Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ol' Nessie

"Nessie" or the Loch Ness Monster is a large creature that is said to roam around the fresh water Loch Ness. With false evidence and unproven sightings this monster is most commonly depicted as a surviving plesiosaur. The earliest report of the creature came from Saint Columba, an Irish monk, who was witnessing a burial near the River Ness, which flowed from Loch Ness. He witnessed the man swimming across the river when he was pulled down by a "water beast". He sent in his follower, Luigne mocci Min into the river to help the Picts save the man and the beast came after him. Columba immediately made the sign of the cross and told the beast to "Go no further. Do not touch the man. Go back at once." Right then, the beast went back and fled in terror.

After this miraculous story, there have been many eyewitness accounts over the years that have actually seen the monster but much evidence is false or not there to backup the story. What's surprising is that many of the people who have witnessed the monster were lawyers, priests, policemen, fishermen, and even a Nobel Prize winner. Without solid evidence this creature is deemed to be non-existant, but people will keep on trying to search the depths of Loch Ness to uncover the legend that is the Loch Ness Monster.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chinese Zodiac Compatability

The Asian zodiacs is very similar to the zodiac signs here in America. I guess whatever applied to the zodiac signs here can go along with the Asian version. There is one slight difference though, your animal is based on the year you were born rather than months. Due to the year you were born in, there are special bonds, relationships, and enemies that you need to stay away from as you get older.

I can only paraphrase so much, but its essentially the asian version of the zodiac signs. It's pretty interesting because it supposedly tells your personality and who is the best candidate to be your lover, business partner, and whatever else you may want to know.

This is a quick link to further explain what you may want to know. Take a quick glance and hopefully you may find it interesting

Shhh!!! No one speaks to the pitcher

Ever heard of the myth, don't speak or say anything to the pitcher when he is inline to throwing a perfect game or no-hitter? I wasn't sure myself either so I did a little research. It came out as so that the players didn't want to mention the no-hitter in progress. By not mentioning the feat in progress, the pitcher would not think about it so much and just kept on pitching like he would normally do. Personally, I would think that is pretty dumb. The pitcher would obviously know that he is pitching a no-hitter simply by the actions. Not only that, the tension and the isolation that the pitcher gets is only going to make the guy more nervous.

Some of these players would even go as far as not even being anywhere near the pitcher. Broadcasters would not even dare put any numbers up to furthermore keep the pitcher's head at ease. It is a myth that is somewhat dumb and yet, respected throughout the history of baseball. Even today, players and pitchers would continue to not speak to one another if a no hitter is in progress.

Overall, I think that it is pretty dumb. I use to play baseball and not speaking or being completely isolated is the worst feeling ever. Your body becomes tense, your mind becomes so focused on what pitch should I throw next. Everything becomes a little harder because you are trying so hard to achieve this feat. But then again, if it works, then why challenge it? It has worked so far and probably will worked in future.

Short little clip of Roy Halladay throwing the most recent perfect game

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pseudoscience: A Changing Definition

A simple definition for the word pseudoscience is a collection of beliefs or practices that are mistakenly regarded as being based on scientific method. Some pseudoscientific beliefs can rather easily be dismissed as folklore, myth, or fallacy. On the other hand, some pseudoscientific beliefs seem to bridge a very small gap of science and fiction, lending themselves to appeal to both skeptics and believers alike. For this blog post I wanted to take a slightly different direction and examine the possibility that some modern pseudoscientific beliefs may not be pseudoscientific forever.

Science, to me, is a constantly growing, improving, but most of all, changing field. Every year new ideas are brought about, old ideas are squashed or proven, and more and more questions are always raised. Going back to the times of the native Americans or early civilizations such as the Myans, Aztecs, Egyptians, etc., many things that they believed and were part of their reality were not questioned as they were commonplace. A civilization can such as the ancient Egyptians can go through their society's entire lifespan following practices such as creating an entire room with all the necessities for the afterlife and never question it because it is the way of life. In that same civilization if someone were to come out and make a claim that is common religious practice now but not back than it would be dismissed as crazy. But, obviously, nowadays there are plenty of believes that are commonplace and the majority of people do not believe in mummification, burial rooms with numerous belongings and pets, etc.

My point is that many things are cyclical in nature and many things come in and out "of fashion". There are many things that were "fact" in certain civilizations realities which are now dismissed as pseudoscience. There are also many things that are dismissed as pseudoscience now that may very well become common reality and fact in the future. Many things such as perpetual motion that define "known" laws of science can turn from pseudoscience to fact in the blink of an eye as science continues to grow, improve, and change.

Black Cats: Superstitions & Myths

I've had two black cats and both have been awesome companions. There's also a colony of feral cats living in the woods near my house. At one time, absolutely all of them were 100% black in color. Some people have made comments about them being unlucky because of their coat color and I've always replied, "They're the sweetest, most friendly feral cats I've ever met," and that is why some have been and hopefully all will eventually be, adopted to good loving homes. It amazes me the idiotic things some people choose to believe.

Here in the West, in the past and yes, even to this day, these beautifully black furry felines have been targeted, abused and killed based on superstitions and myths (stupidity). Many animal shelters will not permit the adoption of a black cat around Halloween for this very reason. Unfortunately, the entertainment industry has both perpetuated and capitalized on such beliefs. In Janet Jackson's song, "Black Cat," she sings: "Black cat, nine lives, short days, long nights, livin' on the edge, not afraid to die, heart beat real strong, but not for long, better watch your step or you're gonna die," making an obvious reference to the most popular black cat myth. And in the movie "Hocus Pocus," Thackery Binx is turned into a black cat by the Sanderson sisters (witches). Watch clip:

Historically, the belief that "it's bad luck if a black cat crosses your path," began not long after the pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock. Devout Christians believed they were symbolic of evil or the devil's presence. It was common to assume a black cat was a so-called witch's familiar (companion), or used in rituals and some even believed the so-called witches could transform themselves and actually become black cats. So strong were these beliefs that anyone caught with a black cat would be severly punished or put to death. It was common practice to burn both the "witch" and the cat at the stake. Where did these wild ideas come from? It is thought that various Christian groups were paranoid of the cat's agility and of ancient Egypt's deep appreciation of them. There is absolutely no reason and no scientific proof whatsoever that a black cat brings bad luck to anyone.

Contrary to what we usually hear, black cats have also been associated with good luck. Ancient Egyptians regarded them with respect and as such, they were treated as royalty. If one was intentionally killed, it was a capital offense. Egyptians would even mummify black cats to preserve them for the afterlife. (Yes Egypt, you rock for loving cats!) Some people believe if a black cat crosses their path, it's actually good luck. Fisherman's wives would keep a black cat for protection while their husbands were out at sea. Such cats were often stolen as they were considered extremely valuable. In Scotland, a black kitty arriving on your porch brings prosperity. In Britain, a young woman who owns a black cat will have many suitors and owning a black cat is lucky, seeing one by accident is considered unlucky. In France, owning a black cat with even one white hair is super lucky. Thank you Japan, for changing your minds (superstitions) and believing in the innocence and harmlessness of the black cat today.

Sources: (image source)

Death Toll

In the popular movie The Boondock Saints, the main characters ( Connor and Murphy McManus) cover their victims' eyes with coins after they have been shot. This action is actually a Greek Myth and some people around the world follow it. The Greek mythology states that for a dead spirit to cross over the River Styx in the afterlife, the spirit must pay a toll to Charon, the ferryman of the River Styx. If the dead spirit did not pay the toll, they would wander around restlessly in the Underworld. To prevent that from happening, families or those around the dead person, would place coins over both eyes to help the spirit pay the toll so that they can rest in peace in the afterlife.
There are other ideas related to the coin myth: In a Magyar custom, they place coins over the eyes of the dead "with silver because, if they remain open, we would see our own death captured in their eyes." ( and also, the Catholics believe that since eyes naturally stay open after death, the weight of the coins will keep them closed, so that the person can get a restful sleep.

* Since pictures arn't working on this site for me, here is the picture I wanted to post along with the text.

The Birth Certificate

The 44th President of the United States of America was born in Kenya? Huh?

Conspiracy theorists, and what the media has classified as "birthers" believe that President Barack Obama in a natural born citizen. If you are not familiar with American politics, then this probably doesn't make any sense to you. Why should this matter? Well it matters because if you are not a natural born citizen, you cannot serve in the highest office of power.

Where did this conspiracy come from? Well, first you have to look at the evidence birthers present:

1) He has not presented a birth certificate.

-During his campaign, this rumor was flying around so he presented a certificate of live birth. While this isn't an actual birth certificate, it was issued by the state of Hawaii where President Obama was born. This is not good enough for birthers, they want the real thing. He still to this day has not presented it.

2) A Kenyan birth certificate proves he was not born here.

-A Kenyan birth certificate was uncovered "proving" that President Obama was born in Kenya and not Hawaii. It later came out that the certificate was a fake.

3) His grandmother said he was born in Kenya.

-President Obama's grandmother came out and said he was born in Kenya in an interview. Birthers believe that right there it is obvious he wasn't born here. But not so fast, the interview was cut short supposedly, and there is more to it. She wasn't actually saying he was born in Kenya.

There are even birth announcements from a Hawaiian newspaper when he was born. But then again if President Obama would just release the real thing, this could be put to rest. Since he hasn't, the conspiracy still goes on.

The Weather Machine!

Ever wanted to be able to control the weather? How about cause natural disasters? Well, if you're the United States Air Force, act now and you can! ..or so they say.

According to Tim Swartz, HAARP was
"opened in 1992 to gather data about the atmosphere and "radio propagation conditions." Their web site states that they are monitoring and archiving the naturally occurring variations with the sun's activities such as sunspots and solar flares." But conspiracy enthusiasts don't believe to be the case. There is a theory floating around that HAARP is actually a secret government project that was created to control the weather and cause natural disasters.

Everytime there has been a natural disaster, one of the top Google searches is HAARP. Ask a conspiracy theorist about Katrina, they will respond with HAARP, ask about Haiti they will respond HAARP. Even the recent earthquakes/tsunamis in Japan, HAARP is apparently responsible. It was even featured on the controversial television show Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura.

This conspiracy seems to me to be a bunch of crap, but you never know. The government spends a lot of money on secret projects that the public will never know about. Why would the government want to cause these disasters? The answer from the theorists is that the government wants more control. Japan's economy was thriving, knock them out and boom no more superpower. Katrina affected many African Americans, and apparently the government has it out for them. The disaster in Haiti was just an excuse to annex and occupy. These theories all make sense, but I don't see the government being that sinister and I can't see this to be true.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Would you like to make a wish?

Well here's a funny little thing to believe. Does breaking off the larger side of a "wishbone" grant you a wish? Well for a long time the stories have made us believe so.
The Romans would kill birds and rip them to shreds before consuming a meal. As they would de-feather the bird and start pulling the meat off the bones, they would pull off the collar bone and set it to dry in the sun. After the meal the bone should be dry enough to rub it for luck and a wish. Which is where the name "wishbone" comes from. After the Romans spread this idea to the western world, people began to fight over the idea that, people would only get one wish out of a single clavicle. People broke the clavicle in half and whoever got the bigger half was allowed to make the wish. So next Thanksgiving make sure you get the clavicle before anyone else in order to make a wish!


So we all know when a performer is about to go on stage for the opening night of a performance we say "break a leg". But why would we wish anyone harm intentionally; especially if they are going to be performing in front of a group of people?
"Break a leg" has a few different origins, from a few different places, the Greek origin, the Shakespearean origin, and Roman origin are among the most known.
The Greek origin: After a performance would take place, as the cast was taking their bows, the audience would stomp their feet or bang their chair on the ground. If they stomped long enough some people would break their leg/or leg of the chair. So, if they were on their feet long enough/stomp their chair, to break their own leg, the actor must have put on quite a good performance.
The Shakespearean origin: When the actor would take their bows, the audience would either throw money(good) or rotten vegetables(bad) onto the stage. When money is thrown the actors would then "break their leg" line and kneel to pick up their earnings. So saying "break a leg" here is wishing them good fortune at the end of their performance.
The Roman origin: Because the performers at this time were mostly Gladiators, when they would get ready to enter the Colosseum they would be wished to "break a leg", meaning; stay alive and break the legs of the other opponents, that way you have more time to run while they fall victim to the other gladiators and the lions.
So next time someone is about to perform in a show or perform a job of any kind, wish the luck by saying "break a leg".

Curse of the Mummy

The "mummy's curse" is most known for the death of several people following the discovery of King Tutankhamun's tomb. The curse declares that if anyone dares to open a tomb will suffer the wrath of the mummy, so states Lord Carnarvon funded an expedition of King Tut's tomb in 1922 and when Howard Carter opened up a small hole to view hidden treasures 3,000 years old, the world became enamored with ancient Egypt (National Geographic). Soon, the world will also be introduced to the "mummy's curse" concept after Lord Carnarvon died four months later (New York Times).
Dominic Montserrat, an Egyptologist, researched the origins of the "mummy's curse" and discovered it was first conceived from a London and not Egypt. In London there was a stage show where they brought real mummies on stage and unwrapped them. This led to inspiration of other writers to write tales of mummy revenge (National Geographic).
Lord Carnarvon's death sparked the interest of the mummy curses, but was his death really the result of the wrath of King Tut? Turns out Carnarvon died of a mosquito bite on his cheek that got infected from cutting it while shaving. Of the 26 people present when the King's tomb was opened, 6 died within a decade. Howard Carter, the first person to enter the tomb, would be expected to have been the prime victim, but lived in till 1939 spending his last years cataloging every item found in King Tut's tomb (KingTutOne). Some explain the mysterious deaths to be caused by bacteria and molds from the human, animal and food remains found in the tomb that could be dangerous if a person already has a weakened immune system. On the other hand F. Dewolfe Miller a professor of epidemiology, thinks it is unlikely.(National Geographic).
I think it is important to ask if 6 deaths out of a total of 26 explorers over ten years is really that significant? That's approximately one death every other year, and considering these are mature men (Carnarvon died at the age of 56) during a time when the average life expectancy of a man was 53.6. Other ages of those 6 who died range from 45-70 of those I was able to find both birth and death dates of. So considering the life expectancy, and small portion of actual deaths, I would not find there to be anything remarkable about the deaths of those explorers.

The Sleeping Prophet

Considered the most gifted psychic of 20th century, Edgar Cayce was supposedly able to access the present, future, and past all from an unconscious state of channeling. Most of his readings(over 14,000) were recorded by his wife and dealt with numerous issues including health, history, reincarnation, astrology, and prophecy. If given the name and place of an individual he was able to read their body and suggest cures usually in the form of natural remedies. Many of his natural remedies are considered quackery and work no better than the placebo effect. He also predicted(vaguely) many future events with some accuracy including WW2, stock market crash, civil rights movement, and JFK assassination. Many events he predicted did not occur including 1933 being a good year(great depression) a pole shift in the year 2000 and cataclysmic destruction of California and the New York area in the late 90's.

He also spoke about historical events with some accuracy including relevant information about the Essenes before the dead sea scrolls and geographical information including that the Nile once connected to the Atlantic Ocean. Some of historical readings have proven to be controversial including the dating of the Great Pyramid of Giza to the year 10,490 BC and the existence of a technologically advanced civilization known as Atlantis. Cayce claimed that Atlantis would rise up in 1968 which is attributed to the discovery of "Bimini Road" in the Bahamas as funded by his organization the ARE. Cayce also claimed that the records of Atlantis would be discovered under the right paw of the Sphinx. Although there is a confirmed chamber beneath the right paw it has yet to explored.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Woman Onboard a Ship Will Bring Bad Luck.

Looking for comfort at sea, sailors have a long standing tradition of being superstitious. One of these traditions is that having a woman on the ship will bring bad luck to the ship and it's voyage. One article stated, that sailors once believed that having a woman on board a ship would anger the gods of the sea. This would bring about violent waves and disastrous weather conditions. It is believed that in rare cases, woman were sometimes thrown from the ship to seek the forgiveness of the gods.

One possible origin of this myth is that the woman were a distraction to the crew members. At the peak of these supernatural claims, the voyages across the ocean would take months to complete. A lot of attention would be paid to the only woman that they would see for these long periods of time. The crew members may have feared that having a distraction from the ship's needs may lead them into harm's way.

Another possible contribution to this superstitious belief is that it was traditionally believed that women were not as physically or emotionally capable as men. The food onboard a ship was limited and bringing a person that was believed to be less able and significant was not a great option considering that they would still need rations to survive.

In contrast to the original myth, there is also the belief that a woman would be good luck for the ship. During the nineteenth century, images of woman became popular subjects for ship carvers. Figureheads are carved wooden decorations that are found at the prow of ships. Many of these figureheads represented woman which were said to calm the ocean and bring the ship safely back to shore.

There is no evidence of women being back luck for a ship or its crew, however these superstitions are still myths that exist in present day societies. These superstitions reminds me of the 10 percent of our brains myth because although there is no proof is continues to exist as a superstition. This myth has been made popular even in popular culture through mention in movies just like the 10 percent myth in the film "Limitless." The woman on a ship myth has been referenced in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies.

Knock on Wood!

Whenever I hear someone talk about upcoming events that they hope to go well, I usually hear them say "knock on wood". I never knew the origin of the saying or what it meant really. All i knew is that alot of people said, I don't think they even know why. The term "knocking on wood" is used as an expression to avoid the tempting of fate. One explanation of this is that in ancient mythology trees and wood had spirits, or fairies in them. If the spirits were good, it was good considered good luck to knock on the wood so they would know you were there, and would not be startled by you.If the spirits were bad, the knocking noise would distract them long enough for you to get away. There is also a Christian belief that has to do with the Cross that Jesus died on. They also believed that knocking on the cross or any other piece of wood would prevent the devil from hearing what you had just said. All in all, it seems to be a harmless supersitition that many people hold on to. No one wants bad luck to intrude on their day, so they try to control the unkown with a saying whether it works or not.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Danger! Avoid Colon Cleansing

Colon cleansing or colon therapy includes alternative medical therapies intended to remove feces and supposed nonspecific toxins from the colon and intestinal tract. These therapies are designed to counteract auto-intoxication which is the idea theory that food enters the intestine and rots. The origin of these ideas stems from the ancient Egyptians and ancient Greeks. Throughout the 19th century biochemistry and microbiology studies supported the auto-intoxication hypothesis causing physicians to promote therapies. Advances in science in the 20th century no longer support the hypothesis.

The alternative medicine community still promotes colon cleansing. Testimonials and anecdotal evidence are the main forces used to keep the idea of colon cleansing at a high level of importance in the eyes of the public. People resort to colon cleansing in an effort to lose weight or to relieve constipation. Studies show no proof of weight loss. As for constipation, doctors recommend drinking plenty of fluids, eat a diet rich in fiber, get regular exercise, and increase fruit, vegetable, and fiber intake.

Some auto-intoxication symptoms include headache fatigue, loss of appetite, and irritability. However, these symptoms are often associated with mechanical distention within the bowel, such as irritable bowel syndrome, and not from toxins from putrefying food. The supposed benefits of colon cleansing are vague, and the claims made by manufacturers and practitioners are based on a flawed understanding of the body. There is little evidence to support any actual benefits to colon cleansing, and no evidence exists to support that colon cleansing can cure the symptoms that are attributed to it. Not one surgery or autopsy in all of human history ever provided evidence of compacted feces or auto-intoxication.

The two main colon cleansing methods are buying products and visiting a practitioner to have colon irrigation. Colon cleansing with powdered or liquid supplements involves some supplements taken by mouth or others through the rectum. The colon is forced to expel its contents. These products can be found on the internet, in health food stores, supermarkets, or pharmacies. Colon irrigation is a procedure involving a machine or gravity-driven pump that flushes up to 20 gallons of water through a tube inserted into your rectum. Once the water is in the colon, the therapist will massage your abdomen, then flushes out the fluids and waste through another tube, and then repeat the process numerous times using different water pressures and temperatures. One session may last up to an hour.

Colon cleansing can potentially cause more harm than good. Colon cleansing can disrupt the bacteria to natural chemical balance in the bowel and can prevent the colon from removing dead cells. Serious complications can arise including gastrointestinal perforation from improper insertion, amoebic infection from poorly sterilized equipment, and disrupt fluid and electrolyte balance which may lead to dehydration and salt depletion. Excessive cleansing programs can lead to anemia, malnutrition, cardiac problems such as heart failure, heart attacks related to the electrolyte imbalances, withdrawal symptoms, dependence, and an inability to defecate without assistance. Herbs that are consumed for colon cleansing and taken as oral preparations can interfere with drug absorption and effectiveness of prescription drugs.

The contents of over the counter colon cleansing products are not verified or tested by the FDA since colon cleansing is no longer supported by the scientific community. The human body naturally removes waste material on its own, so there is no medical need for colon cleansing. The only time that colon cleansing is necessary is in preparation before a colonoscopy.



Mayo Clinic

Colon Cleansing Scam Exposed (bullshit colon cleansing products)