Jul 25, 2010


Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

A new discovery at Stonehenge complex:

Scientists scouring the area around Stonehenge said Thursday they have uncovered a circular structure only a few hundred meters (yards) from the world famous monument.

There's some debate about what exactly has been found. The survey team which uncovered the structure said it could be the foundation for a circle of freestanding pieces of timber, a wooden version of Stonehenge.

Justice delayed is justice denied. James Arthur Ray will be free to sell internet conferences for another day.

Yavapai Superior Court Judge Warren Darrow has put off the Aug. 31 trial date for James Ray, the motivational speaker charged with the reckless manslaughter of three followers after a superheated sweat lodge experience.

Darrow has been dealing with a number of motions in the complicated case, but he has also been asked to take over a Prescott murder trial that is already under way and where a delay would force a possible mistrial. He says he will not be able to handle other than routine matters in the James Ray case until November.

. . .

Ray's defense has asked for a change of venue, saying Ray could not get a fair trial because of all the pre-trial publicity here. Attorneys have also filed a motion seeking to compel the disclosure of medical examiner's opinions on the cause of death and a request for sanctions.

The submissions include 78 exhibits and stretch for 488 pages. The length of the motions prompted the State to request that they be struck because of their length. While Darrow declined to throw out the requests, he did allow the State more time to review the matters and to file responses.

It's finally happened. Atheism has become a religion. Let's see... a formalized group ritual utilizing symbolic objects to affect a transformational process. Yep. It's a religion.

Wielding a blow-dryer, a leading atheist conducted a mass "de-baptism" of fellow non-believers and symbolically dried up the offending waters that were sprinkled on their foreheads as young children.

At the annual American Atheists Convention, one of atheism's premier provocateurs, Edwin Kagin, faced the crowd and raised high a hairdryer labeled "Reason and Truth."

. . .

Kagin said that many people have undergone de-baptism."Many have taken it as somewhat of a joke, but some have found it truly, if you will, a spiritually cleansing experience," he said.

The Vatican is cracking down on gay priests.

The Catholic Church in Italy, still reeling from the clerical sex abuse scandal, lashed out Friday at gay priests who are leading a double life, urging them to come out of the closet and leave the priesthood.

The Diocese of Rome issued the strongly worded statement after the conservative Panorama newsweekly said in a cover story and accompanying video that it had interviewed three gay priests in Rome and accompanied them to gay clubs and bars and to sexual encounters with strangers, including one in a church building.

One of the priests, a Frenchman identified only as Paul, celebrated Mass in the morning before driving the two escorts he had hired to attend a party the night before to the airport, Panorama said.

And it's soooooooo cute!

One of the world’s rarest primates driven to the brink of extinction by Britain's taste for tea has been photographed for the first time, scientists said.

The Horton Plains slender loris has been so elusive for more than 60 years scientists believed the wide-eyed mammal had become extinct.

It had only been seen four times since 1937 but was fleetingly spotted in 2002 by researchers who identified it by the reflection of a light shone in its eyes.

The Hadron Collider is closing in heaviest particle and may be closer to finding the Higgs boson.

Physicists at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) have seen several candidates for the heaviest elementary particle known to science.

If the observations are confirmed, it would be a first for Europe; so far, the top quark particle has only been generated by one lab in the US.

Dr Arnaud Lucotte said the discovery could assist physicists in the hunt for the elusive Higgs boson, or "God particle".

A new time travel theory avoids the grandfather paradox. Of course that would make those Back to the Future movies a whole lot less interesting.

In the new paper, the scientists explore a particular version of CTCs based on combining quantum teleportation with post-selection, resulting in a theory of post-selected CTCs (P-CTCs). In quantum teleportation, quantum states are entangled so that one state can be transmitted to the other in a different location. The scientists then applied the concept of post-selection, which is the ability to make a computation automatically accept only certain results and disregard others. In this way, post-selection could ensure that only a certain type of state can be teleported. The states that “qualify” to be teleported are those that have been post-selected to be self-consistent prior to being teleported. Only after it has been identified and approved can the state be teleported, so that, in effect, the state is traveling back in time. Under these conditions, time travel could only occur in a self-consistent, non-paradoxical way.

“The formalism of P-CTCs shows that such quantum time travel can be thought of as a kind of quantum tunneling backwards in time, which can take place even in the absence of a classical path from future to past,” the researchers write in their paper. “Because the theory of P-CTCs relies on post-selection, it provides self-consistent resolutions to such paradoxes: anything that happens in a P-CTC can also happen in conventional quantum mechanics with some probability.”

A new computer program may be able to decode "lost" and decipher ancient texts.

A new computer program has quickly deciphered a written language last used in Biblical times—possibly opening the door to "resurrecting" ancient texts that are no longer understood, scientists announced last week.

Created by a team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the program automatically translates written Ugaritic, which consists of dots and wedge-shaped stylus marks on clay tablets. The script was last used around 1200 B.C. in western Syria.

Written examples of this "lost language" were discovered by archaeologists excavating the port city of Ugarit in the late 1920s. It took until 1932 for language specialists to decode the writing. Since then, the script has helped shed light on ancient Israelite culture and Biblical texts.

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