of everyone on this site. To be able to read something so banal as dirt and reconstruct the story of Arizona is why the diggers bake in the sun hour upon hour. 

"There's also the mystery to it. To try and crawl into people's heads, to try and figure out why they were doing what they were doing" said crew chief Allen Denoyer, 33, who will move to an archaeological project in Wyoming once he is finished here. 

The tenacious sleuths have been at the Rio Nuevo site for two years. This summer, beneath the topsoil, the crew struck the foundation of the 1890s Tucson Pressed Brick Co., Mabry said. He called that a pleasant surprise. But it was not as startling as the mystery they cracked just a foot below the crumbled bricks: a meticulous, mud-plastered floor of a large ceremonial house of the 2,500-year-old community. Then came the irrigation canals, the cluster of pit houses dotted with postholes and artifacts. 

"It's blowing our minds," Mabry said. "We're out here going, 'Holy cow, we didn't realize irrigating existed [in Arizona] 3,000 years ago, pottery 4,000 years ago."

What is Esso Afraid Of?

NETHERLANDS June 23, 2002 (Greenpeace) - ExxonMobil is worried about the reputation of its brand, and is attempting to sue Greenpeace to protect it. 

Greenpeace  says
ExxonMobil is not worried about the fact that it has tried to convince the public that global warming isn't happening. It's not worried about getting criticism because it has sabotaged international climate agreements. Nor has it expressed concern that it has chosen to prioritize selling more petrol over scientific warnings of famine, floods, and disease for future generations.

It's worried that Greenpeace is making fun of its logo.

ExxonMobil  thinks that Greenpeace is deliberately trying to create "a repulsion, which turns away customers from the ESSO brand" by swapping two letters in its brand with dollar signs. The oil giant is even suggesting that Greenpeace is attempting to draw a connection between the world's biggest climate criminal and "the infamous SS."

In a suit filed with the French courts over Greenpeace's use of the Esso logo, the corporation is demanding a penalty of 80 thousand euros for reputation damage and 80 thousand euros a day per logo should Greenpeace fail to comply. It also demands removal of all use of the term "StopEsso".

StopEsso, a coalition of groups including Greenpeace, is campaigning around the world to stop ExxonMobil from sabotaging international action to address climate change, such as the Kyoto Protocol. The French website over which ExxonMobil wants to sue, is one of several StopEsso sites globally. Executive Director of Greenpeace Gerd Leipold says that Greenpeace is not backing down.

"This is just ridiculous. Esso knows it can't win a debate about climate change, and it won't discuss the content of the website. Instead Esso is trying to gag us with legal threats. We will fight this in court."

A hearing date has been set down for Monday 1 July 2002 in Paris.

In the meantime, Greenpeace agrees that the public's repulsion with the Esso brand should not be based on a logo but rather on the facts of ExxonMobil's record of endangering Earth's future. Greenpeace encourages readers to join in discussions at and others to do so by informing friends of the issue by using ecard links on the Greenpeace web site. 

Stop Esso Campaign Site - 

Greenpeace web site - 

Pork Chop Shoes Attract Lawyers
SYDNEY June 24, 2002 (AP) — A man who hammed it up in an Australian bar by donning pork chops as shoes is being sued by a customer who claims he broke his arm when he slipped on the grease. Troy Michael Bowron, 25, is suing the Jannali Inn in southern Sydney, its owner Kelly Wells and patron Ross Lucock over the incident on Nov. 30, 1997.

Bowron told the New South Wales district court on Monday that he had been playing in a pool competition at the bar when he saw Lucock taping pork chops to his feet. He claimed Lucock said he was using them for shoes.

"He was walking around most of the night all around the place; it was a big laugh up there," Bowron said.

Bowron said the floor became greasy, and when he went to congratulate his pool opponent he slipped and fell onto his left arm.

According to his complaint, Bowron is suing the bar and Wells for negligence for "permitting the use of pork chops as footwear in circumstances that the defendant knew, or should have known, that such use would have produced a hidden trap." He is also suing Lucock, alleging he created a situation of danger.
US Balloon Adventurer Skirts Disaster

ST. LOUIS June 24, 2002 (AP) — American adventurer Steve Fossett said he had narrowly avoided disaster on the most difficult day so far of his around-the-world ballooning quest.

Bidding to become the first solo balloonist to circle the globe, Fossett and his Spirit of Freedom had descended below 300 meters Sunday to duck turbulent weather. But periodic squalls packing severe downdrafts took the balloon as low as 120 meters, perilously close to the south Pacific.

Fossett, 58, used all of his balloon's three gas burners to ascend and counter the downdrafts, keeping him out of the sea well east of New Zealand.

"The margin for error was razor thin," Fossett told his mission control center Sunday at St. Louis' Washington University, describing the events as "the most crucial day" in his sixth solo around-the-world attempt, which began last Tuesday from western Australia.

At one point, Fossett told his flight center by satellite telephone that he looked to simply make it safely to South America, and that completing his quest appeared impossible.

"I couldn't sleep," Fossett added. "Although I have warning alarms, I was worried that my reaction time when a rain squall and downdraft hit would not be quick enough. So I only had two hours sleep last night, none today and the ascent back up to catch the jet stream will take half of tonight, so I'm anxious to get some sleep."

Hours later, Fossett appeared free and clear. As of Sunday evening CDT, Fossett was cruising at 45 km/h at 8,170 meters above the sea.

Since launching his mission from western Australia last Tuesday local time, Fossett has flown more than 9,650 kilometers. The investment tycoon from Chicago hopes to complete his flight in 15 days. Fossett holds world records in ballooning, sailing and flying airplanes. He also swam the English Channel in 1985, placed 47th in the Iditarod dog sled race in 1992 and participated in the 24 Hours of Le Mans car race in 1996.

Fossett's five earlier solo attempts ended with crash-landings in spots such as the Coral Sea and a Brazilian cattle ranch. But last summer's cattle ranch landing still came after 12 days in flight, making it the longest-ever solo balloon flight.

Argentina Sends 'X-Files' Team to Probe Animal Deaths

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina June 20, 2002 (Reuters) - Argentina is sending its own "X-Files" scientists to probe strange deaths of farm animals found dissected, mutilated and drained of blood on remote Pampa plains, killings some have blamed on aliens. 

At least 70 animals were reported killed in recent weeks, some with their genitals and tongues pulled out with surgical precision surrounded by charred grass with no signs of blood stains. One horse's hoof had a circle drawn into it. 

"It's very strange... We are sending a team of technicians to take samples and perform the necessary studies to see if we can find a scientific explanation for this," said a spokesman for the animal health inspection service Senasa, which is sending veterinarians to perform autopsies. 

In the massively popular TV series "The X-Files," FBI scientists probed unusual and paranormal cases, often strange deaths involving bodies mutilated by suspected aliens. 

Frightened farmers in the far-flung plains of Argentina said there have been no signs that the animals had been attacked by the likes of wild boars -- and were quick to highlight that the meat of the animals had been untouched in a land where hunger is widespread and cattle theft is growing. 

Some local inhabitants in La Pampa province said they saw bright lights in the night sky near one site of mutilations. 

"I'd have to say I side with the paranormals on this one. It has to be something from beyond the Earth," said Felipe, a farmer north of the capital Santa Rosa. "The way the entrails were removed through a burn-like incision in the cow's rear-end is very strange."

Genre News: Dead Zone, Star Trek: Nemesis, Denisof, Firefly, Deep Space Nine, Peter Pan, Buffy and More!
Dead Zone Producer Michael Piller Chats

By FLAtRich

Hollywood June 26, 2002 (eXoNews) - Producer-creator-writer Michael Piller chatted with fans about his summer hit series The Dead Zone and Trek years on, Wednesday June 26. The Dead Zone, a sharp new thriller series closely based on the best-selling Stephen King novel, broke basic cable ratings records when it debuted on the USA Network in June.

I got in two questions and here they are with another excerpt from the chat:

FLAtRich: Great first show! I've been following your journal on the web site and I wondered why you didn't comment on USA cutting you back to 13 episodes? Also wonder if they've smartened up since the premiere.

Piller: Thank you. The cut back to 13 episodes was really a non-event. We knew from the beginning that only 13 episodes would run... because USA did not want to be on against the network fall premieres. We had been working on a final episode cliff-hanger from the very start. What you are reading about was an adjustment in the contract with Lion's Gate that has no relationship to USA's confidence in the show. In fact, we always had 13 scripts to work with.

FLAtRich: As the Creator of DS9 do you know if there is any truth to the rumor that Samuel Jackson is interested in making a DS9 movie, playing Sisko? Or any other chance that we'll ever see DS9 as a feature?

Piller: I have no information about a DS9 movie, so I really can't help you.

But Piller did have news 
for fans of the canceled show Legend (Piller was creator, executive producer and a writer on the 1995 series.)

spamboy: I really enjoyed "Legend" with Richard Dean Anderson and John de Lancie. Any chance that the show will get another opportunity to find an audience?

Piller: It's premature to discuss, but there are conversations taking place right now about the possibility of doing a Legend TV movie.

The Dead Zone stars Anthony Michael Hall, Star Trek DS9 star Nicole deBoer (formerly Ezri Dax), and David Ogden Stiers (formerly Major Winchester on M*A*S*H, but he may be the baddie on Dead Zone!) with promising newcomers John L. Adams and Chris Bruno. The cast is excellent and this show may turn out to be the runaway hit of 2002, filling the gap left by The X-Files finale last season. Critics raved over the premiere and the second episode was even better. Piller's years of experience as Rick Berman's partner at the Trek Franchise gives the writer / producer a gift for quality rarely achieved on television, and the evidence is in the watching, so check out The Dead Zone on the USA Network Sundays at 10 PM / 9PM Central.

Piller co-created Star Trek Deep Space Nine and Star Trek Voyager, and as a Star Trek Next Generation writer he's the guy who gave Captain Picard those pesky Borg implants. If you missed the chat and want to read the transcript, it will be posted at  the Official Star Trek site Thursday June 27th at 

The Official Dead Zone site is at 

Star Trek Nemesis Alert

Hollywood June 25, 2002 (eXoNews) - The official Star Trek Newsletter announced that the new trailer for "Star Trek: Nemesis" will premiere on Entertainment Tonight Wednesday, June 26, to coordinate with the launch of the film's official website. Both will go live at 7:30 p.m. PDT/10:30 p.m. EDT in QuickTime format. The trailer will be available in small, large and full-screen sizes (QuickTime Pro 5 required for full-screen viewing).

The newsletter also reports that "the Nemesis Web site contains stunning imagery from the movie, as well as a 360-degree IPIX spin of the Romulan Senate set, wallpapers, AIM buddy icons, and more!"

Check for more info on Nemesis on the Official Star Trek Site at 

Rebuilding Wesley On Angel 

Hollywood June 24, 2002 (Sci Fi Wire) - Joss Whedon, co-creator of The WB's vampire series Angel, told SCI FI Wire that Wesley will rejoin the group in the upcoming season four. But it will take time for Wesley (played by Alexis Denisof) to rebuild trust with Angel (David Boreanaz) and the rest of the gang, Whedon said in an interview. "It's a complex issue," he said. "It's not going to be simple. He's learned a lot about trust in the last year, and he's going to be dealing with that. It's not going to be like the old days."

Denisof told SCI FI Wire that he looks forward to continuing the exploration of Wesley's exclusion. "Emotions are running high right now, and I think it will be a good few episodes before it's resolved," he said. "I know they have some very exciting plans for next year, and I think it's an interesting turn for the character to be isolated and have to find his own way for a while."

As for Wesley's relationship with Wolfram and Hart lawyer Lila Morgan (Stephanie Romanov), Denisof said, "I know of a couple of ideas they've had, and I don't think they've completely decided yet [where it will go]. I think they were surprised that there was such chemistry between the characters, so I expect they may explore it. I think in some shape or form, now that it's started, it will [continue], but I don't see them running off and getting married."

Romanov herself told SCI FI Wire she was unsure where the Lila-Wesley relationship would go, but looks forward to exploring more of Lila's background, such as this season's revelation that she has a mother in a nursing home. "They're showing more sides to Lila now, so I get to play more interesting things," Romanov said. "You get a little bit better idea where she's coming from, and they've got some plans up their sleeve as to a storyline that I find intriguing, which I won't speak of now, but I look forward to all of that." Angel moves to a Sunday timeslot in the fall.

Alexis Denisof doesn't seem to have his own official site, but the best unofficial but easier to find than the official Angel website is at 

In other Joss Whedon news, the Official Firefly site has put up some QuickTime interviews with everybody's darling writer / director / producer at 

If you don't do QuickTime because of bandwidth restraints, the all-knowing and very considerate unofficial Firefly fan site has a text transcript at

Whitaker Takes on Supernatural 'Selling Time'

HOLLYWOOD June 23, 2002 ( - Actor/director Forest Whitaker has signed on to helm “Selling Time” for Fox 2000. According to Variety, Whitaker is also writing the draft to the supernatural thriller. 

The film centers on a man who, after surviving the worst day of his life, decides he wants to relive it again. When the chance arises, the consequences are unexpected and dangerous. No stars have been attached to the project yet. 

Whitaker, an actor who’s starred in “The Crying Game," “Ghost Dog” and, more recently, “Panic Room," has previously directed “Waiting to Exhale” and “Hope Floats.” He’ll be appearing next in Joel Schumacher’s thriller “Phone Booth” opposite Colin Farrell and Katie Holmes. A production date on “Selling Time” has not been set yet.

Whitaker will also take on the Rod Serling host role on this fall's Twilight Zone on UPN.

Warners Scores Altered Carbon
By Zorianna Kit

Hollywood June 21, 2002 (Hollywood Reporter) - Warner Bros. Pictures has paid mid-six against seven figures to pick up feature film rights to Richard Morgan's debut sci-fi crime novel, "Altered Carbon," which John Pogue will adapt for studio-based producer Joel Silver.

The project reunites Silver with Pogue, who co-wrote the upcoming Warners feature "Ghost Ship" for Silver and Robert Zemeckis' Dark Castle Entertainment.

"Carbon," which Pogue also will executive produce, is described as a cross between "The Matrix" and "Chinatown." Set in the 26th century, when mankind is spread throughout the galaxy on many worlds, the United Nations keeps control with its Envoy troops. It also is a time when one's personality and consciousness can be stored away and downloaded into a new body for a price.

DS9 Fans Petition For Film 

Hollywood June 24, 2002 (Sci Fi Wire) - More than 10,700 fans of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine have signed an online petition asking Paramount to revive the Trek spinoff as either a movie or TV miniseries. The petition, which organizers plan to ship to the studio on Jan. 4, 2003, is part of a campaign by fans to revive DS9.

Paramount has so far expressed little interest in reviving the series, which ended its seven-year run in syndication in 1999. Fans also plan a letter-writing campaign to Paramount.

The DS9 Petition site was reborn recently at

Peter Pan and More Movie News

Hollywood June 26, 2002 (eXoNews) - According to The Hollywood Reporter there is a live action Peter Pan coming your way for Christmas 2003.

Universal Pictures will co-produce with Columbia Pictures and Revolution Studios. Disney was originally tapped for the Universal position, but negotiations fell through.

The Reporter also says John Cleese will join up with Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz and John Lithgow in Shrek II.

Edward Furlong and Natasha Lyonne are cast in "Max and Grace," which is supposed to be "Raising Arizona" meets "Harold and Maude". The Reporter says it's "a dark comedy about a committed pair of suicidal lovers ho are wed in their ward, break out of the asylum, and set off in search of new ways to die. On a honeymoon road trip filled with faith healers, suicide attempts, and a hot air balloon, they learn the true meaning of the 'white light' that comes from life."

Buffy Returns to Sunnydale High

LOS ANGELES June 21, 2002 ( - The seventh season of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" will take the Scooby gang back to where they started, sort of. Creator Joss Whedon told an audience at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences this week that the season will open with Dawn (Michelle Trachtenberg) enrolling at a rebuilt Sunnydale High School. 

"The reopening of the high school is where we're starting," Whedon says, "and it represents a lot of what we're talking about in terms of getting back to the very first mission statement of the show, which was the joy of female power: Having it, using it, sharing it." 

Whedon also hopes to make next season's tone somewhat lighter than the downbeat themes explored in the show's first year on UPN. Characters will still have to deal with the consequences of their actions, however, such as Willow's (Alyson Hannigan) killing of Warren and Spike's (James Marsters) attempted rape of Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar).

"We don't let people get away with things, unless there's a reason," Whedon says. "Giles, the year before, killed a person, but nobody found out." 

Whedon also tells Sci Fi Wire that Amber Benson, who plays Tara, and Anthony Stewart Head, who plays Giles, will make appearances in the coming season. Tara was shot and killed at the end of last season, leading to Willow's murderous acts. But this being "Buffy," anything can happen. He's not offering any details as to how Benson will return.

One thing that won't be back is the Double Meat Palace, Buffy's workplace. "Double Meat Palace was the only thing we ever did to make advertisers pull out," he says. "They did not like us making fun of fast food. Sarah's very upset about not getting to wear the hat anymore."

How about checking yer Buffy links while were at it? 

As you already know, the Official Buffy site is 

A good but unofficial Sarah Michelle Gellar site is at 

Equally unofficial Alyson Hannigan site at 

Also unofficial Nicholas Brendan Zone site at 

The Official Amber Benson Site (finally somebody has an official site!) - 

Here's one for Little Bit Michelle Trachtenberg - 

And the incorrigible Spike has a bloody unofficial network at 

Anthony Stewart Head doesn't seem to have an official page either, but his British Buffy spin-off Ripper has a page and it hasn't even begun production! Try 

Last but most is Whedon himself, with unofficial stuff at  where we found out it was his birthday on June 23rd and you can find a link to the famous if you are really in need of a life while waiting for the new fall season :o)>

Killer Jellyfish Strike Australia

By Belinda Goldsmith 

CANBERRA June 22, 2002 (Reuters) - A tiny, near-invisible box jellyfish blamed for killing two foreign tourists in tropical north Australia may have got a bum rap but the case has opened a Pandora's box for marine scientists. 

Until this year the sting of the peanut-sized, translucent Irukandji jellyfish found off far north Queensland was thought to be little more than a painful irritant. Then it was accused of killing Briton Richard Jordan and American Robert King. The verdict puzzled experts who knew the box jellyfish's venom could trigger the so-called Irukandji syndrome, causing excruciating back pain, sweating, and nausea, but not death. 

Following tests, experts cleared the Irukandji jellyfish, or Carukia barnesi, of King's death -- but in the process discovered there are undetected, more deadly jellyfish lurking in Australian waters, with no antivenom available. 

Jamie Seymour, a jellyfish expert with James Cook University's School of Tropical Biology in Cairns, said the stinging cells he tested from King were a mystery. 

"This sting was from a jellyfish I've never seen before. It is a totally new species and opens up the floodgates as we just don't know what is out there," Seymour told Reuters. 

Marine scientists now fear there could be up to six other species of Irukandji, on top of the Carukia barnesi, undetected in the waters off northern Australia that cause a deadly variety of Irukandji syndrome. 

King, 44, died in April when a sting received while diving on the Great Barrier Reef brought on a rapid rise in his heart rate and blood pressure, leading to a cerebral hemorrhage. Jordan, 58, from Yorkshire, died in January after being stung swimming off Queensland's Hamilton Island. The sting aggravated an existing heart condition and no extra tests were conducted. Authorities suspect the deaths were not the first fatalities from Irukandji stings in Australia, just the first recorded, as symptoms after a sting resemble decompression, a stroke or other conditions that may be listed as the cause of death. 

"There is no doubt others have died from stings but people weren't in the know until now," Dr. Peter Fenner, co-founder of the International Consortium of Jellyfish Stings, told Reuters. "But with this publicity, people remember the times divers collapsed and died on beaches with heart attacks blamed." 

The first recording of Irukandji syndrome was noted in northern Australia by a doctor during the 1940s. But the mystery set of illnesses was not named until 1952 when it was identified by Dr. Hugo Flecker, who traced the world's deadliest jellyfish, the Chironex fleckeri, a larger relative of the Irukandji which has killed 67 people in Australia. 

He named the syndrome after the Aboriginal people of the Irukandji tribe living at Palm Cove, about 25 km (16 miles) north of Cairns, who for generations knew of an invisible danger in the water that could trigger a strange sickness. They suspected they had been bitten by something in the sea but they did not know what, with the sting barely noticeable at the time and the pain not kicking in for about 30 minutes. 

It was not until 1966 that Cairns doctor Jack Barnes, who is now dead, found the culprit. For several hours he lay on the seabed, weighed down with diving gear, looking for what he suspected was a tiny, transparent marine creature. His patience paid off. He spotted a tiny jellyfish, its bell measuring just one inch across, with stinging cells on its body as well as its four, 20-inch long tentacles. 

To test his theory, Barnes stung himself, his 14-year-old son and a local lifeguard. All three were rushed to the intensive care unit of a nearby hospital but survived. The culprit was named in the doctor's honor, Carukia barnesi, and is commonly known as the Irukandji jellyfish -- one of about 15 box jellyfish known in Australia and 24 globally. 

Irukandji syndrome has also been recorded elsewhere, across the Indian and Pacific oceans, but not as often as in Queensland where hordes of tourists a year are attracted to the pristine tropical beaches and the Great Barrier Reef to dive and snorkel. Every year, between November and May, about 30 people are taken to hospital in far north Queensland suffering from Irukandji syndrome but a lack of research funding has hindered progress in finding an anti-venom. 

Instead the Chironex fleckeri, the world's most venomous marine creature, has been favored for research, along with the long list of other deadly creatures in Queensland, ranging from sharks and crocodiles to sea snakes, stone fish and spiders. But this year the numbers seeking treatment jumped to about 200 -- with two deaths -- as the tiny jellyfish was washed ashore from its usual deep waters by prevailing currents and winds, slipping through protective nets shielding beaches. 

Seymour said the deaths sparked a new interest in jellyfish, with the federal government committing $56,000 for further research which was hoped to attract private sector funds. 

"We desperately need research funds because until we know what kind of jellyfish there are, how can we produce antivenom for them," Seymour said. "The last few months have shown that we really know nothing about what is going on with box jellyfish."

Asteroid Misses Earth By 74,000 Miles!
June 19, 2002 (NASA Press Release) - The 100 meter-sized asteroid 2002 MN passed within 0.3 lunar distances of the Earth on June 14, 2002, some three days prior to its discovery. 

According to its most likely orbital path, this object came within 120,000 km (74,000 miles) of the Earth, a close approach that is second only to the Earth approach to within 105,000 km (65,000 miles) by the 10 meter-sized asteroid 1994 XM1 on December 9th, 1994. Asteroids of this relatively small size are frequently discovered near the time of their close Earth approaches because then they are relatively bright and have a characteristic rapid apparent motion across the sky. 

The MIT Lincoln Laboratory's LINEAR team discovered Asteroid 2002 MN. Although only 14 observations of the object during two evenings were used to compute the orbit of this object, its future motion can be computed several decades into the future.

According to our SENTRY system analysis, while there are some additional close Earth approach possibilities in 2061 and beyond, none of these Earth approaches are of particular concern. 

NASA table of future asteroid encounters - 
Stonehenge News!

Druids Celebrate Summer Solstice in UK

STONEHENGE June 23, 2002 (The International News) - Chanting and dancing to whistles and drums, thousands of revelers and a handful of robed Druids welcomed the summer solstice on Friday in one of the biggest-ever gatherings at the ancient Stonehenge megalith.

While most of bleary-eyed England was rising early to watch a crunch World Cup football match, more than 16,000 people thronged to Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, southern England, to greet the longest day of the year.

"It is fantastic to come here at a non-corporate public monument and celebrate with so much energy when the sun is at its highest point," said Jane Parker, 37, holding two flaming juggling clubs at her side.

The celebrations began Thursday night when a rainbow assortment of spiritualists, Druids and dreadlocked mothers pushing prams descended on the site for a once-a-year chance to walk among its towering stones.

As dawn broke above one of the stone archways, Druids -- a pagan religious order dating to Celtic Britain -- joined with the crowds in chants and cheers of joy. But the atmosphere was filled more with cannabis then incantation.

"I think most of the people here are on a spiritual quest and even those who aren't can find wisdom here," said Brian "Earthspoon", an unofficial spokesman for the celebration. English Heritage, guardians of Stonehenge, a world heritage site, estimated the crowd numbers at 16,000, by far the largest gathering since it reopened the stone circle for the solstice festival in 2000. It was only the third time since violence marred the event in 1985 that English Heritage allowed the public among the stones inside the site, about 80 miles southwest of London.

The banning of the Stonehenge Free Festival, an annual day of public access to the stones, sparked clashes in 1985 between riot police and visitors who had made spiritual pilgrimages to the site demanding to be allowed to perform religious rites. Since then, access to Stonehenge -- built between 3,000 B.C. and 1600 B.C. -- has been limited, but the solstice attracts thousands every year.

Stonehenge or Domehenge?

Plymouth June 17, 2002 (Daily Press UK) - For 4,000 years it has remained one of Britain's most enchanting mysteries - just what did Stonehenge look like? But a West puzzle expert claims to have cracked the enigma of the Wiltshire monument.

After 18 years of research, Bruce Bedlam has concluded that the infamous circle of stones was part of a large gravity-defying temple.

This week he unveiled a model of what he believes the real structure looked like - a Bronze Age version of the Millennium Dome.

Mr. Bedlam, from Plymouth, claims the outer ring of monolithic stones supported a magnificent cone-shaped timber roof. He also believes that wooden beams stretched out from the stones to form a 10-point star on the ground - like the stanchions that jut out from the Dome in Greenwich.

The overall effect was that of a glorious cathedral, which the former Army engineer said would have been a meeting place, government center and place of worship designed to stun visitors.

He said: "If they could move these stones, I can't imagine the people who built Stonehenge standing in the rain - it doesn't make any sense at all. I had to ask myself: Why was it so big? Why is it in a circle? What are the lintels locked together and why is there a circle of holes around Stonehenge?"

Mr. Bedlam claimed that one of the most extraordinary features of the ancient Dome was a light that radiated from the structure. He said the tent-like shape was designed to line up exactly with the movements of the sun at key dates throughout the year. At the summer and winter solstices and autumn and spring equinoxes, sunlight would flood through the open apex and fill the building with light.

However some experts remain unconvinced. Dr Christopher Chippindale, a Cambridge University archaeologist, said the stone blocks have such shallow foundations that it is unlikely they could have supported a cathedral-like roof.

Mr. Bedlam unveiled his model, Stonehenge and Stonemover, on Channel 4's Richard and Judy show.

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