Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Deranged Psychopath's rantings likened to Wicca

Mental State of Soldier Questioned

If I don't know where to start on this horrifying mess:

...A Fort Carson soldier and war veteran charged in the murder and sexual assault of a woman in Colorado last month faces accusations that he also raped a 14-year-old girl and sexually assaulted a third woman, an internal Army document states...

It seems that everybody who know this guy was certain he was completely deranged:

...It was common knowledge among his commanding officers and fellow soldiers, the document states, that Specialist Marko, who is being held without bond, believed he was an “alien dinosaur-like creature, and that he would transform from his human form into his Black Raptor form on his 21st birthday — 13 Oct 08...”

Yes, you read that right. He believed he was about to morph into a "Black Raptor", some type of viscous dinosaur, ready to prey on humans. But here comes the punchline in this horrendous story:

"...After joining the Army, his “unusual beliefs” in his Black Raptor alter-ego resulted in his being referred for psychiatric evaluations three times. Ultimately, the beliefs came to be viewed by his mental health evaluators as a religion, of sorts, like Wicca...“...His chain of command all shared concern over his mental state,” the document said. Their understanding from his evaluations...was that “Marko’s delusions represented an alternative belief structure — the equivalent of Wicca or some other alternative religion...”

Yup. That's just like Wicca. You read a Scott Cunningham book, light a candle or two, cast a few circles. Next thing, you're a psychopathic rampaging monster. I think the definition of "spirituality" and "religion" the services must be using needs some work. I just want to know on what planet would it be determined safe to put a gun in this sick person's hands?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

First soul discovered: 800 BC

Found: An Ancient Monument to the Soul

Good King Kuttamuwa left his soul entombed in a stone structure, so people could leave offerings and party with it. How cool is that!

"...In a mountainous kingdom in what is now southeastern Turkey, there lived in the eighth century B.C. a royal official, Kuttamuwa, who oversaw the completion of an inscribed stone monument, or stele, to be erected upon his death. The words instructed mourners to commemorate his life and afterlife with feasts “for my soul that is in this stele..."

“...Normally, in the Semitic cultures, the soul of a person, their vital essence, adheres to the bones of the deceased,” said David Schloen, an archaeologist at the university’s Oriental Institute and director of the excavations. “But here we have a culture that believed the soul is not in the corpse but has been transferred to the mortuary stone...”

As pointed out in the article, there's similarities here to the Ancient Egyptian belief in our spiritual essence to be divided in to two halves, a soul-like personality containing 'ba', and a life-force spirit known as the 'ka'.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Pyramid discovered...MAALESH!

In the Shadow of a Long Past, Patiently Awaiting the Future

"Maalesh", in modern Egyptian means 'never mind' or 'Oh, well". That seems to be the attitude of many Egyptians regarding the unearthing of a new pyramid in Gaza. This pyramid was built for Queen Sesheshet, mother of Pharaoh Teti. But many modern Egyptians are ambivalent:

"...Can you believe our government can do nothing for us, and this thing that was built thousands of years ago is still helping me feed my family?" Ahmed Sayed Baghali, 49, said as he sat in a plastic chair selling postcards to tourists outside the Egyptian Museum here, which
displays millenniums of antiquities. "Who would buy my things if they were not about the pharaohs? People come here from very far to see the pyramids, not to see Cairo..."

The above article points out that the country has numerous problems with infrastructure and government services. Officials change, but that can mean different things to different people:

"...When other people talk about hoping to see something happen soon, they probably mean within the next few months," said Salem, an Egyptian playwright. "For an Egyptian, it could mean in the next 50 or 60 years. An Egyptian has a particular pace. His pace is
different than an American's. And a long history can do this..."

But Egyptians have patience and sometimes see humor in the slow pace of change:

"...A man without history is a man without humor," said Galal, an economist and author who has written about Egypt’s modern decline. "A man with history is more likely to have humor, because he is more likely to see the irony in things, how things were and how they turned out to be. And patience..."

Maybe "whatever" would be a better translation of "maalesh"?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Meteors, and planets!

Very nice display, courteous nature. From

EVENING PLANETS: When the sun goes down tonight, step outside and look southwest. The two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter, are shining through the twilight side by side. You'll want to keep an eye on these two because they are drawing noticeably closer together every night.  Venus and Jupiter are converging on a patch of sky in Sagittarius where they will have a spectacular double-conjunction with the Moon at the end of the month. Don't wait until then, though. Visit for sky maps and start watching now.

LEONID METEOR WATCH: The Leonid meteor shower peaks this year on Nov. 17th and 18th. Bright moonlight will probably spoil the show, but not necessarily. Researchers who study Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle, the source of the Leonids, say Earth is going to pass through one or two of the comet's dusty filaments. Peak rates of 20 to 100 meteors per hour are possible during the early hours of Nov. 17th (especially 0000-0200 UT) and again during the waning hours of Nov. 18th (around 2130 UT). These times favor sky watchers in Europe, Africa, and Asia. Smaller numbers of Leonids could appear between the anticipated peak times. Meteor enthusiasts everywhere should monitor the sky on Nov. 17th and 18th; the hours before local dawn are usually best.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Live Dragon Eggs Found!

Tuatara eggs found in sanctuary

Eggs of the critically endangered lizard-like primitive reptile, the tuatara, have been found:

...Wildlife lovers are ecstatic at the discovery of four tuatara eggs at Wellington's Karori Sanctuary...While there's no way of knowing when the eggs will hatch, sanctuary staff are hoping it will be in the next few months...

The moment they hatch, the little monsters will be hungry for human flesh! Heh! Besides the wiki link above, there's a cute faq here. One interesting fact about these remarkable reptiles is that they have three eyes. Well, the third eye is not really a developed eye, but called a 'parietal eye'. However, many lizards have this feature. Even the common Anole (sometimes called 'American Chameleons', or humiliatingly sold as 'dragons' at Ren Faires) have this feature. Next time you are in a pet store, check-out the area directly between the eyes--on top of the head--of one of these lizards. If you look carefully, you'll see what looks like a tiny polished bead embedded there. Behold, the 'third eye'!

(image of 'The Giant Behemoth' from the very excellent