Friends baffled by 'UFO' sightings in skies over Burton

A GROUP of friends have described how they followed ‘weird objects’ through Burton that they thought they were UFOs.

Tanya Marks contacted the Mail following the incident, which happened at around 10.30pm on Wednesday, May 4.

She said: “At around 10.30pm me and two of my friends were parked up in a car in Stapenhill and saw at least four weird objects fly over us within 10 minutes.

“The objects were as big as a jet plane and a weird triangular shape with white blue and red flashing lights on them.

“We thought they were really weird so we decided to drive in the direction that they went.
“We ended up in numerous locations, one being Branston and another being in the Shobnall area in Belvedere Road.

“One of the flying objects was just hovering and not moving, so we pulled up to look at it.
“By this point we were all in shock and then straight away it zoomed off.

“Another one was flying towards us and had a big orange beam on it then suddenly it changed direction and also zoomed off.

“We saw another one in Winshill and we were driving up Ashby Road and one flew straight in front of us. It was very low and we could see weird ridges on it.

“We followed these weird aircraft for around three hours.

“They were too fast and too small for planes and changed direction very quickly.

“We have no idea what they were and would love to find out.”

Earlier this year, the Mail told how Ministry of Defence (MoD) files revealed that a family reported seeing orange lights in the sky flying above Burton.

The National Archives has released 35 ‘X’ files, charting all unidentified flying objects reported in the UK from 2000 to 2005.

These included the account of a Burton family from Saturday, June 28, 2008, who were driving through Branston at around 11.30pm.

The opening of the files is the result of Freedom of Information requests to the MoD.

The files are available to download by visiting the website

Burton Mail, Rob Smyth

Wayne Rooney High Priestess of Voodoo Almost Got Prediction Right

The High Priestess of Voodoo has claimed a victory with her predictions for the Champions League Final. 

Her original prediction was based on a ritual she carried out with chicken bones and vegetables and Pearl Barley. She stirred the pot of chicken and vegetable soup anti-clockwise and the vegetablesand the barley formed the numbers 3 and 0. She also saw the face of Wayne Rooney.

From these visions she concluded that Manchester United were going to win 3-0, and that Wayne Rooney was going to score the winning goal. 

But with hindsight, she has now realised that the 0 could have been a one, and that the 3 was probably meant for Barcelona and not Manchester. She has also now accepted that the vision of Wayne Rooney probably meant that he was going to score Manchester's only goal. 

She says that making future predictions is very hard, and that she doesn't always draw the right conclusions from the things she sees in her rituals. But the information is usually correct in a jumbled up way. She says the fact that she is a Manchester United fan may have clouded her judgement and she got a bit optomistic with her predictions.

So lets recap on what she got right. She got the number of goals that would be scored by Barcelona. She also predicted that Wayne Rooney would score a goal. And she predicted that one of the teams would lose.

I think that makes her more than half correct. So well done Voodoo High Priestess. 

The Spoof, by Katarina Frogpond, Saturday, 28 May 2011

Roman nails linked at Christ crucifixion

Christ Before Caiaphas, by Matthias Stom

Two Roman nails that date at 2,000 years have found in Great Priest Jew grave. Jesus Christ has appeared before him and he should have participated in crucifixion, according to an Israeli documentary maker. They measure 8 centimeters. They have been discovered twenty years ago in Jerusalem by archeologists.

Several historians think that all crucifixions have done without nails but with ropes.

7 Sur 7, Tuesday, April 12 2011

Doomsday Prophecy Stirs Bedward Memories

SAVE FOR a grave being dug to accommodate the remains of a departed Bedwardite, no major preparations have been taking place in August Town, St Andrew, for the afterlife.

Doomsday preachers have predicted that tomorrow will be Judgement Day as God makes His grand appearance and takes His chosen few back to heaven with Him.

Over 90 years ago, Alexander Bedward, of August Town fame, was reportedly preparing for the rapture when he was arrested and taken to a mental institution. He prophesied that he would ascend into heaven on December 31, 1920.

Bedward proclaimed that he was a reincarnation of Jesus Christ and that, like Elijah, he would ascend into heaven in a flaming chariot. He then expected to rain down fire on those who did not follow him, thereby destroying the whole world.

Bedward legend
When The Gleaner visited August Town on Wednesday, some residents grinned as they pointed to a tall cotton tree in Bedward's churchyard. Legend has it that a Bedwardite attempted to fly from its high branches and failed. The tree's green life defied the heat from the sun which has left other plants parched.

The massive concrete structure which is said to have been Bedward's church stood bare in the mid-morning August Town sun.

Also in its vibrancy is a guinep tree which now provides shade for Bedward's unpainted grave in a cemetery named after him.

In much the same way Bedward had been ridiculed for his rapturous philosophy, United States radio talk-show host Harold Camping, along with his followers who have predicted May 21 as the day for God's Second Coming, is being scorned by some community members.
"I am not looking forward to that because my God tells me when He is coming. He is going to come like a thief in the night," Deloris Allen toldThe Gleaner.

Jamaican Michael Lewis, appearing on Television Jamaica's 'Religious HardTalk' on Tuesday night, sought to press home Camping's predictions.

"Him (Lewis) worse than Bedward; Bedward was preaching but him talking rubbish. When I hear him last night, I locked off my TV because mi seh yuh don't know when God a come 'cause God neva call yuh and tell yuh dat," Allen said.

"Mi know my God neva give him dat phone call," she added.

"The Bible seh no one knows the minute nor the hour, not even Jesus himself," said Carolyn Daley, a Christian of 36 years.

"And if Jesus nuh know when God a guh come, how mi and yuh a go know when God a go come? We are very close to the coming of the Lord but it's not Saturday," she said.

Carl Givans, 75, who claims to have been raised by Bedwardites in August Town, is in no way receptive to the argument that the Second Coming of God will take place this weekend.
"Dat is a wrong suggestion," Givans said. "Not even the angels in heaven know when Massa God a come."

He added "You must not follow idiots. A fight dem fight against Father Bedward. A di Catholics dem weh fight against Christ and dem fight against Father Bedward. He was set up, he was misunderstood".

Whether Camping, Lewis and their band suffer the same fate as Bedward remains to be seen. Today, they say is the last day before the judgement, the last hurrah for mankind on Earth.

The Gleaner, Daraine Luton, 20 mai 2011 

‘Jeremiah prophecy made me a millionaire’

Apostle Jeremiah Dlamini

PIET RETIEF – A retired South African teacher has testified on how Apostle Jeremiah Dlamini helped her win a E3.2million tender.

She believes his prophecy has put her on the road to becoming a millionaire.

The business woman yesterday drove from Newcastle to Piet Retief to attend a service hosted by the Apostle in his newly opened branch at the Thand’kukhanya Township. She went there to deliver the testimony in which she said would motivate aspiring business women.

In her testimony, which was delivered around 1pm, Sibongile Masuku told the congregants that after news started doing rounds about the prophetic Apostle in Newcastle, she visited his church.

"Before my visit to the Apostle’s church, I had kept on dreaming about money and was so keen to start a business that will sustain me during my retiring period. The Apostle made a prophecy about me and said he sees me becoming a millionaire and that God has chosen me to be one. He then prayed and told me to have faith in God because soon I will be rich," testified Masuku.

She said after the prophesy she then started to apply for tenders from the South African government.

She said immediately the tender forms were issued she took one and filled in the required details before going to the place where the tender project was to be conducted.

"The Apostle had told me to pray and visit the place of my target. I went there with the filled tender form and a bible. Upon reaching the place I prayed and told God that I want to win the tender. I did as per the instruction of the Apostle. I then submitted the tender form for approval," explained Masuku.

She went on to say two months after the submission date, she received a call that she had won the tender.

"I could not believe this," she said.

Masuku explained that the tender is worth R3.1 million.

Masuku retired on December 31, 2010. She said she applied for the tender in February 2011 and received a call in April that notified her about winning the tender.

Interviewed after the service, the business woman revealed the details of the tender.

She told the Times the tender is that of renovating the Madadeni Phelindaba Stadium. She explained that earlier on she was marred with bad-luck as her business applications were constantly rejected.

She won the tender from Amajuba Municipality.

Meanwhile, Apostle Jeremiah said there are many business people he had assisted through prayer. He said "some of them after receiving God’s blessing left the church for a better environment,"

He said God entrusted him with the grace of praying for the sick to be healed, others to have their aspirations fulfilled. He said Masuku’s testimony was true and that it should be an example of God’s power.

The service was attended by over 200 people but that is less than two thirds of the capacity.
Apostle’s wife a no show in Piet Retief

PIET RETIEF – Despite that Apostle Jeremiah Dlamini introduced his wife to members of his church in Newcastle, this time around the wife was a no show in Piet Retief.

The Apostle yesterday had a special sermon in his newly formed church in Piet Retief where a business woman testified that the Apostle prayed for her to become a millionaire.

The Apostle’s wife was nowhere to be seen and immediately after the service, Dlamini left for Swaziland.

He was reported to be in a rush to attend to a meeting at his branch in the country.

When asked about his wife’s absence in Piet Retief, the Apostle confirmed she was not there. He said "she only attend to services in Ngwane Park branch.

She did not go to Piet Ret- ief."

Asked about his marriage, the Apostle was quick to say for now he was still busy with the establishment of his television programme but would make time to attend to his family issues later.

Times of Swaziland, By MBONGENI NDLELA on May 09, 2011

'Big Bang' scientists map cautious plan for 2011

Large Hadron Collider in Geneva

GENEVA – Scientists at the CERN research center seeking answers to key mysteries of the cosmos said on Wednesday they would be moving ahead cautiously this year to avoid any possible breakdown in their giant LHC machine.

But they indicated that in 2012, if all goes well, they would step up the energy of particle collisions that most feel is vital to bring them near to finding the almost mythical Higgs boson and evidence for the existence of dark matter.

"We are pushing the limits," physicist Marco Zanetti told a seminar for CERN staff attended by Reuters.

Simulations of what could happen if there was a simple leak in a joint in the hugely complex machine like the incident that set back the LHC project by a year in 2009 showed it could bring another 12-month delay, he said.

But Zanetti and other speakers at the seminar made clear they saw little chance of this happening now the LHC -- or Large Hadron Collider -- has been functioning without a glitch since March 31 last year.

After a two-month winter shutdown, it is starting up again later this month -- with the particle collisions that simulate the primeval explosion that created the universe 13,7 billion years ago at the top energy yet reached for around 135 days.

That energy is called 3.5 TeV, or tera electron-volts, giving a total of 7 TeV when the particles speeding around the LHC's 27-kilometre tunnel deep under the Swiss-French border on the edge of Geneva smash into each other.

CERN technology director Steve Myers told the seminar that the LHC team still hoped to double the energy impact in 2014, after a year-long shutdown in 2013 for intensive upgrading, but the next few months would show if that were viable.

At the higher collision energy of 14 TeV, CERN -- the 21-nation European Organization for Particle Research -- expects to produce results that could shed light on the possible existence of parallel worlds or multiple universes.

Originally the LHC had been due to shut down at the end of this year for 12 months but the CERN council decided last month to keep going through 2012 because the machine was running so smoothly, giving extra time for an early discovery.

The Higgs -- the particle whose existence was posited nearly 40 years ago by British scientist Peter Higgs as the mystery agent that turns mass into matter and makes the known universe work -- is the prime target at this phase.

China Daily, 2011-02-10


Statue of Qilin

According to legends, it is one of 9 sons of a dragon, which can distinguish between good and evil. It is sometimes included in the list of four noble animals, along with the Chinese dragon, phoenix and tortoise - instead of the tiger.

As a rule this animal is depicted having a few horns, green and blue scaly skin, hooves of a deer, the head of a dragon and a bear's tail. In some aspects it resembles Western unicorns. Like the European unicorn, Chi Lin symbolizes longevity and prosperity. It is believed to live for at least 2000 years.

The Chinese believe that it is always lonely, and appears only during the reign of an outstanding ruler or when a great sage is born or dies; for instance, it was seen shortly before the birth and death of Confucius. It can only be seen by the chosen ones. It is considered a harbinger of happiness.

On his back, Qilin may have babies. Legends state that it brings extraordinary children from heaven. Like the stork in the European tradition, in China it brings a long-awaited heir to the happy parents.

It is also mentioned in connection with some important events in the history of China. For instance, five thousand years ago one Chinese emperor was sitting on the shore near the Yellow River, when he saw Qilin. The dirty water of the river turned crystal clear green. Chi Lin stood before the emperor, stomped on a rock three times, and spoke to the emperor in a voice similar to a temple bell. When Qilin turned to leave, the emperor saw magic signs on his back, and copied them. According to legends, this is how the first written language appeared in China.

The mention of this mythical animal goes back to the days of Confucius. Back then, it had a more peaceful appearance. When walking, it did not cause any harm even to insects (like the image of the Lamb in Christian mythology). When stepping on the grass it did not crush it. It fed on magic grasses. It could walk on water and fly. Carved on gravestones, it would protect from evil spirits, as well as accompany the dead to heaven. However, over time it changed its appearance and symbolism - once a symbol of peace and gentleness, it also acquired the features of power and strength.

In Feng Shui, Qilin symbolizes long life, celebration, magnificence, joy, wisdom, and famous children. It is a gentle, kind, and benevolent creature. It carries a mystical good omen. This feng shui talisman is believed to help facilitate the success of children. Chi Lin's images or statues can help women who wish to have a child. The main function of this talisman in feng shui is the elimination of negativity, and to attract wealth.

If you want to place this talisman in your home, remember that this charm should face toward the exit. You don't need to activate it; however, it "likes" to listen to folk songs and fairy tales, and this is supposed to make it work harder for its owners.

China Daily, 2011-03-01

Lady Gaga haunted by Ryan

Lady Gaga believes she is being haunted by an "annoying" ghost named Ryan.

The 'Bad Romance' hitmaker thinks she is being followed everywhere she tours across the world by the spectre, who has "terrified" her with his constant presence.

A member of her touring crew told the Daily Star newspaper: "She's been telling us all for months that she has a male spirit called Ryan who travels the world with her.

"She's pretty terrified by this spirit, but more than anything he's annoying her as he won't leave her alone.

"He's hasn't been doing anything too violent or scary but she's freaked out by his presence. She's a very spiritual person and in tune with the spiritual world but this is a step too far, even for her."

Although little is known about Ryan the ghost, or why he has chosen to haunt Gaga, she has held a seance while in Ireland for her 'Monster Ball Tour' over the weekend, in an attempt to get through and see him off.

The source added: "She contacted a spirit medium and organised a seance so she could communicate with him and tell him to go away.

"She gathered all her friends over the weekend in Belfast, Ireland, and held the seance to find out what he wants. She's convinced she picked this up as a bad omen.

"Although most of her friends were sceptical they agreed to take part."

It has previously been revealed that Gaga, 24, has spent thousands of dollars on ghostbusters and splashed out $47,000 on state of the art Electro Magnetic Field meters to detect spectres.

A source previously revealed: "She believes in paranormal activity and won't take any risks when she is on the road. It's important to her to be safe from spirits."

China Daily, 2010-11-04

Devil talk banned in Katy Perry's childhood home

Katy Perry says she did not have a childhood with her evangelical minister parents, who allowed her to read only the Bible and even banned terms like "deviled eggs."

"I didn't have a childhood," Perry told Vanity Fair in an interview for its June edition. "I come from a very non-accepting family, but I'm very accepting."

"Sometimes when children grow up, their parents grow up," she said. "Mine grew up with me. We coexist. I don't try to change them anymore, and I don't think they try to change me. We agree to disagree. They're excited about (my success)."

Perry, 26, rose to stardom in 2008 with her hit single "I Kissed a Girl" and by promoting herself as a sex kitten.

Her first stab at a music career was through a gospel music album. But the cover of her latest hit "Teenage Dream," features her lying naked on a pink cloud.

The "Firework" singer -- who wants her ashes shot out over the California coast in a firework -- said her friends had to sneak her CDs as a child because secular music was banned in her California home.

Phrases like "deviled eggs" and the name of the vacuum cleaner "Dirt Devil" were also banned, and Perry said she was led to believe that the family planning group Planned Parenthood was only an abortion clinic.

"I was always scared I was going to get bombed when I was there ... I didn't know it was more than that, that it was for women and their needs. I didn't have insurance, so I went there and I learned about birth control," she told Vanity Fair.

Perry married British comedian Russell Brand in a Hindu ceremony in India in October 2010. But she said that while Brand was involved in Hinduism, she was not, and that she had always questioned her family's strict Christian faith.

"I have always been the kid who's asked 'Why?' In my faith, you're just supposed to have faith. But I was always like ... why?" she said. "At this point, I'm just kind of a drifter. I'm open to possibility."

"My sponge is so big and wide and I'm soaking everything up and my mind has been radically expanded. Just being around different cultures and people and their opinions and perspectives. Just looking into the sky," Perry said.

Perry said she and Brand turned down millions of dollars for their wedding pictures because "we wanted the moment to ourselves."

She said that she hopes that her music remains the focus of fans, rather than her appearance or her personal life.

"I don't care what people say about my relationship; I don't care what people say about my boobs. People are buying my songs; I have a sold out tour. I'm getting incredible feedback from my music," Perry said. "I already know my future evolution, where I'm going to go."

China Daily, 2011-05-04 

Police Interrupt Cannibal's Dinner

Julianne Moore in Hannibal (2001)

Police detained in western Moscow on Tuesday a man who was caught eating an acquaintance's liver.

Police tracked down the suspect after a trail of severed body parts including limbs and a head were found across the city.

"When the police came to arrest the suspect, he was eating a human liver with potatoes," a district police spokeswoman said.

Investigative Committee representative Vladimir Markin identified the suspect as Nikolai Shadrin, a local resident with a history of psychological problems. The victim was 40-year-old Ilya Yegorov, also a Muscovite.

The rest of the liver was found in a refrigerator in the suspect's apartment. He has pleaded guilty to killing and dismembering Yegorov on May 2, scattering some of his body parts throughout the city and storing others, Markin said.

A case has been opened on murder charges, punishable with up to 15 years in prison.

The Moscow Times, 18 May 2011

How to Avoid Ghosts and other Paranormal Encounters ?

Jennifer Love Hewitt

Last night while flipping through the channels, I came upon the show, Celebrity Ghost Stories.  I have to say Hollywood`s stars have some pretty creepy experiences to share.  

During this episode, I watched Christopher Knight, Margaret Cho and some unfamiliar actress tell their real-life ghostly encounters are these things real?  Sure, why not?  Who am I to judge?  I plan on coming back and wreaking havoc on unsuspecting living people. Why? Because I can, and there are some people who I would like to drive to the brink of insanity -- I think it would be fun.

Personally, I think ghosts are okay guests as long as they are not ghosts who insist on taking over the house or the person living in the house as was the case with the unfriendly demons in The Exorcist or Amityville Horror. The celebrity ghostly encounters got me thinking about house hauntings, so I have come up with a few rules which should help both celebrities and regular people avoid paranormal and possession mayhem. 

Don`t move into a house with a history - By history I mean "crime " history.  Murder, suicide, anything violent is a sign that this house may not be for you.  Okay, say the seller forgets to disclose the fact thapeople were murdered in the house, and you move in only to discover that your five-year-old kid knows more curse words than you and his head now makes 360-degree spins --should you be alarmed?

Yes, you should be very alarmed and you need to leave.  This is my problem with these shows. People stay in houses even after a once sweet spouse grows horns on his or her head and displays glowing red eyes which were once baby blue.  They blame the demon transformation on everything from the weather to eating bad fish.  I am as skeptical as the next person, but if you are alone in a room and a loud and angry voice yells, " GET OUT!" -- do yourself a favor and get out!  Get out as fast as your little feet can run.  Those stupid Amityville Horror people waited until blood started to stream down the walls and for the husband to turn homicidal before they abandoned ship. Here`s a rule of thumb: If your spouse is coming at you with a hatchet, you might have waited too long.  

Don`t move into a house or apartment where the rent should be $4000 a month but the landlord charges you $200 per month - Let me just say this straight out: No one wants to give you a great deal on rent because you are special. You are not that special-- no one is. A really good deal on rent is obviously a sign that the apartment was a site for satanic worship. I learned this fact from watching Rosemary`s Baby.  If someone wants you to lease an apartment that badly, something is definitely wrong.  That 80+-percent-rent discount (I don`t know if that is the right percentage as I suck at math so all you engineers can figure that out for me) is not because there is a roach or rodent problem.  No, that big discount should be a red flag " a warning that you will be sharing that apartment with someone who is not of this world.

Do not buy a home that has had 10 owners in the past year - If a house spits out owners this fast, there is a problem.  And while I thought that owners were legally supposed to disclose all problems with the house, they tend to fib a bit when it comes to ghosts.  I guess since not a lot of people believe in ghosts, one can blame all unexplainable happenings on the old plumbing or the house settling. 

Don`t buy a house that next to a cemetery or was once a funeral home - I had a friend in high school who lived above her father`s funeral parlor which now she owns herself.  Did she have ghostly experiences? Yes and she told us amazing stories, but they were all benign in nature. There were no mean ghosts who threw things around the room. Mostly, she said the ghosts commented on their funerals and what their families made them wear.  

However, I saw that movie A Haunting in Connecticut and its television version on the Discovery Channel`s show A Haunting.  While a twitter friend, who wrote the book for this paranormal story, has said publicly that this entire episode was a hoax, I have to believe it is still best to not live in an old funeral home.  Okay, let me amend that. It`s okay to live in an old funeral home but unlike the people in this book, do the smart thing and remove the embalming equipment from the basement before you make it a bedroom for your young sons and here is another tip: don`t use the freezer that used to hold the cadavers as a place to store your groceries.  Get a new freezer; Life will be much easier. 

Source, Donna Cavanagh, May 10th, 2011

An UFO crashed into a windmill

A windmill has been destroyed strangely. According to witnesses, that is an Undentified Flying Object who has crashed into this.

US starts project to find alien life

The United States has inaugurated a massive radio telescope in rural West Virginia to listen for signs of extraterrestrial life on 86 Earth-like planets.

US astronomers said on Friday that the colossal dish will gather 24 hours of data on each of the planets, which have been selected from a list of 1,235 planets identified by NASA's Kepler space telescope, AFP reported.

"It's not absolutely certain that all of these stars have habitable planetary systems, but they're very good places to look for ET," said Andrew Siemion, one of the scientists working on the project.

The mission is part of the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) project, which was launched in 1984 to search for electromagnetic transmissions from intelligent extraterrestrial creatures.

Siemion said that they are utilizing cutting edge equipment in radio astronomy technology, noting, “Our search employs the largest fully steerable radio telescope on the planet, and the most sensitive radio telescope in the world capable of undertaking a SETI search of this kind.”

He stated, "We will be looking at a much wider range of frequencies and signal types than has ever been possible before,” adding that the surface of the telescope is 100 by 110 meters and it can record nearly one gigabyte of data per second. 

Earlier last month, the SETI institute announced that it had called off a major part of its efforts to discover extra-terrestrial communication due to budget cuts.

Press TV, May 14, 2011

SETI Institute's search for extraterrestrial life hits a budgetary black hole

The Allen Telescope Array, run by the SETI Institute near Mt. Shasta, is like an enormous ear that listens for any sign of intelligent life in the universe. But a funding cutoff leaves the project in a nebulous state.

Software engineer Colby Gutierrez-Kraybill sat alone in an observatory in this volcanic valley near Mt. Shasta, staring out a picture window at storm clouds gathering over the world's largest instrument to search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

He had reason to look forlorn, surrounded by empty bookshelves, unmarked chalkboards and rows of tables where scientists from around the world once argued over the best direction to aim 42 radio telescopes designed to act as an enormous ear capable of scanning more than a million stars over 10 billion radio frequencies.

In its history, Hat Creek Radio Observatory researchers never heard any sign of intelligent life in the universe. But that didn't stop them from trying.

The budget crisis did.
Last month, the project ran out of operational funds — victim to shrinking grants and the state's financial straits — and the telescopes were switched off and pointed at the ground, perhaps indefinitely. Gutierrez-Kraybill, a computer expert, now is part of a two-man skeleton crew tasked with protecting the 90-acre observatory from the elements and vandals.

"It's a pretty sad situation," said Colby, who has lived at the facility, about 30 miles from the nearest community, since 2001. "If project officials cannot raise enough money by June 30 to keep the two of us on the payroll to take care of the equipment, structures and telescopes, they may have to dismantle everything and level this place.

"With enough money, we could get the observatory up and running again in one day," he added, visibly brightened by the dream of a windfall.

The nonprofit SETI Institute, the Bay Area organization that runs the Allen Telescope Array, is scrambling to keep the project alive. Proposals under consideration include helping the U.S. Air Force track space debris in return for operating funds, and a "citizen scientist" program that would enable people to link up with radio telescope receivers at a cost of about $5 per minute.

Under that program, participants lucky enough to be online if and when a signal from some alien race came through would share credit for the greatest discovery in the history of mankind.

"We are at an extraordinary juncture," Tom Pierson, the institute's chief executive officer, said in an interview. "We are focused on getting interim support, perhaps from a large donor. But there is a chance this could be the end of the Allen Telescope Array."

Los Angeles Times, Louis Sahagun, May 7, 2011

Why Earthquake Prophecy Has Romans Fleeing

Despite seismologists' assurances that there is absolutely no reason to fear a massive earthquake in Rome today (May 11), residents have fled their city by the thousands. They are basing their decision on rumors of a prophecy made almost a century ago by a long-dead pseudoscientist named Raffaele Bendandi. Back in 1915, Bendandi may or may not have predicted that a Rome earthquake would take place on May 11, 2011.

Seismologists say earthquake prediction decades ahead of time is impossible. Secondly, there's no major fault line underneath Rome, so massive earthquakes don't happen there. Furthermore, no abnormal seismic activity in the area has been detected, so there is no reason to believe a large quake might be imminent. Lastly, Bendandi's chief biographer says the prophecy rumor is unfounded in the first place: Bendandi never actually predicted an earthquake would hit Rome today.

Despite these considerations, thousands of Romans have decided not to take any chances, and to leave the city anyway. Why? What leads the Romans — and people in general — to succumb to irrational fears?

According to University of Delaware fear neuroscientist Jeffrey Rosen, it's because they heard the bad news first. "First thoughts, beliefs, and responses are very powerful, and very hard to change," Rosen told Life's Little Mysteries, a sister site to LiveScience.

"First you have some information that leads you to become fearful and you're thinking, 'Oh my gosh, this earthquake is going to happen — what happened in Japan could happen here!' Then you get some other information that's telling you that those ideas that you have aren't valid. Well, often that's not sufficient enough to reverse your thoughts," Rosen said.

"Basically, it's very hard to dampen that initial response."

The fight-or-flight response that follows fear begins in a central region of the brain called the amygdala. "The amygdala receives all sorts of information from the body about heart rate, hormones, subconscious thoughts, and then it's really important for analyzing that information and producing outputs that rev up the system to respond in protective or defensive ways," Rosen explained.

Once a person's response is all revved up, he said, he or she can be very hard to calm. The person must be bombarded with counter-evidence over and over again before their initial response dampens. This is often a problem. In fact, Rosen's research focuses on dampening feelings of fear or anxiety after they have set in. (Case in point: Italian television networks have repeatedly broadcast information dispelling the Rome earthquake rumors.)

Why would irreversible panic — an inability to reassess things upon receiving more information — evolve? How does it help?

"Assume we're out in the wild way back when, and a predator comes along that could harm you: It's very good to protect yourself and respond very quickly, almost without thinking. Your first response to protect yourself and your second response is to say, 'OK, what happened?'" Rosen said.

"When there's an immediate danger like an earthquake, people go into these old and instinctual modes of response. And the parts of the brains that are important for that are being activated."

Live Science, Natalie Wolchover, 11 May 2011