Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

Archive for the 'People' Category

Quives stick-figure alien: indeed, a plant

A month ago we posted two videos of what looked like “stick-figure aliens”, one of them from Santa Rosa de Quives, Peru. We explained the so-called “Quives alien” as “just part of a bush”, that is, “a plant near the camera, and parallax giving the appearance of motion”.

We were right.

Now, after all the unfounded claims he uttered before, the local ufologist has finally publicized an “investigation” where he concludes exactly the same. He visited the location, which is fine, utters more illogical claims and shows some group photos, which is unnecessary, but most importantly, he finally shows a better quality version of the video that he had from the beginning. He has had this in his hands for months, perhaps even more than a year.

Just skip the first half (four minutes) of the video above to go straight to the better quality captures of the video. Or look at the screen capture below. And from it it’s fairly obvious it’s a plant in front of the man.

quivesbush02

A graphic from the video:

quivesbush01

And our original graphic, from a month ago:

3dquives

Fellow Luis Ruiz Noguez, who was the one to correctly call this one a bush from the start, thinks it’s very curious how the video was explored and publicized by the ufologist. The version that’s been finally published now is not only much sharper, from it we can see how the first publicized version was cropped, hiding much of the bushes, “as if they were trying to hide the true essence of the ‘alien’”, writes Noguez.

The local ufologist ends his analysis claiming that:

“The conclusions that we can come to are that the video of the Quives Man wasn’t a hoax, it wasn’t a planned thing, but rather and quite simply, a big confusion, I would say exactly an optical effect.”

Luis Noguez disagrees. “I believe the ‘Quives Man’ was a hoax, a deliberate hoax from an optical effect of parallax.” Even if you give the ufologist the benefit of doubt – perhaps he didn’t realize it was a bush even with his better quality version, and unintentionally cropped and degraded the versions he aired – that he took a month after it was exposed as as a bush to finally confirm it with the evidence he clearly had is very questionable.

As we emphasize, this is the same local ufologist who claims that his country is surrounded by fleets of UFOs (which are in fact common party balloons), and even that one such “UFO flotilla” warned about a recent earthquake. And he usually appears abroad representing the UFO research in his country.

Too bad for Peru.

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How do you cut Einstein’s Brain?

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You may do it with a common bread knife and cut board. At least that’s what was done in the indescribable scene above, perhaps one of the most strange happenings in the history of science. And it was filmed. And we have the video.

The white object inside the jar, I must emphasize, is a piece of Albert Einstein’s brain. The Albert Einstein. The knife and board are common kitchen utensils, used to cut bread, I must repeat. Bread from Thomas Harvey, the man cutting a piece of Einstein’s brain to give as a souvenir to Kenji Sugimoto, a Japanese teacher fanatic for the German physicist. Sugimoto soon takes the piece to a Karaoke bar.

How come?

The unbelievable story of how this happened is documented in “Einstein’s Brain” (1994) by Kevin Hull. You can read a detailed (and hilarious) review in Encyclopedia Obscura: Einstein’s Brain, but keep reading to watch the whole thing along with some updates on the story.

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A head (or body) transplant for Stephen Hawking

headtransplantwhite

Some years ago I translated to Portuguese a nice piece by Ken Freedman telling “A Brief History of Disembodied Dog Heads”. It was a success, after all, it described the experiences of soviet Dr. S.S. Bryukhonenko with disembodied dog heads kept alive artificially. And with a film to prove the point. How could you not be intrigued and disturbed by this?

The film in question recently inspired a music video by Metallica with nothing less than zombies. And although it almost certainly involves a reenacted (and exaggerated) portrayal of the results achieved by Bryukhonenko, the soviets did achieve some success. That included the creation of two-headed dogs by Vladimir Demikhov.

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“Why create two-headed dogs?”, you may ask. And you would be asking the same as a brilliant Cleveland neurosurgeon named Robert J. White. Responsible for many innovative surgery techniques, operating on what he estimates as more than 10,000 brains, White explored the limits of his area going well beyond dogs. Searching for an animal model closer to us, he operated on rhesus monkeys. He wants to make head transplants in humans a reality. Or, as he calls it, “total body transplant”.

Keep reading for an intriguing documentary interviewing White and presenting footage with his experiments with monkeys. And hear the man claiming that head (or total body) transplants are not only possible today, but that figures like Stephen Hawking could be the first to benefit from it.

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ScienceBlogs Brazil!

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NEW YORK and SÃO PAULO (March 17, 2009) – ScienceBlogs.com, the web’s largest science community, announced today the launch of its newest international site, ScienceBlogs Brazil.

ScienceBlogs Brazil brings together the most original and influential voices within the Brazilian science community, some of whom have already won accolades for their blogging. Edited from São Paulo by Carlos Hotta and Atila Iamarino, ScienceBlogs Brazil launches today with 23 Portuguese-language blogs on topics ranging from genetics to the environment. “I think we need people committed to raising scientific awareness in Brazil,” said Carlos Hotta, “and I am certain that ScienceBlogs Brazil will turn our local voices into global ones.”

With its growing science community and emphasis on science as a cornerstone of economic growth under a multi-year, multi-billion dollar Science, Technology and Innovation Plan of Action for National Development, Brazil is emerging as a vital player in global science culture. The country is the fifth most populous in the world and has over 67 million Internet users.

“We are thrilled with the growth of ScienceBlogs around the world and the rich conversation that it engenders,” said Fabien Savenay, Senior Vice President for Seed Media Group, the parent company of ScienceBlogs. “We are excited to now bring this conversation to South America.”

And the most surprising thing must be that this Fortean blogger is now also part of ScienceBlogs Brazil, with 100nexos – in Portuguese, of course. Many of the posts I originally write for 100nexos in Portuguese end up here in English in the science section. And vice-versa.

The paranormal ones usually come from or go to my other project, CeticismoAberto,  meaning “Open Skepticism”, which I’m also very proud to say is the most visited Brazilian website in its genre. That is: a “skeptical” website is the most visited website about ufology and the paranormal in Brazil. It has more than double the pageviews of the second-place.

This week, besides being BoingBoinged two times, I was also thrilled to be recommended by Richard Wiseman. As well as links from Posthuman Blues and the many from Anomalist and others. I can only thank them. And please forgive me for being so full of myself, but I’m amazed that these varied sources I enthusiastically read everyday… they actually read what I write and even suggest it to others.

It’s really unbelievable! I wouldn’t believe it, and yet, the extraordinary evidence is there!

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Boxxy for President

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Boxxy was a happy normal 16-year-old girl who liked anime and played Gaia Online. She did nothing wrong. Nor did she do anything especially right. But for a day last month, she became one of the most searched terms in Google, the most-subscribed channel on Youtube and the reason for an “online civil war” that put one of the major Internet forums offline for a couple of hours.

A month after the phenomenon: keep reading for the Boxxy story, the Boxxy science, from online videos to American presidents.

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